Friday, March 29, 2013

Grill'd, Darling Harbour

There's something satisfyingly good about tucking into a bigass burger that has an assortment of everything in it. And today, my friends and I were looking for just that when in search of a good feed for lunch. Luckily Harbourside was open this long Easter weekend! And we can always trust Grill'd to serve good burgers.

Clockwise from top: regular chips, $4.95 + herbed mayo, $0.70; summer sunset, $12.50; moroccan lamb, $12.90; almighty, $13.50
The chips were crunchy and generously seasoned with oregano. Combined with the herbed mayo, we got an oregano hit with these sticks of potato! My friends both enjoyed their burgers and said they were really good :)

Almighty stuff this burger
I was eager to tuck into mine - I ordered the biggest out of all of us! We were given a choice out of wholemeal or white sourdough and I went with the latter. Sourdough just gets me every time - would've been perfect if there was a wholemeal sourdough option!

The Almighty burger wasn't given that name for no reason at all - just look at how much they jam-packed into this baby. Grilled grass fed lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot with salad, relish and herbed mayo was what comprised this massive burger. Patty was tender and not at all dry and went together so well with every other element in this burger mmm... My bacon wasn't crispy, but I'm not fussy - it was easier to eat this way :)

Clockwise from top: passionfruit soda, $3.00; iced sweet potato latte, $4.30; grapefruit juice, $3.00
With all the crowds exploring the Easter activities around Darling Harbour, we decided to venture over towards Town Hall for somewhere quieter. Tom n Toms is a nice little cafe and we quickly nabbed the last table before anyone else could steal it. If you like your drinks sweet, definitely go for the sodas! Passionfruit soda always goes down a treat. The sweet potato latte really tasted of sweet potatoes - definitely never imagined sweet potato being made into a drink with milk but it worked surprisingly well. The grapefruit juice was slightly tart - exactly what I needed to break down the heavy burger I just had :) What I do want to try from here next time is the garlic butter toast or the cream toast!

So what do you think makes a good burger my fellow readers? Any favourite combinations that you have that you believe makes the ultimate burger?

10 Darling Drive, Harbourside Shopping Centre
Darling Harbour, NSW, 2000
9281 5121

Opening Hours
Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday: 11:30am - 11:00pm

Grill'd on Urbanspoon

Tom n Toms
97-99 Bathurst St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9267 9989 

Tom n Tom's on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 25, 2013

Laduree, Westfield Sydney, CBD

I've had this post sitting around for a bit too long! I was extremely hyped about Laduree when it first opened inside Westfield Sydney, but what I wasn't so hyped about was that queue that seemed to snake on forever... In the end, I put buying macarons from Laduree off for quite a while until the craziness around it died down slightly. But by then, I heard that these weren't made fresh in Sydney, but shipped frozen to be sold here.

Packaging sure was cute! Loved the box it came in :)

Box of 6, $23.00
So how did these compare to the big Sydney names such as Adriano Zumbo? I ended up getting salted caramel, lemon lime marshmallow, hazelnut, strawberry marshmallow, praline, and coffee. The texture was quite wonderful, nice and soft. I found the marshmallow filling a tad too sweet and odd in texture - maybe because I'm not used to having a spongy centre in my macarons? I think I prefer the rich ganaches that Zumbo has haha. I also found the flavours to be quite subtle and not as strong. While these were nice, they weren't mindblowingly good and I am a bit skeptical about justifying the $3.20 price tag per macaron. It cost extra for the box as well! I think I may stick to the ones at the Lindt Cafe or Adriano Zumbo's for my macaron fix :)

Ladurée on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Abercrombie, Chippendale

Who's heart stops just thinking about a deep-fried Golden Gaytime? As if the Golden Gaytime itself was rich enough, the crew over at the Abercrombie just had to dip it in batter and chuck it in the deep fryer too! My friends and I decided to catch up over a super late lunch after uni, since this hotel is very close by.

They have specials during the week as well as tonnes of lunch specials from 12-4pm for just $10! CHEAP AS.

Korean fried cornflake chicken, $10.00 lunch special
Who doesn't love fried chicken? I've never had one with a cornflake batter, but this was just as good with a nice crunchy exterior, succulent meat and damned awesome with a squeeze of lime and dunked into the spicy mayo on the side. The ketchup heart was a cute touch don't you think?

Deep fried mac n cheese, $10.00 lunch special
Mac and cheese is already comfort food at its finest - creamy, carbolicious and heavy. With a crunchy batter on the outside? Even better. Not something I'd have every day of course :P And definitely goes down with jugs of beer and cider - get them at only $10/jug from 12-10pm Monday to Friday which is insanely good value!

