For Mother's Day this year, I treated mum to a 7 course degustation at Lumi Bar & Dining, right on the wharf at Pyrmont. I was intrigued to see how they would fuse Italian and Japanese influences together. The first thing I noticed upon walking into the restaurant was the completely open kitchen and the sky of pendant lights hanging from the ceiling. The terraniums on each of the table, each slightly different than the next, were a nice touch.
First up was a series of snacks to whet our appetite. The Black sesame Brisee had a lovely crumbly texture and together with the mascarpone and caviar made for quite a decadent snack. The Nori chips with tomato powder had the texture of prawn crackers and I could easily have eaten a few more. The Onion and Chicken Liver Macaron was one of the sandout dishes of the night - I loved the contrast of the sweetness of the macaron against the saltiness of the onion and chicken liver pate. The Chawanmashi was done Italian style, with a hint of Parmesan, and was silky smooth.
Next came the spanner crab with a Bechamel emulsion, which was draped over with yuba, aka bean curd skin. The yuba was delicate and went beautifully with the crab.
I loved the look of the Braised daikon with gruyere cheese when it hit the table. Hidden under a blanket of gruyere was the softest and sweetest piece of daikon you could imagine. The burnt shallot oil was very aromatic and despite not really able to taste the dried venison liver, I was very impressed by the dish.
We then tried the Agnolotti with an eel dashi. The agnolotti reminded me of a ravioli, with a creamy mascarpone filling. The dashi, even though there was only a small quantity, was jam-packed with flavour.
Continuing with the pasta theme, we had the Spaghetti alla chitarra with Truffle Pecorino, and sweet red prawns. The spaghetti was perfectly cooked al dente and you could tell pasta is one of this restaurant's forte. All the elements of the dish worked well together and it was damn delicious!
Moving away from the cheese and pasta combo, we had the Beef cheek with the pickled castelfranco radicchio. The pickled castelfranco radicchio was a little bitter, not sure if that was the intent. Hiding under the radicchio was the braised beef cheek was was no doubt the star of the dish - it was so soft, breaking apart at the slightest touch with the fork.
Time for dessert! The Yuzu icecream with Limoncello Granita, capers and Wakame powder looked spectacular on the plate, and tasted just as good as it looked. The Yuzu ice cream was wonderfully refreshing, and there was a dolop of lemon jam on the bottom to give it an extra tang. The seaweed cracker had an incredible melt-in-the-mouth texture. It was a great palate cleanser dessert.
To finish off the meal, we had the young ginger icecream with passionfruit powder, lime zest and white chocolate foam. Sitting atop the icecream was a yoghurt crumble, which added more creaminess to the dish. The ginger flavour provided a good hit of spice, but was not overpowering at all. A great way to finish off a fantastic meal.
The overall standard of the food was excellent and I admired how they intertwined the Japanese and Italian ingredients and flavours together. At $95, it is one of the better value degustations in Sydney!
Moorish Blue is a relatively new addition to the North Sydney dining scene, serving delicious North African cuisine. With a plush and elegant interior, adorned with chandeliers, fairy lights and Moroccan paintings, it was the perfect setting for date night.
We started with the Mutton backstrap, caponata (eggplant stew), fried okra with spiced yoghurt dressing. It's not often seen on menu in Sydney so I was intrigued. The
dish was mouth-wateringly good. The mutton was impeccably cooked and the eggplant mix was filled with flavour and definitely moreish! The gooey inside of the okra goes very well with the yoghurt dressing.
Next was the Za’atar salt & pepper squid with fried egg and lemon. The squid, coated in the very aromatic Za'atar crust was very tender. I loved the inclusion of a fried egg on the dish - the yolk worked as a dipping sauce for the squid.
Continuing with the seafood theme, we got the Wok-fried calamari, pearl couscous, okra and Tunisian paste. The calamari was ridiculously tender and together with the chewy pearl cous cous and okra, it was a great combination of flavours.
My favourite dish of the night was our dessert, the Turkish coffee tiramisu. The tiramisu was so creamy and velvety smooth, and I loved the intensity of the coffee flavour. The crunch of the peanuts and the cranberries added the perfect finishing touches to it. If we weren't so full, we would have ordered a second serving!
Beautiful food with a venue to match, I will definitely be back at Moorish Blue.
Kin by Us, the cafe by former My Kitchen Rules contestants Uel and Shanelle, has been getting great reviews since it has opened. I was eager to find out whether this eatery which takes classic cafe dishes and give them an Asian twist lives up to all the hype.
The snap crackle plop is their signature dish and you can see why. It consists of chicken rice, chicken crackling and an onsen egg (an egg cooked at 63 degrees which is an item featured multiple times on their menu). The dish had an amazing aroma when it hit the table. The fried chicken skin is super tasty and addictive and the onsen egg was cooked perfectly with a runny yolk in the centre. The dish is bursting with flavour and whilst the serving is not big, at $10, I will be happy to order a second one!
The awesomely named Bao Cheeka Wow Wow with rendang beef cheek, pickled veg & crunchy bits in a steamed bun. The bao had inredible height and again, it was very flavoursome. The pickled vegetables offset the richness of the beef, and the bun was wonderfully soft and fluffy. It also came with a side of crackling which we were very happy to devour.
The coconut cold drip coffee had subtle notes of coconut which added a bit of sweetness and I loved the way it was served, with a little Asian cookie on the side.
Kin by Us is a great addition to the dining scene in the lower north shore. Their take of Asian cuisine in a cafe setting is not commonly found in Sydney. There were a few other things on the menu that caught our eyes so we are definitely looking forward to coming back.
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