Monday, June 30, 2014

Special Event: Suntory Whisky Tasting

The company had a special Japanese whisky tasting seminar. The seminar was held by Suntory and they explained the methods of distilling whisky, ingredients etc. It was an interesting 45 minutes to say the least. The smell of whisky was strong in the air as we approached the room, a testament of so called 'notes' of the whisky we were about to try.

Three covered glasses was placed on top of a piece of paper explaining the various characteristics of the whisky. We walked through the colour, the notes ie what we expect to smell from the whisky, and what it tastes like. What I learned that you need to return the glass to the nose a few times for you to pick up the various notes they explained. I did manage to identify the fruits and vanilla after a while. Not well, mind you, but enough for me to follow the seminar.

The first is the Hamazaki 12 years old. This is a pretty strong smelling, strong tasting whisky which doesn't really suit my palate at all. While it is supposed to be fruity, the first thing you notice is the strong smell of alcohol for some reason. It was the opinion around the room as well.

The next up is the Hakushu 12 years old. This whisky had to be my favourite of the night. On the nose, it was soft and fruity. On the palate it reminded me of a dry wine, which is always a favourite. There was a smoky peaty taste that wasn't a hit with quite a few people. But I didn't mind it at all.

The last was the favourite of many, the Hibiki 17 years old. It was a rich amber with strong fruits and lily on the nose. It tasted rather sweet but was smooth as silk. It tasted a lot stronger than the Hakushu. 

It was a very interesting seminar that taught me appreciate whisky a little more. But I learned that I would probably not enjoy Scottish whisky and I might pick up a bottle on the way back from Japan at the end of the year.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Malabar Indian Restaurant, Crows Nest

There are times when you just have this craving for Indian food. It helps that it is still not the height of summer and there is a cool breeze to help with the spiciness from the food. Not that Australian Indian food is very spicy.

We start the meal with the ever popular mango Lassi. Lovely and smooth with a tinge of sourness from the yoghurt. 

We then move onto the Masala Dhosai. It has been a while since I had Southern Indian food. So I was a pretty happy puppy when the gang wanted this.

Look at the varieties of curries we had decided on. Butter chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Beef Vindaloo and and Konkan Curry Prawn. All lovely and pretty mild even if they claim it is 'medium'.

Let's have a closer look at the curries enjoyed.

Beef Vindaloo

My favourite, the Konkan Curry Prawn. I like the rich coconut milk base.

I think was the Chicken Tikka Masala. Both curries were red and I can't really tell anymore.

All these paired with steamed basmati rice and soft delicious garlic naan.

Malabar Indian Restaurant

334 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest
NSW 2065 

T: (02) 9906 7343
    (02) 9438 4207 (Take away only)
F: (02) 9332 3745

Opening hours
Lunch: Sunday - Friday 12.00 - 14.30
Dinner: Monday - Sunday 17.30 until late

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jamie's Italian @ Pitt Street

I seem to be posting one post per year these days. Hopefully things will change in the coming year. Yep, that should be my New Year's resolution (that I hope I won't break in coming months).

I have seen Jamie Oliver's restaurant for a while now and it is always packed and there is always a line. Today, we wandered into Jamie's due to a slight hiccough in Fratelli Fresh (we greedy buggers were way too early).

Nice little signage in front.

Internal decor made out of various hanging spices and I believe a haunch of pork (fake I hope). 

Drinks for us. Since it's a Monday, we went totally virgin. On the left is a ginger mojito and the right is a mixture of soda, cranberry juice and other delicious fruity goodness that right now escapes my recollection.

We started with a selection of anti-pasti.

This is the three cheese gnocchi. I, for one, hate gnocchi after an ill made choice in Il Divo back in KL. However, this proved that not all gnocchis are made equal. It is soft chewy and cheesy. A definite win in my books.

This love morsel if call aracini which is basically deep fried rice balls the Italian way. Delicious and soft.

Fennel salad with blood orange. My first time eating fennel and I think it's forgettable.

Here come the mains. Linguini Vongole. It's light and fresh with a flavourful broth finishing off the dish.

Black angel, squid ink pasta with scallops. Stronger taste than the linguini and I am totally in love with it. I finally know what fresh pasta taste like.

Blue cheese ravioli with walnuts and pistachios. This is the best dish of the night but of course with the strongest flavour. I will definitely come back for more of this in future.

We finish off the night with a light dessert of trifle. It packs a fruity punch and not overly sweet.

Walking away from Jamie's Italian,I can only wonder how could I have missed fresh pasta. How did I survive before I met you??

Address: 107 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone:(02) 8240 9000
 11.30am to 11.00pm daily

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bayside Lounge @ Darling Harbour, Sydney

Today, we are off to high tea.

And our destination is Bayside Lounge at Darling Harbour. It was a really hot day and getting out of the sun while still being able to watch what's going on outside was lovely.

We started off with a glass of fine sparkles. Lovely sparkling white wine what was fruity and flavourful. Great start and promise.

The main platter arrives!! Three tiers of loveliness! Let me break it down for you from the top:

White Chocolate Pistachio éclair, Berry Macarons and Brownie with Clotted Cream. The brownie wasn't what I expected. While it was rich, I didn't really like it that much. The berry macaron was lovely, without that sticky texture I had gotten used to in Malaysia. The eclair was perfection. The white chocolate wasn't too sweet. 

The second tier was crystal bay prawn and cucumber bruschetta and orange and vanilla crème brûlée. The prawns were fresh on a layer of crispy cucumber. Lovely! My favourite of all was the creme brulee. It was not too heavy with the right amount of citrus that balanced out the sweet. I was literally moaning through it.

The last layer was:  smoked chicken and asparagus finger sandwich and duck confit pie with eschalots and merlot jus. The sandwich was good but not particularly memorable. The duck was lovely with the duck not too stringy.

Let's have a closer look at my lovely creme brulee. I had already cracked the top a little bit with my spoon.

To finish off a wonderful meal was your choice of numerous types of coffee or tea. I chose mocha while my dining partner chose tea. 

Definitely worth a trip back!

available 1pm - 4pm wednesday to sunday
Bayside Lounge
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Drive
Darling Harbour

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Marigold Restaurant @ Chinatown, Sydney

Here we are again and so soon. New colleagues loves the whole yum cha scene and quite honestly, in the last 4 months I've been in Sydney, I've only had one other time of yum cha. It was a restaurant in Rhodes that only allows patrons 2 hours at the table. After watching the ridiculous line building up when we left, I think I can understand why.

This time, we went to Marigold Restaurant along George Street in Chinatown. I furiously looked up reviewed prior to going there and noted they were quite famous. That is to say there aren't bad reviews thrown at them ranging from tasteless food to bad service, but overall, I was quite optimistic about what I was about to partake.

Let's start with the typical Har Gao. Well, it is typical. The prawns were fresh but I think the skin is a little thick. Otherwise good.

Scallop version of the Har Gao. I honestly couldn't taste much in terms of scallops here. Will be a miss in the future.

My favourite in pork spare ribs. I can't wax poetic enough about this. Juicy and well marinated, I whacked nearly all of it myself. Definitely will call for seconds next round.

Supposedly Lor Mai Kai, but looks like Hor Yip Fan instead,

Let's have a peek inside. Not too bad. Not exactly memorable though.

Nice lovely and juicy Siew Mai. Right mixture of pork and prawn. Lovely.

I haven't had Kai Lan with Oyster sauce in ages. This is a simple dish but it's one of those comfort food that reminds me of home. Lovely. Not to mention provides you with your daily dose of greens.

Char Leong. This was rather hard to make I feel because if not freshly made and served, the Yao Char Kwai will be soft and therefore totally disgusting. This was warm, with the Yao Char Kwai crispy to taste. Served with dipping sauce, it made for a satisfying crunch.

The egg tarts were were good, but a tad sweet. I like the smoothness of the egg and the crumbly texture of the pastry. Less sugar and it would have been a winner.

Ham Sui Kok. My colleagues loved the mochi texture of the 'skin' that had a slight touch of sweetness but not overpoweringly so. Coupled with the savoury filling, it made for a lovely dish.

This was the favourite of both my colleagues, the famed 'Durian Sou'. I expected something along the lines of Yik Kee Durian Bomb, so I was really disappointed when the result was a filling that was rather not creamy with it tasting barely like durian. 

Marigold Restaurant
683-689 George Street  Sydney NSW 2000

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The start of my Australian adventure

Munchie has had a hectic couple of months. Munchie has left the warm shores to Malaysia behind and has relocated to bright (sometimes too bright), sunny (nowadays TOO sunny) Australia.

I've been going around doing the touristy things and learning about what's good in the land Down Under. This will be a collection of my foodie adventures up to now.

Let's start with something quintessentially Australian. I was taking a walk to get to know the Sydney beaches and landed in Manly. Feeling peckish, I found a cafe opposite the beach which right now the name completely escapes me. But the above is two things that I have always wanted to try: Kangaroo and croc. Yes, you read correctly, meat from the tail of a crocodile. 

The kangaroo tastes like a milder version of beef and the croc has a clean palate, like white chicken breast, thought less stringy. Definitely a must try.

After my first ever paycheck in Australia, a couple of new colleagues and I went to try Max Brenner, the almighty chocolate and dessert cafe. This one was situated along George Street right at Wynyard Station. The top was Belgian waffles with chocolate ice cream, bananas and strawberries. While I love the ice cream, the waffles was just pedestrian. It's not mind blowing and it's something that I've had before.

Have anyone ever tried chocolate pizza? This is definitely a must have in Max Brenner. Crunchy with cornflakes and chocolate cereal with marshmallows masquerading as the cheese in a normal pizza. It gave this dessert that 'stringy' quality cheese had in a savoury pizza. Fabulous and unforgettable.

This was supposedly another must have at Max Brenner, their chocolate sandwich. Chocolate (or any other flavour ice cream) sandwiched between two soft cookies... Only the cookies weren't exactly so soft. I definitely did not like this at all. The cookie was so hard to get through and ended up stuck in my teeth because it was too chewy.

This was something I tried around a week ago. There is something called the Eat Art Truck going around Sydney serving food from a brightly art-decorated truck. They had a few dishes only but the line waiting was long, a testament of good food. This was the beef with kimchi salad. The bread was soft and warm while the beef was succulent and well stewed.

Chicken wings with mayo. Very addictive actually.

Pulled pork. My colleague complained that it was too sweet but I found it fine. Very nice.

This is supposedly the best macarons in all of Sydney. Since I've not tasted any other and I generally don't like macarons, I give this my special thumbs up. 

A little box of five different flavours. Soft and yummy, not too sweet and doesn't get stuck in your teeth like the Malaysian versions I have tried. Flavours from top: Chocolate, strawberry, caramel chocolate, passionfruit (I think) and caramel.

Well, that's a short one from me for now. There should be a new post up in a jiffy!!