Jul 27, 2012

Day 2 in Sydney

This post is long overdue and it has been awhile since I blogged about my little food adventure in Sydney.

Second day in Sydney.

I think I was just excited at the idea of exploring. I woke up really really early. Same time that my sister woke up to get to work. Shocker. I know. That was probably 7-ish to 8?

For breakfast, I decided to head down to Bills seeing that there were a lot of good reviews for this place. And can I say, for someone who was to walk every-single-place, I survived when I got here because the hill/slope I had to climb was insane.

Definitely a good workout before breakfast!

I went to the chain at Liverpool St because after much google mapping, it was supposed to be the one closest to where I was staying. However, it really really did not seem that close. I definitely underestimated how big Sydney was.

So after walking for half an hour plus and up treacherous slopes, I finally arrived at my destination.
Finding this place was a tiny bit difficult because this sign above was hidden at the corner. The only reason why it looks big is because I was up close when I took the picture!

I loved the atmosphere in this cafe. The decorations were modern-looking but the cafe had a very welcoming and homey vibe. It was as if you stepped into a friend's house. A very very cozy house. Food however, wasn't as great. Coffee too. But then again, I have been living in Melbourne for four years already, so I am just a little bit biased towards Melbourne's coffee. Just a bit. (;

Service was great. Everyone working there was very friendly and welcoming.


I ordered the famous sweet corn fritters with bacon. Felt the corn fritters were a bit hard and dry. And not as sweet compared to Mister Close's version. Yeah. Nothing has topped Mister Close's Corn Fritters. Mmmmmmm. (:

433 Liverpool Street
Darlinghurst
NSW 2010
(02) 9360 9631

Bills on Urbanspoon

After having a good breakfast and giving my feet a good, long, well-deserved rest, I set out on my second journey. This time, to find Bourke Street Bakery!

First time I heard about this wonderful magical bakery (I exaggerate, I know, but I am in love with this place) was when my sister bought the cookbook. And then a couple of friend's headed down to Sydney, bought some tarts back to Melbourne, and that is when it hit me. I. Am. In. Love. (:

BUT.

It was a pain finding this place. 2nd day in Sydney and I was lost. Probably for about an hour? Maybe more. I was apparently very close to Kings Cross and got a massive scold from my sister because I was not allowed to be within a 10 km radius of that suburb. Oops. (;

But once I found this place, I could hear the angels singing. 
ahhh my happy place (:

I was just drooling at the sight of these babies while queuing up.

As you can imagine, I was absolutely spoilt for choice. I did not know where to start. I did not know what to order. And I did not want to buy too many because I was headed for the next bakery on my list.
Sigh. I miss you Bourke Street Bakery.

So in the end, I settled for their famous lemon curd tart and brulee tart. Oh. My. God. The best tarts. I was a happy camper. 

Great. I have tarts in my hand. Now, time to find my way back. Thank God the bus wasn't suppose to arrive until 45 minutes later because I needed every single minute to figure out which direction I had to go to get back to my hotel. I ended up walking for about 30 minutes back and forth to the stop where I initially stopped at and finally reached the right bus stop. Phew. What a day.

After a half an hour bus ride, I reached my hotel. Half an hour. And it took me an hour plus to look for the bakery! Sheessshh! But, I got my tarts. Heehee. 

Once I was back in the hotel, the usual me started taking heaps of photos of the tarts.
The brulee tart. (:
The lemon curd tart.
There's just something about their lemon curd. It's so silky. So smooth. So tangy. Just oh-so-good.

633 Bourke Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
(02) 9699 1011

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Destination 3: Becasse Bakery
The first thing I have ever tried from this place was their Brioche when a friend brought it back to Melbourne. Best brioche I ever had. It was so fluffy. Not too sweet. Just so good.

So I thought since the bakery was just less than 5 minutes from the hotel, I could pop by anytime to get some. But I was dead wrong. Turns out these delicious babies aren't made all the time. Went to the store and the woman said come back next week. 

In my mind, I was pretty much sad. But I had a huge smile on my face because she was very nice. I was just thinking "But I am leaving tomorrow! You cannot do this to me!!"

Oh well. I did however try their salted peanuts with caramel and banana tart. Oh. Gee. Wiz. That was some goooooooood tart.

While eating my tart, I watched them clean the kitchen and make eclairs! 

And of course, what kind of sister would I be if I didn't buy one for my poor sister who has to slave away at work. She is the reason why I managed to taste this little peace of heaven anyway. (:

CBD
Market Street
Sydney
NSW 2000
(02) 9283 3440

Bécasse Bakery on Urbanspoon

So after that, I went back and nap. The walking really just knocked the wind out of me. I was exhausted. So. I slept. And before I knew it. It was time for dinner!

This brings me to my final destination of the day, which was Charlie & Co. Burgers who is also owned by Justin North (same as Becasse).

Definitely awesome burgers. Think Grill'd but wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better! And four of us shared the truffle fries with parmesan cheese! 

This is definitely a place to go if you are craving burgers!
Definitely an incredible day 2 filled with a whole bunch of yumminess. (: I was a happy camper.

Charlie & Co Burgers
CBD
86-100 Market Street
Westfield Sydney
Sydney
NSW 2000
(02) 8072 7777

Charlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon

Jul 14, 2012

Day 1 in Sydney

I just came back from the best trip. After being in Melbourne for 4 years, I finally decided to venture to a different part of Australia. Sydney. And I must say, I am in love with that place. To the point where my sister and I are considering of moving there.

I felt it was so much similar to Singapore, just with better weather.

I was afraid that I almost could not go to Sydney. I bought these Tiger Airways tickets about 3 weeks in advanced for a really good price. But I guess with cheap tickets, you should expect there to be a bit of a problem. Say, your flight being cancelled.

That's right. I got to Terminal 4 of the Melbourne Airport and it was blinking brightly on the screen. CANCELLED. That one word you never ever want to see or hear in an airport.

Thankfully, my sister and I headed to the airport early. So I was placed on an earlier flight. After that, everything else was pretty much smooth sailing.

We were staying at the Sydney Hilton Hotel. Best hotel experience ever for me. And also, the location was perfect! The new Sydney Westfield was just behind the hotel. The best coffee place was less than 5 minutes on the left of Hilton, and if you walked further down, there was a Woolies supermarket. (Yes. There has to be a supermarket wherever I go or something is just incomplete.)

By the time we checked into the hotel, it was dinner time. So we decided to go to this really well-known Thai restaurant, Chat Thai. (Seeing the website menu is making me oh-so-hungry again)



I have heard a lot of great things about this restaurant. So much so that I was worried the food wasn't going to be good. Really thought it was overrated. But I was dead wrong.

We got to Chat Thai and waited for a few minutes for a table. I like how wherever I went to eat, I did not have to wait for hours like what we usually do in Melbourne. One reason why I fell in love with Sydney.



My sister and I shared the Duck Red Curry and her friend ordered the Chicken Green Curry. The portions were pretty big so it was a good idea to share.

Duck Red Curry
Chicken Green Curry
I was in curry heaven. (:

The duck was perfectly cooked. The sauce red curry sauce was yummy. And honestly, if I had more rice, I would have finished the sauce. I am drooling now. Eep.

After that, as always, we ordered dessert. And I had their famous Mango and Sticky Rice. Yum. Enough said.


The rice wasn't overcooked to the point of it being mushy. It was salty enough to balance the sweetness of the mango. And drizzled with coconut. OMG. I am craving this so badly now and I just had it 2 days ago. ): 

Kinda wish I was in Sydney longer. I had more places to visit but did not have the time.

But definitely a good start to the first night. I have more yummy treats to tell you about. Very soon. (;


Chat Thai

Westflied Sydney
Lvl 6/Shop 6002
Pitt Street
Sydney NSW
(02) 9221 0600
Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Jul 10, 2012

Sticky Date Pudding Cupcake


This is definitely the perfect dessert for a cold winter's night.

Honestly, I was never a fan of dates and I still am not. But if it is a sticky date pudding, I am all for it. With a nice scoop of butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream. Mmmm. I might reheat some for myself later.





My sister and I have been putting off making this for a long time. The first time we decided we wanted to bake it, she finished all the dates before we could even start.

After that, we left this idea for a very long time. Until now. Probably because we had quite a big bag of dates in the apartment. And I am glad we finally made this pudding.

The only concerning thing about making this pudding or any pudding for that matter is that it does not actually come out as a pudding, but more of a cake-like texture.

