Sunday, October 31, 2010

a Hakka banquet at Claude's.

10 Oxford Street
Woollahra, Sydney
Tel: 612 9331 2325

Hi, I'm Sooks and I'm a Hakka.

I've been familiar with quite a lot of Hakka food since young because of my parents and more so in recent times due to the opening of the family's restaurant. Just a little bit of background. Back in the old days, Hakkas were known as nomads and generally lived in the inner land of China thus, seafood in the Hakka cuisine is a rarity. There was also a need to preserve their produce in order to ensure they lasted longer. Hence, the Hakka cuisine is characteristically known to be salty and boasts strong and heavy flavours.

Chef Chui Lee Luk (or 'Chui' as affectionately known by her regular customers) of Claude's comes from the same heritage and presented a Hakka banquet for the Sydney International Food Festival this year. Having grown up with Hakka food on the table, she wanted to present her own modern take on the cuisine and showcase it to many who were probably unaware of Hakka food in general due to the lack of Hakka restaurants in Sydney.

 Eight Treasure Puffs

Friday, October 29, 2010

In the Kitchen: Pancetta & Zucchini Carbonara

It's been a while since I've cooked something non-Asian. Maybe it's cos I'm away from home now so I tend to cook the familiar home favourites to make up for the distance and my mum's cooking. At times, I do feel that it's easier to cook Asian since we already have most of the sauces and condiments needed.

I've been wanting to make this pasta since having a delicious one at my uni cafe months back (yes, there is good food at uni). Whilst doing some Googling, I found Jamie Oliver's Carbonara recipe and since there was some cream in the fridge, I got down to work in the kitchen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I ♥ Zumbo's Macarons.

Adriano Zumbo Café
114 Terry Street
Rozelle,NSW 2039
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri, 6.30am - 4pm; Sat & Sun, 7.30am - 4pm

Adriano Zumbo Pâtisserie
296 Darling Street
Balmain, NSW 2040
Tel: 612 9810 7318
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat, 8am - 6pm; Sun, 8am - 4pm


 Passionfruit Tart

I have to admit that I never knew about Adriano Zumbo until this year. Well, let's just say I missed out on watching him and his Croquembouche which was featured in Masterchef Australia. I do feel a tad ashamed for missing out on his fantastic creations for so long but as the saying goes, better late than never.

Monday, October 25, 2010

gimme more fish & chips.

Mohr Fish
202 Devonshire St
Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: 612 9318 1326

I love 'hole in the wall' places. It's hard to describe the feeling of finding a place with exceptional food in the most nondescript corners of a neighbourhood. Mohr Fish came recommended by the sis years ago and I feel bad that I've neglected to pay a visit until now (mainly because Sydney has too much good food to offer!).

Fish & chips reminds me a lot of my uni days back in Perth. A trip to Fremantle always consisted of a visit to Cicerellos, my favourite place for good ol' fish & chips back then. Some reminiscing brought out a sudden urge for the good old favourite. It was then I decided that it was time to pay a long overdue visit to Mohr Fish.

The fish & chips at Mohr Fish has all the elements that a good fish & chips should have. Fresh fish (flathead was used), a light and crispy batter and chips that are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. The best part was that the dish was not very greasy.

Mohr Fish has more than just fish & chips to offer and if you're looking for fuss free and good tasting food, this is the place to be. I'll definitely be back to taste some of the other items on the menu.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tetsuya's: A Sydney Institution

Tetsuya's Restaurant
529 Kent Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: 612 9267 2900

I've been lucky to visit Tetsuya's twice in the last 2 years in my 3 visits to Sydney. The first time was in the winter of 2008 and the last was in May of this year. I had decided a long time ago not to post about Tets since some time had passed since dining there but as the saying goes, better late than never. Yes, this post is long long overdue but I felt the need to express how upset I was that Tets lost one of its 3 chef hats which it had earned and kept since 1992.

 Confit Petuna Ocean Trout with Konbu, Celery & Apple

Sunday, October 17, 2010

fouratefive & a short visit to surry hills.

Four Ate Five
485 Crown Street
Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: 612 9698 6485

Today was one of the most beautiful days Sydney has had in a while in my opinion. The skies were a nice shade of blue, the sun was up and the air was cool (although a tad too windy). It was also a perfect day to visit Surry Hills cos the neighbourhood comes alive on the weekends. You'd see hip, young and fashionable people having their cuppa at a cafe or walking their cute little pups. I love the vibe of this neighbourhood and love it even more cos many good restaurants and cafe call Surry Hills home.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

so dumb.

Spent 2 hours tonight trying to figure out how to export my blog to Wordpress cos I thought they were more user-friendly and had more functions to play around with. I now found out that Blogspot had a new publishing tool which I didn't know about.

So dumb! 

And yes, I'm sticking on with Blogspot for now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

BBQ Madness at the SMH Growers' Market.

This restaurant was not on the list which my sis and I had drawn up to visit for these couple of months but I think it definitely deserves to be there after the spectacular sampling I had at the BBQ Madness event which kick started the Sydney International Food Festival 2010 at the SMH Growers' Market, Pyrmont.

I was extremely happy that I made the event and even more ecstatic that my sis chose Otto Ristorante among the restaurants which were also present at the event. It was pretty exciting and fun cos the way it was organised was kinda dependent on your luck of the draw; we didn't know what each chef was going to serve up beforehand.

Chef Richard Ptacnik served up an excellent dish of Rainbow Trout with Fregola, Tomato, Fennel and Olives. The rainbow trout was wrapped with pancetta, cooked over the barbie and served on a bed of fennel puree. The pancetta did not override the taste of the fish and the dish was excellently flavoured. I can't find the words to describe how much I loved the dish but Otto definitely won me over with this one dish. Plus, how did Chef Ptacnik even know that I absolutely love trout?? Heh.

It's probably time to start thinking about visiting Otto for a proper sit down meal. Soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a day out at chatswood.

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant
Shop 20, 427-441 Victoria Avenue
Lemon Grove Shopping Centre
Chatswood, Sydney
Tel: 612 9415 3536

Hello Happy
345 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood, Sydney
Tel: 612 9411 4892

"So what exactly did you do in Chatswood today?"

My mind came to a blank when my sis threw me that question when I got home. Somehow the afternoon just flew by. It was my first time in the neighbourhood and I wanted to find out if there were any interesting eats or places around although most people have told me it's just another suburb, except many Chinese live there. They weren't wrong. It is just another regular suburb and there are many old Chinese people sitting around having a chat over tea but I guess it was just nice for me to get out of town and breathe a different "air".

Lunch was at New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. The xiao long bao was pretty good except that they cooled down too quickly. They still don't beat the xiao long baos at Din Tai Fung Shanghai and the skin could have been a little thinner but the soup and the meat filling were tasty.

I decided to be greedy and order the XO Sauce Fried Shanghai Rice Cakes as well. Rice cakes are one of my favourite things to eat and I just couldn't resist having it. Although it was pretty good, I just couldn't find the XO sauce that was supposed to be in there. (In case you think I have a huge appetite, I took home most of the rice cakes and had them for dinner.)

After doing a big walkabout, I ended up having dessert and coffee at Hello Happy, a quaint little Korean bakery cafe.

Although I won't say that the strawberry cake I had was the best I've ever tasted, being in the shop sorta gave me a happy feeling cos of the decor (must have also been because of the name). I need to specially mention that I loved their chai latte. I've been on the lookout for good chai lattes around Sydney and they served me one of the best that I've drank in a while.

It was a good day. I didn't do much but at least, the box beside 'visit Chatswood' now has a tick on it.