I had tried ACME's amazing brunch dish of Fried chicken, ube waffle and maple syrup a little while ago, so was keen to check out their restaurant in Rushcutters Bay. All the dishes are made for sharing and my friends and I opted for the Crush Me menu at $65 per person.
First dish was the Baloney sandwich. A beautiful potato milk bun, paired with a house made tomato relish and delicious slices of mortadella - a very satisfying snack.
The Grilled shitake were perfectly tender and dressed with a bone marrow vinaigrette which provided some robust, punchy flavours.
ACME's version of the Japanese miso Roasted eggplant dish was delicious, with some added crunch provided by the puffed rice.
The Lamb tartare was tasty but didn't reach the heights of some other dishes. It was missing a creamy element for me, although I did enjoy the freshness provided by the artichoke and mint.
Then onto the pasta and it's clear that this is where ACME shines. We started with one of the vegetarian options: Fusilli with jicama, chestnuts and sage. The pasta was al dente firm and the chestnut puree worked well with the crunchiness of the jicama (Mexican turnips) chestnuts and sage.
The Fettucine with the octopus puttanesca was equally delicious. The puttanesca sauce with capers, olives and tomatoes was very aromatic and the octopus was beautifully tender.
I normally associate macaroni with mac 'n' cheese. ACME's Macaroni with pig's head and egg yolk has definitely taken it to another level. The meat from the pig's head is crispy, gelatinous and juicy, with a great intensity of flavour. There's a hint of sourness to the dish, which stops it from being overly rich. The egg yolk is an inspired addition and there's a hit of chilli just to give it an extra kick. It's clear to see why this is ACME's signature pasta dish.
It was time for dessert. The Parsnip ice cream was silky smooth but it was hard to pick out the parsnip flavour. The pear granita, on the other hand, was delightfully fresh and I discovered cajeta for the first time, the Mexican version of Dulce de leche.
The final dessert of Marshmallow, buttermilk sorbet and passionfruit was a great balance of flavours and texture. The combination of toasted marshmallow and sorbet is not one I've had before, and it works brilliantly.
Definitely not your ordinary pasta and wine bar, ACME offers top quality pasta dishes with a few Asian inspired twists. The Crush Me menu was good value and allow you to try all of their signature dishes.
Having worked in some of the top restaurants on Sydney's north shore, Chef Tomo has now opened his own restaurant in Cremorne called Plage, serving food with Japanese and French influences. We started with a snack of Smoked cod cream with squid ink and seaweed powder. The paper thin, squid ink wafers looked striking as it hit our table. They were a good carrier for the smoked cod cream which had just the right hint of smokiness.
The next dish of Black pudding, lime powder and anchoives packed bold, punchy flavours and really livened up my tastebuds.
The Aburi salmon was delicately handled and paired well with the black garlic and white miso puree. Again, it's a plate of few ingredients but all combining superbly to create a very tasty dish.
The Wagyu carpaccio in dashi broth was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The thin slices of beef arrive rare and is cooked in front of us as the dash broth is poured at the table. The rich aroma of the broth immediately hits my senses. Bursting with umami flavour, I was tempted to pick up the whole bowl to gobble it all up. Underneath the wagyu was a cured egg yolk with mushrooms and broccolini. It's like a refined, miniature version of hot pot.
Onto the mains, and we started with the Jewfish with celeriac puree, finger lime, Gai Lan finished off with a fish and lemon sauce. The fish was cooked to perfection, matched by the smooth and velvelty puree. I also really liked the caramelised artichoke hidden underneath the Gai lan, which brought another flavour dimension to the dish. Such an underrated vegetable!
The Broccolini with Kipfler potatoes was a wonderful side, with the truffle sauce really making the dish sing.
The Roast chicken was very tender and came with a crispy skin. The caramelised carrots brought an intense sweetness which complemented well the pickled cherries. The dish would have benefited from a touch more sauce to give it even more flavour.
The Triple cooked chips comes with housemade aioli and tomato relish. It was tasty but felt a little out of place with our mains.
The dessert game at Plage is definitely strong. The Sweet sake mirin ice cream was out of this world delicious. My friend and I both had a big smile on our faces as we devoured this perfect quenelle of ice cream. It had the smoothest of textures and was a brilliant mix of salty and sweet, topped off with a miso crumb. It was so good that we unashamedly ordered a second one!
Our second dessert of White chocolate mousse with redcurrant sorbet and pepperberry meringue was just as spectacular. The dish was perfectly balanced with the tartness of the sorbet offset with the sweetness of the meringue and creaminess of the mousse.
I was impressed with the creativity and the flavour combinations, backed up by beautiful plating and friendly service. Plage is definitely a wonderful addition to the north shore dining scene. They also serve some amazing sake too!
Sashimiso dined as a guest of Plage. All opinions are my own.
