Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Hai Au Vietnamese Restaurant, Canley Vale

There are very few places when the dishes you order all turn out to be so fantastically good, but this place is one of those few gems. Normally you have one or two standouts and one that kinda fall short and disappoints, but not at Hai Au - all the dishes have got to be the best of its kind that I've ever tasted. Highly highly rate this place and recommend everyone to go; as long if you don't mind smelling like charcoal by end of the night.

Open Char coal grill - and open as in the whole restaurant was smoked.

One of the most delicious beef salads I've ever had

Charcoal chicken with an amazing sweet chilli dip

Claypot caramelised fish

Scampi in "special sauce"..

Hmm.. what is this mystery sauce?.....

  the special sauce turned out to be crab eggs. Yum! 

David and Kay dig into the special sauce

Totally demolished all the dishes

Missing from this photoset are the following photos which somehow got lost when I transferred them from the phone to my computer.. :(
- the biggest and meatiest mound of soft shell crab I have ever seen
- avocado shake
-soursop shake
- durian shake

... and lastly, we had to take a photo of the name of this restaurant.. "TK something BBQ restaurant". We were trying to figure out how the name must have come about... here's my version of it..

Sign writer: So what is your restaurant called?
Vietnamese Restaurant owner: Ummm... it's TK sumting BBQ restaurant
Sign writer: Are you sure you want that?
Literally writes "TK something"... bwahahhaha

Hai Au on Urbanspoon


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: Bourke St Bakery, Marrickville/Enmore

Feeling famished after playing tennis at Sydney Uni on Sunday, the guys and I went for a drive and headed down to Bourke St bakery in Marrickville for a snack.

The outside has a very cool 80's retro feel.

The wooden shelves and the menu written on blackboards match the retro chic outside.

Unfortunately though, by 2pm most of the pastries were already sold out.

Lamb, Almond & Harissa sausage roll. The best thing about this was the sauce.

Pork & Fennel sausage roll. Sooo tasty! Winner!

Beef Pie.

Beef Brisket, Red Wine & Mushroom Pie.

Hot baked goods menu.

Overall it wasn't bad. The pastry was flaky and buttery, and despite looking a little burnt, tasted very good (that was probably because they had sat in the warmer for a while). The pork and fennel sausage roll filling was delicious though, and this place makes a good alternative to Harry's Cafe de Wheels/Hannah's Pies. I wish I had tried the chicken, pea, sweet potato, lime and pickle signature pie though.. maybe that would have made it amazing.

Sigh.. still haven't found an aussie pie to match the ones in New Zealand :(

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon


Review: Cafe Sopra, Walsh Bay (The Rocks)

After a healthy dinner we were itching for an indulgent dessert. My friends were salivating when i told them about jazz city diners american desserts. Unfortunately when reaching Jazz city, there was a notice on the door saying closed for private event. Craving a piece of pie, we found ourselves at Cafe Sopra at Walsh Bay.

It was a bit of a trek to get there, right across from Sydney dance company. I really don't know how they stay in business with no passing traffic. There were quite a few diners but no people lining up outside. We could see a group of girls having dessert. The strawberry meringue caught my eye.

We were greeted by a flustered waitress, no smile but non-chalant. She asked if we were having dinner (well we didn't come to buy groceries at this time of the evening) so we replied, we wanted dessert, she then with a look of disappointment pointed at the bar saying "you will have to sit at th bar as we only seat diners at the tables". Isn't eating dessert still classified as dining?? There were clearly 4 vacant tables, but we had already come all this way we decided to give it a chance instead of leaving.

Sitting for a good 5mins before being asked by the waiter at the bar what were were after, we said dessert, he joked " we were out of the pie" that was a bit of fun, put us in a little bit of spirits in this cold concrete ambiance. Until we had to wait another 5 mins before we had to summon a waitress to take ou order. Once again no sense of service, simply wanted to take our order. We ordered the pie, strawberry meringue and tiramisu.

It was a good mix of flavours as we shared amongst each other. The pie was subtle decadent creamy with a thick base that reminded somewhat of digstive biscuits, the tirimasu was strong in the tia maria, and the meringue was very crunchy with a refreshing strawberry. The least favourite was the meringue, it was too crunchy, and lacked enough cream to merry it together, I was thinking a pavolova would be better as there would be some soft mallow to break the monotony of the sugary meringue.

We left when we realised they were starting the close up bringing in the signs etc, we had to get in line behind a couple who looked very dissatisfied that they were still waiting for the bill. We finally got our bill, put our money down and left, there was no thank you or come again , it was almost like they don't need your patronage.

I would not bother to go back there, there are more pretentious places with better service.

Cafe Sopra on Urbanspoon


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Madame Char Char's, Surry Hills

For our catch up with the beautiful Rebecca, we took the opportunity to check out this place that our friend Nat had recommended. 

We've walked past this funky (as in good funky) restaurant a few times on our way to the Winery before, and everytime the salads on display have always looked so wonderful.

Leo and Rebecca looking like they are on holidays in Aspen :)

Madam Char Char of Sydney

Wagyu beef burger

Slow cooked pork burger

Portuguese chicken burger

Salads: top-Quinoa and roasted eggplant, bottom-pumpkin, mint and cous cous.

For dessert, we planned to go to Jazz-City diner for their pecan pie and banana cream pie, but unfortunately they were closed for a private function :( So instead we went to Cafe Sopra to have the Bannoffee pie.. 

Madam Char Char on Urbanspoon

Review: Thousand Spices Indian Restaurant, Homebush

We got talking at work about good indian food the other week, and I mentioned to Vy about my (lack of) experience with Indian food. Lucky for us, Mark had a Naturopath appointment in Strathfield so Vy graciously arranged an introduction to "real" indian flavours.

An array of various dishes, meats and spices. Tasty!

Pappadum with Mint chutney

Prawn pepper fry

Samosas with mint chutney

Lacha paratha and methi paratha (with fenugreek). Paratha is flaky, crispy bread.

Paneer Tawa masala

Chicken Briyani

Vegetarian thali - rice, naan, paneer curry, daal, vegetable jhalfrezi, yoghurt, kheer & pickle

Baingan (eggplant) curry

Goat curry on the bone

Garlic naan

The thali plate is an entire set, much like a bento box, including a rice pudding dessert

So the verdict? WOW! It was soo delicious. Definitely blew any other indian meals I had ever tasted clear out of the water. The highlights were the goat on the bone and the chicken briyani. I was so impressed with all the different flavours, and most of all the fact that all the flavours complemented the dishes and was not too overpowering.

The goat was so tender and soft, falling off the bone and perfectly flavoured by the mild curry. I had no idea this meat was so tender; I thought goat would be skinny and tough but this was completely the opposite. It was lean but so soft.

The chicken briyani was also so good, and I love the surprise of the chicken buried deep inside the fluorescent yellow rice. The dish was a standout - I think I might have finished most of that dish!

No wonder this place was so busy and is such an establishment in the area. The service is polite and the waitress knowledgeable about the dishes. The food came out at the same time and we did not have to wait too long. 

For those who've tried the rest, you must try this place. It's the best! 
For those who haven't tried Indian food before.. skip the delhi belly and come straight here!

Thank you again to Vy who is our absolute queen of restaurant recommendations and props to Mark who wasn't feeling crash hot that day but still made us laugh and smile. You guys are the best!

Thousand Spices on Urbanspoon