Monday, May 31, 2010

Chat Thai, Sydney CBD

09:45 pm. Gianna. "I want to eat something."
Time is no obstacle when it comes to having something to eat. Well at least for Gianna that is. As late as the night gets there is always that possibility that we might just drop everything we are doing and go for a late snack. Just so happens that one of the best Thai places in Sydney happens to be open at the very convenient hour of 3am. Yes. 3am.
For those drunk enough or silly enough to be out until the early hours of the morning and for some strange reason or another have a penchant for late night Thai, then Chat Thai is your salvation.
Chat Thai without doubt is my standout favourite among all Thai restaurants. There is just so so much good food available. Come in after 10pm and you get the best dishes ever, try get in when supper changeover takes place and get the full dinner menu, as well as the supper dessert dishes that start at 10pm

Like all Thai restaurants Chat Thai has the standard fare of dishes but some like the Pad Thai are hands down the best in Sydney. The Pad Thai is my favourite - beautiful presentation, fresh and full of flavour. Very light and simple you simply can't go wrong.
During our last encounter we tried the Soft Shell Crab Curry which looked amazing and tasted just as good. Once again very fresh and flavourful albeit very spicy. We also tried the Emerald Duck and Crispy Pork Belly with Chinese greens. The Emerald duck is a stir fry of BBQ duck with five spice and greens - delicious and hearty. There is a generous serving of this juicy bbq duck - quack indeed.

I always enjoy having greens with Asian dishes because of the solid feel they add to a dish. Or maybe I just like the colour green in my food. Our next dish was the Kana Moogrob which is chinese broccoli stir fried with crispy pork belly.

Best part of the night though would have to be smashing down a Lodt Shong. A coconut milk drink flavoured with pandan flavoured jellies and Jackfruit. Be warned that it doesn't go down to well after a big night of drinking seeing as though it is milky and all. But I highly recommend for all to try.

Chat Thai on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 30, 2010

IL Baretto, Surry Hills

D: “Where do you want to go to dinner?”
G: “I don’t know what I feel like, im not sure if im hungry..” (lies.)
D: “But you told me to come meet you after work for dinner”
G:”K fine, whatevs, just drive to surry hills..”
D:”Toko, Birra or Baretto, lets go to Il Baretto I feel like pasta”
G:”I don’t know what I feel like, why don’t we try something new? You decide. Decide for me please” Il Baretto it is.
I hate deciding which of the Surry Hills holy trinity I pray to – its bad enough that im hungry. (The other two members of this Surry Hills Holy Trinity being Toko/Tokonama and Pizza E Birra)

I love the simplicity that Il Baretto offers, just a nice small space with big hearty delicious meals. There is nothing fancy about this restaurant – simple interior, fuss free table settings, handwritten menus and your BYO wine (we buy the Chianti Classico every time from the pub across the road..) served in little glass cups. No matter how frantic and busy this place gets, everything slows down – and you fall in love with the food.
I set myself a challenge this time – to come here and NOT order the duck ragu. Yes, to actually think and use my decision making skills. Yes, that is the duck ragu and Demos (from one of our million past visits here..)

We share the Sicilian Olives as Demos tells me about how his day was, and I daydream about a man vs food challenge involving me eating a bucket of these.

Tonight we have the chicken and pesto risotto and the spicy italian salcicce with polenta. Yum Indeed. Both were for the soul, and made that tiring day a little bit better – However, the little jiminy cricket inside my head still wished I ordered the duck.
The chicken and pesto risotto is Demos' favourite. It is as said, pesto risotto. Very simple but very tasty. Creamy rice with a pesto that isn't overpowering and a beautiful green colour make this dish a standout.

The italian sausage with polenta was a special for the night and a departure from the standard menu pick. Most of the time we get pretty lucky with the specials and end up enjoying beautiful dishes. Not to say that the sausage wasn't nice, but I ended up giving it to Demos. Spicy italian sausage that was cooked in a spicy red sauce on polenta proved too hot for me. Problem with polenta though is not finishing while the dish is hot makes the polenta go cold and gluggy. Not so good to eat cold I must say.

