Suminoya, Sydney

Are you a KBBQ or JBBQ person? I do love my banchan side dishes at Korean barbecue but Japanese barbecue (yakiniku), with their premium cuts of meat and dipping sauces, is where my heart lies. We recently returned to Suminoya, a Japanese yakiniku buffet in the city, and was surprised to find it kitted out with shiny new ventilators, leaving the place entirely smoke free! There’s a tiered menu with different price points offering different dishes. We went all out on the Deluxe buffet which meant we could order as many servings of ox tongue, wagyu beef rib and sushi as we wanted within 60 mins, with a further 30 mins allowed for eating. The standouts for me were definitely the wagyu cuts, with other dishes such as the sashimi, sushi and salads acting as foils for the inevitable meat coma. Don’t forget to save room for dessert with both the black sesame and green tea ice creams being a nice way to end the meal.

TL;DR: All you can eat Japanese BBQ, without the smoke!
Favourite dish: Wagyu beef rib
Would I return?: If I’m hungry

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Suminoya courtesy of Washoku Lovers

Suminoya
1 Hosking Place
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Ph: +61 2 9231 2177
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 7 days, 5.30pm to 10pm

Shiny new ventilators = no smoke!
Gourmet buffet – $50
Premium buffet ($60) and Deluxe buffet ($65 Mon – Thu; $70 Fri – Sun and Public Holidays)
Touchscreen ordering system
Ox tongue on the grill
Curry rice – apparently a typical dish eaten at yakiniku
Garlic prawns, garlic with butter and corn in butter
Duck breast
Mixed sashimi
Aburi scallop and aburi wagyu sushi
Wagyu beef rib and wagyu beef rib finger
Roast beef salad
Grape slushy
Black sesame and green tea ice cream

12-Micron, Sydney

If you’re looking for a place where you can do drinks, dinner and dessert, then look no further than 12-Micron in Barangaroo. We’re here for the dessert bar, having heard about the dessert tasting menus. There’s options of 3, 5 or 7 courses, but we decide to order a la carte among 6 of us for more variety, and also so we can say, “One of everything, please!” The desserts arrive, colourful and artfully plated, making for an impressive spread. There’s some interesting ingredients as well, like native Australian rosella, quandong and finger lime. Each element on each plate is beautiful and packed with flavour, but sometimes the components seemed to be fighting for the spotlight rather than working well together. My surprise favourite was actually the Pyengana cheddar dessert as it had a nice balance of sweet and savoury. It was an interesting meal, but none of the dishes were a stand-out for me, so I probably wouldn’t be rushing back any time soon!

TL;DR: Fine dining desserts with unique flavours
Favourite dish: Pyengana cheddar, milk chocolate, plum, honeycomb
Would I return?: Probably not

12-Micron
Tower 1, Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Ave
Barangaroo NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8322 2075
Open 7 days, 12pm til late

Barangaroo
Mood lighting
Table setting
Cocktails
One of everything, please!
Earl grey, mandarin, white chocolate, peppermint – $19
Pineapple, coconut, sago, mint – $17
Pavlova, quandong, strawberry,
white chocolate – $18
Peanut butter, rosella, toast ice-cream – $22
Chocolate, passionfruit, rainforest lime, muntries – $24
Pyengana cheddar, milk chocolate, plum, honeycomb – $19
Carrot, cream cheese, liquorice, blood orange – $18

Bacco Osteria e Espresso, Sydney

Bacco Osteria e Espresso is the latest addition to the Angel Place laneway dining district. A cafe/espresso bar in the morning, morphing into a full on restaurant by midday, its small menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients, house-made everything and regional Italian dishes. The food here is simple, delicious and allows the ingredients to shine. Case in point: the artichoke hearts draped over a bed of creamy stracciatella cheese, drizzled with olive oil and served with crostini. Keep an eye out for the specials, like the hand-dived wild Port Phillip scallops which were superbly sweet, and served grilled on the shell with garlic and butter. We ordered all the pastas which were incredible. I thought the standout dish would be the spaghetti alla chitarra with sea urchin (don’t get me wrong, it tasted amazing and reminded me of Chinese ginger and shallot crab, in a good way!), but my favourite was the gnocchi with pistachio and pecorino – a recipe straight from executive chef Andrew Cibej’s nonna. I guess there really is nothing that compares to an Italian nonna’s food!

