WLG Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant, Kings Cross

Yes I’m a bit late to the party but I was really excited to be able to make it to WLG on its last weekend open in Sydney! We arrived at the old Bayswater Brasserie site and the place was buzzing with the tables full of people enjoying their meals. The place was decked out in all sorts of New Zealand products, including fresh produce, Whittaker’s chocolates and NZ wine.

Since we hadn’t made a booking, we were ushered to the bar area to wait for a table. We got two glasses of wine to pass the time and munched on some Whittaker’s chocolate samples at the bar. The vibe in the restaurant was really lively and even the bar area was packed with people waiting for a seat. It was also great to see Rex Morgan, chef of Boulcott St Bistro doing his thing in the kitchen, and later on in the evening he went around to each table asking people if they enjoyed their meal, which was really nice.

(left): Wither hills Malborough Pinot Noir 2008 (L) and Spy Valley Pinot Gris Marlborough 2010 (R); (right) menu for 24 Sep to 26 Sep

After a short wait someone came to get us and took us to our seats which was in the darkest room possible, much to my dismay. So apologies in advance for the dodgy photos!

(clockwise from top left): Crispy west coast NZ white bait and grilled asparagus with chopped egg and caper mayo; Fried goat’s cheese balls with Manuka honey and kiwi chutney; Venison rillettes with spiced pear and watercress; Lot Eight spiced olives. Citrus cured Regal King Salmon gravlax with wasabi panna cotta (not pictured)

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Strawberry Tarts

Just a quick post today. My poor blog has been neglected lately but with good reason – I’m in the process of writing my honours thesis which is due in exactly 3 weeks! What with all the statistics analysis and writing everything up for my supervisor, it’s been a hectic two weeks and I can only imagine it wil only get worse until October 13th when it will all be over. Luckily thanks to a few people I have plenty of fun things lined up for after I finish which gives me something to look forward to while I’m staring at a screen full of words for hours on end.

Sometimes when life gets crazy busy it makes me appreciate the simple things in life, like this strawberry tart. There’s no fancy brulee and no fancy decorating. It’s just pastry, creme patissiere and strawberries, with a light dusting of icing sugar. No more, no less.

And while it may not have the delicacy of a macaron, or the richness of a chocolate brownie, it tastes just as good, if not better. I can say with certainty that it tastes a thousand times better than thesis-writing.

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Pilu Kiosk, Freshwater

It’s Springtime! And although the weather lately hasn’t always been reflective of that, we have had a few beautiful sunny days in Sydney that remind us to pack away the heaters and big heavy coats and trade them in for air conditioners and pretty summer dresses.

The beautiful Freshwater Beach

On one of these days Sir D and I decided to go to Freshwater beach to check out Pilu Kiosk, a little cafe offshoot of the restaurant Pilu at Freshwater that serves panini, coffee and pastries.

It seemed like every man, woman and dog had ventured out today to enjoy the weather so when we entered the kiosk all the seats were taken! We headed over to the counter to place our orders while keeping our eyes peeled for anyone leaving.

Suckling pig panini – $9.50

What I was really here for was the suckling pig panini and I was so sad to see that in the space in the glass cabinet where the suckling pig panini should have been there were none! While I was lamenting my loss and trying to decide what to order instead, someone came out from the restaurant kitchen to bring out freshly prepared panini – yay! And just after we placed our order we managed to grab a table as well, so everything worked out well.

“Suckling pig”, apple, mustard mayonnaise and rocket – $9.50

The panini (which is served on Sonoma bread) arrives lightly toasted and cut in half – perfect for sharing. The suckling pig panini had chunks of suckling pig, little batons of apple, celery, rocket and mustard mayonnaise. I was disappointed that there was no crackling in this, after all what do you eat suckling pig for if not for the crackling?

Chicken and avocado panini – $9.50

Although this is a much more pedestrian choice, I have to admit that I enjoyed the chicken and avocado panini more than the suckling pig.

Chicken, avocado, mayonnaise and rocket – $9.50

This panini was very fresh, with pieces of chicken, avocado, mayonnaise and rocket. It had a nice lemon flavour as well (perhaps from the lemon juice to prevent the avocado from browning) but it gave a nice zing to the sandwich and was perfect on a warm sunny day sitting in front of the beach.

Mocha – $3.50

We also got coffees made using Single Origin coffee beans and for once they’re the perfect temperature and I don’t burn my tongue on it. I got a mocha which had a nice bittersweet flavour from the chocolate and the chocolate flakes on the top were a nice touch as well.

Nutella pastry – $3.50

I couldn’t leave without getting something sweet so we got a Nutella pastry which came in the shape of a seashell with a dusting of icing sugar, and was warmed up for us.

Nutella pastry innards

Once I bit into the buttery pastry filled with the Nutella I instantly wished I bought two and didn’t have to share! I savoured every bit of my half, and it was nice to see that they didn’t skimp on the Nutella either since there was a nice thick layer of Nutella inside.

