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Sokyo, Pyrmont

I have been craving Japanese food for a while, good Japanese food and suggested this place. Sokyo is located at The Star, not inside the Casino but outside. The décor is impressive and has a very relaxed vibe. The menu is vast, divided into several sections including sashimi, sushi, tempura, robata (meat, seafood and vegetables grilled on white charcoal) and essential dishes and of course desserts. All the dishes are relatively small and are designed to be shared.

There were about seven of us, so thought we would each pick two – in hindsight it was probably one or two too many but we were dining with boys who could eat so the more the better.

We started with the Kingfish miso ceviche ($18) – green chili, crispy potato. I absolutely love kingfish and this was such a light and beautiful dish. The green chili was subtle and the crispy potato gave it a really nice crunch and touch.

Another favourite of mine is Ocean trout wasabi salsa ($19) – chili threads, yuzu, pickled wasabi salsa. Again this was a light and delicious dish, the yuzu and pickled wasabi salsa was superb.

C2 couldn’t go past the Kurobuta black pork sashimi ($19) – thinly sliced pork belly, dashi jelly, mache, salty caramel sauce. Cooked thinly sliced pieces of pork belly which was served with yummy salted caramel sauce and dashi jelly – YUM!

The moreton bay bug tempura ($26) – sambal mayo, grapefruit salsa was a hit amongst the diners. Lightly battered, the sambal mayo was deliciously creamy with a hint of spice and the grapefruit salsa a wonderful complement.

I adored the Pumpkin tempura ($10) – poblano, rocoto sauce. Again the batter was light and this was such a wonderful dish that I would have happily eaten the whole thing myself!

Now onto the Robata – Beef ($15) – short rib, caramelized eshallots, bbq teriyaki. I loved the charcoal taste, the beef was tender and succulent.

The Tsukune Chicken ($10) – shallots, pineapple ginger sauce was a hit amongst the diners, it had a great aroma and the flavour was incredible.

I really enjoyed the Kurobuta pork belly ($14) – spicy shirodashi, yuzu kosho – tender pork belly, we originally thought that the white bit was fat but it was in fact radish!

The Dengakuman ($32) – caramelised miso cod, Japanese salsa, celery croutons was very good but I thought the Nobu’s version of miso cod was infinitely better.

I’m not a massive fan of scallops, however, the other diners did enjoy the Hokkaido Scallops ($26) – wasabi shitake pepper sauce. It was cooked to perfection with slightly charred caramelised bits around the edges.

The Jumbo king prawn ($25) – scorched onion, flat white dashi I didn’t try. It had too much froth for my liking – no, I am off prawns for the moment but my fellow diners did say it was wonderful, it was quite plump and moreish.

We were all getting quite full by this stage, well the girls were, but I know some of the boys were still hungry. The Spicy tuna crispy rice ($20) – crispy nigiri, truffle salt, spicy mayo was excellent. Luscious tuna on top of crispy rice was just amazingly good! Probably one of the highlights that evening.

The Japanese Barbeque roll ($19) – karubi short rib, gochijang sauce, white kimchi I thought was nice, nothing special.

I didn’t try the Ocean trout and avocado roll ($18) – crispy onion, creamy ponzu as I was beyond stuffed and wanted to make room for dessert. My fellow diners did say it wasn’t too bad.

Now dessert, I couldn’t finish one on my own so thought would share the Chef’s dessert sampler ($26).

Four different types of dessert, the first being Goma Street – caramelised white chocolate, sesame ice cream. This was an AMAZING dessert, great presentation, the caramelised white chocolate mousse sandwiched between two perfectly pieces of chocolate and served with sesame ice cream – OMG!

 

The yamazaki caramel macchiato – coffee ice cream, coco nibs, whisky foam was another favourite. You have to eat all the combination together.

The Sokyo ‘mochi ice cream’ – yatsuhashi Kyoto mocha, frozen strawberry milk shake was also tasty. Thin mocha pastry, the strawberry milk shake definitely tasted like strawberry milk shake!

Last but not least of the dessert tasting platter was the dessert of the evening. I can’t remember the exact name but it had pineapple, citrusy and had pop candy which I haven’t had since I was a child!

C2 had the goma street ($12) and absolutely loved it.

T ordered the Donatsu ($13) – pineapple mascarpone filling, crème fraiche ice cream and this looked superb! I didn’t have any of this, but T definitely enjoyed it.

R had the white miso tapioca ($12), something he would never order but loved it.

Food wise, I thought it was good but I do prefer Nobu slightly – thought it was quite similar.

Service was excellent and although the dessert was a little slow to come out we all had a great meal. Great food, great wine and fabulous company – I sure am going to miss you guys!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Sokyo

Level G, The Darling, The Star,

80 Pyrmont Street

Pyrmont, 2009

Sokyo on Urbanspoon

Black by Ezard, Pyrmont

Star City has finally opened, it has undergone some serious development. Most of the restaurants has opened, but I am still waiting for David Chang’s restaurant! I was catching up with some uni friends, and C suggested that we go to Black by Ezard. I love both Ezard and Gingerboy which are in Melbourne so was looking forward to dining at Black.

As the name suggests, everything in the restaurant is Black – I quite like it, makes it quite sleek and sexy. Dark wood and lighting, Black offers diners ‘classical inspired food styles influenced by great American grills and contemporary Europe’. Even the menu is sleek – nice paper I have to say and I was tempted to take home the ipad-housed wine! There were so many wine choices that we left it all to R and he did not disappoint.

We started with complimentary house-made brioche. It was the cutest brioche I have ever seen, small but enough for two people. It was rich, soft, creamy, but yet light at the same time. It didn’t require any butter, but we all couldn’t help but smother it with butter. It was DIVINE and so hard to stop at just one slice!

The organic farm egg, potato crier, black truffles, iberico ham, herb salad is their specialty. Majority of the table had this, and it did not disappoint. The crispy French pastry ‘nest’ on the outside, the egg which oozed with yolk, the strips of truffles and topped with a bunch of herbs. It had such wonderful bold flavours and each mouthful was better than the next! It certainly did not disappoint and we can all clearly see why it was their signature dish.


R on the other hand opted for the prawns, ocean water poached, shellfish veloute, nacho pear, radish, coral sauce. I didn’t have any of this, but I know T who had the organic farm egg had serious food envy. R said the prawns were cooked to perfection and the dish ‘absolutely wonderful’.


We all had something different for mains. Both C1 and J had the corn fed chicken, foie gras, potato puree, black truffle, roasted jus. Can you see a trend here? He LOVES truffles! On the plate, a large strip of crispy skin, with generous portion of chicken served in two ways. The chicken was incredibly tender and moist, it was beautifully cooked with a generous serving of foie gras right in the middle. Both C1 and J definitely enjoyed this dish.


Both T and I had the king george whiting, pan fried, spinach pudding, mushrooms, chive salad and champagne sauce. GENEROUS serving of fish, three pieces, pan fried, all topped with mushrooms and pan fried chives, and ginger with dollops of spinach puree. It was excellent, the fish cooked to perfection and I love the crunchiness of the chives and ginger. Really enjoyed the combination of flavours and the dollops of spinach was a nice touch! T didn’t enjoy this dish so much, but then again, he is not really a fish person and not quite sure why he ordered this.


I didn’t take a photo of both R’s and C2’s dish. R had one of the more expensive steak on offer, Striploin, Grain fed wage MBS 9+ 180g – the steaks are prepared sous vide before being wood grilled, which gives makes it more tender and flavoursome. It was served with your choice of sauce, and in this case Argentinian chimichurri. The steak was cooked to perfection – medium rare, beautiful dark red and it looked fantastic. I know R enjoyed this with each mouthful.

C2 on the other hand had the blue eye, warm quinoa ragout, soft egg, leek, choirs, truffle and parsley sauce. The soft egg was mixed in with the warm quinoa ragout, it wasn’t very eggy at all. The blue eye poached and a dish that C2 totally devoured.

The fries I loved, crunchy on the outside and soft pillow-y on the inside. I thought it may have been at least twice cooked, it had that extra crunch which I loved!

Asparagus – cooked to perfection and the soft boiled egg really gave it a nice touch!

I knew already what I wanted for dessert, the rhubarb and strawberry tart, pepper jelly, balsamic meringue really had my name on it. C1 also had this and I have to say, we both totally utterly enjoyed this. The tart with a thin film of pepper jelly – it really didn’t have any pepper taste. I am not usually a meringue person but the balsamic meringue was just to die for. Beautifully textured, it was warm, soft and I loved the balsamic flavour, especially eaten with the tart and strawberry – perfect combination!


J had the lemon curd, citrus shortbread, candied endive, liquorice, pink grapefruit. It was an ‘interesting’ dessert – in a good way of course. Interesting in the sense that it had vegetables, witlof of some sort but it worked. It was seriously sour though too sour for my liking, but J seemed to have enjoyed it.

Both T and R had the honeycrunch – clover honey parfait, ginger biscuit, honeycomb and cinnamon. Great honey parfait, and who doesn’t like honeycomb. It did have a strong cinnamon flavour though.


C2 had the dessert of the night, chocolate, warm couverture ganache, banana ice cream, hazelnut mousse. It came to the table as a round ball, pour warm ganache over it and the chocolate sunk, much like the chocolate dessert at quay. It was rich, tasty and incredible. If I didn’t love rhubarb so much, I would have probably ordered this dish. It reminded me a little of the eight texture chocolate cake in Quay!


Service flawless. J came a little late, and he ordered his main as we were about to have ours and within less than five minutes, his main also came. Impressive we thought. We saw Teague Ezard walking around the restaurant, making sure things are going ok and it sure was. The place was busy, every table with diners. The food fantastic, a little on the pricey side though. Entrees round the $25 – $30 mark and the mains ranged from $40 to $120! A little exy but food was definitely wonderful!

There is a private table for those who wants a private room birthday parties or for that work function. Definitely keen to come back to try their other dishes. I was tempted to get the live lobster – 1kg – that’s one hell of a lobster! Maybe next time.

GA’s rating: 8 / 10

Black by Ezard

Level G Harbour Side The Star 801 Pyrmont St

Pyrmont 2009 Sydney

Ph: +61 2 9777 9000

Black By Ezard on Urbanspoon

Molecular Gastronomy, Graze, Pyrmont

Molecular Gastronomy: is it the food for tomorrow? I am still a little undecided whether or not I am a fan. I know some people would just prefer simple food – bangers and mash without any deconstructions. I’m trying to think whether or not I have been to many molecular gastronomy restaurants. On top of my head, I’ve eaten at the Fat Duck, a long time ago and was a lot younger and didn’t truly appreciate or enjoy it and the most recent would have to be Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, and although I did enjoy the meal, especially the molecular xiao long bao, I am still not 100% sure if its something I would eat every night. Anything between the first and the most recent is a bit of a blur!

I understand the science behind it, and appreciate the effort it takes but sometimes the combination of flavours sometimes just doesn’t work – well for me anyway. I know there are others who loves the idea, especially my dear guest blogger MG – his eyes light up like a child in a candy store whenever he talks about all the different types of machines and ways one can deconstruct a dish!

I was catching up with a few food lovers and most of us were keen to try Graze which opened late September last year. Located on Harris Street Pyrmont, this restaurant is a renovated gorgeous terrace. Two levels, the restaurant is small, cozy and sleek. I love the giant mural on one wall and the wine cabinet on one side of the wall.

Complementary bread – deliciously warm with crusty exterior.

Whilst waiting for others to arrive, I perused the menu carefully. I knew exactly what I wanted for mains but was a little undecided for entrée and dessert. However, we all started with the 1000 degree scallop, sesame, tonka bean ($3.50 each).

I wasn’t sure what they meant by 1000 degree, however, the scallops were nicely cooked. I couldn’t really taste any of the tonka bean but the sesame and chorizo was a lovely complement. It was nice but nothing special I thought.

For entrée, A and I both opted for the smoked chicken croquettes with sweet corn puree, basil mayonnaise and baby cos and pancetta ($12). The croquettes had a crunchy exterior with soft-pillow-y potato puree and tender chicken on the inside. I loved the corn puree – it was divine. The basil mayonnaise was also delicious – creamy and smooth with a hint of basil. My only gripe would be that it was uber salty – probably from the pancetta.

M and S had the rabbit terrine, brioche, pickled local peaches and lavender vinegar ($14). The rabbit was meaty and full of flavour, I loved the heirloom carrots inside. The peaches are pickled in chardonnay vinegar and lavender – it was wonderfully sweet and smelt divine! It really complemented the rabbit well.

D had the jamon and cheese toasty with cauliflower milkshake ($14) – this was an interesting dish! The cauliflower was served in a perpex milk carton and served warm, I thought it was going to be cold so it was a pleasant surprise and the jamon and cheese toasty was deliciously cheesy and absolutely yummy! It was rich though – not sure if I could have eaten the whole thing on my own.

For mains, M and I couldn’t go pass the maple smoked ocean trout, asparagus, dukkah, lemon coral ($26).  It was served in a giant and heavy glass bowl and wooden plank – it was one of the prettiest dish I have seen and I was highly impressed by the presentation. Three pieces of smoked ocean trout which cooked itself on the maple wood. The ocean trout were served medium rare, I love the smokiness and the strong flavours – it was divine. I’m not usually big on foam, however, the foam which was made from sparkling water, lemon juice and gelatine really gave it that extra dense-ness was surprisingly ok. The dukkah and asparagus gave it that extra flavour. The flavours worked and the different components really complemented the dish.

S and A had the 48 hour slow cooked Dandenong lamb, peas and carrots ($22). Generous serving of lamb shoulder which I have heard was marinated in thyme leaves, salt and pepper and then rolled, vacuum-packed with a dash of red wine vingar and cooked sous vide at 60 degrees for 48 hours. I didn’t have any of this, but the diners absolutely loved it. They said it was the most tender lamb they have had, as it melted in their mouth. The crushed peas and streaks of carrot puree were a wonderful complement. Compared to the ocean trout dish, this was presented simpler but from what I gather from S and A – it was one hell of a lamb!

D had the Blackmore’s 9+ wagyu beef rump, lentil and mushroom vinaigrette ($26). The beef was served medium rare and it was tender, juicy and succulent. The lentil and mushroom vinaigrette were a wonderful complement. Again, this was a more simple dish compared to the smoked ocean trout.

We ordered a serve of crispy potatoes, truffle oil and parmesan ($10). The potatoes were soft and moist on the inside with crispy exterior and drizzled with truffle oil and parmesan, it was amazing. S claims it is better than the one at Charlie and Co.

I was stuffed, and couldn’t fit dessert on my own, however, I did try some of the others. S opted for cheese, manchengo, young and aged 9 – crisp fruit bread and quince ($14). Soft, gooey cheese and the crisp fruit bread really went well with the cheese. It truly brought out all the flavours, it was wonderful.

A had the nitrogen poached chocolate and cointreau fondant ($14) – it wasn’t the prettiest dessert, and we heard that it would collapse and melt quickly, so we had our camera ready to snap some pics. A mixture of chocolate and cointreau is plunged into liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees which freezes the outside into a shell while the inside remains gooey.

The chocolate oozed and it was absolutely delicious and moist. I love the raspberry coulis and crumbs which complemented the fondant well. YUM!

The passionfruit meringue, sable shortbread, blackberry gel ($10) – five mini meringue individually on a disk of sable shortbread topped with passionfruit curd. The blackberry gel I thought didn’t do much, it looked as though it was ‘scraped’ on. The meringue were so light and fluffy, and the passionfruit really gave the dessert a nice tang. It was better than I had anticipated.

M had the paradise pear, poire william parfait, pear cider sorbet ($12). I loved this dessert – the pear cider sorbet was deliciously light and refreshing. The poire william parfait was moist and smooth with a hint of alcohol. It was subtle but you could definitely taste it.

The service at Graze was friendly and warm. I was particularly impressed by the food, although I still prefer the simple and uncomplicated dish like that wagyu beef. The ocean trout was definitely ‘fun’ but not sure if I loved it as much as I thought I would. Out of the dessert, I enjoyed the pear most. It was simple, light and refreshing.

I am still not 100% convinced about molecular gastronomy but I certainly did enjoy the experience. I would be more than happy to go again (either back to Graze or somewhere else). Thought the value at Graze was very reasonable, we were all full and happy.

It was so lovely to catch up with you all and I look forward to our next meal!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Graze Pyrmont

182 Harris street

Pyrmont 2009

Ph: +61 2 9518 5025

Graze on Urbanspoon

1945, Pyrmont… revisit

I had the pleasure of dining at 1945, Indonesian dutch restaurant with the photographer (who is also known as Uncle) and his lovely wife E. I also had the pleasure of meeting the owners of the 1945 – owned by three lovely ladies who are all friends and Indonesian.

This is not the first time I have been to 1945, my first visit was a while back now. We left all the ordering to L, who is co-owner of 1945. She dined with us, and I got to hear about how they all met and the story behind it. The three owners all have different personalities but have such great dynamics. I wish I could could cook just as good as the head chef and co-owner Natasha Roesli but we all know that I am definitely better at eating than cooking!

Whilst waiting, we started with the emping (butternut crackers) and krupuk (prawn crackers). The emping was good, crispy and a little plain for my liking. I usually eat emping manis, which is a lot sweeter and spicier.

The krupuk were also good, especially if its dipped in kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and chili!

Started with es tjintao ($5) – grass jelly drink with pandan flavoured, fresh milk and palm sugar. I asked for it to be less sweet and it was refreshingly good. It did feel me up though, I made the mistake of drinking half of it prior to the meal.

We started with the sate babi ($3) – grilled pork skewer spiced with cumin and coriander basted with spiced sweet sauce. The pork was tender and succulent and I love the spicy sweet sauce.

The sajoer asem ($6) – refreshing sweet and sour tamarind soup cooked with groundnuts and a selection of vegetable is a childhood favourite of mind. Served in a clay pot on top of a bunsen burner, I probably should have let it stew for a bit longer before having some, as it was a little luke warm. I love the combination of sweet and sour.

Next the babi ketjap ($6) – stewed pork belly in sweet star anise and cinnamon sauce. This is very different to how my Mum makes it. The pork belly was tender, the sauce was sweet, it had a subtle cinnamon flavour and was delicious.

This next dish is one of my favourites, terong belado ($5) – deep fried eggplant tomato-based prawn chili sauce. The eggplant was so tender and moist that it required no chewing at all and the the tomato-based prawn chili sauce was slightly spicy but not enough for me.

Goelai daoen kale teri ($6) – silverbeet and mini whitebaits stewed in creamy and rich lemongrass-infused coconut milk was a favourite amongst the diners. The sauce was rich and creamy, the silverbeet cooked to perfection and I didn’t even realise there were mini whitebaits until I had a closer look at the photo. The coconut milk was subtle and the chili gave it that nice kick. It was wonderful but I don’t think I could eat a whole plate of it.

Ajam goreng kremes ($5) – deep fried tender spice-braised chicken served with crunchy crumbs was Uncle’s favourites. It was extremely tender and I love the crunchy crumbs but thought it was a little exy for a small drumstick.

Rendang daging ($6) – tender beef braised in aromatic spices and rich coconut cream was another favourite amongst the diners. However, it wasn’t as tender as we had hoped. E had a rather hard tendon part which she couldn’t eat. I think she was just unlucky, as Uncle and I had a relatively tender meat – it wasn’t as tender as I have hoped though.

I have never had this before so was looking forward to it. Nasi bakar wangi ($5) – mini whitebait coconut rice grilled in banana leaf. I am not a huge coconut fan, especially in rice, but this was delicious and very aromatic! The coconut was subtle, and the whitebait which you can’t see in the photo really complemented it. It was surprisingly good!

Telor Belado ($3) – lightly fried boiled egg served with lemongrass chili sauce is always a favourite of mine. I love the lemongrass chili sauce, the egg was wonderful but at $3 I thought it was a little pricey.

I grew up eating Sambal goreng kentan boentjis ($5) – french beans and deep fried potatoes cooked in galangal, lemongrass and chili, hence is a favourite of mine. Unfortunately for me, I thought the dish was a little lukewarm, I think it would be better if it was slightly warmer. Regardless, the tender bite size potatoes and french beans were wonderful. I love the combination of the flavours.

