Posts tagged Casual Dining

Korn Thai, Crows Nest

Crispy Basil Duck, $22.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Review

It seems like I’ve eaten more Thai food since I’ve come to Australia than I ever did growing up in Singapore. Everything from the “imitation” Thai that has barely any resemblance to the real thing, to the truly enjoyable experiences that is as close as I can get this far away from Thailand.

Which brings me to Korn Thai, located in the concrete jungle of Crows Nest. I’m not sure what exactly I expected when I rocked up that afternoon, but I knew I was hungry, and surely that’s enough? 😉

The Order:

Soft Shell Crab Mango Salad, $22.90
Mango, soft shell crab, shallot, coriander, with lime juice and Thai salad dressing.

Crispy Basil Duck, $22.90
Deep fried duck, stir fried chilli sauce and holy basil

Crispy Eggplant, $17.90
Fried eggplant, sauce garlic, chilli, wok tossed sweet basil with Korn Thai’s signature chilli jam sauce and topped with crispy basil.

Pad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly, $21.90
Stir fried curry paste with green beans, sliced kaffir lime leaves and pork rind.

Red Duck Curry, $22.90
With pineapple, rambutan, cherry tomato and julienned young coconut.

Deep fried ice cream, $5.90

The Food:

I’ve always had an ongoing theory that you can’t go wrong with anything deep fried, and I’m glad to say that I stand CORRECT! *buffs nails on shirt*. And here’s the secret code: if you see anything on the Korn Thai menu that has the word “crispy” in it, you should order it. Trust me.

Crispy Basil Duck, $22.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy Basil Duck, $22.90

The Crispy Basil Duck, for example, reminded me of Korean Fried Chicken with a sticky salty soy glaze and just the barest peppery hint of spice. Except that it’s in duck form, which is plenty fine in my books. Sweet, but not cloying, this dish is superb as an option to share, and perfect to whet your appetitite.

Crispy Eggplant, $17.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy Eggplant, $17.90

Not a fan of duck? Well they’ve got options in the form of Crispy Eggplant and Pad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly, too!

Pad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly, $21.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly, $21.90

The Crispy Eggplant leans a little more toward the duck in its savoury/sweetness, and the Pad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly really ups the ante in terms of richness and flavour. Either way, it’s full bodied crispy delicious goodness, with top points going to the gooey-on-the-inside eggplant. You’ll want to order a double serve of it if you’re sharing – it’s THAT good.

Soft Shell Crab Mango Salad, $22.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSoft Shell Crab Mango Salad, $22.90

On the lighter side of things, the Soft Shell Crab Mango Salad provides a tart, refreshing note to the meal, using shredded green mangoes to cut through the richness of the *crispy* soft shell crab. (You see the theme here?) A great option for a summer lunch, and a nice alternative to the otherwise more-common papaya salad. As far as the mango (and other Thai) salads I’ve had its definitely not a standout, but it’s still immensely enjoyable and has a great balance of flavours.

Red Duck Curry, $22.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewRed Duck Curry, $22.90

The inconspicuously-named Red Duck Curry sashayed out to the table in a coconut shell (have I mentioned how much I love a good kitschy moment?) and really made me realise just how much I love rambutan in my curries. Never had rambutan before? It’s this:

Image of rambutan
Source: Google

These red hairy looking suckers contain sweet flesh that’s similar to lychees, but just a touch less cloying and much more delicate. It adds a dimension and lightens the curry, and with the pineapple gives it the distinctly Thai balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy.

And if you think that pineapple shouldn’t be in savoury food?

Get Out
Source: Google

Deep fried ice cream, $5.90: Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewDeep fried ice cream, $5.90

The only real downside to the meal was the Deep Fried Ice Cream. The scoops of ice cream – we chose Thai Milk Tea and Pandan – were okay enough, but they were both completely overwhelmed by the thick, bread-like batter that coated the outside. And the syrup over the top didn’t help either: another conflicting flavour is then introduced, further drowning out the already faint echoes of the ice cream underneath.

Unfortunate, cause we were REALLY looking forward to it…and also cause it completely kills my *deep fried theory*.

Ice Pinky Milk and Thai Milk Tea, $4.50 each. Korn Thai, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewIce Pinky Milk and Thai Milk Tea, $4.50 each

Special mention to the drinks though – the whimsically named Ice Pinky Milk brought me right back into humid Asia with the mix of evaporated milk and fragrant rose syrup. So simple, and such a classic.

The Service:

It’s always hard for me to really discuss the service when I’m dining as a guest of the restaurant, but from their interactions with other guests, it definitely seems like they’re plenty friendly, and the staff certainly did NOT have the dreaded “I don’t want to be here” dead look in their eyes. They all seem to know the food intimately, even if there’s some difficulty communicating about the dish in English. One might even say that it added a twisted sense of authenticity to it.

But they do try, and it’s this friendliness that makes it easy to forgive them when they forget requests. For example, we had to ask a couple times for a water top up, which the waitress had forgotten because she was tending to another customer’s takeaway order. Ideal? No. But at least she was very apologetic about it, and so lovely that it was hard to hold against her.

Value for money:

Korn Thai gets a C+ for their value for money – passable, but not great. $20+ for a portion of food (rice not included) is a bit steep for my liking, but I keep having to remind myself that it IS Crows Nest after all, and it’s pretty expected in that area. At least the lunch specials are in the $10-$15 range, so that’s a little more easy to, uh, digest. XD

The Vibe:

It’s definitely a very comfortable eating experience at Korn Thai – it’s clean and relatively spacious, with just enough room to navigate between tables to get to wherever you’d need to go. Personally, I’m more the Chat-Thai-so-crowded-you-can’t-get-through sorta atmosphere, but I must say it’s very nice to be able to sit AND not have to tuck in your elbows and bags to keep it out of everyone’s way.

And finally,

Flavour-wise, Korn Thai ticks quite a few of the boxes for me – balanced, punchy, and very moreish. Not quite as hard hitting as some of the cheap-and-quick options elsewhere in Sydney, but a very easy choice if you’re already in the Crows Nest area.

I do wish I had more of that eggplant, though..

Looking for places to eat in Crows Nest? Why not read our reviews of Yakitori Yurripi, En Toriciya, Mama’s Buoi, Rice Den, Los Vida and Tall Lemongrass.

Insatiable Munchies dined as a sponsored guest of Korn Thai. Sponsored posts are guaranteed reviews which feature honest opinions of the reviewer and their experience, and is not an advertorial.
Korn Thai
126-128 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: +61 2 8068 6689
Website: https://www.facebook.com/KornThaiRestaurant/

Korn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

En Toriciya, Crows Nest

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Review

I’ve always had a healthy respect for Japanese chefs and their craft – there’s something about the quiet reverence that they have for each ingredient, and all their techniques are based around elegantly bringing out unique flavours and textures that naturally occurs in the food. So when I had the opportunity to pick the brain of Chef Hikeaki Fukada of En Toriciya, I was absolutely ecstatic.

…Of course, it had nothing to with the fact that he fed me dinner as well. 😉


The Order:

En Toriciya Degustation, $60/pp ($80/pp with matching sake):

Kingfish & Jalapeno Carpaccio
Kasujiru Vegetable Soup
Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage
Yakitori (Momo and Tsukune)
Popcorn Prawn
Charcoal Grilled Black Cod or Wagyu Steak
Sushi Moriawase (+12 to upgrade sushi)
Chefs selection of dessert (Matcha Creme Brûlée and Adzuki Custard)


The Food:

Holy. Smokes.

I was not prepared for this. I walked into En Toriciya expecting a smart casual dining restaurant, only to be presented with a close-to-fine dining experience. The only thing missing was the lack of pretentiousness, which I was very happy to do without. I was also informed that Chef Fukuda was also a sake sommalier, and our dinner would be matched with different sakes of his choosing.

I was certainly not expecting the sheer education I was about to receive.

Kingfish and Jalapeño Carpaccio: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKingfish and Jalapeño Carpaccio

We started with a very simple Kingfish and Jalapeño Carpaccio – thin slices of kingfish were dressed lightly and topped with a small dab of what looked like jalapeño purée. Very refreshing, and just enough to whet the appetite. I was quite surprised by the Danemon sake that came with it – the richness was meant to bring out the flavour of the kingfish, but for my palate, it was oddly heavy to start the meal with. Still, an interesting choice.

Kasujiru Vegetable Soup: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKasujiru Vegetable Soup

Then we moved on to the Oven baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage and Kasujiru vegetable soup. It is here I learnt that if it looks like miso, and smells like miso…well sometimes it’s not miso. Chef Fukuda shows us just how passionate he is about sake…by using the lees (sakekasu – residual by products from making sake) to thicken and flavour the soup. No waste!

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewOven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage

The Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage was so magnificent that I wondered if he was going to peak too early. With humble beginnings as a staff meal (where chefs are forced into ingenuity to make delicious meals for the restaurant staff out of whatever ingredients they have on hand) this cabbage dish has risen into such magnificence it should be called Daenerys. A soft truffle aroma laces through the robust char on the cabbage, which is then balanced by a tangy salty-sweet dressing.

This course was had with Asabiraki sake from the Iwate prefecture, which I’m told is famous for their rice. Fitting, then, that a complex sake plays a supporting role to such complex food. There is a typically Japanese sense of balance at play, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Tsukune (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTsukune (Yakitori)

Chicken Thigh (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Thigh (Yakitori)

Next course: yakitori. Literally translating to “barbecued chicken”, we get two types for dinner – tsukune (chicken meatballs) and momo (chicken thigh). All fairly simply prepared – salt, smoke, and in the case of the tsukune, a light brush of glaze. Chef Fukuda tells me that he uses binchotan instead of regular coals – these Japanese “smokeless” coals hold the heat longer and more steadily, producing a better dish.

Popcorn Prawn: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPopcorn Prawn

The Popcorn Prawn follows, and although it’s a fun dish topped with generous lashings of mayonnaise (oh Mayo, how I love thee), it wasn’t quite as finessed as the other dishes seemed to be. Some bits of the batter were a touch underdone and a bit gluey at the end of the mouthful, which I noticed only because the standard of his other dishes were so high to begin with.

Charcoal Grilled Black Cod: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCharcoal Grilled Black Cod

We then moved right back up the scale, though, with Charcoal Grilled Black Cod and Wagyu Steak. I’m not entirely sure whether you’d usually have to pick one or the other for your degustation, but I know my life is much better for having tried the both of them. The Charcoal Grilled Black Cod was appropriately dark from the smoke and Saikyōdzuke, a miso-like paste made by fermenting sake lees (At this point, Chef Fukuda is starting to look more and more like a man obsessed…something which I wholeheartedly appreciate), whilst still keeping the soft silky flesh that makes this my favourite way to have my favourite fish of all time.

Wagyu Beef Steak: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewWagyu Steak

The Wagyu Steak was no slack either – medium rare pieces of tender steak were topped with moromiso, which is a chunky miso condiment. Rich/salty/sweet bites had pieces of cucumber to cut it, and it was over all too soon.

Selection of sushi: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSelection of sushi: Otoro

And when you think you can’t eat any more, out comes the plate of luxurious sushi. Sea urchin, fatty tuna belly, and engawa (flounder fin – a recent obsession I picked up from my trip to Japan) were one of many pieces that lined the plate. Simple, and yet such a perfect way to end the savoury courses. And it didn’t even matter that I was fairly full: I always have space for sushi.

At this point, we were treated to Daikoshu, a sake that actually HAD THE WARM HONEY NOTES OF WHISKY. Mind blown. This super aged sake (no joke, Daikoshu translates to “very old booze”) was older than I am, and defied all my previous Riesling-like experiences with sake. Where it was usually fresh and dry, this was voluptuous and almost caramel – like in its dark sweet notes. Very delicious, and an absolute eye opener.

Matcha Creme Brûlée: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMatcha Creme Brûlée

Adzuki Custard: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewAdzuki Custard

Fitting, then, that we should sip it right before dessert. A Matcha Creme Brûlée and Adzuki Custard completed our meal, both with silky creamy textures and a sweet finish that wasn’t too cloying. With all the big hits through the evening, the dessert course didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but then again, I’d be asking for too much if I was expecting it from En Toriciya. A stellar performance: one I’m hoping to repeat.


The Service:

It’s not often that a restaurant’s service matches the quality of the food, but I’m very glad to report that at En Toriciya it’s a FULL experience. There was one waiter that really REALLY knew his shit. There was no question that we could throw at him that he couldn’t answer, and he only lacked a small nuance in detail compared to Chef Fukuda’s answers. Service that parallels the level of what I’ve had at Tetsuya’s, but in a much more comfortable setting. Love it.


Value for money:

At $60 per head for the degustation experience at En Toriciya, I think that you get more than your money’s worth. I was positively rolling out the door at the end of the meal, and my mind was still buzzing with the sheer variety of food that I was treated to. Chef Fukuda clearly puts a lot of thought into curating an array of treats, and like a good story, it leaves you walking away satisfied.


The Vibe:

En Toriciya is a fine dining restaurant hiding in humble surroundings, and that can be a little jarring for some. There isn’t a clear theme to the place, and for the uninitiated, you might even mistake this for just another local eatery where you can just pick up some hearty Japanese curry and make your way home. It’s clean and charming, but I wouldn’t expect theatrics and fireworks walking in. It’s very clear that the focus at En Toriciya is on the food and drink, the way Chef Fukuda wants it to be.


And finally,

I’ve always known that Crows Nest is home to some hidden gems (I’ve been to a few, lately) but I never expected to find a diamond quite like En Toriciya. Everything about this restaurant just resonated with the chef within me – the philosophy, the food, the single-minded obsession – and somehow they manage to artfully show off without the pomp and circumstance of other eateries with half the talent.

An absolutely stunning experience, and one I’m looking forward to repeating again and again.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of En Toriciya and Washoku Lovers.
En Toriciya
100 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9438 1738
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/En-Toriciya/607809672663924

En Toriciya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bondi Pizza, Macquarie

Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog Review

It doesn’t take an Italian to know good pizza. Case study 1: the pizza expert in my life is Simon, who just so happens to be Korean. And with all his experiments in dough fermentation and the best tomato sauce base, you can bet that Simon really knows his Magheritas from his Neapolitanas.

So I guess you could say that eating pizza with Simon at a chain restaurant like Bondi Pizza is…interesting, to say the least.


The Order:

Sicilian pizza, $13.95
Traditional Italian pepperoni, chorizo, Wagyu meatballs, Spanish onion, pancetta (bacon), kalamata olives, bocconcini & rocket with a drizzle of chilli oil. (NB: Meatballs contain 50% Wagyu beef & pork)

Magherita Pizza, $10.95
Roma tomato, Italian buffalo mozzarella, shaved parmesan & basil.

Magherita Pizza, $10.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMagherita Pizza

Garlic and cheese pizza, $10.45
With added balsamic onions

Bondi Wagyu Beef Burger, $16.95
Delicious wagyu & beef pattie served on a toasted bun with cos lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles & our own unique blend of special sauces. Served with fries. Added cheese and pancetta.

Chilli Prawn Linguini, $24.95
Chilli prawns tossed through linguini, wild rocket, chilli, parsley in light olive oil & freshly squeezed lemon juice

Dessert Share Plate, $22.95
A sample plate of our four best selling desserts… Oven-baked Apple Crumble Pizzette, Chocolate Brownie Swirls, Belgian Chocolate Fruit Fondue & Triple Chocolate Brownie served with warm melted Belgian chocolate & vanilla ice cream.


The Food:

Of the titular (tee hee! That word always makes me laugh) pizzas, we decided to get the Sicilian, $13.95, from their signature range, the Magherita, $10.95, from their classic range, and the Garlic and cheese pizza with added balsamic onion, $10.45, just to round things out.

Garlic and cheese pizza, $10.45: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewGarlic and cheese pizza, $10.45

The Garlic Cheese Pizza wasn’t particularly popular at the table, but there was something about its similarity to a cheesy garlic bread that I quite liked. Sure, it wasn’t amazing in a pizza sense, but the base wasn’t dry, and I quite liked the sweetness that the balsamic onions brought to it. Not quite sure about when you’d order it, though – the garlic isn’t strong enough for when you have an anti-vampire hankering, and the bread isn’t, well, bready enough if you’re in the mood for bread.

Sicilian pizza, $13.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSicilian pizza, $13.95

Thin base aside, the Sicilian fared much better, with its wide range of toppings. Not sure what that says about the pizza, per se, but it was definitely the best one of the lot. How can you go wrong with the salty hit of olives and cured meats?

The Bondi Burger and the Chilli Prawn Linguini were next – there was much debate at the table about whether the non-pizza dishes at a pizza restaurant would be any good, but hey, if they have it on the menu, I think I should give it a go.

The burger was rather unremarkable, especially given Sydney’s current burger-scape, I mean, with burgers like these:

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

I’m not sure that a burger like this would be up to par:

Bondi Wagyu Beef Burger, $16.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewBondi Wagyu Beef Burger, $16.95

It wasn’t horrible, but just not quite good enough in the kick-ass flavour, cheese porn, buttery bread, let’s-eat-till-we-drop-and-come-back-for-more department.

The Chilli Prawn Linguini fared slightly better, with the pasta being suitably al dente, and the prawns neither overcooked or stale.

Chilli Prawn Linguini, $24.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChilli Prawn Linguini, $24.95

The only thing for me, was that all I could really taste was a peppery heat from the chilli. No zesty lemon, no floral chilli notes, no fresh herbacious goodness..Just a pleasant amount of salt and heat.

By this time, I wasn’t sure what the dessert was going to be like, but with the variety that a Dessert Share Plate, $22.95, would give you, it should be pretty hard to go far wrong.

Dessert Share Plate, $22.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChocolate Brownie

Dessert Share Plate, $22.95: Bondi Pizza, Macquarie. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChocolate Swirls

The Chocolate Brownie Swirls were very pleasantly surprising: soft bread, rich chocolate…pretty much as advertised, with the added bonus of that warm chocolate fuzzy feeling that I get. You should try it. It’s like being hugged from the inside. The Apple Crumble Pizzette, though, seemed a little…uh, burnt. Not sure that the crumble concept works in a blazing hot-as-hell oven, but the warm scrolls did balance it out for me.

C+. Okay, not great.

Food: 0.5/1


The Service:

The service was actually REALLY GOOD, especially for casual dining restaurant. I know, I know, you might be saying “oh but they knew you were going to review the place!”. Well, there was a mixup, and it turns out that they didn’t realise that we were reviewers till the end when we cleared up what was going on, so double points!

We were really well looked after, and it was fairly easy to get their attention when we needed something. They were very aware of where and when to set things down when it looked like we were in the middle of digging into a plate, or clearing things to make more room, or even simply to greet us with a smile when I looked up and caught their eye. Very pleasant and friendly, and chirpy (like a Snow White’s squirrel friends), to boot.

The only thing that would push the service to the nth degree? Personal recommendations and food knowledge. The best service I’ve gotten are from service staff who are foodies themselves, and love sharing that love and passion. And while they’re very warm and welcoming here, there just wasn’t a sense of kindred foodie-love between us.

Although, I do think that this same accomodating service is type that would make Bondi Pizza a fantastic option for families or large groups that require a little more assistance.

Service: 0.5/1


Value for money:

If you’re talking about pure dollar-for-dollar value, there are quite a few pizza joints out there that offer up similar pricing for better quality (and more authentic) dishes. Not horrifyingly expensive that I’d run for the hills if someone in my group suggested coming here, but not where I’d choose to go if I was feeling a touch broke at the end of the month but really wanted to eat some pizza.

Value for money: 0/1


The Vibe:

The decor was nice, in the same way a mum would say, “hey let’s go out to a nice restaurant together tonight”. It was clean, inviting, pleasant…no dim lights and snooty wine lists here. But on that same note, there wasn’t a clear identity (have I mentioned that I’m partial to a good theme?), which would have pushed it from restaurant, to total experience.

Vibe: 0.5/1


And finally,

Look, Bondi Pizza isn’t trying to pass themselves off as artisan/gourmet, and we aren’t under any illusions either. But when the menu is so large, it gets even harder to hit all the right notes, and that may be where it fails diehard foodies like us. We have eaten at enough specialised pizza places to know that if you were an absolute pizza fiend, this might not be the place to go.

However, if you had to cater for children, or non-foodies, this would be a very accessible starting point. Nothing was bad, and there were option a gluten free, vegetarian, etc – so you could customise your food as your dietary requirements needed.

Bonus points: 0/1

Love your pizza? Me too! Why not try 400 Gradi Cinchetti in Brunswick, or take on a Lebanese twist with Just Man’oushe in Sydney’s CBD? So much yum.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Bondi Pizza.
Bondi Pizza
Macquarie Shopping Centre
Corner of Herring and Waterloo Roads Macquarie Park, NSW 2113
Phone: (02) 9889 5852
Website: http://www.bondipizza.com.au

Bondi Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Busshari, Potts Point

Soba & Somen, $20: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog Review

It’s been disgustingly hot, hasn’t it? And you know it’s bad, when the lovely manager of Busshari, Yuko, apologises profusely for the heat and assures you that the air-conditioning is indeed running, as you walk in the door. I can see what she means though – no sooner had I positioned myself at the counter, I was covered in a sheen of sweat.

DAMN YOU AND YOUR CRAZY WEATHER SYDNEY!

Needless to say, it was a really good time to be eating cold food – Yuko suggested the Seafood Sashimi and Seasonal Vegetable Salad, Soba and Somen, and we were definitely not going to turn that down.


The Order:

Ocean trout belly nigiri, $8 for 2pcs
Toro nigiri sushi, $12 for 2pc

Seafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27

Deep fried flounder, $28

Grilled Scampi with sea salt, green tea oil, $26

Soba & Somen, $20
Chilled green tea soba and Somen with shiitake mushroom, prawn and radish wasabi

Matcha Ice Cream


The Food:

If you truly do eat with your eyes, then the food at Busshari is an exquisite feast. Everything came out looking stunning – piles of food artfully arranged on stone plates that conveyed a modern Japanese aesthetic.

Ocean trout belly nigiri, $8 for 2pcs: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewOcean trout belly nigiri, $8 for 2pcs

Toro nigiri sushi, $12 for 2pc: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewToro nigiri sushi, $12 for 2pcs

We started with pieces of Ocean Trout Belly Nigiri and Toro Nigiri Sushi. Tender melt-in-your-mouth slices of fish are wrapped around 2cm-wide batons of rice, forming the perfect mouthful. Unctuous, luscious, and luxurious, these easy bites were a great start to our evening.

Seafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSeafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27

Then we got a bit more stuck in with the Seafood Sashimi and Seasonal Vegetable Salad. Whoever said that salads were measly rabbit food clearly had not seen this salad before. A veritable mountain of salad leaves were thoroughly covered in a sweet/savoury dressing, and adorned with a variety of fresh, sliced fish, assorted seafood, and finished with a nest of white radish and a Renkon (lotus root) chip. It was refreshing, simple, and oh so filling. Order to share, or as a main on a hot day. Either way, win-win.

Deep fried flounder, $28: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewDeep fried flounder, $28

The salad was immediately followed by another ‘wow’ dish: the Deep Fried Flounder. Pieces of fish are lightly battered and fried, and set on the crispy bones of the flounder bent into a graceful arch. I didn’t eat the bones this time – didn’t want to seem unladylike – but Yuko tells me that 1 in 3 customers down the whole thing, bones and all!

Grilled Scampi with sea salt, green tea oil, $26: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewGrilled Scampi with sea salt, green tea oil, $26

And then, we indulge my obsession with shellfish: the Grilled Scampi with Sea Salt and Green Tea Oil was soft and buttery, although I was missing any noticeable flavour of green tea. But really, we all know that I’d eat shellfish done any which way, so really, no loss there!

Soba & Somen, $20: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSoba & Somen, $20

And then the last savoury dish – Soba and Somen. Chilled green tea buckwheat, and wheat noodles are arranged in a waterfall, with little pots of sauce that you dip the noodles in and slurp up. The shiitake mushrooms – served on the side – were the best bit of this, though. Slices of rehydrated mushrooms are marinated in a sweet soy mixture, and the result is a meaty, moreish bite. So good.

Matcha Ice Cream: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMatcha Ice Cream

And just when we thought that we couldn’t eat any more – who am I kidding? We were that full by the time we finished the salad – scoops of creamy matcha ice cream come out, anointed with sweetened red bean paste. Not quite the best of all the matcha ice cream I’ve had – ahh Meiji you maker of addictive frozen desserts – but it was pretty good, especially when you can get it for free!

Food: 1/1


The Service:

I know that it’s hard to comment on the service because I was dining as a guest, but from my vantage point at the counter, it did genuinely look like everyone was having a great time. Waters were consistently getting topped up, and orders were flying off the pass at lightning speed…did I mention that this was also one of the calmest kitchens that I’ve had the pleasure of watching? We felt like we were in very good hands, and it was an absolute joy.

Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog Review

Service: 1/1


Value for money:

Busshari is not where you go for a night out that’s light on your wallet, much like the rest of Potts Point. Not that it’s particularly taxing either, but $27 for a main-sized salad – even though it’s got lovely slices of fresh seafood – still would have me hard pressed to slap the “bang for your buck” label on it.

Seafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27: Busshari, Potts Point. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSeafood sashimi and seasonal vegetable salad, $27

Still a nice restaurant for a classy dinner out, though. A worthy choice, especially if you’re in the area.

Value for money: 0.5/1


The Vibe:

I guess “casual” would be the best way to describe both the cuisine style and the crowd. There certainly wasn’t the hushed quietness of some Japanese restaurants I’ve been to, but Busshari also weren’t going out of their way to emulate the hipster crowd of the inner city. Go for a relaxed evening…because sushi and chill, right?

Vibe: 0.5/1


And finally,

I do absolutely feel like we were thoroughly spoilt by Chef Nobu – who has been at Busshari for the whole 10 years they’ve been open! – and the Busshari team. Chef steadily worked through the many orders that were coming through on the printer, expertly handling the many varieties of fish that they kept on hand.

If you’re into your sake, they also have a Yuzu sake in stock that is so deliciously light, it’s like drinking juice. Highly recommended, if you’re of the Sake persuasion. Trust me, you’ll want to be.

And don’t forget to flash your Washoku Lovers membership when you go to get a free scoop of matcha ice cream! Don’t say I don’t hook you up! ?

Bonus Points: 0.5/1

Washoku Lovers is a free membership programme that gives you perks to many Japanese restaurants in Sydney! We also have visited other restaurants participating in the Washoku Lovers programme, like Tamagetaya and Manpuku Ramen! To find out more about the programme and sign up, visit www.washokulovers.com.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Washoku Lovers.
Busshari
119 Macleay St
Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone:+61 2 9357 4555
Website: https://www.facebook.com/bussharipottspoint

Busshari Authentic Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Asian Equation: Pappa Rich, Parramatta

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pappa Rich, Parramatta: Char Kway Teow

Chain restaurants are really a double edged sword. If they’re good, you know that you’ll get it consistently good no matter where you go. But if they’re bad, then well, there’s no saving that relationship.

At least you know that you can always trust them one way or the other. So at least there’s that.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pappa Rich, Parramatta: Satay

I’ve been to Pappa Rich a few times before, and well, they are consistent. Bad news is that they seem to be consistently average – childhood favourites get the slightly-more-authentic-than-western-but-less-consistent-than-asian treatment – but at least you know what you’re getting going in.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pappa Rich, Parramatta: Char Kway Teow

Which doesn’t exaplin my temporary amnesia everytime I choose to walk in when I’m feeling nostaligic. I mean, I know that I’m not getting the hit of home that I want, but for some reason I can’t help myself. The Char Kway Teow didn’t have the wok hei that I wanted, but the satay was tender and properly spiced.

You win some you lose some I guess. Maybe I should stick to ordering fried chicken skin.

Mmmmm. Chicken skin.

This meal was independently paid for.
Pappa Rich, Parramatta
Shop 220, Westfield Parramatta
159-175 Church Street
Parramatta, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9633 3387
Website: http://www.papparich.net.au

PappaRich Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wok this way: Wok On Inn, Zetland

Sydney Food Blog Review of Wok On Inn, Zetland:Korean Prawn Stir Fry with Rice

I am not who you’d call an adventurer. Even living in Sydney, I’ve seen less of Australia than many tourists. Maybe even less of Sydney.

So when I got an invitation to Wok On Inn to check out their new store in Zetland, I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore another area of Sydney that I’ve never been to. And what better way than to do it with food?

Sydney Food Blog Review of Wok On Inn, Zetland: Thai Fish CakesThai Fish Cakes

Wok On Inn has a good formula working for them and they’re sticking to it: pick and customize your ingredients and sauce, and it will be stir-fried to order. Simple, fast consistent.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Wok On Inn, Zetland: Uncle's Drunken Noodles,Uncle’s Drunken Noodles

Sydney Food Blog Review of Wok On Inn, Zetland: Korean Prawn Stir Fry with RiceKorean Prawn Stir Fry

The Drunken Noodles come highly recommended, and seems to have changed slightly fro the last time I tried it. The sauce is spicier – never a bad thing – and darker than before, and I felt like it’s better mixed into the noodles. For the noodle/chilli-averse amongst you, the Korean Prawn Stir Fry provides a slightly sweet foil to white rice that grows on you the more you eat it. The food is starting to taste less distinctive between the dishes as opposed to before, but that may be to do with the fact that a lot of Asian recipes have ingridients that overlap, and if there was a recipe change then that might affect the uniqueness of the flavour combinations.

Otherwise, this eatery does a bustling lunch trade that’s kept flowing by friendly, bubbly staff, many of whom have Asian backgrounds themselves. And with the classy new apartments and snazzy new shopping centre, you do feel like you’re transported to a city within a city, just with a little less pollution.

Now if only Zetland wasn’t so darn far from the train station.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Wok On Inn.
Wok On Inn
Shop T.09 East Village Shopping Centre
2 Defries Avenue, Zetland NSW 2017
Phone: (02) 8048 6320
Website: http://www.wokoninn.com.au

Wok On Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast and Bubbles: Kazbah, Balmain

Poached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beans

They say you’re meant to eat breakfast like a King, and Kazbah is more than happy to take on that challenge with their Banquet Breakfast Feast, taking it upon themselves to feed you until you’re stuffed, and then proceed to bring out dessert.

Usually available only for bookings in groups of eight, they have decided to shrink the serving sizes to allow groups of 2 to sample the feast for the New South Wales Food and Wine Festival at $30 per head, bubbly included.

Turkish CoffeeTurkish Coffee

We start off with a Turkish Coffee, because when in Rome right? It had fabulous caramel notes and its strength was only tempered by the sugar that was added. There was none of the burnt aftertaste that I always associate with darkly roasted coffee, and finished smooth on the palate. It sure provided one heck of a caffeine hit though, and we needed it for the food coma that was soon to follow.

Sweet cous cous with nuts, dried fruit, stewed rhubarb, and cardamom milkSweet cous cous with nuts, dried fruit, stewed rhubarb, and cardamom milk

Warm Rice Pudding with Saffron Poached Pear, Cinnamon and HazelnutsWarm Rice Pudding with Saffron Poached Pear, Cinnamon and Hazelnuts

Wholegrain Barley and Oat Banana Porridge with Brown Sugar and Date CompoteWholegrain Barley and Oat Banana Porridge with Brown Sugar and Date Compote

They started us off sweet, with a trio of breakfast grains and cereals. Sweet Cous Cous, Saffron Rice Pudding and Barley and Oat Banana Porridge set the scene for a breakfast in the middle east, and “sits on your stomach like a sack full of quarters” (Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations, Season 4, Ep 18, 16:10). We were advised very early on not to fill up on these, but I can’t resist the comforting starchy texture of a rice pudding or porridge. In fact, the Rice Pudding with Saffron-Poached Pear (with it’s beautiful notes of vanilla and orange zest) reminded The Boy very strongly of what he used to have as a kid: Haleem, which is a creamy porridge made from whole wheat berries. The Sweet Cous Cous with Dried Fruit, Stewed Rhubarb and Cardamom Milk presented like breakfast cereal with a twist – the cous cous is cooked in a rose and cinnamon spiked liquid, topped with sweet dried fruit, and served with a warm, frothed cardamom milk that you pour over the top.

Move over, Captain Crunch.

Duo of Roasted Pumpkin, and Lamb TaginesDuo of Roasted Pumpkin, and Lamb Tagines

Then the tagine: a half and half of Roasted Pumpkin on one side, and Lamb on the other. Usually marked by the high conical cap that tops the shallow dish that holds the food, the tagine, much like the paella, actually refers to the stewing pan and not the food. In this one, the Roast Pumpkin was sweet and light, and y’know, good, but it wasn’t the lamb. Oh the lamb. Spiced lamb mince (secret spice mix recipe and all that) lays thick and rich on the bottom of the tagine, couching a baked egg that retains its oozy yolk. Grilled bread on the side, of course, because you need to be full, right?

If I die from being overfed tomorrow, I’m just glad that I have had this lamb.

Poached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beansPoached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beans

Then more savoury, because you can’t have breakfast in Australia without bacon and eggs. Laid out on a wooden platter were eggs done three ways (scrambled, poached and fried), hash brown, toasted bread, bacon, roasted tomato, grilled haloumi, stewed mushrooms, baked beans and spinach. It was quite a luscious platter (though not quite as amazing as the lamb tagine) and I really needed the acidity and tang that the stewed mushrooms provided. The scrambled eggs were a touch overdone for me – maybe to keep it from spreading all over the platter, I don’t know – and the hash browns didn’t quite have enough surface area to fluffy inside as I was hoping for. But really, I’m just nitpicking at this point because my stomach feels like overfilled muffin cups that have been put into the oven, and is resulting in the subsequent spilling out over the waistband of my jeans.

Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch SauceChocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce

Remember how I said that they would feed you till you’re full and then bring out dessert? Well here is dessert. Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce. Pancakes larger than your face is drowned in a pool of sauce, and topped with two scoops of ice cream.

Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce

And thick, too. I’m sure that this is the food coma talking, but I’m not such a fan of the texture of these pancakes. The addition of almond meal and the sheer size of it creates a tough, cakey texture, which is not quite the fluffy, bouncy texture that I’ve come to expect from pancakes. The butterscotch sauce mixed in with rivulets of creamy chocolate ice cream was nice, like a caramel and chocolate milkshake had a baby.

This is where the Turkish Coffee really came in handy. I was well and truly in a comatose state from the meal, and needed a wooden barrel to help roll me home. I’m told that these portions are calculated to be scaled down from the 8-person banquet, and the only thing that was left at a larger portion was the pancakes, which usually serves four to six. I could have easily been full if The Boy and I shared this with another four people, and with a bag full of leftovers, I can safely say that neither of us ate for the rest of the day.

And maybe that is the point of a middle eastern breakfast. You can like a King in the morning, so you don’t have to consume anything until the next breakfast.

If you’d like to try this luxurious breakfast, it is still available at Kazbah in Balmain till the end of the NSW Food and Wine Festival on the 1st of March. Visit www.nswfoodandwine.com.au for more details.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of the NSW Food and Wine Festival.
Kazbah Balmain
379 Darling St
Balmain, NSW 2041
Phone: 02 9555 7067
Website: http://www.kazbah.com.au/

Kazbah Balmain on Urbanspoon

Brooklyn to Bondi: Lox, Stock and Barrel, Bondi Beach

Ocean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Going out for dinner is always a hedonistic affair for me. I’ve always held the belief that if I was going to take the time, effort and money to haul my lazy couch potato ass out somewhere, I’d better be getting an experience that I can’t easily replicate at home. And most of the time this also means that the food is also hedonistic in nature. That is, “healthy” is not exactly a word that is used in association.

So imagine my surprise and mild confusion when I got an amazing dinner at Lox, Stock and Barrel in Bondi, but still walked away feeling light, and “healthy”.

Ocean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber PickleOcean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Croquettes are the perfect blend of classy dining and unadulterated comfort junk food to me. It basically involves a creamy mix of meat/fish/cream/potato etc shaped into a cylinder, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried into a crispy-on-the-outside-oozing-on-the-inside logs of golden brown perfection. Now say that three times fast.

At Lox, Stock and Barrel, we start the night off with Ocean Trout Croquettes, which contain little pink flecks of ocean trout, and all of the above-mentioned decadence. This was a fantastic way to whet the appetite, each log just large enough to tempt us with its oozing innards, and small enough to keep us wanting more. The Fresh Cucumber Pickle on the side was a nice touch, doing away with the need for the typical tartare sauce and the tangy notes that it provides.

Green Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and OreganoGreen Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and Oregano

Then comes the Green Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and Oregano. because EAT YOUR VEGGIES. And what delicious veggies they are. If this was the way my mother wanted me to eat my five servings of vegetables a day, I’m sure I wouldn’t have spent so much of my teenage years hiding in a closet with a mini wheel of camembert. The asparagus held a light amount of char on it, tempering the bitterness with a light nuttiness. The fried jerusalem artichoke provided an exotic crunch, and the labne – a sort of yoghurt cheese made by straining yoghurt to create a thicker consistency – tied it all together.

Duck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Consomme and Baby HerbsDuck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Consomme and Baby Herbs

I have a love/hate relationship with cooked cabbage. When overcooked, cabbage can stink out your house, much like over cooking Brussel sprouts can do. Thankfully, this plate of Duck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls retain that al dente crunch in the cabbage, adding texture to the duck. The mushroom consommé here is more sauce than soup, leaning toward the salty side of things, but delicious in its umami mushroom flavour nonetheless. It seems that they are building up the heaviness of the dishes with each course that passes, though I must say that I would have been very happy to just have this as a main by itself.

Slow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced NutsSlow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced Nuts

Now we’re moving into the heavyweight arena, with a stew of Slow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced Nuts. Now this is what vegetarian cooking should be like. All too often, vegetarian dishes are left to be afterthoughts, scrapping together meat substitutes, chasing a flavour that can’t really be faked. This, however, is unabashedly intended to show off the gorgeous veggies, meat be damned. The small cubes of haloumi add pops of salt, and the quinoa and nuts add heft and texture. The Boy and I agree that this would be fantastic winter comfort fare, and a guilt-free one, at that.

Grilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushroomsGrilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushrooms

And finally, a finale of Grilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushrooms. I have a soft spot for soubise – a puree of onion sautéed in butter and cooked in cream – so I’m already all over this. The rump cap was a nice medium rare, and the mushrooms plump and juicy without being soggy. The watercress seemed somewhat superfluous, but I guess you need something green to balance the rest of it. At this point, we were pretty stuffed, so a delicious dish was good, but not quite as out of the park as the others.

Before this, I always associated Lox, Stock and Barrel with lunch sandwiches and bagels. And witty names, yes, but not this creative, delicious, food that walks that fine line of the dining out experience and the showcasing of beautiful ingredients and produce. I’m glad to say that I was very wrong in my assumption.

This glorious menu of Lox, Stock and Barrel’s best dishes is available till the end of the NSW Food and Wine Festival, and costs $96 for two people.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of NSW Food and Wine Festival.

Lox, Stock and Barrel
140 Glenayr Ave
Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Phone: 02 9300 0368
Website: http://www.loxstockandbarrel.com.au/

Lox, Stock & Barrel on Urbanspoon

Shyun, Carnegie

Sometimes it it’s so bizarre to me how I live in Sydney, but make friends with a Singaporean, in Melbourne of all places.

And we get along like a house on fire.
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