Tag Archives: Modern Australian

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Manta Restaurant, Sydney

The weather is finally warming up which means that it’s time to go out and enjoy the sunshine! And what better way to enjoy the sunshine than a nice meal by the water where you can hear the waves lapping up against the pier and feel the warmth of the sun on your back.

Dining room at Manta Restaurant

The Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo is a great place to do this, as well as do a little bit of people watching while you dine. We visited Manta for lunch on a gloriously sunny day to celebrate The Cat’s birthday. We’d scored ourselves a voucher for 6 people for $259 – which came to less than $45pp for three courses. The set menu had a choice of three options per course, and also included a glass of house red or house white. Since we had a table of 6, we were able to order every item off the menu and I can safely say that all the dishes were delicious!

Freshly shucked Sydney rock and pacific oysters, spring onion, apple, pepper and white balsamic dressing

I started with freshly shucked oysters which included both the Pacific and Sydney Rock variety. The oysters came with a fresh lemon cheek, a sweet spring onion and apple dressing, and a tangy balsamic and pepper dressing. The oysters were deliciously briny and really didn’t need much more than a squeeze of lemon juice, but the spring onion and apple dressing also went quite well with the oysters.

Fried calamari, chilli salt, lemon zest, parsley, pickled fennel and roasted black garlic aioli
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Swine & Co, Sydney

It’s been a bit quiet on here but with good reason. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I’ve been eating myself silly in Japan for the past 2 weeks! Now that I’m back, we’ll be returning to regular broadcasting but keep an eye out for some Japan posts coming soon!

But first, let’s talk about pig. With a name like Swine & Co, you’d expect this restaurant to serve pork, pork and more pork – and you’d be right. Set in the space of what used to be Bavarian Bier Cafe on O’Connell St, the area has been revamped to a bar on the ground floor, and a dark, cavernous restaurant below ground, complete with swine decor and punny welcoming signs.

While we wait for our food, we’re treated to a bread basket which has slices of white and rye bread, paper thin flatbread and the best grissini I’ve ever eaten! They’re all swaddled with a small dish of butter in a cloth basket.

Complimentary bread basket
Complimentary amuse bouche

We’re also surprised with a complimentary amuse bouche to start the night which was a small piece of seared tuna on a cucumber jelly with creme fraiche and dill.

Crisp pigs tail – $19

It wouldn’t be right to not have a pork starter at a place called Swine & Co, so we chose the crispy pigs tail to kick off our porcine journey. The pigs tail was flattened and crisped up on one side, and paired with some pine puree, pickled mushrooms, grapes and pistachio.

Tuna crudo – $17
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Chiswick, Woollahra

Chiswick has been on my go-to list for a long time, so I was glad to finally try it out one warm summer night. Going on a weeknight meant that we weren’t able to admire the beautiful gardens around the glass-panelled restaurant, but that certainly doesn’t deter people, as the restaurant was packed on a Tuesday night.

Snow crab slider, lettuce, kewpie, gherkins – $9 each

I’d heard people rave about the snow crab sliders so it was pretty much a no-brainer when it came to ordering these. I wasn’t expecting the snow crab to come out as a crab cake but it worked with the soft slider buns. These are a little steep at $9 each but they were well worth it and I was left craving for more!

Crisp buttermilk chicken, cabbage, chilli mayonnaise – $20

The buttermilk fried chicken was a deep golden brown with a crispy coating that reminded me of KFC. The chicken was succulent and the chilli mayonnaise was particularly addictive with the crunchy coating.

CHISWICK steak tartare – $22
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Jones the Grocer, Sydney

Although it was a sad day when Becasse and Quarter Twenty One closed in Westfield Sydney, I was also excited to see what was going to open up there. One day I walked past and Jones the Grocer had popped up in the space, and it was a bakery, a food store and restaurant all rolled into one.

Angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab, chilli, rocket, garlic and grana padano – $19

Sir D and I had dinner there one quiet weeknight and we were seated near the windows which looked down onto the Pitt St pedestrian walkway and into the windows of the Virgin Active gym. It almost made me feel a little guilty eating our entrees while people were boxercising vigorously next door, but once we dug into our meals I was pretty sure we had the better deal.

Barbecued free-range quail with spinach and apple salad and bois boudran sauce – $21
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Pei Modern, Melbourne

Ok, so I don’t usually take photos of the bread basket, but how could I resist when 4 warmed slices of sourdough were swaddled up in a white napkin? This is how we began our dinner at Pei Modern, sister restaurant of Mark Best’s Marque in Sydney’s Surry Hills where I’ve had some great meals. Just before our trip to Melbourne, Pei Modern was also named Best New Restaurant of 2013 in The Age Good Food Guide so that definitely sealed the deal and we promptly made a booking.

Brandade croquettes – $8 for four

To start, there was a choice of selecting a few bar snacks or proper entree dishes. The brandade croquettes was one of the bar snacks – 4 perfect quenelles of salt cod brandade shaped and deep fried to a crisp and served with a creamy mayo-like dipping sauce.

Wood grilled prawn with pork salt – $6.50 each
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