Ozeki Sushi, Chatswood

My friends know me well. “Jacq!”, said Queen Chu, “there’s a new sushi train near Chatswood Chase – lets go check it out!” Queen Chu loves food just as much as I do so without delay we went in our post-uni-exam bliss to eat sushi to our heart’s content.

Chicken katsu with cucumber inside out roll – $3.80

We were greeted with the coolness of stainless steel decor and the waitresses directed us to some seats at the bench. We watched the plates of sushi go by on the train and the first thing we noticed was how big the serving sizes were! Giant slices of fish and sushi bursting with more than substantial fillings were going past our eyes and we couldn’t wait to dig in. (And I also couldn’t wait to take photos with my new DSLR camera =D)

Salmon nigiri – $3.00

The chicken katsu inside out roll came with three pieces of sushi on the plate which is quite different since most places have only two. It had two pieces of succulent fried chicken inside the roll with a sliver of cucumber for some refreshing coolness. The salmon nigiri was very fresh and the slice of fish was larger than you see in most sushi trains.

Tempura Prawn hand roll – $3.80

Queen Chu ordered a tempura prawn hand roll which she said was very fresh – the tempura and seaweed still crunchy and not soggy from the rice. Queen Chu is somewhat renowned within our group of friends for leaving food behind if it’s not to her taste (she has a very refined palate which comes from her mum not liking her to “mix flavours” LOL) but she cleaned this one up which is a very good sign! 

Agedashi tofu – $5.80 (I think)

She also ordered the agedashi tofu which is a favourite of hers and she also approved of this with the starchy batter not being too thick and the tofu being smooth and silken.

Aburi Scallop sushi – $4.80

Being the scallop fiend I am, I ordered the aburi scallop sushi because I can’t not have scallops when I see them and also to compare with Sushi Sagunja’s bargain $2.50 aburi scallops. I have to say that although these were good, they didn’t have that aromatic smokey flavour and there just wasn’t enough of that sweet sauce to go with it. Sushi Sagunja wins hands down in terms of value and quality.

Soft Shell Crab sushi – $3.80

Lastly I grabbed a plate of the soft shell crab sushi in the hope for some deep fried crunchy goodness. The pieces of sushi were large and the amount of soft shell crab was very generous. Sadly when I bit into the sushi there was no resounding crunch from the batter, which was quite disappointing.

Being in Chatswood which is already littered with sushi trains we couldn’t help but shamelessly compare this newcomer to the more well-established places. We mostly found that this place had bigger serving sizes than most other sushi trains but were priced similarly to Makoto for somewhat lower quality and less varity. It seems as though the made-to-order items were much better than the ones sitting on the train, and although we probably didn’t sample enough of their menu to adequately judge, next time I’d probably go to another place for my sushi fix.

Ozeki Sushi

345 Victoria Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: +61 2 9410 2777

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Dolcissimo, Haberfield

A trip to Haberfield on Sunday afternoon meant I couldn’t get my ricotta cheesecake fix from Pasticceria Papa because they were closed! But not to worry, we head across the road to Dolcissimo instead for some pizza, pasta and, according to them, ‘Australia’s finest gelato’.

Spinach and ricotta ravioli with Napolitana sauce – $19.70

Their extensive menu consists of traditional wood fired pizzas, pastas, risottos, mains, panini and a wide range of home-made desserts. I’m here with Sir D and his family and we opt for 2 pizzas and 2 pastas to share between us. The first dish to arrive is the spinach and ricotta ravioli in a Napolitana sauce. The ravioli are soft pillows of pasta filled with a light and fluffy filling. The dish is simple but delicious with the rich tomato flavours of the sauce and the subtle flavours of the spinach and ricotta.

Farfalle al salmone – $23.90

The other pasta we order is the farfalle al salmone which is butterfly-shaped pasta with cooked salmon, shallots, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of brandy in a tomato cream sauce. I’m a big fan of tomato cream sauces and this one is smooth and creamy with a pleasant sweet tomato flavour. With seafood pastas I tend to expect only a few pieces of seafood but this dish is littered with chunks of salmon pieces amongst perfectly cooked al dente pasta.

Margherita: Mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil – $17.50

The pizzas arrive and are set on pizza stands – a great idea since the pizzas are enormous and the tables are a bit small. The margherita is one that I like to order when visiting an Italian place because I think it’s a good indicator of the quality of the restaurant. This one is very cheesy with a nice tomato sauce underneath the layer of stringy cheese. One thing that worries me though is that there is quite a lot of oil pooling on the top of the pizza. However, the base is great and the crust is actually my favourite part of this pizza – it’s crispy and delicious because the topping goes all the way to the edge.

La Rugola: Rocket, prosciutto, parmesan cheese, olive oil – $21.50

The other pizza is a pizza bianca which has no tomato sauce as the base. This pizza has rocket, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and shavings of parmesan scattered on top. It’s light and refreshing and the pizza base is crispier than the margherita because of the lack of sauce. The flavours go well together but there is quite a lot of oil visible on this pizza as well, which makes me wonder if someone decided to go a little crazy with the olive oil in the kitchen today… Nonetheless all the of pizzas are eaten and we are full and satisfied.

Not full enough to skip on the gelato though, and we head downstairs to check out the range of gelato flavours which are made on the premises. Sir D and I order 3 scoops of gelato to share and the gelato man gives us three giant scoops of gelato and stuffs it all into a cup.

3 scoops of home-made gelato – $5.50

Today we’ve gone for the chocolate, bacio and lemon sorbet flavours. The lemon sorbet is fresh and tangy as it should be. The bacio has a strong hazelnut flavour and is my favourite out of the three, while the chocolate is great with a slight bitterness but I still prefer the chocolate from Bravos. I’m not sure about this place serving ‘Australia’s finest gelato’ (I think I prefer Gelato Messina) but if I was in Haberfield with a gelato craving I’d definitely return to try out more of their flavours.

96-98 Ramsay Street
Haberfield NSW 2045
Ph: +61 2 9716 4444

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Shanghai Tang, Haymarket

EDIT: This establishment is now closed.

Finding a place to eat on a Saturday night in Haymarket without a booking and without wanting to queue up is pretty difficult. When Sir D’s friend recommended Shanghai Tang which had no queue and looked like it was good value, we decided to give it a go.

Shanghai Tang is located within BreakFree on George on the Mezzanine level, and had a pretty wide range of dumplings, noodles and rice dishes to choose from. The waitstaff were very friendly and helpful with making recommendations and the food arrived promptly.

Traditional Shanghai xiao long bao – $7.80 (8 pcs)

We ordered the xiao long bao which was tasty, so much so that we were fighting over the last dumpling! The dumpling skins were quite delicate but still sturdy so that they didn’t explode when you picked them up with your chopsticks. Biting into them released a flood of meaty soup with a light ginger flavour.

Braised shredded chicken with noodles – $8.80

A bowl of steaming hot noodles arrived at the table which was the braised shredded chicken with noodles. This looked quite different to the one pictured on the menu but was still delicious. The shredded chicken was moist and the creamy chicken soup had a nice ginger kick to it. My only gripe would be that they weren’t very generous with the white thin rice noodles, so after a while there were no noodles left in the bowl and all we had was a bowl of soup with chicken pieces and cabbage :(

Pan-fried dumplings with pork and vegetables – $5.80 (6 pcs)

Lastly we got the pan-fried dumplings with pork and vegetables. Not being able to read Chinese can cause some problems – we thought we were ordering these dumplings but instead ended up with the ones shown above. Oh well. These dumplings were fresh from the kitchen with nice crispy browned bottoms and they were very filling. Just make sure you eat them while they’re hot – I left mine til after I finished my noodles and they went a bit stale and chewy, but that was completely my fault!

We were tempted to order some dessert buns and dumplings like custard filled pineapple buns, but Sir D and I were due to go to a Sugar Hit afterwards so we refrained. But I’ll be looking to go back to try some more of their menu!

Shanghai Tang

Mezzanine Level, BreakFree on George
653 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9211 0088
Open 7 days, 7am – 10pm

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Bacco Pasticceria, Sydney

After my last visit to Bacco Pasticceria left me empty handed, I was determined to go early enough this time to grab some sugar-laden sweets for myself! I headed up to Chifley Plaza with my mum for an early lunch and we just managed to grab a table before lunch rush-hour. 

Misticanza salad with eye fillet – $11.00

Bacco Pasticceria serves mainly salads and panini for lunch, so we ordered one of each to share. The Misticanza salad was a nice mix of greens, cucumber, Roma tomatoes, spanish onion, feta, olives and pieces of eye fillet, served with a slice of bread. Although the beef looked tough and dry, it was surprisingly tender and the aged Balsamic vinegar dressing ensured that it wasn’t dry at all. 

Pollo Marinato panini – $10.50

I chose the Pollo Marinato panini which had marinated chicken with rocket, Roma tomato, gaucamole and aioli. Their panini are made fresh at the counter for you which meant that the bread was still soft, fluffy and un-soggy from the filling. You also have a choice of having white bread, brown bread or a wrap.

