Saturday, 29 September 2012

Assiette - Surry Hills, Sydney

Restaurant Assiette has long been on my list of ever-expanding 'to eat' list. 

Located in Surry Hills, just a brief stroll from Central, the restaurant is intimate and welcoming - especially on the cold and rainy winter night that I visited.

Assiette has an extensive wine list, with a focus on Australian, New Zealand and French wines.

Amuse bouche - a warming carrot soup with coriander oil

Macleay Valley rabbit terrine with chicken liver parfait, pickled carrots and grapes

I didn't try any of this dish, though I was assured it was very good. 

Fried duck egg, with crispy pigs' ears, cured duck breast and Szechuan consomme 

To be honest, I really did not like my entree.  The pig's ears were nice and crispy, until they went into the consomme, then they became all soggy and unappetizing - I also wasn't sure how everything tied into together.

Assiette of Holmbrae free-range chicken with sweet corn and roasted king prawns

However, my main saved the day. It was brilliant! Juicy chicken and sweet corn are a match made in heaven.

Panfried mulloway fillet with octopus, chorizo, cous cous and saffron mayonnaise

A hearty and comforting dish, with tasty chorizo and the cous cous soaking up all the flavours.

Blanched green beans with almonds 

An attempt at being healthy and getting a good dose of vegetables, and therefore balancing any effects of desserts to come. 

A refreshing granita to cleanse the palate (the flavour escapes me!)

From memory, this dessert consisted of poached mandarin with honeycomb, crumble, basil & buttermilk sorbet 

An interesting combination of flavours. 

Banana creme brulee

Loved the presentation of this dish, instead of the ramekin that creme brulee usually comes in.

Banana toasted marshmallows - soft pillowy clouds, a lovely way to end the meal

Happy long weekend everyone!

Assiette on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 22 September 2012

L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon - Central, Hong Kong

Hong Kong is such a truly amazing food haven where you can take your pick from delicious, cheap hole-in-the-wall joints up to fine dining Michelin star restaurants. On my second day in Hong Kong, I luckily managed to squeeze in a weekday lunch at 3 Michelin star restaurant, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

The restaurant is located in the luxurious Landmark building in Central. Take the escalators up to level 4 and you'll be greeted with the dark and dramatic decor. 

Centre stage of the restaurant is a circular bar overlooking the open kitchen. It's a great idea, as you can see the intricate dishes being plated up. It also allows the staff to serve you the dishes over the counter, instead of navigating behind you.

 Self serve assortment of bread - everything was so mini and cute! The selection included croissants, baguettes, and twists. I didn't catch all of the types of bread on offer, as I had trouble catching up with the waiter's heavy french accent. Had to try and resist gorging on the bread basket and save room for the 4 course meal to come.

For lunch, a choice of a three, four, and five course menu is offered. The items on the menu all sounded very light and summery.

 Amuse bouche - again I didn't quite catch the full description of this appetiser, though from what I understood, the bowl contained a shrimp jelly and the glass, a pea soup.

The shrimp jelly was so flavoursome, bursting with asian flavours. It was refreshing.

This was a chilled soup, the foam making it very light to eat.

The cocktail list is enticing. My selection is the Pinkbird, one of the L'Atelier specials - it was fab!

Lychee mocktail

I was pretty impressed by my cocktail.  It was smooth and fruity, with just the right amount of alcohol.

1st course: entrees 

Le Haricot Vert - green bean mimosa salad with foie gras rolls and parmesan cheese

Le Melon - Charentais melon gazpacho, mascarpone ice-cream flavored with raspberry, Iberico ham

This chilled sweet melon soup was a highlight, and perfectly paired with the deliciously fatty rolls of Iberico ham

2nd course: soup

La courgette violon - smooth zucchini "veloute" and parmesan foam

This soup was amazing. The zucchini veloute came separate and was poured in, quickly sinking to the bottom. The parmesan foam was so rich and creamy, which was balanced out by the sweet and fresh zucchini.  

Le veloute de coco de paimpol - French white bean soup with mousse of "Soubressade" pork sausage and coco bean salad

Loved the three-part presentation of this dish. Robuchon's soups are definitely take them to a whole new level for me. 

3rd course: mains

La volaille - Challans chicken in honey mustard sauce and seasonal mushrooms

Check out those adorable tiny mushrooms!

Le Carabineros - Squid ink, Acini, pasta with tempura of Spain Carabineros prawn

This was my dish, and I had dish envy because I had a taste of the chicken and it was delicious. The tiny pasta actually reminded me of tapioca, which I'm not sure I enjoyed that much.

Insanely creamy mashed potato - this was possibly the best mashed potato I've ever had. This is probably due to the fact that there is a heart stopping amount of butter in there. So much that when it came out, we actually thought that this was a little pot of butter until we looked closer!

4th course: dessert

Dessert was another highlight for me, especially because the options were so fruity, light and summery (which is what I tend to gravitate toward, dessert wise)

La Peche - French white peach compote, verbena jelly and vanilla ice-cream on smooth Tonka cream

A simple, yet fantastic dish. The beautifully sweet white peaches do all the talking. Loved this dessert.

Le Pamplemousse - Grapefruit and refreshing lychee jelly with raspberry mousse and raspberry sorbet

Such a beautifully presented dish, I almost didn't want to ruin it! 


