Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Victoria Room Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney, CBD

When I first heard about scones, I never understood what the hype was about. For one, they were lumps of flour to me, and two, they looked super ugly!! But then I discovered cream and jam and was it just me, or did it make everything that much more awesome? When I bit into my first scone at the Tea Room, I fell in love. SCONES!! And what pairs better with scones than tea? With such dreary weather in Sydney this past weekend, I was craving nothing more than a hot pot of tea and scones.

How cute are the teacups? Loving the gold :)

Soy chai latte, $5.00
I wanted nothing more than a huge hit of spices to hit me when I drank my chai, but unfortunately neither of us got that :( I was happy that they used fresh spices, but the flavour definitely did not seep into the soy milk despite letting it sit for ages at the table. Ah, looks like I'm still in the search for a good chai.

Scones from front to back: lemon, pistachio & currant / rose / dark chocolate chip, served with conserve & cream, $6.95 each
Loved the flavour of all the scones, though not as fluffy as the scones at the Tea Cosy but still decent :) Pistachios are always a winner for me, and I was scared that the rose scent would be overpowering, but the perfume of the rose was just a light enough and it was so good with the jam and cream. The all had a lovely crust on the outside. The dark chocolate chip was definitely a favourite and was rich enough without the need of either of the condiments!

What is great about afternoon tea with scones is the atmosphere. Great place to catch up with your girlfriends don't you think?

The Victoria Room Tea Salon
188 Pitt St, Shop 4042 Level 4 Westfield Sydney
Sydney, NSW, 2000 

Opening Hours
Daily excluding Thursday: 9:30am - 6:30pm
Thursday: 9:30am - 9:00pm 

The Victoria Room Tea Salon on Urbanspoon 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Morena, Surry Hills

Managed to score a deal for high tea at Morena for $23 per person so of course I dragged the sister with me :)

We managed to get service all to ourselves today. Thursday lunches are apparently not very busy!

It definitely felt like one of the nicer places to dine at when we entered. First time trying Peruvian cuisine! Service was very friendly and helpful. I guess it does help that we were the only ones there ;)

Coco leaf tea
I think I prefer Chinese green tea - it delivers a much stronger flavour.

Savouries board

I am going to be honest here and say that I wasn't quite sure what this was :( They were fritters of some sort but I am unfamiliar with the flavour. I think it was cassava and there were dried olives on top. I enjoyed it nonetheless though.

Mushroom frittata with avocado cream and sun-dried tomatoes
This was a really good frittata! I really do love my egg. The avocado cream had a good douse of lemon which gave it the frittata element of tartness when combined with the sundried tomatoes.

Alpaca burgers and pork crackling
Mm, pork crackling... So crispy! One of the best pork cracklings I've had :D Onto the alpaca meat - who has actually eaten alpaca meat? It was reminiscent of camel and beef, but definitely juicier than camel meat. The buns were soft and slightly sweet, balancing the gerkin-like sauce and roasted onion. Good burger!

Dessert board
Hello sweets!

Chocolate cups with rice pudding and kirsch cherries
Chocolate is chocolate which is always good :) The rice pudding made these bite-sized morsels super creamy!

Tres leches cake with nutmeg roasted pineapple and a dusting of chocolate powder
I have been wanting to try tres leches cake for the longest of times and this was a damned good one! Super dense, sticky, and amazingly sweet from the cake soaked in three types of milks (evaporated, condensed and whole) - it was very decadent indeed. The texture was not what I was expecting at all! I wonder if all tres leches cakes have this texture?

Peruvian caramel with gooseberry compote, mini meringues and crumble
I would have to say that this is my favourite out of the three though. Not the prettiest of desserts, but we've learnt by now not to judge a book by it's cover right? The caramel was almost like an intensely soft yet thick custard which wasn't as sweet as I thought it'd be and when eaten with the buttery crumble and tart gooseberry compote, it just went together so well! I absolutely loved how the caramel seemed to melt/dissolve in my mouth. It was very therapeutic.

Have any of you tried Peruvian cuisine? If so, do tell me about your experiences!

425 Bourke St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
0405 902 896

Opening Hours

Friday-Sunday: 12:00-3:00pm

Tuesday-Sunday: 6:00pm until late

Morena on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Alrose Garden, Strathfield

Met up with my girlies a few days ago on a Tuesday night in Strathfield for some Korean feed.

Fried chicken, $14.00 with extra sweet spicy sauce, $1.00
Fried chicken!! You have to get the extra sweet spicy sauce because it makes it taste much better. This fried chicken came with the usual pickled daikon (which I love) and the chicken was decent, though it's got nothing on NaruOne, I'm sorry. Just wasn't as juicy or succulent. Could really go back for more of NaruOne's fried chicken right now!

Udon stir fried with udon, $15.00
They definitely were not stingy with the seafood here at all! Look at all that octopus, squid, mussel, and prawns... The spicy sauce had a lovely kick to it.

Beef ribs and vegetables with rice cakes, $15.00
This dish had a similar spicy sauce to the udon but who's complaining when it tastes good and there's rice cakes? I think I have a slight obsession with those chewy strips of goodness. The beef could've had a little more time to cook just to make it fall of the bone, but the flavour was there and it was pretty fantastic. Hidden vermicelli noodles hidden underneath everything! I loved dipping the rice cake into the sweet spicy sauce that came with the fried chicken. That was some good chilli sauce.

Pork schnitzel with rice and salad, $15.00
Holy look at the size of that schnitzel! To give you an idea of how huge that schnitzel was, that little mound of purple rice is the normal serving size of rice you would get when going to restaurants. Yep. The schnitzel was as big as my face. And boy was it good. The crust was so crunchy, yet not excessively oily. The sweet and sour sauce provided on the side really finished things off. Loved the purple rice as well - something I had never seen until now! Slightly more sticky than the normal white rice I eat.

Good food and huge serving sizes. Ended up being less than $15 per person!

Headed over to Yogurberry for dessert because who doesn't have room for froyo? :D Bumped into a few other friends I hadn't seen for a while too - it's always great catching up!

Alrose Garden
7-9 Churchill Ave
Strathfield, NSW, 2135
9764 1117

Alrose Garden on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Princess Coco Chocolaterie, Sydney CBD

Hi, my name's Sherrie and I'm a chocolate addict. There's nothing better than that moment chocolate first hits your tastebuds. Heaven.

I remember back in the days of high school when we had to fundraise for our year ten formal with boxes of chocolate. M&Ms, Snickers, Mars Bars, Maltesers...  I swear I ended up buying a whole lot of the boxes myself. Whoops. Wish our year advisor bought the boxes Cadbury bars instead - those bars were smaller than the boxes we had to sell!

Today for all you lovebirds is Valentine's Day so I hope you all had a wonderful day! But for us singles, we might as well go and have fun anyway, right? ;) I ended up celebrating with my sister at Princess Coco. What says decadence more than chocolate right?

I love the theme of Princess Coco. The chairs are a rich purple and very plush. There was something very Baroque about the interior.

Iced Au Lait Chocolate, $7.50
Our iced chocolate came with two amazing house made marshmallows. They were so squishy when I picked them up and simply melted in the mouth. Nothing can compare to freshly made marshmallows. The iced chocolate was topped with vanilla ice-cream for added creaminess and had a lovely, smooth malt finish. It was so intensely chocolate-y. Why does homemade iced chocolate never taste quite as good as this?!

Tiramisu sphere, $17.00
How pretty is the white chocolate sphere? Then our waiter poured on the coffee chocolate sauce.

There melts the prettiness. But that doesn't matter when the sauce adds so much to the dessert. The interior of the sphere contained a kahlua tiramisu centre with layers of sponge and cream. What was interesting was the chocolate jelly. That I've never seen or heard before. It definitely was intriguing. My sister adored it whereas I did find it slightly odd - probably because I couldn't get used to it. Overall, that sphere was the highlight of the dessert!

Fondant au citron vert, $15.00

What intrigued us to order this was the combination of flavours - chocolate and lime. I love chocolate, and I love lime, but I've definitely never had the two together. What's not to love about fondants? Cakey exterior, soft gooey centre... This one had a lime cremux centre though. I definitely did not expect it to be so tart. The lime centre by itself was awesome, but I don't think it paired particularly well with the chocolate... However, the chocolate lime sauce was not too bad because the lime was pretty subtle. The fondant itself was baked perfectly and it was totally rad paired with the salted palm sugar ice-cream which was topped with an almond tuille.

We left in a little bit of a sugar coma. Didn't expect to be full from that, but I assume it was because it was really rich...

How did everyone else spent their Valentine's Day? :)

Princess Coco Chocolaterie
158-166 Day St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9269 0881

Opening Hours
Monday-Wednesday: 7:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday-Friday: 7:00am - 10:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Princess Coco Chocolaterie on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 11, 2013

NaruOne Korean Restaurant, Sydney CBD

Who's eyes light up at the words fried chicken? I know mine do. And I think I have discovered a gem at NaruOne, thanks to grabmyfork. She ranks this fried chicken as number 1 in Sydney! If fried chicken doesn't convince you to drag your ass down there, I'm sure her recommendation will ;)

Fried chicken with spring onion, $32.00
Say hello to my photo-bomber friend right there. But onto the good stuff. This fried chicken is worth every artery-clogging moment. The batter has been fried to a state crispy golden goodness that crunches with every bite. And no stringy chicken underneath that awesome batter, all succulent wonder. Eaten with the dipping sauce provided makes my tastebuds sing with joy. This is a place of happiness. Who knew Koreans specialised in frying chicken? :D There was also some pickled daikon to act as a mouth cleanser. Pickled anything tends to win me over.

Rice cakes stir fried in chilli sauce, $12.00
And I think my Shanghainese background prevailed me into ordering these rice cakes. I love rice cake. At first, you will think that chilli sauce isn't too hot. But that fieriness builds up in your mouth the more you eat until there is a significant burning happening. Water!! I'd say it's worth the burn though. Definitely a different spiciness than what I'm used to.

Who likes chilli? And what kind of hot do you prefer? Or do you tend to avoid anything spicy and hot altogether?

NaruOne Korean Restaurant
375 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9261 2680

Opening Hours
Tuesday-Saturday: 11:00 -  3:00am
Sunday-Monday: 11:00am - 10:00pm

NaruOne Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Asian Sugar Rush!

To be honest, the first time I had Meet Fresh, I was not so enamoured by it. My first and foremost rookie mistake was choosing 'hot' when they asked me whether I wanted it cold or hot. Never order these desserts 'hot'!! It was a cold day and I thought that having something warming would be awesome. But they only ever heat these to the stage of lukewarm, almost as though you left a hot dish sit for a while and it's almost gone cold. Not the best of stages I think. Second reason would be because of all the hype there was surrounding Meet Fresh. All my friends raved about how delicious it was, so I think I did have my expectations raised through the roof. Which all came crashing down when I was eating my lukewarm dessert.

However, with all Asian desserts, I believe that the more you eat it, the more you enjoy it. You become appreciative of all the different textures in the dessert that vary from chewy to soft to icy! Definitely the highlight.

I had a strong craving for Meet Fresh the other day, and I dragged my younger sister with me - who has never had Meet Fresh! We walked to our local one in Burwood and I'm glad they open so early in the morning. Yes I did have this for breakfast, so please don't judge the fact that I had this first thing in the morning!

Taro balls no. 4, $5.50

Definitely a magnificent sight, that huge tower of ice! Surrounding the mountain was taro which had been marinated in honey, taro balls, pearls, and red beans. The shaved ice is doused with a sugar syrup made out of a type of sugar that we Chinese people often use in our dishes called rock candy. They normally come in huge chunks that look like rocks, hence the name. It is a very sweet syrup, but it definitely has a different sweet flavour profile compared to the sugar that you would normally find in your local supermarket. There are taro and sweet potato balls which are chewy like pearls, and paired with the sweetness of the taro and red beans, this dessert is always a winner.

At first, my sister did not see why I had such a craving for this but she definitely got more into it the more we ate. I think she began to see why you would want it the more you eat it.

Meet Fresh
169 Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW, 2134 

Opening Hours
Monday-Friday: 11:00am - 11:00pm
Saturday: 11:00-12:00am
Sunday: 110:00am - 11:00pm

Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

Herbal jelly with ZenQ signature Q balls, pearls and red beans, $6.50 + extra sweet taro, $0.80
Remember those awesome grass jelly drinks that had so much sugar added to them but you loved it anyway when we were kids? This is exactly what this dessert was like! But instead of little pieces of grass jelly, there were huge chunks of grass jelly which were sweet and slipped easily down our throats. Thank goodness it wasn't like the grass jelly that came canned as one huge chunk in the shape of the can - those were nasty! If the dessert wasn't sweet enough, there were chunks of palm sugar on top of it all :P ZenQ's signature Q balls have three flavours (matcha, taro and sweet potato) instead of the two offered at Meet Fresh (taro and sweet potato). I'm really in love with marinated taro!

Do any of you hate the textures of Asian desserts, or are you the complete opposite and are in love with them? I, myself, am the former ;)

ZenQ Desserts
181/569 George St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9267 9880

ZenQ Desserts on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Food Society, Darlinghurst

A while back, I bought a high tea groupon for two at the Food Society for $49 - how cheap! I think they used Groupon as a means to introduce their new vodka high tea menu which normally costs $45 per person plus another $18 if you want matching cocktails. I've been meaning to eat at the Food Society for a while, though I definitely didn't expect my first visit to be high tea. I sure was excited to see how they would put a twist on the traditional high tea!

Decoration was quirky, yet cute and homey at the same time.

We started off with some bubbly champagne - cheers!

Our first stand arrives. Yay for savoury canapes! We start off with the bottom stand with the burek cigars of Bulgarian feta, spinach and ouzo which was not a favourite of mine. I like normal spinach and cheese triangles! I think the ouzo added a bit too much tang that wasn't quite suited to my tastebuds. Normally I love lentils, and this spiced lentil salad in the witlof leaf was ok. The texture of the lentils was good, though there didn't seem to be too much flavour... However, the croquette of confit duck with horseradish cream and smoked paprika (lurking in the background) totally blew my mind though. The confit duck was so awesome inside the crunchy batter.

The top stand consisted of Jerusalem artichoke tartlets which were pretty amazing, and blinis of vodka and beetroot cured ocean trout and ocean trout roe. What can go wrong with ocean trout? :D I loved how the vodka gave it that slight extra oomph though I'm sad to say I couldn't taste the beetroot :(

I was expecting tastiness when I saw this on the menu - mini brioche slider of pulled pork, apple relish, fresh apple and celery leaf. And it was!! I felt happiness as soon as I took my first bite. I have never had pulled pork that I haven't liked. Mm, pulled pork... There was also a petit side salad of watercress, fennel, apple and almonds but who cares about that when you have mini brioche sliders?

Onto the sweet canapes! It was actually getting incredibly busy in the restaurant at this time and literally everyone in the restaurant were Groupon holders who were having the high tea menu! It sure was popular... So it took a while for our dessert board to come out which was disappointing. But the desserts were tasty so all was forgiven.

Lime meringue tarts! The tart itself was very buttery and crumbly, so good... The sourness of the lime was offset by the sweet meringue and I love desserts with a tang so this lime tart went down a treat.

I didn't even know you could make donuts with ricotta, but I'm sure that's what made the donut so fluffy! The donuts were rolled in lemon sugar and there was a dollop of amaretto honey on top. I think this is actually one of the tastiest donuts I've ever eaten...

Lucky last coffee cream in a tube with housemade honeycomb. Nothing beats freshly made honeycomb, though I think I was too enamored with the other two desserts... :D

Do tell me, would you all try pursuing a menu that seems out of the ordinary at a restaurant and give it a chance?

Food Society
91 Riley St
Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010
8090 3462

Opening Hours
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 6:00-11:00pm
Friday: 12:00-4:00pm & 6:00pm-12:00am
Saturday: High tea 12:30-4:30pm & Dinner 6:00pm-12:00am
Sunday: High tea 12:30-4:30pm

Food Society on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 1, 2013

Encasa, Sydney CBD

Paella. That one single word has caught my ears ever since I first heard of it when my friends mentioned Spanish food. Rice and a crunchy bottom? Yes, please! This is why I love the Chinese rice bowls so much ;) My friends and I decided to meet up so we could see K again before she jets off to Thailand for a volunteer program (I hope you have lots of fun!!). Don't let the small storefront fool you - there is plenty of space with big tables at the back! The air-conditioning was a definite blessing on such a hot day yesterday.

Sangria, $19.00/jug
SANGRIA!! Love the fruitiness of sangria. Though I accidentally ate a piece of orange rind which wasn't so nice... But that would be my own fault :P

Patatas bravas, $9.50
Normally the sauces are served on top of the deep-fried potatoes, but we asked them to serve it separately to cater for a friend and the waitress was incredibly lovely and said it was no problem at all! What really made this dish awesome was the tomato salsa and garlic mayo. Garlicky goodness...

Pumpkin and cheese croquettes
This was on the specials menu, so I'm not too sure if they have it all the time. So creamy from the melted cheese inside! And incredibly good dipped in the tomato salsa and garlic mayo from the patatas bravas.

Chorizo a la sidras, $11.00
We were tossing up between the chorizo poached in cider and the grilled chorizo and the waitress recommended the cider as it was popular. Glad we made that choice because the cider made the chorizo sweeter compared to its usual saltiness.

Champinones al ajillo, $9.50
Mushroomy goodness! And more garlic! Spanish food wouldn't be great for you lovebirds who want to go on dates ;) Unless you both consume lots of garlic! The mushrooms were awesome with the incredibly salty garlic pieces scattered throughout for intense flavour.

Tortilla de espinacas, $8.50
This particular omelette had spinach and pinenuts. They definitely weren't stingy with the pinenuts which were plentiful and whole inside the omelette :D

Tortilla espanola, $8.50
What can go wrong with potato and onion? Loved it.

Albondigas, $12.00
Whoa these beef meatballs were huuuge. No worries, we'll just split them in half. And smother them with lots of almond sauce.

Paella valenciana for 2, $50.00
This serving of paella for two was massive! Definitely would've been more than enough for one person's main and even then, probably would've been very full from it! The seafood was plentiful and cooked really well, wished there was more chicken to accompany the saffron rice though! I think I'm more of a meat person than seafood.

Close-up of paella
There were some awesome crispy rice parts at the bottom in some areas which I think we were all on the hunt for :P Because who doesn't like crispy rice?

We all left Encasa happy campers. Incredibly delicious food and such friendly service (:

Eat Spanish food with jugs of sangria? Tick!

423 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9211 4257

Opening Hours

Monday-Friday: 12:00 - 2:30pm

Monday-Friday: 5:30-10:00pm
Saturday: 5:30-10:00pm

Encasa on Urbanspoon