Archive for the 'Sydney Dining (‘burbs)' Category

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…)

Big Brekky Cafe, Petersham

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I have been soooo curious about trying this place.  It has ranked many times on the Sydney Morning Herald Good Living’s list of top ten breakfast joints in Sydney.  But I am ever so cautious and reluctant to try places unless they have an online menu so that I can plan exactly what I want to eat, and in fact whether I want to eat there at all.  Well having run out of ideas for last Sunday, I decided to bite the bullet and decided to try it with a couple of friends, toddler in tow.  I called up to make a booking, and was actually very surprised that I was able to do so! And very friendly staff also accepted a request for a high chair.   The cafe is actually not near the shops that marks Little Portugal in Petersham, and is on a corner in the middle of nowhere on New Canterbury Road, Petersham.  When we arrived, I was very thankful we had booked as it was packed and we were told there were no more tables.  Phew for bookings!  We quickly ordered drinks.  Big breaky – need a big hot chocolate!  The bowl was only $4 and came promptly with two marshmallows.  Smooth and chocolate but not in a sickly sweet kind of way like some chocolate cafes.

The menu was HUGE!  Ssssoooo many choices.  It’s a big menu for  a big breakfast. So many different things to try, ranging from bacon and egg rolls to ‘Voluptuous Veg’ – aka poached eggs on green beans and sweet potato and zucchini fritters.  We opted for the sweet corn fritters with poached eggs, spinach, bacon and tomato relish.  Two big corncakes arrived piled high with bacon (a bit crispier would have been better) and lavished with perfectly poached eggs and a dollop of relish.  Check out the size of this mountain of food!! Exactly what I was hoping for and more!  The fritters were not too doughy yet still held together well.  Sort of like chunky pancakes, with a spicy curry flavour from the relish which added a slight heat.

Everyone was eating mushys and their garlicky aroma filled the air as you walk in.  Side of mushys – $3. (more…)

Bathers Pavillion Afternoon Tea

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Bathers’ Pavillion, Balmoral, is well known for its brunches in the cafe, and also the fine dining restaurant, both sharing an uninterrupted view of Balmoral Beach as you dine.  But did you know that it also offers the best value high tea in Sydney?  It is just $50 for two people, and really does make you think why other Sydney hotels charge so much for around the same thing, minus the view!  Bathers’ Pavillion takes a more casual approach, no stuffy waiters and elegant china here!  This is very well suited to its large proportion of families that come her also much more affordable at $25 instead of $50+ per person.  The napkins are brightly coloured, and suit the seaside type of interiors inside.

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Also unlike other stuffy high teas in Sydney, Bathers does NOT put everyone’s food onto the one tea stand in an attempt to make it not look stingy! Bathers puts two persons food on the one stand, no need to make it look good value because it already is!

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Many people eat savoury sweet sweet, but for me, I start with hot then move to savoury then to sweet.  First up, scones!  One each, still warm, and of a good size, served with whipped cream and strawberry jam.  High tea purists might argue that clotted cream or double cream should be served.  But I prefer my cream with as little saturated fat as possible, it makes it much less heavy.

Bathers Pavillion afternoon Tea 4 scones.jpg (more…)

Armory Wharf Cafe, Newington

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

In search of the best breakfast in Sydney, we decided to try the Armory Wharf Cafe.   I have stumbled upon this cafe by the Parramatta River inside Olympic Park/Bicentennial Park previously on a long bike ride – many cyclists stop here for refreshment, whether it be iced chocolates, hot chocolates, gatorades, water, whatever takes your fancy.  It seemed so relaxing with the water shimmering and the cool breeze coming through the open air cafe, it was perfect for a brunch on a summer’s day.  

Of course we had to try the big breakfast.  Two eggs poached, roasted tomatoes, sauteed field mushrooms, bacon, and a jumbo slice of toast.  I found the toast was a bit wet from the poached eggs, so maybe some resting aside would have done it good. But the mushrooms were certainly meaty and delicious. 

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We also tried the corn cakes with bacon, rocket and avocado salsa. They also do a smoked salmon one.  Unfortunately, the bacon was cold.  But the salsa was nice, and the corn cakes were flavoursome and crispy on the edges.  I asked the waiter whether they were make “frittery” or “pancakey” and he told me frittery, but in my mind, the flatness makes them more pancakey, and my favourite corn fritters are still at Zenja Cafe or Bills.  But these were really nice corn pancakes!

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