Thursday, 26 March 2015

Longrain Restaurant & Bar, Surry Hills

Longrain is a very trendy, up-market fusion Thai restaurant in Surry Hills.  The dishes I tried were definitely a bit of Asian Fusion with elements of Vietnamese flavours and other modern twists. Come early to ensure you get a table (as they don't take bookings).

For entree, I tried the trout betel leaf ($6 each). The entree is set on the betel leaf and has smoked river trout, peanut relish and green mango on top. It's a small entree but packed with refreshing flavours. Below is the Egg Net dish ($34) which had a very large pile of bean sprouts, pork, the odd prawn, peanuts and coriander. The flavours were very strong Vietnamese-like fish sauce. There was also a side of cucumber relish in a small bowl to accompany the fish. It was a nice dish, the flavours are not uncommon to many Vietnamese restaurants that I have been to.

Below is also the caramelised pork hock with five spices, chili vinegar ($33.50). It was so sugary and rich that I felt sick after a few pieces! Perhaps only order this if you can handle it or you may have to order some additional rice.

Overall, I had a nice experience. The atmosphere is nice, the customer service was solid but I had higher expectations for the food. It was worthwhile checking out but I'm not sure if I'd come back here regularly.  It regularly rates well among a lot of my friends. I think I just prefer good, wholesome and traditional Thai.

Prices: $50 per person

Location: 85 Commonwealth St. Surry Hills

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Fish Market Cafe, Pyrmont

The fish markets is always hectic, full of tourists and hungry seafood lovers. You must go very early or be a very patient person. After another recent visit, I opted for some salt and pepper calamari with chips (It was about $16). The calamari was heavenly! It was so very fresh but super tasty with crunch bits of salt and pepper. The crunch was sporadic so it did not over power the natural flavours of the calamari.

My favourite place for sashimi is at Peter's Fish market. I order my favourites including some tuna, king fish and salmon sashimi. Sashimi can be a bit pricey but when it's from Peter's it taste amazing and so fresh. The small portion of sashimi below cost $10.

I love it! I absolutely love the fish markets. I've been to Fish Market Cafe and Peter's several times.

Fish Market Cafe - Sydney Fish Market on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Product Review: Macabella Chocolate Macadamia Spread

Macadamia Nuts can be a rare treat in the nut world. They are generally quite expensive because they are slow to grow.

If you are a Macadamia fan then you will be excited to hear that there is a new chocolate spread @ Woolworths/Coles for you to check out. For a premium chocolate spread for breakfast or dessert (I suggest spreading some on crumpets); check out Macabella.

I absolutely love Nutella but change is refreshing. Hazelnuts are delicious but it's hard to resist a macadamia nut. You'll find little chunks of macadamias in Macabella to enjoy, it's a touch of premium compared to Nutella.

Please Note: I was given a sample to try this product. All words, opinions and photo are my own.

La Casa Ristorante, Russell Lea

La Casa Ristorante has recently relaunched with a new menu. La Casa is an Italian Restaurant with Sicilian roots. So if you are a fan of this kind of food then come by for a visit!! The food is very warm and homely. The kind of food that you really crave especially on a Sunday evening (Carb Fest baby!)

My favourite was the baked pasta (above). I thought it was such a beautifully presented dish and reminded me how delicious baked pasta can be. The perfect baked pasta has the perfect balance of pasta, cheese and at La Casa is beautifully presented.  This dish will be available in the months to come on their winter menu.

Also have you been yearning for pizza? How about a metre long pizza (from $60)? The Pizza base is nice and thin. If you can't eat that much then you can get normal sized pizzas from $19-$25.

There are tonnes of other things to try at La Casa so if you are a local, come and check it out.

Prices: $35-45 per person

Location: 271 Lyons Rd, Russell Lea

Please note: I was invited to the relaunch of La Casa Ristorante as a guest. All words and opinions are my own. I also got the pleasure of meeting Jackie, blogger of "Does my bomb look big in this?" and her eating partner in crime.

La Casa Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Star Garden Buffet, Pyrmont, Sydney

My mesh plate of mussels, pizza, chips, pasta and pork crackers
Prawns! Are you ready to peel them?

The Star Garden Buffet is great for tourists or perhaps a one time a year visit for Sydney locals. You often see bus loads of Asian tourists making a stop at the Star Garden Buffet. There is such a wide range of food.  A lot of people come for the fresh prawns!

Popular with the kids are an array of pizza, garlic breads and pastas. Chips and the chocolate fountain also seem to be very popular. The pizza bases are very thin and the choices have a good variety.

Below was a thai curry option (rice is off to the side) and fish fillets. You can also make your own Tom Yum Soup and top with your own toppings. It was a good mesh of Asian fusion type dishes.

For a more modern Australian feel, you may opt for the roast type dishes which had options of chicken, carvery type meats such as beef and don't forget your roast vegetables. My favourite in dessert is ice cream from the machine topped with chocolate sauce, followed by some sneaky pieces of fruit dipped in the chocolate fountain. For fans of cakes and chocolate mousse, you will have some options too.

All the food is cooked well and considering this is mass production of food, I quite like the Star Garden Buffet. I'd only say it's a once a year visit though because of the great competition in Sydney when it comes to food!!

STANDARD PRICESBreakfast: $34.90, Child: $17.90
Lunch: Mon-Fri $33.90, Sat-Sun $39.90, Child: $17.90​
Dinner: Mon-Thur $40.90, Sat-Sun $46.90, Child: $17.90

Don't wear thongs (Flip Flops) or you won't be able to enter the Star. 

Location: 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. 

The Star Garden Buffet on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Mad Feed, North Sydney

The Mad Feed is incredibly popular for lunch in North Sydney. Also known as the Mad Greek, it has an extensive menu (below) of all sorts of meals, all for $10.

The like rate of 86% on Urbanspoon is well deserved. I would only suggest you get there a touch before noon to avoid a long queue of hungry North Sydney workers.

All the food is mass produced and then is collated on plates as the long queue progresses. The game of Mad Feed is generous portions, prepared quickly and getting as many customers through as possible. 

The lamb souvaki (above, $10) comes with two lamb skewers, salad, potato and soft tortilla-like bread. It's delicious and a perfect meal to share for two women with average appetites. The meat has been well cooked but can sometimes be a bit dry. 

For a slightly lighter meal, you may opt for the Calamari ($10) with your choice of two sides. I choose potatoes and salad. This is all complemented with a side of aioli. 

I've also tried the chicken souvaki (above). I prefer the lamb but variety is the spice of life. I find that chicken tends to try be more dry than lamb.

The roast pork is very homely with gravy and a side of salad and vegetables (above). The chili beef is a generous serve of beef on a bed of salad below and my work colleague often asks for a tortilla bread (additional $1) to carb up the meal.

A cheap and cheerful place for lunch. Get in early!!

Prices: $10 per meal

Location: in the forum, 155 Miller St. Entrance is also available via stairs across from Berry Square Office Works.

The Mad Greek on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown

Australian Vietnamese locals will often cite Cabramatta or Bankstown as the best suburbs for value, authentic Vietnamese meals. The Vietnamese Eatery is often bustling with a restaurant full of customers and amazing food that looks fresh and delicious. Expect lots of dishes full of fresh herbs and greens!  The dishes I ordered were perfect to share!

The platter above is accompanied with rice paper. You soak the rice paper and wait 30 seconds as the paper softens. You then grab some of the fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles, radished carrot, cucumber, pork meat and crispy stick and roll away.  If you are looking for tips on how to roll.. check out this video.

The rice cake dish (below) is absolutely beautiful! The rice cake dish called "Bánh Bèo" in vietnamese are steamed rice cakes with crunch bits, shallot, pieces of pork roll also known as "Chả lụa" and radished carrot. You pour a fish based sauce over the rice cakes and share with your fellow diners. 

The Spring Rolls are served with plenty of herbs and radished carrots. They are a regular favourite that everyone enjoys. I'd suggest you get a lettuce leaf to wrap around the spring roll and then dip in the sauce.

A regular favourite for me is the savoury Vietnamese pancake (named Bánh xèo in Vietnamese). A bright yellow crunchy bits which hides pieces of pork, bean sprouts and the rare prawn. I suggest you put the pancake into the ricepaper into a roll. It's my absolute favourite!

I really enjoyed my meal at The Vietnamese Eatery and definitely suggest you come along for the food. Point if you have any language barriers but the Viet staff are very friendly.

Prices: $10-15 per person

Location: 1/324 Chapel St, Bankstown

Thy Vietnamese Eatery on Urbanspoon