Thursday, November 6, 2014

Buffalo Dining Club, Darlinghurst

If the idea of a mozzarella bar doesn't tempt you, then I don' know what will. It was the promise of pasta being spun in a giant cheese wheel that tempted a group of us hungry food bloggers to venture to the Cross on Halloween. Pasta, cheese and ghouls, could there be a better combination?

Upstairs dining
The Buffalo Dining Club is a tiny restaurant. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. They don't take reservations nor will they seat you until your entire group is present, so going there early would be your best bet. By the time we entered at around 6:30/7, the restaurant was pretty much packed out and we managed to snag one of the last few free seats.

The menu
Short and concise, the menu gets straight to the good stuff - the cheese, the cured meat, the pastas and some salads for those of you who need some veggies on the side of the mighty load of carbs you are about to consume! For groups 6 or larger, the restaurant orders for you and we were happy to be taken under the wings of the staff at Buffalo Dining Club. Show us the food :D

A little bit of an issue where there was too much to fit on the table :P

Fresh burrata (100g) with marinated olives and tempura cauliflower, $20
I don't know what constitutes as a good burrata as this was my first time eating it but this was damned good. A bouncy outer shell of solid mozzarella gives way to the mozarrella and cream filled centre that flows out. It was very light to eat because of its freshness, and had a wonderful creaminess that lingers on the palette. The tempura cauliflower were also a win. Super crunchy and well seasoned.

Caprino with artichoke hearts and honey baby carrots, $20.00
This goats cheese was also another winner. Salty and tangy, it was wonderful lathered on the bread. The carrots are quite ordinary but sides are sides. Would've preferred an extra serving of the cauliflower though :P

Buffalo Mozzarella (125g) with grilled baby broccolini and cherry tomatoes, $20.00
The delicate flavour of fresh  milk that the buffalo mozzarella another great cheese to eat, although I think we were all a little bit more enamoured by the fancier burrata in comparison. Soft and moist, I could definitely easily eat this and the tomatoes and still be one happy camper.

Pumpkin and potato croquettes, $8.00
And who doesn't love a good croquette that's deep-fried to a wonderful crisp? The innards for both were deliciously creamy and smooth and loved that dip that it came with! Not quite sure what it was but definitely quite tart.

Bresaola, $16.00
Onto the good old cured meats! Look at those glorious ribbons of fat running through the bresaola. The beef flavour is strong due to the aging process but that's exactly what we were looking for.

Prosciutto San Dan, $10.00 for 60g
And of course prosciutto, the perfect accompaniment to all those cheeses we had on the table.

Chilli accompaniment
If you're a chilli fanatic, this will be THE sauce for you. Let me tell you, it's hella spicy. We each tried a tiny bit and the level of spicy is PHUOR spicy. And it just gets spicier in your mouth after the initial kick. So be warned before spooning this baby on top of all your pasta! Unless of course, it is your intention.

Buffalo ricotta gnocchi, $20.00
Gnocchi is one of those things that could go terribly wrong and stodgy a lot of the time but these were soft pillowy, cheesy balls of goodness. Tossed in that gloriously rich tomato sauce, I have nothing but good things to say about this dish.

Lamb ragu, $20.00
The ragu was a tad lacklustre after the gnocchi. Whilst not bad, it really could've wowed with an extra hit of seasoning.

Food bloggers frantically trying to capture the action
And for the dish that Buffalo Dining Club is infamous for. It probably doesn't need to be tossed at the table, but for theatrics and for us to see the giant wheel, I sure as hell ain't complaining :P We get to feel involved with our food!

Caccio e Pepe, $20.00
If you're after that huge pepper kick like I am all the time, you will definitely be pleased with this one. Lots of parsley, pepper and of course, pecorino is distributed evenly through the pasta because of the wheel tossing for pieces of cheesy goodness in each bite.

Full to the brim, this feast was very reasonable and the bill was under $30 each. Considering all the food that was brought to us, it was more than good value. And a good visit to make for all of you who are mozzarella lovers! It is a mozzarella bar after all :P And a big thanks to Charn for organising this dinner :)

Buffalo Dining Club
116 Surrey St
Darlinghurts, NSW, 2010

Opening Hours
Wednesday - Saturday: 12:00 noon - 11:00pm

Buffalo Dining Club on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jazz City BBQ, Darlinghurst

I think it has all been a while since the anticipated opening of Jazz City BBQ with the promise of lots and lots of barbeque meat! LB Slaya, Cassanova, KC and I arrived early this Thursday night just a little before 6, perhaps a little too early as they hadn't even opened their doors yet (we were just a tad too keen). But once inside, we instantly felt like we were in one of those cute American diners with the red booths lining the walls of the small restaurant.

The menu is short and concise, offering five items with the promise of Southern American smokey char. It's simple really, you just let Chef Dan McGuirt exactly how much of each meat you want and he'll cut and weigh it for you!.

Dan slicing up the beef ribs
Are you guys digging his shirt or what? When he was about to cut us our beef brisket, he asked us, "Would you like the fattier or leaner cut? I would recommend the fattier cut, it's much more tender and juicy." How could we disagree with the man?

Housemade sauces
There are plenty of sauces for you sauce junkies to choose from. And if you're anything like us, you're just going to go for the whole shebang and may as well try everything!

Clockwise from top: cornbread / complimentary sliced white bread / pork ribs / beef ribs / beef brisket / coleslaw / complimentary raw onion and pickles / pulled pork (centre)
While I did love the flavour of the pork rib, it was a tad on the dry side, as was the pulled pork. But with all the sauces on offer, may as well drench it with that, hey? And let me give you a little tip - ride the sauce rainbow. You may be asking, what the heck is that? Mixing all of them together of course! The beef brisket was indeed awesomely fatty as promised and fat is flavour when it comes to barbequed meats. I was pleasantly surprised by the beef rib as I normally prefer pork ribs over beef ones but this was beautifully smokey with every bite. The meat slid of the bone real easy as we bit it straight off the bone - gotta get those fingers dirty when eating ribs! But what I really fell in love with were those pickles. Sweet with a little punch of sour, I couldn't help going back for more. And that cornbread. Soft, fluffy like a good muffin, and slightly sweet, our only regret was ordering one to share. Next time, one for each person!

I forgot to take a picture of the pecan pie we had. Though tiny, it was a pretty sweet end to the meal. Unfortunately they didn't have key lime pie on the menu tonight which was not a problem for us. We ventured down to Jazz City Milk Bar for dessert!

Banana cream pie, $10.00
I have nothing to say but this.

Oh. My God.

THIS WAS AMAZING. SO AMAZING. Well worth the trek here. A crispy base, layers of vanilla custard chocked full of banana pieces in between, along with whipped cream on top, made this dessert so delicious. The ripe banana really made this pie - it felt like I was eating banana custard!

Satisfied with the ending to our Southern style meal of comfort foods, we slowly walked back towards the city. But not before making a pit stop at Hungry Jacks because Cassnova and KC have black holes for stomachs. Next time, that key lime pie will be eaten :D

Jazz City BBQ
200 Goulburn St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010

Opening Hours 
Lunch Wednesday - Friday: 12:00noon to 2:00pm
Dinner Wednesday - Saturday: 6:00pm to 10:00pm (or until Sold Out)
Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 

Jazz City BBQ on Urbanspoon

Jazz City Milk Bar
Republic 2 Building Courtyard
Palmer Street (between Liverpool and Burton Street)
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

Opening Hours
Lunch  Thursday-Saturday: 12:00-2:00pm
Dinner  Tuesday-Saturday: 6:00-10:00pm
Closed Sunday & Monday

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ippudo at Central Park, Ultimo

Ah winter days are over, and that means the days of hot bowls of ramen are coming to a close... But my adamant love for ramen demands that I squeeze it in as much as I can before the weather gets much too hot to handle steaming hot ramen! Australian summers, you are just much too brutal. I was kindly invited by Sana on behalf of Ippudo to try out their newly opened branch in Central Park Sydney - definitely a convenient location for you USYD and UTS students. She was an absolutely delight to speak to and went over the menu with us, sadly informing us that the pork buns are not currently available on the menu. Ah well, there are other items to try!

L to R: Iced oolong tea, $4.00 / Homemade lemon lime & bitters, $5.00
Warm days mean cool drinks! I was glad to taste an unsweetened iced oolong tea and lemon lime bitters are always a refreshing drink to have on standby at any restaurant really.

Seared salmon sushi, $13.00
Salmon has got to my favourite fish. And when it's seared, there's just this delicious smoky flavour that's hard to beat. Naturally, this dish had to be ordered! Plus our curiosity over the mentai mayo really got us. It turned out to be a very welcome addition indeed, adding a lovely creamy zing to the palette. And we all know that avocado and salmon is a classic combination. Fatty salmon and more healthy fats from avocado? Don't mind if I do!

Extras plate
 Since we ordered the ramen specials, both came with its own plate of extras including a soy egg, bean sprouts, seaweed, bamboo shoots, black fungus, chopped spring onion and extra chashu (win!).

Miso tonkotsu special, $25.00
I absolutley love corn in my ramen because it adds that little burst of sweetness that goes really well with the tonkotsu broth. I found that the addition of miso to the tonkotsu broth made this one quite incredibly salty. Whilst still tasty, it was a tad much after a while but at least we had our oolong tea and lemon lime bitters! The noodles were cooked with just enough bounce - the perfect texture :D

Shiromaru special, $23.00
The original tonkotsu broth was less sodium based than the miso tonkotsu version and I preferred this one a lot more. As before, there was nothing to fault with the way the noodles were cooked and along with all those toppings, I was one happy ramen eater. I would recommend you put the egg in the soup to warm up a bit as it does come cold on the extras plate. What I did like was that the yolk inside was still soft and definitely not overcooked!

Blue Mountains, $13.00
And of course one cannot finish dinner without dessert. Though Gingerbreadmanne and I were incredibly full, we couldn't go past this green tea sundae. Who can resist green tea icecream, red beans, mandarins, oranges, apricots and coconut jelly? The icecream was so smooth and creamy and despite our initial thoughts of only having a few spoonfuls, we managed to polish off the entire thing (no ragrats, not even one letter).

At this stage, we were incredibly full and so very, very content with all that was eaten. Service here was incredibly efficient and the staff were nothing short of friendly with all the Japanese greetings - love that subtle touch of authenticity to add to the dining experience! You can find our more about Ippudo Central Park here.

Crystal Noir and friend dined as guests of Ippudo Central Park courtesy of Motoyama Sana of SD Marketing. Opinions however, are entirely her own.

Lower Ground, Central Park
28 Broadway Chippendale, NSW, 2008

Opening Hours
Monday - Wednesday: 11:00am - 10:00pm
Thursday - Saturday: 11:00am - 11:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am - 9:00pm

Ippudo Sydney on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cuckoo Callay, Newtown

Spring time means brunch time! But let's be honest, wouldn't you brave the cold winter weather for a nice cosy brunch anyway? That's exactly what my sister and I did to try out the super easy to find Cuckoo Callay right next to Newtown station for a sisterly date.

We were welcomed warmly inside despite the rainy dreary weather outside by Ella, who brightly said it's still better than having it rain all day like it does back in England! The interior deco is incredibly kooky and I was incredibly intrigued by this clock so we just had to sit right underneath it. The place is decked out with mirrors to make the space seem a lot more spacious. An ingenious idea really.

Skim mocha, $4.00
One of the best mochas I've had for a while. A nice kick of chocolate but could still taste the coffee. Digging that thick layer of frothy goodness on top.

Salted caramel thickshake, $7.00
Being a little bit of an addict to salted caramel, this one had to be ordered. And damn was it good. My sister took a sip, and with widened eyes, she proceeded to hug the mug and not let me anywhere near it. It was definitely wonderfully sweet, and that's what we're all looking for in a thickshake, no? :D

The brunch spread
I really wasn't sure how we were going to finish it all - look at all the food!

#Hashtag browns, $17.00
How pretty does this dish look! There was a choice of bacon steak, smoked salmon or grilled haloumi and I couldn't go past some cheesy goodness. This one was a lot more enjoyable than other haloumi cheeses I've had where it squeaks against your teeth. Anyone else have that pet peeve? Makes me feel the same way as writing on a blackboard with chalk - not pleasant. But this one still had its bounce, but no squeakiness. Yay! A noticeable crunch sound was made as I cut into the massive hashbrown - a telltale sign that it's all about the crispy casing :D The lemon pepper avocado, pea puree, potato, haloumi and egg when eaten together was one tasty dish.

Pulled duck, $22.00
I always love trying duck cooked in different ways and whilst pulled pork is a common one to see around restaurant, pulled duck isn't. And look at the shear size of the mountain of duck! Duck a plenty! I loved the spices that seasoned this dish and the chill jam really gave it that subtle spicy kick that definitely won't be too much for even the biggest chilli-phobics out! That capsicum relish is something to rave about in itself though. My sister, who normally hates capsicum, said that whilst the pulled duck by itself was amazing, the capsicum relish made it even better.

That's the way the cookie crumbles, $11.00
At this point, we were both incredibly stuffed but Ibriham was much too kind and said that one of the chefs were already making us dessert. I suppose there's nothing to say at this point but "Onwards, soldier!" But I sure am glad I made extra stomach space for this because the brownie was super fudgey just the way I like it. And perfect with the vanilla icecream and crispy cookie crumble! Ella mentioned to us that it was a tradition she learnt growing up with her family where if you poured warm cream over, it provided a nice surface to put any toppings you wish over it.

Sometimes I do wish I wasn't quite as small and had more stomach space because both my sister and I were rolling out the door, filled to the brim with delicious food. Cuckoo Callay is definitely a welcome addition to the Newtown cafe scene. Despite the fact that Newtown is filled with coffee fiends, there seems to be a lack of fantastic cafes - not like the Surry Hills region! But Cuckoo Callay has definitely made it's mark. I know I'll definitely be making stops by for some coffee!

Crystal Noir and friend dined as guests thanks to Ibriham and Ella, owners of Cuckoo Callay. Opinions however, are entirely her own.

Cuckoo Callay
Newtown Train Station
Newtown, NSW, 2042

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 6:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am - 3:00pm

Cuckoo Callay on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Eats Lately #4

This past month has been a busy one, filled with all things sweet! I think it's time to do a little round up of all that is bright and sugar related :)

Cadbury's Marvellous Creations range has always been something I thought of as extremely clever. They've marketed this range so it looks super fun. I can't help but be drawn into their little chocolate worlds whenever I see one of the ads. Their new range is even more fun if that's possible. Thanks to Holly Frendo of Red Agency for sending over a couple of samples for me to try before they hit up stores this month!

I love all things cola flavoured and I love all things chocolate but combined together? I think it was a bit too odd for me with the whole sugary candy and creamy chocolate combo.

What was more down my alley was the caramel shakes! It felt like I was eating solid caramel milkshake bits. If M&Ms had crunchy bits in it and were caramel flavoured, this would be it.


Another company who just launched their Spring collection is Tupperware. I sure woke up bright and early to get a preview of their new range. But there's nothing better than starting an early morning with a breakfast of yogurt and fresh fruits.

The hot brekkie (though not sugar related in any way!) was simple yet went down a treat.

The Tupperware collection is super bright - much like spring! You can't help but be happy if you brought your food out in these cute containers, no? And are the bags adorable or what? I can just imagine the big smiles on the faces of the kids using these bags. Thanks Kaaran Gaffney and Vanessa Waingent from AMPR Public Relations for hosting such a lovely breakfast with fantastic views of Bondi Beach :)


And no sweet month is complete without a visit to the Pie Tin. This adventure features THREE glorious dessert pies! Yes, I went on two different occasions. Don't judge. Can I just take a moment to relive how delicious these all were? They were so different, but respectively amazing.

Whipped lime pie, $8.50
The whipped lime pie was delightedly zesty yet creamy at the same time. Is this what the American's call key lime pie?

Oreo cookie pie, $8.50
And oh my god the oreo cookie pie... This is definitely for you diehard Oreo fans! Oreos and cream everywhere!

Tim Tam pie, $8.50
Did someone mention Tim Tam heaven? I'm not sure if any exists, but I feel like if any did, this would be it. This slice of pie was chock full of Tim Tam bits left, right and centre. So rich and chocolately. All three are not for the faint-hearted, as the cream content is very, very high. But if you are not afraid of the delicious dairy goodness that is cream, I highly recommend them all :P

And that's a wrap up of my super sweet month! Hmm, I feel the oncoming of diabetes... Better tone it down a notch with the sugar :P

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cafe Birkenhead, Birkehead Point

It has been a while, dear readers! I have found life is really catching up to me and things have been non-stop busy, busy, busy. In between the midst of working, uni and just trying to get things sorted in general, I managed to catch up with one of my good friends from my old work place I haven't seen for a while. Our weekly chats have been missed sorely! And what better way than to catch up over lunch with a great view and then some shopping?

L to R: energy booster, $6.50 / strawberry daze, $9.00
We started off with some beautifully girly drinks. Are you all digging the lovely hues of pink? We certainly were much too enamoured by the prettiness of it all. The energy booster sounded super fresh with watermelon and mint and tasted exactly so. A question I now pose to you is: when is it not time for a cocktail? When the mocktails sound enticingly zingy of course! Fresh strawberries muddled with lime juice and soda water? Yes, please.

Duck sausage risotto, $22.95
Yep, you guessed it. My eyes zoned in on the truffle oil (and mushrooms!) and I just absolutely had to get this. Whilst lacking in that punch of truffle I was looking for, the flavour of the duck sausage made up for it. Normally I do love my risottos a touch creamy, but this was definitely a bit on the heavy side for me.

Salmon fillet, $29.95
The salmon was the pick of the two, cooked to a beautiful medium rare as ordered. It really didn't need anything extra other than the salt and pepper it was seasoned with. Quinoa is a grain that does do much better with extra sauces and herbs, so it could've been doused lightly with some kind of dressing, but the asparagus, corn, tomato and feta were a welcome addition to the overall dish.

Perhaps I will forgo food next time and instead go for a cup of coffee (or mocktail!) to kick back with in the arvo after shopping gets tiring. And it normally does! Will have to give the coffee a go next time :)

Cafe Birkenhead
46 Roseby St  
Drummoyne, NSW, 2047
Crystal Noir and friend dined at Cafe Birkenhead courtesy of Carly Lund. Opinions however, are entirely her own.

Cafe Birkenhead on Urbanspoon