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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You know you’ve chosen the right restaurant when you walk in and there’s a roasted suckling pig just sitting casually on the counter! This is what we’re greeted with as we enter 4Fourteen for Mum’s birthday lunch. The menu is designed for sharing, starting with nibbles and moving on to small plates and then onto large plates. We choose a selection of small plates to share, and we can’t resist ordering the suckling pig as a large plate which is a special for the day.
4Fourteen is big on the nose to tail approach so don’t be surprised to see some lesser-used cuts of the animal on the menu. I’m all for the crispy pigs tail dish which has the meat from the tail encased in a crispy shell. The tail meat is served with roasted corn kernels, corn puree and some greens.
The chargrilled ox tongue comes as two slabs of thick cut ox tongue with visible grill marks on them. The fattiness of the tongue is perfectly balanced against the celeriac remoulade, the crunchy radish slices and greens on top. If you haven’t tried tongue before I urge you to do so – it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat as its so tender and flavoursome!