Category Archives: Reviews

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Lodge Tapas, Lane Cove- Restaurant Review

Nestled on the popular Burns Bay Road dining precinct, Lodge Tapas brings modern European dining to the heart of Lane Cove, Sydney. With a vertical garden of vines and abstract copper light fittings, there is a warm and quirky style that can also be found throughout the diverse menu.

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Settle into the plush leather chairs to devour a long brunch on a sunny morning and watch the world go by with French toasts and fruit bowls. Light bites for lunch include juicy burgers and fresh salads. Diners can choose from a range of tapas plates to share on order a more serious feed from the mains menu.

 

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Indulge in earthy flavours with the arancini balls with wild mushroom, white truffle oil, and a vegetarian’s delight of chargrilled haloumi, tofu, and grilled vegetables. For the cooler months, the double cooked pork belly served with granny smith apple accompaniments are homely and tastes as stunning as it presents on the plate.

 

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Mains are rustic and feature a great spectrum of flavourings and combinations from Corn fed chicken with beetroot pasta, herb crusted lamb cutlets and the crowd favourite gnocchi with goats cheese.

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A welcome addition to the Sydney dining scene creating an inviting space where great food and good times can be shared amongst family and friends.

No.10 Bistro, Sydney

No. 10 Bistro – Sydney – Restaurant Review

Opening its doors earlier this February, No. 10 Bistro is the latest Sydney restaurant to open from Fresh Catering. Housed in Sydney Living Museums historic The Mint building, No.10 Bistro occupies the upstairs dining rooms, verandah, catering events within the turfed courtyard and the No.10 Store on the ground level.

The dining rooms are decorated under the talented direction of Kristie Paul, with large-scale photographs capturing historic buildings of the Sydney region and clean lines of black and white table settings create a modern yet formal vibe. Large pots of luscious ferns line the verandah adding a touch of refreshing greenery to the lofty, sun-rich space.

There is a  focus on delivering dishes of exceptional bistro quality, through a particular assortment of European-inspired flavours crafted to suit a lighter contemporary Australian palette. Fire-engine red heirloom tomatoes are dazzled with silver strips of anchovies and shreds of fennel creating an impressive starter.

No.10 Bistro Sydney Restaurant Review

Anchovy and tomato

A contrast of neutral and dark painted plates fill tables, with dishes  ideally shared between guests to experience the full spectrum of flavours and textures which range from the crispy skin of the fish fillets in the Fritto Misto to the delicate creamy richness of the gnocchi dressed with portobello mushrooms, spinach, thyme and garlic.
Catering for lovers of the long summer lunch or for those in a hurry (a prix fixe menu available at lunch times) to more formal corporate events held in the downstairs courtyard, No.10 Bistro is fast becoming a favourite Macquarie Street dining institute.

No.10 Bistro Sydney Restaurant Review

Roast goats cheese

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Manjit’s @ The Wharf- Sydney – Restaurant Review

For over thirty years, Manjits has been bringing classic North Indian cuisine to the tables of Sydney, with restaurants in both Balmain and Corrimal. Their latest venture has opened its doors on food meccas King Street Wharf. It is modern and elegant in style, with patrons treated to a stunning backdrop of the harbour as they devour exuberant flavours of the motherland.

 

Meals are presented in contemporary shaped pieces of dinnerware, complimenting the heritage inspired menu. Coming from a pedigree of family chefs spanning over a hundred years, head chef Varun Gujral injects a life of freshness and creativity out from his inherited recipes.

 

Fish Malai arrives from the kitchen innovatively served on a ceramic plate which has been crafted as an artist’s palette, embellished with splashes of brightly coloured infused oils resembling a montage of edible stained glass. The delicate balance of flavours created in the Kochin bug curry sparingly employs the punchiness of green chillies and cloves, mellowed by the creamy coconut milk sauce and sweetness from the Balmain bugs.

 

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Rich coloured curries

 

Dessert is no exception from the artistic influences found throughout the Manjit creations, as a spire of layers arises from the crisp white bowl, creamy mango ice-cream on top complete with a base of crunchy pistachios the kulfi with falula, it is a fruity textual delight.

 

This is sophisticated Indian dining right in the heart of Sydney, luxe and modern in furnishings but as warm and inviting as a New Delhi family dining room.

 

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Inside Manjit’s @ The Wharf

La Puerta Latino Flavours – Neutral Bay – Sydney – Restaurant Review

Just a hop, skip and samba over the bridge, Sydney’s newest Latino addition offers food lovers a truly authentic South American dining experience. La Puerta Latino Flavours in Neutral Bay embraces the true essence of South American culture making one feel like they have walked straight into an Argentinean dining room.

La Puerta

Leche de Tigre, King fish Peruvian style

Red hearts hang from the ceiling and there’s a painting of tango dancers in a fiery embrace adorning the wall and this passion extends to the flavour rich menu. Start with a creamy smoked butter served with cassava flat cheese bread or, my favourite, the Costillitas of bite size deep fried pork ribs.

Seafood fans will rejoice with the Tiradito- thinly sliced fish served with a chili style Peruvian sauce that expertly balances the heat from the chilli with zest of fresh lime. The coastal prawn cocktail is a modern Latin twist on this 70’s classic with fresh prawns elegantly presented on a layer of tomato, aioli and their signature crispy platanitos. The dish encapsulates summer in a cocktail glass.

The passionate decor of La Puerta

The passionate decor of La Puerta

A soundtrack of buzzing patron conversations mixed with the mellow tunes of a Spanish guitar make La Puetra ideal for a romantic date night, or a vivacious birthday celebration with family and friends.

Chloe Varga

La Puerta Latino Flavours

The new Chefs Gallery – art and artistry, all in one place

Fifty years ago in Australia, Chinese food consisted of deep-fried honey chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and a bowl of fried rice. Despite Australia’s large Chinese population, due to the goldrushes in the 1850’s and 1860’s, it has only been in the past couple of decades when ideas of what Chinese food can be have expanded. Forging this way is Chefs Gallery, which, due to its popularity, now has restaurants all across Sydney.

Host Claudia Chan Shaw speaking with Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan and artist. Photo credit: Mick

Host Claudia Chan Shaw speaking with Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan and artist Fan Dongwang. Photo credit: Mick Ross

Not only has the modern Chinese menu had an upgrade, Chinese-influenced artwork will now hang on Chefs Gallery restaurants at Town Hall in the City, Macquarie Centre at North Ryde and the new Little Saigon Plaza in Bankstown.

I have a new appreciation for those handmade noodles - this was tough!

I have a new appreciation for those handmade noodles – this was tough! Photo credit: Mick Ross 

Chefs Gallery has established a reputation for its modern, and sometimes cheeky, interpretation of Chinese cuisine. Their handmade noodles are a star attraction and not just on the menu. Behind glass windows, the chefs roll, swing and swirl noodles in front of customers, creating a multi-sensory theatrical experience. Now, the chefs will have to vie for attention as the artistry is not only on the plate and in the kitchen, but also the surrounding the walls. Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan, the displayed artwork – including paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics – will all be for sale.

Anna Lisle

Chefs Gallery Town Hall
Chefs Gallery Macquarie Shopping Centre
Chefs Gallery Metcentre
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hefs Gallery Bankstown
Opening soon, Chefs Gallery Parramatta

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima

Many would consider Chase Kojima, Executive Chef at one-hatted restaurant Sokyo, one of the best sushi chefs in Sydney. Combine this fact with Sydney’s ongoing obsession with ramen, and it makes sense that a certain level of pandemonium has ensued following the opening of Chase’s pop-up ramen store this September.

