Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trailer Sixty 6, Garston, New Zealand

All right, this one is about a food truck in Garston, New Zealand. We had started from Lake Wanaka, driven through the Cardona Range, by the sides of Lake Wakitipu, towards Te Anau. On the way, we came across a small little village – Garston, which had the famous Honey Shop. While I write separately about the Honey Shop, I was hungry and after visiting the honey shopped, I inquired if there was any food and I was asked to go to the food truck right next to the shop outside. Well there was a nice little space with flags of hot food, a shiny steel silver truck and perfect New Zealand pure air with a scent of flowers. 

The menu was limited, as it was a food truck. There was bacon and egg roll, salmon and cream cheese in a bagel, cheese burger, lamb burger, basil chicken, the monster burger and American style hot dog. In the drinks you can order a wide array of coffee’s and teas. Now when we came in the chicken was sold out, pork and beef out of scope for me. The one thing which I wanted and I had been craving for was the Lamb Burger.  The lamb burger was served in a short while. I usually ask for mustard, but the young lady who runs the truck indicated I may not like it, considering that the burger had tzatiki. When the burger was served, oh, it was love at first sight. Just like in the movie, Kumar and Harold, Kumar dances with the big bag of weed, I was euphoric and emotional seeing this lamb burger, my first in New Zealand and all nervous how it would be. 
The buns looked perfect, the patties was a large thick one. It was much bigger than my mouth could open, yet, I gave it all my love. The big bite. The burger was wow. Very yum. It had parmesan cheese, a good fried patty, tzatziki and rocket. The taste of tzatziki was wow, which mixed with the burger was unbelievable. The lamb patty was good. There is one particular taste which I did miss in the lamb. The lamb patties was a bit bland, but then the taste with the tzatziki and parmesan cheese was really wow. All in all, I loved it and hence this blog. Highly recommended. I did speak to the young couple who were cooking and it seems they had come over from Scotland and were travelling and working for the last two years in NZ. The young lady who was running the truck was also quite friendly and mentioned, she had also stayed many years back in Australia in Woolongong.
All in all, if you are driving by Garston, you cant afford to miss this food truck.

SH 6, Garston, New Zealand

+64 210 243 0699

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pedro’s House Lamb, Queenstown, New Zealand

The jewel of Queenstown is the single menu takeaway joint- Pedro’s House of Lamb. Situated on Gorge Road, this place is wow. I had heard so much about this place, that this was on my wishlist. In fact I came in the morning to buy groceries to the fresh world and realized, this was just opposite. 
This place is a simple outlet, with just takeaway. Their specialty and the only item on their menu- Lamb shoulder, slow cooked and baked. As I drove in the evening, luckily there wasn’t too much of a rush and may be I was a bit early.  It’s a pretty shop with great tiles and colors for interiors. As you order, there are aluminum baking trays which is loaded with a whole lamb shoulder from the oven.  It is served with garlic, rosemary and scalloped potatoes. Once the  lamb along with the potatoes are served on the tray, its topped with some of the stock or the lamb juice, and then sealed with the cover. It is then put into a cardboard carton with newspaper and provided for the car.
As we head back to our room at Earnslaw Lodge, with a room having a view overlooking the enormous Lake Wakitipu, the sun setting behind the mountains, it couldn’t be a better and perfect set up for us to open the lamb. We bought a cheese batana and sliced it, toasted it and served with butter and the lamb. Perfect. Now the lamb was well, amazing. 
It was gently roasted on the top, crispy, and as you dig in, you would just be surprised at house gently the knife glides into the lamb. It is unbelievably soft. Now I  am at times concerned with a very strong flavor of the lamb which does not do good with me, but this one was well without the strong flavor. There was a lamb flavor, but it wasn’t too strong and blended well with the potato and garlic. Soft portions of the meat with some fat and and great flavors. I was impressed with the lamb shoulder, the softness, the well mixed combination with the garlic and potatoes. The bread with the butter and lamb was great. All in all, loved it. I would highly recommend this joint and it gets a full 5 on 5 from me. Value is great. Lamb shoulder for $40, not bad. Quantity is enormous. They say it is good for 2, but ask me, Id say for 3-4 people. We couldn't finish the entire amount, so packed it and had it for lunch next day at Mount Cook.
All in all, Id say the best lamb shoulder I have ever had and highly recommended.

