Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good Food Affare - Castle Hill, Sydney (Part 1)

This post is about a week or so late but like every other food blogger, so many posts and too little time. Clearly my mouth is much bigger and faster than my posting abilities :P

But onto the Good Food Affare, as you may have read on other sites this Saturday was unfortunately windier than normal but it did not deter the mobs of foodies squishing into the tents and browsing all the goods. Since it was so windy and dust was everywhere D, C and I just ran into the closet possible for shelter and that was when I just started going trigger happy with camera so please excuse the disorganization of my photo order.

So much foodie dedication :)
This explains the hectic traffic in Caste Hill. After searching through the tents it is always good to see a familiar face :D

Noods and Suze
The wonderful Suze and Noods were tending their Biscuit Tree stall and we were lucky we got there when we did because they nearly sold out of stock! I am addicted to her Cranberry and Pistachio thick biscotti mmmmm. As you can see on Citrus and Candy, the before shot of our visit. Here is the after shot haha ^^!

What a lonely bag of biscotti... I should have given it a home too!
After a nice chat we continued on our exploration.

Fudge Lady

Mmmmm chocolate!

Kimberley Chocolates

Byron Bay Truffles

Chilli (left) and Strawberry (right)
Yummy truffles even though the chilli could have had a stronger kick to it.

This was a disappointing sight as we were all quite hungry from lack of breakfast and it was just clocking past noon.

But what a beautiful set up they had.

Chilli jams from Ayo's Fiery Food Works
More for seasoning and very tasty but not really hot.


Certified Australian Angus Beef
Too bad we didn't get any samples :( cos it looked really tasty.

Now that is my kinda fridge :)

Mirrool Creek Lamb

Hot Xocolat with chilli and cinnamon.
The ancient Mayan recipe causes a nice warm feeling to well up inside you with each sip. It is on the strong side but that was how chocolate started ^^!

Beautiful crafts and homeware in the Real Living tent
After wondering hungrily around some more we were finally informed by ChocolateSuze about the cafe.

The Hidden part past the carpark

Amour Coffee House
More interesting and stylish furniture but looking at the menu we were up for something much more solid and filling.

These lights were awesome and fluffy
The Good Food Affare was interesting and worth the look around at all the different goods on sale. We were disappointed that there weren't more of food food stalls like at markets and other festivals but still good fun to peruse.

Part 2 by D coming soon

Good Food Affare 21-23/11/2008
Castle Hill Showground, Castle Hill



Friday, November 28, 2008

Macchiato - Sydney CBD, Sydney

Now for an intermission from the Japanese restaurants. Macchiato Pasta and Wood Fire Pizza is a sight that cannot be missed by any passer-byers due to the great big windows and brightly lit atmosphere. Positioned at a busy intersection in the city, it seemed pretty popular so we had to try it out.

Specials board that I took a photo of but forgot about until after our meal
First impressions are a very important thing and I must say, this place gave me one of the worst. We had a party of 7 but Pupu and I got there a little bit earlier than the others. It might have been because it was reasonably busy but their service aloof and quite unorganized. We were asked 3 times by 3 different people if we had a reservation and for how many people. The last time was after Pupu and I have sat down in our tiny corner table. That probably annoyed me the most.

Named after a style of coffee but instead of a shot of espresso with a touch of milk, the food here is modern Australian with a touch of classic Italian cuisine
After sitting and calming down, this place seemed alright. The atmosphere was bright and warm (would have been better with a better table) and the menu seemed fairish for city prices .

Harooo everyone!
We were a bit skeptical about the food after the service being so meh but when the food came out we were met with a pleasant surprise. Their portion sizes were reasonable but the taste of proper wood fire pizza is unbeatable.

Here Comes the Food

Iced Chocolate
These were a bit disappointing as they were lukewarm for some reason :S and only with a mediocre flavour.

Garlic & Cheese Pizza ($13)
Shared amongst the table, this was a great start to the meal. There could have been more cheese haha (I think I say that about everything) but the crispy crust and garlic infusion had me craving for more than one slice.

Penne Boscaiola ($17.90)
A creamy sauce with well-cooked pasta. A great combination of flavours which does not get too much/rich even after the whole plate.

Angelo 'Agnelo' ($24.90)
Tender slivers of lamb fillets with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. The lamb was really good and they were generously topped on top. The other ingredients all added up to create a well balanced and tasty pizza.

Texas ($20.90)
My personal favourite of all the savoury pizzas and not because I ordered it :P Most likely because I am a carnivore and this one had the most meaty goodness on it. A combination of chicken, cabanossi, chorizo, ham, mozzarella and bbq sauce created a sweet and meaty sensation. Stringy cheese perfectly melted on top and a few sprinkled basil leaves for extra herby flavour :)

Margherita ($16.90)
For the vegetarian of the group, there was a selection between 2 pizzas and he went with this one. Fragrant Roma tomatoes and mozzarella always make for a simple yet delicious meal. I thought it could have donw with a few more basil leaves but we still have the beautiful flavour in some of the bites.

BBQ Chicken ($18.90)
Chicken tenderloin, grilled onions, tomatoes, mozzarella and a drizzle of bbq sauce can't go wrong unless the chef is really really incompetent. The chicken pieces were soft and tender and the sweetness of the ingedients were enhanced by the bbq sauce.

Bombay ($19.90)
Tandoori chicken, onions, mint yogurt chutney and more mozzarella goodness. The sweet red onions work well with the tandoori chicken. The yogurt was refreshing and overall another great choice.

My ultimate pizza (missing a slice)
Nom nom nom but now for some dessert!

Apple and Custard Pizza Pie ($11.90)
Another highlight in the meal was this pizza pie. The soft french dough was fluffy, thick and created the perfect base for this dessert. The apple and cinnamon fusion is one of my favourite ones and mixed with ice cream and custard it was irresistible. I did find that the custard left a dry sensation in my mouth afterward.

Quality pizza oven wood haha

I found the art on the roof really interesting and added some pizazz to this place.

Wood fire oven
Hmmm deciding whether to come here again was the tricky part because the service is a major part of the dining experience. Service = bad but food = good :S I think it is worth it to try again as that could have been a one off.

After being full and content we took a stroll around and came across this amusing little place and I must have a little bit of Japanese in this post :P

With a cool advertising poster:

Hee hee do you guys think that this sounds more legit and hence more likely to try it out?

Macchiato Pasta and Wood Fire Pizza
338 Pitt St



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Makoto - Chatswood, Sydney

Since I already started on the Masuya Group with Miso, I thought that it would be logical to follow it up with one of its' older siblings - Makoto Chatswood. Makoto is the sushi bar branches in the Masuya Group with the establishing one in the city but it got so popular that a second one was opened in the North Shore. Even though there are 2 of these, there is usual a big queue at the meal times and wait times can get up to a hectic 45mins or longer!

After a hiatus from visiting Makoto, due to it getting too repetitive and increasing prices, we had a sudden craving for sushi sushi sushi so back to go. We were met with changes, some good and some bad.

The new Head Chef Katsumi Yoshida
The new Head Chef looked young and enthusiastic so that was a good sign haha but was his food able to match?

The Christmasy decor is a nice touch, but I had always liked their cool spiraling lights. I must say their choice in music can sometimes be very weird :S

Sushi trainn choo chooo

They have the sushi-on-sushi action as it was getting busier for lunch :)
I must admit one thing... when my brother, my cousin and I were seated we started grabbing plates left, right and center so the initial few plates were forgotten to be photographed haha. Three hungry boys = no time for photographs BUT fortunately after only a few I came back to my senses and so Here Comes the Food.

(I apologize I don't know the proper names of most of the sushi so please enjoy the visual feast ^^!)

Cooked prawn with Mayonnaise (comes in pairs but one has already been eaten)
Creamy and sweet, the taste of this sushi does not really carry the distinct flavour of prawns.

Scallop Aburi
Tender and juicy scallop with a dressing of mayonnaise, scallions and roe. The flavour of the sweet, plump scallop is accentuated by the searing and the mayonnaise.

Ikura (Salmon Roe)
(comes in pairs but one has already been eaten)
I am not a big fan of roe taste but the popping is entertaining :)

Seaweed Salad
(again... comes in pairs but one has already been eaten)
A simple seaweed salad with sesame seeds and a few flakes of chilli. Good palate cleanser or just a break from all the seafood and have some fresh greens.

Ama-ebi (Sweet prawns)
(comes in pairs but one has already been eaten)
I like these prawns much better than normal ones as they sort of taste like Scampi. There is the slippery texture of scampi as well as a sweetness but they are not as big and have a prawn taste. The mayonnaise adds to it well but they could also do without it.

Grilled Kingfish?
I am not too sure but I think it is Kingfish. The white meat is soft and not very strong, maybe because the sweetness of the sauce is overpowering.

Here it is again under softer light and different angle. What you guys think?

Crab special roll
You probably noticed already but they really like adding mayonnaise to sweeten things up. This combination works but personally I think it is over-priced for fake crab meat.

Salmon Aburi
One of my favourite dishes which I like to use to compare with other restaurants. The beautiful seared salmon just melts in the mouth and oozes the sweetness in balance with the mayonnaise. I could eat many many plates of this mmmm.

Another special roll
With chopped up .. something... fail...

This roll was so not worth it but my brother grabs anything haha. Combination of canned tuna and salmon AND prawn is very weird :S

Uni (sea urchin roe)
I am not a big fan of this either but it looks fresh and juicy.

Salmon belly
Fatty salmon mmmmm another must have :)

Handrolls: (L to R) Spicy Salmon and avocado, Scallop omelette and Wagyu beef.
Their handrolls are very variable in my opinion. Sometimes you can get decent chunks of filling but other times you get a smidget of filling. This visit was pretty decent as my salmon reached pretty much all the way to the end.

Teriyaki Chicken Handroll
Hee hee perfect example of the chicken hiding away under the seaweed.

Green Tea Pudding
Yummmmm but this time it came with a bonus bit of plastic which ruined it for me :(

Bowl of wasabi
Hee hee yooiinnkk some for my collection :)

Strawberry crepe
Fresh strawberries and fresh cream wrapped up in a crepe cannot go wrong.

Green Tea Creme Brulee
Came out with a hot serving bowl but the inside of the creme brulee was surprisingly cool. It could also do with better caramelizing on top but otherwise it is a great dessert.

Tofu Steak (Have to order since I think it is not on the menu anymore and they never make this for the train)
I know I already had dessert buutt this is another of my usual orders. This time was shocking but! The tofu was mostly batter and the sauce was way too salty and ladled on too much. Was disappointed :( hopefully next time is much better or else this may be the end of this great little find.

Look at all the delicious soft shell crab omelettes mmmm I shall be getting one next time

Full and content.. and quite fat

Other Masuya Group posts:
Musashi - Sydney CBD, Sydney.
Miso - Sydney CBD, Sydney

Makoto Sushi Bar
336 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood, Sydney 2067
Monday to Friday 1130-1500, 1700-2130
Saturday 1130-1530, 1700-2130
Sunday 1130-1530, 1700-2100