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Dancing Blue Seal

Food, Eating and Cooking Plus the Occasional Sunset

Updated: 2018-02-20T00:34:45.852+08:00


Beef cheeks braised with oysters in Red wine (Inspired by Chef Raymond Blanc)


Ingredients:2 large pieces of beef cheeks20 Large oysters1 Cup FlourSalt and Pepper to seasonButter/olive oil for fryingMirepoix: 1 large carrot, 4 stalks celery, 2 large brown onions, 6 cloves garlic, 3 stalks spring onion500g brown mushrooms1 small can tomato pasteAromatics: Thyme, Bay leaves, cinnamon, star aniseLiquids: 1 pack Campbells beef stock, 1 bottle MerlotEquipment: 1 large heavy base pot, 1 slow cookerInstructions:(Optional) Add salt, pepper and flour into a large ziplock bag and shake till well mixed.Place beef cheeks into the ziplock bag and shake till well coated in flour and seasoning.(OR) Season beef cheeks with salt and pepperThen, in a heavy base pot, heat oil till smoking then add beef cheeks and brown them till dark and golden then set aside.Chop up mirepoix and brown mushrooms into small pieces (use food processor for convenience)Fry them in the heavy base pot scrapping down all the sucs, add tomato paste and fry till fragrant.Add oystersWhen ingredients are tender and semi-caramelised, add wine, stock and aromatics. Bring to boil.Boil till volume is reduced to ½ or 1/3.Meanwhile, heat up slow cooker.Ladle a couple of spoons of the mixture onto base of slow cooker pot.Place beef cheeksLadle the rest of the mixture over the beef cheeksSlow cook for at least 8 hours.Serve with cauliflower mash, asparagus and broccolini fried in bacon fat.[...]

Lebanese Cuisine - Jasmin1 Auburn


I will let the pictures do the talking for this post.

 Mixed plate $18. Worth every penny. Lebanese bread, garlic sauce, tahini sauce and pickles are all complimentary.
Best Lebanese food I've had since moving to Sydney? Probably. Will I be back? Definitely. (Been back two days in a row so far :P)

Chinese Cuisine - Steamed pork with millet


A Chinese classic, tender pork belly marinated in a spice mixed and steamed with millet to absorb up all the juices.Start with a piece of pork belly with a meat to fat ratio of approximately 1:1 For this recipe, I decided to experiment with this pre-packaged spice and millet mix that can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Slice your pork belly up into approximately 2" cubes Empty packet of spice and millet mix over, add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 table spoon of Chinese cooking wine, 1 tablespoon of soy-sauce, 1 table spoon of Sesame oil and just a pinch of pepper. Give it a good mix until all the meat is well coated. Let meat marinate in the fridge (cover with cling wrap) for approximately 2 hours or overnight before cooking. Julienne a carrot and sprinkle over the top before steaming for an hourFinished product sitting in my steamer. It is a complete 1 dish meal for the winter. Enjoy![...]

Keto Friendly Creamy Seafood Chowder


Bonjour! Combining seafood and soup, I bring you seafood soup...............................Righto. So onto the ingredients and method.For 4 serves: 250 grams of oysters, 250 grams of seafood marinara mix (from woolworths etc), 1 piece of smoked cod. Aromatics: 1/2 a brown onion sliced, 2 stalks of celery cubed and 3 cloves of garlic minced. Liquids and seasoning: 1 x packet of stock, 1 x carton of double cream, cayenne pepper for extra kick. Add some unsalted butter to a pan and heat till it melts. Add some olive oil to prevent butter from burning. Add the piece of cod and fry both sides till tender and flaky. Flake up the fish using a spatula an move it to the edge of the pan. Toss in aromatics (Celery, onion and garlic) and fry till fragrant whilst mixing in the smoked cod Toss in Oysters first (especially if they're frozen like mine). As they are heated up, they will release moisture which will help deglaze the pan. Sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper and freshly cracked black pepper. After heating through the oysters for about 5 minutes, add the seafood mix and continue to stir fry the whole lot for another 5~8 minutes. Then add just enough stock to cover ingredients Add your desired amount of cream. For this instance I used 1 standard container of double cream. Bring to a gentle simmer for a further 5 minutes and take care not to boil soup so as to prevent cream from separating. Spoon into your favourite soup bowl, garnish with some smoked paprika and chow down! (P.S: Keto-friendly croutons anyone????? :P)[...]

To be first amongst equals, one burger to rule them all....


Hi all, so I was having a burger craving and decided to give a crack at writing a personal review on three of the top favourites within the vicinity.They are:1) Bare Grill on Bourke Street, Surry Hills2) Grill'd3) Big Daddy's Burger Grill First up we have The Mac Daddy at Big Daddy's Burger BarTriple beef patties, triple cheese, big daddy sauce - $13Deep fried onion rings - $5Review: The burger was VERY juicy, and dripping with melted cheese. Bun was similar to semi-sweet French brioche bread and gave a great contrast to the savouriness of the meat and cheese. The onion rings were very normal, nothing to go ga ga about.Verdict: Big thumbs up to the Mac Daddy. Won't purchase onion rings again. Next up is Bare Grill along Bourke Street, Surry Hills.I  ordered the Big Bare which had two beef patties, bacon, American cheese, lettuce and onions plus their special sauce - $17Melted raclette cheese over burger - $7Onion rings - $12Review: Quality and service comes at a premium. Being the most costly of the three restaurants, this offered prompt service by wait-staff, water and a heated interior which is pretty welcomed for the winter. No corners were cut in the preparation of the burger. The patties were tasty, not too salty, succulent and real beefy. The variety of melted cheeses gave it an added oomph. Finally the bacon was definitely the cherry on top of the cake. The onion rings were freshly fried, crispy and contained rings sliced out from an actual onion, not reconstituted onion mash fashioned into UFOs.Verdict: Very excellent, at $7 for topping of melted cheese, I reckon its a bit on the pricey side. Last but not least, your everyday burger from the Grill'd Chain of restaurants.Bacon and cheese burger - $11.50Low carb burger bun - +$1.50Deep fried avocado chips - $5.90Review: In summary, crispy bacon, melted cheese on a juicy beef patty, garnished with onions and lettuce nestled in a low carbohydrate bun along with a side of battered and deep fried avocado slices. Burger was pretty normal but avocado chips were very unique.Verdict: Burgers are so-so however I would recommend trying the avocado chips at least once just to satisfy your curiosity.[...]

Roasted Scotch Fillet with mushrooms, garlic and onions


Craving some beef, I decided to roast some Scotch Fillet for tonight's dinner. Scotch fillet which is also Rib Eye cut without the bone in has a great meat to fat ratio, tenderness and flavour.Rub scotch fillet with olive oil then marinate with ample salt, pepper and minced garlicPrepare some extra smashed garlic and onions to cook with the mushrooms Slice up a carton of your favourite mushrooms. Toss some olive oil with butter into a heavy base pan, turn flame on to medium high Sweat onions till translucent then throw in garlic and fry till fragrant. Take care not to burn garlic if not it will impart a bitterness. Toss in your sliced mushrooms and fry, tossing regularly The mushroom/onion/garlic mixture should look like this at the end of the frying Place meat into your baking dish and spread the mushrooms around it as shown in picture below. If you are using a table top convection oven like I am, cover with aluminium foil and cook at 175C for 1 hour. Flip meat and pop it back in for another hour at 150C. Finally flip it back to its original side up, remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes on 125C.The dish should look like this at the end. Remember to let the meat sit for around 10~15 minutes before slicing.  Bon Appetit my friends! Remember, may the Om Nom Nom be with you :D[...]

Not so classic cream of mushroom soup


We all agree that the only thing better than bacon is more bacon. In order to confidently eliminate all trace of vegetal-ness from this all time favourite, I had to include some diced bacon. :DInstructionsBrown a cup of diced up bacon with some butterChop up 4 cups of mushrooms (If you're feeling extravagant, use Swiss brown)Optional: Soak a cup of dried porcini mushrooms and strain it to remove unwanted sediments. Keep mushroom liquor to add into the broth.Feeling lazy like me? Use a carton of your favourite comercial chicken stock! (Vegetable stock is fine too)600ml of pure pouring cream Mince 1 bulb of garlic, chop up 2 large brown onions, slice up a bunch of shallots (not shown here)Add dry ingredients to the browned bacon and stir fry till fragrant, splash porcini mushroom liquor to deglaze pan if need be or to prevent your ingredients from sticking to the base of the pot and burning.Add stock and porcini mushroomsCheck fluid levels and top up with more stock/water if needed. Take care not to add to much as you have to take into account the 600ml of pouring cream that you need to include. Bring to a rolling boil and let it do so for 30~45 minutes.The final product should look like this before you put your stick blender in. Blend away!!!!!!!!!~~~~Ladle into your favourite heated bowl and serve with warm buttered French loaf... Nah just kidding, to keep it non-diabetogenic, just have it on its own, with herman brot or with fried chicken.Garnished with some freshly grounded black pepper. :D Enjoy![...]

Keto Friendly Italian Bangers and Cauliflower Mash


As cauliflower is in season, there is no better time to indulge in some low carb mash topped of with some double smoked Italian Kranskies.Final plated dish topped with some shallots  Start with two heads of cauliflowerRemove the core and chop into small pieces. Place in a suitably sized pot and fill with water. Add two teaspoons of salt for flavour if desired.Bring water to a rolling boil and cook till tender.Other ingredients: 600ml Pouring cream, Double cream (if needed), Butter (I highly recommend Kerrygold brand), Some shallots (or spring onions, depending on what you call them), several cloves of garlic, salt and pepper for seasoning.Peel and squash garlic to unlock its aroma, clean and trim shallots and soak in cool water to make them extra crispy ;)Brown garlic in desired amount of butter with a generous pinch of salt over a low flame. Try and aim for an even golden brownness. When adequately cooked, drain cauliflower THOROUGHLY using a colander if need be. Toss in your caramelised garlic and heated butter. Get a potato masher and squash everything up, then switch to a hand-blender and blend till smooth whilst adding in your pouring cream a splash at a time. Remember to heat up your pouring cream in the mircrowave (30 second intervals whilst stirring in between for a total of 2~3 minutes) prior to combining with the cauliflower. Add more unsalted butter for extra richness. Sprinkle over salt and pepper to taste.The final product should resemble something like this. It should result in a smooth consistency without any grit or graininess upon coming in contact with your palette and tongue.Score your sausages and pop them under the grill mean while, grill on low flame for 10 minutes on each side. (The option of having sausage is entirely up to the individual)Spoon mash onto plate, place sausage and garnish with chopped spring onions.Using 2 heads of cauliflower, 600ml of pouring cream and 250grams butter ensures that I will have enough mash to last me a couple of meals (yay!)[...]

Hot Wok Kitchen, Anzac Parade, Maroubra


It was a rather lazy late morning start, we just finished a great workout and were craving some Chinese food. A little drive down Maroubra brought us to Hot Wok Kitchen. We've always wanted to try this place out and boy were we impressed with their quality.Very Ordinary looking façade, the magic lies within though.A display of their recommended dishes.Specials for the season as listed from top to bottom (i'll try my best to translate as my Chinese is not the best):1. Some mushroom, tofu and ???? stir fry $12.002. Salt and pepper fish fillet $15.503. Goat/Lamb braised in a hotpot $16.804. Roast duck w/rice, $15.00/$9.505. Mushrooms with bracket fungus steamed chicken (???) $14.806. Some beef on rice dish $9.007. Salt and pepper Eggplant $12.508. Age Bean paste braised pork trotters w/rice $13.50/$9.509. Erm... some pork rib dish $14.5010. Xo sauce stir-fired clams $11.8011.Salt and pepper soft shell crab $18.80We decided to go with the following dishes today.Yin Yang Chicken: Both steamed and crispy skin fried chicken served in a superior soy sauce.XO sauce stir fried clams: plump and juicy pipis stir fried in chinese XO sauceFlounder steamed in superior soy sauce garnished with braised mushroomsThe flounder came packed with fish roe! Speak about hidden treasures!Belachan (prawn paste) stir fried beans. The smoky Wok-Hei (Breath of the wok) was evident in this  dish however, it would have benefited from some sambal chili I reckon.Salt and Pepper fried chicken wings. Batter was light and crispy, wings were adequately marinated.Last but not least, Phoenix Talons (aka braised chicken feet :P) as recommended by the lady boss as their top secret off-menu item of the day.Verdict: If you're looking for top quality no frills Cantonese food in a homely family ran environment, please give this place a try. P.S: I don't understand why there are so many negative reviews on zomato/urbanspoon/tripadviser. The food is really good and i'll definitely be back to try out the other chef specials another day!Directions to Hot Wok Kitchen[...]

Bar Reggio, Crown Street, Darlinghurst


After a long but satisfying day at work, I decided to treat myself to some Italian grub.Kind of an institution at Darlinghurst, Bar Reggio serves up a delectable fare paying strict attention to detail and quality control over all these years.Putting the entire meal togetherInteresting how an Italian restaurant has it's own home-made Sambal Chili that just might give me the "Pacific Rim" of fire tomorrow morning.Looks can be deceiving. This is not the gritty sand-like cheese of a questionable origin you find in supermarkets. It is actually real Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) Slow Braised Osso Bucco. This dish needs no introduction. With a melt in your mouth consistency and bone marrow to suck off the bone, this could arguably be the ideal dish for a cold winter.Bar Reggio's famous BBQ octopus salad. Char-grilled till smoky and tender, this should satisfy most seafood lovers out there.I opted to go for grilled vegetables to accompany the meal. However, people who are not low carbing can choose to have mash, chips or even pasta as a side.Bar Reggio Website[...]

Durian Cheesecake, Kin Senn Thai Street Food and Bakery - Pitt Street, Sydney CBD


Walking along Pitt street, we came across this typical Thai restaurant. However what caught our attention was the type of cakes that they offered. Especially their Durian Cheesecake.Being a big fan of the king of fruits, I could not say no to this slice of heaven. In a east meets west fusion fashion, the pastry chefs managed to unite durian and the traditional cheesecake in holy matrimony.Interesting how they used a sliced Pandan leaf as garnish despite not being incorporated into the flavour profile.The slice of cake comes with a little tub of durian cream for kicks and giggles.Various items being offered for the seasonOther cakes in their fridgeDurian dessert that actually looks like a durian fruit. Absolutely love this place!Kin Senn Thai Street Food and Bakery[...]

Shinara Korean Buffet - Sydney CBD


Anyoung haseyo!Tucked away unassumingly along Pitt street is this restaurant offering you the all time favourites.And yes, it IS a buffet so you can go stuff yourself silly as well.Every sitting comes with a complimentary hotpot of either spicy kimchi, bean paste and beef or Ginseng chicken soup. We decided to go with the Bean paste beef hot pot today.As with most buffets, the hot food are all situated on the Bain Marie. As the turnover is brisk during lunchtime, the items are refreshed very often and piping hot too.Cold salad section with the Obligatory KimchiVarious other hot food itemsPretty random Bread pudding being offered as dessert if you're into that kind of thing.JokBal - Braised pork leg with all the congealed collagenThe bean paste and beef soup from the complimentary hot potKFC (Korean fried chicken) and some beef bulgogiSelection of salads, pickled and freshBattered and deep fried flounder and more KFCSpicy pork belly and fish cakeKFC!!!!!!!!!As usual, they try to charm you into purchasing soju to go with the meal by means of advertising with Korean celebrities who probably underwent plastic surgery upteen times before showing their faces in public.Random Soju advertisement again with yet another walking advertisement for plastic surgery perhaps?Shinara Korean Buffet Pitt Street, Sydney CBD[...]

Watsup Brothers Kebabs and more! - Condell Park, NSW


Waaaaassssssuuuuuuuup?????Introducing our latest find located within the vicinity of Bankstown hospital. Watsup Brothers offers the entire range of traditional Kebabs, Pides and pizzas. Furthermore, they have an in house charcoal grill producing ultra succulent and smoky meat on skewers that just might be the best we've discovered in Sydney yet!4 Shish Deluxe combo: 4 skewered meat of your choice (Kafta, lamb, chicken, etc) on a bed of savoury rice. Pickles and salad on the side. Comes with warm Turkish flat bread too (as shown in a later picture)Homemade Lentil soup to warm you up during the winterThe famous Watsup box! Meat, meat and more meat on a bed on tabouleh salad (we opted to go with salad rather than chips to cut down the carb load)Drizzled with creamy garlic sauce all over the topCloseup - Food Porn at its best....Bread comes with the shish combo and a side plate of dips as well. I believe one was a labneh based sauce (strained yoghurt) and the other was made from smoked peppers (hence the red colour)The view is not obscured by the bread now! hahahaha.Open kitchen conceptView of the pide/pizza manufacturing section. Also they have a fridge stocked with traditional Lebanese desserts to cater to your sweet cravings too.Address of this wonderful place![...]

Roast Dinner with Wayne "Bruce Wayne" Kong and associates.


Deciding to spend some quality time with a mate and his family, the next logical question to ask is "What's for dinner?"Scratching my head whilst browsing the aisle of the supermarket, we decided with the following dishes.Roasted pork shoulder and Roasted chicken.... Sounds pretty normal eh? With these two items in the oven, this gave us time to catch up with Wayne over a nice warm glass of Dihydrogenmonooxide.Prepping the Pork shoulder.Marinating the pork shoulder in salt, pepper and garlic powder with just a dash of Old Bay.Letting meat chill in the fridge with the skin side up to allow it to dry out and hopefully give us crispy crackling later onMirepoix: Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Salt, Pepper with the final two ingredients right at the back: Stock and a bottle of beer.Place your pork on the Mirepoix and pour in your bottle of beer and stock till the veggies are just submerged.Preparation for the roast chicken: 1 x size 21~23 Staggles family roast chicken. Ingredients for sauce: Sage, garlic, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and 1 mandarin orange, salt and pepper to taste.Butterfly your chicken and place it over the other ingredients.Pour over 500~1000ml of milk to keep chicken moist whilst roasting.The best view in the kitchen by far.End result for the roast chicken in citrus milk (Inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe by the way)End result of the roasted pork shoulderCheck out that crackling!Plated and ready to be served!Enjoy!!![...]

Home Made Chocolate Ganache


This is a great way to amp up whatever cocoa based products you have at home. You do not need a lot of ingredients, just pouring cream and Chocolate really.So what is Ganache? <--- Click for Wiki informationRecipe: Cream, your favourite sweetener, Vanilla extract, Chocolate (The key thing here is the ratio of cream to chocolate (1:1, 1:2, 2:1). Depending on how viscous/light you want the end-product to be you might want to alter the amounts accordingly. I went with 300ml cream to 200g Chocolate for this particular instance.A big thanks and shout out to Dr T.Chuah for most graciously bestowing the four blocks of 99% Lindt upon us. Chocolate does not come any purer than this.Method: Break the chocolate up and pop them into a microwavable container, pour the desired corresponding amount of cream, add sweetener and vanilla extract. Microwave in a standard 1000w microwave oven in 30 second intervals stirring/whisking the mixture in between. After a total heating time of 4 minutes a final 2~3 minutes should be spent whisking till a smooth consistency is achieved.The final product should look something like this. If you were thinking of making Chocolate truffles like me,  then proceed to pour it into your favourite mould i.e. square, mini dinosaurs, roses, tetra-decahedrons, tesseracts, whichever shape or form catches your fancy. I just used a rectangular lunch box as I am a clueless bloke. Remember to rest a piece of cling wrap over the top of the chocolate ganache to prevent a hard crust from forming at the surface unless you are into that kind of thing ^.^;.... Cool at room temperature for 6~8 hours or pop it into the fridge overnight for extra firmness.Enjoy~~~~[...]

Pony Tail Kimchi (Chonggak)


If you all are fans of Kimchi like I am, you might want to check out this particular variety by the name of "Chonggak". Its made of pickled baby radishes which leave such an intense flavour in your mouth and crunchiness between your teeth, perpetuating that everlasting craving for yet another bite.

Wikipedia link to the type of radish and its culinary uses: Chonggak Ponytail Radish Kimchi

This wonderful pickled dish is available at your friendly neighbourhood Korean grocery store such as:  Komart North Strathfield

Chicken Soup for the Soul


So I had some leftover concentrated chicken stock from the last time, bacon bits and a fresh batch of Chicken drummies.Since it's winter, I reckon theres no better time then to make a nice pot of Keto-friendly soup to warm the cockles of our hearts.IngredientsBacon - chopped up into bits250g - Chicken hearts (sliced open and cleaned of any coagulated blood)1.5kg Chicken drumsticks3 Smoked KranskysMirepoix - Your typical chopped onions, carrots and celery1 Bulb of garlic deskinned and smashed with the flat side of your cleaver1 Can crushed tomatoes1 Can Sweet Corn Kernels1 ~ 1.5 litres chicken stock3 medium sized bay leavesPouring cream, salt and pepper to tasteInstructions:Sautee your bacon from cold to render out fatAdd Mirepoix and garlic and heat till veggies have wiltedAdd can of tomatoes and stir fry till caramalised.Add stock and bring to simmer on high heat.Add bay leavesAdd corn kernels whenever you desireAdd raw chicken drumsticks and chicken hearts and continue to simmer till cookedSlice and add Smoked KranskysSimmer for around 30~45 minutes on medium high heat till vegetables turn soft.Add pouring cream and heat for further 5 minutes just before serving.Serve with crusty bread, pasta or rice (all of which are not keto-friendly though :( )Enjoy~~[...]

Ramadan Street Food Festival 2017, Lakemba


As-salaam ‘alaykum fellow friends and country men. Its that time of the year again and our middle eastern friends are in the midst of fasting. But boy! They really know how to party the moment the sun is down....Enter the Ramadan Street Food Festival at Lakemba! Where the smell of food permeates the cold winter air along with the noise from the crowds of people all around. Righto, I'll let the pictures do the talking...Interesting corn grilling hardware - smoky hot corn on the cob in the making.This round device is used to cook the bread dough which will then have Zaatar spread on itKebabs anyone?Egyptian CuisineRandom store selling French Crepes with NutellaLook at the spread of skewered meats!Jelabi! - Indian dessertAll sorts of Indian Desserts (My favourite Rasmalai on the bottom of the picture)Semolina pudding and possibly more KanafehCrepes in the makingPretty busy night!Don't mess with the SergeantCamel burger patties being grilledFresh Zaatar spice mixMore grilled meatsGrilling corn the traditional way with just a hint of salt, sugar and spicesIndian MurturbakKanafeh in all its glory.Mutton bone stewMarinated fish ready for the grillSo What are you all waiting for? Go check it out for yourselves whilst Ramadan is still on! Comon! Chop chop![...]

Kanafeh by Knafit Bladna


Whilst we were still at Lakemba, we decided to check out the Ramadan Street Festival that was happening.Although "L" and I don't really have a sweet tooth (as of now), we saw this dessert that we definitely had to try.Kanafeh - "Kanafah (Arabic: كنافة‎‎ kunāfah), also spelled kunafeh or kunafah is a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. It is a specialty of the Levant and Turkey" - Wikipedia 2017.The variant we had was Kanafeh Nabulsieh: It is generally believed to have originated in the Palestinian city of Nablus,[4][5][6] hence the name Nabulsieh. Nablus is still renowned for its kanafeh, which consists of mild white cheese and shredded wheat surface, which is covered by sugar syrup.[7] In the Levant, this variant of kanafeh is the most common. - Wikipedia 2017.For orders please call Abu Walid on: 04 0444 0845/04 0644 7577Facebook: knafut bladnaAs I am a big fan of supporting local businesses, I've decided to include the contact details of the people responsible for making and selling this wonderful product.P.S: The green bits on top are crushed pistachios![...]

Dinner at El Manara, Lakemba


Hi all, its been a while since I "B" and the various members of the clan updated this blog of ours. All of us have been busy with life and the intricacies it holds.

However, since I have more free time on my hands now, I will kick start with some Lebanese food at our favourite joint at Lakemba.

"L" and I were contemplating what to have for dinner. The heavy rain just ended. The ambient temperature was about 16 Degrees and I was craving grilled meats and Baba ghanoush and perhaps all things Lebanese at that critical time.

So we bit the bullet, braved the rain and cold, and made the 45 minute drive to Lakemba. Much to our delight and we were just on time for the Ramadan Street food festivities as well (which will be covered in the next blog entry).

So we got down to business, ordered a mixed-plate each and enjoyed every single morsel whilst watching the crowds of people go by outside with eager anticipation....

Each mixed plate comes with a Kibbeh, 3 Falafels, Tabouli, 1 stick of grilled lamb, 1 stick of grilled lamb kafta, chicken meat and a dip (baba ganoush or hommus) of your choice.

Along with the mains comes unlimited breads (which L and I don't really eat), garlic sauce, tahini/labneh sauce? and a fresh chilli padi which packed a punch!

They also give you a selection of pickles, fresh tomates and mint leaves as they do back in Lebanon I'm assuming?

An as with most meals, an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil always brings it to the next level (unless you're eating durian or haggis or raw chicken intestine sashimi..... :S)

P.S: The interior décor of this joint isn't the most chic nor in vogue but the food is awesome.

El Manara Lebanese Restaurant Website

Risen from the ashes


Righto peeps,

I have decided to revive this blog of ours and will be posting restaurant reviews apart from Home cooking and recipe experimentation.

A new culinary adventure awaits....

Stay tuned.... :)

Melbourne Trip Part 2 - Movida


"C" made a booking for this busy place days ahead and I finally got a chance to try it out. Despite being tucked away in a back alley, many people definitely had no trouble finding it.The following dishes we ordered either highly recommended by our sources or very popular with the neighbouring tables.We just had to order their classic anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet as it was their signature dish. Next was a serve of cold Gazpacho soup.We decided to go with some off menu items as well and gave this cured fish with radish a try.Their twice cooked ox tongue in red pepper broth was most delectable, tender and tasty.Now this off menu item was rather interesting. The fish fillet reminded me of what you would get in a Teochew restaurant. However, it was accompanied by a variety of pickled chillies which gave a nice Zingy twist to it.Freshly picked clams cooked in white wine. Clams were juicy and tender, broth was sweet and garlicky. Yum~Although this might not look very appetising at face value, however it's their house special slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree. Wonderful main-course and highly recommended.On the overall, the food at this joint is rather tasty and in a huge variety to tickle your palate. I will have to try their other sister establishments back in Sydney too!1 Hosier Lane,(off Flinders St)MelbourneVIC 3000Melb. Office Tel:+61 3 9663 3038[...]

Melbourne Trip Part 1 - Hellenic Republic


So "C" and I met up in Melbourne for a couple of days of culinary adventures. The first night, we went to this famous Greek place ran by a celebrity chef apparently.Bookings are essential if not arriving really EARLY in the evening would be recommended in order to dine at this place.Interesting bit of history of their restaurant in the menu, however the next few pages were the ones that really interest me."C" and I were feeling adventurous so we decided to go with their "ATHENIAN" banquest for two. First up was the "Mezzes" or appetisers, consisting of freshly baked bread, Cod Roe dip, Marinated Octopus, Deep Fried Calamari, a Fig and Goats Cheese Salad. Lastly, Kefalograviera cheese with peppered figs on a hot plate (This dish was really exceptional with the blend of savouriness from the cheese with sweetness from the figs, pure indulgence).Next was the Seafood "Thalassina" Course which consisted of a grilled scallops, sword fish fillets and prawns. All these were accompanied by a special Cypriot Grain Salad (Kipriaki salata dimitriakon) consisting of a mixture of grains, nuts, pulses and topped off with marinated yoghurt and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.Naturally after some seafood, one should progress to the consumption of land animals. In this case we were served a combination of Chicken and Lamb straight from their grill. The sides included a cabbage salad, roasted potatoes and Tzatziki (Yoghurt infused with dill, cucumber, garlic and olive oil).At this point both "C" and I were almost bursting at the seams but hey, I guess no meal is complete without dessert and the Greeks really have a way with them! Dessert consisted of two courses. The first was a Watermelon Salad (Salata Karpouzi - watermelon salad, feta, mint, rosewater, toasted almonds) which kind of served as a palate cleanser and prelude to the next dish. The last dessert was "Risogalo" (Rice pudding, salted caramel, shortbread crumble, pistachio), think creamy goodness mixed with sweet and salty flavours with the aroma of butter from the shortbread and the crunchiness from the pistachios. Ahhhh.....434 Lygon StreetBurnswick EastVictoria 3057+61 (3) 9381 1222[...]

Sedap Rasa Indonesian Restaurant, Kingsford


So we decided to give this place a try today craving some good hot coconut curry and rice.

For variety sake, we ordered the 2 meats and 1 veggie combo each. I decided to try their famous cassava leaves in coconut cream, Beef rendang and a Lung/liver curry. Flavours were most excellent and unique however I felt that the liver was a bit too overcooked and hard for my liking.

"L" decided to go with spicy long beans with potatoes, fried fish with green chillies and deep fried chicken giblets. Again all the individual dishes tasted distinct and unique.

 Accompanying our meal was a traditional Indonesian beef soup with chopped up beef brisket, tendon, lung and liver. This was most creamy (or "lemak" in the language) and helped to keep the heat levels down too.

Last of all we decided to try out their "Es Telor" which traditionally is a coconut cream based dessert with chopped up bits of Jackfruit, Avocado and various other fruit. However much to our disappointment, the avocado was too raw and bitter too! And the cream tasted dairy based as opposed to coconut.

On the whole, I would definitely recommend people to come here and give this place a try. As winter in Sydney is approaching, some steaming hot and spicy food is really welcoming. (Then again, Indonesian food is great all round the year too!)

273 Anzac Parade
Kinsford, NSW 2032
(02) 9662 8886




This place does not need any introduction really. Thanks to "C", "L" and I were given the opportunity to dine at this legendary place.Eating at Tetsuya's is not just about the food, upon stepping into the restaurant, you are introduced to your personal waitstaff for the night and then led to your table which is strategically facing a Japanese orientated indoor garden away from the hustle and bustle of down town Sydney. Immediately you feel welcomed, relaxed and ready to settle in for the next three hours.We were tended to by "Adam" that night who was most professional and very generous with the breads and spreads as well.Given the choice of freshly baked Italian white and wholemeal, the breads were accompanied by a spread that was most delectable. It was a mix of Ricotta, Unsalted butter, Reggiano and truffle. Just as Adam stated, it was super addictive and we had many serves of it throughout the meal!The meal consisted of three entrees, five main courses and four desserts.Chilled Pea Soup with Dark Chocolate Mousse. The pea soup had a nice balance between a savoury and vegetal flavour with an added surprise from the bitter sweet chocolate mousse.Savoury Custard with Avruga caviar. Egg custard with hand made caviar, finely chopped shallots and a touch of cream.Salad of the Sea. A selection of Sashimi, fresh leaves and root vegetables.Moreton Bay Bug Tail with Braised Witlof and Caviar Cream. The first warm main of the night.Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Fennel, Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Caviar. THE signature dish from Tetsuya served with a balsamic vinaigrette salad. Baby New Zealand Snapper with Soy Butter and Namko Mushrooms. This dish had a particular Chinese feel to it in contrast to the previous fish dish.Grilled Breast of Partridge with Pearl Barley and Cavolo Nero. An exceptional combination of flavour, the savouriness from the meat and the tartness from the berries. All cushioned on a bed of braised barley and kale.Lamb Backstrap with Summer Vegetables and Sheep's Yoghurt. The lamb was very tender and tasty. Along with it were rolled up anchovies which gave a rather nice addition to the dish.Pear Sorbet. The first dessert of the night and also serving as a palette cleanser, this icy concoction was bursting with pear goodness.Green Apple and Mint Ice Cream with Basil Jelly. Here, you can taste fresh apples with mint along with an added depth of basil.Chocolate Fondant with Hazelnut and Praline. Chocolate and Hazelnut Marquise with Cognac Ice Cream. As it was a belated birthday treat from "C", I was presented with a mini chocolate fondant along with its very own candle. "L" was served the Marquise with Cognac ice cream.Petit Four. A selection of after dinner sweets to accompany our tea and coffee. A fantastic finish to our meal.529 Kent Street,Sydney NSW 2000(02)9267 2900www.tetsuyas.comB[...]