Friday, 17 April 2015

A new website and a new look

I have finally made the move over to Wordpress platform and have a new domain name: Many thanks for reading my meandering thoughts for the last 4 years (has it been that long?) and I look forward to catching up with you there.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Burger Liquor Lobster, Manly, Sydney

Manly is a suburb which behaves as if it is perpetually on spring break. The natives walk around in swimwear, or barely covered up in resortwear. Seriously. I saw girls in neoprene bikinis at the intersection, guys in boardshorts, and then there were the men walking through the Corso in swimming shorts that looked like underwear. Sometimes you just have to avert your eyes. There are ice-cream stands, juice stands and hot dog stands. There were toddlers playing in fountains, and buskers singing. It’s a happy, shiny, chilled out place.

All 4 Manly Council carparks have two hour free parking, which makes for a nice little excursion. BL and I go to Manly for really just one thing, - the ridiculously sublime Brookvale Union ginger beer at 4 Pines Brewery. We haul home a case at a time, great value at $60. And when we are there, we try out lunch spots.

We were hunting for Chur Burger at Manly Wharf Hotel, right by the ferry terminal, not realising that the pop-up was over, and in its place was now Burger Liquor Lobster. Still, this was tasty enough, that I convinced BL to make a repeat visit.The counter for Burger Liquor Lobster is separate from the main Manly Wharf Hotel counter, go to the far right end and you'll see this tiny outpost.

The menu is simple, 5 burger options for $10 each, $16 cocktail options, $15 lobster, prawns and crab options. There are also side options of fries and salads. There is no table service, you order at the counter, and the pager will let you know when your order is ready to be picked up from the kitchen counter. The first visit, BL and I ordered a beef burger, a crab burger and a lobster cobb salad to share. These don’t look big, but they are filling enough.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

PappaRich, Chatswood, Sydney

PappaRich, a Malaysian restaurant franchise, is burning a path across Australia with 15 branches across 4 states and counting. Their very enthusiastic ambassador is Poh Ling-Yeow, Masterchef Season 1 runner-up (and whom I believe, along with many other viewers, should have been the winner). I'm a staunch believer that any success for a Malaysian restaurant is a success for Malaysian cuisine, but then again, as a typical Malaysian, we are the harshest critic when it comes to the delivery.

PappaRich has also hit the news for the wrong reasons. The Broadway branch in Sydney has been accused of student exploitation, paying former Malaysian student staff under the legal entitlement and withholding penalty rates and superannuation. The matter is with the courts.

I have never had PappaRich back in Malaysia, as they are a West Malaysian franchise. This was my first experience of their menu. I had read several reviews which waxed lyrical about the taste of their dishes, and was keen to check them out.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Gumshara Ramen, Haymarket, Sydney

Gumshara Ramen is the star of Eating World Harbour Plaza Foodcourt in Chinatown. In this somewhat ordinary foodcourt, the red banners, massive signage, and a queue direct you to this small stall, famous for tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu is an uber rich pork broth; the bones are boiled for so long that the marrow and pork fat emulsifies into the stock. Gumshara does not serve tonkotsu ramen between 3-5pm when they replenish the bones and prepare the soup for the dinner service.

I like fat, who doesn’t? The very best flavours are carried in fat. But this is so fatty that tonkotsu has to be eaten hot otherwise the fat starts to congeal, and can be unpleasant.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Dos Senoritas, Crows Nest, Sydney

My expectations of Mexican food is pretty low at this, the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean. Auckland goes for the hip and trendy Tex-Mex or fusion versions, which is fun and tasty, if somewhat manufactured and more focused on getting imbibed than the food. I haven’t really acquainted myself with the Mexican food scene here in Sydney, as the ones named on the ‘best of’ lists seem to be in the parts of town where the cool people hang out and parking is a mission in itself.

Dos Senoritas, by sheer luck, is a 10-minute walk from our apartment. You don’t need a booking even though it is a popular eatery, service is quick and friendly. The original branch is in Gladesville. Servings are massive (even by BL’s standards). Dos Senoritas claim to bring authentic Mexican cuisine from the streets of Guadalajara. The walls are decorated with depictions of Mexican images, expect Mayan temples, Day of the Dead art, ponchos and sombreros.

The menu is divided into starters, burritos, salads and sandwiches, combo plates and specialties. Most of their dishes come with guacamole (the real stuff, just avocado, lime, coriander, onions and jalapenos), pico (fresh salad made with diced tomato and onions), sour cream, beans and rice. They provide complementary corn chips with a spicy salsa.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Hunter Valley food hunt, New South Wales, Australia

What better way to follow up a trip to the South Australia wine regions than an encore weekend to Hunter Valley? The two regions are a stark contrast. While SA had a laid back vibe with its myriad of heritage towns and artisan producers, Hunter Valley was more commercial, with over a 150(!) wineries packed into the small region. It is busy with coach-loads of tourists, resorts and to my surprise, chain ‘artisan’ shops. Okay, my disappointment is showing.

The region of Hunter Valley covers the villages of Lovedale, Mount View, Broke Fordwich, Cessnock and at its epicentre, Pokolbin, where some of the original pioneering wineries are located.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar, Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide is becoming quite the dining mecca with its great local produce, and is attracting both emerging and established culinary talents to set up fresh, innovative eateries.

BL and I wanted somewhere casual-ish but modern, and Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar (by Masterchef finalist Andre Ursini for those who watch the show) fit the bill perfectly. The eatery focuses on Northern Italian cuisine. Another winning feature was its menu fisso ($59 per person), a feast of 5 selected dishes to share.

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