Edible Review: Glebe Point Diner

October 23, 2007

It was my one year anniversary in Sydney on 19 October (one year, can you believe it!!!). So to celebrate this happy occassion, Nath took me to Glebe Point diner, in wait for it….Glebe.

Glebe Point DinerWe drove past the bustling restaurant strip and a good couple of km down the road, we found the elegant, open-plan Glebe Point Diner. Good thing we made a booking a few weeks ago as the place was packed – there were even people dining at the bar.

We were seated straight away at marble tables covered with white paper. This was the style of the diner – elegant yet casual, upmarket and trendy yet friendly and unpretentious. A truely great date destination.

The menu was brief – six starters and four mains. It’s not a great place if you’re veggie (and don’t eat fish) as the mains consisted of a chicken dish, two fish options and a beef salad. I guess you could have a selection of vegetarian entrees but how much fun is that???

Salad at GlebePDNath and I shared a fennel and artichoke salad with cheddar, broadbeans and the star of the dish – pomegranate seeds. We also ordered fresh sour dough bread (for $2 a board). Delicious combination.

Lisa_gpdFor mains, I opted for the seared tuna, which was perfectly prepared – pink in the middle. It was served with a pepperonata which was a mixture of grilled peppers – scrumptious and potato scallops which were deep fried to a crisp and just not worth the laden calories.

Nathan_gpdNath munched on the Angus steak strips with watercress, parmesan and lemon dressing. This was outstanding – the meat was tender and the dressing piquant.

Price wise, the dishes were well priced for a good restaurant. Mains were between $14 and $18 and mains were about $30 – generous portions and good value.

The service was efficient and friendly and the food was fast – despite the packed room.

Nath_lisa_gpdWe decided to leave dessert as we were heading for a new chocolate cafe in the area. But we’ll give them a try next time.

I really loved our meal and would recommend this for a special occassion or even just an everyweek treat. 


Edible Review: Brown Sugar – Bondi beach

August 30, 2007

Meet my new favourite restaurant – Brown Sugar situated in the world famous Bondi beach (not on the beach but up one of the side streets).

I’ve been there three times now and each time, I’ve enjoyed my meal thoroughly. It’s warm, friendly and cosy and the food is top-notch and has a wonderful home-made style with a dash of modern Australian thrown into the mix.

 The dining area is small – it must hold about 50 people so when it gets full (which it most often does), it can get slightly buzzy. But that just adds to the atmosphere.

menuThe menu is written on the large blackboard on the wall, although it hasn’t seemed to change during my visits – perhaps they adapt the menu seasonally.

I usually start with the lentil and haloumi salad which gives a nice healthy-ish boost to the meal. They not exactly overally generous with the cheese but haloumi is actually quite rich so sharing between two, you get about two strips of this rubbery but delicious cheese each. The lentils are interspersed with small blocks of beetroot and sweet potato.

fish pieBrown Sugar is famous for their fish pie (they use blue eyed cod for the filling). as you can see from the pic, it is large and golden crusted and looks really delicious. Since I’m not a bit fishy fan, I had to rely on my sister and mom for their verdict. My mom felt that the topping was on the saltier side but the creamy filling got a thumbs up from both. The empty dishes were obviously a good sign.

 I have my usual – fresh linguine pasta with roasted pumpkin and rocket. You won’t find this on the blackboard – it’s actually on their lunch menu which I happened to check out on the ‘net before coming to eat. Anyway, it was even better than it sounded and was bursting with taste. Perfect winter comfort food. I usually have this without the chilli oil but if you like a bite, then keep this in for some added spice.

They also have specials every night – like their seafood bouillabasse which a friend of mine had and seemed packed to the brim with a variety of seafood. Yet again, the bowl was licked clean.

Nathan’s tried the lamb (delicious) and the duck (roasted so that the meat just falls off the bone) which was served with caramelised pear and rosti. Others ordered the osso bucco (also reported to be excellent).

Dessert is another highlight – with the farm chocolate soufle a decadent treat – it’s a small choccy dome housing oozing chocolate molten lava – wow! The pannacotta (a special) was deemed delicious and the tipsy tart packed all kinds of fruit was also very good.

My favourite part though is paying the bill – who would have thought that. ‘Cause instead of the peppermint, they bring you a sliver of the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth brownie. I always ask for two pieces – one is never enough. I’ve tried to get the chef to bake me a whole brownie but i haven’t succeded yet. I will keep trying and I will keep on returning to Brown Sugar.

Edible Review: Jimmy Licks

May 7, 2007

The Girls at Jimmy LicksI felt like good Asian – and somewhere different. So I got onto the ‘net, did a couple of searches and came up with Jimmy Licks in Potts Point. I gathered some mates (Jo, Terri, Mich and Marc) and we headed for dinner. Jo chauffeured me in her brand new Hyundai Getz and we finally found a parking along some dark side street.

By the time, Jo and I arrived at Jimmy’s, Terri and Michy were well into their first lychee (pronounced lie-chee rather than than the South Africa lee-chee) martini. It’s a fabulously long chic bar here and I couldn’t resist the watermelon something or other. (I think it was a martini) and it was yummy!

Mich and TerriYou can’t book a table here but our places were ready pretty quickly and we were lead to the rear of the restaurant and joined a long communual table sitting on stools and benches. Apparently, Jimmy’s has an association with the well-known Longrain and while I’ve never visited this restaurant, apparently the menu and décor is pretty similar.

I decided to have the seared tuna dish which was very tasty. I tasted some of Marc’s wagyu beef (which is from Kobe meat that was been massaged for days to make it more tender – weird but true). Very silky and tender.

Yummy Chicken DishThe atmosphere is loud and vibey – not really a date place, we decided, unless you sit in the quieter outdoor tables. All over, a well recommended eating experience.

Edible Review: Riboville, Cape Town

May 7, 2007

I had been away from Cape Town for 5 months and while I have been away restaurants have opened and closed (as they do with alarming pace). The fabulous trendoid bar above Wakame in Mouille Point burnt down (apparently the poor fishies also got fried) and another firery disaster, Madame Zinghara, re-opened as a large tent showcasing a circus and dinner (apparently really good but I couldn’t fit everything in).

Then there’s the new Nelson Mandela precint right at the top of Adderley Street by the company gardens. Along with some new apartments, there’s a couple of new eateries as well.

For my Thursday dinner with a whole group of my wonderful SA mates, I chose the new Roboville. This restaurant is housed in an old banking institution which has been completely refurbished. The interior is large and very classy and I seem to remember high ceilings with chandeliers and sumptuous fittings.

The menu was not huge but offered some interesting options in that there are three kitchens: the Asian had a couple of stirfry and fusion meet dishes ; then there was the fish variety. Being owned by the same people who are behind the successes of the codfather. the fishy spot here works in a similar way – you choose the type and size of your seafood and it gets prepared for you. Finally there’s also the sushi shelf if that takes your fancy.

Van and I started with the chicken satay which was a bit weird as the meat seemed crumbed – but it was still tasty. I then decided to opt for the triple taster – which features one-third of a portion of 3 of the Asian dishes. I can’t really remember what they were – but I think it was chicken curry, a beef stirfry and some other dish – all very tasty.

One of the highlights was a guided tour of the cellar housed in the bank vault in the basement of the restaurant. We were taken down in one of those relic lifts which had those metal grid doors that slide across. The cellar was a magnificent area set out for private dining or coffee and dessert. The wine collection here is very impressive and they should do really well once they get a license to sell their wine. My mouth watered at the sight of such a rich variety of dessert wines.

So yes, I would return to Riboville again. It still doesn’t touch Sinn for that delectable ostrich steak (the only restaurant I returned to twice during my 10 day visit) but it was a really good night out.

Edible Review: Mount Nelson High Tea

April 1, 2007

I had a bit of a gourmet dilemma back in Cape Town: do I try new restaurants or go for old-time favourites. The classics won out and my first choice of eatery was Sinn Restaurant at Wembley Square.

This restaurant got a great review from me in September (read my blog entry about Sinn) so it wasn’t surprising that I wanted to go back.

Van, Karen and me at SinnI met Vanessa, Karen and Patrick there and we had an awesome dinner. The ostrich was even better than I remembered (the best substitute for ostrich in Aussie is kangaroo – yes, those cute, cuddly jumping creatures that are actually regarded as pests down under). The potato rosti was also yummy and company was fantastic.

The next day, after brunch with Ruth and Peter at Newport Deli (they make the most delicious mango smoothie but took forever to bring me my water), mom, Tam and I headed to the elegant Mount Nelson for high tea.

The Mount Nelson is the original high tea venue with a generous helping of colonial decadence. It’s all very plush with English floral furnishing, luxurious carpeting and the tinkle of piano in the background.

The high tea here is quite different to the one at Sofitel Wentworth in that the food is served buffet style rather than at your table.

The hightea at Mount NelsonTea is served at your table (yay, I could get rooibos) and the you help yourself to the very generous array of sweet and savoury goodies. We started off with some delicate sarmies, then went onto a cheese scone and mini spinach and cheese tartlets.

Then I tried a piece of carrot cake, a mini- lemon meringue and a bite of a chocolatey tart. The fruit salad was fizzy (ie off) but the waitress was soo apologetic about the whole thing that we even felt bad about pointing out the fermented fruit.

Mom, Tam and Me at Mount NelsonWe sat and chatted and sipped tea and thoroughly soaked up the ambience. We walked out very full and happy. What a larny treat.

Edible Review: A sizzling lunch at Sizzler, Kogarah

March 25, 2007

In 1994, when my family first set foot on Aussie soil, my uncle and cousins took us pretty much straight from the airport to Sizzler. This was their local hangout and they went pretty much every weekend. For something like $5 a person, you had access to an “eat-as-much-as-you-like” salad buffet as well as a bottomless cup for the soda fountain. What a feast.

Cousins at SizzlerSo it was with great nostalgia that I ate at a Sizzler restaurant when I visited Queensland and when I returned to Sydney, I did a bit of research. Despite all rumours that there were no more Sizzlers in NSW (due to some sort of rat poison in the salad scare), the website disclosed that there were actually 3 in the state. The closest was in Kogarah, which is a mere 20 minute drive from the city.

So I finally convinced the Millers that a trip down memory lane was necessary. So Taryn, Cameron, Lara, Howard, Jules, Avril and me, headed out to Kogarah. Calli was studying for exams so unfortunately couldn’t join us. Richard wouldn’t be seen dead in Sizzler and Tamara wanted to hang out with her hubby.

The Sizzler MenuIt’s a bit of a depressing place, this Kogarah, very industrial and dusty but as soon as I saw the familar green and red Sizzler sign, things got more cheery. It’s obviously the place to be for Sunday lunch, as it looked as if us and every pensioner in the area was in the queue for a table. But it didn’t take us too long to reach the cashier.

Inflation meant that it now cost $20 for the buffet and drinks but it’s still a pretty good deal.

According to the Millers, nothing much had changed. The decor was slightly different but the salads were pretty much identical. We started with soup (which apparently also tasted the same as a decade ago) and then went onto the variety of salads. Quite tasty actually.

The yummy Sizzler SundaeThe highlight was, of course, dessert. It went like this – a glob of cookies of cream pudding, a touch of apple crumble, a dot of jelly, smothered with some vanilla softserve (which you can control by yourself) and then topped with oreo crumbles, smarties and jelly beans. Gourmet dessert. We all felt like kids again.

Family at SizzlerLots of photos (I even had one with the Sizzler man – well, the manager), an attempt to sing Happy Birthday (not sure why, as my b-day was last month 🙂 and lots of laughs. It was a great nostaligic trip. I’m not sure if we’ll be back every weekend but maybe once a year will be good enough.

Edible Review: Lenotre High Tea at Sofitel Wentworth

March 25, 2007

Nothing can beat a girly high tea and Sydney is definitely on short of choices. We initially were going to indulge in this English tradition at the Victoria Rooms in Darlinghurst but then I remembered reading about this highly specialised French tea at the Sofitel Wentworth in Phillip Street in Sydney city.

So what’s so special about this afternoon tea? Well, the Chef Patissier, Mark Stone, has been trained in the exclusive art of Lenotre, which is a famous French Patisserie brand. This, gastronomic art (as it is so called), is available at very prestigious destinations all over the world but this is the first place that Lenotre has made its appearance in Sydney.

The girls at High TeaOrit, Monika, Simone and myself arrived at the hotel (which to me seemed a little dull as far as the luxury stakes go) and headed straight for the lounge. Then we were transported into another era with the relaxing piano music in the background and lovely sumptuous furnishings.

The waitress (who couldn’t speak English that well) struggled to tell us all the teas that were available – my suggestion is to print a list – it would make things easier for everyone. We ordered different teas and the gourmet pastries for 4.

The presentation was magnificent – almost too good to eat. The treats were displayed on a tier stand with about 5 different levels. On each level, sat a scrumptious looking edible item.

The High Tea TreatsOn the bottom, there were 3 sarmies, 2 mini-scones. Above that, a delish lemon tart, an opera slice (described as chocolate pastry with layers of almond biscuit, chocolate ganache with coffee butter cream and topped with gold leaf), two other decadent pastries with the top level holding a rich dark choccy cone filled with berries coulis and cream. While one or two of the slices looked better then they tasted, generally it was a fabulous taste sensation.

Our two complaints were that:
1) The service was somewhat slow and a request for water took hours and dramatic dying of thirst noises from me to actually materialise
2) If you order tea for one, you get a smaller tiered stand with 3 sarmies, 2 scones and everything except one pastry slice. However, if you order a shared tea, you get a larger stand with pretty much the same ingredients (ie 3 sarmies, 2 scones and this you have to share between two). Just didn’t make logical sense!

So the solution is to order you own individual tea. Admittedly we left on a Mount Everest Sugar High and couldn’t fit another morsel in but I guess it’s just the principle.

We’ve decided we’re going to try do this on a monthly basis so watch out for more high tea stories.