TL;DR: Italian osteria that prides itself on showcasing local, seasonal produce with amazing house-made pastas.
Favourite dish: Gnocchi, pistachio and pecorino
Would I return?: Yes, most likely for the pastas!

Bacco Osteria e Espresso
2–12/1 Angel Pl
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: + 61 2 9235 3383
Open Monday to Friday, noon to late; Saturday, 5:30pm to midnight

Artichokes, straciatella – $18
Wild Port Phillip scallops – $24
Spaghetti alla chitarra, sea urchin, beach banana – $28
Bucatini, pippies, nduja – $26
Strozzapreti, goat and guanciale ragu – $26
Gnocchi, pistachio, pecorino – $24
Roasted broccoli, house-cured bottarga and chilli – $12

Izakaya Yebisu, Sydney

If you’re attracted by bright lights, Japanese food, and alcoholic drinks, then you’ll gravitate towards Izakaya Yebisu like a moth to the flame. Settle down with a Japanese chu hai (shochu cocktail) or a drink from the sake trolley, and go nuts with the huge touchscreen menu. There’s a mix of classics like sushi, uzusukuri (thinly sliced sashimi) and gyoza, or go for something a bit more adventurous like the deep fried takoyaki balls, served with a mini skillet of beef curry and melted cheese! While you’re at it, take advantage of the charcoal grill in the kitchen and order all the yakitori, the yaki onigiri (grilled rice ball) and toasted mochi rice cakes wrapped in crisp nori seaweed. Don’t forget about dessert either – the daifuku ice cream is the bomb and if you’re a Washoku Lovers member, you can also get freshly fried tempura ice cream for only $2! Bargain.

TL;DR: Japanese izakaya in the heart of the CBD with a huge menu
Favourite dish: Green tea daifuku ice cream – green tea ice cream wrapped in a chewy mochi ‘pastry’
Would I return?: Maybe for drinks and a few bar snacks

Penguin says Feed Me dined at Izakaya Yebizu as a guest of Washoku Lovers.

Izakaya Yebisu
Shop 7-10, 501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: + 61 2 9266 0301
Open 7 days, 12pm – 11pm

A Japanese alleyway?
Inside Izakaya Yebisu
Sake trolley!
Kachiwari lemon chuhai – $7.80 (front) and Iichiko Yuzu on the rocks – $7 (back)
Kingfish usuzukuri – $18.80
Toasted rice cake – $5.80
Tsukune (chicken meat ball) with poached egg – $5.80
Yaki onigiri – $5.80
Takoyaki with beef curry and cheese – $9.80
Pan fried pork gyoza with ponzu sauce – $8.80
Green tea daifuku ice cream – $5.80
Tempura ice cream – $2 (with Washoku Lovers offer)
Totoro!

Fika Swedish Kitchen, Manly

There’s heaps of cafes to choose from on any given weekend in Manly, but there’s only one with cute Swedish decor, sunny yellow coffee cups and legit Swedish food! Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly is one of the few places serving Swedish food in Sydney. And yes, that does in include Swedish meatballs – but they’re a definitely a step up from the ones at Ikea! If you’re not feeling adventurous, they do have standard bacon and eggs and the like on the menu, but I’d recommend channelling your inner Swede and going for the open sandwiches (smörgåsen) and seafood dishes like salmon gravlax, pickled herring and caviar. There’s also a range of desserts and pastries to choose from including warm cinnamon buns and apple pies if you’re just after a sweet treat to go with your Swedish tea or filtered coffee.

TL;DR: Swedish food in a cute cafe setting
Favourite dish: Toast Skagen – prawn, dill & lemon mayo mix with avocado, stacked on sourdough
Would I return?: Yes, if I’m in the area

Fika Swedish Kitchen
5b Market Lane
Manly NSW 2095
Ph: + 61 2 9976 5099
Open 7 days, 7am – 5pm

Coffee – $3.50
Swedish meatballs & mash with creamy gravy, lingonberry jam & pickled cucumber – $20
Salmon lover: House-cured salmon with smashed avocado & free range poached egg on pumpernickel – $19
The Gothenburg hotdog: Grass fed beef & organic pork frankfurter with mash, roasted onion, house gherkin mayo & tomato sauce in a bread roll – $16
Toast Skagen: Our famous prawn, dill & lemon mayo mix with avocado, stacked on sourdough – $18

A Sydney food blog