47, Gorge Road, Queenstown, New Zealand 

Pedro's House of Lamb Queenstown on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fergburger, Queenstown, New Zealand

Have you ever seen those American movie like Snatch by Guy Ritchie, where some one is at immigration in America and they ask” Anything to Declare”. The guys in turn says, don’t go to England – fish and chips, tea and bad weather and rain. Likewise, if anyone were to asl about Queenstown, the things Id say is awesome city, swiss alps of the southern hemisphere, skiing , Ferg Burger and Pedro’s lamb.
 Now Fergburger, is right at the heart of the city and some have termed it as the best burgers in the world. You wouldn’t be surprised, that there is a line, and big line outside the store almost throughout the day. It’s like this big nonstop event, people just don’t stop pouring in. Apparently the store is usually open for 22 hours in a day. The menu is quite diverse.  A whole array of beef, chicken, fish and hamburgers.  We reached here at 4 in the evening and it was full. There is limited seating in the shop itself.
I ordered the Lamb Burger and the Kids chicken burger. Now usually I have been in the search of the perfect lamb burger for quite some time. This would be a thick juicy lamb patty, along with an interesting amount of cheese, and other accompaniments.  Now the burger here was really interesting.  The lamb in New Zealand is supposed to be famous. It was I must admit the most unique and tasty burger I have had. Contrary to my expectation, this actually had a thin lamb patty. The taste was unique cos it had a sweet taste. It had mint jelly along with lettuce, onion tomato. There was aioli,which gave t a creamy texture and a tomato relish, which made it a bit tangy. So all in all, an interesting one, an amalgamation of a tomato relish, with mint jelly and aioli just tasted yum.  Well, let me tell you that it was so yum, that I came next day and had it again.
The next burger was the Spring Chicken burger, which is in the kids burger section. I wasn’t sure how big the regular burgers would be and if two burgers might be an overkill. Now usually when I have chicken burgers in Australia, I see there are these big chicken breasts which are very stringy and bland, topped with a whole lot of sauces. Now this one was a simple and basic burger. Chicken tenderloins, grilled, along with lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomato. The lettuce was crunchy, the chicken was juicy. And the mix with tomato sauce and mayonnaise was great. The fact that something so basic, and it was unbelievably delicious. I loved it.
So good were the Fergburgers, that next day I went it again. Again, had the Lamb burger. The the new burger which I had was the Bombay Chicken burger.  This one had a again chicken which was marinated in the western Indian style. When I saw western Indian- it’s an interesting cos it was the western view and palate of acceptable Indian taste which meant it was mild. It did mention it was marinated in a chilli, ginger and coriander yogurt with cucumber raita, lettuce tomato, red onion, aioli and mango chutney. Phew. What a combination. Well to be honest, I initially jumped out of my pants to see an Indian version of the burger here. The taste was yum. It was a big burger, the chicken was juicy. The mint chutney, yogurt, aioli made it quite soft and creamy texture, and the marinated chicken gave it a mild Indian touch.  All in all another lovely burger.
I sides, I tried the crumbed calamari and I was expecting rings, but these were calamari triangles like dorito’s and very coated bread crumbs and deep fried. Lovely.
Most of the burgers are in the range of $12 -$15, which makes them extremely affordable.
What I loved about the Fergburgers is there combinations of accompaniments, the amalgamation of flavors. Just yum. Usually burger joints are more gaga about beef and pork and may be one version of the chicken, but here, it was wow, no discrimination. There was seven varieties of chicken burger,  one fish burger, and 2 veggie burgers. It is truly for the love for the burgers.
They do have fries with various sauces and onion rings in sides. The joint also sells beers and wines.

All in all Fergburger impressed me and I wish I can go there again sometime in the future. If you are in Queentown, you have to visit this jewel.

42, Shotover Street, Queenstown

Fergburger on Urbanspoon

Guruji Indian Store Samosa, Christchurch

All right, this is a bit of a different review. I usually write about food joints and so, you may wonder, how come I write a review about the Indian Store. Well, we were in Christchurch, about to commence with our 10 day tour across the south island on a self drive itinerary. Now I would highly suggest and recommend to stock up the supplies at Christchurch itself before you embark on the journey ahead. Being of Indian origin, we did want to stock up indian supplies and I suspected there wouldn’t be too many options in most of NZ. In fact, not just South Island , but even in Christchurch, there are very few Indian stores in Christchurch.  Guruji is one of the big ones.

Well along with regular groceries, the thing that makes me write this review is the snacks at this store. Well, it was morning 11 aprox and a fresh load of samosas had come over. The special samosa was the corn and cheese samosa. Well, these freshly fried samosas with a load of cottage cheese and sweet corn, was simply out of the world. The shop also serves masala tea. Tell you the truth, we had an awesome breakfast by the car in the parking with masala tea and the samosa’s. The samosas were so good that we went in for a second round followed by another round packed for the route.

Highly recommended.

1/103 Gasson St Sydenham, Christchurch, NZ
Postcode: 8023
Phone: 03 374 5222
Fax: 03 374 5221
Mobile: 021 617 352
Store hours: 9:00 am - 6:30 pm Open 7 Days

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Murray Brewery and Port Stephen Winery

All right, if you are travelling from Sydney to Port Stephens, one you are off the highway, it is not easy to miss the big banner for the Port Stephens Winery. As you enter the winery, and make it to the reception, it is the Murray's Brewery for beer and the Port Stephens Winery. Coincidentally, I had been here  few years back, in a bus tour to Port Stephens. I remembered this place too well for its fantastic fish and chips. This time, some one told me to look out for Murray's brewery and I was overjoyed upon arrival to realize it was the same place.

Big area with lawns for the family, another outside seating with barrels as tables and then the main area with a white canopy and tables underneath. Coming around in December, there was a festive spirit in the air. Big groups of families and friends partying. The bar was decorated with Christmas trees and Santa hats. The white canopy had big tables reserved with the Christmas spread. Live music made it even better.

Well, we were starving and decided to quickly dig into the food. The menu had a lot of options, but knowing me, it was more about trying out a few dishes, although I do get carried away and over ambitious at times. I started with the chicken wings for starters. What was interesting is that most of the food here had beer or wine in some form or the other. Be it the golden ale which is used in the pizza crust to lighten it, the beer BBQ sauce, or the battered fish. Well I simply ordered the chicken wings, the fish and chips and the Punch and Judy’s Pizza.

Let’s start with the chicken wings. Very very crispy and crunchy. It was served in a small steel bucket, along with a chipotle BBQ Sauce. The sauce was overwhelming. A very dark brown thick sauce. One dip and you realized, that the sauce had a dark mysterious enchanting smoky flavor. I tend to make it sound mystical, but well this chicken wings and the sauce was legendary. I have had chicken wings, and I loved this one, due to the crunch, but the smoky flavor of the sauce was too good to be true. One small tub had about 9 or pieces.

Next came the fish and chips. The fish was battered with the whale ale, and served in a wooden tray with crispy pieces of the fish. This fish is undoubtedly one of the best and the same as I had a few years back. Very crispy. Served with shoe string fries and two dips, one of tartare sauce and the other was a green one- which I believe was for mushy peas. Very tasty again and I would love to come back here again for the fish and chips.

The Punch and Judy Pizza, was the tandoori chicken pizza, with avocado, rocket, jalapenos and yogurt. Now yougurt was an interesting twist, but this woodfired pizza was yum and it was full of fresh ingredients. I loved the pizza. 

A word of advise, the portion are quite generous. The pizza was huge and so were the 

All the three dishes were really really good and I would highly recommend this as a must stop for all travelers. The bar was decorated for Christmas. The festive spirit, and the live music, just made it a perfect stop over.

Phone: 02 4982 6411
3443 Nelson Bay Rd, Bobs Farm NSW 2316

Murray's Brewery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Only Place, Nelsons Bay, Port Stephens

All right, our first day into Port Stephens. We watched the sunset over little beach and then head back into nelsons bay main street near the market. Park the car and we were roaming around aimlessly into the market and then crossed the street into the D’Alboro Marina, where it was quite the atmosphere. Live music and the buzz. Anyways we were figuring out what we wanted to have and decided to settle for Indian. Now there were two options, one called our place and the other Taj Tandoori. While only place was in the basement, the other one Taj Tandoori was nearby on the first floor, with no lift.

I looked at both places, and Taj Tandoori seemed a bit quiet and the fact it was on first floor with no lift access, made it a bit difficult option for my mom. We went to Our place and this was in the basement of a shopping market. Now the fact that al other shops were closed, the restaurant had created a seating outside in the common area and had curtains and plants as a makeshift arrangement. This was quite unique and interesting and there were quite a few people, hence we decided for this one.

We were surrounded by mostly Aussie folks and another Indian couple. Now as we settled in and looked into the menu, we ordered for a tandoori chicken as the starters. I asked the waiter to reduce the artificial red and orange colour in the tandoori chicken. I did see the one served at the next seat and it was so red. In terms of the mains we ordered for the karahi chicken. For the next mains there was no goat served here. We wanted to take a pick form the prawns, and the options were the garlic prawns or the prawn malabari. We decided to settle for the prawns malabari.

Now the tandoori chicken arrived after quite the wait. In between, we were told that the full chicken had finished and only a half was available. The chicken was just too colored to be honest. Unnatural red. The outer layer of masala was ok, but it wasn’t well marinated. Inside it was bland white chicken and not too hot inside. It made me think it was pre cooked and microwaved. Not good to be honest, just ok.

Then again the very long wait for the mains. After a very long wait, the mains came over. The karahi chicken which was recommended was just about ok. Brown gravy with capsicums and diced onions. The quantity and quality of chicken was descent. However, the taste again was about average. Nothing that I would remember too distinctly. However, as I said, just about average.

Next came the malabari prawns. Now this one was nice. It had a coconut based gravy, with mustard. This had fresh beans and diced potatoes along with fresh prawns.  I would say the gravy was really nice, creamy and tasteful. The prawns were fresh. I liked this dish the best out of the lot.

The breads again were a mix. The garlic naan was good, the roti was about ok. The keema naan, which I really expected to be awesome was somewhere in between. Traditional keema naans in Australia have a filling of minced lamb. It was different from what I expected. The keema naan in this case was a mix between an aloo parantha with some keema in it. It was different from what I thought it would be, but it was too less in terms of stuffing, and even more stingy with the meat filling.

I did speak to the owners and they are a nice couple from Maharashtra, who have been here quite many years.

Overall, there were quite a few English families and may be it suffices to the palates for the aussie folks for curries, but for me, not really. Just about very average. Would I come here again? Most likely not.

10/17-19 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
(02) 4984 4414

Only Place on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Nel Cafe, Nelsons Bay

All right , this one is about the breakfast experience from my weekend trip to Nelsons Bay. We were staying at Soldiers point and I was searching on the internet for good joints for breakfast. I am usually tempted with breakfast joints at holiday destinations as they have good cafes, creative menus and a relaxed ambience and set up. So we drove down to main Nelsons Bay area and went to the Little Nel Café. Situated on 3 Government Road, this is right at the start of the market. The good part is that you can park across the street and hop down to this place. I believe it is the eatery of the Nelson Resort.

Now on the ground floor, this café has a very relaxed ambience and casual seating. There are seats inside, in the building. A wooden veranda on the left has open air seating under canopies, and then there si the front lawn as well. Couches, tables, stools, all multi modes for seating. Looking at the menu, there were the regular options of breakfast including museli, fruits, bacon and egg, and whole lot of other stuff.
We settled in outside on the lawn, on the big sofa/ couch with a low table and view of the bay behind us.

Well I settled for the chocolate milkshake along with the chilli scrambled eggs, while for my brother and mom, I ordered the vegetable stack. Now the waitresses were very friendly and pretty to be honest. They were really sweet and very caring.  The chocolate milkshake arrived first.  This was OMG, unbelievable. I think this is the best milkshake I have had in Australia so far. A huge steel glass, with a thick smooth consistency of mill, ice cream, chocolate and crushed ice. Seriously, this was indulgence, and a sinful one. Too good and highly recommended.
Next came the chilli scrambled egg. This was like a stack of omelet with red chilli stuffing. Now being an Indian I can definitely handle the chilli and I was wondering how  hot this would be. Well, to be honest I was just okay, not too hot, but then good enough for a breakkie. I wouldn't have expected to get anything too hot in the morning. Now the stack of omelet squares or the scrambled eggs, was topped with yogurt. Now this was interesting. Mildly sweet yogurt topped on the hot omelet. This was served with locally grown fresh avocado and grilled tomato and two slices of toast and butter. I loved it. I mean specially the egg with yogurt went well and interesting. The sweetness of the yogurt countered the heat of the chilli's and the creamy avocado, just lovely.

The next dish was the vegetable stack with poached eggs. This was a stack of veggie patties, with loads of nuts. In the patty and crispy fan fried. I think between the patties, there was a beetroot paste. This was served with poached egg and rocket on the top. The beauty of it was that the poached eggs, when cut would lead to the egg yellow overflowing the entire stack of pattie. The taste was yum. The pattie had potato and nuts, which was nice, along with the eggs, it was yum. Highly recommended.

All in all I loved the setting, the ambience and  the creative menu. I was so tempted to think while sitting there in the café, if I would ever come here specially for the breakfast again, and I thought, why not. I thought this one was another of my great finds in the space of breakfast cafes in Australia. Highly recommended if you are in Port Stephens/ Nelsons Bay area.

The Nelson Resort (visit Reception)
3-7 Government Road, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
(02) 4916 4600

The Little Nel Cafe on Urbanspoon