Petit fours - madeleines, macarons and jellies

Overall, I was very impressed with the dishes. The service was friendly and attentive and the price point is pretty reasonable (4 course meal was $530 HKD per person with 10% service charge, so around $70AUD per person)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Hartsyard - Newtown, Sydney

So I'm at the airport at the mo, waiting for a midnight flight to Seoul. All the shops are closed, so it's the perfect opportunity to blog! Here's a place that I've been raving about ever since I've been:

Delicious deep fried chicken and oysters on english muffins. I'm sold! Hartsyard is so enjoyable that I end up making two trips there in just as many weeks. 

You need to get in early for a Friday or Saturday booking, as they are very popular - both times I've only been able to get the nanna dining time slot (6:00pm) this suits fine though during the cold, drizzly winter months.

Hartsyard is run by husband and wife team, Gregory & Naomi, and is an inviting and friendly space from the moment you walk in.

Hartsyard Manhattan - Bacon-infused Jack Daniel's, sweet vermouth, bitters, maple syrup

Don't be alarmed by the bacon, it's actually quite a subtle and smooth flavour

Jamaican Mule - Appleton rum, fresh lime, ginger ale, bitters

This was a refreshing dandelion salad of some sort (doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore)

Hand's down my favourite dish at Hartsyard.  The heavenly morsels they call Oyster Po Boys - a must try.

Crispy Pig Tails - buttermilk dressing, pickles, hot sauce

Salmon cooked in a jar - Creme fraiche, sorrel, cornichon

So summery and fresh, would like to recreate! Has anyone poached stuff in a jar at home with success?

Delicious salmon in the jar 

Another highlight - Cold fried smoked chicken, with buttermilk biscuit and low country sausage gravy

Seriously good fried chicken. Drool. 

Smoked beef short-rib with Sunga's kimchi and bone marrow - I loved the rich smoky flavour of the ribs, and yes, that big hulk of a thing is the bone marrow. I didn't hack into it, but was assured it was completely delicious.

Maine Lobster roll - with lobster mayo, tarragon, kettle chips

Ox tongue dish - I only tried a little square of the tongue as I can't usually stomach the thought of eating tongue. It was really tender and flavoursome.

Deep fried cheesecake - yuzu, popcorn ice cream, blueberry and honeycomb

Peanut butter and banana sundae - pretzel ice cream, banana doughnut, salted fudge

Desserts were decadent and amazing. I preferred the cheesecake, but that sundae is pretty glorious too.

This post just made me hungry :/

Hartsyard on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My attempt at home cooking

I'm flying off to Hong Kong tomorrow, so this may be my last post in the next little while. I've been madly trying to finish my first assessment for my new grad certificate unit, busy finalising things at work, last minute packing and now just doing a mental list of all the amazing eats I plan to have in HK! Excitement.

I've been eating out less these days, and instead have been relaxing, cooking and experimenting at home. It's been nice having my own space, and housemate horrors seem all but a distant memory. Also, the winter cold makes you just want to snuggle up on the couch and eat comfort food:
And spend lazy Sunday afternoons downing a whole bottle of bubbly, watching a movie 

DIY sushi - basically grab a square of nori, fill with sushi rice and pick your fillings. Simple but delicious :)

My attempt at Dan Hong's lemongrass chicken recipe - served with tomato rice

I've had many a comment on the moose pasta from Ikea haha

I've also had enough leftovers to take for lunch most of the time, which was great until I moved to the city and there are so many fab options for lunch! 

Paid Eveleigh markets a visit too for some herbs to start off a herb collection

Addicted to Yogurberry in Chatswood - I love their plethora of flavours (blueberry, passionfruit, peach, mango, taro, original, strawberry....) and LOVE how you DIY the froyo and toppings. You can heap them on to your heart's content, and they just charge by weight.

Continuing my love affair of markets - another one of my faves is the Pyrmont Grower's market

That is where I picked up some of these gorgeous cherry blossom (?) looking flowers.  I then looked like a bit of a moron carrying them home via a detour shopping expedition around the city. At least no one wanted to bump into me for fear of getting impaled by my giant bunch of sticks haha

Homemade calamari and grilled scallops after a wander to the fish market - I'm surprised anyone gets out alive from that place on the weekend. It's insane!

This was actually the first thing I made in my new kitchen - hummingbird cake! It was delish, though I really need to work on my icing skills. It's a bit 'rustic'

The Lemon delicious that rose out of control

Kitchenware Direct were kind enough to send me some tumblers and champagne flutes.

You usually associate plastic glasses with being flimsy and disposable, but these are really sturdy, and when I received them, I immediately thought that these tumblers would be perfect for a dessert of some sort.

Champagne flutes, it helps that they are unbreakable, especially after a few wines and you accidentally knock the damn thing over (yes, I speak from experience)

Anyway, back to dessert making.  I whipped up a simple chilled strawberry cheesecake with ingredients already in the fridge and pantry:

Leftover biscuits baked in the oven to use for the base

Elderflower syrup

Which I used to soak my strawberries in

Bsicuit and nut base
And assemble with cheesecake mixture - such a quick and easy dessert (my presentation needs working on, obviously :( :( :( )