After much research, we settled for The Little Teochew's recipe.

It is yum-my. The sticky date pudding was hot and pudding-y as it should be. The only downside was the butterscotch sauce as I did not get that toffee kick that I wanted. (:


Sticky Date Pudding

Ingredients

270g dates
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60g butter, cubed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
188g flour
150g brown sugar
  1. Place dates and water in a saucepan over high heat. When it starts boiling, add the bicarb soda and butter. Remove from heat. Stir and set aside for 25 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line muffin tray.
  3. Mash the date mixture using a potato masher or an food processor until it becomes a paste.
  4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract, or add to the food processor and pulse it until combined.
  5. Combine flour and brown sugar in a separate bowl and mix. Use the back of the spoon to break any lumps of sugar.
  6. Pour the date mixture in and fold gently until just combined.
  7. Divide batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cupcakes are firm to touch. Cover the cupcakes with aluminium foil if the top is browning quickly.

Butterscotch sauce 

Ingredients

185 ml whipping cream
165g brown sugar
150g butter, cubed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
  1. Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir constantly to avoiding burning.
  2. Leave to cool.
Finally, once the pudding is cooled down, use a skewer and poke a few holes. Pour the butterscotch sauce over and let it seep into the pudding. Anytime you want to eat the pudding, just reheat it in the oven for a few minutes!





So what are you waiting for? Go and make this. NOW!

Jul 4, 2012

Izakaya Den

A little part 3 to the 23rd birthday. Click here and here for the first 2 parts!

This is a really really really really really difficult place to locate. Especially when you are going there for the first time.

Keying the address into your iPhone maps isn't going to save you. Trust me.

The first time I went to Izakaya Den was for a friend's birthday. And my second time? Another friend's birthday! I need to break this cycle and go back there with no special occasions. Maybe for lunch. They have a set lunch menu which is only $18. Yes. Next time.

So, Izakaya Den. A Japanese Restaurant and Bar. Japanese Tapas. Now don't be deterred by the word tapas. First thing that usually comes to my mind is small portions. And I start to panic. But if you are just like me, don't fret! Portions are smaller than most restaurants you would go to, but it is definitely enough to feed you and your friends and after trying a few dishes, you'll be full by the end of dinner.



Actually, this post is going to have food pictures from my 2 trips there. There was more variety from the first dinner.

Despite it's slightly confusing/hidden location, Izakaya Den is always packed. Bookings are definitely a must for this place. If you just show up without a booking, you might just as well not show up at all. This does apply to weeknights too. So book book book! See phone number below.

Back to Izakaya's location. The first time my sis and I went, we were walking into dodgy-looking alleyways! Yes we did key the address into our phones but still, it did not help. It wasn't until this kind random stranger who pointed to us that you have to go down a short flight of stairs to get to the restaurant. First things first, go to the corner of Russell and Little Collins. After that, look for what I think, is a cafe called Guava something. Next to it there is a flight of stairs, so walk down, turn left and you'll see a glass door with black curtains. You're in. 


Food there is pretty good. I don't think I have actually tried a dish and went bleaugh. Some dishes I really loved and some I could probably do without.





Maybe while you are waiting to decide on what to order or just waiting for food, then I suggest ordering a sake mojito!


Sake mojito

So here is what I recommend the next time you head down to Izakaya.

Sweet corn 'kaki-age'
I love corn. So this dish definitely my favorite!

Kurobuta pork belly
Succulent and if you are finding that it is too oily, take a bite out of the chargrilled spring onions. 

Ox tongue, spring onion
Mussels, 'saka-mushi'
Dishes I could do without:
Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy
Kingfish sashimi, Asian style dressing
Salmon sashimi, yuzu vinaigrette 
Ocean trout, 'karasumi'
I probably wouldn't have mind this dish, if they hadn't overcooked the ocean trout.

And of course, dinner is never complete without desserts! All desserts below are recommended! I definitely need to go back and try the others next time. 
Apple millefeuille 
Houjicha ice cream
Warm tofu cake, brown sugar ice-cream
All in all. Both dinners were good. Food was good. Service was good. I am definitely going back again. This time maybe for lunch.

Izakaya Den
114 Russell Street
Melbourne
VIC 3000
(03) 9654 2977
Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon