Isn’t she adorable? This steamed sesame “piggy face” bun is one of the desserts on offer at Chef’s Gallery, a handmade noodle and dumpling house located near Town Hall. Like many other dumpling houses in Sydney, there is an ongoing kitchen theatre with the chefs stretching out balls of dough into noodles and pleating dumplings for your viewing pleasure behind the glass walls of the kitchen.
I have a soft spot for fried Chinese buns so I’m interested to try the pandan flavoured yin si juan with its lurid green innards. Though it glistens on the outside, the exterior is still soft and doesn’t have the doughnutty texture that I love in fried bread. And despite the green colour it lacks a distinct pandan flavour so it basically just tastes like plain bread. Sadness.
The fried rice is much better and this may quite possibly be the tastiest fried rice I’ve tasted. Who knew that the addition of three types of egg (chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg) could lift the humble fried rice to new heights? The rice is fluffy and I love the random bursts of salty flavour from the salted duck egg.
It feels good to finally cross off another item from my mental list of restaurants to go to. Justin North’s Etch has long been one of those restaurants that I’ve heard about, read about and drooled over but I’ve never had the opportunity to dine at. Tonight we’re celebrating Sir D’s new job with dinner at Etch in the quirky dining room adjoining the Intercontinental Hotel.
We decide to go with the degustation menu which includes 6 courses for $85 (now $90 I believe) or $125 for 6 courses plus matched wines (now $135). Not long after ordering, the first course arrives and it’s a beautiful dish of Petuna ocean trout which has been cured in beetroot to give it a pink hue. This is served with baby beetroot and baby radish, a streak of beetroot puree and a quenelle of horseradish cream to give the dish a nice kick.
Azuma Kushiyaki was one of the SIFF Sugar Hits I most wanted to go to last year, but by the time I got around to booking they were already full up! I was quite disappointed but this made me want to go even more this year and I made sure I booked nice and early to avoid missing out again.
Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill 2010 Sugar Hit – $20 (including dessert wine, cognac or green tea)
The SIFF Sugar Hits are available througout October from 9pm onwards for $20 which includes a dsesert as well as a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine or Hennessy cognac. The dessert offered at Azuma arrived in two cute little black boxes. The container on the left had a matcha green tea ganache tart, a wasabi chocolate ganache tart, a petit almond financier and a macaron. The macaron had a face piped onto it which was a very cute touch, and the flavour and texture were spot on as well. I wasn’t a big fan of the financier or the wasabi chocolate tart. The wasabi and chocolate combination just didn’t do it for me, but it did leave my tongue tingling! The green tea ganache tart had a nice strong green tea flavour and the ganache was super smooth as well – this was my favourite out of all the parts of the Sugar Hit. Continue reading Sugar Hit @ Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill→
If could only eat one type of meat for the rest of my life, it would be meat from the humble pig. There are so many ways to enjoy it – pork, ham, prosciutto, pancetta and of course bacon. But everything tastes better when deep fried, so when I had a hankering for some porky goodness one night, where better to head to than Miso, a Japanese restaurant which specialises in tonkatsu.
Katsu-tama Set – $16.80
Miso is part of the Masuya group which also has Japanese restaurants Masuya, Musashi and Makoto sushi bars. It serves meals teishoku style, which includes a main dish, miso soup, rice and a few smaller individual accompaniments alongside it (kobachi). For the non-pork eaters, they also have chicken katsu, as well as a range of udon noodle, curry and chirashi sushi dishes. But we were here for the tonkatsu, a pork cutlet which has been covered in panko crumbs and deep fried until golden and crunchy.
Judging from the queues I see everytime I walk past, I think it’s safe to assume that Ichi-ban Boshi is one of the most popular ramen joints in Sydney. Due to it’s obvious popularity, I had pretty high expectations on my first visit here and sadly I don’t think the food lived up to the standards I’d set and since then I have been reluctant to return. However, on Fi’s request I’m back again tonight for dinner before watching Avenue Q at the Theatre Royal.
Having an early dinner at 5.30pm means that we a) get a table easily for 6 of us and b) avoid the horrendous queues that have built up by the time we leave. Fi and I have still yet to try the tonkotsu ramen and we ask the waitress whether they have any left. Sadly they have run out so I go to my plan B and order the karaage ramen. Everytime I order this I have the intention of asking for the karaage chicken on the side but as usual I forget and it arrives with the batter semi-soaked in broth. Fail.
Karaage Ramen – $10.90
The chicken is still good though and the noodles have a nice chewy texture, and along with the not-too-salty soy broth I am pleasantly surprised to find that I’m thoroughly enjoying my meal.
Katsu Curry – $11.50
Sir D the non-ramen-eater orders the katsu curry which comes with miso soup and a side salad. He accompanied me on my first visit and was also not too impressed with the food but this time he is very happy with his curry and eats it up quickly.
Tsukemen (cold noodles with dipping sauce) – $12.00
Captain Awesome is undecided whether she wants the Geki-kara ramen (super hot ramen) or the Tsukemen, and asks the waitress who says that the Tsukemen is very popular. “Ok I’ll get that!” says Captain Awesome and a big plate of cold noodles arrives with a bowl of spicy tantanmen soup that is packed full of mince. We all try a bit and it’s very nice but the only thing I find strange is eating cold noodles with hot soup, which together becomes sort of lukewarm in the mouth. I think I prefer eating hot or cold noodles, not somewhere in between. Interesting experience though!
Since the queues outside are building up we decide to leave for Avenue Q a bit early (go and watch it if you haven’t seen it already… it’s fantastic!). Everyone has enjoyed their dinner and now that I have restored faith in the food at Ichi-ban Boshi I think I’ll have to go back and grab myself a bowl of their elusive tonkotsu ramen!
Ichi-ban Boshi Level 2, The Galeries Victoria 500 George Street, Sydney Ph: +61 (02) 92627677 Open 7 days, 11am – 9pm