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!
I love House of Crabs in Redfern so I was excited to hear O Crab opening in Chatswood, serving crab in a bag. My bf and I ventured there on its second day of trading for lunch. It was a little tricky to find as the restaurant is tucked underneath a residential block, away from the hustle and bustle of the shops and train station.
The restaurant is interestingly decked out with nets adorning the ceiling and ropes acting as a room divider. We started with the O Crab seafood chowder which came served in a bread bowl. The chowder was flavoursome and creamy and they didn't skimp on the ingredients - loads of mussels, prawns and salmon were hidden inside the bread bowl. At $10 including a non-alcoholic beverage, this lunch special is great value.
Now for the crab in a bag! You basically pick your type of crab (they had prawns too) and the sauce you want. We opted for the snow crab in garlic butter sauce ($25 per cluster i.e. 2 legs) as I tend to find it a bit meatier than the blue swimmers ($25/crab) and we weren't disappointed! Opening the bag, the aroma of the garlic butter is immediately evident and we couldn't wait to dig in.
Equipped with our mallet (branded with the name of the restaurant), we proceeded to bash the crab senseless! The plastic aprons definitely came in handy at this point! It was a lot of fun trying to extract the entire piece of crab meat intact, although the legs were pretty spiky to deal with! The crab meat was sweet and together with the sauce, was absolutely delicious. I was glad I had some of the bread bowl from the chowder leftover to mop up the sauce.
We also tried the Spiced O Crabby Patty Burger with lettuce, grilled pineapple and chili mayo. The crab patty was very juicy and tasty. With the pineapple and tomato, the brioche bun got a bit soggy. The chips on the other hand were super crunchy - another element for me to dip into that garlic butter sauce!
Once it gets its marketing going, I am sure O Crab will be packed. I am keen to come back for dinner to try some more of the crabs, or even some cocktails!
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.
Chiosco by Ormeggio is the casual offshoot of the two hatted Ormeggio at Spit Bridge. After a morning kayaking, we were in need of sustenance. Perched on the jetty with a nautical theme, metres away from the luxury boats and the glistening waters, it makes for a very relaxing setting.
The menu at Chiosco (Italian for kiosk) contains a selection of Italian street food as well as three pasta dishes. We opted for the burrata with basil oil, beetroot and sourdough crumbs first-up. Burrata is a fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream, and is one of my favourite cheeses. Cutting into the burrata, the cream oozes out and we had fun mixing it with the other ingredients on the plate. The flavours were spot on and the sourdough crumbs gave great texture to the dish.
The lamb skewers were perfectly cooked and the yoghurt and mint oil gave the dish a refreshing hit.
The Fregola with prawns and cherry tomatoes was a simple but tasty dish. The Fregola, which is similar to Israeli cous cous was very well cooked, moist without being gluggy. Though at $22, I was expecting a bigger serve.
Top quality food and friendly service, my only wish were that the servings were a little bigger. It's a great place for a long, relaxing lunch.
On the hunt for a KFC fix (not the fast food, but Korean Fried Chicken), my friends and I ventured to Strathfield Sports Club where Red Pepper resides. The place resembles a typical sports club - Keno machines, a TAB counter and giant TVs showing football games. What is different is their extensive KFC menu. Looking around the packed restaurant, every table had at least one plate of KFC on their table.
With 6 of us, we decided to order nothing but fried chicken in order to try as many flavours as possible. The chicken was really juicy with a crunchy skin. There were a few pieces that were a bit boney but still great value.
First up was the Hot and Spicy Gangjung. It was hot and spicy indeed. The first few bites were pretty mild but then the heat really kicks in.
I preferred the Sweet and spicy Chicken to the Hot and Spicy - the succulent pieces of chicken were very flavoursome covered in a sticky glaze.
The Spring Onion Chicken was my favourite. I loved the dressing which was predominantly soy sauce with a tinge of wasabi, and the ample amounts of spring onion added some freshness to the dish.
I'd recommend coming with your friends so you can try more types of KFC. I am keen to come back and try the rest of their menu as well, as some of the noodle dishes and stews looked amazing.
The most intriguing KFC was the Snow Cheese Chicken, crispy skinned chicken coated in parmesan cheese powder. It definitely is not a flavour combination I would have thought of but somehow it works.
I had heard from my friend that the Canberra dining scene had up its game in recent times, with lots of modern, new restaurants popping up. One of them is Les Bistronomes, a French bistro located in Braddon in Canberra.
My friends and I shared an entree of a dozen escargots - it was not as garlicky as most escargots I had previously tried - instead, there was more of a parsley flavour accompanying them which I liked.
For main, I opted for the fish of the day, which was Spanish mackeral with clam, pickled vegetables and raspberry coulis. I don't think I have ever had raspberry in a savoury dish before so was eager to try it. I was very impressed - the fish was perfectly cooked, complete with crispy skin and the pickled vegetables were amazing - sometimes they can be quite sour and overpowering, but here, they were more subtle and gave the dish a real zing. The raspberry coulis not only added bold colour to the plate, it provided a nice contrast to the rest of the dish.
For dessert, we opted for the Passionfruit souffle which again was like art on a plate. I didn't know where to tart - there were so many elements to this dish. A white chocolate ball that when you crack open, oozes out a chilli and passionfruit syrup. The coconut ice cream was creamy and smooth, sitting amongst the sponge cake and the foam. And of course, the passionfruit souffle which is served in a passionfruit! The chilli is not too strong, and actually accentuates the tanginess and sweetness from the passionfruit. It's a very clever dessert. at
The standard of the food at Les Bistronomes is exceptional and the service was wonderful. Throughout the meal, I did get food envy looking at the dishes coming out of the kitchen - the Beef Wellington and the crème brulee looked divine. Two reasons to make a return visit!
With the opening of The District above the train interchange, Chatswood has gained a ton of new eateries overnight. Tim Ho Wan has got all the headlines (and queues) but there are other exciting additions, such as the Thai eatery Chum Tang, a sister restaurant to the much loved Khao Pla.
The restaurant design takes its cue from the name Chum Tang, which translates loosely to train terminal. The kitchen area is set like a rural Thai railway ticket booth with the dining area resembling the waiting area.
We started with the pork belly curry which was the highlight of the meal. The combination of the tamarind and palm sugar gave the dish a lovely sweet and sour balance. The pork belly was very tender and I loved the addition of the cashew nuts in the curry.
I was intrigued about the jackfruit salad with poached chicken, roasted coconut and chilli jam. Unfortunately, this dish wasn't really to my liking. The dressing was too strong and I didn't get the lightness out of a salad that I was after. The jackfruit is quite overpowering and I would preferred more chicken and less jackfruit.
Our final dish was the Grilled wagyu sirloin with roasted rice and roasted chilli. Cooked on a charcoal grill, the wagyu was deliciously tender. The spice mix was quite hot for my palate, so I was glad there were some raw cucumber on the plate to offset some of the heat.
Being a new restaurant, the waitress was keen to get our feedback. We were told they will be moving from the current soft opening menu to a fuller menu, with more non-spicy options but still showcasing Thai regional cuisine. I look forward to trying more of their menu!
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