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.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

American South Down Home Dinner at MiCasa-SuCasa

I first found out about MiCasa-SuCasa's website through one of Miss Piggy's retweets. Reading all about the supper club hosted by SarahKate and Andy perked my interest.

It intrigued me that this young couple was willing to open up their home to strangers and on top of that cook for the guests! Wow! I thought to myself 'how brave'!

So I decided to enquire on the then upcoming down home American South dinner. I myself was a little anxious as I didn't know who else would be attending this small group but at the same time quite excited. It felt like I was about to embark on a mini food adventure!

I was the first to arrive and met Andy and SarahKate who were so warm and friendly. Immediately I was served a spiced sweet tea which had a shot of rum in it. I quite liked the drink but was still feeling a little nervous about who the rest of the guests would be. SarahKate, being the head chef, was running the kitchen and Andy was her very capable assistant. Great team work! :-)

Then we were served pimento cheese with crackers! YUMMY to the max! This dip was so delicious and extremely addictive. It was really hard to stop eating it. The guests turned up over a period of 15 minutes and the next couple to walk in was Miss Piggy and The Boy! Yay, someone I know previously. I had met Miss Piggy when a group of bloggers met up for the Fairfield Feast Tour.

Then there was Sticky Sweet with her partner Gav and 4 other Gen-Y's who made up this evening's supper club guests. What a diverse group of people but we were all here for one thing; a down home food experience courtesy of MiCasa-SuCasa.

After friendly hellos and some get to know you conversations, we eventually sat down for dinner. I fully expected SarahKate and Andy to sit with us for the meal but it turned out that this evening was treated like a pop up restaurant and Andy served us while SarahKate ran the ship from the kitchen.

For dinner we had:

Lima bean with ham hock soup- smooth and creamy. Delicious!

Mac and Cheese - beautifully baked and deliciously authentic!

Succotash - a traditional American South dish typically consisting of corn kernels, beans and a variety of other vegetables. In this case, there were tomatoes put into the mix, in addition to the corn kernels and beans. I found this dish to be very refreshing and I so loved the name of the dish!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Gowings Bar and Grill

This place has been on my 'to dine at' list since it first opened last year. Something about the menu attracted me. Upon reflection the food described in the menu didn't sound fancy, quite down to earth actually. Plus there had been a lot of hype when it first opened in the new and trending QT hotel.

So I finally got a chance to dine here with 2 good friends, who I consider to be part of my 'family'. When we got out of the lifts, there was a rather flash reception area (which felt like a hotel reception). We then realised that we had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to The Bar and Grill. As we walked up to the stairs I was quite distracted by the amazingly brightly coloured wall facing us. Quite striking and it did set the mood for what the Gowings Bar and Grill would feel like.

I liked it! It felt new and vibrant, it looked like a place which had been heavily invested. It was very much an image driven environment. Why would I say that? I think it will be more obvious as I describe our dining experience. Watch out for when I mention the waitresses' attire. :-)

But I came with high expectations because the prices of the meals were not your average prices, they were leaning more towards the hatted restaurant prices.

After poring over the menu for a considerable length of time, we decided to go for 3 courses.

The butter served with our bread rolls were from Pepe Saya. It was the first time I had tasted Pepe Saya's butter. Am I allowed to say that it is beautifully addictive?!?!?

Entrees of choice were:

Beer Steamed Prawn Cocktail - a modern interpretation of a classic entree. Surprisingly lovely and P was definitely enjoying it!

Wood Roasted Garlic Snails with Lemon and Mint Butter - G's comment was he could taste the earthiness of the snails. He said it was the first time ever that he could taste the snails as opposed to other snail dishes which he found to be overwhelmed with garlic butter. These ones were actually more focused on the texture and flavour of the snails. Interesting feedback!!

Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna with horseradish, and preserved lemon. This was served with Sesame Grissini. I deliberately selected a light starter in anticipation of a heavier meat dish plus I had to fit in dessert somehow. I liked how light and fresh the tuna tasted. I fell in love with the Grissini. More please!!!!

Thrown in to the mix was an order of a scallop each. 2 of us had the scallop with wild garlic and basil butter. G was slightly adventurous and chose the scallop with sea urchin, lemon and mint butter. The scallops were large and perfectly cooked. I loved it!

Mains of choice were:

Whole Roasted Quails - these were partly boned. They were filled with malt, barley bread, sage, Parmesan, double smoke ham with pea and lemon thyme. P seemed to be enjoying it. The stuffing was the star of that dish as the combination of flavours infused the quail meat.

Milk Fed Veal Wiener Schnitzel served with Organic Egg, Ortiz Anchovy and Nut Brown Butter. The serving was huge! I don't know when was the last time I saw a schnitzel that large a piece!!! It did look good and G thoroughly enjoyed it. I managed to get a sliver to try and I must say it was a lovely piece of schnitzel. I could taste the saltiness of the anchovy which surprisingly lifted the flavours of the veal.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Sambal is a Malaysian restaurant located in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde. It is not new to the Sydney food scene and in fact, it has been established for many years now. Unfortunately I cannot remember the year I first dined at Sambal. At that time, it was just weeks into its opening.

But over the years I have been here for lunch and dinner with different groups of friends and have also had the occasional take away. But this is the first time I am blogging about it. And about time too!

My friend, SB was in town with his family. Since they were staying in North Ryde, it was the perfect venue to meet up.

When I arrived, it turned out that there was a slight mix up with my reservation. Andrew, one of the owners, forgot to write my booking down in the Booking book. Fortunately, this time, I did the reservation by email and my wonderful smartphone saved the day as I was able to prove my reservation confirmation by showing the reply confirmation email from Andrew. Luckily they found a small table at the corner near the main entrance for me. Poor Andrew was so apologetic but I shrugged it off as a genuine oversight. These things happen and I was only too happy they found me a table. Believe me, the restaurant was packed for a Friday night!

I was excited to show off my heritage cuisine to my friends from Melbourne. SB loves trying out different cuisines but I knew that for his wife and kids, spicy food was not something they would want to venture in.

So these were the dishes we had:

Loh Bak - a classic Penang dish. Minced meat seasoned with 5 spice, wrapped in bean curd rolls and deep fried.

Chicken satay - skewers of grilled marinated chicken served with a peanut sauce and servings of cucumber.

Inchee Kabin - beautifully deep fried chicken marinated in a host of spices.

Hainan Chicken Rice - poached chicken served with rice cooked in chicken stock with garlic chilli sauce.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Auction Rooms (Melbourne)

When I was in Melbourne recently, while at dinner with my nephew and his girlfriend, I was talking about my plans to check out places for good coffee and good breakfast/brunch. They both suggested I try out Auction Rooms. I had not heard of it before and was only too happy to take down suggestions from locals.

So that Sunday morning, I woke up feeling a little ill and I could feel I was coming down with a cold and sore throat. But the thought of having a decent cup of coffee and a good brunch kept me going until I found a pharmacy to get some Codral (after returning from Auction Rooms).

Auction Rooms is located in North Melbourne. It is housed in an old WB Ellis auction house, hence the very apt name. Never having ventured to this suburb before, I was interested to have look around the place. I took the Tram #57 from Elizabeth Street and stopped off at Tram stop 12. Then it is literally a short walk to Auction Rooms.

As I approached the cafe, I could see many people milling outside and there were also outdoor tables filled with diners. It was a bright and sunny morning in Melbourne, a perfect way to enjoy a meal by sitting outside.

I stepped in and was immediately greeted with a large loft filled to the brim with diners, there were lots of noise with all the conversations going on and a queue of people waiting for a table. Oh dear! I wondered how long it would take for me to grab one.

I had deliberately set Sunday as my day and I had not made any prior social engagements, which was a blessing in disguise what with being sick and all. So it was a table for 1. Hurray! I was lucky, I got a table straight away.

I loved the vibe. The place was buzzing and being there perked up my spirits! I couldn't wait to have my meal. I started with a skim cappuccino which by default is their in house blend called Candyman. They also have a coffee bar where I could see syphons, coffees from Kenya, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia displayed on the shelves. Serious stuff!

My coffee was very good. Smooth and creamy. I so wanted another cup and would have ordered more but refrained until I finished my meal.

The juice of the day was Watermelon, strawberry, with honey and mint. Delicious!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Top Paddock (Melbourne)

Top Paddock is a relatively newcomer to the Melbourne food scene. And yet this place is packed every weekend. Now how would I know that since I am not a local? Well, I met up my friend AK for lunch. She is a recent Sydney sider who moved to Melbourne a few weeks ago and she brought her friend, a Melbourne local who lives 5 mins away. And according to S (the Melbourne local), this place is full, full, full on weekends!

They didn't accept bookings so when we arrived, we put our names down on the list and waited for about 15 minutes for a table. Not too bad actually considering the place was full to the brim.

There is a openness to the cafe. The venue is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass windows and I think it definitely brightens up the interior. There were indoor and outdoor tables.

AK felt like something sweet so she ordered the Ricotta hotcakes with blueberries, maple, seeds and organic mascarpone. It looked so delicious on the plate and apparently tasted just as delicious as it looked. AK finished it all! :-)

S felt like something simple so she had the House made muesli with poached fruit. She seemed to enjoy it very much.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Manchester Press (Melbourne)

I was in Melbourne and in dire need of a good cuppa coffee first thing on a Saturday morning. All the good coffee places that I was aware of were closed for the weekend. Panic sets in! So I desperately turned to Google for some help.

Lo and behold, I decided to check out Manchester Press. Initially I couldn't even find Rankins Lane. I walked past it without even knowing I had overshot. Fortunately my phone's GPS steered me back to the right course.

PF was in Melbourne too and she found out I was in town through twitter so we decided to meet for coffee that morning. I really liked the look and feel of Manchester Press. It had a warehouse/loft like feel. There was a grunginess to this place. Quite cool actually.

When we arrived, it was just after 9.00 am and there were only a few patrons. But the place filled up half hour later.

Looking at the menu, I could clearly see that their breakfast specialty is bagels. There was bagel with raspberry jam, bagel with smoked salmon, BLT bagel, Chorizo open bagel; and the list goes on.

But what did I order? No bagels for me. I had a lunch to go to in a few hours so I had to pace myself and ordered a coffee and a Passionfruit and Poppyseed cake. The coffee was quite smooth and the cake was delicious. It had a nice passionfruit punch and had a good density.