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Situated on the ground floor of The Star, the hole-in-the-wall popup offers four different types of ramen, including yuzu shio (light and refreshing), Kyoto shoyu (umami soy), gyokairui tonkotsu (slightly rich) and spicy miso tantanmen (mildly spicy). Ranging from $15-$16 per serving, the bowls of ramen offer different flavours based on the broth, richness and toppings. Shio ramen, perhaps boringly, is always my ramen of choice. Chase’s adaptation is based on a chicken broth and topped with pork cheek chashu, egg, nori, yuzu and a mixed green salad. The braised pork cheek is tender and falls apart in your mouth and the hint of yuzu adds a refreshing and citrusy twist to the highly slurp-able broth. One of the fundamental components to any good ramen is undoubtedly the noodles; Chase opts for thin and straight noodles, the relative thickness of the noodles delivering a satisfying chewy texture.

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To accompany your ramen, there are also other Japanese street food classics to choose from including fried chicken karaage as well as a homemade yuzu pop soda. The karaage makes for a no-brainer side, it’s marinated in sake and soy and served with spicy Japanese mayonnaise, making every bite a juicy and tasty affair. The mocktail pop soda is made from yuzu, passionfruit, aloe vera, almond syrup and soda and works as the ultimate refreshing palette cleanser.

Don’t wait too long to hop on the #NoRamenNoLife bandwagon, Sokyo Ramen closes shop at the end of November.

Open 7 days from 11:30am til late

Jenny Wang

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima

Fat Noodle in The Star – Sydney

If you’re not hot on the foodie trail, you might be forgiven for thinking that Fat Noodle inside The Star is another stock standard Asian eatery. It is in fact the brainchild of Luke Nguyen, Red Lantern’s celebrity chef and television star.

Drawing inspiration from his travels around Asia, Luke has created a hawker style menu with some of his favourite dishes. Unlike Red Lantern, Fat Noodle isn’t a straight-up Vietnamese restaurant. Rather, there’s a medley of South East Asian cuisines on offer, with a dynamic mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Thai dishes to choose from.

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We opt for one of the new menu items to start, the Lijiang chicken topped with shallots and doused in vinegar dressing. The chicken is soft on the inside with a satisfyingly crispy skin. Tempered with the acidity of the vinegar dressing and pickled radish, each mouthful of the chicken boasts a melange of flavours, which is quickly devoured with the accompanying jasmine rice and chilli sauce.

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Leaving without trying the famed Fat Noodle Pho would almost border on sacrilege. The trademark pho dish is cooked in Luke Nguyen’s signature 20-hour beef broth, in 400 litre kettles with oxtail and wagyu. As with any bona fide pho, there’s a side of hoisin sauce as well as fresh basil, bean sprouts, chilli and mint, meaning you’re able to tailor the flavour to your liking. The broth is fragrant and rich, highlighting the flavour of the thin slices of Angus sirloin that sit atop the silky rice noodles.

Situated on the main gaming floor at The Star and open til late, Fat Noodle hits the spot whether you’re after a post-show meal, or simply craving food of the Asian persuasion. Gambling is always a risky business, but the pho is unlikely to disappoint.

Jenny Wang

Fat Noodle

William Blue Dining – Restaurant Review – The Rocks, Sydney

William Blue Dining is a live classroom where the future stars of the hospitality industry showcase their talent to the public and, let me be clear, there is talent to be shown. The waiters, as well as the chefs and kitchen staff, are students at William Blue College of Hospitality Management. The restaurant is part of the students’ training and it gives them an opportunity to get first-hand experience with paying customers.

Kingfish ceviche, blue swimmer crab, baby coriander, lime, chilli, mustard cress (GF)

Kingfish ceviche, blue swimmer crab, baby coriander, lime, chilli, mustard cress (GF)

Residing in the beautiful space that was once home to Neil Perry’s Rockpool, the menu features all your fine dining favourites. Braised pork belly with fennel puree or a simple kingfish ceviche with baby swimmer crab make a strong start to a three-courser. Follow this up with a crisp skinned Ora king salmon, paired with braised witlof casino online and a sort of sweet corn puree or stick to the tried-and-trusted eggplant and mozzarella tian.

Grilled Ora King Salmon fillet, crispy skin, pink pepper sauce, sweet corn, prawn, chives, braised witlof (GF)

Grilled Ora King Salmon fillet, crispy skin, pink pepper sauce, sweet corn, prawn, chives, braised witlof (GF)

Dessert-wise, we loved the old-school rice pudding, vanilla scented and studded with poached apricots and poached rhubarb. At $38 for a three-course meal, you’d be hard pressed to find better value for money in The Rocks – in fact, based on the quality of the ingredients, I dare say this might be the best bang for your buck in Sydney.

Vanilla rice pudding, stewed rhubarb, sesame nougatine, poached apricot

Vanilla rice pudding, stewed rhubarb, sesame nougatine, poached apricot

If this is the future of the Australian hospitality industry, then we”re in safe hands.

Anna Lisle

William Blue Dining

Photography: Jenny Wang

Burger Project – Review – World Square Sydney

“Fast food, slow food values” is the mantra declared on the walls of Burger Project in World Square, Sydney. The restaurant’s décor is similarly oppositional; exposed concrete, bare ceiling ducts and functional moulded tables are a stark contrast to the fine dining-esque bright open kitchen, unique pendant lights and beautiful sanded wooden benches.

The Burger Project is the brainchild of chef Neil Perry and his team from the famed Rockpool Group (whose portfolio includes Rockpool Est. 1989, Rockpool Bar and Grill, Spice Temple and Rosetta), and they have extended their love of quality and environmental consciousness to the masses at this World Square outpost. The philosophy centres around the meat (as surely all good burgers should) – the beef for both Rockpool and Burger Project comes from Tasmanian grass-fed stock. This is carved and ground in store at the Project, and indeed, you can see the bright red sides of beef being expertly prepared through the kitchen’s glass walls.

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The first bite of every burger we try is a celebration of the hearty goodness of beef; however, it isn’t all about the meat. The beef-to-bread-to-condiment-to-salad ratio is perfect in each burger offering. The cheese and bacon burger is satisfyingly carnivorous, with the mild cheese and fresh veggies bringing the dish together. The bacon project burger is similarly substantial, with a great salty hit of bacon for the porcine connoisseur. We also try the two types of spiced chicken wings, either rolled in Szechuan chilli pepper for a fresh crunchy bite, or as a spicy punch with hot sauce. Another highlight is the American-diner-style milkshakes. We try the vanilla, which is smoothly sweet with dark flecks of vanilla throughout, and the salted caramel, which delivers honeyed happiness in each sip.

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The takeaway message from the Burger Project is that fast food really doesn’t have to bad for you, or for the environment. The restaurant even promotes its commitment to recycling waste and charitable fundraising on the tray matts. Good food, served fast and friendly – a very tasty combination.

Liz Stern

Burger Project 

Firedoor – Restaurant Profile – Surry Hills

Two wood-fired ovens, four grills and a cast-iron Aga oven.  That’s it. For most chefs of a certain calibre, this almost-archaic kitchen would be like stepping back in time.  For Lennox Hastie, head chef at Firedoor, this is the type of kitchen that dreams are made of.

Photo credit: Nikki To

Photo credit: Nikki To

The Fink Group have opened two of the most anticipated restaurants across Australia within months of one another – and they couldn’t be more different. Bennelong, residing in the iconic Opera House is a multileveled glamour-house with all the trimmings of a fine dining restaurant, while the pared-back Firedoor, tucked away on Mary Street in Surry Hills, prides itself on simplicity.

Photo credit: Nikki To

Photo credit: Nikki To

The kitchen burns five to six different types of wood a day; hay, ironback, pecan, orange, wine barrels and pear, to name a few, each used to infuse the various dishes on the menu that night. Prawns, butterflied and grilled on orange wood, are unadulterated – perfect in their no-frills state. Brussels sprouts pop up on almost every on-trend restaurant but these, char grilled and served in a thick pool of rich stock with chunks of smoked ham hock, put others I’ve tried to shame.  Unsurprisingly, sea fare dominates the menu however a Ranger’s Valley Wagyu rib eye will make anyone believe they could happily go paleo for the rest of their lives. At Firedoor the produce is served as-is, in all its flawless glory. This philosophy has challenges though – there’s nowhere to hide even the smallest mistake. Thank goodness Hastie is a genius.

Anna Lisle

Firedoor