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.
Being a big fan of tea, I had been eager to check out The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Redfern. The cafe had a cool vibe and is beautifully decorated. There's a mini retail store inside with lots of displays showing the dazzling array of tea you can choose from (and purchase to take home).
The food in the menu all incorporates some element of tea into it. We went for the Green tea noodle soup with miso broth, shitake mushrooms and ginger dumplings. The broth was delicious and the dumpling filling was equally tasty. It was a very light and healthy dish, with just a hint of green tea from the noodles.
We also ordered the Slow cooked beef in black tea sandwich. It's hard to go wrong with a freshly grilled sandwich but I was still very impressed with the flavour combination. The beef was soft and the balance of the pickled cauliflower and the cheddar was spot on.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of tea to choose from in the drinks menu. After much deliberation, we went with the Gunpowder Green Tea (a suggested pairing with the green tea noodles) and a Ginger Snap Latte - which came in an adorable cup, with its own rabbit tail.
We were craving something sweet and opted for a Lavender and vanilla marshmallow. Great texture and flavour, it was just the little sugar hit we were after.
We definitely enjoyed our trip down the rabbit hole and it's great to see an organic tea bar thriving in Sydney. I'll definitely be back.
Kepos Street Kitchen, Redfern
Kepos Street Kitchen had been on my list of cafes to try for a while. After a 15 minute wait, we were seated inside - the sun filled room felt warm and inviting. The menu had Middle Eastern influences and it was hard to make up our minds on what to try.
We started with some iced teas/ mocktails, which looked amazing served in mason jars. I had the Pear and Elderflower spritzer and it was refreshing without being overly sweet. There was also a generous serving of fruit to go with our drinks. It's nice to see a cafe with not just your standard juice/ smoothie drinks selection.
The Tunisian style seared Yellow Fin Tuna salad was a spectacular dish packed with flavour. I loved the combination of the perfectly seared tuna with the eggplant, soft boiled egg, potatoes and the harissa dressing.
I have never been a fan of vegemite, but I was intrigued to try the vegemite tahini dressing that went with the Moroccan lamb and pinenut cigars with a soft boiled egg. The hint of vegemite was slight so did not overpower the dish. The cigars were crisp and tasty, and who doesn't love a good soft boiled egg.
My friend ordered the Southern Fried Chicken sandwich, which is basically a burger and it's huge! The coleslaw and Chermoula mayo goes really well with the crunchy, tender chicken in a delicious brioche bun.
For dessert, we were informed by the waitress that there is no point of putting the desserts n the menu as it's ever changing and best to be seen at the front counter. A clever strategy as after you have inspected the array of sweets on offer, it's simply irresistible. We opted for the Pistachio and date tart and it was both crunchy and chewy, and not too sweet.
In my mind, Kepos Street Kitchen definitely deserves its hat and it's no wonder there is often a queue out the front. Service is fast and friendly and the food is great quality. It's the perfect place for a catch up with family or friends, and it's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Moon Park, Redfern
Having recently been crowned with one hat in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide, what better time to try out this modern Korean joint than Father's Day with my parents. First step was finding the entrance, which is not easy as there's no clear signage apart from a printed menu by the front door. The fit out is sparse and minimalistic, but does its job. There a $65 banquet menu but we decided to go with the a la carte option.
For entrees, we started with the sea urchin and black garlic on seed biscuit. Sea urchin is an acquired taste. I love the gooey, melt-in-your-mouth texture of sea urchin. The sesame crisp complement the strong sea urchin taste and is offset by a yummy black bean type sauce.
Next was the smoked eel with puffed wild rice on shiso leaf. The puffed rice looked like little caterpillars on a leaf! This reminded me of the betal leafs from Longrain. The eel was the highlight - it had a touch of smokey flavour and had quite a meaty flesh. The chilli sauce gave it just the right amount of kick.
The dishes at Moon Park were wonderfully presented, none more so than the confit trout with pickled carrot and kimchi. It was almost too pretty to eat. Kimchi can sometimes be overpowering but it was beautifully balanced within this dish.
Can't go to a Korean restaurant without having the bimbimbap. This was not your standard bimbimbap though - with oxtail and walnuts as its main ingredients. It was not served in a traditional stone bowl so didn't have those crusty bits which I love. The servings of this dish was a bit small for three people. However, what was served was really tasty. All the ingredients worked well together and the ox tail was very tender.
I ordered the Dotorimuk because it sounded like an interesting combination: mushroom, tofu, acorn jelly and fried Brussels sprouts. The textures worked well together but it lacked the punchy flavours in their other dishes.
Our last main was the Wessex pork belly with diamond claims. The pork belly slices were generous in size and well cookd. Clams were a bit salty as it had soaked up all the sauce. Would have loved some extra bibimbap to go with this!
For dessert, we scanned the tables around us and opted for the most popular option - the Moon pie, Moon Park's take on its American namesake. This was a much more gourmet version with prunes, ginger jelly and white chocolate pudding. Again, it looked like art on a plate. I loved the texture of the soft, pillow-y marshmallows but it was a bit too sweet for me - the ginger jelly was refreshing and provided a hit of spice.
Overall, it was a great introduction to modern Korean food. Don't come expecting your typical Korean fare. Instead, be entertained with unusual flavour combinations in beautifully presented dishes.
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