Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cafe del Mar

A relatively fancier dinner for a group catch up. As you would expect, restaurants at Darling Harbour with views and nice decor ain't cheap, but thanks to Dandelion for finding a voucher for us to use (ended up being around half price). I've been here before, but mainly at the balcony for some drinks and finger food. I remember the inside was really pretty and that hasn't changed, When step inside, it's sort of like an indoor trapeze with fancy lighting and decor. It's more formal dining, so lighting inside was pretty crap (soz for blurry photos). Also, didn't focus some properly since everyone was starving so didn't check if I took my photos properly lol.


they have so many types of fancy chairs

It’s expected touristy places like this restaurant in Darling Harbour isn’t cheap and portions were small, but it was pretty decent quality. Loved the decor with big chairs and relatively bigger tables.

food spread

We ordered from the a la carte menu, so we could share and try more dishes.

Squid was deep fried well with a good batter and not chewy on the inside. Really flavourful, and I have to admit the chilli did help elevate the dish to give it an extra kick. Lovely creaminess from the aioli.

yeah, I take photos of bread+olive oil+vinaigrette

Torched blue mackarel, spanner crab salsa, paprika aioli-$26

Mackerel had so many elements, each were delicious individually, as well as together. Yes, it is pricey for a few pieces, but the flavours really came through with the paprika and salsa, without having a super salty mackerel.

Angalotti of house made ricotta, pea, egg yolk, asparagus and hazelnut-$22

This pasta was cooked well, I just wished there was more filling. Used some bread on that sauce.

Titania chestnut fed pure bred bresaola (50g)-$18

I don’t normally order this stuff, but it sounded interesting on the menu. I can’t really judge it apart from it’s not as salty or taste ass artificial as the stuff from the supermarket delis.


Rabbit 2 ways, sweetbread ravioli, boudin blanc-$28

Tbh, wasn’t really sure what the 2 ways this rabbit was cooked. Both ways didn’t over cook the meat or made it tough/dry, This isn’t on the menu anymore.

We ordered 2 mains, since there were more vegetarian options in entrees, and entrees are cheaper so can try more things lel.

Confit Saltbush lamb belly, ricotta gnudi, summer greens, black garlic-$36

Lamb was so tender and loved the sauce with it, perfectly seasoned.

Brulée cannelloni of ricotta and mint, pumpkin toffee, zucchini flower-$26

This was one of our favourites. The filling was so delicious, wrapped in a nice thin pasta sheet. Again, wished there was more. I love zucchini flowers, and these ones had a light batter with a creamy filling. That ricotta filling had just the right creaminess, and the slight toffee flavour really highlighted the sweetness of the pumpkin. 

White polenta, grana padano-$12

Polenta chips were just a tad bit dry on the inside, but did have nice crisp. Would have liked more cheese sprinkled on top. I looooved the truffle mash, mainly because you could actually see and taste the truffle.

Truffled mash-$10

The mash was smooth and not grainy (not the smoothest I've ever had, but better tham your average mash). Did go a bit harder once it went cold from the butter, but I highly recommend ordering this side. Probably the best truffle mash I’ve had (not that I’ve had a lot, but I would imagine this one to be near the top).

open kitchen

inside bar

Cafe Del Mar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Grounds of Alexandria Take 4

It's sort of become tradition that we take our overseas relatives here I'm sure I've been here more than 4 times, but according to my blog it's my 4th time here. This place has expanded so much since my last visit. They are slowly taking over the other factories/warehouses, and using that space for markets on weekend or parking on weekdays. I didn't realise they had more parking next door, and drove into the main carpark, then where the old Salt Meats Cheese shop used to be for parking. Apparently it's easier to find parking on weekends since all the offices car parks and street parking are emptier from people not working there, but still crowded at the cafe...


Still one of my favourite coffees in Sydney, despite the not average $3.50 a cup price.



Deconstructed Mocha-$7.5

First time having one of these deconstructed drinks. Yes, they are overpriced and you do make it yourself, but it's fun for the novelty. Pour in the coffee into the melted choc, then add in the frothed milk, top with sprinkles.

Chai Latte-~$6
Icy Latte: seasonal brewed coffee cold whipped milk-$7

The iced chai latte had a good hit of chai, the chai with spice rather than just being sweet. Icy latte was a bit sweeter than normal coffee, but a bit light because of the whipped milk. 

food spread

House Smoked Salmon on Brioche with charred kale, a soft cooked egg and hollandaise-$18

This looked quite interesting irl. Good amount of salmon on a lovely soft brioche. Loved the charred kale was a slightly crispy texture.

Grounds Brekkie Bowl: spinach, cucumber, avocado, other grains, hazelnuts, eggs, some dressing-$19

This is a seasonal salad, so I don't remember exactly what was in it, but it tasted very fresh. The metal bowl just reminds me of Korean restaurants...

Our Signature Avocado : Avocado, heirloom tomato, feta, pomegranate, za’atar, with The Grounds sourdough-$18

There's a lot more toppings added like pomegranate and za'atar, and more toppings added compared to when I had it last time. Not complaining. There's that bottom spread of avo, then even more slices of avo on top, yas to avocado toast and no home deposit.

The Grounds Big Brekkie: Serrano ham, smoked tomatoes, baby peppers, chorizo, roast pumpkin, avocado, poached eggs, labne and sourdough toast-$22

Another good favourite to share, although this does look a bit smaller than last time.

Maple Glazed Kassler Ham with tempura sweet potato & pickle sauce-$22

Interesting combo using some tempura. The ham was a bit on the saltier side rather than sweet. Yay for more poached eggs.

The ‘Ground’ Burger: Ground beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy battered chips-$22

This has definitely shrunk in size, but the flavours remain the same. Love their mayo and crunchy chips. We even ordered an extra side of chips because they were definitely crunchy with good amount of potato inside.

Skillet pie-$23

I think this had slow cooked beef and pastry was nice and thin yet not too flaky. They have another pie now, but this sort of stuff worth having outside since can't make that pastry at home.

private room which you can see into the people making desserts

decor which like sitting in a rustic kitchen

6 for $36 or $7 each (from memory)
Pistachio olive oil, strawberry tart, raspberry cake + macarons, lime meringue tart, raspberry polenta cake with figs, Paris brest

The lime was was actually quite sour. I think we all loved the one with pistachio and the cake with figs. Really can't go wrong with taking some cakes home.

Red Velvet-$12

It was topped with fresh fruits such as half a fig, raspberries and a macaron shell. It's a decent size and definitely share it around. I think it's one of my favourite red velvets ever. I'm not a fan of cream cheese icing, but this was the first one which was actually not sweet. The cake itself had some raspberries jelly/sauce/actual fruit pieces, so more sour than that heavy, dense, chocolate red velvet flavour. Highly recommend.

Kevin Bacon is now so fat

Also apparently they now have some baby goats just last week, so time for another visit (just also need to check out The Grounds of the City first). The animals are perfect when taking infants here to see something different and an atmosphere not really found in Asia.

until next time

The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bouche on Bridge

Being a (poor) uni student, decided to make the most of the Vivid set menu and a voucher I got earlier this year from Taste of Sydney. I really loved their wallaby skewers and soft serve from the festival, so was looking forward to dining here, even though their menu has changed for winter. They have a special set menu, 3 courses for $55, or 2 for $45, so it was perfect timing to go. My voucher was for 20% off a la carte menu, but the waiter thought I wanted 20% off the set menu. Pls, I know I can only get one discount or the other, and I even called up beforehand. She was pretty harsh and I'm just like get the manager (this was even before we ordered anything). The she realised afterwards she misunderstood the whole discount thing...It took a long time before they brought out the menus, no idea why when were were only the 3rd table there. I'll just list the normal prices below.


still quite around 6:30pm

tables were filled by 8pm

comes with set menu

I always take photos of bread (at restaurants which give complimentary bread). The butter was so, so smooth and easy to spread on. The bread crust wasn’t too hard and still had a slight crunch.

1. Entree: Cured Petuna ocean trout, pickled cucumber & smoked roe-$20

Ocean trout was super fresh, and loved the pickled cucumber balls. I’m not normally a fan of creme freche, but this one was quite light (hidden under the trout) and gave the fish more flavour to help tie everything together. The bits of dills and other herbs also helped to makes this entree light. The salmon roe helped to season the fish without being overly salty and could still taste the curing in it.

pink duck and beetroot!

Main: Muscovy duck breast, smoked beetroot & radicchio-$38

Duck is my favourite protein, and I was delighted to see the nice and pink pieces of duck breast meat. I’ve seen at other places for the same price, you get less duck. Some may find this too pink, but for me it’s perfect (unlike that time it was way too pink at Sepia and ended on bleeding on the plate…then that’s not ok). It was soft and could definitely test ether quality of the produce. They didn’t say crispy skin, but I assumed it would. It did have a slight crispiness by the time I finished taking photos. The fat was rendered perfectly, but a skinny duck helps since not much fat to begin with. I actually hate beetroot esp the canned slices, but the smokiness from the beetroot helped to reduce the overpowering beetroot flavour, and the bitterness from the radicchio gave this dish a nice earthy tone. The sauce ended up melting the puree blobs of beetroot, so I you wore white like me, just be careful eating this dish. If only they gave a sharper knife to cut through the meat and leafy veggies…


2. Rangers Valley Black Onyx beef, confit mushroom & sauce bordelaise – bavette – 180 gr-$38

The beef was cooked perfectly pink and super tender. We found that with the bourdalaise sauce plus salt on top it was a bit too salty. It’s small for the price, but again quality > quantity. Wasn't sure if it was actually 180g. Again, places like this I wished they gave a whole mushroom rather than half, but it was super juicy and flavourful.

look at that puff!

struggles of melting ice cream and hot pastry

Spiced Sheperton quince tarte tatin-$22

The tarte tatin is one of their signature dishes. Last season it was in the entree with a cheese entree which I hoped to try, but now it’s in the form of a dessert. This was worth he 20min wait. The pastry was nice and flaky without being too overly buttery. The spiced quince was firm on the outside yet still soft on the inside with a nice fruity and slightly acidic flavour. Loved the super fragrant ice cream which melted on the fresh out of the oven tatin (vanilla flavoured? couldn’t see any vanilla beans but tasted like vanilla though).

3. Dessert: Werribee chestnut cream, dark chocolate & caramel sheets-$19

The chestnut and cream was a bit boring, and in photos it looked like the dessert from Quay with different texture sticking into a nougat. I guess it’s because of the ‘cheaper’ menu that less effort was put into the presentation. Layering something is easier than sticking things in and hoping they balance on top. The cacao wafer was super thing and crunchy, and the chocolate was perfectly tempered. Would have liked more of the chestnut flavour in the cream, but it wasn’t too creamy which was also good (if that makes sense…lol)

Chef's Table view

upstairs view

Capp-coffee comes with set menu

The restaurant didn’t get busy until later in the evening, probably because people finished looking at Vivid stuff. They forgot about the capp we ordered until much later when the bill arrived.  It took them over 10mins to get this out to us. It's a decent size and a nice coffee aroma with a good amount of frothed milk. It's probably a large size compared to other cafes. They didn't offer this to you and it doesn't say it on the printed out menu on that night, but the website menu had it, and of course I didn't want to be 'ripped off' from a coffee (yes, food lyf of a uni student who dreams of eating at places for free, but it's too hard following the game and getting more 'followers.') 😔 Vivid ends this Saturday, so if anyone reading this late post and wants to go out for a spontaneous dinner like me, I suggest you should try this whilst they have the Vivid set menus.

Bouche on Bridge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato