It's hard to believe 2015 is nearly over. I thought it would be fun to take a look back on my ten favourite dishes of the year in Sydney. Narrowing it down to ten proved to be a much more difficult task than I anticipated, hence I ended up with eleven :) From entrees to desserts, Asian to Moroccan, these are the amazing eats I had the pleasure of consuming.
#11. Snap Crackle Plop - Chicken rice with onsen egg - Kin by Us, Macquarie
Why? Comfort food at its best with a perfectly cooked soft yolk egg
#10. Korean steak tartare with pear. Devon by Night, Waterloo
Why? The combination of the Korean soy sesame dressing with the sweet slices of pear, egg yolk and succulent tartare just works
#9. Goma Street - Sokyo, Pyrmont
Why? Art on a plate - the mix of textures and chocolate and sesame flavours was delightful
#8. Turkish coffee tiramisu - Moorish Blue, McMahons Point
Why? Loved this take on a tiramisu - velvelty smooth with an intense coffee flavour
#7. 48 hours slow cooked Riverina short rib, Gastro Park, Potts Point
Why? Incredibly impressed by this most delicious piece of beef cooked for 48 hours which completely melts in the mouth and is still pink in the middle!
#6. Cheeseburger spring rolls - Ms Gs, Potts Point
Why? The ultimate fusion food, combining the cheesy goodness of a cheeseburger with the crispness of a deep fried spring roll
#5. Chocolate fondant with salted sesame ice cream - Tokonoma, Sydney CBD
Why? Chocolate oozing out from the centre, a perfectly cooked fondant paired with creamy salted sesame ice cream
#4. Savoy cabbage - Toriciya, Cammeray
Why? The aroma of the truffle was intoxicating and the citrusy soy dressing and saffron made this my favourite vegetarian dish of the year
#3. Carrot, yoghurt, liquorice - Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst
Why? Judging from the ingredients of the dish, I did not have high expectations... but I was proved wrong and it was one of the most refreshing dishes I had all year and lit up my taste buds. Excuse my half-eaten shot!
#2. Butternut gnocchi - Gastro Park, Potts Point
Why? The pure joy of having the gnocchi pearls filled with creamy pumpkin soup burst in the mouth AND the amazingly flavoursome mushroom consomme
#1. Duck, hazelnut, raddichio, raspberry - Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst
Why? Visually stunning and with the flavours to match - at times, I felt like I was eating a dessert
Looking forward to another year of food discoveries!
For an early birthday celebration, I was treated to a 10 course tasting menu at Gastro Park at Potts Point. Helmed by Grant King, the menu showcased molecular gastronomy at its finest and each dish was intriguing and had a sense of fun.
Starting with the snacks, it took a few seconds to compute what has landed on our table. Perched on the black stones were a couple of slices of citrus cured salmon and an edible garden tartlet with pumpkin puree. The salmon was delicious with a hit fo zinginess and the tart was full of flavour with an extra crispy black wafer shell.
The last component of the snacks were the Wagyu beef grissini, which were a joy to eat. The beetroot powder and pecorino cheese made a great combination with the thin slices of smoked wagyu.
The scallop ceviche with pomegranate juice was one of my favourite dishes of the night. Firstly, the theatre the dry ice created was magnificent. Opening the shell revealed these delicate slices of scallop ceviche in a vibrant red pomegranate juice. The scallops were melt in your mouth tender and I could have easily drank a few shell-fuls of the pomegranate concoction.
The seared artic scampi was perfectly cooked with the coconut and apple adding a freshness to the dish.
Ever since seeing this dish on Masterchef, I had wanted to try the Liquid butternut gnocchi for myself and it definitely lived up to expectations. The pearls of pumpkin soup is held together by the thinnest of membranes, each uniform in size. Taking each gnocchi as a whole, the pumpkin soup just bursts in your mouth and is an absolute delight to eat. The consomme was equally divine - it's so intense in flavour I felt like I was eating a bowlful of mushrooms! The consomme was a little more cloudy than what I was anticipating, but the flavours were faultless.
The Jewfish had an extra crispy skin and was teamed with a rich roast bone sauce, fried enoki and a parsnip powder and foam which was again, so incredibly intense in flavour.
The pork belly was cooked perfectly, with a rich mixture of spanner crab and pork ‘pebbles’ which were basically like pork crackling broken down into a hundred pieces - heaven!
Cooked for two days in a sous vide water bath and finished on a robata grill, the Riverina short rib was nothing short of amazing. I didn't get a photo of the beef which cut as I was too busy devouring it, but it was still perfectly pink in the middle after 48 hours of cooking! The short rib had just the right amount of fat too and every accompanying element on the plate (the smoked eggplant puree, peas and pods) helped to enhance the star of the dish. My bf and I were so gobsmacked by the quality of this beef we started googling to see where we could buy a sous vide machine to recreate it at home!
On to desserts! The sheep milk's yoghurt, srawberry and pomelo icy pop was a playful palate cleanser.
My bf was trialling a non-dairy diet, and he got a Celery sorbet. I had my doubts but it was incredibly refreshing and I actually really, really liked it.
The Robata pineapple was another highlight of the night. It was beautifully caramelised without being overly sweet. The sorbet by itself was a tad overpowering but when eaten together with the shell and buttermilk, was just perfect. It's a very clean and refreshing dessert where all the flavours just work together. My bf got the coconut sorbet in place of the yuzu version, which was equally delicious.
The final dessert and course of the night is the Chocolate, honeycomb and vanilla sphere. Cracking the chocolate shell open, out oozes the vanilla and honeycomb lava. It's like a Cadbury creme egg but flavoured with cardamom, saffron and ginger - an extravagant end to an extravagant meal.
Gastro Park definitely deserves its hatted status. The food did take a little while to come out, but completely understandable given they often had to make a non-diary variation of each dish. Service was top notch and they were incredibly accommodating with the dietary requirements, offering alternative dishes that were just as high in quality as their standard menu. The food is inventive and creative, making for a memorable dining experience.
I was never a fan of Hello Kitty growing up (it was too pink and girly for me) but decided to check out the hype around the Hello Kitty Cafe, recently opened at the Chatswood Interchange. I was intrigued to see what would be on the menu, especially as I had heard the burgers were created by the team at Chur Burger. To my surprise, it wasn't overly 'cute' and pink and the theme was quite understated. The restaurant is quite small with a selection of booths and seats at the counter.
The food was very much what you expect at an American diner: waffles, fries and milkshakes amongst the menu items, but with an Asian twist (e.g. Kimchi slaw and miso mayo).
I don't see any connection between lamb ribs and Hello Kitty but ... it doesn't really matter as these were amazing! The ribs were melt in your mouth tender and generously laced with a sweet sticky soy sauce and jalapeños. The dash of lime just topped it off.
The sweet potato fries were not as crunchy as I would have liked but the miso mayo was quite addictive - a delicious mix of savoury and sweet.
We agonized over which burger to pick and eventually settled for the Maple Burger which came on a delicious brioche bun. Overall it was a good burger without being phenomenal. I did like the inclusion of a thick slice of maple glazed bacon in between the pulled pork and slaw.
The theme was a bit lacking for a novelty restaurant but I will definitely be back for another serve of the lamb ribs and to try one of their interesting milkshake concoctions.
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