LOT.1, Sydney CBD
LOT.1 is a three-level restaurant/ bar in the heart of Sydney's CBD. The decor is modern and striking, and the service was warm and inviting. The menu is heavily Italian inspired, though our first dish featured a take on the French classic of steak tartare. The Wagyu tartare, anchovy mousse, buckwheat crisp and pickled hazelnuts was simply delicious, with the anchovy mousse adding the creamy component normally provided by an egg yolk.
The Chicken liver pate with choux pastry and mostarda was equally impressive. The choux bun was soft and fluffy, the sweetness of the mostarda complemented the liver pate well.
A pasta dish for $42 is hard to justify, but Lot.1's Spaghettini with spanner crab, chilli, garlic and wakame was one of the best I've had in Sydney. The pasta was silky and cooked to perfection, and the wakame really added an umami boost to the dish.
For the final saoury course of the night, we had the Duck breast with witlof, persimmon, coffee and a cured yolk. A curious combination but one that worked. The persimmon was finely sliced and provided the sweetness to contrast the slight bitterness of the witlof. The coffee component was neither here nor there, but the cured yolk was a nice touch to go with the duck.
You can't go wrong with Tiramisu for dessert - the coffee flavour was intense and it was not overly sweet. A few more Savoiardi biscuits to mop up the mascarpone would have made it perfect.
Impressive food, with superb service from start to finish, it's definitely worth a visit.
Yellow, Potts Point
Yellow in Potts Point manages to showcase how delicious vegetarian food can be in a fine dining setting. We tried the five course tasting menu and it was a wonderful play on flavours and textures throughout.
We started with a little appetiser to warm up our taste buds: Peruvian potato chip with black garlic sauce and Szechuan pepper salt.
The first course was Avocado, pinenut and lime served with melon segments and a kaffir lime oil. Given the sky-high popularity of avocado these days, it's not surprising to find it as the centerpiece of a dish. The kaffir lime oil was very fragrant and went brilliantly with the creaminess from the avocado.
Next was the House made cultured curd, with chargrilled cucumber wrapped in a sesame leave. It was a pleasant dish but lacked the boldness of flavour that permeated though the other dishes.
On the other hand. the Zucchini, Sunflower, Quinoa and Green Juniper delivered in terms of contrasting flavours. The zucchini was creamy and rich, and I enjoyed the toastiness of the sunflower and quinoa crumble.
The Eggplant, sweet corn and miso is a combination of some of my favourite ingredients so not surprisingly, it was my favourite savoury dish of the meal. The eggplant was topped with crispy puffs of wild rice, accompanied by a ginger, garlic and yuzu broth and served up with the most silky sweet corn puree.
Fittingly, the dessert of Mandarin, coconut and toasted almond with verjuice granita and bee pollen carried a few shades of yellow. Such a variety of flavours and textures, it tasted amazing when you took a mouthful with a bit of everything.
The food at Yellow is creative and beautifully presented. The service was not very attentive on this occasion but whether you are a Vegetarian or not, Yellow is definitely worth a visit.
ACME, Rushcutters Bay
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.
12 Micron, Barangaroo
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.
S'age Bistronomy has opened in Crows Nest, taking over the spot previously occupied by Waqu. At S'age's helm is the former head chef of Waqu, Tomoyuki Usui. As the name suggests, the type of food served is a combination of bistro and gastronomy. I went there with my family to try the Three Course Lunch Set Menu, at a very reasonable $49.
There are a selection of entrees, mains and desserts to choose from as well as a series of sides (which are not included in the set menu price).
For entree, I chose the Grilled lamb backstrap, aroma crumble and mussel emulsion. The lamb was well cooked, pink in the middle, and the aroma crumble gave it a great crunch and peppery note. The hint of mussels in the emulsion, however, was not very strong.
For main, I got the Smoked spatchcock. I was very happy with my choice. The spatchcock was perfectly cooked, succulent with a crispy skin. The nectarine and corn salsa give it a fresh twist and a lovely sweetness.
We decided to order the Charred cabbage with truffle ponzu as a side. It wasn't quite up to the lofty heights of Toriciya's Savoy Cabbage but it definitely came close. The miso crumble together with the ponzu dressing really lifted the flavour, though I would have loved a stronger hit of truffle.
Onto desserts and the Figs and berries, with pink pepper crumble and milk ice cream was a great combination of flavours and textures. My favourite, though, was the Mont blanc (chestnut cream cake) with mandarin puree and yoghurt ice cream. I enjoyed the intensity of the chestnut flavour and the yoghurt ice cream was very smooth and light. The mandarin puree really balanced out the dessert.
The food at S'age Bistronomy is modern and beautifully plated, with an interesting fusion of Japanese and French flavours and techniques. It's a welcome addition to the lower north shore.
Riley St Garage, Woolloomooloo
Formerly a garage, the large industrial space has been converted into an upscale bar and restaurant, Riley St Garage in Woolloomoolo. The interior is dark and chic, with a large oval shaped bar in the middle.
The menu is made for sharing and we started off with the Smokey Soy Truffle oysters. Beautifully presented, the smoked soy really enhanced the flavour of the freshly shucked oysters and I could easily have eaten a few more!
Heirloom tomato, burrata and basil is a tried and tested combination so we couldn't go wrong with this dish!
The Seared scallops were large and plump and cooked perfectly. The yuzu koshu garlic buter added great flavour to the dish, and again, I could have consumed a few more easily!
I love eggplant and I love miso so the Sweet eggplant miso gratin was definitely a dish for me. The miso gives it a salty hit but when mixed together with the gooey eggplant, it's really well balanced.
The Chorizo corn dog sounded intriguing. Teamed with the dijon mayo, it was definitely fancier than your average corn dog from the Easter Show!
The Grilled Fremantle octopus with white bean and chilli mayo was delicious and had bold hits of Mediterranean flavour. The octopus was beautifully tender and a joy to eat.
I don't often order a chicken dish in fancy restaurants as I feel that it's relatively easy to cook myself. But the Riley Street's Organic half chicken with apple and onion vinaigrette was definitely worth ordering! The chicken skin was wonderfully crispy and the meat was remarkably tender. The creamy truffled mash that accompanied the dish was ridiculously smooth and aromatic, one of the best mash that I have had.
Looking for a sweet finish to the meal, we ordered the Dessert platter. The presentation is absolutely spectacular and definitely one of the highlights of the night. The chocolate mousse was rich and decadent, and paired well with the mascarpone ice cream. The creme brulee had the crunchy crust on top with just the right amount of sweetness.
All in all, I was very impressed by Riley Street Garage. The space reminds me very much of New York. Service is efficient and friendly, flavours were fantastic and I loved that the menu is designed for sharing.
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