Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bench, Newtown

All right. This one is about Bench wine Bar situated at Newtown. Well it all started with a Friday evening. One of my close mate and myself finished work and walked into Newtown. Agenda was to find a good place to sit and relax, have a quiet little drink and then maybe some good food in one of the eateries. Being the winter, a regular pub was not on our agenda.  Walking towards on the king street, we walked all the way towards St Peters station. I do remember a nice a place that I had passed a number of time, which was close to Corelli’s Café, but unfortunately I couldn’t see it. Another place where we went but it was a bit too dark and dodgy. As we walked back from St Peters, we came across Bench, which seemed to be a nice place.

As we entered, I think the ambience did win our hearts and we settled for the table with the couch.


 The décor is great. A bit dark with multi coloured lights in the corners, which gives it a very chic and modern feeling. On the left corner are the instruments placed, suggesting live music. A large wall hand painitjng on the right side, bar stools and stools overlooking the window on the road outside. Very modern, casual and yet comfortable and elegant. As the name suggests, it is a wine bar. In terms of wine, they have a very long wine list with wine from France, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and our own Australia.


The food menu is interesting. They have small eats and bigger eats- all wine suggestions. We started with the Chicken Nacho’s which were great. Quite delicious, topped with salsa, chicken and cheese. We tried a NZ red and it was perfect. Some great conversation and a comfortable place.
The food item which I tried next and which I swear by is the Buffalo Wings. Out of the world. Spicy, and delicious- I just cant get over the craving. Ever since my first visit, I have visited this place almost 4 times in the last one month and the chicken wings are to die for. An absolute must have to order.

All in all, a great place to sit, have a few drinks with some nibbles. Lovely ambience, and very relazxing and soothing. They have Jazz and Live singers on Sunday evenings, which adds it up.

Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm
Sunday from 4pm
 PH 95577428

503-511 King Street, Newtown









Bench Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maya Da Dhabha

 Maya Da Dhabha

All right, this one is about Maya da Dhabha at Surry Hills. The context- last weekend in Sydney for my mom and brother and its mothers day as well. We head out from Strathfield at 2 in the afternoon. The lunch buffet at Nilgiri’s is an option, but we want to do something in the city. Zaaffran kitchen closes at 2:30, so that’s ruled out. And suddenly we remember that Maya Da Dhabha had beb on my to do list for quite some time. So we decided to go for it and give it a try.
Now, may years back when I had come to Sydney for the first time and always craved for Indian food, I did go to these restaurants a few times, but somehow I stopped going there. A few reasons included the long walk from Central station and the fact that I found better restaurants at other places. After so many yars I was back in Surry Hills. The good part of Maya Da Dhabha was that the kitchen was open all time. We took a cab from Central Station and arrived here. Settled for a table at the entrance next to the big window, watching the cars and traffic go by. It was a bright sunny day.
 
The order- simple- Tandoori Chicken and Amritsari Fish. The main course, Goat Curry and Karahi Chicken along with a bread basket. Now the interiors were about ok. Like Surry Hill, one of the old houses, converted into a restaurant. Stereotyped interiors, music and feel. The table was a bit sticky and we requested for it to be cleaned, but the waiter assured and disappeared. We had to remind again. Very soon the appetizers appeared. The tandoori chicken half, was quite a surprise to be honest. I thought being in Australia, the size of the chicken would be descent but it was quite small. The chicken looked extremely tempting and tasty. Perfectly grilled, and with red color, it reminded me of the tandorri Chickens from India. But a few bites and it was just about ok. The chicken was a bit too small pieces to be honest. Texture wise cooked ok and looked really good but taste wise, just missing the punch and a bit bland. I wished the color and spices went hand in hand. I found the salt very less and not spicy at all. So in my opinion- just OK, not that great.

Next came the Amritsari Fish. I enquired which they used at the time of ordering and it was ling Fish, something we like as well.So this preparation was deep fried fish in a chickpea batter. Now the fish when presented looked golden and crispy. Taste wise, initial bite and it was god. Not out of the world but nonetheless good. By this time I realized, I gotta to make it tasty. So I requested the waiter to get chaat masala and lemon. Once I sprinkled a generous amount of chaat masala and lemon,it was perfect. Loved it.




Lets come to the main course. We got the Karahi Chicken and the Goat Curry. After finishing the starters, we were a bit full and wondered if we had over ordered. But the serving size of the dishes was quite mall to be honest. The karahi chicken was again ok. The curry was a bit weak and resembled the curry I make at times at home. Well I do think I am a good cook, but at times I have my bad days. This curry texture was similar. The water of the curry, kind of separate from the main curry components. Being Kadhai Chicken, there were diced onions and capsicums, but I think the dish, while edible, but missed the mark. Again, just about ok and not too wow.
 
The goat curry was good with a darker and more spicier curry. Liked the curry. Good taste. The quality of goat meat was varying.  Some pieces were soft and tender meat while a few pieces were extremely chewy and tough. So the dish was again ok. I liked the gravy but wished the quality of meat was uniform.

The bread basket had an assortment of breads. The garlic naan, butter naan, cheese naan, Kashmiri naan. Again the breads were just ok. While fresh, I have had better bread elsewhere.

The service was ok, although I wish they frequently visited the table.
The biggest blunder was when we cam home. We had requested for a take away of the chicken and mutton curry and the breads. I expected them to be separately done. When we came home, they were in one box along with rice. Now we hadn’t ordered rice at all and I was just wondering whose rice was this. We threw away the food with doubts on the rice.
All in all, an average experience. I would probably not go there specially to be honest. If you are looking for a good Indian food experience, Id rather suggest Zaaffraan, or any other joint.


431 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills

Maya Da Dhaba on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Little Nepal

All right, this one is about Little Nepal. Situated in Burwood, and I have been going to this restaurant / cafe for the last 3-4 years. Many years back, I was fascinated with this restaurant which was in the neighborhood, made goat curry and momo's. After a few months, I introduced it a friend of mine, who became a greater fan. Eventually, I went there so many time that became sick of it and stopped going there all together. After many years I was in the area and decided to re visit. Well, as always, it still great. 

I had a terrible cold and  ordered the goat soup, the chicken momo's and chilli chicken. Well, I had gone there during lunch time. The goat soup is like the thin shorba with Indian spices and goat bone pieces. Very light curry made from boiling goat bony pieces with slight spices such as cardamom, cloves, turmeric and red chilli. Well, it reminded me of the homely soup we have in Indian homes. Liked it. The ponly minor thing was that the goat pieces were simply boiled. 

Next came the chicken momo's. Now you probably know that I am big fanatic and lover of Momo's. Refer to previous post (http://foodiechatter.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/the-journey-of-momos-manali-to-delhi.html)

Now I was ecstatic to find momo's here in Sydney a few years back. The momo's are really good, although I still crave for the ones from Delhi at Chanakya Puri. But nonetheless not bad. There is also another variant called the C Momo, which is basically the momo's with a saucy base made out of onions, tomatoes and capsicum.  I prefer the simple steamed momo's.

The chilli Chicken came in last. Well, after being for so many years here, I had stopped expecting the crispy friend Indian style chilli chicken. Over here, it is usually chicken breast small pieces, stir fried in the sauce. Now the one which got served was quite the Indian style one. in fact it was very overly crispy fried chicken. A bit too much to be honest. But nonetheless, Good one. I wouldn't mind going in again and having, just for the fact that its quite unique and different. Compared to India, this might be above average, but nonetheless, Id go for it, as it quite close. Again crispy fried batter coated chicken pieces with a spicy sauce base, and onions and capsicum. 

The best part of the meal came after wards, which was the Nepalese Chai. Well, after the meal, i was craving for Desi Indian team, but I was scared it might be a dip tea. I asked the lady if they could make me some Masala Tea, and she recommended the Nepalese Tea. This was quite good. Served in a tall glass and quite similar to the Masala tea, except it seemed to be a bit more milky. Lovely tea. 

On other visits, I have tried their Goat Curry and would recommend it to anyone visiting here.  

All in all a good cafe restaurant and good food. An average one as per my taste, but nonetheless, worth a visit.

Located at Burwood
135 Burwood Road Burwood, NSW 


Little Nepal on Urbanspoon

Work In Progress Bar

All right, this one is about Merivales New Bar- Work in Progress which opened up on May 1st at 50, King Street, Sydney. 

Well, quite an interesting and unusual one, with a great arty feel inside, this one is quite casual in the vibe and feel. As you step in, the Walls are just plastered with comics adds, posters etc. They serve Thai food and drinks. Well, the Thai food is fresh and tasty. We ordered the Pad Thai and the Chicken in Cashew nut Stir Fry. Pretty Descent. Was it the the best? May be not, but not too bad. 

The bar, as we could see were serving a number of cocktails with fresh juices and all. There were retro pin ball machines, couches and all. The menu card was also quite interesting, showing the picture of a fat guy and saying Fuck I am full. The menu is not too diverse or elaborate from a food perspective, but selective.


OPEN HOURS

Mon – Wed. 12pm - 12am
Thu – Fri, 12pm - 2am
Sat, 5pm - 2am





Sunday - closed

ADDRESS

50 King Street, Sydney



Work in Progress on Urbanspoon

Bangkok Snap Revisited.

My previous post for Bangkok Snap
http://foodiechatter.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/bangkok-snap_30.html
http://foodiechatter.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/bangkok-snap.html

Latest one below
Bangkok Snap

All right, this one is about Bangkok Snap, right near my house. Not this first time visit. It was a cold Sydney night and we decided to eat out. Something warm and something hot and spicy. As we walked on Strathfield Boulevard, there were three options shortlisted- Maenam Lao,  Beauty and the beast and Bangkok Snap. We decided for Bangkok Snap.
It was quite cold and surprisingly quiet and empty. We looked up  the menu and ordered the Tom yum Soup and The Clear chicken soup with vegetables. For starters, we ordered the prawn and crab spring roll. As we chit chatted, the soups came over. 

The Tom Yam- quite sour, tangy and a but hot with loads of mushrooms, chicken. I must admit, I have had this soup before and find the taste quite different, but nonetheless, nice. We started off and  with the soup and then the other soup came in. The clear chicken soup along with onion,
carrots, potato. This was quite good as well. Basic, but delicious and just what you need when you have a cold and want something to warm you up. The prawn and crab spring rolls looked quite different. Usually spring rolls have a crispy exterior , which is basically deep fried dough. In this case, it was a mesh sort of, which was deep freid. Quite crunchy and delicious. Alas, one serve had only four pieces and I wish there were more.


Once done with the soups and starters, we ordered for the salt and pepper soft shell crab.  We were too sure what this would turn out to be. Have had it before, except for once in Singapore Airport and I didn’t like it then. But once it came over, it was beautiful, tasty and light. Cruchy and yet fresh, served with sweet chilli, I liked this dish, although I think it was more like a starter or an appetizer. Would have it again if I come here.

Next came the chicken dish, we ordered for a stir fried chicken with cashew nut and chilli Jam. This dish was quite good again. Served with baby corns, mushrooms, cashews and chicken, broccoli, carrots. Not hot at all, and quite a subtle taste. It was good.
The minced chicken freid rice, which is specialty was hot and tasty. Serve in a bowl of lettuce, this dish had the spunk.


All in all, a good meal and all this for just $60, not expensive in my opinion.  




Bangkok Snap on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jamie’s Italian, Sydney

All right, this one is about Jamie’s Italian. One work day which was going pretty crazy and I stepped out to meet another colleague of mine, whom I was meeting after many months. Being a Tuesday, I was vegetarian and as we walked from Kent to Clarence to George to Pitt, we were walking aimlessly until I saw this shop which I had crossed a few times before.

I had wondered what was so special, because it didn’t have a board outside and that there was always so much of a rush to get in. From the outside, it looked more like a small wine bar. Now on this day again, pardon my ignorance, but I had no clue. I stepped in and then waited in the waiting area, where for the first time; I saw a bit more of the restaurant. The waiting area had the bottle of wines and loads of dry pasta’s. A long elongated corridor with seats on both sides. The interiors were a bit rustic and modern at the same time. A very cozy touch. It was here after seating I realized the connection with the famous Jamie Oliver.



As we were seated, the beautiful lady waiter came over and introduced herself and presented the menu. It was then when I looked at the menu, that I realized it was Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. The Menu had a number of items, and to be honest, I was scanning for the vegetarian options.  It was confusing and yet interesting. The bruschetta, pasta’s and risotto’s and the mains. Well, I was quite tempted to break my vow for vegetarianism and order the chicken. Nonetheless, I thought it might be a good change. In the vegetarian mains, I was recommended by my colleague for either the risotto with truffles, or the ravioli with spring pea and mint or the cannoleni. Now at this stage, I am clueless and I just decide to go for the ravioli. My colleague orders the risotto with the truffle.

For entrée, we order the Baked Mushroom. The waitress recommended the daily special which was the bruschetta spinach, and pumpkin.

The entrée were served first. The bruschetta was fresh and refreshing. It was topped with white creamy thing which I suspect would have been ricotta cheese but not sure. Over it was the spinach and pumpkin and pine nuts. Lovely. It was quite different from the regular brushetta’s. It had fresh flavor of soft cheese and the pumpkin pieces made it a bit sweet.












Next came the baked mushrooms. Now this one is unbelievable and amazing. Served on a small earthen ware with mushrooms and topped with smoked buffalo cheese.  The taste was just awesome and highly recommended.  Just baked and molten cheese and mushrooms.

































My main course dish was the spring pea and mint ravioli. A green colored dish with peas, and a bit of leafy stuff on the top. There were broad and green beans and ravioli stuffed with potatoes. On this entire greenish dish, we had white ricotta cheese. The base of the dish was a green relish, which has a very minty flavor. The dish to me was quite simple and flavorsome.  The beans were fresh and crunchy. The ravioli and the slight base of mint and leaves was very good. To me I liked it as it was new, but would I have it again? May be not. Why? Well the dish didn’t have anything bad in it, it’s just that I would probably try something new.  This one was nice but not out of the world Id say.

The other dish which my colleague had ordered for himself and I tried it was the risotto with the truffles.   

The risotto which is basically rice along with butter, parmesan and truffles looked pretty ok. But then one spoonful and it was heavenly. Very flavor some and buttery. The wild truffles. Well to be honest I didn’t know what truffles were until I was told that truffles are one of the most expensive things to eat and they are found as abnormalities in the roots of pine trees. This dish to me was amazing and out of the world. Id die to go back and have that wild truffle risotto again to be honest.

All in all very flavorsome and great food. The service is great as well. Prices well you can always order the mains as a mains or as an entrée as well where the serving size is smaller. The pasta’s and risotto’s are about $12 -$20 as a smaller portion of serving whereas if you order it as a main course it would range from $18-$28.

A meal for two would cost $40-$80.

Quick Update: I visited again today for the second time. Ordered the mushrooms and the truffle rissotto. The assessment still holds true and I am a stronger and bigger fan of Jamie's. Another colleague who came with me ordered the squid ink seafood pasta and it was quite unique.  Well, he liked the dish and when I asked him if he'd come again, the answer was most definitely yes.


Would I go there again? For sure.
Would I recommend it? Mostly definitely.


OPENING TIMES
Monday - Sunday
11:30am - Late

Jamie's Italian
107 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW


PHONE NUMBER +61 2 8240 9000

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon



Baia The Italian



All right, this one is about Baia The Italian. Another Friday evening, and a lot of me time. A few schooners by myself, and then walk down to Darling Harbor.  Great weather, and a bit tipsy, the world looks beautiful. Just me time with myself alone. Anyways, IMAX has a show at 8:30 for the movie 300: The rise of an empire. Now I had 1.5 hours to kill and a Friday mood to party. I decide to go up to Baia The Italian.
The restaurant is right on the cockle bay wharf, overlooking the harbor, with great impeccable views. Just amazing to get a seat outside and take the view as the sun sets down. As I arrive, there is quite a line of people standing outside to view the menu and to decide if they wish to go in or not. As I walk in and the lady at the reception indicates the available seats. I decide to settle into the comfortable longe seats on a small table inside from where you get a good view of the harbor.
Looking at the menu, I quickly see the appetizers, a whole selection of wine and cheese. Especially the cheese platter and all the different types of cheese had me like the character from the chipmunks, who used to get hypnotized when he heard or smelt cheese.

Anyways, I quickly look at my options. No Beef and Pork. No worries, lot of vegetarian options available. But I aint eating vegetarian. There are pizza’s as well and boy they do look delicious when they serve at a nearby table.  Pastas as well, but again, I am looking for chicken and not too many options to be honest. If you like fish, there are a number of fish dishes- the pastas, pizza’s and just the grilled barramundi’s and salmon.

I settle for the main course with Chicken. It’s the free range chicken supreme served with capsicum and eggplant caponata. Now I have been used to some modern Australian fine dining and I was probably thinking about this to be another version of the grilled chicken with some mash, cheese, and asparagus. So when I ordered this, I didn’t see any of the regular description and wondered what the capsicum and eggplant would be like.  Well, as I continued with my peroni’s and the beautiful view of the habor, it took about 20-25 minutes for the main course to be served. As it was served, well it looked beautiful. It was the chicken breast with a small symbolic bone jutting out. Served on a white plate, with this bright red base which looks very colorful and gooey. One dig into the breast with the  knife and I can tell you, it was so soft and juicy and yet cooked. Now might sound difficult, but I have probably never had a chicken breast cooked to such perfection. Crispy skinned outside and very soft inside. The base consisted of eggplants, tomato base and basil along with olives. The taste of the base was good, and Id say a bit different. Not too conventional, but yes it was nice. A new taste for me as well. So the main course does get a thumbs up from me.






Once finished, I asked for the desert menu and ordered the tiramisu with chocolate and berries. I requested the waiter that I need to be out in the next 10 minutes as the movie is about to begin and boy the service was fast and receptive. The tiramisu, was heaven. Just unbelievably awesome. I loved it. The tiramisu, topped with chocolate powder and a pattern of chocolate sauce and berries. I think this really made it my heart soar and make me feel that the meal had hit the spot.

All in all a great dinner with myself. 

The main course $30-40. The starters range from $10-25. Pizza’s and pasta’s are in the range of $25-$30. Overall meal for one can be about $ 50.

Well, being on the harbor, claiming to be fine dine, has good service, well dressed staff and all. The prices are a bit high and the food to be honest is just about ok- I mean its not too wow or out of the world Id say. I got a feel it might be a bit touristy. 

114 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour 2000

(02) 9283 3434 

Baia The Italian on Urbanspoon