Fries to Foie Gras
FTFG is a Medical student and his passions include eating and cooking (in that order).
He hopes to eat his way around the world one day and own a patisserie after he has retired.
FTFG's unwilling sous-chef and pretend patient.
FTFG tricked me into being here - but then I fell in love and stayed.
Past PostsOctober 2011
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Graze Pyrmont: Review
Graze was a restaurant that I had wanted to visit for a long time and I had high hopes for it. Promoting their food as modern European cuisine, Graze treads the fine line that is molecular gastronomy. Very little separates mind-provoking ingenuity from unnecessary pretentiousness. Regardless, I was extremely excited and anxiously awaiting our tasting menu!
First came our drinks and it was a very promising start to the night. The Apple cocktail was sweet and incredibly delicious, albeit a little too girly to be seen on my side of table. The 'Adult ginger beer' tasted like a lemon, lime and bitters with the refreshing aftertaste of ginger beer.
Our appetiser came very handsomely packaged and had both of us wowing when we saw it. Whilst the bread was up to par, the parfait for me, wasn't as I had hoped. I believe the intention was to achieve a light and smooth texture, which was missed, and we received a runny, almost liquid-like pate that didn't have the same depth of flavour as a pate or foie gras would.
The five spice coating added an interesting element to the soft shelled crab, which was perfectly fried. As individual elements, the lime mayo and chilli jam were delicious. However as a dish, their strong flavours somewhat masked the delicate flavours of the crab and five spice. I guess it plays true to the phrase 'too much of a good thing'. Regardless though, the dish was delicious.
The Chorizos were in a very comforting tomato sauce that played supporting act to a very flavoursome meat. The polenta was actually a very delicious carb-based accompaniment to the chorizos. The chilli jam also added an interesting accompaniment to the crispy polenta.
I'll say it now. I love Jamon. It's my favourite cured meat in the world. Putting it in a toastie? delicious. I gobbled that thing down before even having had a sip of my cauliflower milkshake. The milkshake, whilst comfortingly warm and creamy, didn't push the boundaries far enough. Although it was packaged in a cute perspex carton, it didn't have any elements which made me feel like I was having a milkshake. Having said that, this would be perfect on a cold winter's night.
The rump was cooked to a perfect rare, accompanied by the delicious sides and jus. Whilst the meat was hardly marbled, it was compensated by its perfect execution on the pan
I believe that orange/mandarin paired with chocolate are one of the most perfect combinations. Graze adds to this by contrasting elements of hot and cold and it worked quite well. The cheese and date chutney were a nice way to end the evening.
Overall, Graze was a pleasant restaurant, with nice atmosphere and great food. Most memorable were the the crabs and Jamon toastie. Although there were no stand-out dishes that would make me rave over and over to my friends, the tasting menu as a whole left me feeling satisfied and happy. Having looked at their menu, I feel like there were many interesting and inventive dishes that our tasting menu did not offer. Come here on a quiet night with your special one, sit down and relax, and you know...graze.
Bodega Tapas Bar, Surry Hills: Review
Located on a more quiet strip of the Surry Hills area, Bodega blends in with its tapas styled menu. Although the dishes are traditionally Spanish, Bodega incorporates a variety of South American flavours that differentiate them from the rest of the tapas pack. Bodega is all about a grazing style of eating, consisting of many smaller dishes that are shared...family style!
Our group arrives at about 8:15pm on a Friday afternoon, and despite their NO BOOKING policy, we are fortunate enough to catch a table that had just finished. We are lead through a very narrow maze of tables before arriving at our seats. Seated on high stools around a small square table, there was barely enough space for the wine glasses, let alone our food. With such a long queue from eager restauranteurs compared with their small floor space, ergonomics dictates that future foodies will be forced to dine in overly intimate settings. That's not always a bad thing I guess.
Having heard that the chicken wings were a highlight, I had high hopes, considering that we were paying the steep, steep price of $14 for 4 wings. It was undoubtedly the most anticlimatic dish of the evening. The wings had a spicy kick to it and were well cooked and flavoured. However at it's price, I was expecting to be amazed and blown away. I was not.
Reminiscent of Momofuku's pork buns, these buns seemed out of place, like a tourist in a foreign country. Regardless, they were delicious and could possibly be my new 'late night kebab'. The buns were oh-so-soft, and the pork was so tender and beautifully flavoured. The only criticism I could see was the mayo, which whilst delicious, overwhelmed the subtle pork flavour.
The scallop dish was the most anticipated dish of the night...and it did not disappoint. 'E' gazed in amazement as the dish was presented to us and we were all too eager to dig in. The Scallops were perfectly cooked as was the morcilla. The double crisp layer added a delicious textural difference to the dish and raised it to yet another level. The creamy sauce was very flavourful, yet worked very well to meld the morcilla and scallops together. The pickled cabbage didn't do very much for me however, and added a crunchiness that the dish could have done without.
This was probably the dish that drew the most divided opinions amongst the table. The accompaniments were all prepared well and accompanied the dish, but the execution of the lamb was what drew dissent. As you can see from the picture, the lamb loin was predominantly fat, and having been slow-cooked, left a very oily film on both the lamb and my lips. 'J' disagreed and found the fat to be a luxurious taste. I dissected what little meat I could off the loin and left the rest on my plate. 'E' agreed that even the meat was overly rich and greasy.
A refined version of what is essentially a South American dish, it stayed trued to its roots. All the flavours worked together and the corn chips were home-made and a lot more fluffy than the cornchips you may get from a mexican food chain.
Our friend 'A' was with us at the time, and we wanted to show him some Asian culture. So we decided to skip the dessert menu here and head off to 'Meet Fresh'. Big mistake apparently. According to friend's who have dinned her previously, their dessert is trademark and one of the reasons why you eat here. Guess that means we might have to revisit in the future.
Whilst the food was quite innovative, the serving sizes were quite small and could easily amount to quite a large bill. The staff were very down-to-earth and friendly, providing constant, yet not overbearing service. If you were wanting to try this place out, Its probably best on a mid-week night unless you're keen to brave a queue.
Debut Post: Hainanese chicken
Hi all and welcome to my first post!
The following recipe is one that I adopted from Food Safari and have tested out to great success. Its not a difficult recipe and is one that I find very tasty. So if you're a novice cook or just strapped for time, then this is a low-technical skill/low maintenance recipe that you should try out.
1 Whole fresh chicken (preferably free range)
1 tbsp Shao Xing Cooking Wine (Chinese cooking wine - Invest in a bottle. its $2 for 750ml)
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
9cm piece of Ginger
5 cloves of garlic
3 pieces of green onion.
3 Cups of Long grain rice
3 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock
Sambal Oelek (Indonesian Chilli Jam- Store bought)
Kecap Manis (Sweet dark soy - Store bought)
Ginger Sauce (50g of ginger, 4 cloves of garlic 2tsp lime juice, 2 tbsp chicken stock, pinch of salt to taste --> Processed in a food processor)
1. Wash the chicken. Pour the shao xing wine and light soy sauce into the chicken cavity and swirl it around. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
2. Roughly chop up 3cm of ginger, 1 clove of garlic and 1 piece of green onion and stuff it inside the chicken.
4. For the chicken rice, wash the rice with tap water and drain. Finely mince 4 cloves of garlic and 3cms of ginger and lightly fry. Add the rice and 2tsp of salt and briskly fry for another min before transferring to the rice cooker. Add the stock and set to cook.
5. Poke the chicken with a skewer after 30min. If it drains clear, then it is cooked. If it bleeds, then let it cook for another 10mins and repeat. Remove the chicken from the water (the water can be retained as chicken stock) and allow to cool. You can submerge it in tap water if you want it to cool faster before dinner.
6. Cut up the chicken and serve with the chicken rice and condiments. Enjoy!