The panini was quite large and loaded with fillings so it was a bit difficult to eat – I ended up deconstructing it and eating the chicken and salad with a knife and fork whilst taking bites of bread in between! The salad filling was very fresh and the chicken was moist, especially with the guacamole and aioli as well. 

But this is what I was really here for: dessert! Their glass cabinet is full of sweet goodies like fruit tarts, lemon meringue pies, eclairs and cakes all of which are beautifully constructed and delicious-looking. They don’t usually have prices on the pastries and cakes but when I went most of them were $6 each except for some of the smaller items like the cannoli which were $3.50.

Mango and Blueberry tart – $6.00

I took home a mango and blueberry tart which had a dark, very crispy pastry. It reminded me somewhat of Bourke St Bakery’s pastry although not quite as earth-shatteringly crunchy. The inside of the tart was a creamy custard and the fresh mango slices and blueberries paired well with the sweet custard. The toffee shard was also a nice crunchy addition to the tart. 

Concorde – $6.00

The concorde was a tower of chocolate and hazelnut goodness. If you love meringue and mousse then this dessert is definitely for you! A cylinder of chocolate mousse on a meringue base is encased around the fortress of hazelnut meringue batons, and topped with crushed meringue pieces and cocoa powder. 

The chocolate mousse is incredibly rich and although the light meringue pieces offset the dense mousse interior, it does get quite heavy and rich once you’re halfway through the cake! I recommend you share this with at least one other person, although Sir D and I struggled to finish this off, even though it was absolutely heavenly. I’ll be sure to go back to try more of their desserts in future!

Bacco Pasticceria
Ground floor, Chifley Plaza
2 Chifley Square
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9223 9552
Open Monday to Friday, 7am-5pm
Wine Bar and Ristorante open Monday to Friday, 12pm-10.30pm

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Musashi Dining Bar, Haymarket

Following our fantastic lunch at Marque and watching Julie and Julia, we finished off our day of all-things-food by having dinner at Musashi. Since they don’t take bookings after 6pm, we joined the queue and waited for about 30 minutes before getting a table. Which was good in a way since it gave us time to build up an appetite for the delicious food to come.

Grilled jumbo oysters with bacon, butter, garlic, olive oil and soy sauce – $18.00 for 4

We started our meal with one of the specials for the day: grilled jumbo oysters with bacon, butter, garlic, olive oil and soy sauce. These oysters were huge and were grilled to perfection so that they were almost melt-in-the-mouth. The buttery, garlicky sauce was not too overpowering and I loved the sprinkling of crispy bacon bits and spring onions to add a bit of crunch.

Sashimi (main) – $25.80

We also ordered a sashimi main which contained thick slices of kingfish, salmon and tuna amongst others. The fish was very fresh and although there was nothing particularly special about it, it still managed to satisfy my sashimi cravings.

Rainbow roll – $14.80

The rainbow roll was a colourful display of fresh sashimi and avocado layered on top of a california roll. Although I thought it was a bit dry and could have done with a bit more mayonnaise in the roll, there was a nice balance of rice and filling. 

Tonkatsu pork loin – $18.80

The tonkatsu pork loin was a definite winner! Pieces of tender pork loin were encased in breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden brown. They came out piping hot with a crunchy exterior and were perfect when dipped in the sauce. One of my favourites of the night.

BBQ calamari – $18.80

My other favourite dish was the BBQ calamari – something I don’t usually enjoy probably because there have been too many times when the calamari is overcooked and rubbery. This was the total opposite, the sweet BBQ-sauced calamari rings chewy but still tender. The serving size was also very generous and these were so yummy I ate far too many and left the restaurant feeling very full! A great place to have dinner if you don’t mind waiting a bit (or if you’re willing to eat very early or very late)! 

Now on a completely different note, I recently received my very first blog award from the lovely Ellie at Almost Bourdain. Go and check out her blog if you haven’t already – it makes my mouth water every time! Thanks Ellie!

According to the rules of this award, I must accept the award, post it on my blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and their blog link. Pass the award to 8 other blogs that you’ve recently discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So here are some fantastic blogs that I’d like to pass this award along to:
The Ninja from The Ninja Review 
Lex from vue de cuisinier 
Mademoiselle Délicieuse from Spoon, Fork & Chopsticks
Mr. and Ms. Taste from tasted by two  
Chris and Tim from the way it crumbles 
Trissa from Trissalicious 
WX, JL and AY from nom it like it’s hot
Von from Vondelicious!

Musashi Dining Bar
447 Pitt Street (cnr Pitt and Campbell Streets)
Sydney NSW 200
Ph: +61 (02) 9280 0377
Lunch: Monday – Friday, 11:45am-2.30pm
Dinner: Open 7 days, 5.30-10pm (9.30pm on Sundays)

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