With views of the beach and a nice casual atmosphere, Pilu kiosk is a great place for a lazy weekend breakfast or lunch. It gets a little windy sometimes because it’s so close to the beach but they kindly provide some blankets to combat the breeze. And since Freshwater is one of my favourite beaches in Sydney, I’ll definitely be returning in summer for some more nutella pastries!

Pilu Kiosk
On the beach
Moore Road
Freshwater NSW 2096
Ph: +61 2 9938 3331
Open daily, 7am-3pm

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Blanco Restaurant, Potts Point

I love finishing off the working week with a nice drink, and luckily on this dreary, rainy Friday night as we headed to Potts Point for dinner at Blanco Restaurant, we were presented with page of refreshing sounding cocktails to kick-start the weekend as we were seated in the restaurant.

Bloody Passion: blood orange, 42 Below passionfruit vodka, lime, sugar – $12

Blanco is situated in a stark white building studded with mosaic tiles off the main street in Potts Point and is run by Damien Pignolet and Ron White, formerly of Bistro Moncur. Pushing open the door, we’re greeted with a bar at the front and a sparsely decorated restaurant bathed in red light, with a little bookcase and reading area at the back of the room. It’s still early so we’re the only ones there and have the full attention of the waitstaff who help us choose some drinks from the cocktail list which prominently features blood oranges.

Bloody Stringer Bellini: Paul Louis French sparkling, blood orange juice, peach liqueur – $10 (left); Crispy Portuguese chicken wings – $15 (right)

We start off with the crispy Portuguese chicken wings which actually turned out to be little drummettes of chicken but were tasty nonetheless. These were coated in a salty, slightly spciy batter and were crunchy on the outside with juicy, tender chicken on the inside. Perfect with a squeeze of lime.

Braised beef cheek, red wine, mashed potatoes and red cabbage – $28

For mains, Sir D chose the braised beef cheek, red wine, mashed potatoes and red cabbage. Although there were a few gristly bits, the beef cheek was braised until super tender and went well with the red wine sauce. The mushrooms were so flavoursome I think I may have even enjoyed these more than the beef itself! Sir D wasn’t a fan of the red cabbage but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and gladly finished it up for him.

Seared ocean trout, kipfler potatoes and bisque sauce – $30

I chose the seared ocean trout with kipfler potatoes and bisque sauce. The ocean trout was cooked to perfection with it being only a little overcooked at the thinner end of the fillet. The skin was awesomely crispy and I took the skin off the fish and relished it by itself! I did find a few bones remaining in the fish which weren’t a big deal but it was just a bit annoying to have to pick them out. The bisque sauce was rich and flavoursome and Sir D loved this and tried to get every drop of it from the plate.

Chocolate and strawberry marshmallow sandwich – $10

I had made sure I saved room for dessert because I was eyeing the chocolate and strawberry marshmallow sandwich from the beginning! I thought the price was a bit steep for the size of the dessert (it was smaller than a SAO biscuit) but it was delicious and the marshmallow was warm and gooey on the inside. I would have liked it to be a bit more burnt on the outside so the marshmallow was crunchy but that’s just my personal preference.

Brandy snaps with passionfruit and caramel creams – $15

We finished off with the brandy snaps with passionfruit and caramel creams. They came in a pretty little glass and had one end of the cigar shape filled with caramel cream and the other with passionfruit. The caramel cream was not too sweet which was good but we thought the passionfruit cream tasted more like yoghurt without much passionfruit flavour. It was disappointing to not finish on a good note but I liked the atmosphere of the restaurant and the service, and I would happily sit there with a cocktail in hand, some nibbles on the table and while away the night in the restaurant.

Edit: Blanco restaurant is now closed.

Blanco Restaurant
5-9 Roslyn Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
Ph: + 61 2 9332 3663
Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday from 6pm, Friday from noon, Sunday from 5pm

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Hot Chocolate on a Stick

If there’s anything I love more than receiving foodie gifts, it’s giving them. One of my best friends from high school S was leaving the sunny shores of Sydney for the rainy ones of London to study music (and become a famous violinist) so I tried to think of an appropriate going away gift for her.

I knew she loved chocolate and I know on those cold, gloomy days, nothing cheers me up more than a steaming mug of hot chocolate. So after doing some research on the internet about how to make a hot chocolate able to be transported internationally, I came across this brilliant idea on the Giver’s Log – hot chocolate on a stick.

It was easy and simple to make – the key to getting a luscious, chocolatey hot chocolate is making sure you use good quality ingredients. This means using real chocolate that is high in cocoa butter and using good quality cocoa powder. The hardest part of this recipe was melting the chocolate at a low enough temperature to keep it ‘in temper’; it’s tempting to want to crank up the heat to melt it quicker but a bit of patience will give you smooth, shiny chocolate.

I made my hot chocolates on a stick in the shape of strawberries and penguins thanks to the silicon ice cube moulds that I received from Billy, Karen and Steph for my birthday earlier this year. I couldn’t resist trying one and it was great – the chocolate melted nicely in the hot milk and it tasted like real chocolate, not that overly sweet powdered stuff. Since I used dark chocolate and S likes it sweet, I dipped some of them in white chocolate as well to make it a bit sweeter and wrapped them up individually for her to take to the UK. Hope you like them S!

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