Thursday, 31 May 2012

Petaling Street, Sydney CBD

I always crave Malaysian foods, here I am to try it out.  Petaling Street serves Malaysian Hawker food, according to their restaurant menu.  Standing at the front entrance, you think it's a long, narrow restaurant that seats only a small number of patrons.  Little do you know, there is a second floor that expands out into a much bigger dining hall. 

We had the Chicken Curry Laksa, which came out fairly quickly once ordered.  Filled to the brim with piping hot broth, the bowl had substantial amount of chicken, fish cakes, bean curd and bean sprouts, and included both thick egg noodles and vermicelli noodles.  Curry broth was spicy and very flavourful - a pleasant surprise to other bland broths I've had in the past.
#56.  Chicken Curry Laksa ($10.80)

We also had #40. Fried Koay Teow ($10.80).  A huge plate of flat rice noodles, mixed with seafood, bean sprouts and Chinese sausage.  Again, very good flavours which hits the spot.  Didn't notice any MSG afterwards either, which is a plus!

All in all, Petaling Street could be my new "to-go" dining place for a quick and cheap eat.  Satisfies all the cravings and doesn't blow the bank!  I'm hungry for their food just thinking about it... Highly recommended!

 Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Baba Laksa House, CBD

Several workmates had suggested this so come here on a weekday to try it out.  Located in the Grace Hotel on York St, its a pretty central location that fills up quickly once lunchtime rolls around.  We got there at 12.30pm and I was slightly worried about not being able to find a table.  Luckily for us, a couple was just finishing up and I quickly slid into their vacant seat :)

Baba Laksa has quite a diverse set of lunch options - ranging from rice places, to laksa, to soup noodles.  We choose the Beef Rendang with Rice, and the Singapore Har Mee.  The Beef Rendang was presented on a long plate, filled half with white rice and half with beef chucks.  Texture of the meat was a little dry for me, and although there was plenty of rendang sauce...there wasn't too many chucks of meat - maybe 7 pieces?!

The Singapore Har Mee was quite good.  Noodles in a tangy and light broth, filled with plenty of chicken meat and prawns.  I think I counted at least 5 prawns, which is pretty impressive!  These days, it seems like you are lucky to get more than 3 :D  A small amount of chinese vegetables and bean spouts was included, and the bowl was topped with fried onions and half a boiled egg.  For those that want a bit more heat, you can add extra chill to spice it up.  Baba serves their laksas and soup noodles in long, oval-shapped bowls.  Takes it one step up from the old, chipped, plastic bowls that usually goes together with this type of street food!
Singapore Har Mee Noodles (~$11)

Baba Laksa house is a place to grab a casual bite - Quick service, right amount of tables/seating, and decent food.  Wasn't a fan of the beef rendang but would go back for the Singapore Har Mee.  Although Baba is situated in a hotel lobby, its not a "hotel-type" restaurant...its simple food, nothing fancy.

BaBa Laksa House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Etch Restaurant, CBD

We came to this restaurant solely wanting dessert! :) 

Etch is located inside the Sydney Intercontinental , with a private entrance to the side of the hotel.  We had previously read the menu on their website , but as you enter the lobby of the restaurant, the "flower pattern" located on their website actually is a true reflection of the restaurant's ambiance.  Unlike most of the modern hotels these days (W or Westin in particular), entering Etch takes you back to grandma's house that's filled with antique chairs, old fashioned decor, and walls that are still lined with wallpaper.  Does wallpaper still exist?  haha :)

We started off with the Pavlova platter, which contained of mini pavlova shells, chocolate mousse domes, and ice cream.  Given the menu had 'pavlova' in the dessert's name, what came out was not what we had envisioned at all.  After tasting it, I would call it a deconstructed meringue, definately not a pavlova.  The meringue shells were crunchy and hollow on the inside, but no soft or silky texture of a pavlova base.  The mousse domes was quite dense but good, however the ice cream was pretty regular. 

Although the bottom of the dessert plate was lined with chocolate-lines, there was not enough of it to be able to lift it off the plate.  Guess it was solely a decorative-effort rather than an accompliment to the dish.  As much as I love most dessert, I felt this one was just 'meh'.  Even as I write this post, I noticed the website has been updated and it is no longer offered on the menu - trust me, you aren't missing much.

Mixture of Pavlova and Ice cream ($16)
Onto the next dessert tray - the Caramel date tart.  From the description on the menu, it does give the impression that it may be similar to a stick date pudding/tart.  But!  Obviously what came out was nothing like it. 

The tart was simply that - a thin layer of caramel followed by a layer of date filling, all on top of a shortbread crust.  Kinda like a pumpkin pie...except with dates.  A scoop of burnt butter ice cream accompanied it on the side, though I couldn't really taste the "burnt-ness" that it's name suggests.  And although of the two desserts, I personally liked this one better, it was still just 'ok'. 
Caramel date tart, burnt butter ice cream, 
Earl Grey tea syrup  ($16)
Based on the quality of these two desserts, I'm sceptical to return to Etch for dinner.  Etch - I really did want to like you, but something special would need to happen to convenience me to change my mind!

Etch on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Australian Youth Hotel, Glebe

Came here on a weekend and was pleasantly surprised by the quaint, rustic restaurant located at the back of the pub. We chose to sit in the main dining area, but there's option to sit in the outside courtyard.

The menu is Modern Australian, so we started with the Seared Scallops wrapped with pancetta.  Scallops were cooked nicely however a little on the small side.
Seared scallops in pancetta, with pumpkin purée, thyme roasted cherry tomato ($16/$28) 

For mains, had the Spiced Lamb Salad.  Portion size was perfect, filled with chucks of roast pumpkin that was soft and had a slightly sweet taste.  A large amount of shredded lamb filled the plate, though meat was slightly dry in texture.  However, the dish was still quite enjoyable and filling, especially with the large macadamia nuts that scatted the plate.

Spiced lamb salad with honey roast pumpkin, macadamia and fetta ($17)

Also had Wagyu steak.  When it came out, the cut of the meat looked more like a tenderloin steak (roll-like shape), than a regular steak cut.  When we cut into it, meat was cooked perfectly to medium-rare.  Wasn't a fan of the string fries that came on the side either, since I usually prefer the thick-cut fries.  They were heavily fried to give it a crunchy chip, but also had little potato taste since they were so thin.

‘Cabassi & Rea’ Wagyu minute steak, 600 day grain fed, marble score 7 Central QLD

Saw across the table that other diners were digging into their Beef and Guinness Stout pie with mash and a puff pastry lid ($18).  Looked pretty good so might give that a try next time.

AYH has pretty decent Australian fare food at reasonable prices.  Venue is clean, neat and quite fancy for a pub setting, good service too!  Perfect for a date night without feeling like you made an effort :)  Worth a visit if you are in the area. 

Australian Youth Hotel on Urbanspoon

Friday, 4 May 2012

Barramundi Cafe, CBD

Came to Barramundi Cafe on a Friday evening looking for some casual Modern Australian dining.  Since I walk past it every day going to work, thought it would be nice to try it for a change.

Getting at table at 6.30pm was no problem.  We were promptly seated, and and asked if we had a voucher - which we did not.  As it progressed through the night, it seemed like most diners had a Groupon/Scoopon voucher for the seafood platter mains and a bottle of wine. 

We were content with the a la carte menu, of which we chose the Crispy skinned salmon fillet on a mushroom cous cous ,tomato salsa and minted yoghurt.  Salmon was quite a large portion, cooked perfectly with a crispy skin.  The cous cous underneath was enormous, with a scattering of enoki mushroom throughout.  Couldn't taste the mint in the yoghurt, but the combination of the cool yoghurt with the salmon together make it smooth and refreshing to eat.

Crispy skinned salmon fillet on a mushroom cous cous ,tomato salsa and minted yoghurt ($26)

We also had the Mixed platter of Northern Territory barramundi fillet, soft shell crab, prawn skewer, calamari served with garden salad ,chips and homemade tartare sauce.  I was disappointed in this dish - the fillet was skimpy and soggy, the batter for the others was heavy and overwhelming, and the chips were pretty dull too.  A fish and chip shop could have done about the same but with less of the price!  The garden salad was drenched heavily in the dressing, making it limp.  Come to think of it, without the tartare sauce, everything would have been dry. 

Mixed platter of Northern Territory barramundi fillet,soft shell crab,prawn skewer,calamari served with garden salad ,chips and homemade tartare sauce ($25)

For dessert, we tried the Sticky date pudding served warm with ice cream since its a staple Aussie treat I haven't had for 6+ years :)  It came out promptly - a large hot slice surrounded by large amounts of toffee syrup.  Quite tasty but was more like a dry version of a date cake, and not as moist as I was expecting.  The toffee syrup did help, but with all that sugar, it'd better make it great!  Ice cream was just the regular vanilla ice-cream, would have been better if it was vanilla-bean but that's just me being picky.

Sticky date pudding served warm with ice cream ($9)

For the price of the food, would have expected a little better than what we got.  I did enjoy the salmon fillet, since it was by far the best dish of the night.  Would only return for a corporate lunch/dinner, but if work is paying, I'd prefer to try something else :D

Barramundi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Gumshara Ramen, Chinatown

Came to Gumshara Ramen with super high expectations based on other reviews.  Brought my US friend too, since he is a ramen-nazi and was hoping to impress him with this place.

Took us a little while to find the shop since it is tucked away inside a food court in Dixon lane.  Ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen with egg.  Broth was very, VERY heavy...more like syrup than broth in my option.  It wasn't seasoned, and was very fatty.  Pork slices were just mehh too.  Ate only the egg and the bamboo shoots and left the rest.  Was very disappointment...prefer Ramen Dojo in San Mateo x100 better! *sigh*

Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Goshu Ramen Tei, CBD

Have been on a search for ramen so today I wondered into here for lunch since it's quite close to work. There are two Japanese Ramen restaurants right next to each other, but I always seem to choose Goshu Ramen Tei over the other one.

Had the Combination Seafood Shoyu Ramen. Portion size was ginormous! Lots of noodles that were cooked al dente, and on top was scattered lots of vegetables, seafood and egg! Very satisfying and could not finish the whole bowl.

Goshu ranks as one of the better ramen places I've been to so far in Sydney, though not the best that I've had.  Great for a quick bite and enjoy the sun in an outdoor seating.

Combination Seafood Shoyu Ramen (~$14)

Goshu Ramen Tei on Urbanspoon