Danjee, Sydney CBD
Hidden in a laneway near Town Hall is Danjee, the sister restaurant of the ever popular Madang. A fancier version of some of the Korean joints found in Chinatown/ Koreatown, the setting is very roomy and the BBQ is confined to the kitchen and outside tables, meaning there won't be any smoky-smelling clothes afterwards!
Perusing the menu, I was intrigued to try the seasoned raw skate fish. I was imagining some version of sliced sashimi, but it wasn't that at all! They looked like meatballs and were quite chewy. They were flavoursome but a bit too hot for my liking.
On the other hand, the Sweet potato noodles in a cold beef broth was light and refreshing. I loved the slipperiness of the noodles and the broth was incredibly tasty.
We chose a couple of dishes from the BBQ section. Ox tongue is one of my favourite cuts of meats and it tastes especially good, fresh off the grill. It's rich and fatty, and wonderfully tender.
The Pork jowl (or pork cheeks) had great marbling and were perfectly cooked - so delicious!
One of the reasons I love going to Korean restaurants is the free banchan side dishes. As usual, there were plenty to choose from, including kimchi, pickled daikon and mung bean jelly, just to name a few.
There are many places now vying for the best Korean Fried Chicken and I think the Danjee Chicken has to be right up there. Everything from the golden, crispy skin to the succulent, moist meat were superb.
We also got the hearty Slow cooked beef ribs with chestnut, gingko nuts and dried dates, perfect for Winter. The sweet soy stock was packed full of flavour and the chestnut and gingko nuts added real depths of flavour. The beef ribs were superbly cooked and falling off the bone, soaking in the very aromatic stock.
Danjee is a modern Korean restaurant serving up fantastic food. I loved that you can choose to BBQ your meat or have it done for you, avoiding the smoky hair/ clothes aftermath. I will be back for sure.
Tim Ho Wan, Chatswood
Ever since the world's cheapest Michellin starred restaurant Tim Ho Wan landed in Sydney back in late March, there have been constant queues for a table, especially on the weekends. The hype seemed to have died down a little and getting there just after 8 on a Tuesday night a couple of weeks ago, we were seated straight away. The menu contains all the familiar dishes you would find at Yum Cha and you order from the menu rather than from the roaming trolleys.
We couldn't go past the famous Baked bun with BBQ Pork filling. It is definitely sweeter than the average BBQ bun but I didn't actually mind it. The crust of the bun is quite crunchy but the inside of the bun is pillowy soft filled with delicious roasted BBQ Pork. I can see why it is the go-to dish at THW.
Another essential dish at any yum cha is Prawn Dumplings (or Har Gau). They are a bit pricey at $8.30 for four, but the flavour could not be faulted with a generous amount of prawns.
The Turnip cake was less impressive. Whilst it was tasty and had a lovely crispy coating, it could have done with more filling and flavour.
The food came very quickly...and by the time I got to the Steamed Egg Cake, it was getting a little cold. Despite this, the cake tasted delicious. The texture is very much like a chiffon cake - very light and fluffy and with just the right hint of sweetness.
The Spring roll with egg white were very crunchy, though I think I preferred the more common filling of meat and vegetables.
The Rice with Chicken, Sausage and Mushroom was rice full of flavour, but would have loved another couple of pieces of chicken.
One of my all time favourite desserts is Mango and Pomelo with sago and they do it very well in HK. It is almost like a cold soup, light and creamy. The sweetness from the mango goes perfectly with the slightly tangy pomelo.
So would I come back? Definitely. I am keen to try out the rest of the menu selection, but I will definitely order the pork buns again! The service is quick and efficient, and even though it is a bit more pricey than your standard yum cha restaurant, it is still very reasonable.
Tokonoma, Sydney CBD
Hidden in the basement below The Bridge Room lies Tokonoma, an offshoot of Toko in Surry Hills. The interior showcase elements of the heritage building and has a lovely ambience, perfect for catching up with friends or a romantic date.
Our group of four started with the Nigirizushi omasake which includes a daily selection of seasonal fish. The sashimi glistened under the light, a sure sign it is super fresh.
Next was the Spicy tuna maki with sriracha mayo. The sushi roll had a crispy outside which added a nice textural element. The tuna was again very fresh and the mayo added just the right amount of heat. I just wished there were more pieces!
The Spicy fried tofu came with a dollop of avocado salsa. The texture and presentation were great, but it lacked some punchy flavours.
The Popcorn shrimp with shichimi mayonnaise was delicious. The batter was super crispy and the bite sized prawns went really well with the dipping sauce.
One of my all time favourite dishes is the Miso cod from Nobu, and Tokonoma's version is definitely up there. The Black cod has the most incredible texture and melts in our mouths immediately. The miso glaze has just the right amount of saltiness and sweetness and we savoured every bite.
Just as mouth watering was the Blackmore wagyu brisket with herb salt and wasabi mayo. The brisket was cooked amazingly well, so tender and flavoursome. The accompaniments of the salt and mayo definitely enhanced the dish.
My three dining companions and I initially thought we should order a few different desserts to try, but seeing the decadent chocolate fondant consumed at other tables, we settled for one chocolate fondant each! And it was one of the best chocolate fondant I have ever tasted! The fondant was gooey on the inside and had such intense chocolate flavours. The salted sesame ice cream was delicious and much needed to offset some of the richness of the fondant.
The dishes/ servings could have been a bit bigger given the price tag attached, but the quality of the food is top notch. Good to have another modern Japanese restaurant in the CBD!
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