Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, Sydney CBD

Having a love for most foods deep-fried, it was only a matter of time before I made a visit to Hot Star Chicken. Originating from Taiwan, it makes me question what the Taiwanese consider as a street snack - this chicken is the size of my face!

Queue at Hot Star
You can find Hot Star Chicken right near World Square. Their menu is small and is made up of deep-fried items such as mushrooms, chicken bites, sweet potato and of course the omega chicken which comes in spicy or non-spicy. There is normally a queue but service is efficient as they fry batches of orders at a time. Just not welcoming when you have to stand around in the cold during winter!

Sweet potato, normally $3.90
I went for the Hungry Combo ($10.90) today which gives you a slight discount compared to buying the chicken and a side separate by themselves. Sweet potato is one of my favourite carbs and super good for you. These were really addictive with that additional sprinkling of plum powder. Sigh, if only there was more. The serving size was quite small for the price.

Spicy fried chicken, normally $7.90
And now what we were all waiting for. Would you look at the size of that chicken! Am I wrong to say that it's pretty much a meal by itself? We all know how chicken breast tends to end up super dry but that wasn't the case here at all. Succulent? Tick. Tender? Tick. Deep-fried crunchy goodness? Tick. It started getting quite spicy by the end, but you may as well power through for delicious chicken. It's super hot after just coming out of the fryer and there are also bones and cartilage throughout the chicken so be a tad careful when chomping on it!

If you have a craving for fried chicken in the city, this may be the place to go. It's cheap and they use real ingredients which is reflective in the juicy chicken. The sheer size of the chicken being the size of your face will probably make your day if anything :P

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
96 Liverpool St
Sydney NSW 2000

Opening Hours
Sunday - Thursday: 10:00am - 12:00am
Friday - Saturday: 10:00am - 2:00am

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 13, 2014

GPO Cheese & Wine Room, Martin Place

Winter is here! The onset of the cold, cold weather means heart warming foods that give us a glow from the inside out. And what better way than to indulge in a little cheese and cured meats on a week night? Armed with a band of girlfriends to chat over a nice bottle of red before M flies out to Europe, we were lured to GPO Cheese and Wine room where the promise of cheese fondue awaited us.

Ciao Vino Sangiovese IGT Vino Rosso Toscano, $54
The staff were extremely knowledgeable about all things cheese and wine and recommended us the Sangiovese from Italy. His heavy French accent definitely made him sound like he knew exactly what he was talking about! I'm no wine connoisseur as I have only recently started appreciating wine but this was probably the first wine I have had that is savoury on the palette, not to mention my first wine from Italy. Earthy and aromatic, it paired well with our cheese feast.

Charcuterie, $35.00
The charcuterie board consisted of chicken and armagnac pate, parma prosciutto, kurobuta cantipalo salami, wagyu beef pastrami, chorizo slices and pickles for that acidic kick. We were in cured meats heaven. Not to mention that we were completely smothering the slices of bread with a thick layer of pate because it was all sorts of delicious.

Four cheese with accompaniments, $34.40
The cheese portions were quite generous at 50g each and our board also came with grapes, apple slices, lavosh, half baguette and a saffron and pear chutney to accompany our cheese selection. Soft cheeses always feel so luxurious to eat and I think we all felt like we were indulging with the triple cream Locheilan. The soft fluffy rind gave way to a rich, tangy centre. Brie is one of my favourite cheeses and this one, hailing from the French providence, had a mild smokey aroma with notes of truffles, almonds and hazelnuts. Perfect when eaten with the grapes! The hard cheeses of the day were the Cantal and Gruyere which both melted wonderfully on the palate and was really enjoyable with the chutney. The whole sweet and salty thing really works for me.

L to R: Truffle cheese fondue, $43.00 / Goats cheese fondue, $39.00
And what we were waiting for - the fondue! Is it just me or is it hard to find places that do cheese fondue in Sydney? Somehow we ended up ordering two when we had original plans to go for one so we had waaay too much food on the table. The goats cheese was smooth and had a lovely tang that I thought worked super well with the figs and cured meats - basically the items stronger in flavour. Since the truffle cheese was much stronger in flavour, I loved it with the bread.

We ordered way too much food that we couldn't finish. We did make a considerable effort though! The ambiance was very relaxing with the nice candles set up and the large artwork at the end of the room to frame it all. I think we've discovered a new place for our relaxing nights over wine.

GPO Cheese & Wine Room
GPO Sydney
Lower Ground Floor, 1 Martin Place  
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Monday: 12:00pm-3:00pm
Tuesday - Friday: 12:00pm-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed

GPO Cheese and Wine Room on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mancini's Italian Restaurant via EatNow App

With everyone's busy lifestyle these days, it's sometimes hard to spend a lot of time creating meals at home. Personally, I would rather make my own meals so I have a healthy option but sometimes, I find that I really don't have the time. With the launch of EatNow's app, available via the Apple App Store, ordering in has never been so straightforward.

It's seriously as easy as 1, 2, 3. First you search your suburb and a list of restaurants that deliver to the suburb come up in a list which you can filter by either cuisine or closest restaurant, etc. Once you pick your restaurant, the menu will come up with all their deals and dishes they have on offer.

I chose a meal deal with was easily customisable and I could even change up pizza toppings if I wanted. After everything's all done and decided, you simply pick how you are going to pay - either with cash or card and then it's done! A text is sent to your phone to confirm your order and letting you know when it'll arrive and then you simply wait for the arrival of your hot and ready meal. How easy is that? All within the confines of your own home! I can imagine how convenient it'll be to just order whilst going home from work and having it delivered to your door as soon as you're home. Too easy.

Pizza al mare
The gourmet pizza deal was actually quite a good bargain at $50.45 for two pizzas, a pasta and chicken wings. Pizza choices time? Let's try out the seafood on pizza.Whilst salt and pepper calamari is awesome, I think it best let meat be the king of pizza toppings :P

This one was the preferred pizza because prosciutto on pizza is a tick in my books.

Pear and gorgonzola gnocchi
Had to order the gnocchi when I saw it was a creamy gorgonzola sauce. The gnocchi was a tad stodgy but the sauce was every bit as rich and divinely artery clogging as we expected and wanted it to be.

Overall, the app was extremely easy to use and for those of you looking for an easier option of ordering take out food with delivery, EatNow does give you plenty of choices!

Crystal Noir tested the EatNow app thanks to Christie Byrne of The PR Group. All opinions however, are her own.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Twisted Yogurt, Bondi Westfield

Frozen yogurt has been a thing that sort of hit an insane all time high last year but I feel as though the initial craze has died down a lot since then with a lot of chain stores closing down. One that hitched a ride off the American bandwagon before the craze started is Twisted yogurt which has been open since 2010 by mother of three, Cass Spies, who was kind enough to invite me to try out her new Superfood menu.

L to R: Rise & Shine, The Green Machine, Muscleberry, $8.50 each
Smoothies are such an awesome way to get in your daily dose of fruit and veggies and they always taste so delicious too!

Rise & Shine was the first smoothie we tried of the day. We all know how much of a sucker I am for all things tropical so I thoroughly enjoyed this concoction of almond milk, pineapple, coconut, mango, froyo and of course, a scoop of protein because we all know our muscles love that stuff.

The Green Machine is for the health nuts out there and is completely dairy free. The coconut water, mango nectar, spinach, mango, banana and passionfruit makes me feel like I should reward myself by having something so healthy!

The last of the smoothies was the Muscleberry which was a blend of skim milk, blueberries, bananas, froyo and protein. I enjoyed this one even though the predominant flavour was the protein :P

L to R: Pink Pitaya and Acai smoothie bowls
Aren't the colours absolutely stunning? And the best part is, it's all natural from the pink pitaya and acai! The pink pitaya was super refreshing and I felt like I was eating a super thick smoothie - the best kind really. Except with no added sugar whatsoever and is completely raw. So the sweetness is all from the 100% natural coconut water and fruit she uses to blend this baby up.

Frozen yogurt tubs
Twisted Yogurt also sells their frozen yogurt by the tubs and they have skinny flavours for you health conscious out there. Sweetened with only stevia, you barely taste any difference in flavour. It was definitely icier and more reminiscent of sorbet, though that may possibly be because of the lowered fat content. My sister and I both agreed that the coconut was the clear favourite. They use coconut cream to make it and it was lusciously creamy and indulgent.

Date and cacao slice, coconut truffle, chocolate truffle, sesame truffle
We also got some goodies made by Jess to take home! These are the perfect little sweet snacks to eat on the go and are vegan-friendly. Me being me loved both the coconut and coconut truffle :P

I'm digging how Cass Spies is catering towards the healthier end and is promoting a healthy balanced lifestyle. Her passion towards creating a menu that is made by real and authentic ingredients is really evident in what we ate. With her latest health additions to the menu, I really think Twisted Yogurt is spicing themselves up from the stock standard froyo chains. Time to get your health on!

Crystal Noir sampled Twisted Yoghurt's new menu as a guest of Cass Spies. All opinions however, are her own.

Twisted Yoghurt
Shop 307A (opposite Woolworths)
Westfield Bondi Junction

Opening Hours
Monday - Wednesday: 9:30am - 6:30pm
Thursday: 9:30am - 9:30pm
Friday: 9:30am - 7:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am - 6:30pm
Sunday: 9:30am - 6:30pm