Posts tagged Crows Nest

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

Mama’s Buoi, Crows Nest 

Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review

Sense of humour is a very subjective thing. Some people like intellectual jokes, some people like low brow toilet humour…and some people, like Mama’s Buoi, are like me:

I love a good pun.

With two restaurants located in Surry Hills and Crows Nest, Mama’s Buoi is serving up classic Vietnamese family favourites, with the owner’s mother providing inspiration and recipes. The menu isn’t the shortest, but gives you ample options if you, like me, have a bit of the ol’ food ADD.

The Order:

Banh Cuon, $13: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewBanh Cuon, $13

Small share plates

Chicken ribs, $10
Seasoned with 5 spice and a chilli lime glaze
Banh Cuon, $13
Rice noodle stuffed with pork, mushroom and fried shallots

Salad

Mama’s Boy’s Buoi
Crispy soft shell crab, served on a papaya and pomelo salad (House special, seasonal), $20

Stir Fry

Rau Muong
Morning glory with garlic and chilli, $16

Bo Kho, $16: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewBo Kho, $16

Hot pot

Bo Kho
Stew of beef spare ribs, $16

Dessert

Che Chuoi
Banana and sago in a warm coconut cream, $9

The Food:

I think that I can confidently say that everything that I ordered that afternoon, I’d order again in a heartbeat.

Mama's Boy's Buoi, $20: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review Mama’s Boy’s Buoi, $20

Some things were more memorable than others: the Mama’s Boy Buoi (the pun is strong with this one) was a refreshing papaya and pomelo salad, accented with crispy soft shell crab. If you’re more familiar with the Thai Som Dtum, this would the a milder, sweeter, fresher Vietnamese counterpart. Very moreish, and very summery.

Chicken ribs, $10: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review Chicken ribs, $10

The Chicken Ribs and Banh Cuon are also excellent light options. Chicken ribs are like the new wings to me – crispy little morsels that you eat off teeny bones with your hands are glazed with a sweet and spicy glaze that will have you licking your fingers at the end. Here, they aren’t quite as good as the amazing ones I had at Thai Culinary in Melbourne, but they’re pretty darned close.

The Banh Cuon is Vietnamese version of my childhood favourite rice noodle rolls – filled with pork and mushroom and dressed in a sweet tangy nuoc Cham dressing, these bring a certain lightness to what could be an otherwise stodgy comfort food.

Rau Muong, $16: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewRau Muong, $16

If you prefer your veggies cooked, try the Rau Muong. Morning glory leaves are wilted, much like spinach, and stir fried with a chilli paste. Homely, and a perfect accompaniment to rice. And authentic, too. I distinctly remember similar dishes to this growing up in the region, just with various different greens, like sweet potato leaves and water spinach. A very scrumptious way to get your 5-a-day. ?

The Bo Kho is a rich stew of tender beef ribs that, while comforting and delicious, doesn’t hit as many high notes as the lighter options on the menu, probably because of the warm weather. Perhaps I’ll revisit this in winter, but until then, I’m sticking to the fresher dishes.

Che Chuoi, $9: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewChe Chuoi, $9

On the sweet side, the Che Chuoi also toes the line between being heavy and stodgy, and being incredibly comforting. It was sweet, thick, creamy, and rich with stewed bananas. Eats like an angel, weighs like a bag of coins in your stomach.

You have been warned.


The Service:

I’m not sure I can comment much about the service because we were invited guests, but from what I could observe from the other tables, they were incredibly accommodating and knowledgeable: having first hand experience with all the dishes on the menu.

Definitely a team that I would trust to ask, “what would you recommend?”


Value for money:

This restaurant definitely falls into ‘Asian Restaurant pricing’ for me, where the menu is meant to be enjoyed in groups. If you went by yourself, you’d probably be looking at about $30 a visit, assuming that you order a meat, a veg and rice to create a balanced meal. Sure, you’d have some leftover to take home, but it’s still a commitment that you’d have to make.

But, if you were to, say, share that with just one other person, the commitment drops to just $15 a visit. The spend per head drops significantly with a larger group, and of course, value for money goes up.

Need more convincing to go in a group? Then you get to try a little bit of everything across the board!

That’s always a winner ?

The Vibe:

I don’t know about the one in Surry Hills, but the Crows Nest restaurant has a really nice, relaxed vibe, with plenty of covered outdoor seating for you to enjoy the long summer days. The tables and chairs are organically – but artfully! – worn, adding to the homely feeling, without losing the professional edge.

I especially like how this carries on to the decoration of the menu – old family photos accent a few pages, like a mother showing off her brag book to a few guests. Coupled with the occasional pun, and classily plated food, Mama’s Buoi certainly has a deliberate vibe that they’re aiming for, and I really like the level of commitment!

Points for sticking to the schtick. ??

And finally,

If you were looking for something nice to have in a group in Crows Nest, then Mama’s Buoi is for you. I’m not sure that I would necessarily make a dedicated trip there for just myself, but with the variety and relaxed environment, it’s a great group option, especially since the value for money goes up the more people you dine with.

Just make sure that you get people who also love sharing food. No Joey Tribbianis allowed! ?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Mama’s Buoi.
Mama’s Buoi
77 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: +61 2 9438 5005
Website: www.mamasbuoi.com.au/

Mama's Buoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rice Den, St Leonard’s

Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog Review

What’s going on with the North Sydney area? It wasn’t until I started looking through my calendar did I realise how many trips I was making into the St. Leonard’s/Crows Nest to eat. Thai Food, Mexican, Burgers…and now, Modern Cantonese.

The Rice Den in St. Leonards takes traditional Cantonese cuisine and gives it a new spin with fresh Australian ingredients. When we first step in, the dark wood furnishings convey a sense of old world charm, while the efficient wait staff bring it all back into the modern day. They knew the menu like the back of their hand, and could make personal recommendations based on solid food knowledge.

So far, so good.

Handmade Cheong Fun, Peanut sesame, hoisin sauce $8. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewHandmade Cheong Fun, Peanut sesame, hoisin sauce $8

We started with the Handmade Cheong Fun with Peanut Sesame and Hoisin Sauce, $8. Because nostalgia. When I was a kid, Cheong Fun was a daily breakfast. My mum would take me to this hawker stall, downstairs from the kindergarten I went to. A large, rotund man in a thin white wife beater stood, amongst steaming pots, selling rice cakes with radish condiments and rice noodle rolls with hoisin sauce to long queues of dreary-eyed office workers in the building.

The noodles here were soft, tender, but not quite as silky as I wanted them to be. As for the sauce, I could do without the peanut element, but it really did bring childhood memories flooding back for me.

Mixed wild mushroom pancake, $10. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMixed wild mushroom pancake, $10

But because you can’t live on rice noodles alone – well, you can, but I don’t think you’re meant to – we also got the Mixed Wild Mushroom Pancake ($10) and Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout with pickled fennel, ginger and soy sauce ($16).

Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard': Sydney Food Blog ReviewRice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16

The Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout was seriously kickass, but we all know that I’ve got a bit of a thing for cured fish. Or fresh fish. Or any fish. Doesn’t have to be fish, as long as it comes from the sea. In this case, the rice wine flavour wasn’t particularly obvious, but it really worked as a dish, for me.

Tea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinkiang vinegar, $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewTea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinkiang vinegar, $16

Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle, $24. The Rice Den, St Leonard: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24)

Of the larger bites, we ordered the Tea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinking vinegar ($16), and the Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24).

Maybe it was the crazy heat, but I was really really feeling the chicken salad, and I’m not even a chicken fan! The smoke really came through without being too overpowering, and the black vinegar dressing kept it refreshing and moreish. A big fat yes.

The Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24) reminded me a little of the Thai claypot crab with glass noodles, mixed a little with chilli crab. There was something really comforting about it, and it was very well made, but somehow wasn’t quite as punchy as the tart chicken salad on a steaming hot day.

French Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea, $14. The Rice Den, St Leonards: Sydney Food Blog ReviewFrench Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea, $14

And to finish, French Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea ($14). It was crazy rich, with only the green tea mascarpone to cut it. It didn’t quite have the pudding quality that I like in a french toast – My french toasts border on bread pudding – but it was fantastically crispy, and oozing with Dulce de Leche.

I really like what The Rice Den does with bringing old school favourites into the modern day. There’s a whole lot of respect for the cuisine, without taking itself too seriously, which is really what casual dining (to me) is all about. Because not everyone has to spend 10,000hrs perfecting Cantonese techniques.

No, I think we’ll leave that to the old masters.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of The Rice Den.
The Rice Den
30-32 Chandos Street
St Leonards, Sydney
Phone: 02 9438 3612
Website: http://thericeden.com.au

The Rice Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Livin’ la vida: Los Vida, Crows Nest

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8

Authenticity is a very finicky thing. We get so riled up about “this isn’t authentic (insert food here)”, that sometimes, we forget about the fun of it all. I know, because I do it too.

So it’s quite a relief to rock up to eat a cuisine that I have little experience with: this time, it’s Mexican.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Smoked Chilly Popcorn with Chorizo Chips, $7Smoked Chilly Popcorn with Chorizo Chips, $7

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Prawn Ceviche, $13Prawn Ceviche, $13

I’ve seen mixed reviews about Los Vida in Sydney’s CBD, but this brand new venue in Crow’s Nest also seems to be accompanied with a brand new menu, just to spruce things up a bit.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Los Vida Famous Fish Tacos, $5Los Vida Famous Fish Tacos, $5

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, $5Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, $5

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8

So I did my food blogger duties and gave the new menu a workout, the only kind of workout I partake in.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chilaquiles, $13Chilaquiles, $13

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Beef Ribs, $18Beef Ribs, $18

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Watermelon Salad, $12Watermelon Salad, $12

The Chorizo Octopus Tacos were an instant favourite, with the smoky paprika and tender octopus delivery punchy mouthfuls of flavour. The Chilaquiles was like hearty, grown up nachos that’s perfect to share, and the Beef Ribs had a sweet sauce paired with tender meat and tangy pickles.

I did have a bit of an issue that the Prawn Ceviche actually involved poached prawns in a tangy dressing (WHY U TOY WITH MY FEELINGS), which actually made for a nice mouthful, just not a ceviche. And I was looking forward to cured raw prawns in citrus.

But otherwise, it was all very enjoyable, with bubbly staff members and an upstairs/downstairs setup that gave the whole restaurant a lot of depth and a great ambience. Whether or not it was ‘authentic’ or not (as some of the reviews were complaining about) I really don’t know, and you know what? I don’t think I cared. It was a good lunch and a great day out, and I really want more of those Chorizo and Octopus Tacos.

Why do they have to be so small?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Los Vida.
Los Vida
419 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW
Phone: 02 9439 8323
Website: http://losvida.com.au

Los Vida Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As the crow flies: The Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest

Review of The Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest

I must say that I’ve been very lucky: growing up in Singapore, I’ve been able to consider Thailand as a “weekend holiday” destination, and enjoy all the culinary delights that come with it! Since moving to Sydney, I’ve clearly had less easy access to Thailand, but I must say, Thai food in Sydney is actually quite good.

And with that knowledge, I was super excited to be invited to Tall Lemongrass, in Crow’s Nest!

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Mieng KumMieng Khumm, $12

Owner Wendy greeted us at the door, and then proceeded to completely spoil us with her extensive menu – this was a whole book and a few laminated sheets worth of menu – of Thai classics with a modern slant.

We start with 2 entrees, because…well, do we actually need a reason?

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Duck BitesDuck Salad Mouthfuls, $14

The Mieng Khum, $12, and the Duck Salad Mouthfuls, $14 show a strong emphasis on presentation, and sets the mood for a bit of theatre. Mieng Khum is a traditional Thai snack of ginger, chilli, onion, peanuts, and various other toppings, wrapped in a betel leaf. In Australia, with our abundance of beautiful produce, poached prawn is often added, making a delicious mouthful. Here at Tall Lemongrass, it’s served with an additional egg net and a delicious sweet/savoury dressing, in stunning glasses.

Told you that there was an emphasis on presentation!

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Caramelised Pork BellyCrispy Pork with Caramel Dressing , $20

Of the mains, we chose the Crispy Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing, $20, the Som Tum with Deep Fried Barramundi Fillet, $25, the Pad Thai with Squid, $16, and Green Tea Rice, $3.50, just to mop up all the deliciousness!

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Green Tea RiceGreen Tea Rice, $3.50

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Som Tum with Fried BarramundiSom Tum with Deep Fried Barramundi Fillet, $25

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Pad Thai with SquidPad Thai with Squid, $16

The Crispy Pork Belly came out with an absolute flourish, as all crispy pork belly is wont to do, and the caramel sauce coated the tender-on-the-inside-crispy-on-the-outside pork belly chunks with an addictive sweet glaze. The Green Tea Rice was another delicious surprise – they fry the rice off with matcha powder, giving a very subtle and light green tea flavour that actually works very well with the traditional Thai mix of flavours of sweet, salty, spicy and salty.

Heck, I’d even eat the rice on its own. But we all know that I’d do that anyway.

Review of the Tall Lemongrass, Crows Nest: Deep Fried Ice Cream in Filo PastryDeep fried ice cream with filo sheets, $12.50

But the piece de resistance – DEEP FRIED ICE CREAM!!! Cold ice cream, hot crispy filo pastry, a delight for the senses. And check this: It’s better than Holy Basil. BOOM. There, I said it. And even though we were full AF, it was still the best part of the evening. Look, the other dishes were decent, but this dessert was absolutely excellent.

I really like how The Tall Lemongrass is trying to do something new, with very old culinary traditions. They’re trying to do something different with something so familiar to us, and I commend them for that. Unfortunately, not everything works – the Pad Thai, for example, while very cute in their little egg net parcels, was not actually what I’d classify as a main. And I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be if I thought I was ordering a stock standard full plate of pad thai, and 2 small parcels came out to the table.

BUT, I’m an avid supporter of creativity, and as with any restaurant menu – especially one so extensive – is bound to have some executional problems. And realistically, Crows Nest is an expensive neighbourhood, so I guess…well I’m not entirely surprised about the price tags of the dishes.

Great space for a group setting, and the waitresses are extremely friendly and helpful. If nothing else, go for that fried ice cream. It’s freaking amazeballs.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of The Tall Lemongrass.
The Tall Lemongrass
136 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9966 0350
Website: www.thetalllemongrass.com.au/

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