When our group of girlfriends started treating the birthday girl to dinner in lieu of birthday presents, I realised what a good opportunity this was to finally check off some restaurants which have been on my go-to list for a long time…
Monopole was FeFiFoFum’s choice for her birthday dinner, and I was secretly pleased because it was a place that I had been wanting to visit for a while. The outside of the restaurant was so dark and inconspicuous that we nearly walked right past it, but when we finally opened the door, we saw that the dark exterior was matched by the “mood lighting” on the inside.
Luckily we had phones to light up the menu, which was split into cured meats, shared dishes, cheese and desserts. Instead of choosing a la carte dishes though, we went with the Monopole menu, which gave us 7 courses for $65pp.
We started with three cured meats arranged on a wooden platter with some pickled vegetables. We had the cured duck breast (foreground), cured pork neck (background left) and cured Rangers Valley tri tip. The duck breast was probably the chewiest out of the three, with a slightly more gamey flavour. While others preferred the tri tip bresaola, I relished the silky fatty texture of the cured pork neck.
We continued on with a cold course of cured trevally, which was served with discs of pickled cucumber, blobs of smoked yoghurt and sea greens. It was a light and cooling dish, with the slight acidity of the pickles tempered by the smokey yoghurt.
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.
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!
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.
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.