Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chinese New Years Eve: Masuya - Sydney CDB, Sydney

In my typical fashion, I am late (I like to call fashionably on-time) in posting the important dates and eatings. Happy Chinese New Year everybody! Hope everybody has had a great start to the year of the Ox and everybody is spending their red pockets wisely to help boost the economy ;)

Even though it was Chinese New Year, we ended up at the Japanese restaurant Masuya to celebrate the transition. I have not been here for a while but really wanted to try the new re-vamped menu and check out the decor after hearing high praise about their new takeaway lunchboxes.

The descent into another world...

I like the little chopstick shell hee hee
I think the tables and chairs are bit more suited and matching for this place and the sort of dining experience it provides. I think the major change is the new menu which looks much more professional in my opinion.

The sushi bar!

We sure will ^^!
Checking out the new menu, there were a few additions but we end up mostly ordering the dishes were like and trust. Here Comes the Food.

Green Tea Smoothie
This is like drinking melted green tea ice cream ^^! but maybe a bit diluted then ice cream haha. Very cool and refreshing with a nice creamy texture with a green tea kick at the end of each sip.

Masuya's Sashimi Boat ($78)

Row, row, row your sashimi boat...
The sashimi boat is more of a novelty dish because of the awesome presentation that we get and a moveable rudder to play with :P With a great combination of 5 different local fish, tuna, salmon, oysters and scampi they were all very fresh and all go down like silk. Each type of fish were able to shine and show off their own character and flavours but we had to fight for oysters and scampis as there were only 4 and 2, respectively.

Masuya's Salmon Salad ($12.80)
A simple salad of greens, slices of fresh salmon and creamy blue cheese. I personally found that blue cheese does not really match seafood very well as it is very overpowering and therefore the salmon flavour was clouded. This was refreshing and tasty nonetheless.

Unagi Shirayaki ($10.80)
One of the specials, the eel was light in flavour but with the most gorgeous soft and sightly flakey textures.

Salmon Aburi
These are part of the nigiri a la carte menu so they do not appear in the main menu. These are as delciously oily as I remember them. I love the contrast between the grilled side and the raw side of the salmon mmmm.

Agedashi Tofu (L $8.80)
Soft and pillowy cube of deep fried tofu with dashi soup can never go wrong. I did not manage to get the original shot as they were separated into the individual bowls too quickly (people were too hungry hee hee)

The Spider Roll ($17.80)
Fried soft shell crab combined with a premium crabstick, avocado, cucumber, chilli mayo and then wrapped up in a bed of rice. A beautiful swirl of flavours in the mouth and a great crunch with each bite. The chilli mayo is mild but adds a nice dimension to the flavours.

Kingfish Wing Kara-age ($15.80)
The wing of the fish is a very oily part so it is a very enjoyable part when eaten deep fried. When it first came out it smelt and looked like fried chicken mmmm.

Wagyu Beef Miso 230g ($32.80)
This photo does not do the wagyu any justice at all :( The beautifully cooked slices of wagyu was coated in a smooth miso sauce. Each bite of the meat was more enjoyable than the previous one but I thought the miso could have been a bit stronger though. If my memory serves me correctly, the presentation was better before as it have a crispy bits on top instead of a side salad but still good.

Masuya is always a enjoyable place to dine and I shall keep coming back ^^!

Other Masuya Group visitations:
Makoto - Chatswood, Sydney
Miso - Sydney CBD, Sydney
Musashi - Sydney CBD, Sydney.

Masuya Seafood Restaurant
Basement Level, 12-14 O'Connell Street
Sydney, 2000
Phone: (02) 9235-2717, (02)9231-0038
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday (Lunch ) : 12:00 - 14:30 (Last Order)

Monday to Sunday (Dinner) : 18:00 - 22:00 (Last Order)\
Sunday (Dinner) : 18:00 - 21:30 (Last Order)

Due to our increased volume of staff training and for even better relationship between our organic suppliers, we will close on Sundays from March 09.
We will take this opportunity to ensure keeping our level of food and service to its best.
Thank you.



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sydney Fish Markets - Pyrmont, Sydney

The Sydney Fish Markets is a great place to enjoy a leisurely weekend morn, enjoy the fresh seafoody air ,chill out in the sun and dine on the gorgeously juicy and plump seafood being sold at the very competitive stores.

Always packed full of people :S

I actually haven't been here for quite some time but not much has changed since my last visit. The usually shops displaying their wares along with the token sushi place, bread shop, deli shop and the fruit and vege shop. I don't normally go to the sushi place but they have some pretty fresh sashimi (naturally) but I prefer to go to Japanese restaurants to dine on Japanese cuisine. The bread shop has some reasonble selections but whenever I used to come, we only got the cheese stick.

All the seafood browsing works up an appetite and none better is to try Doyles at the Fish markets. They are pricier than the others but usually quite reliable in the fresh and tasty department, but alas this visit has left me very diappointed in their quality and will go back to the others stores next time.

One good/bad thing about fish markets is that nearly everything is deep fried...

But damn.. deep fried things are tasty ^^!

Oh poor, poorr, delicious, cheese covered Pinchy

Here Comes the Food

Grilled Barramundi
Soft flakes of this fish makes this one of the highlights of this lunch. Barramundi does not have a strong flavour so a little bit more seasoning was required. The accompanying salad was also fresh and green so as to match this fish perfectly.

BBQ Baby Octopus
I expected higher quailty from Doyles but the baby octopus were just a bit below average. They were slightly cold which made the sauce a bit greasy and unpleasant and some of the octopi were a bit too tough.

Lobster, Scallop Mornay and soft shelled crab
I love mornay ^^! haha mainly cos of the melted chhheeesssy goodness on top. The lobster and scallop mornay here were good but the lobster did not have enough meat and could have done with more cheese. The soft shell crab was also not bad but not the best either.

Pinchy's other half...
After we ate our fill it was time to buy some for home.

We get out seafood from this shop outside of the hussle and bussle of the main fish market complex but still very busy with people fighting for service.

Fishy fish fillets


Big chunk of Swordfish
I love swordfish but it has to be done right... too easy to overcook.


Dedicated descalers and filleters

more fishies

Beach bugs and lobster party

That evening the night turned purdy shades of red, orange and yellow at sunset.

Clouds are so fluffy

Hello plane!
The fish markets are a great experience and a fun time to spend with friends or family. It is a good place to enjoy the scenery/atmosphere and what the shops have to offer while sharing a huge platter of healthy*, deep fried goodies.

Other fishy experiences:
Cafe Mix - The Rocks, Sydney
New Years Eve 2008: Flying Fish - Pyrmont, Sydney

Sydney Fish Markets
Pyrmont Bridge Road
Pyrmont 2009


*deep fried seafood may not actually be healthy for you


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wagaya - Haymarket, Sydney (2)

After praising the quality and expressing my satisfaction felt towards Wagaya early last year and subsequent visits over the past few months; it appears this eatery has become just-another-place that cuts costs and marginalises all the ‘extras’ once they have a steady flow of curious customers arguably predominantly lured by the touch-screen menu that stirs a contagious giddiness across all demographics.

Perhaps it’s just a one trick pony? Have our readers also noticed the differentials between now and their last visit? Don’t hesitate the express your thoughts through welcomed comments :)

Here Comes The Food

Salmon Sushi Roulette ($8.50): One of the major highlights for Wagaya’s patron-entertainment where brave souls are asked to mentally prepare themselves for the unexpected-nostril-flaring-wasabi-burn. The once-apparent approaching fear that if perchance you are unlucky enough to have chosen the wasabi-packed salmon sushi has become lacklustre - this dish (noticeably) has diminished in size, quality and alas even the sole reason for the ordering this dish: the wasabi-filled sushi is less potent and almost tame. The salmon compared from my previously blogged experience is less fatty, lost the texture of fresh salmon and makes you feel like you’ve just guiltily purchased a $10 salmon-variety pack from the faux paux Korean-pretending-to-be-Japanese sushi takeaway counters that litter the Sydney CBD disguised in the form of arguably Wagaya’s signature dish.

Wagaya Salad ($7.50): It tastes rubbery and comparable in taste to the freshly packed pre-made salads you can purchase from the supermarket. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at how these salads taste (I buy them when I’m lazyyyyyyyy). But when you go to the restaurant and see something being charged at a premium with no additional efforts besides a few kernels of corn (probably canned), a miniscule sliced egg, deep-fried lotus that is soggy and a pathetic blob of mayonnaise, you don’t help but the wonder what the heck is going on.

Lightly grilled salmon and scallop box sushi ($11.90): Wow, they weren’t kidding when they called it “box” sushi; it literally looks like a box is sitting on my sad clump of rice. The salmon is grilled perfectly ….. perfectly bad … it’s dry, charred (to the point of a burnt aftertaste) and the scallop … is just as perfectly bad. Presentation wise it’s o-kayyyyyyy but taste wise … it failed miserably.

Japanese Pizza (unfortunately I forgot to write down the price ><): It’s deliciously cheesy but that’s about as far as complements go. The dough is soggy (I prefer a more crispier texture), which was odd as the pizza came on a hot plate. The chicken pieces are tough and made my jaw sore from chewing.

Takoyaki (once again I forgot to take down the price arghhhh): when served at our table the cheese had already solidified, I didn’t have a piece of octopus in my ball (rage) and the balls just didn’t taste good (…..o_O).

Sukiyaki (Small: $9.90): Unfortunately this came last because it was a last minute order as we were still hungry. This dish was my plan B; the contingency plan; my Valkyrie (yes a deliberate reference to the movie). Did it disappoint? Not-one-bit. It’s got both quality and quantity going for it – the ingredients are perfectly matched with each other and are typical to what you would expect in a sukiyaki. The soup base is delicious in the proportion of soy that has been mixed in: sweet but not too overpowering. The value is fantastic; if you recall from my other Wagaya post I ordered the large size and when comparing it to the small size I suggested to our readers to opt for the smaller one (even if it means getting two). This is now one dish (and probably the only) I would order if I were asked what my choice of dish is the next time (if there is one) I dine at Wagaya.

What do you do when you’re distraught and confused as to how you should react after experiencing a not-so-grand dining experience? Drown your emotions with good ‘ol icecreammm.

From the top left in a clockwise direction: sticky rice, durian, green tea, taro and black sesame from passionflower ($14): sooooo good.

Level 1, 78-86 Harbour Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Ph for bookings: 9212 6068 (call after 5pm as no one answers before this time)



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Home Cooking: Serimuka

my mother's industrious glad wrapping before I could take a photo XD

Thought I would do some dessert for Chinese New Year Reunion dinner tomorrow night and I would contribute a dessert ^^ Plus granny loves the sweet stuff - so I dedicate this to her. This is an old favourite of my family - Serimuka. It is a layer of glutinous rice with a layer of coconut custard... essentially a less thick version of kaya. PS thanks to my fathers plant growing skills I had plenty of pandan leaves to choose from :)

(PS if you are interested in buying a pandan plant please email me or drop me a msg on the blog!)

Recipe: (I 1 1/2 times everything as I used a 23 cm tin rather than a 20cm tin)

Rice layer

300g uncooked glutinous rice washed and soaked overnight
200ml thin coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1 pandanus leaf tied into a knot (ok I threw in 5 leaves cos I love the extra flavour)

1. Wash the glutinous rice in several changes of water. Then cover with fresh water and soak for at least 3 hours (or overnight) and drain the rice
2. Place the rice in a shallow, round or square pan 20cm across. Mix the coconut milk and salt together and add this to the rice
3. Bury the pandanus leaf in the rice and steam until the rice is cooked - 20-30 min (when cooked the rice looks translucent; mine took about 35 min)
4. Remove the leaf and fluff the rice with a fork
5. Then using a cup or something with a flat bottom, cover it with aluminium foil and press the rice down to form an even, compact layer
6. Steam for a further 15 minutes (I did it for 18 min)

trying to bury the pandan leaves

time to fluff up the rice!

smooshed rice

Pandanus Juice (for the custard layer)

6-8 Pandan leaves
150 ml water

1. Cut leaves into 2cm strips and blend with water
2. Strain

Pandan leaves in a jar and my mums barmix

smells of lawn

Custard Layer

3 medium eggs
200ml coconut milk
180g castor sugar
100 ml pandanus juice
4 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp + 1 tsp plain flour

1. Combine eggs, coconut milk and sugar in a mixing bowl, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon
2. Add pandanus juice, cornflour, plain flour. Stir well until smooth and free of lumps. (I added a couple drops of colouring and a little bit of pandan essence)
3. Strain the mixture into a heatproof bowl an dset this bowl over a pan of gently simmering water
4. Stir continuously until the custard just begins to thicken - do not overcook!
5. Pour this over the rice very gently and pop any large bubbles that appear
6. Steam on a gentle heat (otherwise the custard will have a bubbled surface) until set - 25 min (mine was about 35 and don't open the steamer to keep looking hehehe I was very tempted!)
7. Allow cake to cool

hehehehe so green!!



Enjoy! ^^