Double reuben dog, $10.00 lunch special
I normally have enough trouble finishing one hot dog (damned being a small Asian girl) so when this huge as double dog came to the table, I was stunned. How was I to finish this? It was bigger than all my guy friend's schnitzels and burgers! They were definitely generous with the mustard,sauerkraut and dill pickle sauce. And squeeze on the ketchup they give you on the side and you have a solid hot dog. Waaay too filling for me but hell yes to getting your bang for buck!

Deep fried chocolate brownie, $7.00
Yes, they now have a deep fried brownie. Whaaat. A bit too heavy for me - I think I'll stick to traditional brownies thanks :)

Deep fried golden gaytime, $7.00
To be honest, I wasn't particularly overly keen for this as it has been hyped up by the food bloggers all over the blogosphere. It was good, but not something so fantastic I wouldn't be able to help myself but rave about it to everyone. It really is like the deep fried ice-creams you get at Asian restaurants but with a Golden Gaytime centre instead :)

All in all, the Abercrombie has solid pub food that is great for uni students on a tight budget. Relaxing vibe, cheap booze and as long as you have good company, you're set for a good time.

The Abercrombie
100 Broadway (Corner Abercrombie Street)  
NSW, 2007, Chippendale

The Abercrombie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chocolates Del Mondo, Burwood

For the past week, I've been having the biggest craving for a good cheesecake for some reason. So what a perfect time to try out a new chocolate cafe other than going to Max Brenner! I've been wanting to go to Chocolates Del Mondo ever since it opened last year but have put it off until now.

I was very excited upon seeing the large display cabinet of cakes and tarts that they had!

Forrero Rocher shake, $7.95
We ordered a shake as it was quite a warm day, and it was very refreshing and cooling. This definitely tasted like Ferrero Rocher, though I thought it was a bit too runny. I enjoyed it all the same regardless.

Lime and coconut cheesecake, $8.95
Sorry, wasn't told how much these two cakes cost individually, but together it was $17.90. This was quite an odd concoction with lime jelly on top of a coconut cheesecake. I thought the lime was a bit too tart and it didn't quite work that well with the cheesecake which disappointingly had that coconut essence flavour which I find to be too fake and not to palatable on my tongue. The swirl of chocolate definitely made it look more pretty but I failed to see how it was necessary as it didn't correlate with the flavours of lime and coconut at all.

Baked blueberry and ricotta cheesecake, $8.95
I had higher expectations for this one as I love blueberry and that crumble on top looked quite lovely! But unfortunately the ricotta cheesecake itself was quite dry and had a grainy texture. The only flavour came from the crumble and the blueberries that were directly under it. The rest of the cheesecake didn't have much flavour at all.

Considering how much we paid, I was expecting better quality cakes but unfortunately they fell short. Alas, I probably would have been better off buying a frozen Sara Lee cheesecake from my local Woolworths freezer. Cheaper at that too. Definitely not what I was expecting when I had such high expectations too. I was pretty happy about having a local chocolate cafe to frequent, but I don't think I would be going back any time soon :( Maybe for the drinks?

Does anyone have a favourite cheesecake at any cafes to recommend to me? :)

Here are the menus if anyone is interested.

Chocolates Del Mondo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tenkomori Ramen House, Sydney CBD

Who doesn't love a good bowl of warm, steaming ramen? There's something about slurping the noodles that's so comforting. Ultimate winter food don't you think? Even though it's not winter yet, Sydney's had some pretty crazy weather that's been all over the place lately and despite it currently being summer, there's been some cold wintery days too! Though it has been heating up this past week... What is with that?

Tenkomori is the brother store of Menya Mappen and Oiden where you line up cafeteria style, pick your ramen base and add on anything else that takes your fancy from the hot bar or cold dishes!

Tonkotsu butter corn ramen, large $7.30
I love tonkotsu based ramen! Mm, pork collagen... This was particularly good because the butter made it that much richer. Look at the pool of yellow the melted butter left behind! I also loved hunting for those little pieces of corn.

Chicken kara-age, $2.20 & takoyaki, $2.00
Fried chicken! It tasted good but for some reason it was cold :( I always can't help but grab myself a stick of takoyaki. Love that stuff!

Tonkotsu curry ramen, regular $6.30 & mushroom salad, $1.80 (I think)
I was really interested in this ramen because I've never eaten curry with ramen before and I wasn't sure how the two would pair. It actually tasted good! If you like Japanese curry, you'll love this :) And those mushrooms that have been marinated were quite sweet, pairing very well with the spicy kick from the curry.

If you're up for something quick, and something cheap then this place is it.

Tenkomori Ramen House
Shop 16 Regent Place, George St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Tenkomori Ramen House on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chanoma Cafe, Sydney CBD

Matcha may be an acquired taste for some, but I am personally completely infatuated with it :) This is what originally lead me to the newly opened Chanoma Cafe in Regent's Place which has gotten quite the makeover as of late!

They have a variety of hot dogs here with interesting flavour combinations so we decided to give it a try. What I loved was the many kinds of self-serve sauces they leave at the counter at your disposal :D

Kim-mayo dog, $5.50
If only the kimchi flavour was more pronounced in the mayo! It was definitely creamy, but I squirted on a good amount of sriracha to give it that extra spicy kick I felt it needed.

Chanoma cheese dog, $5.50
I was lured in by the promise of curry flavoured cabbage but alas we only got a few small pieces that were almost non-discernable :( However, it was still a decent hot dog with lots of melty cheese and nothing a squiggle of good old American mustard and tomato sauce couldn't fix :D

Teriyaki chicken dog, $5.50
This would have to be my favourite out of the three! The teriyaki chicken was so soft and there was so much awesome avocado on the side yum... I love avocado.

The "Japa-dogs" were definitely not bad as well as filling and cheap, but I reckon the Snag Stand does a better hot dog. After all, they have brioche buns :P

But onto what this small Japanese cafe specialises in - green tea!

Matcha Frappe, $5.00
This was amazing. So cool, refreshing and with that prominent matcha flavour coming through. And such a big size for just $5! All green tea drinks in the city tend to be quite expensive (especially at Starbucks) so I was definitely happy with this price.

Matcha Shiratama Parfait, $9.50
This was one hectic parfait! Green tea soft-serve ice-cream with layers of special K cornflakes and red bean paste that was topped with strawberries, sweet potato and taro jelly, chewy rice cakes, pocky sticks, a wafer and a waffle cone was definitely a sight to behold when it was served at the table! My friends and I demolished it in a flash ;)

I am so glad there is now a cafe where I can satisfy all my green tea cravings mm... Do you all think matcha is a taste that needs to be refined by your palettes to like, or did you love it or hate it at first taste?

Chanoma Cafe
501 George St
Regents Place
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Chanoma Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taste Of Shanghai, Ashfield

Seeing as we are a healthy Asian family with a healthy appetite for dumplings, I decided to take my family out for dumplings for my mother's birthday! Ashfield is close by, and there are lot of Shanghainese restaurants so naturally that was where we headed.

Shanghai style smoked fish in soy sauce, $10.80
I'm not sure if you all know, but us Shanghainese are very big on having a sweet element to our dishes. In a lot of the meat dishes that are soy-based, sugar is often added. I think this is how my extreme sweet tooth came to be. These pieces of fish had that extra sugar kick I was expecting and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

Grilled onion pancake, $6.80
I grew up eating these spring onion pancakes (my mum makes a mean spring onion pancake - I have cravings for them all the time!) so I had high expectations for these. The flavour profile was very different from the ones my mum makes and the pastry much flakier and fragrant from the oil (I'm suspecting it's because these are deep-fried). While I prefer my mother dearest's version, these definitely were one of the better ones I've had in Sydney.

Shredded pork with cabbage stir fried rice cakes, $10.80
I normally love nian gao, but these rice cakes were quite oily and lacked flavour. If you're feeling like eating rice cakes, I'd head over to New Shanghai just across the road because they do a fantastic stir fried rice cakes with XO sauce!

Beef and bean sprout stir-fried noodle, $10.80
These flat noodles definitely outshone the rice cakes. While the rice cakes weren't great and were quite stodgy, the flat noodles were had that wonderful smokiness that your get from the wok. If only there were more greens and less oil!

Mixed vegetable noodle soup, $9.80
I was surprised how good all the variety of mushrooms were in the mixed vegetables! It was quite salty but when eaten with the noodles and soup, it all balanced out pretty well.

Pan-seared pork dumplings, $9.80
These dumplings had an awesome crispy skin at the bottom and so much soup inside - just as good as the first time I had them here! The marks of a well made dumpling :D I hate it when I bite into the dumplings and it's all dry inside because the soup has leaked out from cracks in the skin...

Pan-fry pork buns with sesame, $9.80
I love sheng jian bao! There's just something about the fluffiness of the exterior... These ones were pretty decent, but for some reason, the bottoms were very thin and there was a lot of dough at the top! It's supposed to be the other way around so that was slightly odd for me while I was eating it. But the bottoms were crispy, and the meat inside was juicy so not much to complain about at all!

The overall bill was extremely cheap - the perks of eating Chinese food out, hey? :)

Taste of Shanghai
264 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield, NSW, 2131

Opening Hours
Daily from 10am until late