Monday, 30 July 2012

Gelato Messina @ Darlinghurst


Ice cream, you scream, we all scream ICE CREAM! I have a slight obsession with ice cream no matter the season, and considering in America, July is considered ice cream month, why not make the most of it? (Even though we are in Australia and generally don't celebrate American holidays). 

After so many posts on Twitter and Facebook about Gelato Messina, I have finally got around to trying it, and I was absolutely delighted with every spoonful. In summary, a must try!

Slivoka Pavlova: Meringue, raspberry and vanilla = match made in heaven. You can't go wrong with those 3 flavours, especially when combined. The crunch of the meringue against the soft vanilla was magnificent. As you add raspberry to the mix, the sweetness of the meringue, is counteracted by the tartness of the raspberry components.

I have always wanted to try a bombe alaska, especially when I have seen it being made so often on TV. When I saw it in the window, it was calling out 'buy me'. This was extremely yummy, especially with the hazelnut against the soft Italian meringue. The annoying part of this dessert was getting to the sponge. Since it is ice cream, the sponge went hard which made it extremely hard to scoop. I ended up using my hands and biting it.

On top of getting the two cakes, went next door to the ice cream parlour and felt the need to try the ice cream. Reading so many intriguing flavours, ended up settling on coconut lychee and pannacotta with fig and amaretti. Both were extremely addicting, and after those 2 scoops the temptation to get more ice cream was there.

The next day, ended up Gelato Messina again where I was finally able to try the Mini Me (mushroom looking dessert). This was my favourite of them all, the chocolate with caramel, peanut butter and vanilla, makes your mouth water. What made this dessert that extra bit amazing was the popping candy biscuit base. Although it was hard to break (I ended up using my hands) it was phenomenal. The popping candy results in a party in your mouth, and along with the ice cream components, you are all invited!

Good food, good times!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Bar H Surry Hills @ Surry Hills


As a late birthday present one of my uni friends took me out to dinner. I had no clue on where we were going, but upon arrival I was super excited. The reason being, Bar H with chef Hamish appeared on MasterChef Australia, and I had only recently caught up on the episode. 

Duck Broth

This broth was extremely smooth and clean, and a great starter. The shitake mushrooms with the fresh coriander made the dish amazing. There were more asian styled mushrooms at the bottom of the soup which continued to add flavour and bite to the broth.

Pickled Cucumber Salad
A fresh change to the palette. The sauce provided with the cucumber was similar to nuoc mam which is an Asian dipping sauce. I wasn't a fan of the purple mint like herb.

Steamed pork wonton with shellfish oil

You can't go wrong with wonton. These were wonderfully made, and with comparing them to the ones my mum makes at home the key flavours were the same. The shellfish oil tasted like the dumpling sauce you get at Chinese restaurants.

Steamed Pork Buns

The waitress told us to eat this by breaking the pork bun in half, and putting some of the herbs in it, and then bite. I have never eaten pork buns like that, so I gave it a go and the herbs provided a boost in freshness, but I still prefer the traditional method of eating it without the herbs.

Cuttlefish salad
This was a salad served warm. The cuttlefish was lightly fried, and contained a light sauce that added a punch of flavour. It was one of my favourite dishes, with all the mushrooms within the salad that provided taste and texture.
Chicken with ginger & shallot, steamed rice and herb salad
The chicken was lightly fried and then topped with ginger, shallots and fresh herbs. The sauce resulted in the chicken losing its crispiness which didn't both me, since I wasn't in the mood for crispy chicken. This dish strongly reminded me of a lovely dinner at home, definitely brought the Asian flavours to the table.

Braised beef with Sichuan eggplant
The beef was perfectly braised where it was easy to eat and little chewing required. I think the eggplant made the dish with is delicately soft texture. The eggplant soaked up all the flavours of the sauce, which contained a hint of spice.

Left: Jasmine tea custard with sliced pear, fresh tea leaves and caramel
Persimmon Parfait with rhubarb and passion fruit foam with fresh and crispy persimmon

The desserts were the best part of the night. I will start with the parfait, which was wonderful. I saw Hamish make it right in front of me for another table, and from then I knew we had to order it. The dish looked impeccable with such finesse. I normally don't like persimmon, but it worked really well with the parfait. The 2 fruit foams at the bottom provided balance to the dish.

Now to the Jasmine tea custard. This was added to the menu after Hamish had appeared in MasterChef Australia, upon Gary's advice. It was amazing. There was a prominent jasmine tea flavour, the caramel and fresh tea leaves caused a party in your mouth. The pear was underneath the caramel, that resulted in a slight difficulty in spooning the custard. In the end, it was still amazing where I would actual crave this.

The overall dining experience was exceptional. The atmosphere and ambience of the restaurant is comfortable, where it combines fine dining, with a bar like environment, fused with Asian flavours. A great place to eat and enjoy a few drinks with friends.

Good food, good times!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Marrickville Crawl


Exams are finally over and holidays begin. Inspired by the article in TimeOut Sydney titled Marrickville Cafe Crawl, my friend and I were in dire need of a catch up, and took advantage and tried to hit as many places as possible.

First stop: Cornersmith (314 Illawara Road, Marrickville)
Cornersmith was given the Local Hero Award in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Cafe Guide 2012. It is a little cafe located down the road from the train station and is becoming one of the most talked about cafes. They provide fresh ingredients, where some are self grown in there own set up garden located in the back patio of the store.

Left: Free range poached eggs with beetroot
& ginger relish with sour dough toast.
Poached egg with pasture raised ham, fennel & brussel slaw, garlic aioli and beetroot relish 

Both the dishes were similar in terms of content. The main difference was the bread. The eggs were perfectly poached, so when you cut through them the yolk oozes out. The beetroot relish was the highlight of the dishes. It was slightly warm and filled with flavour. It accompanied my sandwich extremely well in combination with the fennel & brussel slaw. The dressing that was on the slaw contained a great balance of acidity and sweetness. The whole dish just all went well together. Just to state again, the beetroot relish was just wow!

Second stop: Coffee Alchemy (24 Addison Rd, Marrickville)
Brunch done, now for a coffee break. From Cornersmith, Coffee Alchemy is about a 15 minute walk. When walking into the store, it was very dark including the decor being all black. The windows are barred, gives this strange gaol feeling, but don't let that put you off the coffee. I am not a coffee fan, but since trying coffee at Coffee Alchemy I am finally giving it a go (and hoping I don't become caffeine dependent).

Left: Sparkler Right: Mocha
The sparkler is an ice cold coffee that is served from a beer tap. It combines the taste of coffee, with the fizz of a beer. The mocha was the first good mocha I have ever tried so I now know that good coffee does exist.

Third stop: Bourke St Bakery (2 Mitchell St)
Bourke St Bakery is famous for there tarts, but this time around we didn't try the tarts and looked for what's new and different.

Left: White bean, fennel & black olive with baby spinach
Macadamia honey caramel sticky bun

The toasted sandwich was different. The olives added the saltiness, which was counterbalanced by the white beans, which also provided the bite. A very good healthy sandwich, and suitable for all taste buds. Now to the sticky bun, that reminded me of a cinnamon scroll. It was texturally the same as a cinnamon scroll, with layers of honey instead of cinnamon. The macadamia's coated with honey caramel on top were finger-licking good.

Fourth stop: Double Roasters (199 Victoria Rd)
Thinking this was another coffee store, we were going to give it a miss. Once walking by, and realising it provides good interesting food, we sat down and were ready to order. Since we had done a lot of walking, I was in need of a drink and the pink grapefruit mineral water sounded most refreshing, and it definitely was!

Roast pork belly sandwich with apple & mint relish, rocket, aioli on toasted sourdough

Avocado and feta mash with cherry tomatoes and rocket on Turkish bread

The last dishes of our Marrickville Crawl. The pork on the sandwich had a great crackling skin, where the apple & mint relish provided the sweetness. The main down side to the sandwich was the bread used, I found it too crunchy where it almost cut my mouth.

I am not normally a fan of avocado, but the dish sounded appetising. Mixing avocado and feta created a perfect balance. I thought it would feel soft and mushy against the bread, when in fact the bread added the bite against the soft mixture. The rocket provided the bitterness, with the sweetness of the tomato. This would be perfect for a quick afternoon snack.

Good food, good times!