Having heard rave reviews about their Fried Chicken, I couldn't help paying Paper Bird in Potts Point a visit. Having been to their previous restaurant, Moon Park in Redfern, I had very high expectations. My friends and I decided to go with the banquet menu, which at $60 offered very good value given the amount of food on offer.
We start off with the Ddeokbokki, Korean glutinous rice cakes. They are crispy on the outside with a kick of heat thanks to the red chilli paste Gochuchang.
Next was the Menbosha, a modern take on prawn toast. The toast was deep fried goodness and the filling of prawns and cabbage was creamy and delicious.
The dish of Pork and squid ink sausage, grilled calamari and almonds looked simple but was bursting with flavour - a truly great stir fry dish.
The Eggplant with black pepper sauce and cashew was expertly cooked, almost taking on a meaty texture.
The signature dish - the Shrimp brined fried chicken - lived up to all expectations - a crunchy coating on the outside, succulent on the inside. The syrup drizzled on top added just the right balance of sweetness to the dish.
The Jeonbokjangbap which consisted of abalone slices, rice, nori, egg yolk and cucumber kimchi was another delight in terms of flavour and texture. The thinly slices of abalone could easily have been overcooked but were just perfectly tender.
Turning our attention to desserts, we started with the Coconut rice, lychee, strawberry & hazelnut. The combination of the lychee with the stawberries was spot on.
The final dish of Milk bingsu, green apple, melon sorbet & white chocolate was a refreshing way to finish off the meal. Bingsu is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert and Paper Bird's version was light and fluffy.
The food of Paper Bird is fresh and exciting, offering a great modern Asian menu with heavy Korean influences. I'm looking forward to coming back and trying their brunch menu.
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.
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.
Having recently been crowned with one hat in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide, what better time to try out this modern Korean joint than Father's Day with my parents. First step was finding the entrance, which is not easy as there's no clear signage apart from a printed menu by the front door. The fit out is sparse and minimalistic, but does its job. There a $65 banquet menu but we decided to go with the a la carte option.
For entrees, we started with the sea urchin and black garlic on seed biscuit. Sea urchin is an acquired taste. I love the gooey, melt-in-your-mouth texture of sea urchin. The sesame crisp complement the strong sea urchin taste and is offset by a yummy black bean type sauce.
Next was the smoked eel with puffed wild rice on shiso leaf. The puffed rice looked like little caterpillars on a leaf! This reminded me of the betal leafs from Longrain. The eel was the highlight - it had a touch of smokey flavour and had quite a meaty flesh. The chilli sauce gave it just the right amount of kick.
The dishes at Moon Park were wonderfully presented, none more so than the confit trout with pickled carrot and kimchi. It was almost too pretty to eat. Kimchi can sometimes be overpowering but it was beautifully balanced within this dish.
Can't go to a Korean restaurant without having the bimbimbap. This was not your standard bimbimbap though - with oxtail and walnuts as its main ingredients. It was not served in a traditional stone bowl so didn't have those crusty bits which I love. The servings of this dish was a bit small for three people. However, what was served was really tasty. All the ingredients worked well together and the ox tail was very tender.
I ordered the Dotorimuk because it sounded like an interesting combination: mushroom, tofu, acorn jelly and fried Brussels sprouts. The textures worked well together but it lacked the punchy flavours in their other dishes.
Our last main was the Wessex pork belly with diamond claims. The pork belly slices were generous in size and well cookd. Clams were a bit salty as it had soaked up all the sauce. Would have loved some extra bibimbap to go with this!
For dessert, we scanned the tables around us and opted for the most popular option - the Moon pie, Moon Park's take on its American namesake. This was a much more gourmet version with prunes, ginger jelly and white chocolate pudding. Again, it looked like art on a plate. I loved the texture of the soft, pillow-y marshmallows but it was a bit too sweet for me - the ginger jelly was refreshing and provided a hit of spice.
Overall, it was a great introduction to modern Korean food. Don't come expecting your typical Korean fare. Instead, be entertained with unusual flavour combinations in beautifully presented dishes.
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