Archive for September, 2011

Grandma’s Bar – Cocktails on Clarence St Sydney!

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Oooohhh the mysterious pop up bars!  Here one day, gone the next!  In the case of Grandma’s Bar, I didn’t know it was here – but I sure do hope it’s not gone any time soon!  One thing that contributes to its discreet entry into the Sydney bar scene is that it is actually in a basement on a street not so known for its food and beverage offerings, especially since Becasse disappeared off it!  Grandma’s Bar’s website describes itself is retro-sexual – what’s that?!  Well we were soon to find out.  Going down the stairs, not knowing what to expect we found this very cool little and I do mean little – exposed brick retro fitted drinking space.  At 5pm on Friday, it already had a formidably sized crowd, but we were lucky to get a seat opposite the bar so we could see all the flashy drinks coming across.  Opening up the menu it was exactly what I wanted that Friday – cocktails cocktails cocktails!!  A mini menu booklet full of delicious drinks.  One page of beer and one page of snacks.  Wow, the staff were Sooooo friendly and EAGER to give advice! None of your usual mean model waitresses here.  I wanted something sweet and blended, so I went for a cocktail that was like a mango colada. Sorry I forgot its name :(  But it was $16 and very nice.  Not sickly sweet either.

Here’s another umm… cocktail? hehehe.  Also $16.  Very refreshing and dry as requested I was told.  Cool glasses huh??


2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Congrats to Sepia!!! It has been named as the restaurant of the year in 2012!!

Start planning your dining now! :)

Xanthi Greek Restaurant – Westfield Sydney

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The surprises just keep on coming at Westfield Sydney.  Opening to much fanfare in April with Zara and a brand new foodcourt on Level 5, and then the second stage opening up just recently, I thought they were done!  But they are STILL going!  Just opened were a new Italian restaurant and the relocation of Perama at Petersham to new digs and new name Xanthi on level 6 of Westfield.    The entrance evokes a mysterious aladdin’s cave – with beautiful decorative tiles and stained glass lamps.  A bit more Moroccan than Greek, but adding to the cosy atmosphere contributed to by the sweeping draped curtains.

Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living once put out a list of fine dining features that make a nice restaurant more welcoming. Those added touches that make you feel at home without looking for every opportunity to make a few more dollars.  Xanthi scored immeditely on two of these as you sit down – tap water offered (most fine diners offer you sparkling or still ie not free); and soon after – crusty bread and olive oil for dipping as you peruse the carefully planned menu.

All the dishes were beautiful earthenware tapas style plates.  I would love some of these at home!

The waiter suggested we order something from each section of the menu to share.  Dips/mezze, flat breads, mains and desserts.  Well with just two of us we thought we would order it Aussie style and treat it like one entree one main each.  We tried firstly the eggplant – two baby chargrilled lebanese eggplants (whole) and served with tomato sauce and some tzatziki.

When I went to Greece a year and half ago, there was one restaurant in Oia, Santorini that we kept going back to – fond memories – and one thing we tried there were zucchini fritters.  So for nostalgic reasons, this is what I had to order.   The pattie was great, but the oil wasn’t hot enough, so they were very very oily.  Three fritters came on top of a chickpea dip.  Yum though, but not good on the waistline!

Next, our selection from the Apo tin plastira – which means ‘From the wooden board’.  Xanthi’s site notes:

A plastira is the board that the women of the village use to stretch and roll out filo. The wood is made from pine trees and its properties make it the best surface to stop the pastry from sticking and tearing as it’s carefully stretched and thinned.

Our pastry is handrolled and made fresh. Baked fresh and served straight from the oven. Please be patient. Waits can be up to 30 minutes depending on demand.

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait so long, but intrigued we were by the rabbit stifatho – rabbit braised in tomato, honey, cinnammon, clove and red wine sauce and then shredded.  Hmmm….. eat bugs bunny?? Never tried it!  But gosh, they sure harped on it enough on Masterchef for me to be curious!  What came on our plate did not resemble bugs at all – but in fact looked like slow cooked chicken, or indeed pulled pork.  The pastry wasn’t light like the filo we get in the supermarkets – but it was definitely savoury and substantial.  As for bugs…. I would describe it like eating fishy chicken.   Maybe my palate is unsophisticated but it was definitely a bit seafoody.  Not in a delightful way, but interesting way.  I think I will leave elmer fud to eat dat wabbit!    I thought it was extremely pretty and good value for $16 though!  I did like it more than i like escargot though.