The prospect of eating at Mjolner, a Thor-inspired, Viking-themed restaurant created by the team behind the amazing Eau de Vie cocktail bar was an exciting one. Entering the basement, I was immediately transformed into another world. The site of a former tobacco factory, the space was dark and moody with exposed brick walls, various Viking themed memorabilia and of course, Thor's hammer (of which the restaurant takes its name from).
We all had a miniature viking horn shot class in front of us. Turns out they were for our Skal, a complimentary welcome drink of Mead, honey and vermouth. Sweet and smooth, it was simply delicious!
As soon as the Roasted bone marrow hit the table, I was salivating. The marrow was melt in your mouth delicious and the meat crumb on top was heavenly, packed full of umami flavour - a sprinkle of this would make the blandest food taste amazing.
The Pig's head terrine was delicious and had a crumbly texture, served with a sprinkling of crunchy pistachios.
Our waitress returned to our table with a leather pouch, unveiling a range of knives (all different designs) for us to pick our own blade of choice for the main course!
We started with the Whole Snapper, which was cooked beautifully and well seasoned, with the flesh flaking away easily.
The Lamb shank was cooked on the rotisserie for over 7 hours so it was no surprise it was incredibly tender. The smoked eggplant puree together with the macadamias also delivered in terms of flavour.
The Beef short rib was buttery and luscious, falling off the giant bone at the slightest pressure. It was simply one of the best short ribs I've ever had.
The special of the night was the Pork loin with house made BBQ sauce and it tasted as delicious as it looked. Our carving knives came in handy with this dish and biting into the crispy pork crackling was oh so satisfying. Who knew the Vikings had it so good?
The sides of the Green beans with a hazelnut and sourdough crumb and Carrots were very tasty on their own right, perfect complements to the meaty dishes.
Onto desserts, and the combination of Fennel, rhubarb and rice pudding seems strange on paper, but actually worked well together. The rhubarb sorbet was smooth and velvety, offering some sourness to counteract the sweetness of the rice pudding.
The Mascarpone parfait was very creamy but lacked flavour and was the only miss of the night.
Themed restaurants can be gimmicky, but Mojlner has absolutely smashed it out of the park. Everything from the fitout to the food was very impressive. It's a unique dining experience but to get the most out of it, I'd recommend coming with a group so you can try out several of the meaty mains.
On a sunny Winter's day, my friends and I ventured to try out Anason, serving Turkish cuisine on the Barangaroo waterfront promenade. The menu is designed for sharing with a mix of small and large plates. We decided to start with one of the waiter's recommendation, the Baba Ghanoush dip paired with the Saj Pide. The bread was served warm, and had a soft and fluffy texture. It was tempting to just fill up on these and the airy, creamy eggplant dip but more food beckoned.
The Cured salmon pastirma looked amazing as it hit our table. The saltiness of the cured salmon is balanced by the acidity of the pickled chillies and fennel, and the freshness of the mini tomatoes.
The Scallops were cooked beautifully, paired with a creamy artichoke puree and sprinkled with wild rice. However, for the price of the dish, I was expecting a little bit more.
Onto the larger plates and we opted for the Hanger steak. The beef slices were ultra tender but what made the dish so impressive was the Muhammara (a red capsicum and walnut dip) that is jam packed with flavour.
The Duck breast was served with silverbeet dolmas. I enjoyed the filling of the dolma and it soaked in all the flavours from the taharna sauce.
Overall, the food definitely delivers on flavours, though some dishes were a little overpriced. I loved the blue and white decor (especially that blue tiled table!) and the al fresco dining option.
The two-hatted Sixpenny had been on my go-to list for a while and it certainly delivered in terms of flavour, texture and service. We were seated in the private dining room, where we had a full view of the kitchen watching the chefs weave their magic.
Our 8 course degustation started with a trio of snacks. Side note: each dish is brought out by the chefs and they take great care to explain the dish to you. The Green tomatoes, grown in the Blue Mountains, looked like tomatoes but tasted like sour grapes. The Pumpkin Scallop is a tasty morsel of confit pumpkin deep fried and topped with some pumpkin seed salt. My favourite of the snacks though were the Cheese gougeres. They were delightfully fluffy, covered with a layer of cheddar shavings. The filling of cheese combined with the green tomato jam was simply delicious.
The Spanner Crab with Clam Butter and Trout Roe was a very delicate dish, with quite a strong hit of saltiness.
The Venison Tartare looked striking as it hit the table, though the tartare itself was actually hidden under a layer of hazelnut shavings. The combination of the earthy beetroot with the sweet hazelnut and the gamey-ness of the venison is genius.
Potatoes are often just a side accompaniment but here at Sixpenny, they take centre stage. The mini cylinders of potatoes are cooked in an oyster butter emulsion and paired with slices of raw mushrooms and mushroom powder. It's amazing how so much umami flavour can be generated from such a simple selection of ingredients.
The Spanish Mackarel with Radicchio was another highlight. The mackerel was beautifully cooked but the star of the dish for me was the tomato and fermented cucumber essence. It provided a lovely sweetness and contrast to the bitterness of the radicchio.
Onto the last savoury course of the meal, the Lamb rump with roasted leek and caramelised pumpkin juice was another good dish, but lacked the wow factor of its predecessors.
The pre-dessert was another deceptive simple yet spectacular dish. The Mead Vinegar Custard was silky smooth and together with the frozen beads of raspberry and the intense flavour of the strawberry consomme definitely made my tastebuds sing.
The Feijoa Granita with the white chocolate cream and white chocolate disc was slightly on the sweet side for me.
Our final dish was the Cocoa Ice Cream with Wattleseed Caramel and Toasted Farro. The ice cream was super smooth and the addition of the toasted, salty farro added a really interesting dimension to the dessert.
In the unassuming suburb of Stanmore, Sixpenny lives up to its numerous accolades and deliver a great fine dining experience.
12 Micron is an establishment situated in the new dining precinct of Barangaroo, complete with its own dessert bar helmed by Darren Purchese. First thing I noticed about 12 Micron was the enormous, modern space (able to seat more than 220 patrons) with a brilliant harbour view.
We were excited to get to the desserts but decided to have some savoury dishes first before the sugar hit. The menu is focused on Australian produce and we start with the Lobster omelette. It was a classic dish done well, with generous servings of lobster.
The Moreton Bay Bug rice paper rolls were disappointing in flavour and serving size, given the price charged.
The Goats cheese tortellini, on the other hand, was beautifully executed. The tortellinis were plump and the burnt butter sauce was spot on.
The Flinders Island lamb was beautifully cooked. I quite enjoyed the texture of the damper and the seared sweetbreads were very tasty.
The Suckling pork came with crispy crackling and the preserved riberries added a nice touch, though serving size is again a little small.
There were a number of dishes on offer from the rotisserie, visible in the open kitchen. We picked the Duck with duck fat potatoes. The duck was good, without being spectacular. By this stage, we were ready for the dessert onslaught and this is where 12 Micron really shines.
There's an option for a 3, 5 or 7 course dessert degustation but we opted to go a la carte. We started with the Pistachio, green tea and yuzu creation. The Pistachio and green tea mousse was delicate and pillowy, as was the green tea sponge. The gelato was smooth and creamy and the pops of yuzu and blackcurrant added some bold colours and flavours to the dish.
The glass of Coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint was delicious in every way, and it was fun searching through the layers to discover all the different elements.
The deconstructed Gin & Tonic dessert had more components than I could remember. There was the lime and lemon curd, frozen cucumber and lime parfait, white chocolate mousse and marshmallows just to name a few. Somehow, all the ingredients work together and really delivered on the flavour of a G&T.
Another favourite of the night was the Smoked Vanilla ice cream with plum, Barossa Valley Wanera and Thyme Sable. It's the first time I've had ice cream with a slice of cheese, and surprised to say, it worked amazingly well together! The cheese manages to temper the sweetness of the plum sauce and the honeycomb.
Olive oil, chocolate, toast ice cream and smoked salt was another exciting combination that worked beautifully. The olive oil jelly was light and creamy at the same time, the chocolate ganache was incredibly rich with the bread ice cream providing some much needed relief.
The Rose, Apple, Strawberry and Beetroot dessert definitely caught out attention with its striking red colour and wonderful fragrance. The crystallised rose petals was a bit too sweet for my liking, but I did enjoy the apple sorbet which was very refreshing and the moist beetroot sponge cake.
Just when we thought we had conquered the desserts, a plate of complmentary petit fours (actually, threes) arrived on our table. I found the raspberry jellies much too sweet, but the mint biscuit was tasty, as well as the dark chocolate truffle.
The design of the restaurant is impressive, from the segmentation of the space down to the beautiful cutlery and crockery. The desserts are clearly the star of the show and why you should pay 12 Micron a visit. Not only do they look amazing, but the creations are playful, imaginative and full of unexpected flavour and textural combinations.
Tokyo Bird is a small laneway bar in Surry Hills, known for its extensive collection of whisky and its yakitori menu. Not being a whisky enthusiast, I decided to settle for a cocktail instead. One sip of my Matcha milk punch cocktail and I was in heaven. It was like drinking a delicious matcha latte with a hint of alcohol, and the matcha cookie on top made it all the more irresistible.
The food menu is primarily bar snacks with a Japanese twist. The Lotus root chips were expertly fried. Thin and crispy, we gobbled them up in a flash with the chilli mayo.
The Cold udon noodle is another simple yet very tasty dish, with a lovely creamy sesame dressing.
The Katsu chicken nuggets were another deep fried highlight!
Onto the yakitori and we decided to try the Chicken tsukune which are essentially meatballs. The meat was moist and flavoursome, and I enjoyed dipping it into the sweet soy sauce mixed with the cured egg.
The Nasu (eggplant) yakitori was a little small but it had great umami flavour and I loved the texture.
Tokyo Bird is definitely a bar that puts as much effort into its food as the drinks. The food is kept simple but they definitely manage to make the ingredients shine.
Tapavno is one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney so I was delighted to hear the same team had opened Born by Tapavino in Barrangaroo, with a nod to the flavours of Barcelona. One of the things I loved most about my travels in Spain was the seemingly endless supply of Serrano ham. At Born by Tapavino, they have a wide selection of jamon with different accompaniments to choose from. We opted for the Jamon with the spiced plum and goat's curd. The strong flavours of the spiced plum were balanced out by the goat's curd and the slices of jamon were simply delicious.
I love churros for dessert but I think I prefer these Manchego churros. Filled with delicious cheese, the churros was topped with a crunchy, spicy, chorizo crumb - an explosion of flavour!
The Pan-fried King prawns were tasty and beautifully seasoned, but for $28, I was expecting a bigger portion.
We also ordered one of the specials of the night, Duck breast with caper and raisin puree, chargrilled waldorf and jamon crumb. The duck was perfectly cooked, still pink on the inside. The caper and raisin puree really livened up the taste buds and I loved the jamon crumb for the added punch of flavour and for the texture.
For dessert, we shared the Mil hojas 'thousand leaves', turron parfait and sour cherry compote. The 'thousand leaves' was a crunchy caramelised wafer thin disc and went beautifully with the nougat parfait. The sour cherry sauce really tied the whole dish together.
The tapas style menu is great for sharing, allowing you to try many dishes and great with a glass or two of Spanish wine (of which they have a very extensive menu of).
In the newly refurbished Gateway building in Circular Quay lies Popina, a collaboration between Salt Meats Cheese and Shuk. The meeting of Italian and Middle Eastern influences results in some exciting dishes.
We started off with the Stracciatella with figs, smoked almonds and apricot vinaigrette. Stracciatella is a soft, creamy cheese that's at the centre of burrata and is a perfect match for the slices of the sweet, ripe figs. The almonds added a crunchy texture and it was all tied together by the zingy apricot vinaigrette. This dish definitely put a smile on my face.
For a taste of South America, we had the Beef Empanadas which were served piping hot, straight from the oven. I enjoyed the crispy pastry and the juicy filling, but the sauce could have done with a little more oomph.
The next dish of Yellow fin tuna with Kibbeh nayyeh looked striking thanks to the wafer thin slices of watermelon. I wasn't sure about the flavour combination on paper but was convinced once I had a taste.
From the mains section, we opted for the Raviolidi ricotta with lamb backstrap and pistachio crumb. The ravioli with the creamy ricotta filling was delicious and the lamb was cooked perfectly to medium rare, but I did wish there was a bit more of it!
For dessert, I couldn't go past the Aljafor, a Dulce de leche mousse sandwiched between the buttery, crumbly shortbread and accompanied by a scoop of coconut ice cream. Both the mousse and ice cream were silky smooth and it was a great way to finish off the meal.
Popina brings together a great melting pot of flavours from around the globe and offers great service too. Definitely a great addition to the dining scene in Circular Quay!
Bloodwood has been a feature of Newtown's dining scene for a few years now and it's easy to see why it remains as popular as ever. The restaurant has a cool vibe with both indoor and outdoor seating on the terrace.
I was told that whatever we order, don't miss out on the Polenta chips. I normally find polenta quite bland and boring, but even I was a convert after tasting this. Freshly cooked, these chips were crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, and matched so well with the creamy Gorgonzola sauce,
The Fried chicken was succulent and moist, with a hint of spice form the Szechuan pepper and sweetness from the maple syrup. Not my favourite fried chicken of all time, but definitely no complaints.
Bloodwood offers a wide array of vegetarian options, including the Socca - a chickpea pancake topped with zucchini, dukkah, kale and persian feta. The base had a lovely crunch, and the toppings were aromatic, creamy and full of flavour. It's a dish that I would definitely return for.
Continuing with the vegetarian theme, the Sesame mushrooms with seaweed, smoked eggplant and daikon was a simply, humble dish done well. It was a very textural dish and had a real depth of flavour.
The Sticky Fried Beef brisket fell apart at the slightly touch and the enoki, heirloom carrots and quinoa made for a great combination.
The food at Bloodwood is very impressive and definitely some of the best you can have in Newtown. The food is original, without being pretentious. It's a great place to come with a group, since everything is designed to be shared.
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