night noodle markets 2014

The last time I went to the Noodle Markets was probably 3 years ago, before the time of Messina, pork buns, and the oh so raved about ramen burger.

We got there around 6:30 and it was already crazy packed. Completely unexpected considering it was a Tuesday and the markets have been open for over a week now. The power of food, am I right?

The markets have a great atmosphere and you can tell the organisers have put in a lot of effort. There’s a section with overhanging lanterns, a table tennis set up, beer and cider gardens, and a whole lot of tables for the weary glutton.

happy cat on display

happy cat on display

Because deciding what to eat is really hard work, I made the executive decision that we should eat fried chicken as we walked, which was fortuitous, since I was thinking of fried chicken all day.

izakaya den | small fried chicken - $8

izakaya den | small fried chicken – $8

Best snack – karaage chicken with japanese mayo and a squeeze of lemon.

I think the best strategy is to get in the long lines early, so you can get your food and eat it at an acceptable hour. In keeping with this, we lined up at the ramen/rice burger stall – where the wait was maybe 20 or so minutes that early in the night.

On Ramen | pork belly ramen burger - 2 for $25

On Ramen | pork belly ramen burger – 2 for $25

The pork was melt-in-the mouth, seasoned to perfection, with some raw onion and lettuce as accompaniment. On the side is some watermelon and some salad, which cuts the richness quite nicely. My main criticism is that while the ramen ‘bun’ is a novelty, it is quite heavy and stodgy, such that it overwhelms the meat. The noodles also fall apart fairly easily, making it difficult to eat.

chicken teriyaki rice burger

chicken teriyaki rice burger

Not the prettiest thing to look at, but I liked it a lot more than the ramen burger. The bun is of course made up of a cake of japanese rice, already seasoned with a possible mixture of tomato and soy. The rice is crispy (might be too hard for some, but I liked it), and the chicken complemented the rice perfectly.

bonus beef ramen burger

beef ramen burger

Didn’t try this one, but the opinion was that the other fillings were better than the beef patty.

Our next choice – skewers from Melbourne based, Hoy Pinoy – also came with a massive line, even longer than the line for the ramen burger. We waited for over 30min, but it was definitely worth it.

that smoke

that smoke

 

those skewers

those skewers

And this is only part of it – it was a non stop, well oiled machine. Choices are between chicken and pork belly, covered in a sticky-sweet glaze.

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All I can say is that these were THE BOMB. They were tender, and succulent, with an amazing charred flavour. Damn the Filipinos know their way around a skewer.

Last but not least, and of course is Messina! They had 4 flavours on offer ($9 each), and of course we had to try all of them. Though, really not the best idea having finished a pretty big meal.

bangkok holla | kaffir lime sponge, pandan & coconut sorbet, pineapple and lemongrass mousse, chilli coconut cookie

bangkok holla | kaffir lime sponge, pandan & coconut sorbet, pineapple and lemongrass mousse, chilli coconut cookie

This was my least favourite of the bunch, but it was very refreshing, and had a lot of tropical flavours. Though, I’m not a fan of the mousse element – it’s such a strange texture to have while eating ice cream.

street hawker | lime & chocolate brownie, coconut & caramel jam, fortune cookie clusters, peanut cookie

street hawker | lime & chocolate brownie, coconut & caramel jam, fortune cookie clusters, peanut cookie

Too much peanut for me – but it had a good mix of the soft, crunchy, and chewy elements This one was the richest. The brownie at the bottom was more similar to a chewy cookie texture.

happy taste bud time | lychee sponge, mango puree, rambutan and coconut gelato, whipped salted caramel cream, coconut macaroon

happy taste bud time | lychee sponge, mango puree, rambutan and coconut gelato, whipped salted caramel cream, coconut macaroon

This was really nice – the mango puree added a strong flavour, stopping the combination from being too subtle, especially compared to the other desserts.

phuc khing tasty | cinnamon scroll, coffee gelato, condensed milk pannacotta, walnut crunch, asian spiced cookie

phuc khing tasty | cinnamon scroll, coffee gelato, condensed milk pannacotta, walnut crunch, asian spiced cookie

My fav! Can’t go wrong with coffee gelato, especially if it’s paired with a heady cinnamon scroll – the combination was perfect.

The only problem with getting all 4 at once, is that they all start tasting the same / get overpowered by others.

Overall, a super fun night, full of laughs and food. I was definitely rolling home.

The night noodle market are on until the 26th, so you better visit if you haven’t had a chance :)

 

 

 

Night Noodle Markets (as part of Good Food Month)
Hyde Park North, Sydney

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http://sydney.goodfoodmonth.com/nightnoodlemarkets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

la maison de l’eclair, bondi

What’s the best part of a long weekend? Getting another day off for an EXTRA long weekend. This is exactly what I did for the just passed Labour Day public holiday. My goal for my Friday off was to visit Bondi on the back of some very helpful recommendations.

One of the places I visited was this lovely patisserie which focuses on eclairs – glorious choux pastry filled with creme patisserie. They also serve macarons, crepes, and savoury eclairs.

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regular eclairs | $7.5-$8.5

The presentation of the eclairs was impeccable – glazed, decorated with edible glitter, macarons, and fruit. There are full sized eclairs and mini ones (for easier tasting).

aren't they pretty?

aren’t they pretty?

cute mini eclairs

cute mini eclairs

And my selection ~

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clockwise from the top left | coffee, lemon meringue, passionfruit, nutella – $3.50 each

Not the most colourful selection – but they were delicious (and I didn’t eat them all if you were wondering). Sadly, my friend scored the last salted caramel too.

The coffee eclair was very smooth without any bitterness, and had a good flavour hit – sort of like drinking a latte.

Ahh, puffy toasted meringue with a smooth lemon filling. Probably the most impressively presented – I mean, piped meringue is a clear winner.

The passionfruit was nice and tangy, and very tropical.

For the last eclair – it was actually quite difficult to discern the nutella flavour on first bite, and took a bit of concentration on the following bite to pick it out. It was topped with chocolate covered rice puffs which added a nice textural contrast.

If you love eclairs – La Maison is for you!

 

La Maison de L’eclair

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91 Bondi Road, Sydney
New South Wales, Australia

Tel | 02 9386 1265
Website | http://lamaisondeleclair.com.au

chefs gallery | town hall, sydney

I know, I know, “Chefs Gallery has been around for ages!” you say, and then I say “I know! But I haven’t eaten there in two years so who cares!”.

As the story goes, Chefs Gallery has been on my list to revisit for almost 6 months now, and all attempts to go have been thwarted by timing (it gets very busy very fast). So fourth / fifth time’s a charm?

On this very balmy Spring evening, my dear friend and I are able to score two seats straightaway to my utmost relief. My dining companion is notoriously picky (pickier than me), and doesn’t really appreciate dumplings *cue gasp*. In any case, she leaves the ordering up to me.

shredded lamb with spicy cumin rolled inside a Chinese roti - $16.90

shredded lamb with spicy cumin rolled inside a Chinese roti – $16.90

This was overall difficult to eat – the filling spills out when you bite, and noone’s mouth is big enough to just one-shot it. There is a surprise of coriander rolled inside (we both take it out) and a significant amount of onion too (my friend picks those out). The flavour of the lamb is strong with cumin and quite tasty at that, but not overpowering, though the roti is extremely oily – as are all the other dishes for the evening (as one might expect from chinese food).

pork and cabbage pot stickers pan fried - $12.90

pork and cabbage pot stickers pan fried – $12.90

Pot stickers! I wonder why they’re called that. These were nicely crisped, with a generous amount of filling which was a tad salty. They came with a pre-made sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli. And great success! My friend liked these dumplings. Though my favourite pork and cabbage dumplings are still from Mother Chu’s in Chinatown.

handmade noodles with shredded duck, shiitake mushrooms, chinese broccoli, and omelette strips - $17.90

handmade noodles with shredded duck, shiitake mushrooms, chinese broccoli, and omelette strips – $17.90

The noodles are delightfully springy and firm, holding the soy based sauce very well. There’s a good amount of duck and mushrooms and I find myself seeking out the coveted duck pieces, but I can’t remember encountering any of the chinese broccoli. Overall, a satisfyingly moreish dish.

piggy buns - $8.90

piggy buns – $8.90

But of course! One must not forget the drawing card of Chefs gallery – the piggy buns! An exercise in cute but delicious food. The buns are ordered in twos, in a boy and girl pairing – the one on the right has a bow as you can see. Both my friend and I prove to be fools at eating these, as the (HOT) black sesame filling spills everywhere, leaving a mess and minor burns in its wake. The black sesame is simultaneously savoury and the tiniest bit sweet – much in the way that peanut butter is.

A nice meal – be sure to try the buns!

 

Chefs Gallery
Regent Place G/F
501 George Street Shop 12
Sydney NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA

Ph | 02 9267 8877
Website | http://chefsgallery.com/

 

 

afternoon tea | the tea room, queen victoria building

Another tea session, and this time, somewhere that’s been on my list for a while now. And what better occasion than a birthday?

The Tea Room is an iconic part of the QVB – beautiful interior, well thought out design, all class. It’s certainly a popular destination, as I could see the beginning of a Hen’s celebration, family events, and general catch ups.

photo taken from the website

photo taken from the website

‘Tea’ options are limited to 2 hours (they do have main meals on offer though). I had initially opted for an afternoon time slot, which was limited to 1.5 due to a function at 3, but changed it to a morning session at the last minute. I was entirely thankful that I did, because it was nice to be able to enjoy the tea to its fullest extent, rather than rushing through.

We opted for the Afternoon Tea option and were seated on the ‘slipper’ chairs – plush armchairs which make the whole business seem even more fancy. The service is friendly, polite (being called Madam, haha), but not overbearing. There are a good selection of teas on offer, but the problem with high tea is that you kind of want to be adventurous and try a new tea, but don’t want to be stuck with something strange that doesn’t go with your food. So Darjeeling it is!

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As expected, everything comes out on very pretty serving ware – Royal Albert I believe.

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The scones are perfect. There’s a plain and raisin which you split between two – which I thought was a bit stingy, but after finishing everything, it was just right (greedy guts, haha). It comes with dishes of strawberry jam, and thick clotted cream. It’s a classic combination with the perfect balance- sweet jam, rich cream, fluffy scones.

There are some spinach, onion and three cheese puff pastry spirals as well – which were crisp with a good savoury flavour.

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There seems to be a bit of a cheese themed savoury thing going on as the two other small savouries are a parmesan cracker with avocado and sundried tomato, and a pastry shell with a parmesan filling and chive oil on top. Both really delicious and well balanced – not too salty, and a good kick of parmesan. However, if cheese isn’t your thing, they’re perfectly happy to accommodate when making your reservation.

Sandwiches on offer today are: chicken and walnut, cucumber and dill cream cheese, pastrami and rocket, and egg and chive mayo. They’re served on white and whole meal bread. They’re quite traditional combinations, and they’re generous with the fillings, so no complaints here!

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On to the sweets! Saving the best for last, am I right? The fruit tart has a custard filling and is quite refreshing with the fruit.

There is a strawberry and basil sponge, with a jelly top – which is probably the most unique one. I personally think it’s a little jarring to have basil in a pastry since I always associate it with savoury dishes. Though once you get past the interesting combination, it not too bad.

The macaron is strawberry. Nicely chewy as a macaron should be!

The final item is a chocolate mousse cake, with a shard of almond praline on top. A rich, chocolatey ending to a lovely meal.

We basically finish right at the 2 hour mark, which made for a leisurely eating experience, and are comfortably full.

I highly recommend coming here – the atmosphere itself is worth it. The main tea room has incredibly high, ornate ceilings, and three impressive chandeliers. It’s a meal that will not disappoint.

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The Tea Room
Level 3, North End QVB
455 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Ph | 02 9283 7279
Website | http://www.thetearoom.com.au/

 

 

 

rustic pearl, surry hills

Sometimes your day doesn’t work out as planned, but the alternative activities are pretty top notch anyway.

The intention was to attend the Flour Market – what I imagined to by an enormous hipster bake sale – a pastry and cake version of the Finders Keepers Market (here). We arrived at the location some time after 10, and promptly bailed since the line was ridiculous. I had also been usefully informed by another friend that it perhaps was not worth waiting in line – which made the parting easier, haha.

Instead, my friend led us to Rustic Pearl, which I have walked by a hundred times but never would have tried. There is a 15 minute wait, you leave your number and they actually call you when your table is ready. Granted, this is probably a tiny bit troublesome for staff when they’re busy, but I greatly appreciate it – it’s a system that is SUPERIOR TO ANY OTHER WAIT LIST SYSTEM.

It’s a beautiful sunny day and we get a table ouside. Service is friendly and relatively fast, but we find out throughout the meal that we need to be a bit more specific about what we order.

|minted lemonade w/ seasonal fruit - $6.5 | cappuccino - $4 | soy latte - $4.5 |

| minted lemonade + seasonal fruit – $6.5 | cappuccino – $4 | soy latte – $4.5 |

The lemonade was the highlight – “there’s a fruit salad in my lemonade!” – it’s refreshing, with the perfect amount of sweet to sour. The cappuccino had a very airy foam, which disappeared  fast (not ideal). I didn’t get a photo of my friend’s chai – she had ordered a chai latte, but they only have brewed chai with soy (which the waitress had forgotten to mention).

sucuk bruschetta - char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, avocado, rocket, pomegranate + soft boiled organic egg - $17

| sucuk bruschetta |  char grilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, avocado, rocket, pomegranate molasses & soft boiled organic egg – $17

Sucuk is a spicy turkish sausage, much like chorizo. The egg yolk was nicely soft, and the pomegranate molasses added a fruity sweetness. I think this is the sort of dish that has just the right balance of fresh and richer ingredients.

special | smoked wagyu omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast - $17

special | smoked wagyu omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast – $17

The omelette was fluffy, with a generous amount of wagyu and mozzarella inside. The smoked wagyu was very similar to corned beef and the tomato relish added sweetness, and lifted the heavier omelette. Skordalia is not something I have encountered before – it was like a pesto and had a nice garlic flavour – though it seems that traditionally it’s somewhat creamier and has a potato/garlic base. The bacon dust added extra flavour, and it came with a side of white sourdough.

bosphorus benedict | char grilled lobster flesh, crushed avocade, 2 poached eggs, homemade hollandaise and tomato relish, chives, chilli - $24

bosphorus benedict | char grilled lobster flesh, crushed avocade, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise and tomato relish, chives, chilli – $24

The hollandaise was creamy, with a slight tang from lemon. There was also a good deal of lobster meat, and the eggs were perfectly poached. The chilli also also added a nice heat.

eggs florentine | two poached eggs, wilted seasonal greens, hollandaise and tomato relish - $16.5

eggs florentine | two poached eggs, wilted seasonal greens, hollandaise and tomato relish – $16.5

pepe saya butter 25g - $1.5

pepe saya butter 25g – $1.5

I notice that they serve Pepe Saya butter – which has a fantastic reputation as a handmade, artisanal butter – and decide that we must try it (along with multiple sides of toast). You can see how they make their butter here. The butter is creamy and rich – there is only sourdough on the menu, which I think makes it difficult to discern the full flavour of the butter.

It’s a busy cafe with an eager lunch crowd, and a perfect place to spend a morning. Surry Hills Market was on that weekend with a good range of food, clothes, and collectibles on offer. I am inexplicably pleased to pick up an adorable Peter Rabbit toy for $4, and a double scoop of Messina to top off the day.

 

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Ph | 0406 930 083
Website | http://www.rusticpearl.com.au/

 

 

 

 

om nom | adelphi hotel, melbourne

I first heard about Om Nom 2 months ago, when I read a short article on Christy Tania – who is the head chef, and incredibly successful at a young age. Needless to say, Om Nom became a ‘must try’ destination.

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If there was one thing I learnt from this Melbourne trip, it’s that one should always make reservations, especially when the dessert bar only holds forty people. Luckily enough, we were able to walk in and get a table at 10.30 because of some no-shows (phew). The interior of Om Nom is incredibly on point in its theme – it’s like walking into a high class Willy Wonka factory. The stools in the waiting area look like licorice, and there are some areas with swing seats (distracting while trying to eat).

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There are savoury food options, but the dessert is the star, so much so that there is a ‘dessert degustation’ option – and you know that’s what we chose.

The degustation is $55 for three desserts, and you can choose from six…so of course we decided to get two sets.

Service is fast and friendly – you can tell they enjoy working there. They provide a summary of the components of the dessert when its brought to the table, but honestly it’s pretty hard to concentrate when there are these amazing dishes in front of you.

| pineapple verrine | strawberry, rum, pink peppercorn, vanilla, coconut, lemongrass, ginger, caramelised white chocolate, all spice

| pineapple verrine |
strawberry, rum, pink peppercorn, vanilla, coconut, lemongrass, ginger, caramelised white chocolate, all spice

The pineapple verrine was the first to come out, and the flavours were very aromatic as there were many spices involved. There was a layer of poached pineapple at the bottom, then pink peppercorn jelly, rum soaked strawberries, vanilla cremeux, coconut and lemongrass foam. The flavours were very unique, and quite subtle. Though, this was my least favourite dessert overall.

| mont blanc | meringue, dark chocolate, chestnut, vanilla, blackberry, feuilletine

| mont blanc |
meringue, dark chocolate, chestnut, vanilla, blackberry, feuilletine

Pretty as a picture covered in chestnut. The main component was a chestnut ice cream nestled in feuilletine – a crispy, wafer-type component, with chestnut puree piped over it. It was placed over a blackberry smear, and dotted with meringues. The blackberry added a welcome tartness to the richness of the chestnut.

| tarte tatin | granny smith apple, 3 spice, chantilly, vanilla,  lemongrass and ginger

| tarte tatin |
granny smith apple, 3 spice, chantilly, vanilla, lemongrass and ginger

This was a luxury tarte tatin. I’m personally quite a fan of the regular caramelised apple and puff pastry version.The preparation that went into this must have been amazing – based on the amount of apple layers involved. One complaint is that it was actually quite difficult to eat, which was a shame given the careful plating. The ginger base was extremely difficult to cut into, and the apple layers didn’t cut nicely, but instead slid off each other. There were dots of ginger and apple puree, and a vanilla ice cream created a nice balance.

| mango alfonso | choux pastry, shiso, coconut, kalamansi, lemongrass, ginger and caramelised white chocolate

| mango alfonso |
choux pastry, shiso, coconut, kalamansi, lemongrass, ginger and caramelised white chocolate

This was really refreshing and tropical – coconut and lemongrass foam on the side, and a kalamansi sorbet inside the choux pastry. The white chocolate added another layer of sweetness along with the fruit.

| raspberry field| raspberry, lychee, meringue, rosewater

| raspberry field |
raspberry, lychee, meringue, rosewater

Perhaps the most traditional flavour combination on offer, and the most unique presentation-wise in my opinion. The stem of the mushroom was a toasted meringue (rather unremarkable, but creates an impressive visual). The top of the mushroom was a lychee and raspberry sorbet, a feat of balance, and at the base were lychee and rosewater spheres, and raspberry and rosewater pannacotta. If I had to describe it, I would say “girly”.

| basil garden | dark chocolate, vanilla, olive oil, basil, lime, white chocolate and meringue

| basil garden |
dark chocolate, vanilla, olive oil, basil, lime, white chocolate and meringue

Definitely saving the prettiest for last. At the base was a chocolate soil, then a vanilla and honey ice cream incased in a chocolate shell. On top were basil and white chocolate cremeaux spheres, which also had a hint of lime. I don’t know about the olive oil though, I probably wasn’t paying enough attention to notice it. All topped with edible (?) flowers.

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The desserts come out really fast – so our small table was quite crowded. Ordinarily, fast service is welcomed, but it also becomes a problem when gelato melts faster than you can eat it.

In essence, an entirely amazing and enjoyable night.

Om Nom also has additional desserts that aren’t available as the degustation. They also serve breakfast and high tea on Sundays.

If you have a sweet tooth, or generally love dessert, I highly recommend trying this out. No regrets!

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Om Nom | Adelphi Hotel | Melbourne

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187 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone | 03 8080 8827
Website | http://www.adelphi.com.au/hm_features01.shtml (the menu on the website seems to be outdated)

 

 

 

this is beautiful

Directed and animated by Glen Keane – a former animator at Disney.

I’m in awe of people’s talent and creativity. The fluidity of the animation, the simplistic use of shading and colour – it’s just amazing. The story and music fit so well together – and I like how the score changes around the 2 minute mark.

Wonderful.