Chef's Gallery, Macquarie Centre
As part of the redevelopment of Macquarie Shopping Centre, there is a host of new eateries, including Chef's Gallery. We were seated at the bar, perfectly situated to watch the chefs showcasing their noodle making skills. How they can turn a ball of dough into strands of super thin noodles in just a couple of minutes is amazing.
Unfortunately, neither their signature piggy buns with sesame filling or the Totoro marshmallow bunnies were available :( We had to make do with savouries but luckily they did not dissappoint.
We opted for the Pork and prawn wontons with handmade noodles in a chicken soup. The noodles had a lovely, springy texture. You can tell they were freshly made. The dumplings were plump, with a delicate skin. The omelette strips were a nice touch. Definitely a comfort food!
I loved the Handmade egg tofu with spinach dish. It had a lovely crunch on the outside and was silky smooth on the inside.
The Chinese style roti with Peking duck was just like having Peking duck pancakes, but with a crispier texture and without having to go to the effort of assembling them.
Chef's Gallery is a welcome addition to this part of town. Hopefully they will have the piggy buns and Totoro available next time. Be prepared to queue on weekends as they don't take reservations.
Bowery Lane, Sydney CBD
In the middle of suits-central in Sydney CBD, lies Bowery Lane, an eatery named after the oldest thoroughfare on Manhattan Island. The interior had an industrial vibe with exposed concrete walls, wooden floors and sleek interiors. The restaurant was buzzing on Friday night, with the booths fully occupied.
The menu featured a lot of meaty shared plates such as the lamb shoulder or the wagyu short rib. My dining companion and I weren't feeling too hungry, so opted to share two snacks and one main.
Sliders seem to be on every Sydney menu these days. At Bowery Lane, they have opted for two seafood variations: prawns or rare tuna sliders. We went for the latter as I love tuna sashimi. The tuna was seared perfectly retaining their rawness on the inside and topped with a dollop of guacamole. The pickled cucumber added a good amount of freshness to the sliders. However, I found the bun a little dry and would have preferred a brioche bun.
The lamb ribs were amazing. The meat was falling off the bone, served with a delicious chimmi churri sauce.
The Confit duck salad was generously portioned, and a great combination of flavours and textures. There was so much going on in every mouthful - succulent pieces of duck, light and airy liver parfait, specks of lardon, complemented by the roasted chat potatoes and the crunch of the broad beans and radicchio.
For drinks, we ordered the Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake ($7) which was utterly delicious. The peanut butter flavour was rich without being too over the top. It was a bit thinner than most other milkshakes, which I actually preferred.
Bowery Lane is a great addition to this end of town. Service was excellent and I would love to come back to try some more of their share plates and desserts.
Me: Excuse me, how many desserts are included?
Waitress: Are you scared?
Me: uh...a little.
After devouring 16 scrumptious dishes at Pinbone, I was wondering how I could fit any more food into my stomach but as we all know, somehow with desserts, there is always a way :)
Pinbone has been on my restaurant wish list for a little while and what better occasion to go then for my birthday. My bf and I opted for the Chef's Section: Large menu ($85 pp), which includes 8-10 share plates, as well as snacks and desserts. The chefs were happy to tailor the menu if there were specific dishes that you wanted to include/ exclude. Given it was our first time here, we left it entirely up to the chefs and it was an AMAZING meal.
First to arrive on our tables were the snacks - all five of them. Where to start? The corn and miso gougere is essentially a profiterole with a cream corn filling and miso glaze on top. It was sweet, it was salty, it was delicious.
The Chicken poppers were wonderfully put together - succulent fried chicken served on a lettuce cup with jalapeno mayo and pickled carrot. I could have eaten a cupful of the chicken on its own but I did appreciate having the lettuce and carrot for the freshness.
The Cheesy, smoky, potato things were exactly as described - fried potato skins with a smoked gruyere sauce. I loved the smokiness of the melted cheese, it was so flavoursome - I can imagine this as a really good bar snack.
The Fairy bread was unlike any that I have seen before. The hundreds and thousands are replaced with caviar and fish roe; the white sandwich is now a brioche slice. It is held together wonderfully with a mascarpone cream. I much prefer this adult-version to regular fairy bread.
The lamb ribs were finger-lickin' good. They may be small in size, but these packed a punch in terms of flavour. The meat easily came off the bone and were coated in a sweet sticky glaze with toasted almond flakes.
Onto the share plates...
The guys at Pinbone certainly know how to cook their seafood. Poached in butter, the leatherjacket was amazingly tender, served on a bed of snow peas with a white wine, soy and sesame dressing. I especially liked the use of chopped up snow peas, which gave the dish an added texture.
The Grilled baby octopus with red pepper sauce and crispy chicken skin was very tasty, and the chicken skin was fried to perfection.
The squid was again perfectly cooked and soaked up all the tangy lemon and olive oil dressing. The buttery breadcrumbs reminded my bf of eating lemon squares - which I seemed to have skipped in my childhood.
The tofu, bacon and cucumber was a combination I was looking forward to trying. The deep fried silken tofu cubes were light and airy, and the perfect accompaniment to the smoky bacon and tomato sauce. There was no denying that irresistible smell of bacon - the sauce had incredible depths of flavour and it really felt like I was eating bacon even though there was none to be seen.
The Heirloom carrots with pickled mussels and cumin seeds was yet another highlight. The carrots were slow roasted giving them an incredible amount of sweetness. They went really well with the succulent pickled mussels and the mussel-infused cream.
The Kingfish wings were coated in a teriyaki glaze and accompanied by pickled cabbage, one of the more normal, but still delicious, dish.
The Flank steak with grilled wombok was juicy and tender, with a light soy based sauce.
The crispy skinned chicken was so tender and moist. It was accompanied by two sauces - the garlic dressing was the winner for me.
The roast pumpkin, silverbeet with pepita puree was the surprise hit of the night. Whilst it didn't look all that exciting on paper, the dish had many textural components and I fell in love with the pepita puree - creamy, nuty goodness.
The roast pork belly was utter deliciousness - the meat melted in your mouth. My bf and I desperately waned to finish it but at this stage, our minds were willing but our stomachs were not.
The raw, shredded zucchini salad with lemon, mint and pecorino was fresh and light - just what we needed to cleanse our palates before dessert.
Biting into the custard tart, the pastry was buttery and crumbly, just the way pastry should be. It came with a scoop of milk ice cream which we happily devoured.
The Blueberry granita with white pepper parfait and pinenut brittle was again, an exciting mix of flavours. Somehow, it all works together. The white pepper wasn't too strong but almost added a bit of heat to thedish. The pinenut brittle was sweet and crunchy and was a good contrast to the fruity and light granita.
For $85, it's insanely good value for the quality and amount of food you get. Pinbone managed to keep the standard exceptionally high throughout and invoked a sense of fun and experimentation in the menu. Would definitely be back!
Tatsuya, West Ryde
I like to try out different restaurants but one that I keep coming back to time and time again is Tatsuya. Not the hatted Tetsuya, but a similarly sounding Japanese restaurant in West Ryde.
Agedashi tofu is one of my favourite things to order at Tatsuya. The serving size is very generous, four thick slices covered in a crispy batter, but still silky soft on the inside. The tofu is topped with a sprinkling of flakes and sits in a delicious broth.
The Deluxe sashimi set contains 32 pieces of sashimi goodness. It's great value considering how big each of the pieces are. The sashimi is very fresh and there is a large array of variety.
The Grilled Sushi set contains 10 pieces of sashimi (kingfish, salmon and scallops) lightly blowtorched, complemented with the kewpie mayo and teriyaki sauce. The scallops weren't as grilled as much as they normally are but the taste cannot be faultd.
The Wafu steak comes served on a cast iron hot plate, on a bed of sauteeds. Meat was tender and the sauce was just rightly balanced, yet another dish to savour.
Service is quick and efficient. It's not the place to go if you are after a nice ambience and relaxing dinner, but for good quality and value Japanese food, Tatsuya is definitely worth a visit.
Pastuso, Melbourne CBD
When your team loses in the grand final, the only thing to do is eat away your sorrows. I did just that at Peruvian restaurant Pastuso in Melbourne with my dad after this year's AFL decider. Located off Flinders lane in one of its famous graffiti-ed laneway, the first thing that struck me as I entered Pastuso was the sleek interior, with hanging dry aged beef and colourful neon posters adorning one wall.
One of the main reasons I wanted to try this place was because of its extensive ceviche menu, one of my favourite things to eat. We started with the Amazonian Ceviche with king salmon and plantain fritters, which tasted as good as it looked. The cubes of salmon were soft and succulent, soaking in the sweet and sour orange and lemon dressing. The plantain fritter added a fun crunchiness to the dish.
One ceviche dish was clearly not enough, so we opted for the Crystal Bay Prawn ceviche with a ponzu and white miso. I had not expected the prawns to be charred but it was a gorgeuos dish nonetheless. The prawns had been marinated in the white miso sauce and retained a real sweetness, whilst the turnip puree was just exquisitely smooth and creamy.
I have had some pretty tasty croquettes in Spanish tapas bars, but this might just op them all. The potato croquettes with pulled beef brisket, pecans, olives and salsa were hands down the tastiest croquettes I’ve ever had. It had the perfect crunch on the outside and bursted with flavour on the inside.
For mains, we shared the Berkshire slow roasted pork shoulder with adobo sauce which was cooked in a smoke chamber. It had a hint of smokiness without being overpowering. You could tell the meat was slow cooked as it fell apart at the slightest touch. The Peruvian rice did not taste that special, but served its purpose to soak up the yummy adobo sauce.
Filling pretty full, we opted for a trio of watermelon, melon and passion fruit sorbet for dessert, a refreshing end to a very tasty meal - it definitely lessened the blow of a crunching Grand Final defeat, at least momentarily. I hope to be back and have a seat at the ceviche bar, or perhaps try out the alpaca from the grill.
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