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.
For Valentine's Day this year, my boyfriend and I decided to dine at Popolo, a restaurant focusing on southern Italian food in Rushcutters Bay. The restaurant had a special San Valentine five course menu. We both picked a different dish to try for each of the courses, so really it was more like a ten course degustation!
We started with the Seaweed fritters, offered as an apertivo. It looked like something from outer space - airy, green puffs on skewers. There was a subtle flavour of seaweeds and reminded me of eating prawn crackers, only in a spherical shape.
For Antipasti, we started with the Veal carpaccio. The thin slices of veal were succulent and went well with the gooey-ness of the yolk and crunchiness of the puffed rice. However, I was missing a little sprinkle of salt on this dish to really bring out the flavour of the dish.
The Spatchcock on the other hand, I had absolutely no complaints about. The char grilled flavour really came through and the accompaniment with the salsa verde gave it an extra kick of flavour. The roasted baby capsicums were some of the sweetest I have ever tasted. I could have definitely eaten this as a main.
For Primi, we opted for the Fregola and the House made spaghetti. The Fregola (a type of pasta from Sardinia) took on a stunning red colour thanks to the beetroot juice. Even though the truffle pecorino isn't visible on the plate, it definitely was the hero of the dish. The creaminess of the pecorino and the aromaics of the truffle really permeated through. We scraped the plate clean, it was that delicious!
The House made spaghetti with scallops, zucchini flowers and tomato was also one of the best pasta dishes I have had in Sydney. Again, it was simple with only a few ingredients but it was all cooked to perfection and brought together with generous lashings of olive oil.
Onto the Secondi... by this stage, we were already getting rather full! The Lamb backstrap was beautifully cooked but it did not have the wow factor of the preceding dishes. I did enjoy how the flavours all worked together with the sweetness of the confit cherry tomato and the smokiness of the eggplant.
The Duck breast was also very enjoyable to eat and I especially liked the roasted eschallots, which had an intense sweetness to them.
For dessert, we tried the White chocolate mousse with chocolate sand and balsamic macerated strawberries. The mousse was velvety smooth and well balanced with the chocolate crumbs and the strawberries (some of them macerated, others had a freeze dried like texture). It was a beautiful way to finish off the meal...
...together with our second dessert - the Cheese selection with house made fig jam.
For $95 pp, it was good value for the amount of food we ate. The service was efficient, but not as friendly as I was expecting, given the name Popolo means people in Italian. Overall, I was very impressed by the quality of the food and especially the two pasta dishes, which are some of the best I've had in Sydney.
For an early birthday celebration, I was treated to a 10 course tasting menu at Gastro Park at Potts Point. Helmed by Grant King, the menu showcased molecular gastronomy at its finest and each dish was intriguing and had a sense of fun.
Starting with the snacks, it took a few seconds to compute what has landed on our table. Perched on the black stones were a couple of slices of citrus cured salmon and an edible garden tartlet with pumpkin puree. The salmon was delicious with a hit fo zinginess and the tart was full of flavour with an extra crispy black wafer shell.
The last component of the snacks were the Wagyu beef grissini, which were a joy to eat. The beetroot powder and pecorino cheese made a great combination with the thin slices of smoked wagyu.
The scallop ceviche with pomegranate juice was one of my favourite dishes of the night. Firstly, the theatre the dry ice created was magnificent. Opening the shell revealed these delicate slices of scallop ceviche in a vibrant red pomegranate juice. The scallops were melt in your mouth tender and I could have easily drank a few shell-fuls of the pomegranate concoction.
The seared artic scampi was perfectly cooked with the coconut and apple adding a freshness to the dish.
Ever since seeing this dish on Masterchef, I had wanted to try the Liquid butternut gnocchi for myself and it definitely lived up to expectations. The pearls of pumpkin soup is held together by the thinnest of membranes, each uniform in size. Taking each gnocchi as a whole, the pumpkin soup just bursts in your mouth and is an absolute delight to eat. The consomme was equally divine - it's so intense in flavour I felt like I was eating a bowlful of mushrooms! The consomme was a little more cloudy than what I was anticipating, but the flavours were faultless.
The Jewfish had an extra crispy skin and was teamed with a rich roast bone sauce, fried enoki and a parsnip powder and foam which was again, so incredibly intense in flavour.
The pork belly was cooked perfectly, with a rich mixture of spanner crab and pork ‘pebbles’ which were basically like pork crackling broken down into a hundred pieces - heaven!
Cooked for two days in a sous vide water bath and finished on a robata grill, the Riverina short rib was nothing short of amazing. I didn't get a photo of the beef which cut as I was too busy devouring it, but it was still perfectly pink in the middle after 48 hours of cooking! The short rib had just the right amount of fat too and every accompanying element on the plate (the smoked eggplant puree, peas and pods) helped to enhance the star of the dish. My bf and I were so gobsmacked by the quality of this beef we started googling to see where we could buy a sous vide machine to recreate it at home!
On to desserts! The sheep milk's yoghurt, srawberry and pomelo icy pop was a playful palate cleanser.
My bf was trialling a non-dairy diet, and he got a Celery sorbet. I had my doubts but it was incredibly refreshing and I actually really, really liked it.
The Robata pineapple was another highlight of the night. It was beautifully caramelised without being overly sweet. The sorbet by itself was a tad overpowering but when eaten together with the shell and buttermilk, was just perfect. It's a very clean and refreshing dessert where all the flavours just work together. My bf got the coconut sorbet in place of the yuzu version, which was equally delicious.
The final dessert and course of the night is the Chocolate, honeycomb and vanilla sphere. Cracking the chocolate shell open, out oozes the vanilla and honeycomb lava. It's like a Cadbury creme egg but flavoured with cardamom, saffron and ginger - an extravagant end to an extravagant meal.
Gastro Park definitely deserves its hatted status. The food did take a little while to come out, but completely understandable given they often had to make a non-diary variation of each dish. Service was top notch and they were incredibly accommodating with the dietary requirements, offering alternative dishes that were just as high in quality as their standard menu. The food is inventive and creative, making for a memorable dining experience.
On my search for the best lobster rolls in Sydney, I ventured to Waterman's Lobster Co in Potts Point. My friend and I were seated on one of the outside tables, nabbing one of the last remaining tables on a busy Satusrday afternoon.
We started with the New England Clam Chowder which was packed full of flavours from the sea. The chowder was creamy and rich and I particularly enjoyed the meaty clams and the crunchy, buttery croutons.
The White anchovies with shaved beetroot looked spectacular on the plate. The crispy slices of differently coloured beetroot were artfully arranged, interspersed with the cured anchovies which had a great intensity of flavour.
And onto the lobster rolls! The 'Connecticut' style lobster roll came on a buttery toasted brioche roll, which was heavenly - crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The lobster meat has a subtle sweetness and there was a decent serving (knowing how expensive this is in Australia, it can't compare to the much bigger portions you get in America).
The 'Maine' lobster roll came with tangy Mayo and celery, which still allowed the lobster to shine. I found it hard to pick my preferred version, but in the end, I think the buttery roll of the 'Connecticut' style won me over. You can choose to add a side of crunchy fries (sprinkled with paprika) or pickles to the dish, both of which are great additions.
Good atmosphere and friendly service, I will no doubt be back to get my lobster fix.
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.
Ms G's is one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney and my last outing there was no different. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of atmosphere, service and food (both in quality and inventiveness).
In recent years, franken food have begun making its way onto menus (e.g. ramen burger, cruffic and cronut to name a few). Here at Ms G's, they offer Cheeseburger springrolls - it sounded too intriguing to resist. Biting into one of these, we felt like we had entered food heaven! So what does it tastes like? Exactly like how you would imagine it would taste - it's like having a bite sized cheeseburger wrapped in deep fried pastry!
The grilled corn on a cob is a staple on the Ms G's menu and paired with the lime and generous shavings of parmesan, is absolutely delicious.
The Vietnamese style steak tartare comes with prawn crackers rather than croutons. The steak tartare was tender with the sweet, salty and tangy notes that Vietnamese cuisines are known for. I also loved the addition of the fried eschallots sprinkled on top.
The photo doesn't do our next dish, the Nasi Goreng hitam justice. It's a twist on the Malaysian classic with the rice fried with chorizo and squid ink. The dish was bold in flavour, with a good degree of heat, and topped off with a sunny side up egg.
For dessert, we went for The BOSS - primarily because it contained kaya French toast, which I discovered whilst holidaying in Malaysia recently. The mixture of coconut, pandan, egg and sugar in the kaya spread is just intoxicatingly good. But that wasn't all that I loved about the dessert - the thai milk ice cream was velvelty smooth and intense in flavour, and the blueberry jam added a touch of freshness. Together with the puffed rice and honeycomb, it was definitely a fun dessert to eat though it did get a little too sweet by the end.
Once again, Ms G's has delivered. It's fun place to go for a date or with a group of friends. The only downsides are the lack of parking and poor lighting for food photos!
I have great memories of eating my way through the Japanese city of Osaka a few years back so was eager to dine at Osaka Bar, which is headed up by Chef Kazu, ex-head chef of Masuya. It is nestled on Llankelly Avenue in Potts Point, one of the new dining hubs in the city with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu is a mixture of Osaka specialties, other traditional Japanese dishes and more Western/ fusion offerings.
But first, drinks! Seeing all the sake bottles lined up in the restaurant, my bf and I decided some sake is in order. Not knowing too much about the many variants of sake, we left it up to the restaurant to select one for us to try. We were invited to pick our own sake cup which was a nice touch.
We started with the takoyaki balls, an Osaka street food specialty. The balls were plump with a gooey centre and I loved the fact I could see actal chunky pieces of octopus inside.
The Popcorn prawns were a great snack, crispy on the outside and was accompanied with two tasty sauces: a garlic mayo and a spicy tomato sauce.
Okonomiyaki is another specialty originating from Osaka so we were definitely eager to try it. We opted for the pork filling and mixed with the cabbage and egg, was utterly delicious. It came wrapped with prosctuitto which was a bonus.
The confit duck is Chef Kazu's signature dish and it's easy to see why. The slices of duck were cooked at 65 degrees, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. The miso and honey mustard melded with the blueberry sauce was a genius combination. The flavours worked really well together and this was one of our favourite dishes of the night.
Next was the Slow cooked beef tendon which had a lovely gelatinous texture. The flavour of the sweet miso broth was spot on and we could easily ate another couple of skewers.
The grilled wagyu was the chef's recommendation and again, he was right on the money. The wagyu rump, cooked medium rare was super succulent and it came with a delicious peppery steak sauce and creamy cod roe mashed potato.
Since it was a rather cold night, we ordered the Osaka-style oden, a Japanese style hot pot. It's a very homely dish with a soy and mirin based broth, containing fish cake, Konnyaku (yam cake), hard boiled egg and our favourite beef tendon.
If you love deep fried food, then this is the right place to visit as it serves a wide selection of Kushi Katsu skewers - which literally translates to deep fried skewers. Even better if you a member of Washoku Lovers (a promoter of authentic Japanese restaurants), as they offer you two complimentary skewers when you dine. We opted for the salmon belly and the eggplant varieties. The coating of bread crumbs results in them being super crunchy.
I love the tapas style menu which is perfect for sharing. The food is great value for money and it's great to see a restaurant showcasing the food of Osaka.
Sashimiso dined as a guest of Osaka Bar. All opinions are my own.
You know it's a good meal when you are still thinking about it weeks later, and that's the case with Cafe Paci. What started as a pop up has now been opened for two years, as Sydney has fallen in love with the creative dishes of Pasi Patanen. It was definitely one of the most inventive and creative meals I've ever had.
The meal started with a plate of snacks. The wafer thin oat crackers topped with oyster cream and black garlic were very tasty. The rye biscuit with lardo, kohl rabi and apple had a nice sweetness, topped with a sprinkling of bacon powder. But my favourite snack was the pastry tart with ocean trout fish floss and dill sour cream. The tart was the just the right amount of crumbliness and the fish floss really packed a punch of flavour.
Coming on a separate plate was the Rye Taco topped with rice pudding, egg butter and sour onions which was wonderfully buttery and creamy.
The bread then arrived and it was no ordinary bread - it was a Finnish Rye Bread made with Potato Flour and brushed with molasses, served with house churned butter. Served warm, it was quite dense and moist, and the molasses gives it a raisin-like sweetness. I knew I should have been saving stomach space for the rest of the courses, but I couldn't stop eating it.
The seasonal degustation menu details only a list of ingredients, leaving it to our imagination to figure out what we would be having. The Blue swimmer crab, pickled carrots with tarragon cream dish had just the right sweet and savory notes. The pickled ribbons of carrot were beautifully presented on the bed of crab meat and it must have taken incredible knife work to slice them so thinly. Meshed with the tarragon cream, it tasted like it came straight from the sea.
When the next dish hit the table, the collective reaction was "Wow". Combining some of my favourite foods on the world, the Duck, Hazelnut, Radicchio, Raspberry creation was visually stunning and definitely one of the highlights of the night. The Confit Duck, covered in Hazelnut Milk, Roasted Hazelnuts and Radicchio dusted with Freeze Dried Raspberry was a genius combination. The duck was juicy and tender, with the hazelnut adding both creaminess and crunch. The acidity in the raspberry and the slight bitterness of the radicchio really helped to cut through the richness and it was a real flavour explosion in the mouth. Interestingly, at times, it almost felt like I was eating a dessert!
The lofty standards were maintained with the next course: Cabbage, Mussel Butter, Bone Marrow and Pomelo. Cabbage can be pretty plain and boring, but when it is roasted in mussel butter, it is a whole different story. The cabbage was soft and tender, with a real sweetness. The mussels were incredibly plump and juicy, and mixed with the pomelo sauce, the bone marrow and the poached pork lardo was just so utterly delicious.
The menu said Photato. Was it a Pho with potatos? We were close...It was a modern take on the Vietnamese classic. There were the beautifully cooked slices of rare Wagyu beef, the chewy enoki mushrooms, garlic chips and of course, the super thin potato noodles which were served al dente. The broth was very flavoursome though I do think I prefer a traditional, hearty bowl of pho over this intepretation.
We took up the offer to share the optional cheese course between us, which involved Gorgonzola with prunes rolled in seasame seeds and crackers of dehydrated chocolate mousse. The dehydrated chocolate mousse was really light and airy, and paired perfectly with the gorgonzola which was really gooey and creamy.
And now we move onto dessert! The Carrot, Yoghurt, Liquorice combination was intriguing and not being a fan of liquorice, I was a little apprehensive about it. However, all my doubts were erased once I dug into the dish. The outer layer was a super light yoghurt foam, followed by a layer of carrot sorbet and finally, the liquorice cake as the base which had a mild aniseed flavour. It was a wonderfully balanced dish and really lit up our tastebuds, and we were craving for more.
The main dessert was Pear and Parsley with Poached Pear, Custard, Parsley Sorbet and Candied Parsley. I had never had parsley in a dessert before and the herbaceous tones really went well with the perfectly poached pear and custard. The quenelle of parsley sorbet was just ridiculously smooth.
The meal ended with the Petit Fours. The Pork and Fennel, being pork crackling coated in chocolate and fennel seeds was a daring combination. The pork crackling almost melts in the mouth and again had the sweet and savoury notes. The Corn and Butter was indeed fairy floss sprinkled with bits of pop corn. For me, it was a bit too much sugar and the only dish where we didn't wipe the plates clean.
All in all, it was one of the best meals I have ever had. Service was great from the moment we walked in the door. Whilst the palette of the restaurant is predominantly grey, it is definitely not how I would describe his food - which is filled with bold dashes of colour! The menu is original and inventive, and really opened up my mind to a lot of flavour combinations that I had not considered before. Hopefully, it stays open for a little while longer!
On our recent trip to Hawaii, my bf and I fell in love with Poke (pronounced Poh-Keh), a Hawaiian version of sashimi. It involves sashimi grade fish cut into cubes and marinated in Japanese inspired flavours, served on its own or with rice. Coming back to Sydney, the cravings for poke did not go away so we were super excited to hear Poke had opened up in Coogee.
The decor had a modern Hawaiian feel, a bright space with fresh flowers adorning the table. Aside from poke, they also serve other well-known Hawaiian cuisine such as Kalua pork and Huli Huli chicken. But our eyes went straight to the poke of course. There were three sizes of poke bowls to choose from. We opted for two medium bowls which gives you two choices of poke flavours, one side and black rice.
Two packed and colourful bowls soon arrived at our table and we couldn't wait to dig in. Bowl #1: Go Nuts tuna and the Spicy mayo salmon (today's special) with white kimchi and black rice. We devoured the chunky cubes of sashimi which tasted very fresh.The tuna was marinated in soy sauce and adorned with sesame seeds and crushed macadamia nuts, which gave the dish an added crunchy element. The spicy mayo goes well with the salmon and the black rice was great to mop up all the sauce.
Bowl #2: The Aloha Way (Salmon with soy and sesame dressing and cherry tomatoes) and the Go Nuts tuna with raw slaw. The addition of the cherry tomatoes made it quite refreshing and added a touch of sweetness.
The poke bowls were filling but still felt light. It is a great alternative to normal fast food...if only there was one closer to home!
Ever since I went to Devon on Danks for brunch, I have wanted to come back to try their dinner menu - which is quite creative, with an Asian twist.
Beef tartare is something that can taste terrible when it is done poorly but in Devon on Dank's case, it is spectacular. Firstly, the presentation of the Korean steak tartare: a bright yellow yolk in the middle, surrounded by thin nashi pear slices like petals of a flower, with the beef just hidden underneath.
The Tajima beef was exceptional with a melt in your mouth texture and was mixed in a very tasty sweet soy and sesame dressing. A mouthful of the beef, with some of the yolk and the sweet nashi pair is heaven.
The twice cooked crispy pork hock was not as mindblowing, but equally delicious. The sticky sweet and sour sauce was nicely balanced and the peanuts added an extra texture to the dish.
The intriguingly named Treasures beneath the snow was perfect for a cold, rainy night. The "snow" was the milk and egg white, with flakes of crab meat mixed through. It was fluffy and light, and the black vinegar gave it a good flavour kick.
There were a couple of desserts that caught my eye when looking through the menu, but we finally decided on the Sago pudding, coconut jelly, guava sorbet and freeze dried pineapple. The guava sorbet was very refreshing and balanced well against the palm sugar and the sago. Not one component overpowered the other and I liked the addition of the freeze dried pineapple, which I had never tried before.
The vibe is fun and casual, and the food is very reasonably priced. The Devon Cafe changes their menu seasonally so I look forward to coming back for more Devon by Night dinners.
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