The Meat & Wine Co, Sydney

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Complimentary red wine with Citibank Credit Card

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Half Rack pork ribs ($39.00)

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Monte Grain Select = 350g rib eye steak ($39.00)

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Home-made garlic mash ($6.00)

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High country pork belly – char-grilled strip pork belly caremalised in palm sugar and served with a fresh snow pear and carrot salad . ($16.00)

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Farmhouse lamb shanks – slow cooked with celery, onion, carrot and herbs. Served with garlic mash ($30.00)

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All the food on my place – looks like a buffet!

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Creme brulee – honey and cinnamon creme brulee with balsamic macerated strawberries ($12.00)

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Chocolate & pistachio fondant – served with vanilla bean ice cream and a white chocolate and pistachio nougatine ($15.00)

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Perfectly melted centre!!

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Milk Tart – Sweet homemade custard with a crumble biscuit base and cinnamon dust ($12.00)

The Food Zoo experience:  TGIF! For a week ago, that is. Nothing like some fine wining and dining with the unusual group of girlfriends! The complimentary wine was lovely (especially for someone who never normally drinks) and the garlic mash and perfectly cooked steak were my favourites!  The fondant was to die for and had the perfectly melted centre. Yummmmmmmmy! Service was average and overall the meal cost us $45 per person which was quite reasonable. I was a bit delirious after a long week (and maybe the half a glass of wine) but all in all, nothing but good memories about this place!

The Meat & Wine Co.
31 Wheat Rd
IMAX Theatre Complex
Sydney NSW

The Meat & Wine Co Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

Pins on Megalong, Leura

We were recommended Pins on Megalong by the lady whose Bed & Breakfast we were staying at while at Leura. On the first night we decided we wanted to stay in and so opted for take-away, and ordered light as we were unsure of what the food would be like. Having our first tastes from the take-away boxes we both agreed that Pins warranted a second (if not more) visit and pretty much booked a table right there and then.

Pins was only a brisk 5 minute walk away from where we were staying and its a nice walk, even at night you can see the beautiful gardens and flowers around Leura. On the outside (I didn’t get a picture *sadface*) you wouldn’t even think much of it, as it blends into all the other houses around it. When you walk in you are greeted with a warm fireplace, perfect on such a cold night up in the Blue Mountains. There seems to be only one waiter tonight, and last night as well, despite the restaurant being full, so it does take awhile to get seated.

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Char-grilled calamari on a rocket salad, $11.50
The calamari wasn’t my cup of tea, but the boy liked the smoky barbecue flavour of it, and the texture is how you’d want calamari to be, not too rubbery.

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There was a pretty long interval between the entrée and the main course and I just happened to have a pen with me, so we busied ourselves playing hangman. Why waste good paper? :)

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Spicy lamb meatballs w/ spaghetti in a tomato cheese sauce, $18.90
This was on their specials board and I’d seen a lady eating it the night before, so I’d pretty much decided what I wanted to order before I set foot in the restaurant a second time :) I’m usually not a fan of cheese, but this delish. You can’t see it here, but the cheese came in soft gooey chunks in the sauce. The lamb meatballs were perfect and not too gamey, just the way I like my lamb.

Linguine pasta w/ garlic tiger prawns in a whisky saffron tomato cream, $21.90
I don’t remember much about this dish, just that it was creamy and creamy.. oh.. yeah, and creamy and I loved it. Not heavy creamy, but light, fluffy, yummy creamy, and wishing my stomach could expand so I could shovel both pastas in.

We’d tried both a meaty chicken dish and a pasta dish on the first night, but noticed the majority of diners opted for pasta dishes and when we had a chat with the single waitress that was working she also recommended the pasta dishes. Good recommendation :)

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White chocolate creme brulee infused w/ ginger and fresh lime w/ honeycomb ice cream, $9.50
I loved how the top layer of caramelised sugar was so thin and delicate on this. There wasn’t much taste of lime, but the ginger was there, and noticeable but not overpowering. The thing I loved most: honeycomb ice cream :) yum.

The previous night I also got a chocolate mousse truffle cake and it was heaven!

Leura is only a short 1.5 hour drive from Sydney and we are definitely going to return for a third, or even fourth visit.

Pins on Megalong
156 Megalong St
Leura NSW 2780
T: (02) 4784 1010

Pins on Megalong on Urbanspoon

Chophouse, Sydney

It had been a while since my friends and I had gotten together for the sake of well… Getting together for a nice dinner and just chilling out. I had originally suggested Ripples at Milson’s Point since it was some place new for me and one of the girls wanted to stick to the Lower North Shore but we eventually went to the Chophouse after drooling over the review one of us had read on Chocolate Suze.

What was supposed to be a group outing for ten somehow dwindled to a mere triple date. Regardless, my friends and I were determined to make the most of the evening and it wasn’t too difficult as we discovered the Chophouse offered the perfect ambience for a variety of occasions.

