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Posts Tagged ‘mediterranean’

Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills

November 25, 2013 1 comment

There’s really not a shortage of cafes in Surry Hills and I am always amazed that there are new ones opening every couple of months! I have missed my old hood and the cafes. Rustic Pearl can be found on the busy street of Crown Street, right next to Ampersand cafe and opposite the clock hotel.

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The cafe is quite small, the menu has an interesting mediterranean twist and everything on the menu sounded lovely. I couldn’t go past the avocado smoothie – fresh avocado, yogurt, milk, honey and pistachio AUD6.50. I had it sans pistachio, the smoothie was delicious, not too sweet and it went down perfectly.

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F had the  mocha and he really enjoyed it.

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I couldn’t go past the pan fried chicken breast salad with crispy bacon, chickpeas, char grilled zucchini with balsamic dressing AUD18. The original comes with pine nuts, agresto and spiced apricot dressing but you all know about my nut allergy. The salad was indeed healthy and exactly what I needed – how I miss a good simple salad!

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O had the chicken, mushroom and cheese gozleme and I have to say, this was superb!

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F couldn’t go past the sucuk bruschetta – char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, rocket, pomegranate molasses and soft boiled eggs AUD17 – I had serious food envy! F demolished this, and I can see why.

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The char grilled Mediterranean lam burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant puree, fresh tomato, cos lettuce and yoghurt dressing AUD18 was pretty decent, but I am not a big fan of burgers on focaccia bread. The filing was quite tasty though.

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Service was polite and friendly. The cafe was busy at lunch time. I love the rustic feel to the place, and the mural on the wall. They have some decent sandwiches also – petunia trout sandwich with avocado, rocket, artichoke, capers and tarator sauce sounds pretty good! Next time!

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GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Rustic Pearl

415 Crown Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 406 930 083

Rustic Pearl on Urbanspoon

Enomod, Soho, Hong Kong

Enomod stands for Enoteca Moderna is a newish restaurant on Elgin Street which promotes the social dining concept. The idea behind social dining is inspired by a cultural movement that emerged in 1930s America which is reflected in the decor in the restaurant. I quite like the vibe and the open space, and the lounge area which is good for drinks with friends or colleagues.

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We were here for lunch and opt for the lunch set menu. The menu I liked, brass copper and it was quite sexy I thought. We thought we would share and ordered one of each salad, pasta and main.

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Started with some tapas – choice of 3, there were 4 of us so we pretty much ate everything on the menu. We had the buffalo mozzarella, black forest ham, smoked turkey breast, spanish paprika sardines, salmon gravadlax with crackers and capers relish, octopus and olives Moroccan salad, homemade sundered tomatoes in olive oil, capsicum mint and lemon, zucchini ‘escabeche’, eggplant spicy marinate, hummus and crackers, marinated roasted pumpkin. I have to say, my favourites were the hummus and crackers, salmon gravadlax, and sundered tomatoes.

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The riccia, frisse, cheery, brown anchovies salad was ok, nothing too fancy I thought. It was light and refreshing

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The penne genovese meat and marsala parmesan sauce was rather ordinary. Lacked umph and flavour.

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The pan fried chicken breast with fresh tomato basil sauce was surprisingly tender and full of flavours

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However, our favourite would have to be the homemade Mediterranean beef burger on foccacia. It doesn’t look much in the photo below, but the beef pattie was tender and the foccacia a nice touch. It was a rather small serving though, that we had to order TWO!

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The place was relatively empty for lunch. I thought the food was OK, the burger was probably the best thing but I have definitely had better burgers. Shame though, as I was expecting more and my fellow diners were also disappointed. Service was friendly and pleasant.

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Enomod

1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2555 6065

Ester, Chippendale, Sydney

A visit to Sydney is not a visit if I don’t catch up with one of my bridesmaid M! I have known this girl for a very long time and is one of my dearest friends! M suggested we go to Ester, which is a new-ish restaurant in Chippendale, backed by the guys behind Vini, Berta and 121BC. It’s run by Mat Lindsay and the sous chef is Nick Wong who is ex-Bodega.

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The restaurant is a lot smaller than I thought, however, I thought it looked very similar to its sisters restaurant. I quite like the relax atmosphere and the vibe. The menu is quite vast, diners can choose from the snacks, small plates and woodfire section and everything sounded delicious. We weren’t sure what we wanted so opt for the set menus which are available for $62 or $89 per person. The $62 has about 7 courses – my goodness. M and I don’t usually go for set menus but we were determined that evening. The courses are chosen by the chef, however, we could choose it ourselves. Considering I had a nut allergy and couldn’t eat any seafood, we picked our own.

Whilst perusing the menu, we were served with some tasty crispy chickpeas which were lightly garnished with salt and rosemary – oh my… tasty! M started with some oysters ($3.5each) and she said they were good!

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The la tur cheese was delicious, it’s a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. It was soft and goey and runny, and the mandarin and fennel really gave it a nice touch.

