Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mad Cow - Sydney CBD, Sydney

The Ivy is a new and cool looking complex which had sprung up a little while ago but I have not had the pleasure of visiting until last week. There was a cause for celebration so we decided to try out the steakhouse Mad Cow. With a name like this we had to hope that the name is only a joke and they do not really serve the prion haha but I find the name quite amusing.

We had a little trouble finding the entrance to the complex haha walked past it without realizing until the number suddenly jumped to 350 George St. Had to back-track and finally spotted the bouncer and staff waiting outside. I also spotted a cute little cupcake bakery a few doors down which I must visit sometime ^^!

Reaching the end of the long alleyway, with fashionable and chic shops on both sides, we were greeted by some trendy zebras.

Directions yay!

We had to climb some cool looking steps to Ivy Bar and Mad Cow restaurant. Everything still looks new and sparkly :)
Since we had a pretty early booking the Ivy Bar outside was packed full of businessmen and women all enjoying the fact it is Friday night with drinks and fun. We had to weave our way through conglomerates of people to the other side where the steakhouse is located.

I must admit when I first saw it I thought the look was a bit retro but I like it :) Very warm and cozy especially with the yellow mood lighting and soft cushy seats. Fresh flowers on every table and friendly and helpful staff. Our waitress was very awesome and helpful which made the experience much more pleasurable. The only problem was that the entrance was open to the bar and there is only a thin sheet of glass blocking the chatter and laughter so a very noisy dinner.

We were greeted with some soy and linseed bread which was very soft with a crunchy outer crust. Spread some soft butter and it was almost a perfect start to any meal. If the bread was served warm then it would have been perfect hee hee.

How awesome is the title - Drinky Poos Menu hee hee... I am so mature :D
The cocktail menu with some unique drinks and some classic ones.

Crazy Cow Margarita - A classic mix of Sauza gold Tequila combined with citrus, poached blueberry and vanilla.
To be honest I ordered this one because of its' name :) The vanilla adds a very nice touch to the drink and I found the blueberry flavour too weak but was still a good drink.

Long Island Iced Tea
Classic drink which, for me, gauges the quality and skills of the bartender. Fairly good but mayb just slightly too much ice which means less drink.

The menus are very amusing and I liked how they separated between beef and non-beef mains (The Cow and Not the Cow).

The back of the food menu we have some singing cows ^^! lalalalaa reminds me of Babe the movie haha except with cows.

The talking cows on the cover of the wine list strongly recommending white wines with chicken.
Reading through the menu made us hungry so we decided to order but just as we were about to our waitress mentioned the special and was able to sell it to half of us.

Shortly after ordering Here Comes the Food.

Buttered Spinach

Steamed vegetable
We ordered two side dishes of vegetables to counter all the meat we were eating. These vegetables compliment the main very well and I especially liked the spinach and baby carrots.

Rib Eye 400g
This steak was amazing and came just as we ordered it - medium rare. The chefs surely know what they are doing :) The aroma of the steak also wafts up and activates all the salivary glands even before you dig in. There was a good layer of fat on the side to give the lean meat an injection of flavour. Just pure meaty brilliance.

Special Wagyu Skirt 200g
With a 9+ marble score there was only the slightest taste of fattiness in the meat since it is beef skirt and a thin cut. The chefs had achieved a perfect char on the outside which causes a beautiful combination of crispy/crunchy outside and tender soft melty interior. The textures and flavours are enhanced since they recommend cutting across the grain of the meat for a better culinary experience. I personally would prefer this to the rib eye, the only downside is that it is such a small piece haha.

The Sauces: shallot thyme jus, Bernaise, chimichurri and truffle butter
The truffle butter is an additional $5 while the rest are complimentary with the steak but it is well worth that little bit of extra cash. The rich and creamy flavour just melts on the meat to create a bite of heaven. I am also a big Bernaise fan and the chimichurri was very nice with a little bit of spice to it but I found the shallot thyme jus just average.

We were all pretty full since we had a huge lunch so we couldn't fit any dessert in but these complimentary shortbread and brownie combination almost made us order some. These were very very good, dense rich macadamia nut brownie with a creamy crumbly shortbread base and coated in icing sugar. The pavlova and the hot chocolate fondant were the ones on the menu that really stood out but alas we were still too full.

Mad Cow may be quite an expensive place but the food is just exquisite and definitely worth the splurge once in a while. I think it might just lose to Prime by a little bit but I have not been to Prime in a while now so I'll need to refresh my experience before I can compare hee hee. I will be back here for sure and next time I shall be ordering dessert!!

Mad Cow, The Ivy
320-330 George St, Sydney
Ph: 9240 3000
Lunch and Dinner Mon - Sat



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Food Month - Night Noodle Market at Hyde Park

Being steered away from the first week and the second week of this event part of GFM by daunting weather and pre-arranged obligations; I found myself with a clear schedule on the last Friday of the Night Noodle Market, so ventured with C to the abodes of Hyde Park.

Whilst mindlessly circulating the circumference of the park looking for car parking, it was surprising to see that crowds had already started to gather and reserve tables for their parties to come. Armed with a wealth of different stalls to try from reviews of other bloggers experience with this year's NNM and a ever-going appetite, C and I lined up at the stalls that caught our attention.

First up was a spicy beef and cheese okonomiyaki ($8) from Japancake: minced beef was still hot when served; leaving a mild hint of chili after-taste that complemented the portion of cheese. Though there wasn't as much cheese as I would have imagined, this dish was a good starter for the many to come...

Scallops and Prawn Skewers Combo from Squidlicious: the scallops were juicy and slightly watery underneath the fried battery, the prawns were great in terms of value and tasted good with the accompanying sweet-chili sauce. The salad and prawn crackers were left untouched as they were both dry, lacked any purpose and were probably just for aesthetics.

Here the next few stalls that we tried were motivated by my sweet tooth over savory dishes. After reading previous years reviews, I decided to give a scoop of Fig, Honey and Pistachio ice cream ($4) from Serendipity Natural Ice Cream a go: mildly refreshing with a deep flavour of honey made this the favorite item overall at the NNM 2008. The fig was a great coupled with the pistachio flavour as both have a nutty crunch, which I believe works well with ice cream (e.g. Green Tea ice cream and corn flakes).

Assorted desserts from Yai Surry Hills. I actually intended to try the coconut juice after reading erique's blurb on eat like a cow, but sadly it was not available. Instead we opted for the sticky rice with coconut and sticky rice with taro (if I can remember correctly). The sticky rice with coconut had strands of coconut which were a delight and left you wanting for more (at just $1!). The sticky rice taro (sadly without a cross-section picture), was authentic and arguably the better of the two.

Lion dancing, which I couldn't agree more with efo's sentiments: "I'm terribly sick of lion dances - which is IMHO the most exploited, overused, and ubiquitous of Chinese cultural performance."
I guess it would have made a little bit of sense if the NNM was in Chinatown; what does Hyde Park have to do with lion dancing? Also, it's not like the chinese cuisine was the most predominant at this year's NNM ... malaysian/south-eastern asian cuisine had a majority of stores in my opinion.

To finish off our circuit, we headed over to Poffertjes Please for a plate of Mini Dutch Pancakes with strawberries and caramel sauce. When the last pancake had been devoured, I made a decision that over the Christmas holidays, I would perfect such a great dessert - small pieces of bliss with the accompanying condiments.

Night Noodle Markets
5 - 9.30pm, free entry

Sydney - Hyde Park North
Event Dates:
October 13th - 17th and 20th - 24th



Monday, October 27, 2008

Sushi Studio - Neutral Bay, Sydney

This little cozy place is hidden among many, many Japanese restaurants in the Neutral Bay area. I was suggested here by my friend En.elle who is responsible for the appetizing photos on their website. After entering the small entrance, the whole atmosphere is transformed into a chic and modern decor of mirrors, art and polished wood. It is warmly lit and full of life and a dim murmur of other customers.

It is always a good sign to see Japanese patrons as it means the food is authentic.
They also have paper covering the tables which is good and bad. Good as you know that the tables are not just wiped down by a dirty, damp rag but replaced with a fresh crisp sheet of paper. Bad as it lowers the restaurant value on the class-o-meter.

Another considering mainly the specials menu Here Comes the Food.

Salmon and Tuna Sashimi (S)
The fish here is amazing! These fresh and succulent slabs of delicate meat just melt in the mouth and marry very nicely with the fresh wasabi. I think the freshness and quality of the fish is the most important part of Japanese dining and this place has hit it right on the money. The problem with such great sashimi was that the dishes after it just couldn't compare to it...

Salmon Aburi
This dish has also been done very well and the chef has added some very nice twists to it. Little golden balls of roe were hidden inside and were not noticed until the morsals were placed into the mouth and they popped to release their aroma and flavour. Very pleasant surprise even though I am not a big fan of roe.
The ginger was also very fresh and cool and prepared our palates for the next tasty bite ^^!

Eel Roll
The eel was pretty good but nothing compared to the fresh sashimi we had before. I must admit that when I was eating this, my mind was still thinking about the sashimi.

This dish was quite disappointing after such a great start to the meal. They look very nice but after biting into them they were dry and not much flavour. I had expected something of much higher quality but the quality of the meat was not up my standards.

One of the Chefs :)
All in all this place is definitely getting a re-visit but the next time I am sticking with just seafood and mainly sashimi.

Sushi Studio
75 Military Rd
Neutral Bay, Sydney
Ph: (02)9953 7317

Trading Hours
Mon : 6:00pm-10:00pm
Tue : Closed
Wed/Thu : 6:00pm-10:00pm
Fri/Sat : 6:00pm-10:30pm
Sun : 6:00pm-10:00pm



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kimama Kitchen - Chinatown, Sydney

I am a big fan of all types of curry so when I read about this "King Curry" at Kimama Kitchen on Eat Like a Cow, I could not help myself but visit it and take on the challenge. This place was hidden in one of the corners of the food court at Eating World with only a small sign stating its' name. To be honest I have never been inside Eating World before so it was a new experience for me haha.

The plasma tv flickered between showing the menu and the Happy Hour specials of cheap cheap curry! Too bad they are only available 3:00pm - 5:30pm.

I really liked the dish they served the cutlet curry rice from the pictures I saw at Eat Like a Cow but I could not resist seeing how big the King Curry is. The service was a bit slow but when they finally finished preparing the King Curries I could see why it took so long.

Spot the engrish!

Here Comes the Food.

Erique Fat Owl was not kidding when he said that it was for a big appetite! I am quite a big eater (as I am a bit of a fatty hee hee) but even I slowed down near the end but managed to finish. The curry came with miso soup and a small bowl of salad, both very nice and compliments the curry very well.

The curry itself is fairly mild but after so much you can feel the effects a bit. I agree that there could be more sauce but I would prefer a lot more chicken katsu hee hee. The beautiful crunch of the chicken is most enjoyable especially when you dont expect it as they covered it with sauce. Overall it is a very enjoyable meal at a very reasonable price and so I will definitely be coming back to try their other dishes or this curry if I am very hungry :D

Monkeyjaja, my curry buddy for this meal got this for a VERY reasonable price as he ended up getting THREE meals out of this one dish.

Curry curry curryyy ^^!

Kimama Kitchen
Eating World Harbour Plaza
Shop 207, 25-29 Dixon St
Haymarket, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9280 0409



Friday, October 24, 2008

SMH GFM Sugar Hit: Radisson - Darling Harbour, Sydney

Yay! I finally join the my fellow Sydney bloggers in posting about Sugar Hits :D A small group of us decided to hit this Sugar Hit after a big celebratory birthday dinner at Essen's (soon to come), previously known as Una's at Broadway.

We went for a little walk and ended up at Radisson Hotel and Suites. I like the warmly lit lobby and atmosphere to the Brasserie with the blue aura emitting from the bar. The only aspect that was out of place was the music being played and the cricket on the tv but apart form that all is good.

Hee hee one happy waiter :)
The staff here are very friendly and accommodating as we did not have a reservation. The place was actually quite empty but one flambouyant waiter managed to keep us all entertained with small talk, jokes and some singing/dancing hee hee.

Brown Brothers Rose
We were welcomed with a glass of Brown Brothers Rose which provided a refreshing and bubbly feeling resonating throughout the body with every sip. The sweetness matches nicely with the desserts that we were about to have and the alcohol was barely noticeable.

Another disappointing part of the meal was when a laminated sheet of plastic was given to us with the description of the desserts on it. It just seemed a bit tacky and low-brow. I personally prefer the wait staff to describe each of them to us instead haha (call me snobby).

Asian-style menu description -_-
But soon I my attention was diverted away form the sheet as Here Comes the Food.

Surprice & Delight - Trio of Gajjar Halva with Yogurt and Cream sauce, "King of Pudding" Watalappan (Creme Brulee) with Palm sugar and Mixed Berry Romanoff with Rose double cream.
I started off with the Romanoff and I was in for a very pleasant surprice indeed! The cream and berry jam mixed perfectly to create a very sweet combination and topped off with a sweet fresh strawberry. I recommend leaving this for last as it was the sweetest and the best in my opinion hee hee.

The "King of Pudding" Watalappan had the best name of the three but it carried a very heavy asian taste that I cannot put my tongue on. It might just have been the palm sugar but I don't think it was. The texture is similar to that of a flan so it was nice and smooth in the mouth. It was an interesting dessert to experience but I would not order it again.

The Gajjar Halva is a combination of carrot, yogurt, spices and crushed pistachio. The grated carrot made it a refreshing dish but it was not very sweet. Another interesting dessert but not on my preference list.

Radisson Hotel and Suites
One on 1 Brasserie
72 Liverpool St
Darling Harbour, Sydney
Ph: (02)8268 8888



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Singapore Tastes - Oyster Omelette

Mmmmm this delicacy is something of an interest - an omelette that is chewy and crispy. I asked the locals what made a good oyster omellete and in the process I was recommended 2 places:
Ang Mo Kio Hub - Hokkien Mee
Clementi food centre - Soon Lee


the middle one please!!!

loving the funky hats

The food centre located at the top floor of this shopping mall is teeming with hungry lunch time crowd and lots of local kids! Lots of oysters - a definitie plus! Price was a reasonable $4 for the nice indoor AC and a decent looking plate. A bit oily but delightfully crisp in some parts - I was just glad they didn't skimp on the oysters like a lot of places do!

Clementi Food Centre

so big!!!!!

trying to get a perspective of where I was sitting...

Soon Lee oyster omelette store!
Now the price of this one was the same but the serving - heaps bigger! I found that the taste was just as good - a bit smoother and I didn't have that oily feeling on the pallette that I was expecting with most fried foods. It had the crispy bits and lots and lots of oysters :) But you got to sweat it out in this outdoor eating centre.

So which one is the better one? - personally i enjoyed the Clementi one more because it had the same crispness but was not as oily as the one in AMK hub.