At first glance, I could imagine the patio being a typical dim bar area where the hustle and bustle of grey suits and loose neck ties would gather on an early Friday night. However, we booked for a Saturday night so the atmosphere was quite different – just a few outdoor heaters and low hanging trees for that cool urban crossed over with nature kind of feel.

As our booking was relatively last minute, we were seated in the chilly outdoors. Luckily for us though, they weren’t too busy and we were able to use five of their seven outdoor gas heaters all to ourselves! I struggled to decide what to eat – partly because of the amazing menu but also partly due to the dim outdoor lighting (which is also why the photos are a quite poor… apologies!).

Anyway enough talking from me and let’s have a look at all the great food we ordered!


Complimentary Sourdough

If ever asked to choose between a white bread roll or sour dough – always opt for sourdough! I don’t know what it is about this bread that makes me like it so much… Perhaps the faint sour taste of the fluffy insides paired with it’s tough exterior… Anyway this bread was awesome! Lathered with lots of butter mmm.. What more could I ask for… (Hmm.. According to the pictures below… Clearly much more!)

Crisp Pork Belly & Sea Scallop – Chinese cabbage, coriander, pea shoots & soy vinaigrette

We shared the three entrees and this had to be my favourite! The best salads I like are those made with such delicate ingredients you never realize how much you’ve eaten until you stop! There was an abundance of scallops in the salad which was great because nothing angers you more when a restaurant is overly ungenerous on the good stuff.


Confit of King Salmon – crisp salmon stuffed zucchini fl­ower & beetroot

The only thing I remember about this dish is the thick oily taste of omega 3 as I chewed on the salmon. The taste was so rich I wanted to have more but needed to save my stomach for the mains!


Jamon & Italian Buffalo Milk Mozzarella – Roasted fennel, almonds, balsamic & herbs

When I had this dish I had no idea what Jamon was (for those of you who don’t know, it’s a type of dry-cured Spanish ham – I just googled it!). It went really well with the mozzarella which was light and fluffy unlike your typical Italian cheese.

 


Char-Grilled Petit Chicken – Butterflied spatchcock marinated in chimichurri, stuffed with fresh ricotta & charred lemon served with harissa sauce

Anyone who knows me well will know that there is nothing that I love more than a good steak! And dining in a steakhouse, one would expect me to order a steak. Perhaps it was the huge selection of steak that I couldn’t make up my mind? Anyway I chose the char-grilled chicken and was slightly disappointed… It didn’t seem that unique and the char-grilled taste was a little too strong.


Grain Fed T-bone – 600g Riverine District NSW Angus-Hereford cross150 days grain-fed

I started regretting my decision to order chicken as soon as the T-bone arrived. I mean, what was I thinking? The steak looked so awesome and when my friend offered me some it tasted just as tender and juicy as it looked!


Dark Ale Marinated Wagyu Steak – MB6+, 400 day grain fed, char grilled

The boy had this dish medium rare and in his own words, the choice of meant from the very beginning “has done wonders for this dish”. I had a taste and indeed it was cooked the way medium rare should be but the meat was a bit too chewy for my liking.


Pan Roasted Cobia Kingfish – Snow pea shoots, shitake & sesame salad


Onion Rings & Strings – parmesan salt


Potato Puree – Victorian Dutch creams

The boy found the potato puree one of the highlights (ah, so easily satisfied) of the meal though I can’t say I disagree. It was smooth and runny and definitely puree (don’t laugh – I’ve been places where they’ve tried to pass off mash as puree).

 


Bombe Alaska – Rum & raisin semifreddo, chocolate sorbet

Now I’ve never had a Bombe Alaska before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of taste. I’ve only every seen it on TV so was a bit disappointed when they didn’t bring out a meringue engulfed in flames. Other than that teeny tiny disappointment I really liked it. My friend rated it “five stars” and I have to agree. There’s a layer of chocolate sorbet which really helps balance the fluffy exterior of the dessert.

Rhubarb & Alpine Strawberries – Crumble, crème brulee and organic rose Chantilly

Two words: Super sour. Although the boy loved it, I honestly cannot handle anything that’s sour. The Rhubarb looks extremely enticing at first but wait too long, and the three layers begin to mix and step on each other to form a piece that resembles a fruity muesli porridge.

On the other hand, the crème brulee was fantastic! All of us looked on eagerly as the thick crunchy sugar coating was cracked – and then we all dug in!

 


Chophouse Swiss Milk Chocolate Block with Jaffa top deck

One of us had ordered their signature Chophouse chocolate. You might ask what’s so unique about a block of chocolate but the presentation was definitely interesting. It came out in one piece on a chopping board and the whole table watched on as the waitress chopped it all up for us. There are three different twists to choose from: caramelised hazelnuts, rocky road and jaffa top deck.

 

When the bill came I was unpleasantly surprised. It seemed a bit pricey for what we ordered but hey, at least the waitstaff were great – ranging from the perfectly timed interruptions to the light conversation touching on carrot fingers. And last but not least, you can’t buy company ;)

Chophouse
25 Bligh St
Sydney, 2000
T: 1300 246 748

Chophouse 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.

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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