We also had the perkedel djagoeng ($3) – crunchy corn fritter spiced with corriander. I love perkedel djagoeng. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this, but the corn fritter was excellent, crunchy and sweet from the corn and really brought me back to my childhood. I thought for its size (size of my palm) it was a little steep.

I love the sambal trassi ($3) – traditional shrimp paste chili sauce – it really does hit the spot and the flavours are fantastic. I didn’t get a chance to eat their ‘street foods’ – karedok, shredded vegetable salad served with galingale-infused peanut sauce. Will definitely have to try it next time.

We were stuffed, however, there is always a different stomach for dessert

E couldn’t go pass the es tjendol with extra palm sugar. I love tjendol – a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food colouring. It was moist and not chewy and went down so well with palm sugar and coconut milk. E, however, prefers her tjendol a little chewy, she finished all the coconut milk and palm sugar!

Uncle, L and I thought we would share the next dessert – Indonesian version of profiteroles which looks like mini pancakes. They were the fluffiest and moistest lemon mini pancakes I have ever had. Drizzled with icing sugar and served with vanilla bean ice cream and cream these mini pancakes were to die for! It was just too easy to pop one in your mouth and continue popping them! I LOVE!

I didn’t realise until later on that they had roti bakar – grilled bread which is served with banana and chocolate – don’t knock it until you try it. It is GOOD! Next time.

I definitely enjoyed my second visit more than the first. We got to try more dishes which I loved. 1945 is not your typical Indonesian restaurant. For one it is not in the ‘Indonesian area’ of Kensington, Kingsford and Randwick. It’s in Pyrmont and dishes are tapas like and to be shared, they are smaller which means you can try more. Some of the prices for the dishes I thought was a little exy but the flavours and taste were delightful and some were quite similar to what I grew up with which I love!

Service was definitely warm and friendly. I love the outfits that one of the co-owners were wearing – it was custom made, so I doubt I would be able to get it anywhere. I will definitely be back, currently they have a special an ‘All ou can eat rijsttafel’ which started on the 21st March – available on Mondays and Tuesdays for a limited time only. From memory it costs about $39, definitely worth it and will definitely check it out.

My wonderful Uncle paid for dinner but I will return the favour next time round.

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

1945 Dutch East

Shop 2 / 42 Harris Street

Pyrmont 2009

Ph: +61 2 9660 9699

1945 Dutch East Indies Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Savichee Cafe, Pyrmont

I was catching up with two of my oldest and dearest friends from school – the doctor and the adviser. We have been so busy with our respective lives, that we hardly ever have the time to catch up. The doc and I met at orientation day and we met the adviser the year after.

I have run pass Savichees café a couple of times now and have loved the deck and view of Anzac Bridge. It’s a different kind of view, not one that I see every day. I have heard good things about this café, so was definitely keen to try. The café can be found at the end of Harris Street, near the water and opposite the park.

We sat inside; it was just way too hot to sit outside – another 35 degree weekend in Sydney. Even with the heat, I needed coffee – the body was ‘awake’ but the mind, it needed a caffeine injection. They use campos coffee here, it was strong and a great wake up call!

The doc and the adviser had the eggs benedict: poached eggs, smoked salmon, wilted spinach drizzled with hollandaise sauce ($17.90). It looked FANTASTIC and I had serious food envy! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any, but both the doc and advisor demolished this and said that it was really good.

I opted for something less ‘heavy’, scrambled eggs with bacon and a side of mushroom with sour dough toast ($14). The scrambled eggs were moist, but not as creamy as I have hoped. The sautéed mushrooms were wonderful, but you can never get that wrong right? The strips of bacon were crispy and cooked to perfection.

It was a hot and busy day, however, service was excellent. Our bottles of water were always refilled and the food was good. I am keen to try their lunch menu though, the smoked salmon salad and their wagyu burger with fries and aioli sounds divine.

We reminisced about the past (clearly showing our age!), talked about the current and the future. Can’t believe I have known you both for over a decade and a half! WOW! I have truly missed our girlie chat, and thanks so much for all the advices. Let’s catch up sometimes soon.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Savichees Café.Bar.Tapas

No 1 Harris Street

Pyrmont 2009

Ph: +61 2 9571 5503

Savichees cafe.bar.tapas on Urbanspoon