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We both couldn’t resist the blood sausage ($6) and it was delish! The sauce was just incredible.

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Now onto the small plates. Started with the polenta, corn and sage ($18) were deliciously creamy and sweet. It was hard not to lick the plate!

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The pig tail, oyster and daikon ($20) – all sorts of wonderfulness on a plate!

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We really enjoyed the tender duck which was served with pear and enoki ($19) – very light, very nice! The pear really complemented the duck well.

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The woodfired section of the menu is the larger dishes on the menu. We started with the chicken, lemon, garlic ($26). The chicken was so tender that it just fell apart and melted in your mouth.

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The lamb, yoghurt and coriander ($32) was surprisingly tasty and tender but it was a little too lamb-y for my liking. M really liked it though.

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For dessert, we had the ice cream – salted caramel, fennel and chocolate. I have to say that my least favourite was fennel – it was just too weird for me. However, the salted caramel and chocolate were both really lovely. The chocolate was probably the winner for me, the salted caramel was a little too sweet.

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We were both stuffed to the brim! Everything was delicious, my favourites would have to be the pork sausage, the polenta and the duck – seriously incredible! Would definitely be back to try their other dishes – especially the seafood ones.

Service was polite and friend, will definitely be back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Ester Restaurant

52 Meagher Street

Chippendale, 2008

Ph: +61 2 8068 8279

Ester Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Laris, Central

Laris is the new-ish addition to the Dining Concept Group. David Laris is the Australian chef behind this new establishment and menu has both Australian and Mediterranean influence. Laris can be found on Wyndham Street, which overlook the old Central Hong Kong police headquarters. The venue is quite relax with stylish interiors. I was here for lunch and diners at the option of either a 2 course for HKD138 or 3 courses for HKD178.

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We started with a crispy baguette with garlic butter – love a good baguette. I couldn’t go past the leek tart with brie cheese served with rocket salad and aged balsamic toffee. I am also a sucker for leek tart and this was absolutely fantastic. The tart was smooth and creamy and the aged balsamic toffee gave it a nice touch.

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My friend, L couldn’t go past the hand cut New Zealand beef tartar with crostini, apple mustard and slow cooked egg. It was well presented. I didn’t have any of this, but L really enjoyed it, the flavours were outstanding she said and she loved the apple mustard.

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I was craving a burger and opt for the New Zealand Grass fed burger, fontina cheese and truffle aioli served with potato croquettes. The beef patty was thick and juicy. I loved the gooey fontina cheese and the truffle aioli was a wonderful addition.

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It was seriously a scrumptious burger. The potato croquettes were sinful but incredible – crunchy exterior but soft and fluffy on the inside.

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L ordered the house made green pea and ricotta ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce. This was also wonderful – you can never go wrong with fresh pasta and who doesn’t like brown butter sauce? I was pleasantly surprised by the green pea puree, it was delicious.

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Unfortunately I didn’t have time for dessert as I had to go back to work but what we had were wonderful. Service was polite and food was delightful. Definitely keen to try the dessert nd the dinner menu next time.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Laris

2/F, Carfield Commercial Building,

77 Wyndham Street,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2530 1600

Kepos Street Kitchen, Waterloo, Sydney

Oh my how I have missed the café scene in Sydney. Rocking up to a café, having breakfast with your friends, and having a very good meal and coffee! You don’t get that at all in Hong Kong – unless I have been going to the wrong places then please let me know!

I was catching up with one of my dearest friends, and we both have read about Kepos Street Kitchen, which is located on Kepos Street (doh!) where Strangers by Candy used to be. The chef behind Kepos Street Kitchen is Michael Rantisi ex Bathers’ Pavilion. Kepos Street Kitchen is opened for breakfast and lunch and the menu has a Middle Eastern twist to it. I had perused the menu quite extensively before going, and knew exactly what I wanted.

It was a bright and gorgeous day, I love the brightness of the café inside, it was tiny though, and I think you would struggle to get a table for more than 4. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long and got a table in less than 10 mins!

I couldn’t resist the mocktail – pomegranate mojito, I love the redness of the drink, it was refreshing and perfect for the gorgeous day.

M had the soy latte which she enjoyed.

I couldn’t go past the zucchini fritters with dill, smoked salmon and poached egg ($18). The fritters were a little salty for my liking but it was still quite delicious – moist and soft, and the poached egg oozed with yolk – how I missed a simple poached egg!

M couldn’t go past the ajeah – open herb omelette, kipfler potatoes, chorizo, sourdough ($16). This was simple but yet delicious.

Service was good considering how busy it was that day and food delicious. I saw someone order the dad’s favourite breaky – falafel, hummus, balneh, dukkah, hardboiled egg, tomato salad and schiacciata bread – it looked FANTASTIC! Will have to order that next time I am back!

Great café, I sure have missed the café scene!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Kepos Street Kitchen

96 Kepos Street

Waterloo 2017

Ph: +61 2 9319 3919

Kepos Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon