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.


I’m back – last bit about Melbourne

August 30, 2007

I’ve been a blog-slacker. Bad Lisa! But I’m back. The last blog was about Melbourne. I think to complete the Melbourne bit so I can start afresh on something new, I will include an article that I wrote about my experience in the 2nd best city in Australia.

 Melbourne is a foodie’s fantasy By: Lisa Wolff

Ask any Australian to name the two primary attractions of Melbourne and most will answer: food and shopping. Two of my favourite things – and I’m sure I’m not alone in that declaration. If a woman could wish up a dream city, Melbourne, I reckon would come up trumps.

Let’s start with the retail therapy side of things. If shopping is your way of relaxing, you’ll be tranquillised after a weekend in Melbourne. The CBD has an old fashioned feel to it, with restored architecture and ornate façades. I almost felt as if I should don a lady’s hat, corset and Victorian dress to amble along the streets. But while the city may exhale history, the fashion is anything but old, and neither are the prices. It’s boutique heaven here with all the world famous designers displaying their chic wares.

I always feel slightly “Pretty Womanish” (before her transformation) when visiting these austere shops. So I headed straight for the fashion famous Chapel Street, which boasts hipper, edgier clothes. Here I picked up some unique designs at good value. Then there’s also the mall experience and Melbourne offers a good variety. Melbourne Central boasts something like four shopping centres all interconnected in a rabbit warren of store-lined corridors. I was after bargains and I found some here. As for the rock-bottom deals, I visited the Queen Victoria Market, where I came away with some “made in China” duds and some ornate cushion covers thrown into the mix.

Victoria MarketThe main attraction at the Market was the food stalls. For a dedicated gourmand like myself, this was the essence of bliss. There was a hall dedicated to the juiciest fruit straight from the farm (including an extensive range of organics). Then there were stalls specialising in cheese, bakery goodies, an entire section for butcheries and even a South African stall with biltong and boerewors.

tramGetting around Melbourne is a breeze. I made ample use of the free vintage city trolley service which stops at all major attractions. To get into the suburbs, I could hop onto a speedy tram, bus or train. It took about 30 minutes to tram from the centre to St Kilda, a charming village and the gourmet capital of Melbourne. There’s even a beach here but Melbournians are clearly not soak-up-the-sun types. On a sunny day, there was not a sole on the sand. With such a scrumptious food culture, it’s understandable though – they’re probably too embarrassed to strip off. And anyway, who has time to catch some rays when there’s serious eating to do.

acland streetAcland Street, one of the bustling strips in St Kilda, holds the holy grail of cakes. The store windows are all edible art with a showcase of baking. I walked from one bakery to another in a sugary daze. After hours of contemplation, I finally picked a hedgehog (it’s an Aussie brownie dotted with finger biscuit morsels). Lunch was at an authentic Polish deli, Scheherezade, offering traditional Eastern European dishes such as cholent (slow cooked stew) and borscht (beetroot soup). Portions are overly generous and after a home-style wiener schnitzel and home-style veggies, there’s was hardly any room for dessert.

But we all know we have a separate stomach for sweets so I was able to continue on my epicurean journey. The chocolate shops in the city are as posh as the fashion boutiques. There’s not a smidgen of emulsified fat in these parlours. Here, they use only the good stuff – chocolate is either made straight from the cocoa bean or imported from Belgium. Each choccie is a confectionery masterpiece both in taste and appearance. There’s even a Hot Chocolate Bar in the trendy Docklands area, where I relished every sip of my rich chocolate drink topped with cookie ice-cream.

Windsor HotelFresh from a glucose high, I almost hugged the top-hatted doorman, who greeted me by name as I entered the red carpeted lobby of my hotel. Brimming with old worlde elegance, the Windsor Hotel is a grand dame of yesteryear hospitality. The florally rooms may be an acquired taste but for a romantic like myself, I’ll take the princess treatment over any modern alternative.

 high teaThey were just setting up for traditional high tea as I lumbered into the lounge. Pyramids of profiteroles, dainty cupcakes and fluffy scones lured me once again in decadence. After this, I promise, I’ll never eat again.

Never say never. With night, comes the inevitable ‘where to have dinner’ question. The variety of restaurants in Melbourne are mouthwatering. It seems that restaurateurs have bookmarked this city as their location of choice. The glitzy Crown Entertainment Centre on the South Bank has attracted famous international chef Nobu Matsuhisa while Jamie Oliver’s ‘delinquent to chef’ culinary incubator Fifteen is inconspicuously housed in the city.

Everyone knows that good food is enhanced by great wine. So to complete my gastronomic voyage, I joined a tour to the Yarra Valley. Besides being blessed with some fine vines, the Yarra is also the brussel sprout Capital. I think I’ll stick to wines though.

We stopped at four wine farms – the pretty Yering Station, Rochford where we endured a below average lunch, the boutique cellar Yering Farm and finally the highlight Domain Chandon. It is here that I learnt that Moët Chandon have expanded their ‘champagne’ operations to four other wineries throughout the world (Argentina, Brazil, the US and Australia). So while we can’t call this sparkling wine Champagne, it is made in the exact same way as Moët. Clearly, I bought a couple of bottles to see if I could taste the difference.

I know that a Melbournian would probably be most disappointed in me that I haven’t spent more ink expounding the cultural and sporting array of attractions. I’m sure the city has much more to offer than a taste and fashion sensation. Maybe next time, I’ll find out.


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.


Winelands Wander: Tokara

September 30, 2006

Note: Click on each image to see a larger version of the pic.

After a lovely sweaty session of bikrum (hot-room) yoga, I meandered (in my car…which  BTW I’m trying to sell so if you’re looking for a magnificent Green Clio, then pls contact me  – thanks 🙂 ), anyway, as I was saying, I headed off to the beautiful wine valley of Stellenbosch.

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I headed up Helshoogte Pass and turned into the elegant caramel-bricked Tokara Wine Estate (which is next to Thelema, which happens to be brother Nolan’s favourite winery).I met up with Van and Karen (who both had aching heads and drenched livers from last night’s fun-filled imbibing…Van kept on begging Dr Karen for another myprodol – I who had a pretty alcohol – free night except for the sherry and shabbat wine found it all quite hilarious).

We first did some wine tasting. We tried the whole range of Tokara wines as well as the more affordable variety – Zondernaam (which I assume means “without a name” in Dutch…now, wasn’t that impressive translation).


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My fave was the Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc (I think it was a ’93). It also happened to be Van’s pick as well, and she showed it by buying a case. Guess who I will be visiting often in the next few weeks.The Tokara Red 2004 was rich and velvety – the smoothest of the reds according to my palate. Karen bought one of these as well as a selection of other wines. Hmm, I may have to visit her too very soon as well.

We knew that they also had a place called the olive shed on the premises and when we asked the wine pourer behind the counter, she pointed to somewhere in the vicinity of the window. Van asks: “How far is it?”, Lisa asks: “Can we walk?”. The wine pourer looks at us like we’re crazy and then we see why. She was actually pointing to the end of the counter where there was a display of olive oils and olives. Ohhhhhh, we were in the olive shed already. hehe

We had a taste of the olive oil – it would have been vastly improved if we had some bread to dip into the oil – and also chewed on 2 different varieties of olives. I bought a Mission bottle of olive oil (R20 for 250ml) for my mom.

We then desperately needed to have some lunch to soak up the wine, olive oil and paracetemol (in Van’s case).

The menu in the Tokara restaurant is a little small in my opinion. Starters were way overpriced, with many hovering around the 90 buck mark – ouch.

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Mains were priced average to high with the top cost being the fillet at R120. I wasn’t blown away by the selection and since I didn’t feel like anything heavy, I went for the kingklip, with green fig balsamic, (rich, tasty sauce)  honey caramelised nuts (there were 4 whole nuts on the plate) and curry oil (it was a groovy lumo green/yellow hue). The dish was R95 and perhaps the portion was slightly too small for my liking. So you’re probably gathering that I wasn’t blown away by the food, even though it was tasty.

The bread was delish and very moreish. My two dining companions opted for the seafood pasta which they reported to be very very scrumptious.

We skipped desserts – they sounded good though. (they were priced around the R40 mark). And sadly, there were no peppermints in the bill (I had to go home and have fruit liquorice allsorts – without the liquorice – to get my after-meal sugar kick).

Oh, we also shared a bottle of Zondernaam Chenin Blanc, which was nice (“a bit too butterscotchy”, said Van) – well-priced at R80.

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The views from the dining area are awesome and it would be really special to sit on the covered patio on a Cape Town summer’s day.

The only thing left was to tackle the drive back to the suburbs without meeting a passing policeman on the way. (I probably only had 2 glasses of wine altogether but remember, I’m short).

Till next time, cheers.


Edible Review: Sinn Restaurant (Wembley Square)

September 29, 2006

Well it sure seems that Wembley Square is becoming my local hang-out – not because of the gym but ’cause of the awesome restaurants near-by.

While last time it was Sushi, this time we (Hillary, Lauren, Alex and me) headed to the new restaurant opposite called Sinn. I didn’t even think of making a booking (last visit it definitely wasn’t heaving), but they were pretty packed and we could only get a table inside. (If you have read my last review you would know that “outside” is a loose term as these tables are still undercover but just outside the walls of the restaurant).

Decor is elegant, warm and funky (some of the chairs have squares cut out on their backs) and the waiters are friendly and very efficient. The menu is sooo yum – with some light bites (like pastas and stirfry’s) as well as a variety of different meat and fish dishes.

Unfortunately, I can really only tell you about one dish – as this is what three out of the four were tempted by. It was an ostrich fillet with a cashew nut crust (this is the part that really sold us) with a red wine reduced jus on a bed of mash (averagely priced at R85). The latter is easily interchangeable – I had crispy and oh so moreish rosti whil Ali went for a selection of veggies. Lau reported that the mash was made to perfection.

Even writing about the ostrich makes my mouth water. It may have even bumped off my fave steak at Capella, on “Lisa’s favourite fillets”. The portion was just right, the crust added a subtle crunch to the bite and the actual meat was succulent and moist. Scrumptious!!!

Hill tried some sort of pork belly thing – she said it was very tasty – I will have to take her word for it.

Dessert looked good too (vanilla creme brulle  and a duo of choccy mousse stood out) but we resisted until next time….

And I will definitely have to make sure that there will be a next time.

Ali predicts that Wembley Square is going to be the next BIG thing (especially with the S bar next door to Sinn) so get there soon.


Edible Review: Solushi (Wembley Square, Gardens)

September 21, 2006

Well, I am back from my world-wide travels. I can’t say my feet are firmly on the ground yet…I still have that travel bug firmly entrenched under my skin…so it’s just as well that I will be off to Singapore and Australia within the next few weeks.

In the meantime though, I am having a wonderful time being on holiday in Cape Town. It has been amazing to catch-up with my mates here (I’ll have to convince each one of them to move to Sydney with me 🙂

I still need to write about my experience in Prague but before I do that, I thought I would give a quick review of the new place to be in Kaapstad.

The new Gardens Virgin Active gym opened a couple of months ago (it’s pretty cool complete with treadmills with their own TV’s – I loved it!!) and now there’s a whole restaurant/residential square adjacent to the gym. It’s got a distinctly Melrose Arch (for the Joburgers) / De Waterkant (for the Capetonians) feel and I reckon it’ll attract quite the trendy crowd.

There are a clutch of new restaurants including Sinn, Crush (a healthy joint) as well as Vida E Cafe and the one we tried last night – Solushi. Apparently it’s owned by the same dudes who started up Wasabi and Wakame so it already has slick management to its name.

The decor is pretty cool – browns and brick with a central sushi bar. The tables “Outside” (there is a transparent roof covering) seemed a little chilly (although there are pretty feable wall heaters) so Van, Karen and I took an inside table.

Sushi is obviously the main dish here and there are some interesting variations such as the vege rainbow roll which I sampled and liked (it’s a peppadew california roll wrapped in avo – yum). I also had a delish veg fashion sandwich (although I would have loved a bit more colour other than the green concentration of cucumber and avo). I topped this off with a spicy tuna handroll which was very tasty. My three sushi delights came to about 90 bucks all together but believe me, the portions were generous and I was stuffed to the brim.

Van and Karen sampled the sashimi (thumbs up to that) as well as the salmon roses (good, they say but they insist that the roses should not have rice at all – apparently it’s the cheap way of doing things. Rather the roses should be whirled up pieces of fish around a chunk of avo topped with mayo and caviar – I think I got that right).

The two gals also shared a bottle of Villiera sparkling wine between themselves (R90 something a pop – pretty well priced me thinks). I was being a bit of spush and going through a detox stage so I just got to laugh when the bubbles started going to their heads.

Anyway after eating our fill (we decided to the leave the fascinating sounding avo cheesecake till next time), we stumbled into the gym to have a look around and then headed out into the CT night.

I’ll definitely be back to try out Sinn…watch this space.

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Click on the logo above to see the Solushi menu