All in all a good end to an otherwise dull and shitty day. Because its good to eat your emotions. Mangiare people. Just mangiare.

Il Baretto on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Budget Dining 101 - David Jones Food Hall, Sydney City

Konichiwa - Demos and Gianna are off to another Asian Adventure! Leave Approved, and Flights booked.

We will be eating our way through Japan and Singapore from June 04-15, and you are most welcome to join. Spontanous trips call for emergency budgeting, and with us - this directly affects our food funds. So this is our Thursday night shopping version of cheap takeaway :

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna for me, and Chicken and Mushroom Risotto for him. We swapped to a different red beverage tonight, and had a warm, hearty meal for under $20.

More sushi, sake and singapore crab money for us!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deus Cafe, Camperdown

Hello food lovers, I type before you today a self confessed Breakfast Junkie, weekend breakfast junkie that is. Monday-Friday, my so called "breakfast" is a boring Chocolate Up and Go or a sugary Vanilla Yoghurt cup and hmm, thats just about it. On my daily traffic filled drive to work, I imagine how a Mc Donalds drive through on the way would complete my life. Yes, I'm a slave to those seedy McMuffins.

Which is why, come weekends - the first thought that enters my mind is "Where to go for breakfast...Demos, Wake up!". A cafe breakfast is my favourite way to start off my weekend mornings - Sydney is full of amazing Breakfast spots but I think we found a new winner. Now if only pyjamas in cafe's were acceptable dress code.

Sticking with the 2010 SMH Good Food Guide (our bible), we trek to the Deus Cafe in Camperdown.
Located next to the Deus ex Machina Showroom, it truly is a feast for the eyes. Demos was clearly distracted, but my eyes were on the prize.

"Truffle Oil" - like a moth to the flame, I order the Proscuitto & Poached Egg bathed in truffle oil with Grilled Tomato, Asparagus and Oh so sweet Brioche. Demos had the slow cooked beans on toast with a poached egg and grilled chorizo. Although it took a very long time for the food to come out, we really liked the look of the dishes they had on offer - and clearly it was not the typical "big breakfast with sausage, 2 eggs, white toast & bacon AKA BORING" 10 points for that. And those beans definitely ain't heinz.

The coffee was excellent, and although there was a noticeable gap between beverages and breakfast (brunch by now) - I was able to ignore the pesky tummy rumbles and patiently wait the arrival of our dishes. Managed to sneak in a poached chicken salad with pancetta and parmesan - hey its their fault.. they were taking too long and my eyes got hungry too.

Located on Parramatta Rd, the cafe fills up on weekend mornings - from parents with kiddies, to those hungover from the night before, it gets crowded but the fun atmosphere remains. There are long communal tables, giving a canteen-feel to the large warehouse like space.

Breakfast was pricey, service was nothing spectacular but the food was hearty and just what I felt like. Besides, it was a special occasion anyway - we were up before the breakfast menu ended, i didnt have to have my up and go, and that is enough to make me jump for joy. We were not going to mark the occasion by buying a bike (Now i realise why exactly he was so excited about going there..) but I did buy him a t-shirt.

Deus Cafe 98 Parramatta Road, Camperdown
Deus Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

China Doll, Woolloomooloo

The rule - If its not in the book we shall not go. Not this time.....

We had to break the rule. Whatevs. It was our anniversary so we thought that the occasion warranted a trip to our most favourite of eateries - China Doll, even though it was nowhere to be found in the good food guide. Despite the fact that its been knocked off the pages it was still difficult to get a booking. Not hard to believe though considering its location by the water in Wolloomoolloo with views of Sydney's breathtaking city scape.

I digress. We love China Doll because it has amazing cocktails and never ceases to impress in terms of food. Cocktail selection here is always fun, the menu changes so there is always new to look at trying with each visit. On this occasion we settled for the "China Colada" vanilla infused rum with pineapple juice, coconut and vanilla sago.
To line our stomachs we started off with the chilli squid.
The squid was fresh and went down a treat. The light and salty chilli batter creates a texture that really suits squid. Not coated in a heavy and oily batter, the flavour of the squid could still stand out on its own. Always a favourite.
Our mains for the evening consisted of the tea smoked duck, barbecue pork and prawn fried rice and a special for the evening - slow cooked sichuan pork belly.

The duck is the main draw card. It is one of the best dishes on the menu. It looks and tastes better than all the other duck we have ever had and is one of the reasons why we keep coming back time and time again. Really there isn't any fault we could ever think of. It is simply too good.

The fried rice is also a favourite. Excellent to help appease those appetites that always seem to open up after that first bite.

The special for the evening - slow cooked sichuan pork belly was somewhat of an interesting dish. Served at room temperature gave us somewhat mixed opinions but the sauce was amazing and the crisp crackling made this dish a winner in the end.
Last but not least there was room for desert. Deciding to get the 3 desert sampler - coconut and ginger gelato, black rice pudding with ginger and vanilla flavoured sago with passionfruit. A perfect way to finish up a beautiful dinner.

China Doll on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chapter IV - The Journey Begins, Fetch My Map!

Being indecisive when fronted with choice; specifically when looking for somewhere to eat, things get somewhat heated between Gianna and I. More often than not our biggest arguments stem from the fact that we can't make a decision on where to go and if we do figure out where to go its another story when trying to decide what to eat. As silly as it sounds it's quite true. Enter the Good Food Guide 2010

Yes, SMH Good Food Guide 2010 has made life somewhat easier. Pick a page, pick a place and off we go. A very simple and effective formula. When ideas are hard to come by and inspiration is lacking, flicking through the guide really does help set the wheels in motion. To date 41 restaurants have been covered. Many arguments have been avoided and good food and good times have been had. All for the low price of $29.95 ($14.00 if you buy the Iphone app).

Originally the idea was to grab the book and use it as a guide to help sift through the myriad of restaurants and food establishments throughout the beautiful city of Sydney. So far that idea still stands. However......

Upon examining the guide in detail and looking through the index of restaurants, pouring through the contents and examining every page there was something missing. Where was China Doll?!? One of our favourite restaurants, a staple we stand by. Here's to attacking each restaurant one page at a time! 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter III - Doing Dionysus Proud

Out of all the Greek Gods, Dionysus is my favourite. He drinks, he eats and therefore he is merry. Here are some food snaps that should do the God of Noms proud, consider it my first offering.

Lucio's Pizzeria, Darlinghurst
Several notable sources name this humble little pizzeria as Sydney's Best of the Best #1 Pizza.The Pizza we ordered was so good that it distracted me from my photo-taking duty. Here we have their delicious dessert, A delicious chocolate fondant with molten chocolate oozing through. It was the perfect dessert after their signature 'Lucio'.
Most traditional pizzerias would kick you out the door if you dare ordered a half and half pizza. But this little gem was as traditional as it got. A crisp margherita base, with lashings of buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Simplicity at its finest. And its other half, folded over, has fluffy fresh ricotta and fresh ham to appease the midnight carnivore cravings, mine in particular. 
Pizza to me is more than a food, its an obsession. I dont think i can fairly judge if this is the best pizza in Sydney. A goal of mine (yes, a life goal) is to try and test as many pizza's as I can and then a fair call can be made. I do have my favourites but surely there are many waiting to be discovered.
248 Palmer St Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (02) 9332 3766 - call ahead, its busy!

Europan Cafe, Rose Bay

Ah, the croque madamme.
One thing about Demos, is that if there ever was an iron chef sandwich - it would be him. Often, he fries me a veal schnitzel, slices some fresh ciabatta, throws in some provolone and homemade pesto - and, yes - its the 3am food craving special.

I have had an obsession with the infamous Cafe Europa croque madamme after reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Buttered toast, runny eggs, salty ham and melted cheese - be still my heart. Fittingly, this was my Valentines breakfast date. Nothing says romance like cholesterol and a coffee in a little cafe filled with the sweet sweet smell of butter!
Europan Cafe, 10A Dover Road, Rose Bay 02 9371 2869 

Bathers Pavillion,Balmoral Beach

Blueberry Pancakes. Amazing, fresh, sweet, Blueberry Pancakes.Bathers is truly my favourite blueberry pancake destination. There is something about the combination of the beautiful beach views and their amazing breakfast that spells perfection in my books.

But we have also been known to attack their dessert menu after dark. I just love this cafe, because no matter what you are craving at any given time - you will most likely find something delicious that will hit the spot.
So what makes their pancakes special? They use fresh blueberries. Not Jam, Not Compote, Not Frozen - fresh little berries that pop in your mouth with buttermilk batter and maple syrup.. its heaven. 
4 The Esplanade Mosman NSW 2088 02 9969 5050

Chocolateria San Churro

My great grandfather used to take me to a Spanish cafe called Dulcinea in the Philippines and having churros, a traditional spanish fried doughnut with their thick hot chocolate was my favourite afternoon treat. Another childhood memory is running around Disneyland holding a long stick of churros, rolled in cinnamon sugar.

San Churro, a spanish cafe franchise has seemed to pop up everywhere in the last year..much to Demos' dismay. On a cold night, when everything is silent - Demos tends to start hearing voices, with "Churosssss" being whispered in his ear. Its his subconscious, i say - not me. 
Most of the time, we brave the elements for the Tapas dish. Churros, melted dark chocolate, vanilla ice cream and flourless chocolate browines. Perfect comfort dessert. As angry as he is when he has to drive us there, once the magic of the churros hits him, he forgets. 
47 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, Sydney 02 9692 0119

Il Baretto, Surry Hills

Quack Quack Quack
My knees go weak every time I see duck on a menu.
Il Baretto is somewhat of a place of worship for Demos and I. My favourite days are those when you finish work and head down for a hearty meal and a big glass of red wine. Their duck ragu is all that it is hyped to be and so much more.

I am convinced that the homemade pappardelle pasta is made with love, and that the particular duck in my dish lived a happy life. It just oozes with flavour, and the meat just melts in your mouth. I love its low key atmosphere, and the fact that is BYO. Nothing like ending your workday with a bottle of chianti served in glass tumblers and a hearty dish that makes your heart go "quack".
496 Bourke St, Surry Hills 2010 02 9361 6163

Makoto Sushi Bar, Sydney City

From high school days and missed uni lectures, bad boyfriends and boozy nights - Makoto remains as my one and only in the sushi stakes. Other shiny competitors can come along but this is my happy place. I take all my loved ones here, but get custody if ever the relationship goes sour. 

The teriyaki chicken hand roll always the Pièce de résistance. The sashimi is always sourced fresh everyday from the fish markets along with the other seafood on the conveyor. Another winner is the soft shell crab temaki - for the naughty cravings when trying to eat healthy. 

Its hard driving home from work past this place, anytime there is a parking spot in front, guaranteed I will be pulling over and requesting a spot for one.
19 Liverpool St Sydney 2000 - there is always a line!

Apertivo, Leichhardt

The extensive wine and cocktail menu, together with the impressive italian fare makes this new restaurant one of our favourites for a late night proscuitto craving or a nightcap. You would be forgiven if you thought you were in an upscale restaurant in a trendy neighbourhood, rather then keeping it local in Leichhardt. And did someone say Tapas?

The calzone sealed the deal - with its warm ricotta and a hint of gorgonzolla cheese in the middle, and its hearty base topped with rocket, proscuitto san danielle and lashings of balsamic glaze. Speciale. 
163 Norton st Liechardt NSW 2040 

So yes, food and fun is mostly what Demos and I are about - and when i'm hungry, he means business. We love discovering new favourites and will endeavour to cover these escapades as often as possible. At the end of the day we don't want to pick apart last nights mushroom and asparagus risotto and analyse the change in molecular structure in the cooking process. We'd rather eat it. It really is about enjoying the experience and having fun and we hope you can enjoy it just as much as we will continue to do so.

From 24 hour Mc Donalds & Est.

Sometimes, the fridge isnt empty - And we have iron chef cook offs
Happy Eating everyone!


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