House of Crabs, Surry Hills

After so many failed attempts at organising dinner here, we finally managed to secure a booking for a chilled out Friday night. When booking, reservations for more than 10 require a deposit, there are two sessions for either 6 or 8PM. These restrictions are quite disappointing as the restaurant seemed hardly busy! On a brighter note, the service was lovely and the set up is really cute though with either booth seating, table seating or shared tables.

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Complimentary spicy popcorn

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Assortment of mocktails

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Mocktail shared between two

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Lobster fries with thousand island salsa and chipotle mayo ($14.00)

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Crab, blackbean & chorizo balls ($15.00)

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Lobster fries – with lobster gravy, bacon & corn ($12.00)

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Moreton bay bug – 500g ($34.00)

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SA Mussels ($19.00)

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King Crab – 500g ($45.00)

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Fried chicken ($22.00)

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Waffle sandwich ($12.00)

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Banana pie – oreo cookie base and caramel centre ($10.00)

The Food Zoo: I have to say, the experience was quite mixed at House of Crabs. Perhaps a bit over-hyped by my friends? I was genuinely disappointed with the lobster fries… I was thinking there would actually be lobster pieces in the fries but it was only lobster gravy… And then I couldn’t taste any lobster at all. Nevertheless my friends will know that I do really enjoy any form of fries! The dessert was unique and to be honest, my favourite dish was the fried chicken *gasp*shock*horror* I loved the idea of getting your hands dirty but honestly, the effort to reward ratio of eating crab is just way to high for my liking!

House of Crabs

The Norfolk Hotel
Level 1, 305 Cleveland St
Redfern NSW 2016

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Quay, The Rocks

Ok, this post is a bit overdue… Just a bit… And by bit I mean… 6 months? My amaaaaaaazing brother shouted me for my birthday so this post had to make it to The Food Zoo eventually one day. The following dishes were shared a la carte though I’m sure the degustation would be just as amazing!

Complimentary bread & butter

Complimentary appetiser

Roasted Partridge Breast, Steamed Truffle Brioche, Confit Egg Yolk,
New Season White Walnuts, Fumet of Vin Jaune

Fragrant Jasmine Tea Poached Chicken, Shaved Hand Dived Sea Scallops,
Smoked White Eggplant Cream, Pea Blossoms perfumed with Korean Virgin Black Sesame Oil

Sashimi of Corner Inlet Rock Flathead,
Tasmanian Trumpeter, Salt Cured Wild Oyster Cream, Black Lipped Abalone,
Raw Sea Cabbage, Green Radish, Nasturtiums, Warrigals, Periwinkles

Berkshire Pig Jowl,Maltose Crackling ,
Prunes, Cauliflower Cream, Perfumed with Prune Kernel Oil

Poached Wagyu Beef, Oxtail,
Moral, Black Pudding, Farro, Buckwheat, Hazelnut, Ezekiel

The one and only… Quay’s Eight Texture Chocolate Cake


Guava snow egg

The Food Zoo experience: There is no doubt that Quay is famous for their dessert, the eight texture chocolate cake is so rich yet you can’t stop eating… The guava snow egg on the other hand was deliciously refreshing… The flavour of the granita changes seasonally but hell I’d be happy with any flavour. As for the rest of the menu, I have absolutely no clue what half the ingredients are but they definitely work extremely well together. Unfortunately Mister T. missed out due to work but I guess I’ll have to go again… Oh such a tough life!

Quay
Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks 2000
T: (02) 9251 5600

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Flavours of Peking, Castlecrag

When you mention Peking food, the first thing that comes to my mind tends to be Peking duck and dumplings. It’s not exactly boring, but a lot of people tend to overlook all the strong flavors and variety that Chinese cuisine has to offer. If you’re looking for one of the best and most authentic Chinese restaurants on the Lower North Shore then Flavors of Peking is the place to be! It’s tucked away in a little shopping village at Castlereagh where there’s plenty of parking conveniently located under the restaurant.

Jelly Fish ($28.80) : pre-order

Unfortunately it was difficult for me to capture a picture of the dish as the waitress immediately started dividing the food for us. Anyway, this is a nice cold dish that we always order called “jelly fish” (according to the menu… strange since the dish has no jelly fish at all!).  A combination of sea cucumber, chicken feed and lightly cooked scallops mixed in a mustard sauce topped with spring onions. I’m not a fan of chilli or mustard but I can never resist having a hefty portion of this dish!

Shredded chicken with bean flat vermicelli ($17.00)

Another cold dish – cucumber, shredded chicken and vermicelli – also another one of my favourites. It comes neatly plated but once again I was too slow with my camera and the waitress had already poured the sesame sauce and mixed the dish for the table.

Peking style thick soup with fish fillet ($70.40) : pre-order

Exactly as the name suggests – fish soup with a whole bunch of tender fish fillet, tofu, vegetables and herbs.  The soup base is light and you definitely feel like you’re getting a hefty does of  fish and vegetables! Once again, requires pre-ordering  based on the number of guests.

Smoked duck ($55.80) : pre-order

As the duck is placed in the centre of the table I can already smell the smoky flavour from my chair. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of this dish but I can never ever resist having a piece as the meat just looks so tender and perfectly cooked. The dish may seem pricey but don’t forget, it is quite a significant portion (too much for 10 people!)

Beggars chicken ($60.80) : pre-order

Beggars chicken, not my cup of tea but the boy insisted after reading some reviews online. Such a strange name! So one does what one must do… Google it the moment I get home! Legend has it that a homeless, starving beggar had a chicken but didn’t have a stove to prepare it. Desperate for food, he came up with an idea. He killed the chicken and covered it with mud and baked it with fire… For more information, click here.

It’s a shame that they ran out of space to present it at our table (due to the overwhelming amount of food we ordered) because apart from the presentation, the food itself was underwhelming though I think it’s because I was already too full! The first layer (bread dough shell) is MASSIVE but once removed, you’ll find a juicy chicken stuffed with pork and seasoning and wrapped in lotus leaves.

Fried fresh meat buns – 10 pcs ($24.80) : pre-order

Always recommended by staff when you’re trying to make a booking though I don’t really see what the fuss is all about. Sure it looks nice and perfectly pan fried on the outside but the thick bun exterior and lack of soup inside made me quite the unhappy eater =(

Radish pastry dumplings ($8.80 each)

ANOTHER pre-order dish and at $8.80 each don’t be fooled… They’re pretty much the size of your palm! I was a bit confused though that it didn’t seem to taste sweet or savoury despite those little shreds of bacon… But the crunchy radish shreds were nice.

Chrysanthemum fish ($58.80)

Delicious friet fish then fried with vegetables in sweeet and sour sauce. If you’re not a big cooked fish lover (like me), this dish is relatively easy to eat and I’m sure kids would love it too!

I must apologise but I actually have no clue what this dish is called (in english anyway). Basically, the bowl at the back is a thick seafood soup with some vegetables and at the front, it’s similar to this light crispy pieces of rice crisps. The waitstaff are usually quick to divide the dish but I would recommend adding the rice crisps just as you are about to eat the dish so that they don’t go soggy before you finish.

Quick fried soft-shell crab with salty egg yolk ($35.80)

By far one of the best dishes during dinner and according to all guests that I have ever dined with, the best soft-shell crab to be served anywhere in Sydney! A must try!!!

Peking toffee apple – 6 pieces ($14.80)

Fried apple, coated in toffee syrup then dipped in ice-water for the toffee to harden. A delicious famous Peking dessert with super sweet toffee coating and then balanced with a big chunk of hot apple.

Crispy red bean pancake ($11.80)

I had an absolute blast and almost passed out from being so full after dining. Flavors of Peking is best dined with large groups of people as the servings are so big and as they say, the more the merrier! Just remember, all the awesome stuff needs to be pre-ordered which makes it really difficult since there’s no online or take-away menu (for pre-order items) but hopefully this entry would’ve helped! Enjoy~

Flavours of Peking
100 Edinburgh Rd
Castlecrag 2068
T: (02) 9958 3288

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Ocean Room, The Rocks

So before I actually start the post, I just want to apologise for the quality of the photos. It was one of those rare, nice night outs and carrying a big bulky camera did not go well with the outfit that was wearing, but I still wanted to share the experience. Oh the woes of being me.

In anycase we managed to find parking around The Rocks relatively easy considering it was a Saturday night. I guess we were just lucky, or that it was that cold out that most people preferred to stay indoors and away from the sea winds.

Ocean Room

We arrive on time, however the table that we’d booked was directly in front of the door which was used very frequently by the waitstaff, despite us having booked a week in advance. Not wanting the cold air to ruin our evening we asked to be moved to another table, since it was already 7:30 and the restaurant was relatively empty. We were told that the whole restaurant was booked out, but that they could place us two tables down, not much of a difference, but it was better than nothing and we didn’t want to push as they’d been so nice and accommodating about it already.

Ocean Room

The SO (significant other) and I had decided weeks beforehand that we’d definitely want try out their tasting menu (at $90pp), so we wasted little time informing our waiter after changing tables.

First items to arrive were drinks!

Ocean Room, Drinks

left: sake- Kikuisui ginjo, $23. right: Ocean Room Punch, $18
I am not a fan of sake, at all… I would not go so far as to say hate, but to me, this tasted pretty much like all the other sake I have tasted, in that it burns. But my SO assured me it was one of the better ones and has even become hell-bent on tracking it down and buying his own unlimited supply. The Ocean Room Punch was great! Loved it. Made up of things I love: passionfruit, peach, pear, Domain Chandon Sparkling and vodka. yum.

Ocean Room

OYSTER DUO
rock oyster with fresh chilli & lemon vineigrette, pacific oyster with shiso basil sorbet and konbu
Delicious oysters. Definitely prefer the chilli and lemon one, not that I’m saying the shiso one was bad, because it wasnt in the least. But the chilli one left your lips tingling afterwards.

TUNA CORNETmarinated blue fin tuna tartare in wrapped nori cornet
ANCHOVY & SORBETmarinated anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet
When I ate the anchovy I was definitely not expecting it to be as cold and as frozen as it was! Just a warning. Maybe the frozen prevented my tasting the overpowering fishy and saltiness I usually get from eating anchovies.

WASABI PRAWNcrispy king prawn with wasabi aioli petit wasabi croquette
SOFT SHELL CRAB TACOspiced soft shell crab, pickled vegetables in a taco shell
I’d have to say that the Wasabi Prawn was my favourite dish for the night. Pity there was only one ): (and we dont count dessert in the “favourite item” list do we?)

SAKE JELLY BAR CODseared bar cod with sake & plum jelly, sheer konbu
Now this one was WEIRD! But still tasty!

TUNA CREATIONtuna five ways, with five different condiment

Surprising and fun to eat. It came served with descriptions on a printout and consisted of:

  1. Oil blanched toro with chilli salt, fresh ginger and coriander
  2. Fresh raw chutoro with soy salt (light), wasabi and lemon zest
  3. Seared chutoro with soy salt (3yrs aged), five peppers and salmon roe
  4. Fresh raw akami with black salt, jalapeno and yuzu zest
  5. Marinated akami with truffle salt, fried garlic and fresh chilli

SAIKYO MISO CODsweet miso marinated cod fillet with ginger scented risotto
PRAWN SIZZLEpan seared green king prawn with coriander citrus sauce

SANSHO PEPPER BEEF STEAKgrain fed rib eye steak with sansho peppercorn jus
By this time I was getting pretty full and was basically just trying to finish everything on my plate because it was too good to go to waste. Lucky for me the SO also happens to be a bottomless pit and I to love test its depths. Much to his excitement, two-thirds of what you see in this picture he happily gobbled up.

SUSHI COLLECTION – THREEchef ’s daily recommendation three nigiri sushi
But no matter how full you are, you do not share sushi especially when there is only three (all different one) on a plate!

SGROPPINO FROM THE EAST $20Domain Chandon Sparkling, Sorbet champagne whisked together with a seasonal sorbet
A post-dinner, pre-dessert drink! Some bubbly to help digest, or so I tell myself. PS, I have no clue how to say “SGROPPINO” …anyone?

OCEAN ROOM ASSIETTE
and the course I waited 8 other courses for, dessert :) lets see… could there be anything the matter with dessert? Well, yeah, look at the teeny tiny portion. And of course I have the best person to share this course with – “not a dessert person”. Lucky me!

Ocean Room definitely makes for a great night out, but next time I will definitely remember to bring more than my point and shoot camera, because these pictures do no justice for the food that I ate. Good company, good food, good view, good service.

Ocean Room Sydney
Bay 4 – Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West, The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9252 9585

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