Date Archives June 2011

Mad Mex, Darlinghurst


After hearing so much about the Mad Mex (and that Mad Mex challenge!), Sean and I decided to go see what all the fuss was about.

The first thing that greets you as you enter the outlet is a chandelier made up of Corona Bottles!! Being quite into crafts, I was absolutely excited by this light piece. I know, it’s simple and not hard to make, but still!! So pretty…


I love how they’ve got that salad bar look to it, and you get to see them assembling your order! I feel like it takes away the mystery, but the best thing about it is that the food still tastes awesome!

Sean ordered the Regular Burrito, $10.90, which is the signature dish and the subject of the Mad Mex Challenge. The Regular Burrito is apparently 500g, and the Burrito in the challenge is a whopping 1KG! Would it be hard to do? Probably not, but just be careful not to have had a first lunch before it, like I had that day. /guilty.

But anyway, on to the Burrito that Sean had.

Believe it or not, it came with instuctions!


I thought that it was very cute that they had instructions on how to properly enjoy/unwrap your burrito!

And so.


Although it was Sean’s, what kind of food blogger (and self confessed glutton) would I be if I didn’t at least have a bite? Ok, maybe more than one bite. But it was just SO GOOD! I love how the soft floury tortilla just seems to tear ever so slightly with every time that your teeth sink into the gorgeous meat, bean and rice mixture within.


That’s not to say that my Quesadilla, $9.90, was anything to laugh at either.


Creamy sour cream, melty cheese and tangy hot sauce was absolutely addictive! It’s like mouthfuls of amazingly addictive wedges just bursting with flavour in your mouth. It was just very slightly salty, tangy, fresh and rich all at the same time! LOVE IT.

The food, coupled with the friendly and extremely helpful staff, makes for a big, “I HAVE TO GO BACK!!” Good stuff, and highly recommended.

We ate at:
Mad Mex
(02) 9331 7788
2/241 Crown Street
Darlinghurst, NSW

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Bistro 80, Pyrmont


On a recent food blogger gathering at Fat Noodle (post about that later), it was decided that while we were at Star City, Bistro 80 would be a good place to go for dessert.

But before I could even contemplate any of the sweet goodness, I absolutely had to try the Flavours of Jamon, $40.


I have this thing about cured meats, and believe me when I say that the pure excitement of ordering this jamon just made my eyes light up. What is jamon? Well, very simply, jamon (pronounced hah-mon) is Spanish ham. Pigs are fed acorns and the resulting cuts of meat are then brined and cured. Similar to Italian Prosciutto, some say that jamon is cured for longer…although I can’t say for sure until I get to cure my own! =)

So. The platter. The jamon was expertly presented by our wonderful waiter, Peter, much in the way cheese is presented. The first was from a white pig, which was ( I’m told) fed a rather restricted diet and kept really high above sea level. The next was a black pig that was fed a mixed diet of acorns and grass, and the last was fed an extremely restricted diet of just acorn. (I tried my best as to remember this all correctly, but excuse my pockets of lost information!)

The white pig had a lovely flavour that reminded me of macademias. Lightly oily and nutty, this particular jamon had a great silky feel in the mouth and tore away much more easily than the other two.

The second had a slightly chewier texture that was similar to that of prosciutto. It also had darker, meatier flavours, and the saltier edge was more apparent to me. The cornichons (think French gherkin) really helped in this case, since the crunchy, sour/sweet of the cornichons provided a great foil to the chewy salty/smokiness of the jamon.

The third (I apologise in advance for my unrefined palate!) tasted quite similar to the second to me. Salty and chewy, the first bite held a glimmer of difference to me, but upon trying to more clearly discern the difference in taste in the consequent bites, I just lost all difference completely. It was almost as if my taste buds swooned in the utter delight and there was nothing else I could do in the meantime to revive them. Maybe this is a little like Impressionism – you get that fleeting moment, but when you try to concentrate on it you lose the beauty of it all.

I shall try again, next time. I promise!

And now, on to the dessert!


The Milk Chocolate Mousse was suggested by the ever-helpful Peter-the-waiter as the first thing to try. Velvety mousse sat below a viscous river of salted caramel and a layer of heavily aerated vanilla milk foam. I desperately tried to catch a shot of that beautiful cloud that was rapidly, and rather tragically, deflating fast. Maybe it’s that impressionistic thing again – get it quick or lose it forever. Either way, the mousse was one of my absolute favourite things for the night. In the mouth, the foam left the comforting aroma of milk while the silky mousse rushed in with it’s chocolatey richness. Finally, that dense, molten lava of salted caramel coated my tongue in it’s heavy and heady blanket of complex sugary goodness.

From left: Honey Creme Brulee, Exotic fruit and Rum Savarin

While the Creme Brulee hit all the right spots for me – glass-like melted and scorched sugar delicately perching atop soft, smooth, slightly-set (excuse the alliteration) custard – the ‘honey’ bit of it went largely unnoticed. It had a great complexity in its sweetness that ranked it above the run-of-the-mill Creme Brulees that you get at some pseudo-gourmet eateries, but I personally didn’t notice enough to place a tag on it that says, “Honey”. This also being my first ‘proper’ exposure to rhubarb (which really reminded me of celery) I think I might have been a bit more intrigued by the compote served with the dessert.

The Exotic Fruit and Rum Savarin – Savarin being a yeast cake that has sort of bread-y texture with a cake-y denseness and soaked in a (usually alcoholic) syrup – was light and enjoyable, but nothing that I would run around and do cartwheels about. It’s a good end if you’re having a heavy dinner though. The fruit was just slightly on the tart side, and was nice with the texture of the juicy cake. The sorbet was nice and light, but not quite essential to the dish. To me, anyway.

From top: Dark Chocolate Tart, Poached Raspberry Meringue

If you like your desserts thick, rich, and decadent, then the Dark Chocolate Tart is the dessert for you. A fudgy filling is topped with a silky smooth ganache on the top. Served with a mandarin sorbet, this fudge needed that citrus hit to prevent me and my tastebuds from descending straight into chocolate-induced insanity. The grapefruit on the side, I thought, was inspired, and the slight bitterness of the grapefruit actually enhanced the sweetness in the dark chocolate filling. Yum.

The best part of the Poached Raspberry Meringue was definitely the raspberry sorbet. The thing is though, the sorbet was almost exclusively all that I can remember about it. One quinelle was delicately perched atop a beautiful piece of architecture, it’s tangy sweetness dissolving into the mouth like a fresh, minty breath. Maybe because of the awesomeness of the sorbet did I not remember much about the rest of the dish…

Either way, so many gorgeoulicious desserts were sampled that night that we were promptly nicknamed the “Dessert Mafia” by the hilarious Peter-the-waiter. Besides the good food, the experience was certainly enhanced by his beyond excellent service, which deserves a standing ovation. He actually turned on the lights for us when the only other table in the room left, which really aided getting nice photos!

*Cue applause*

Which is why we left him this:


There was a little card thing that came with the bill, so we wrote a little something for him!! :D:D

We ate at:

Bistro 80
Star City
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
1800 700 700

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When the Moon hits your eye…


That’s right, I made a Pizza Pie! Thoroughly inspired by Muppy’s Pizza Campofranco, I thought, “I’m not up for making pastry on a week night, but I LOVE the idea of the layered pizza!”

The answer? A Pizza Pie! It is easy, and takes barely any effort at all.

Leftover Pizza Pie
You’ll need:
Chorizo, sliced
Bacon, chopped (Or any other meat that you’d like to put into your pizza)
400g Tinned tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 medium Onion, chopped
Mozerella cheese
Puff Pastry, Defrosted

First, sauté the garlic and onions in two tablespoons of olive oil till golden. Next, tip 400g tinned diced tomatoes into the pan and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, till the tomatoes reduces to a thick sauce.


While the tomato sauce is reducing, fry off your selection of meat.



When all your ingredients are ready to go, lay down a sheet of puff pastry (I used frozen) onto the pie dish of your choice. Next, layer the tomato sauce, meat, basil and cheese.


I used some pumpkin purée as well as I had some steamed pumpkin left over. The idea of this is to add whatever you feel like, because at the end of the day, it’s your pie! Cover with another layer of puff pastry and fold in the corners. Bake in a 180-200 C oven till golden brown.


And there you have it! A quick, yummy weekday evening treat that took barely anytime to make at all. And the best part is that anything in your pantry goes! Which means that you don’t have to scrounge around for a particular ingredient, or make that mid week dash into the shops.



The Dip, Sydney


I’ve had the pleasure to attend yet another successful food bloggers’ meetup organized by the lovely Miss Piggy!


The Dip is a little eatery that’s hidden inside a bar/club called Good God, and there were many frantic instructions and SOS’s on finding it.

But we did all get there in the end!

It was decided that we’d have some things to share, and have a main each.


Clockwise from left: Pulled Pork Nachos $15, Salsa Fries $6, Grilled Corn $8

After much iPhone-lit photo taking, we all tucked in to the food. The pulled pork Nachos had great texture and the Lime Mayo really added a richness to the grilled corn. But my absolute favourite was the salty/tangy/crispiness of the Salsa Fries. Given that I’m a salt fan, it might be a bit on the salty side for some, but the tanginess of the Salsa really helped to balance that and add a certain juiciness to it.

Full disclaimer though, I am a soggy fries kind of person. There! I’ve admitted it.


Left to right: Snow Peas $8, Slaw $6

These two sides-to-share were…alright. The Snow Peas were “grilled, with coriander and vinaigrette”, but honestly, I couldn’t really taste either. All I got was, well, Snow Peas. And I’m not quite sure that I’d fork out $8 for a handful of grilled Snow Peas.

The Slaw was better, with it’s creamy, apple-y goodness. For some reason, that sweet crunch of shredded apple really made this dish addictive for me. Worth getting as a side.

Now on to the mains!


I had the Damn Skippy, $12. Kangaroo mince shaped into a burger patty, sandwiched between two fluffy buns, juicy beetroot and refreshing salad. After hearing all those horror stories about Kangaroo meat being horribly cooked, I was a bit worried about ordering this burger, but it was surprisingly juicy! It wasn’t as game-y as I thought either. The only thing was, when asked about whether I could taste the Macademias, my answer was that I didn’t even know that there were meant to be Macademias. Great burger, though if the nuts were what got you ordering this burger, then maybe you’d like to try something else. =)

Lev’s Dawg, $12, was also reeeeaaaallly good. I loved how once again, the juicy salsa really lifted the hotdog, that also had lightly spiced chipotle mayo, mustard, grilled yellow peppers, smokey sausage and fluffy bun. A definite must-order.

I also had a taste of the Southern Smoke, $12. The pulled pork had a light smokey flavour, but it seemed the general opinion that maybe it could have been just a wee bit more smoked.

After all of that, some of us (me included!) were absolutely craving something sweet.


They were out of Toffee Apples, so we had easy choices! The Cookies and Cream, $10 was all gone as soon as they arrived!! I didn’t get to try them, but I heard that that salted caramel ice cream was just the ticket.

I shared an Ice Cold Guac, $10 with Petra, and I was so fascinated with the idea of the avocado ice cream with the deep red strawberry salsa. The verdict? Well it was a resounding…”Hmmm.” Both the elements were really nice on their own – the avocado ice cream had a lovely creaminess to it, and the acidity of the strawberry salsa did a little dance in my mouth with every bite – but I’m still not entirely convinced that both these elements should really be thrown together.

In all, it was a great evening! Sure, the place isn’t exactly built for dinner conversation, but it was a nice experience nontheless. =)

We ate at:

The Dip
(02) 9267 3787
Good God
55 Liverpool St
Sydney, 2000

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El Jannah, Granville


When we were told that we were going to have the best charcoal chicken in the world, I must admit that I was just a little bit skeptical. So was Sean, but as we were hungry, out of ideas, and this was very near home, we decided that it was worth a shot.

And we were not dissappointed at all!


The meat plate that we ordered was really nicely spiced and well cooked, but what really impressed me was the pickles!!


MM the pickles. It’s saltier and more sour than I’m used to, but it is gorgeously so. I kind of feel like one of those kids who taste lemon for the first time, but you keep wanting to eat them!! It really cut through all the meatiness and added an awesome crunch to every mouthful.

And who can forget the chicken at a charcoal chicken restaurant!


It may not look like much, but I love the blend of spices and the juicy smokiness. I’m a thigh meat kind of girl, and this did not disappoint! Sean and I were fighting over the crispy skin. YUM.

Every eat-in meal comes with Lebanese bread, individually packed.


AND this HEAVENLY garlic sauce. If nothing else, I’d buy heaps of this garlic sauce. I heard that it freezes well too! Great for a party, this creamy mayo-based garlicky goodness is absolutely addictive! I would bet that the mayo is homemade – there just that extra something about that amazing mouth feel.


There are takeaway options also available, but you have to order the pickles, sauce and bread extra. Whatever you might decide, I would certainly recommend giving this smoky joint a shot – your tummy will thank you. =)

We ate at:
El Jannah
4 – 8 South Street
Granville NSW 2142
(02) 9637 0977

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Mamak Village

Mamak village – the seemingly smaller cousin of Mamak, the Malaysian sensation that has swept Sydney by storm – is just 5 minutes from where I work, so I thought that I absolutely “owed”* it to myself to check it out.

I decided to try the Roti Canai. It was actually quite good – nothing quite like what I can get at midnight back in Singapore, but way better than I expected. It was still soft and fluffy, with a good amount of bite, and the sambal that it was served with was a tad watered-down for my liking, but still not bad at all.

I also ordered the Nonya Tofu.

This dish was quite nice, and actually reminded me of Agedashi Tofu that you get at Japanese Restaurants. It also came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce that was not too cloying, but lacked that spicy

I do, however, really like the Acar (aa-chah) that comes with the tofu. Why? I have no idea. But it does make me miss the bags of acar that my mom used to buy from the markets.

Acar is basically a pickled salad, commonly with pickled cucumber, carrots and sometimes pineapple. It’s great with rice, or on it’s own as a snack/munchy type thing.

And finally, I ordered a Teh Ais (as in, iced tea) to go with everything. It’s something that I would always order in a Singaporean or Malaysian coffeeshop, and it’s basically strong tea sweetened with sweetened condensed milk and poured over ice.

Perfect for a hot summer’s day, or any time, really. But then again, I’m quite the iced tea fiend, so I’m a bit biased. 😉

*Any excuse for gluttony really.

I ate at:
Mamak Village
25 Glebe Point Road
Glebe, 2037

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