Mas.Que, St Leonards
Located in St Leonards, Mas.Que started popping up on my Instagram a few months back and I had been eager to try their Asian fusion fare since. Starting off with the drinks, I was intrigued by the Black Tea Latte which allowed you to draw your own art. The "ink" was some charcoal and beetroot essence and I had fun making my own creation. The latte had a very strong tea flavour too which I enjoyed.
The Brulee latte is essentially a cross between a creme brulee and a latte. It had the hard crack of a creme brulee and a cinnamon stick, which you use to stir the latte one the top layer is gone.
Onto the food and we got a load of dishes to share. The Wagyu Tataki and Soba noodles was a light and refreshing dish. The noodles came with a very flavoursome handmade sauce and an onsen egg that was perfectly cooked. Topping this off was a generous portion of thinly sliced Wagyu beef.
The highlight of the meal for me was no doubt the Soft Shell crab on Golden Sand Congee. It looked spectacular when it landed on the table. and was backed up by its taste. The congee was deliciously thick and had a lovely golden hue thanks to the split mung bean and the cordyceps (a type of fungus). It was topped with a crunchy Duck Yolk golden crisp with the piece de resistance, the soft shell crab, sitting on top. The crab was stunning and the dish was the perfect winter warmer.
The Taiwan Classic Bowl with braised pork and egg rolls was moreish and packed full of flavour. It's comfort food at its best. The side of Taiwanese fried chicken was crispy and succulent.
The Truffle pasta was a simple dish with only a few ingredients on the plate but done exceptionally well. The pasta had a good bite and I loved the truffle flavour that was present throughout the dish.
The Flaming bowl came with Truffle kombu sauce comes with wagyu beef, seared right in front of you. It's like a little set menu and comes accompanied with a soft boiled egg, fried tofu and pickles. The Truffle kombu sauce was full of umami flavour and it was another very fun dish to eat.
With so many cafes and restaurants in the lower North Shore, Mas.Que manages to stand out with its inventive cuisine, backed up by flavor.
Paper Bird, Potts Point
Having heard rave reviews about their Fried Chicken, I couldn't help paying Paper Bird in Potts Point a visit. Having been to their previous restaurant, Moon Park in Redfern, I had very high expectations. My friends and I decided to go with the banquet menu, which at $60 offered very good value given the amount of food on offer.
We start off with the Ddeokbokki, Korean glutinous rice cakes. They are crispy on the outside with a kick of heat thanks to the red chilli paste Gochuchang.
Next was the Menbosha, a modern take on prawn toast. The toast was deep fried goodness and the filling of prawns and cabbage was creamy and delicious.
The dish of Pork and squid ink sausage, grilled calamari and almonds looked simple but was bursting with flavour - a truly great stir fry dish.
The Eggplant with black pepper sauce and cashew was expertly cooked, almost taking on a meaty texture.
The signature dish - the Shrimp brined fried chicken - lived up to all expectations - a crunchy coating on the outside, succulent on the inside. The syrup drizzled on top added just the right balance of sweetness to the dish.
The Jeonbokjangbap which consisted of abalone slices, rice, nori, egg yolk and cucumber kimchi was another delight in terms of flavour and texture. The thinly slices of abalone could easily have been overcooked but were just perfectly tender.
Turning our attention to desserts, we started with the Coconut rice, lychee, strawberry & hazelnut. The combination of the lychee with the stawberries was spot on.
The final dish of Milk bingsu, green apple, melon sorbet & white chocolate was a refreshing way to finish off the meal. Bingsu is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert and Paper Bird's version was light and fluffy.
The food of Paper Bird is fresh and exciting, offering a great modern Asian menu with heavy Korean influences. I'm looking forward to coming back and trying their brunch menu.
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