Riley St Garage, Woolloomooloo
Formerly a garage, the large industrial space has been converted into an upscale bar and restaurant, Riley St Garage in Woolloomoolo. The interior is dark and chic, with a large oval shaped bar in the middle.
The menu is made for sharing and we started off with the Smokey Soy Truffle oysters. Beautifully presented, the smoked soy really enhanced the flavour of the freshly shucked oysters and I could easily have eaten a few more!
Heirloom tomato, burrata and basil is a tried and tested combination so we couldn't go wrong with this dish!
The Seared scallops were large and plump and cooked perfectly. The yuzu koshu garlic buter added great flavour to the dish, and again, I could have consumed a few more easily!
I love eggplant and I love miso so the Sweet eggplant miso gratin was definitely a dish for me. The miso gives it a salty hit but when mixed together with the gooey eggplant, it's really well balanced.
The Chorizo corn dog sounded intriguing. Teamed with the dijon mayo, it was definitely fancier than your average corn dog from the Easter Show!
The Grilled Fremantle octopus with white bean and chilli mayo was delicious and had bold hits of Mediterranean flavour. The octopus was beautifully tender and a joy to eat.
I don't often order a chicken dish in fancy restaurants as I feel that it's relatively easy to cook myself. But the Riley Street's Organic half chicken with apple and onion vinaigrette was definitely worth ordering! The chicken skin was wonderfully crispy and the meat was remarkably tender. The creamy truffled mash that accompanied the dish was ridiculously smooth and aromatic, one of the best mash that I have had.
Looking for a sweet finish to the meal, we ordered the Dessert platter. The presentation is absolutely spectacular and definitely one of the highlights of the night. The chocolate mousse was rich and decadent, and paired well with the mascarpone ice cream. The creme brulee had the crunchy crust on top with just the right amount of sweetness.
All in all, I was very impressed by Riley Street Garage. The space reminds me very much of New York. Service is efficient and friendly, flavours were fantastic and I loved that the menu is designed for sharing.
Ms Gs, Potts Point
Ms G's is one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney and my last outing there was no different. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of atmosphere, service and food (both in quality and inventiveness).
In recent years, franken food have begun making its way onto menus (e.g. ramen burger, cruffic and cronut to name a few). Here at Ms G's, they offer Cheeseburger springrolls - it sounded too intriguing to resist. Biting into one of these, we felt like we had entered food heaven! So what does it tastes like? Exactly like how you would imagine it would taste - it's like having a bite sized cheeseburger wrapped in deep fried pastry!
The grilled corn on a cob is a staple on the Ms G's menu and paired with the lime and generous shavings of parmesan, is absolutely delicious.
The Vietnamese style steak tartare comes with prawn crackers rather than croutons. The steak tartare was tender with the sweet, salty and tangy notes that Vietnamese cuisines are known for. I also loved the addition of the fried eschallots sprinkled on top.
The photo doesn't do our next dish, the Nasi Goreng hitam justice. It's a twist on the Malaysian classic with the rice fried with chorizo and squid ink. The dish was bold in flavour, with a good degree of heat, and topped off with a sunny side up egg.
For dessert, we went for The BOSS - primarily because it contained kaya French toast, which I discovered whilst holidaying in Malaysia recently. The mixture of coconut, pandan, egg and sugar in the kaya spread is just intoxicatingly good. But that wasn't all that I loved about the dessert - the thai milk ice cream was velvelty smooth and intense in flavour, and the blueberry jam added a touch of freshness. Together with the puffed rice and honeycomb, it was definitely a fun dessert to eat though it did get a little too sweet by the end.
Once again, Ms G's has delivered. It's fun place to go for a date or with a group of friends. The only downsides are the lack of parking and poor lighting for food photos!
Osaka Bar, Potts Point
I have great memories of eating my way through the Japanese city of Osaka a few years back so was eager to dine at Osaka Bar, which is headed up by Chef Kazu, ex-head chef of Masuya. It is nestled on Llankelly Avenue in Potts Point, one of the new dining hubs in the city with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu is a mixture of Osaka specialties, other traditional Japanese dishes and more Western/ fusion offerings.
But first, drinks! Seeing all the sake bottles lined up in the restaurant, my bf and I decided some sake is in order. Not knowing too much about the many variants of sake, we left it up to the restaurant to select one for us to try. We were invited to pick our own sake cup which was a nice touch.
We started with the takoyaki balls, an Osaka street food specialty. The balls were plump with a gooey centre and I loved the fact I could see actal chunky pieces of octopus inside.
The Popcorn prawns were a great snack, crispy on the outside and was accompanied with two tasty sauces: a garlic mayo and a spicy tomato sauce.
