Saturday, 28 May 2016

Muse Restaurant at Hungerford Hill - Pokolbin, Sydney

A couple of months ago, we visited the Hunter Valley/Broke region for the lovely wedding of Food Is Our Religion. Taking advantage of an overnight stay, it was off to Muse Restaurant for a long lunch the day before.

The restaurant itself is light-filled and spacious, with high ceilings and beautiful views of the vineyards. The lunch time slot offers the a-la-carte option as well as the tasting menu.

Taro chips and spiced macarons

I loved the various pre-lunch snacks. First up, the taro chips with black and white garlic puree, followed by the spiced macarons, which were filled in the centre with a creamy labna cheese and absolutely delicious.

Shiitake mushroom, lemongrass and ginger broth 

The broth came in an interesting little contraption that resembled a smoking pipe. The broth itself was very fragrant and intense in flavour.

Cuttlefish and King Brown mushroom 'noodles'

Unfortunately, this was not my entree; I had a taste and it was amazing - ribbons of fresh cuttlefish and mushroom, served with sake and miso cream, ginger, yuzu and crisp ink wafer.

Sashimi of East Coast swordfish, honeydew

My entree was the swordfish sashimi; full of fresh and delicate flavours with local Lovedale finger lime, Semillon verjuice, Mexican cucumber, and organic wasabi. 

Granita palate cleanser

The palate cleanser of gin granita and juicy grapes was a nice refreshment to have in-between courses. 

Petuna ocean trout

The trout dish has an asian influence with the use of nori, wrapped around the ocean trout, and the use of Thai basil. The trout is served with spanner crab and sweet heirloom tomatoes. 

70 hour slow cooked Wagyu

The slow cooked beef was a generous serving; the wagyu was so tender that I barely needed the knife to cut through it. The pairing of the wagyu with fermented wombok, wakame, sesame, wild rice, and shiso helped to cut through the richness of the meat.

I was super impressed with all of the savoury dishes; it was hard to pick a favourite. Having said that, it all pales into comparison to dessert; I didn't need to look at the menu to know that I'd definitely be ordering the famous Muse Coconut (no sharing!). 

Muse coconut

Did the dessert live up to the hype? 

Hell yes, it was amazing. The impressive looking dessert consists of a dark chocolate coconut shell, coconut cloud mousse 'flesh' and filled with coconut water and vanilla bean. This is up there with one of the best desserts I've had.

Petit fours

Completely stuffed at this point, the petit fours rounded off a brilliant lunch. 

I can see why Muse Restaurant is one of, if not the most popular, restaurant in the Hunter Valley. It's not ridiculously pricy fine dining either - our 3 course lunch was a very reasonable $95 per person. 

Muse Restaurant and Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ms Murray - Haymarket, Sydney

I'm so happy that Ms Murray has opened up around the corner from me, as the area has previously been a bit of a dead-zone for nice brunch and coffee. 

Brought to us by the team behind John Montagu in Woolloomooloo, the cafe is located on Liverpool street, near World Square.


The milk based coffee at Ms Murray is made from a blend of beans from PNG, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Kenya.

House yoghurt

The house yoghurt is a pretty sight, with honeyed greek yoghurt, coconut and chia pudding, toasted oats and iced fruit such as lychee and grapes. It's lovely and light.

Double cheese and sage toastie with ham

The signature toastie has made it's way over from John Montagu - crisp and buttery toasted bread sandwiches ham, cheese and sage; simple but delicious.

I'm looking forward to working my way through their menu. Ms Murray is also open both Saturday and Sunday which is a bonus!

Ms Murray Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Hobart trip (Daci & Daci Bakers, MONA & Smolt) - Hobart, Australia

Hobart is truly a foodie's paradise, with an abundance of great quality local produce and amazing cafes and restaurants everywhere. 

After catching the first flight out of Sydney at a ridiculous hour, the first pit stop in Hobart was Daci & Daci Bakers, a bakery that is a stone's throw away from Salamanca Place. Stepping into the cafe, you're immediately greeted by an array of freshly baked pastries and cakes. 

Tasmanian smoked salmon, caramelised onion and spinach tart

 I went with the simple but delicious savoury tart choice of smoked salmon, caramelised onion and spinach. The tart is buttery and flaky, and comes with a handful of mixed leaves. 

Blueberry danish

The danish pastry had a nice crunch to it, with the highlight being the handful of juicy and sweet blueberries on top. 

Strawberry Royale petit gateaux 

During another visit, it's a tough choice when trying to select a cake for afternoon tea. I go for the strawberry royale, a pretty pink cake. It's a light combination of strawberry mousse, berry gelee, crème fraîche and lychee mousse with a disc of almond praline feuillentine crisp on the bottom.

Mascarpone and berry brioche bun

This monster of a brioche bun is filled with marscarpone cream and topped with more of those lovely berries; the top layer has a nice crunch to it. 

Tropicana petit gateaux

Passionfruit, mango and banana cremeux, coconut and vanilla chantilly, red fruit gelee and almond sponge.  

Daci & Daci Bakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One must do when in Hobart is visiting MONA, the Museum of New and Old Art. It's the largest privately funded museum in Australia, housing modern and contemporary art collected by David Walsh, who describes MONA as a "subversive adult Disneyland". 

 The museum itself is located on the Berriedale peninsula, and the best way to arrive there is by the quirky ferries, which depart to and from MONA, from the Brooke Street ferry terminal every hour or so. If you're feelin' fancy, there's also a 'posh pit' option with free flowing wine and nibbles in the first class section.

The ferry ride over is an enjoyable 30 minutes; there are quirky touches all over, including this cow sculpture and a row of sheep. The captain also provides some interesting commentary along the way.

I managed to nab a seat on one of the sheep on the way back from MONA, they provide a good front row seat! 

Gilbert & George artwork 

Fat Car by Erwin Wurm

Chapel by Wim Delvoye

Snake by Sidney Nolan

MONA is not your typical museum, it was definitely an unusual experience. The art itself was left of centre, at times downright strange (I'm talking about you, poo making machine), but I did find it an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

It's in a picturesque location, and I loved the grassy outdoor area where you could just grab a glass of wine, lie on a beanbag and listen to some live music. 

After eating all day, a small dinner was on the cards; nearby Smolt was the perfect option with lots of small grazing plate options.

Campari, soda and orange

Complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Saffron risotto with scallops

I can never resist ordering scallops; unfortunately, these were overcooked for my liking. The risotto itself was quite tasty. 

Grilled octopus with crushed potato dill, green beans, paprika, lemon, goat's curd, crisp kale

Smolt is a nice, casual spot to grab a drink or two and a bite to eat. Food-wise, it's standard fare, nothing spectacular. The service is friendly and efficient. 

I passed on the sweets and we went to Honey Badger dessert cafe instead, so can't comment on the desserts. 

Check out my other Tassie posts here:

Smolt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 2 May 2016

Flower Child - Chatswood, Sydney

Flower Child in Chatswood is only a few months old but already attracting quite a following, as demonstrated by the frequent brunch queues of a weekend. Luckily, the system is quick and easy peasy (put down your name and number, an estimate of time is given and they give you a call when your table is ready). 

The cafe itself is a small space, decked out with lush greenery and hanging pot plants everywhere. There's plenty of natural light too, so it doesn't feel like you're in a shopping centre; the seating situation is very compact, be prepared to get friendly with your table neighbours. 

The coffees are well made, using The Grounds house roasted coffee.

I was quite exciting after reading the menu as every dish sounded good, and everything coming out of the kitchen looked amazing.

Flower Child Tabbouleh

Not your typical tabbouleh, Flower Child's version contains yellow squash, zucchini, quinoa, and Bulgarian feta on top of the usual tomato, cucumber, parsley and mint. It's also topped with slices of delicious pan-fried haloumi. 

Flower Child fruit salad

The fruit salad is an impressive mix of seasonal fresh fruit, compressed pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, lychee, orange, peaches, pistachio, freeze-dried raspberries and yoghurt sorbet. A great way to satisfy the sweet tooth in a healthier way.

Tasmanian crispy skin salmon

The salmon is cooked nicely, and is served with avocado puree, orange, watercress, chickpeas, radish, heirloom carrots, burnt orange yoghurt & wild viola. 

Apricot danish

There's also a selection of pastries on offer; this danish is filled with custard and topped with glazed apricots. The pastries and cakes on offer are delivered daily from The Grounds of Alexandria.

Flower Child french toast

For the more hardcore sweet tooth, there's the indulgent french toast, served with banana mascarpone, sliced banana, dark chocolate crumb, fresh berries & salted toffee. Definitely one best shared between two! 

Flower Child has an all day brunch menu on the weekend, which I think is a great idea (not a fan of separate breakfast and lunch menus). One to keep on the list for a reasonably priced and delicious brunch in Chatswood.

Flower Child Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Kensington Street Social - Chippendale, Sydney

Chippendale has been revived into a vibrant dining precinct, thanks to bunch of new restaurants and cafes that have popped up in the past year. Kensington Street Social, housed within The Old Clare Hotel, is the first Sydney restaurant of renowned British chef, Jason Atherton. 

The restaurant itself, is the heritage-listed Carlton & United Brewery administration building, which gives the space an industrial feel. 

On the drinks front, there's some fun cocktails and a decent selection of wines. 

Hipster breakfast cocktail

I can't go past the hilariously named hipster breakfast. The cocktail is made with banana bread infused Pampero rum, cold drip coffee, salted butter, and Fernet Branca; and comes out looking like cup of coffee, with a little sign saying 'This drink is very obscure, You probably won't have heard about it yet...".

Cereal killer

The cereal killer cocktail contains Ketel One vodka, fruit looped milk, apricot, Aperol, “Milk Carton”, candy stripe. I love the milk carton glass to pieces, but the actual cocktail itself was way too sweet and medicinal tasting for me.

Garden pea salad

I love the crunch and texture in the garden pea salad; a fresh mixture of snow peas, sugar snaps, and pea tendrils. 

Tongue n' cheek croquettes with piccalilli

Sea urchin rice, Moreton bug tail, sea blight and bisque

Pulled lamb sourdough flatbread

Holy moly, the flatbread was incredible. Like a pizza, it was topped with pulled lamb, basil pesto, baby zucchini, Jersey milk ricotta and parmesan. Definitely the highlight of the meal.

The menu is designed for sharing, with most dishes on the smaller side - perfect for trying out a variety of different dishes. 

Buffalo ricotta, lemon thyme peaches, honeycomb

East Rydge Grove arbequina olive oil cake, coconut sorbet, spiced mango, passionfruit ice

I was super impressed with both the dessert choices - both fruity, light yet flavoursome and overly sweet. The buffalo ricotta dessert came with a thin layer web of honeycomb, which added a nice crunch to the dish. 

I'd definitely love to re-visit and try out more of the dishes. I'm also glad that those delicious flatbreads are also available on the menu at The Old Clare hotel bar - I can imagine knocking down one of those with a glass or two of vino would be pretty fab. 

Kensington Street Social Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato