Archive for September, 2010

Jimmy Liks, Potts Point

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Two trusted independent sources, a third overheard and verified – Jimmy Lik’s is very good.  Must try. Hmmm… Longrain or Jimmy Liks?  Both are kinda modern asian with a twist, both are actually quite a bit more expensive than traditional Asian food!  OK, Jimmy Liks it is.  It’s in Pott’s Point, on a very quiet street.  Issue number one. Parking – or lack thereof.  We circled the Cross, Potts Point, everywhere is only 1 hour parking!  And on both sides of the street – diligent parking inspectors, so no sneaky overtime parking!  The paid carparks were a bit too far.  Lucky – 20 minutes circling later, some parking outside the school.   We found the restaurant, heaters blazing outside, two entrances – one to the bar, and one to the restaurant.  In the restaurant, communal dining is the go.  Which is great for groups, but slightly awkward for the two of us.  Their method is to seat couples side by side on the long communal table, NOT opposite.  Which lead me to say to the (very hot stranger in front of me): “Despite the fact that I would love to gaze into your eyes all night, I don’t know you, so would you mind if we swapped?”.   Hot guy agreed, and we swapped.  Oh dear. All the staff found this highly confusing, as all night, we got each others’ food served to us wrongly!  And pity, hot guy’s hot girlfriend came along eventually too. D’oh! hehehe.  Anyway, awkward seating aside… the food was quite good.  We tried the corn fritters.  (Have you noticed I have a thing for corn fritters?).  I expected breakfast style pancakes, but instead, 6 round puffs slightly bigger than golf balls.  They stick together with their batter, and are served with an assortment of vietnamese herbs, and a home made sweet chilli sauce.

We also opted for a sticky crispy skin duck with tamarind and orange ($33).  Viet style duck a l’orange I guess?  It was very sweet and sticky, and yummy, but bits of it were a bit too deep fried till they became like duck jerky!  But the garnishes were so beautiful and fresh, and the sauce very fragrant.

Regrettably, we thought we knew better than the waiter.  He (wisely) recommended that we opt for something different than our caramelised beef rib, as all our dishes were sweet.  He was right!  It would have been good to order something with a different element (salty for example), as the flavours were quite similiar.    Not so generous this one, but lip smackingly delicious all the same. (more…)

Sydney Morning Herald 2011 Good Food Guide Awards

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Good Living today released details of  this year’s winners and the hatted restaurants in the 2011 Good Food Guide.  It seems that eating well doesn’t necessarily mean poshy waiters, starchy tablecloths and $100 bottles of wine.  This year, a number of new casual style eateries were rewarded for their simple, honest food, including Cafe Sopra, and Golden Century.   Sad to see Tetsuya’s lose a star, but having been there twice, I know that it won’t even impact upon it at all, as Tetsuya has a very loyal clientele base.  There you go, start planning your 2011 eating :)

Fresh Espresso – Leura Cafe, Blue Mountains

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

We went up to the Blue Mountains for the KCC Engage 2010 conference, and after a solid three days of a jam packed program, my car decided to linger around in Leura to avoid the exodus of 1000 people from the conference :)  We walked up the main street, called Leura Mall, and were tempted by a beautiful stationery shop, chocolate shops, funky homeware stores as well as the gourmet deli.  It actually surprises me that food in the country is more expensive than the city, because to me, the city has hats and star ratings.  I guess what I fail to realise is that the country usually faces more overheads as food and groceries may not be as accessible.  Anyway, we stumbled upon a cafe called Fresh, which is right on the bottom of the busy part of the street, tucked behind RM Williams and a real estate agent.   We peered in and immediately saw the cake counter calling out for us.. mm…

This funky little cafe even sells coffee making wares.  It shows that they are serious about their beans! Because they even blend and grind their own!

Despite the tempting cakes and coffee machine shopping, we were here for a feed.  There is a good chalkboard menu of specials, as well as an all day breakfast menu and some toasted turkish bread specials.  The BLT arrived and I immediately had food envy.  It was stuffed with layers of crispy bacon, not dry at all, gourmet mesclun, and tomatoes – it certainly puts soggy white iceberg lettuce filled tiny BLTs to shame!  It’s served with a leaf salad that has a yummy balsamic vinegrette.

I selected something from the specials menu.  I have thing for corn fritters, and as they had the on the menu, along with garlic fried mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and grilled capsiscums, I didn’t even think twice.   It was definitely dressed up to city style standards, but what I was disappointed about was that the fritters were more like pikelets studded with some corn kernels.  Bills’ corn fritters have made me accustomed to more like corn cakes, which are chunky and barely held together with flour.  So almost 100% corn if you will.


Jugemu and Shimbashi, Neutral Bay

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

For my birthday this year, I chose Jugemu and Shimbashi, in Neutral Bay.  It’s actually two restaurants. One side specialises in teppanyaki and the other side in traditional Japanese cuisine (aka non teppanyaki in my lay person terms hehehe).  What attracted me to this restaurant was that it is known for its hand made soba. A man sits in a booth at the front every day stretching buckwheat into compliance and forming the day’s noodles.  I haven’t ever been able to witness this, however the room is still there for all to see in its floury authenticity!

The menu is vast, and has everything – you get both the teppanyaki and standard food menu in one.  The best thing is that the dishes are small (with not so small prices in some cases!) so you can order a variety of things to try.  I wanted to try the Japanese egg omelette.  Oops, I didn’t realise it was just the sushi egg – but sliced thicker!  It was served warm, with some grated fresh daikon.  It was $8 for four pieces.

We wanted to try the dragon roll, which was $18.  It consisted of 8 pieces of sushi, freshly fried soft shell crab with roe rolled into the rice.  It was very yummy, but alas, no avocado, and to be honest, we thought the servings were very stingy – given that I could have 3 plates of dragon roll (of 3 pieces) at Umi Kaitzen in Haymarket!  But aside from the price, it was very very nice.  What wasn’t welcome however, was the 50c charge for extra wasabi.  I have never been to a place that charges for that – it would have been appreciated if the waitress would warn us beforehand.

I was very curious to try the rice balls.  They were kinda like Japanese arancini of sticky rice – seasoned rice balls, but disappointingly again, with no filling, just rice balls.  They were $8 for two.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the freshly teppan fried gyoza. You can choose from chicken or pork (we chose pork).  What makes them a cut above the rest is the juicy filling which was wrapped very tightly in the wrapper – not loose clumsy parcels like many other versions. Also, the bases were crunchy and the wrapper just the right thickness.  $10 for 6.  You’ll need maybe two serves they are so good! :)

Another special of the restaurant is the Japanese pancake (okonomiyaki).  Several versions are on offer. Standard chicken or prawn or wagyu beef ones at $13 each, or “special” ones for around $19 each.  They are served with a little box of the condiments – dehyrated parsley, and very finely sliced bonito flakes, you know, those moving tentacle type things that  are served on top!

I have a confession.  I loathe mayonnaise.  And every sour white creamy type of sauce.  Creme fraiche, sour cream, my worst nightmare!  Yes, even sweet Japanese mayo!  So since it happens to sneak itself onto many Japanese dishes, I requested the pancake sans mayo.  We selected the special one. It had pork and two split prawns on top.  It was quite small. I was actually annoyed at the waitress, because we wanted to order 2 pancakes between 4, but she INSISTED that one would be enough… lo and behold, it wasn’t :( And then when we wanted to order another one, we were told it would be a 30 minute wait! Not happy Jan!  But hungry!! (more…)