Koi, established by Masterchef alumni Reynold Poernomo, is well known for its beautiful desserts and I've had the opportunity to try many of the cakes and pastries. This time, I was here to visit the upstairs restaurant where they do a mix of savoury and sweet.
We opted for the 5 course set menu at $80pp which consisted of one entree, one main and three desserts. The meal kicked off with a savoury snack, a Confit duck donut with berry jam. The donut was fluffy and I enjoyed the pairing of the duck and berry flavours.
For entree, we had the BBQ Moreton Bay bug with pickled kohlrabi and crispy sweet potato. The Moreton Bay bug was beautifully cooked and soaked up the delicious curry sauce. The crispy sweet potato added a great textural element to the dish.
The Sous-vide quail had a crispy skin and the eschallot and quail jus packed a whole lot of flavour. So far the savoury dishes have exceeded my expectations.
The Crispy duck breast was very tender, however, the purple carrot could have been cooked for a tad longer. The beetroot puree added earthiness to the dish.
The Murray cod was beautifully steamed but the highlight for me was the poached mussels. They were plump and juicy, and took on the umami flavour from the shallot dressing.
Onto desserts and we started with the Deconstructed carrot cake. I'm not usually a fan of carrot cake but in this instance, I enjoyed the interpretation. It was very light, not overly sweet and had so many different textural elements.
Next was the Vanilla mousse with Calamansi. Firstly, the dessert looked stunning as it hit the table, with the burnt honey mango resembling honeycomb. The mango sorbet was silky smooth and I enjoyed the pops of flavour from the compressed cumquat and pepperberries.
All in all, I was impressed by the quality of the dishes but would have preferred the ratio of savoury vs sweet to be reversed for a more balanced meal.
China Doll, Woolloomooloo
China Doll at Woolloomooloo combines modern Chinese cuisine with alfresco dining. On a sunny but very windy day, we were seated on one of the outside tables with a great view of the Sydney skyline.
The Cured Hiramasa Kingfish was a perfect way to kick start our meal. It was light, fresh and tangy and got us wanting more.
The Fried Tofu with Five Spice Salt were beautifully crisp on the outside and silky smooth on the inside.
I had been to China Doll years early and remembered the Tea Smoked Duck as a highlight. Of course I had to order it again and it was just as good as I remembered it. The aroma of the tea was evident as the dish hit our table. It had a distinct smokey flavour and together with the crispy skin, mandarin segments and the plum and tamarind sauce, made for a stunning dish.
The side of Broccolini with Oyster Sauce & Garlic was simple and gave us our veggie intake for the afternoon.
The Penang Curry, whilst not the most photogenic dish, delivered in terms of incredible flavour. The beef shin was tender and falling apart, soaking in the curry sauce which was salty, tangy and sweet.
We also ordered the Steamed Market Fish, which today was a Snapper. It is cooked in the traditional Cantonese style, topped with shallots, ginger and soy sauce. Whilst not as bold in flavour as the duck or beef curry, it was a very comforting plate of food.
For dessert, we were treated to the Large Dessert Platter (we had ordered the Small but the server upgraded it for us as we were celebrating a birthday). The platter consisted of the Sago pudding with Vanilla Coconut cream and passionfruit coulis, Raspberry and Mango sorbet and Black sticky rice with cris corn and poached pear. Each was very enjoyable in their own way and I especially loved the Sago pudding which had a great balance of salty, sweet and tangy flavours.
China Doll is one of the few fine dining Chinese restaurants that I feel is worth going to with fantastic food, attentive service and water views.
Among the line up of restaurants on the waterfront in Barangaroo is Zushi, a modern Japanese restaurant. With a view of the glistening harbour, we couldn't go past the Sashimi boat. Zushi's version certainly did not disappoint. The sashimi was wonderfully fresh and the variety reminded me of what you would find in Japan. The sea-urchin and scallop were some of my favourites.
Continuing on with the seafood theme, we had the Kingfish carpaccio with red grape and finger lime. The dish was vibrant, fresh and a delight to eat.
Zushi's version of agedashi tofu with Silken beancurd was delicious.
The Teriyaki salmon was perfectly cooked and I enjoyed the charred leeks.
You don't often find wagyu beef in a sushi roll. It's hard to see why as it works beautifully. I loved the addition of the sweet potato batons on top which gave it a hit of sweetness and crunch.
The Twice-cooked pork ribs was tender and flavoursome with the balsamic glaze. The little cubes of crispy tofu was a nice surprise and the dish had a great balance of sweet and savoury.
Great food and a delightful ambiance, Zushi is a top spot if you are looking for some Japanese eats in the city.