Okonomiyaki is another specialty originating from Osaka so we were definitely eager to try it. We opted for the pork filling and mixed with the cabbage and egg, was utterly delicious. It came wrapped with prosctuitto which was a bonus.
The confit duck is Chef Kazu's signature dish and it's easy to see why. The slices of duck were cooked at 65 degrees, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. The miso and honey mustard melded with the blueberry sauce was a genius combination. The flavours worked really well together and this was one of our favourite dishes of the night.
Next was the Slow cooked beef tendon which had a lovely gelatinous texture. The flavour of the sweet miso broth was spot on and we could easily ate another couple of skewers.
The grilled wagyu was the chef's recommendation and again, he was right on the money. The wagyu rump, cooked medium rare was super succulent and it came with a delicious peppery steak sauce and creamy cod roe mashed potato.
Since it was a rather cold night, we ordered the Osaka-style oden, a Japanese style hot pot. It's a very homely dish with a soy and mirin based broth, containing fish cake, Konnyaku (yam cake), hard boiled egg and our favourite beef tendon.
If you love deep fried food, then this is the right place to visit as it serves a wide selection of Kushi Katsu skewers - which literally translates to deep fried skewers. Even better if you a member of Washoku Lovers (a promoter of authentic Japanese restaurants), as they offer you two complimentary skewers when you dine. We opted for the salmon belly and the eggplant varieties. The coating of bread crumbs results in them being super crunchy.
I love the tapas style menu which is perfect for sharing. The food is great value for money and it's great to see a restaurant showcasing the food of Osaka.
Sashimiso dined as a guest of Osaka Bar. All opinions are my own.
Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst
You know it's a good meal when you are still thinking about it weeks later, and that's the case with Cafe Paci. What started as a pop up has now been opened for two years, as Sydney has fallen in love with the creative dishes of Pasi Patanen. It was definitely one of the most inventive and creative meals I've ever had.
The meal started with a plate of snacks. The wafer thin oat crackers topped with oyster cream and black garlic were very tasty. The rye biscuit with lardo, kohl rabi and apple had a nice sweetness, topped with a sprinkling of bacon powder. But my favourite snack was the pastry tart with ocean trout fish floss and dill sour cream. The tart was the just the right amount of crumbliness and the fish floss really packed a punch of flavour.
Coming on a separate plate was the Rye Taco topped with rice pudding, egg butter and sour onions which was wonderfully buttery and creamy.
The bread then arrived and it was no ordinary bread - it was a Finnish Rye Bread made with Potato Flour and brushed with molasses, served with house churned butter. Served warm, it was quite dense and moist, and the molasses gives it a raisin-like sweetness. I knew I should have been saving stomach space for the rest of the courses, but I couldn't stop eating it.
The seasonal degustation menu details only a list of ingredients, leaving it to our imagination to figure out what we would be having. The Blue swimmer crab, pickled carrots with tarragon cream dish had just the right sweet and savory notes. The pickled ribbons of carrot were beautifully presented on the bed of crab meat and it must have taken incredible knife work to slice them so thinly. Meshed with the tarragon cream, it tasted like it came straight from the sea.
When the next dish hit the table, the collective reaction was "Wow". Combining some of my favourite foods on the world, the Duck, Hazelnut, Radicchio, Raspberry creation was visually stunning and definitely one of the highlights of the night. The Confit Duck, covered in Hazelnut Milk, Roasted Hazelnuts and Radicchio dusted with Freeze Dried Raspberry was a genius combination. The duck was juicy and tender, with the hazelnut adding both creaminess and crunch. The acidity in the raspberry and the slight bitterness of the radicchio really helped to cut through the richness and it was a real flavour explosion in the mouth. Interestingly, at times, it almost felt like I was eating a dessert!
The lofty standards were maintained with the next course: Cabbage, Mussel Butter, Bone Marrow and Pomelo. Cabbage can be pretty plain and boring, but when it is roasted in mussel butter, it is a whole different story. The cabbage was soft and tender, with a real sweetness. The mussels were incredibly plump and juicy, and mixed with the pomelo sauce, the bone marrow and the poached pork lardo was just so utterly delicious.
The menu said Photato. Was it a Pho with potatos? We were close...It was a modern take on the Vietnamese classic. There were the beautifully cooked slices of rare Wagyu beef, the chewy enoki mushrooms, garlic chips and of course, the super thin potato noodles which were served al dente. The broth was very flavoursome though I do think I prefer a traditional, hearty bowl of pho over this intepretation.
We took up the offer to share the optional cheese course between us, which involved Gorgonzola with prunes rolled in seasame seeds and crackers of dehydrated chocolate mousse. The dehydrated chocolate mousse was really light and airy, and paired perfectly with the gorgonzola which was really gooey and creamy.
And now we move onto dessert! The Carrot, Yoghurt, Liquorice combination was intriguing and not being a fan of liquorice, I was a little apprehensive about it. However, all my doubts were erased once I dug into the dish. The outer layer was a super light yoghurt foam, followed by a layer of carrot sorbet and finally, the liquorice cake as the base which had a mild aniseed flavour. It was a wonderfully balanced dish and really lit up our tastebuds, and we were craving for more.
The main dessert was Pear and Parsley with Poached Pear, Custard, Parsley Sorbet and Candied Parsley. I had never had parsley in a dessert before and the herbaceous tones really went well with the perfectly poached pear and custard. The quenelle of parsley sorbet was just ridiculously smooth.
The meal ended with the Petit Fours. The Pork and Fennel, being pork crackling coated in chocolate and fennel seeds was a daring combination. The pork crackling almost melts in the mouth and again had the sweet and savoury notes. The Corn and Butter was indeed fairy floss sprinkled with bits of pop corn. For me, it was a bit too much sugar and the only dish where we didn't wipe the plates clean.
All in all, it was one of the best meals I have ever had. Service was great from the moment we walked in the door. Whilst the palette of the restaurant is predominantly grey, it is definitely not how I would describe his food - which is filled with bold dashes of colour! The menu is original and inventive, and really opened up my mind to a lot of flavour combinations that I had not considered before. Hopefully, it stays open for a little while longer!
On our recent trip to Hawaii, my bf and I fell in love with Poke (pronounced Poh-Keh), a Hawaiian version of sashimi. It involves sashimi grade fish cut into cubes and marinated in Japanese inspired flavours, served on its own or with rice. Coming back to Sydney, the cravings for poke did not go away so we were super excited to hear Poke had opened up in Coogee.
The decor had a modern Hawaiian feel, a bright space with fresh flowers adorning the table. Aside from poke, they also serve other well-known Hawaiian cuisine such as Kalua pork and Huli Huli chicken. But our eyes went straight to the poke of course. There were three sizes of poke bowls to choose from. We opted for two medium bowls which gives you two choices of poke flavours, one side and black rice.
Two packed and colourful bowls soon arrived at our table and we couldn't wait to dig in. Bowl #1: Go Nuts tuna and the Spicy mayo salmon (today's special) with white kimchi and black rice. We devoured the chunky cubes of sashimi which tasted very fresh.The tuna was marinated in soy sauce and adorned with sesame seeds and crushed macadamia nuts, which gave the dish an added crunchy element. The spicy mayo goes well with the salmon and the black rice was great to mop up all the sauce.
Bowl #2: The Aloha Way (Salmon with soy and sesame dressing and cherry tomatoes) and the Go Nuts tuna with raw slaw. The addition of the cherry tomatoes made it quite refreshing and added a touch of sweetness.
The poke bowls were filling but still felt light. It is a great alternative to normal fast food...if only there was one closer to home!
Devon by Night, Waterloo
Ever since I went to Devon on Danks for brunch, I have wanted to come back to try their dinner menu - which is quite creative, with an Asian twist.
Beef tartare is something that can taste terrible when it is done poorly but in Devon on Dank's case, it is spectacular. Firstly, the presentation of the Korean steak tartare: a bright yellow yolk in the middle, surrounded by thin nashi pear slices like petals of a flower, with the beef just hidden underneath.
The Tajima beef was exceptional with a melt in your mouth texture and was mixed in a very tasty sweet soy and sesame dressing. A mouthful of the beef, with some of the yolk and the sweet nashi pair is heaven.
The twice cooked crispy pork hock was not as mindblowing, but equally delicious. The sticky sweet and sour sauce was nicely balanced and the peanuts added an extra texture to the dish.
The intriguingly named Treasures beneath the snow was perfect for a cold, rainy night. The "snow" was the milk and egg white, with flakes of crab meat mixed through. It was fluffy and light, and the black vinegar gave it a good flavour kick.
There were a couple of desserts that caught my eye when looking through the menu, but we finally decided on the Sago pudding, coconut jelly, guava sorbet and freeze dried pineapple. The guava sorbet was very refreshing and balanced well against the palm sugar and the sago. Not one component overpowered the other and I liked the addition of the freeze dried pineapple, which I had never tried before.
The vibe is fun and casual, and the food is very reasonably priced. The Devon Cafe changes their menu seasonally so I look forward to coming back for more Devon by Night dinners.
Four in Hand, Paddington
The first course was the Pickled scallop and heirloom tomatoes and fennel in a clear broth. The dish was so tasty and mesmerising that I forgot to take a photo...which is a real shame because it was such a photogenic dish. The tomato medley, together with the micro herbs and scallops gave it wonderful colour and the broth was really delicate with incredible flavours.
Next was the Seared Albacore Tuna with Pickled Strawberries and Horseradish. I don't often order tuna at a restaurant because it's so easy to overcook, but this was done just right. The dish came with a pickled cucumber jelly and seaweed cracker which added to the texture, and I loved the pickled strawberries, which had this wonderful, intense sweetness to it.
For Valentine's Day this year, I was treated to a five course degustation at Four in Hand in Paddington ($95pp). I have enjoyed Colin Fassnidge's cooking at Four Fourteen so was eager to see what was in store.
We were offered a complimentary glass of champagne and an amuse bouche to start. The Whitefish and citrus soup with smoked paprika and basil was very flavoursome and definitely woke up our palate. Interestingly, the butter and salt was served in bone marrow - a nod to their nose and tail philosophy.
Next, we had the Bavette and Beef Cheek with Buttermilk Curd and Summer Greens. I had to google what a bavette was - turns out it is a French style cut, similar to a flank steak. Again, it was wonderfully cooked but the star of the dish was the beef cheek. The meat was falling-off-the bone tender and soaked up all the wonder juices from the stock.
Corned beef is not normally an item you would see on the menu of a restaurant, let alone a fine dining one. However, the Warmed corned beef with bresciola, buffalo curd and nashi pear was a revelation. The poached corn beef was moist and juicy, sitting atop a precisely cut block of nashi pear which provided the sweetness. Draped over the top was the house cured bresciola with shaved horseradish and a rich cheesy buffalo curd.
The dessert - Chocolate ice cream with pedro ximenz and macadamic nut with Brioche combined some of my favourite foods in the world - brioche, macadamia and chocolate. The ice cream was rich and velvety smooth and the chocolate flavours were everywhere but never overly sweet. I savoured each bite, not wanting the experience to end.
I was very impressed with the food overall. All the dishes had wonderful textures and balance of flavours. The service was friendly and professional too.
Having tried the lobster roll at Johnny Lobster recently, I was keen to try out other versions of this Boston classic in Sydney. This time, we went to Burger Liquor Lobster in Paddington. Above the London Hotel, Burger Liquor Lobster has a funky interior with colourful graffiti adorning its wall.
The menu is simple and comes under the 3 headings of - no surprise - burgers, liquor and lobster.
We tried the Soft shell crab burger with chilli Singapore sauce and Asian slaw. My mouth was watering when this landed on our table with the crispy legs sticking out, waiting to be devoured. The soft shell crab was delicious - crunchy and soft at the same time, and the Singapore sauce added a spicy hit to the dish.
The Salt and pepper lobster roll with lemon aioli, chives, red onion and iceberg lettuce was really why I came to BLL for. It's not the normal steamed lobster that I adore, but was a very tasty alternative. Being deep fried, the meat was still succulent and the lemon aioli went superbly with the lobster. In terms of lobster content, I felt this was slightly more generous than Johnny Lobster.
Operating as a pop-up, get here for your lobster fix before it's too late!
Devon on Danks, Waterloo
Devon on Danks is an extension of the very popular Devon Cafe in Surry Hills. Visiting on the opening weekend, we were lucky to get a seat without waiting. However, we were informed that the kitchen was closed for 20 minutes to catch up on their orders.
Feeling rather hungry, we decided to skip straight to desserts and ordered the mini donuts, which sat on the pastry bar, demanding to be eaten.
These weren't ordinary donuts. The flavours change day to day and today's selection was Raspberry sugar, Milo and Matcha with red bean. We decided to get one each and weren't disappointed. The raspberry one came with a syringe, for you to inject your own raspberry coulis into it. The matcha and red bean had really authentic flavours and had a great texture.
Breakfast With the Sakuma’s is one of Devon Cafe's most popular dish. It consists of salmon, a smoked eel croquette, a gooey 63 degree egg and kewpie mayo. The salmon was perfectly tender, the croquette was crispy tho I could not really taste the smoked eel.
Lucky Duck is an exclusive dish at the Devon on Danks branch and consists of crispy duck leg, French buckwheat crepe, a fried duck egg, duck liver parfait and blueberry preserve. The parfait was rich yet not overly so. The duck was crispy and well seasoned. The saltiness of the duck egg was balanced by the sweetness of the blueberry preserve, with the buckwheat crepe the perfect accompaniment to this very flavoursome dish.
We debated whether to get our second dessert of this meal given we were fairly full. The pork floss cronut was just too intriguing to pass up. It tasted exactly like the pork floss buns you can get at Asian bakery stores but with a crunchy pastry - love it. The pastry at Brewtown Newtown is a tad crispier but I love their Asian inspired flavours here.
There are still so many things I want to try from this menu, will definitely be paying Devon on Danks another visit.
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!
Find me on instagram: