About Me

Food is one of my many joys in life. It is a common bond I share among my friends and family. Combining food and travel makes it all the more interesting. I enjoy going out for a good meal with friends and family. The array of various cuisines and our fantastic array of produce really makes Sydney such a great city to live in. Blogging is my hobby and my posts on restaurant meals I have had are paid for and not gratis. Any gratis provided to me will always be stated beforehand.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Meat & Wine Co (Southbank - Melbourne)

When I was in Melbourne, I met up with K and S at Meat & Wine Co in Southbank. As I was walking along the promenade, I noticed how busy the place was. It was full of life and activity. Every restaurant and bar along the strip was packed with diners. I guess it helps that it is a Friday night and the weekend had kicked off!

Believe it or not, this is my first time at a Meat & Wine Co restaurant. K chose the venue as he had a craving for pork ribs. I went along to check it out. Plus he was buying me dinner so he gets to choose the venue. :-)

I had the 130 day aged 300g fillet cooked medium rare. My sauce of choice was the green peppercorn sauce.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Little Hunter (Melbourne)

As part of this Melbourne trip, I made arrangements to have lunch with my good mate SB. Our previous lunch was at Portello Rosso and I believe he was suitably impressed that I found a good restaurant that he, who has lived most of his formative years in Melbourne, did not know of.

So the pressure was on to find another gem that SB did not know of. I found out about Little Hunter when I was doing some research on the internet on what restaurants to check out when in Melbourne. To put it mildly, I was excited when I found this one!

The restaurant is brand spanking new to the Melbourne food scene. New in the sense that it has only been opened for 6 weeks! There are some established food names in the business group that started this restaurant. US native chef Gavin Baker is in town for this venture. He was one of the sous chefs at The Fat Duck. Pete Evans has interest in this venture, so too are some of the owners and management team of Senoritas and Meatball & Wine Bar.

It has an obscure entrance and is actually located in the basement of 195 Little Collins Street.

Little Hunter focuses on the concept of sharing small plates and the Mains are focused on the excellent meats they specialise in.

The meal started with in-house baked pull-apart herb bread served with chicken skin butter. You heard me, chicken skin butter! It was soooo good and obviously so full of fat but we didn't care. There were even bits of chicken skin in the butter. The bread was deliciously warm and soft.

We then had the Beef on Toast. This dish is a layered dish, subtle and extremely enticing. A slice of toast is the base. It is then topped with chicken liver parfait, and thinly sliced beef eye fillet. The toast is then dressed with chives, pickled capers and shallots. We fell in love with the dish. The beef was melt in your mouth tender, the saltiness of the capers and the creaminess of the chicken liver parfait enhanced the flavours. What a medley of flavours and textures and the best way for you to envision how good it is is to try it out yourself! The photo below does not do justice to the actual dish. I wish I had a clearer picture but it was quite dark down in the basement! :)

Pork crackling topped with paprika and white cheddar was served with apple sauce. It was addictive, the crackling tasted like crackers. It was so light and crispy. As we ploughed through them, it didn't feel like we were eating tons of fat.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Patricia (A Coffee Haven in Melbourne)

Upon arriving in Melbourne for a extended weekend break, I decided to check out Patricia. It is located on Little Bourke Street in Melbourne's CBD. The website indicated it is located at the corner of Little Bourke and Little William Streets.

When I got to that intersection I couldn't see anything resembling a cafe. I walked up and down the block and started to despair finding it. Then I saw a young lady carrying a tray of 6 take away coffee cups and saw the name Patricia on them. I had to stop her and ask her where the cafe was and even she admitted it is not an easy place to spot.

I finally found it, it is a small, narrow and nondescript place. There are no tables or chairs to sit down for a coffee but there are side counters and window panes to hang around. I loved it! It is obviously a well known local, there were so many people who queued to get a cup.

The sign Sunshine hanging at the ceiling!
When I placed my order, I was given 2 choices of coffee beans. Costa Rican or Seven Seeds. I must have looked indecisive so the waitress kindly explained the subtle differences between the 2 varieties and I chose the Costa Rican. I also ordered a Raspberry Friand to complement the coffee.

I was automatically served a glass of chilled sparkling water and I was pleased that I didn't have to ask for water. The coffee was superb! It was smooth, and there was no bitter aftertaste. As a matter it had a lovely robust flavour with a caramelly aftertaste. I seriously could have had another cup immediately after the first one. It was that good!

The friand was moist and delicious but the star for me was the coffee.

I will be back!

Patricia Coffee Brewers on Urbanspoon

Cnr. of Little Bourke and Little William Street
VIC 3000
Hours: Monday to Friday 7.00 am to 4.00 pm
Website: patriciacoffee.com.au

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Fairfield Feast Food Tour - Final Part (Green Peppercorn)

Okay, here I go talking about Fairfield again. So this is the final part of the food tour we did about 2 weeks ago. As I went through my previous posts about Fairfield and as I was vetting the photos that I wanted to upload, it really and truly sank in. The reality of how much food we had during that 5 hour marathon of feasting.

Suzy posted a comment on my Part 2 post reflecting on how much food we had. And yes, we had a tremendous amount of food but we appreciated all of it and did not take any of it for granted.

Green Peppercorn was our final stop. It is located at Fairfield Hotel. When I stepped into the restaurant I was immediately taken by the decor of the restaurant. It felt brand spanking new, there were Lao artefacts everywhere and a SMH Good Food Under $30 Best New Restaurant award siting proudly on a counter. I also found the hanging bird cages fascinating, it reminded me of Angel Place in the city which have heaps of bird cages hanging high up over the inner city lane.

Thang Ngo introduced us to Tona Inthavong and when we were arrived at the special function room, we met Ketty Inthavong. The brother and sister team run a tight ship. After all, running restaurants run deeply in the family's veins. There is Holy Basil, a successful set Lao restaurants run by their brother.

Ketty proceeded to demonstrate to us the steps for cooking the sticky rice, this is a staple of the Lao diet. Interesting that after the rice is soaked over a period of time, it is steamed in an open container for only about 15 to 20 minutes. We then had a demonstration of the Tam Mak Hoong (Lao Style Green Papaya Salad). All the fresh ingredients are mixed in a mortar and with a pestle are gently combined with the crab paste and shrimp paste, fish sauce, chilli, sugar and lime juice. The combination and balance of flavours are an essential part of Lao cuisine; saltiness, sourness and sweetness together with texture makes it unique in its own right.

After the cooking demonstration was over, we proceeded sit down for the proper meal. And here it goes, the endless list of dishes which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Tam Mak Hoong (Lao Style Green Papaya Salad)

Lao Sausages (home made pork sausages, made more special because it is made every day by Tona's dad) - so delicious may I say!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Fairfield Feast Food Tour - Part 2

I am now on part 2 of this fantastic tour in Fairfield. There were too many things to describe and talk about, so it made sense for me to break down the itinerary into 3 sections.

We had just finished our Filipino tasting feast and we were on our way to Al Dhiaffah when we took a detour and stopped by Al Jamil's grocery store. We met Mr Jamil who was such an affable man. He was delighted to see us and enthusiastically described the various delights provisioned in his store. I was fascinated by the variety of goods he had. He was also a very generous man and he kept piling us with his store's goodies, like lollies and canned drinks. How generous of him. I do wonder how he makes money if he is doling these gifts to his customers. Once again, I am reminded of the genuine warmth of the Fairfield locals.

Al Dhiaffah Al Iraqi

This is reputedly the first Iraqi restaurant in Sydney. We were there earlier than the normal lunch time hours so the restaurant was empty. But when I passed by later on, I could see many more patrons dining at this place.

Hassan was congenial and rather shy. But boy was he generous! Plate after plate of authentic Iraqi food was served to us. We had lamb shanks served on a bed of what looked like noodles but more likely to be rice. There was a platter of meat which were beautiful cooked ( lamb, beef and chicken). There was of course the bread, white beans stew, okra stew, and pickled cucumber.

We were all enjoying the food. As an aside, here's a funny little story; Simon of Simon Food Favourites, initially asked at the Filipino place if that was lunch. I said no, it was just a tasting. Then at Al Dhiaffah, he asked again if this was lunch. Again I said no but I couldn't help laughing. It started to become an in-group joke. I can understand why Simon kept asking the question. These restaurateurs were incredibly generous with the number of servings they were doling out.

Al Dhiaffah Al Iraqi
13 The Crescent
NSW 2165
Tel: +612 9755 0870