A La Façon de Shimizu, Willoughby

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I somehow came across this little gem about one and a half years ago. It is situated right on the main road, yet the banner draws little attention and unless you were looking for it, would probably walk right by without noticing.
It is a fusion of Japanese and European cuisine cooked to perfection. This little shop has a chic decore with a warm glow about it, and the Japanese waiter greets you readily as you enter the door.

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You are given a jug of tap water which has been purified by bamboo charcol, and even manages to remove the taste of ‘tap’ from the water.

null Sour-dough bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
You get free sour dough bread after your orders have been placed; it comes warm, with a crunchy crust with firm yet spongey dough. It is not overly sour like many other sour doughs that I’ve been served at other restaurants. This hits the spot, and you really have to try it to believe how good it really is. It’s also good if you have whiney bfs who cant seem to have an empty stomach for anything more than 1 minute.

null Scallops & Kiwifruit Carppaccio, $17
Sliced fresh Scallops and kiwi fruit served with grapefruit dressing.

nullFresh Salmon Tartare, $17
Fresh salmon and avocado tartare with dill, caper and olive. Served with wasabi-mayonnaise and bread.

Grilled Lamb cutlet with Miso Sauce, $27
Lamb cutlet marinated with garlic and herb-oil. Served with Shimizu’s original miso sauce. I thought that the miso sauce had a very strong taste, and the lamb very fatty, but it went perfectly with the buckwheat salad which really helped to balance the strong flavours of the rest of the dish.

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Beef Asparagus Roll, $27
Asparagus and carrot rolled with thinly sliced scotch fillet, grilled with teriyaki sauce. When this long dish comes out of the kitchen it always manages to hush some of the chatter in the restaurant.

null Home made chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (served warm), $8
But there was no ice cream T__T It was sad, but I made do. I love this cake, and always regret it if I leave the restaurant without having ordered it. It’s spongey and moist and not too sweet. Or maybe because its such a good portion that I don’t mind that it’s a bit sweet.

nullCreme brulee, $9
I love how Shimizu presents their desserts :) mostly coz I love blueberries, and its always nice to be surprised by little pieces of fruit when all I expected was the dessert I ordered :) I managed to shovel in way more than my fair share of dessert. Both of them were so good that I couldn’t help myself. So lucky that I shared my lamb earlier pre-emptively so he would be full, and I would get more dessert

I would say if you’re in the area, definitely give Shimizu a try. They have also a $35 banquet menu, for their anniversary, as well as blackboard specials (if you’re lucky the snapper salsa will be on the board; its SO good).

A La Façon de Shimizu
537 Willoughby Road
Willoughby NSW 2068
T: (02) 9958 8785
A la Fason de Shimizu on Urbanspoon

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La Banette Patisserie, Glebe

About a week ago on our way to have Spanish Tapas for dinner, my friend and I walked past this little store, and glanced in… then proceeded to double back and go inside for a look. With the both of us being dessert people we were salivating, and cursing ourselves for not discovering this place earlier, as well as already having booked the restaurant for an early dinner. So we stored it in our to-eat section in our brains.
Having been at home working on assignments all day, I trekked over to to Glebe, with said friend, and decided it was time to try out La Banette.
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Now, this place does not have table service, but they do have tables :) Cute little tables at that, with imitation sandstone chairs. (I forgot to take a picture, I was too excited with all the tasty goodies).

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Initially I opted for the vegetable quiche, but they were out of the warm ones, so i chose the ratatouille one instead.

Ratatouille Quiche, $5
It was not like the usual quiches. Instead of it being milky, it was full of stew, and tomatoes, and I’m a sucker for zucchini. Gorgeous on such a cool, windy day.

Bacon and mushroom quiche, $5
I took a small bite out of this one. Just like your everyday quiches, but in my opinion, much better pastry :) I am also a sucker for pastry… actually, anything fattening and not good for me.

So with our lunch out of the way, and with dessert only the point of a finger away, we deliberated for a while which was our best option.
Mini chocolate eclair, $3
It was mini, and the friend was stingy, so I didn’t get any.. but there was tasty looking chocolate cream inside. And the white flakey stuff on top was white chocolate. I didn’t get one because I thought it was coconut. :\

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Opera cake, $4.20
Look at the layers on that baby. Soft and spongey, and sooo decadent. Good thing we shared one between the two of us but now thinking back to it, I wish we hadn’t; I want more.

They had a green tea cake that I know a certain someone would like, so I will definitely be going back and buying more cakes, and maybe even the cute petit fours :)

La Banette Patisserie
18 Glebe Point Road
Glebe, 2037
T: (02) 8095 9688

La Banette Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Baroque Bistro, The Rocks

A few weeks ago I had the luxury of attending a client lunch with my colleagues at Baroque – a Bistro owned by the same family that runs “La Renaissance” – a patisserie at The Rocks with fancy cakes and colourful macarons enough to make you salivate just by looking. The interior is pretty much the reflection of a classy French dining but with a slight modern and casual touch. On one side of the restauraunt is a wall-sized black board listing their specials of the day. Situated just on the other side of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, our window seat had a nice view, albeit only a small glimpse of the Opera House and surroundings of Circular Quay.

Baroque A

Baroque B

Baroque C

Baroque D

I arrived early just as they were preparing for lunch bookings and so took a seat whilst mums and bubs were finishing off one of many leisurely brunches of the week. The staff were absolutely lovely and fun – the waiters fooled around behind the bar, mixing thier own drinks and the waitress came over to chat with me about the restauruant, food, photography, work and pretty much life in general.

Slow cooked corn fed chicken breast, celeriac, roasted corn, kipfler potatoes

This was my dish and I absoletely loved it! I don’t normally order chicken when I eat out as I tend to find they are usually overcooked but this dish was heaven! The meat was so succulent and tender and the corn on the side was quite an unusual combination but the different textures really heightened your senses. Highly recommended and I would definately go back to have this again!

Baroque FConfit Berkshire pork belly, heirloom carrots, tarragon, silverbeet

This was the client’s dish so I didn’t have the honour of tasting any. However I have to say I really liked the presentation – the mix of vegetables just made it look like a paint palette ready to be used (in this case, eaten)!

Baroque GVanilla crème brulée, pistachio ice cream

Creme brulee is my all time favourite dessert. Where there is creme brulee on a dessert menu, I will have ordered it. However, being so excited after the mains I decided to try something different this time (refer to next dessert) so I gave the creme brulee a pass this time round. Three out of the five people at the table ordered creme brulee and almost ended up licking their plates so I have to assume it was fantastic!

Riz au lait, candied hazelnut, hazelnut ice cream, raspberry sponge

‘Riz au lait’ – French for Rice with Milk. I’m a bit disappointed as I have to admit, it looks much better than it tastes. I was already full from the main course I guess choosing a rice pudding dessert wasn’t the best choice. The flavour was a bit bland even with the raspberry sponge which I found a bit dry and not very flavoursome. The candied hazelnut on the other hand was quite unique and I guess that helped save the dish a little.

Baroque IJasmine Macarons and Strawberry and Vanilla Macarons

I’ve tasted macarons a few times but never been sure what the expectation was. There seems to be a huge craze going on about macarons (fuelled further by the Adriano Zumbo Macaron Tower on Masterchef) but now I finally understand why. In a nutshell, the texture was crispy yet soft and fluffy but not too sweet.

Overall a brilliant experience not with my usual crowd. I’ve raved about this place to my friends and definately hope to go back again some time soon!

Baroque Bistro
88 George Street (corner of Hickson Road)
The Rocks, Sydney 2000
T: (02) 9241 4811

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon