Monday, February 21, 2011

Löwenbräu Keller, Sydney

Löwenbräu Keller is a popular German restaurant in The Rocks, Sydney. We loved it - great service by the costumed staff and fantastic hearty food.

Bayerischer Rettichsalat: Bavarian Radish Salad with Yoghurt-Dill Dressing and Smoked Norwegian Salmon ($22). Delicious salmon, nice dill dressing.


But the salad paled in comparison to the main event: Schlachtplatte: Löwenbräu’s Selection of Bavarian Specialties - Sausages, Chicken Schnitzel, Meat Loaf and Roast Pork Belly, Served with Mashed Potatoes, Sauerkraut, Braised Red Cabbage, Bread Dumpling and Bier Gravy ($38). So much meat, and everything was delicious! Highlights were the pork belly, meatloaf and braised red cabbage. Yum!


You can order a double-size Schlachtplatte which comes with a bonus roasted pork knuckle, but we chickened out of ordering so much meat at the last second!

Lowenbrau Keller on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Burger Got Soul, Sandy Bay

Burger Got Soul recently opened its second Tasmanian branch in Sandy Bay. Friends have been going on about how good it is, so we decided to see for ourselves.

We ordered some 'Thick cut seasoned chips' to share ($4.50) plus lime mayo ($1). The chips were cooked perfectly, although a tad too salty.


I ordered the 'Birds of a feather': chicken breast, satay coriander sauce, shredded carrot, salad and soul mayo ($12.90) on a Turkish bread bun. Tasty!


J devoured the 'Funkey chicken': grilled chicken breast, avocado, crispy trim bacon, salad, relish and soul mayo ($13.50) on a wholemeal bun.


It reminded us a lot of a place we went to in Brisbane last year called Grill'd, and looking up the menu online it seems to be the same!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Orizuru Sushi Bar, Victoria Dock, Hobart

Dinner with friends at Orizuru earlier this month. It was alright, but not amazing - mainly it just made me pine for the quality of sushi that I am used to in Melbourne or Sydney. The restaurant itself has had a bit of a makeover since the last time I was there (which was ages ago), and the servings seem smaller.

Soft-shell crab sushi. It felt like there wasn't enough batter on the crab. I wish more places in Hobart had SSC on their menu.


Vegetable tempura. This was great, nicely crisp.


Seaweed salad. I adore seaweed salad, and this was up to scratch, but it was a teeny tiny serving in a small bowl - more seaweed would have been preferable to the unnecessary lettuce/carrot garnish.


Chirashizushi. The seafood was fantastic, the eggs and rice underneath were uninteresting.


The dinner box that a friend had, which again seems smaller than it used to be.


Despite my comments above, I did enjoy the meal although that's likely to be partially (if not wholly) due to the company we were with. I came away from it feeling a bit poorer and still a bit hungry (J and I shared the first four dishes pictured).

Orizuru Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adriano Zumbo, Manly

Adriano Zumbo's new TV show starts on SBS tonight, everyone should watch it! Update: if you missed it you can watch the episode online here.

In honour of this, here are pictures of some treats that I tried at his new Manly outlet. The shop was a bit hard to spot (it has a very small sign), but it was worth the hunt.

Gary's Mangoes: mango themed, the jelly was my favourite part!


A closer look at all those layers: mousse, jelly, biscuit and meringue


It tastes sweeter: pineapple themed, delicous choux balls with amazing fillings.


Macarons: Blueberry mudcake, Raspberry and aniseed, Eggs and bacon, Lucky dip (which tasted a bit like banana). They got a bit sweaty on the 30ºC day!


Adriano Zumbo on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Din Tai Fung, Sydney

One of the things I really wanted to try in Sydney were xiao long bao, otherwise known as soup dumplings, and where better than Din Tai Fung who claim to have the world's tastiest dumpling (and get great reviews on urbanspoon to back it up). I haven't found anywhere in Tassie that makes XLB - if you know of anywhere, let me know. (Update: apparently Written on Tea in Sandy Bay have them - will go there asap!)

Din Tai Fung is pretty popular, and we were told when we arrived that there'd be a half hour wait before we could get a table. There is an outside area that's entirely designated for people waiting for a seat - it's huge! There were more people to either side of this shot.


While you wait you can watch dumplings being made in the kitchen. You are also given a copy of the menu and an order form that can be handed in before you are seated, meaning speedy service once you finally make it inside.



45 minutes later, we were seated! First up was the Vegetarian Delight: a salad with seaweed, dried tofu and glass noodles, tossed with a light sesame dressing ($3.80). I'm a big fan of Japanese seaweed salads and this dish has a lot in common with those - delicious.


We also ordered green beans with minced pork and dried prawn mincce ($12.80). Pretty tasty, but probably not really worth the price in comparison to the salad.


Crumbed chicken fillet served with fried rice ($12.80). Oh. My. This was the tastiest fried chicken that I've ever had. It was beautifully juicy and the crumb was out of this world, with a flavour reminiscent of Chinese five spice.


Prawn and pork jiao zi (6 for $9.80 - J stole one before I took the photo!). Pretty tasty, but they were eclipsed by the dumplings that come next...


Xiao long bao/pork soup dumplings (8 for $10.80). They were fantastic! A beautifully rich flavoured filling, and I know I haven't had dumpling skins of this quality before. Yum!


Definitely worth the wait. At $50 to feed two it was also terrific value.

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Machine Laundry Cafe, Salamanca

Machine Laundry Cafe is a Salamanca institution - it's been there for years and is very popular. It had been a long time since I'd eaten there so J and I went down to Salamanca for a Saturday morning brunch.

We ordered drinks - a fantastic mixed fruit frappe for me, and fresh orange juice for J.


Thom's Thing: garlic sourdough with avocado salsa, chickpeas, fresh tomato, basil, baby spinach, grilled haloumi and lemon ($13). I also added crispy pancetta to the order ($3.50). Delicious, especially the haloumi and pancetta.


J had poached eggs on multigrain toast ($9.50) with a selection of extra sides - mushrooms ($3), bacon ($3.50) and pork and sundried tomato chipolatas ($3.50).


Very tasty and good value. There's heaps more on the menu that I'd like to try, so we'll be back soon. I love places that offer more than just the standard eggs+sides for breakfast.

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tetsuya's, Sydney

Tetsuya's: one of Australia's top restaurants, and one that I have wanted to go to for a really long time. A combined 30th birthday for me and another friend provided the excuse to head to Sydney with a handful of friends and treat ourselves to an amazing night. The dinner costs $210 for an 11 course degustation, and many of us also chose the matched wine option for an extra $95. I've included the wine names with the dish descriptions below. I'm not at all experienced enough to comment about the wines, except that the combination of the food and wine was superb and enhanced the dishes. I don't think I am really knowledgeable enough to talk about the food adequately either, but I'll give it my best shot...

Sourdough with ricotta, parmesan and truffle butter.
The bread was delicious, the butter amazing, and even better with a pinch of salt on top. Bread was offered regularly throughout the first half of the meal, and the butter topped up.


Chilled cucumber soup with sheep yoghurt ice cream.
Amazing from the first sip: creamy with the ice cream yet completely refreshing.
In the background you can also see the cocktail I ordered - I forget what it was called, but I chose it because lychees were a component. Although I couldn't taste any lychees the cocktail still hit the spot nicely.


Sashimi of kingfish with blackbean and orange.
Tengumai Bunseirokunen sake for Tetsuya's, Junmai, Ishikawa.
I can't even begin to try and describe this dish. There was so much more to it than the three ingredients listed in the menu description - the flavours were very complex but completely balanced. The fish pretty much melted in your mouth, and I savoured every mouthful!


Marinated NZ scampi with avocado soup and avruga.
2010 Henschke Julius Riesling, Eden Valley, S.A.
I'd have to say that this was my favourite dish. I hadn't had scampi before, and it was so sweet and delicious. Underneath was a lovely bread salad. I hadn't had avruga before (herring that has been coloured with squid ink to resemble caviar) but it was great too. Each component on this dish was fantastic, and the combination was brilliant.


Confit Petuna ocean trout with konbu, celery and apple.
2010 Skillogalee Gewurtztraminer, Clare Valley, SA.
Tetsuya's signature dish! I loved the konbu crust, and the texture of the confit trout - it was very soft and had an interesting note from the oil.


Fillet of mulloway with asparagus and pil pil.
2007 Pierro chardonnay for Tetsuya's, Margaret River, W.A.
This was my least favourite course of the night, which is not to say that it was bad, just my least favourite. Mulloway (jewfish) is quite a strong tasting fish and it was definitely the dominant flavour of the dish.


Braised ox tail with sea cucumber and yuzu.
2008 Mencia petalos, descendientes de J.Palacios, Bierzo, Spain.
Another first: sea cucumber! Lots of umami in this course, and the sea cucumber added an interesting texture. The ox tail flaked apart with just a slight nudge of the fork.


Pancetta-wrapped quail breast with fresh sprouts and onion.
2010 Foster e rocco nuovo sangiovese, Heathcote, Victoria.
The quail was perfectly cooked and nicely tender, but the star of the dish was without a doubt the crunchy salad.


De-boned rack of lamb with heirloom carrots.
2008 Fraser gallop cabernet sauvignon, Margaret River, W.A.
This dish didn't make a huge impression on me. It was sprinkled with almonds which added some nice texture, and the purees were tasty, but despite lamb being my favourite meat this didn't stand out.


Riesling sorbet with pomelo and summer pudding
2007 Heggies botrytis riesling, eden valley, S.A.
We were told to eat the sorbet first, followed by the pudding. The pomelo in the sorbet was great - little bursts of flavour. Summer pudding is one of my favourite desserts, and so of course I enjoyed this.


White peach with peach granita.
Very refreshing!


Chocolate pavé with cream cheese ice cream and cinnamon twigs.
Seppeltsfield Cellar No. 6 tokay, Rutherglen, Victoria.
This was the final dessert that most of the table had. The cake was mousse-like and very rich!


As the birthday girl, I was given a different dessert - a perfectly-cooked chocolate fondant with cocoa-dusted hazelnuts and a quenelle of cream.


Chai mochi.
We finished on tea or coffee and these petit fours. I love mochi and these were great examples, with a rich chocolate centre (I don't recall noticing any chai flavour).


The service was top-notch - 100% professional without being stuffy - every detail was taken care of. They happily accommodated for vegetarians at our table, as well as gluten and egg allergies.

So, all in all it was a completely amazing meal! I was a bit worried that after wanting to go here for eight or so years that it might not meet my expectations, but it still blew me away. Completely and utterly worth it.

Tetsuya's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Matar paneer (Indian paneer and peas)

I used my paneer in a curry loosely based on this recipe. This is a perfect weeknight dinner recipe - it's fast, easy, healthy and other than the paneer, uses ingredients that are always in my pantry.

200g paneer
60g ghee
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen beans (I used a combination of both)
1/2 tsp garam masala

Dice the paneer into cubes.
Heat half of the ghee in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry the paneer until golden.
Add the remaining ghee in same pan over medium heat and cook garlic and ginger for one minute.
Stir in all spices except garam masala and cook one minute.
Add the tomatoes, fill the tin with water and add this as well, then cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas, peas, beans and paneer, and cook, partially covered, for a further 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the garam masala and serve with either rice or Indian bread such as naan.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paneer (cookbook challenge #2)


The theme for week two of the cookbook challenge is citrus. I decided to put a spin on this and make paneer, where lemon is a crucial ingredient when making the cheese (although other acidic ingredients such as vinegar can also be used).

It's a pretty simple process but results in a delicious fresh cheese that is tastier than what you can buy at the supermarket (and probably cheaper too, depending on the milk price).


2L of good quality, full cream milk, unhomogenised is ideal. I used Ashgrove's Green milk.
1/8 cup lemon juice

Heat the milk in a heavy-based saucepan until it is almost boiling.
Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
Place back on the heat briefly while gently stirring the milk.
Remove from the heat as soon as curds start forming, cover the saucepan, and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
Line a colander with cheesecloth (and place a bowl underneath if you wish to collect the whey - it's great for watering roses and rhododendrons)
Use a slotted spoon to gently transfer most of the curds from the saucepan into the cheesecloth.
Pour the remaining curds and liquid through the cheesecloth.
Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and twist it tightly to squeeze out more liquid.
Place a saucer on top of the twisted parcel and weigh it down with heavy cans or jars.
Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the cheese from the cloth, wrap with damp paper towel then place in the fridge in an airtight container.
Leave overnight before using.

After adding the lemon juice to the milk:


The finished paneer after resting overnight - I got 290g cheese out of 2L milk:


I used the cheese in a really tasty curry, the recipe is posted here