The Butler, Potts Point
Finding a place with a gorgeous view and delicious food to match isn't always easy. The Butler in Potts Point is definitely one to add to the list. My friends and I got a great table in the terrace area surrounded by hanging plants and with an unobstructed view of the beautiful Sydney skyline. The food has strong influences from South America and is made for sharing. For stressless ordering, we went with the Banquet menu for $60.
First dish to the table was the Cured salmon, green apple, habanero, onion, citrus. The chunky slices of salmon was cured perfectly and combined with the apple and habanero had my tastebuds jumping.
Continuing the seafood theme was the Hiramasa kingfish ceviche. Again, it was a vibrant and fresh dish, with the kingfish beautifully cured in a citrus based marinade.
Next was the Sopa Seca, which I learnt was a Peruvian pasta casserole dish. It is served with Swiss chard, tomato and smoked cashew cream. The pasta has quite a bouncy texture and I enjoyed the flavour of the cashew cream.
The Pork & Chipotle empanada was packed full of flavour, seasoned well and the pastry was light and flaky.
I couldn't wait to dig into the Buttermilk fried chicken sliders when they landed on our table. The bread to chicken ratio was perfect, the chicken was crispy and moist and the peanut salsa was an inspired choice.
The final couple of dishes of Lamb Barbacoa and the Quinoa with orange, pickled red cabbage and mint was a great way to end the meal. The lamb shoulder has been slow cooked in a banana leaf with adobo, green olives & coriander - the meat was so juicy and tender, it falls apart with the lightest touch.
The Banquet menu was a great way to sample the menu at The Butler. Amazing views with the cocktails and food to match - definitely no complaints!
Momofuku Seiobo, Pyrmont
You know a meal has been phenomenal when you still reminisce about it months later and that is exactly how I feel about Momofuku Seiobo at The Star. The 14 course Carribean-inspired tasting menu, the brainchild of Paul Carmichael, was creative and the flavours extraordinary. For something different, we opted for the non-alcoholic beverage pairing which was delicious in its own right.
We started off with the very tasty morsels of Bakes, abalone and lardo: Thin slices of tender abalone from Bateman's Bay, drizzled with pork larder and accompanied by a very light and fluffy Jamaican bread.
Sitting atop a collection of sea shells are three plantain tarts filled with finely shaved snail meat. It delivered both in presentation and in taste.
The Short rib with pickled onion was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The Rangers Valley beef rib had been cooked for 36 hours so not surprisingly, it just melted in my mouth. The olives and pickled onion was great to cut through the fattiness of the short rib.
The next dish of Pickled pumpkin, caramelised pumpkin seed, zucchini and raisins were tied together by a special hot sauce. Hot and sour, it was a great pla on textures and flavours.
The Curred rice with crab smelled divine as it hit our table. There were plenty of crab meat and the curry emulsion was strong without being overpowering. The crispy bits of rice added a nice crunch to the dish.
I didn't document all the drinks from the non alcoholic beverage pairing but have to make a special mention of this Blood orange shrub. I discovered a shrub is not just a small tree. It's also a type of preserve, sweet and vinegary - made in-house, this blood orange version is one of the best drinks I've tasted.
The Marron cooked in koji butter on the charcoal grill was another exceptional dish. The marron flesh was so succulent and there was just the right hint of smokiness from the charcoal. The coconut flesh added a nice tropical element to the dish and I could have easily eaten another one!
To accompany the marron was the most buttery and flakey roti - I would rate it even more highly than the famed ones from Mamak. The other accompaniment was an onion dip with mini apples, adding a hit of sweetness. It was not what I expecting from this fine dining restaurant, but was very pleasantly surprised.
To round off the mains was the Pork loin with crackling, served with a side of Spiced pumpkin and split peas, and a Cabbage salad. The blushing pink pork loin had been aged over four weeks and carried incredible flavours, and the crackling had the perfect crunch.
Onto desserts and we start with the palate cleanser of Yoghurt sorbet with banana leaf oil and powder. Served in a coconut bowl, the yoghurt sorbet was delightfully refreshing and I loved the addition of the pink sea salt.
The Roast coconut ice cream with cocoa nib and a cashew crumb was divine. The ice cream had a great intensity of flavour, with more nuttiness than usual, and the crumb and wafer all worked well together.
I would have been happy to end the night at this point as I found the next desserts of Rum cake, marzipan and raisin too sweet for my liking.
The last sweet was a molasses toffee with coconut, lime and ginger. The waitress told us that half the diners love this and half don't. We fell in the latter category - I found it strange that they would end with such a divisive dish but aside from this hiccup, the entire meal has been amazing.
The staff was friendly and professional and I loved being able to look into the open kitchen to see the team of chefs at work. The flavours are bold and creative, and it was one of the most memorable and exciting meals I've had, different to any degustation I've had before.
Eastside Kitchen & Bar, Chippendale
Eastside Kitchen & Bar is another restaurant in the ever expanding Kensington St dining precinct in Chippendale. It serves modern cuisine with New York and Asian influences. We started with one of the small plates, Roasted baby carrot with green pea hommus, almonds and fennel pollen. Some of the carrots felt a little underdone but the pea hommus with the almonds was delicious.
The Roasted duck breast was well cooked and is beautifully paired with the pickled cherries. The shaved brussel sprouts added a touch of freshness to the dish.
The Pan seared mulloway pointed to some classic Asian flavours, with a ginger and scallion salsa creating a wonderful aroma. The crispy skinned fillet was paired with a sweet potato puree and crispy leek.
The Ranger's Valley Angus Hanger Steak had been chargrilled over Eastside Kitchen's Bichotan coal, bringing a lovely smokiness to the meat. Duck fat potatoes are...well, you can't go wrong with these!
For dessert, we got the 'Fire and Ice' dessert platter - the perfect choice when you want to try a bit of everything! There was great theatre with the smoke from the dry ice and flames over the mini creme brulee. The platter was a plethora of desserts: Matcha cheesecakes, brownie, gummies, honeycomb, shortbread, lemon tart, and so much more!
The decor is dark and mysterious, with exposed bricks and leather paneled bar that wouldn't look out of place in New York's meatpacking district. All the plates are designed for sharing, and of course, you can't go past the dessert platter.
LOT.1, Sydney CBD
LOT.1 is a three-level restaurant/ bar in the heart of Sydney's CBD. The decor is modern and striking, and the service was warm and inviting. The menu is heavily Italian inspired, though our first dish featured a take on the French classic of steak tartare. The Wagyu tartare, anchovy mousse, buckwheat crisp and pickled hazelnuts was simply delicious, with the anchovy mousse adding the creamy component normally provided by an egg yolk.
The Chicken liver pate with choux pastry and mostarda was equally impressive. The choux bun was soft and fluffy, the sweetness of the mostarda complemented the liver pate well.
A pasta dish for $42 is hard to justify, but Lot.1's Spaghettini with spanner crab, chilli, garlic and wakame was one of the best I've had in Sydney. The pasta was silky and cooked to perfection, and the wakame really added an umami boost to the dish.
For the final saoury course of the night, we had the Duck breast with witlof, persimmon, coffee and a cured yolk. A curious combination but one that worked. The persimmon was finely sliced and provided the sweetness to contrast the slight bitterness of the witlof. The coffee component was neither here nor there, but the cured yolk was a nice touch to go with the duck.
You can't go wrong with Tiramisu for dessert - the coffee flavour was intense and it was not overly sweet. A few more Savoiardi biscuits to mop up the mascarpone would have made it perfect.
Impressive food, with superb service from start to finish, it's definitely worth a visit.
The prospect of eating at Mjolner, a Thor-inspired, Viking-themed restaurant created by the team behind the amazing Eau de Vie cocktail bar was an exciting one. Entering the basement, I was immediately transformed into another world. The site of a former tobacco factory, the space was dark and moody with exposed brick walls, various Viking themed memorabilia and of course, Thor's hammer (of which the restaurant takes its name from).
We all had a miniature viking horn shot class in front of us. Turns out they were for our Skal, a complimentary welcome drink of Mead, honey and vermouth. Sweet and smooth, it was simply delicious!
As soon as the Roasted bone marrow hit the table, I was salivating. The marrow was melt in your mouth delicious and the meat crumb on top was heavenly, packed full of umami flavour - a sprinkle of this would make the blandest food taste amazing.
The Pig's head terrine was delicious and had a crumbly texture, served with a sprinkling of crunchy pistachios.
Our waitress returned to our table with a leather pouch, unveiling a range of knives (all different designs) for us to pick our own blade of choice for the main course!
We started with the Whole Snapper, which was cooked beautifully and well seasoned, with the flesh flaking away easily.
The Lamb shank was cooked on the rotisserie for over 7 hours so it was no surprise it was incredibly tender. The smoked eggplant puree together with the macadamias also delivered in terms of flavour.
The Beef short rib was buttery and luscious, falling off the giant bone at the slightest pressure. It was simply one of the best short ribs I've ever had.
The special of the night was the Pork loin with house made BBQ sauce and it tasted as delicious as it looked. Our carving knives came in handy with this dish and biting into the crispy pork crackling was oh so satisfying. Who knew the Vikings had it so good?
The sides of the Green beans with a hazelnut and sourdough crumb and Carrots were very tasty on their own right, perfect complements to the meaty dishes.
Onto desserts, and the combination of Fennel, rhubarb and rice pudding seems strange on paper, but actually worked well together. The rhubarb sorbet was smooth and velvety, offering some sourness to counteract the sweetness of the rice pudding.
The Mascarpone parfait was very creamy but lacked flavour and was the only miss of the night.
Themed restaurants can be gimmicky, but Mojlner has absolutely smashed it out of the park. Everything from the fitout to the food was very impressive. It's a unique dining experience but to get the most out of it, I'd recommend coming with a group so you can try out several of the meaty mains.
On a sunny Winter's day, my friends and I ventured to try out Anason, serving Turkish cuisine on the Barangaroo waterfront promenade. The menu is designed for sharing with a mix of small and large plates. We decided to start with one of the waiter's recommendation, the Baba Ghanoush dip paired with the Saj Pide. The bread was served warm, and had a soft and fluffy texture. It was tempting to just fill up on these and the airy, creamy eggplant dip but more food beckoned.
The Cured salmon pastirma looked amazing as it hit our table. The saltiness of the cured salmon is balanced by the acidity of the pickled chillies and fennel, and the freshness of the mini tomatoes.
The Scallops were cooked beautifully, paired with a creamy artichoke puree and sprinkled with wild rice. However, for the price of the dish, I was expecting a little bit more.
Onto the larger plates and we opted for the Hanger steak. The beef slices were ultra tender but what made the dish so impressive was the Muhammara (a red capsicum and walnut dip) that is jam packed with flavour.
The Duck breast was served with silverbeet dolmas. I enjoyed the filling of the dolma and it soaked in all the flavours from the taharna sauce.
Overall, the food definitely delivers on flavours, though some dishes were a little overpriced. I loved the blue and white decor (especially that blue tiled table!) and the al fresco dining option.
12 Micron, Barangaroo
12 Micron is an establishment situated in the new dining precinct of Barangaroo, complete with its own dessert bar helmed by Darren Purchese. First thing I noticed about 12 Micron was the enormous, modern space (able to seat more than 220 patrons) with a brilliant harbour view.
We were excited to get to the desserts but decided to have some savoury dishes first before the sugar hit. The menu is focused on Australian produce and we start with the Lobster omelette. It was a classic dish done well, with generous servings of lobster.
The Moreton Bay Bug rice paper rolls were disappointing in flavour and serving size, given the price charged.
The Goats cheese tortellini, on the other hand, was beautifully executed. The tortellinis were plump and the burnt butter sauce was spot on.
The Flinders Island lamb was beautifully cooked. I quite enjoyed the texture of the damper and the seared sweetbreads were very tasty.
The Suckling pork came with crispy crackling and the preserved riberries added a nice touch, though serving size is again a little small.
There were a number of dishes on offer from the rotisserie, visible in the open kitchen. We picked the Duck with duck fat potatoes. The duck was good, without being spectacular. By this stage, we were ready for the dessert onslaught and this is where 12 Micron really shines.
There's an option for a 3, 5 or 7 course dessert degustation but we opted to go a la carte. We started with the Pistachio, green tea and yuzu creation. The Pistachio and green tea mousse was delicate and pillowy, as was the green tea sponge. The gelato was smooth and creamy and the pops of yuzu and blackcurrant added some bold colours and flavours to the dish.
The glass of Coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint was delicious in every way, and it was fun searching through the layers to discover all the different elements.
The deconstructed Gin & Tonic dessert had more components than I could remember. There was the lime and lemon curd, frozen cucumber and lime parfait, white chocolate mousse and marshmallows just to name a few. Somehow, all the ingredients work together and really delivered on the flavour of a G&T.
Another favourite of the night was the Smoked Vanilla ice cream with plum, Barossa Valley Wanera and Thyme Sable. It's the first time I've had ice cream with a slice of cheese, and surprised to say, it worked amazingly well together! The cheese manages to temper the sweetness of the plum sauce and the honeycomb.
Olive oil, chocolate, toast ice cream and smoked salt was another exciting combination that worked beautifully. The olive oil jelly was light and creamy at the same time, the chocolate ganache was incredibly rich with the bread ice cream providing some much needed relief.
The Rose, Apple, Strawberry and Beetroot dessert definitely caught out attention with its striking red colour and wonderful fragrance. The crystallised rose petals was a bit too sweet for my liking, but I did enjoy the apple sorbet which was very refreshing and the moist beetroot sponge cake.
Just when we thought we had conquered the desserts, a plate of complmentary petit fours (actually, threes) arrived on our table. I found the raspberry jellies much too sweet, but the mint biscuit was tasty, as well as the dark chocolate truffle.
The design of the restaurant is impressive, from the segmentation of the space down to the beautiful cutlery and crockery. The desserts are clearly the star of the show and why you should pay 12 Micron a visit. Not only do they look amazing, but the creations are playful, imaginative and full of unexpected flavour and textural combinations.
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