Malabar, Crows Nest
The Mysore chilli chops were really succulent and aromatic, marinated in chilli, carom seeds and sesame seeds. With the bone wrapped in foil, it makes them just that much easier to devour.
Located on the busy Pacific Highway, Malabar is well known for their take on South Indian cuisine.
One of their specialties is Dosa - a rice lentil crepe. We tried the Kheema Dosai which consisted of a beef mince filling with fenugreek, ginger and cinnamon - so flavoursome! I loved the texture of the Dosa - it's like having an ultra-thin, super crispy crepe. The coconut chutney and spicy sambar rounded out the dish perfectly.
We also got one of their other signature dishes - the Butter Chicken, or chicken makhani. It's definitely one of the best butter chickens I have had. The chicken pieces were moist and tender, and the creamy tomato sauce was wonderfully rich and tasty, with just the right amount of sweetness.
With an extensive menu packed with South indian classics done well, it is easy to see why Malabar has been a long-time fixture on the Sydney dining scene.
Taipei Chef, Artarmon
Taiwanese food is not something I have had too often in Sydney so I was excited to try Taipei Chef in Artarmon for a colleague's farewell.
Smoked chicken is one of their signature dishes and it's easy to see why. The flavour was spectacular - it had a distinct smokiness from the smoked tea leaves without being too overpowering and the meat was so moist and tender. A small tip: there are only a limited serving per day so don't go too late!
Sweet potato fries with plum powder was completely addictive. I had to exercise a lot of self control to not gobble down the entire dish. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, the plum powder gave it an extra flavour boost.
The slow-cooked pork belly is melt-in-your-mouth soft. The broth consisting of star anise, garlic, chilli and soy packed a ton of flavour and went wonderfully with the white rice.
The Mongolian chicken on the sizzling plate was very aromatic and tasty.
The salt and pepper tofu had a great crispy texture but was lacking a touch of seasoning.
More satisfying was the soft shell crab. A generous serving, the batter was light and crispy.
The deep fried mushrooms were so juicy that a couple of us nearly burnt our tongues when we bit into it. The crunchy basil leaves were a nice touch to the dish.
Friendly service, delicious food and good value - Taipei Chef is definitely a neighbourhood gem. I will definitely be back for the smoked chicken and sweet potato fries!
Find me on instagram: