Welcome to my blog! Yes I am that feathery creature of the night that you've most likely seen at the latest opening of a bar, launch party, burlesque night or stuffing my face full of food! I review Sydney's offerings of things to eat, drink and everything in between. I enjoy trying out the weird, the wonderful, the wacky, the quirky or just plain fun. Life's far too short to not give everything a go just once! Hopefully I'll give you some great ideas to try out. Go to my new site: www.missfeathers.com.au
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I've decided to get my own domain name! Please check out my new site at:
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I hope you enjoy the new website! There's feedback forms that you can fill out on the new site and it's a lot easier to navigate!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
It's not often that you're invited to a recipe blogger's kitchen for dinner, so I made sure to bring my empty stomach and imagined what feast would await the boy and I. Isabelle described the meal as a "Chinese inspired meal" and I couldn't wait. We opened some beers to cool down from the scorching weather outside and settled in.
The Chinatown Gyoza were dressed in a refreshing soy, chilli, ginger and coriander sauce and were the perfect starting point for an Asian themed night of food. The fillings, including prawns and pork, worked perfectly with their sauce and I couldn't get enough of these. Because I'm a little bit obsessed with strong flavours, if I were making them I would have upped the chilli, ginger and coriander in the sauce, however, if you're serving food for a few people you have to be careful not to overdo these kinds of flavours. And I'm only saying this because when asked at the end of the evening by Isabelle, I had extreme difficulty in offering any negative feedback. I'm definitely going to try this recipe because making gyoza is always a lot of fun and you can be very creative with the fillings (although I have a tendency to overstuff every gyoza I make). The gyoza were soft in the inside and crispy on the outside from being panfried. The perfect combination. You could easily eat an entire meal of these.
It's always fun being around someone else who takes photos of the food they eat. I think the boy is getting use to waiting until he sees the flash of a camera before he's allowed to eat. That's foodie bloggers for you! But it's also great being able to talk food over great food, both home cookign and new restaurants that have opened up.
We've started on a bottle of red by this point and can smell the next course simmering away. It's beginning to smell amazing. Isabelle has prepared as much as possible before we've arrived, so that she isn't away from the conversation for too long. This is always a juggling act when you're the cook for the night, but Isabelle does this seamlessly.
The next course is Chick - Corn Soup, which is a delicious combination of chicken, corn, Shao Hsing wine, coriander and more. There really is something about chicken soup that makes you feel like you're eating something that's really good for your body. I could have eaten a whole pot of this because it's so moorish. Chicken soup has that ability to make you extremely comforted when you eat it, warming you up from the inside out. This is a bit fancier than the usual variety served to you by your parents when you were feeling ill, and the Asian twist, such as the coriander (one of my favourite ingredients at the moment), lifts the flavours in the soup.
A few more bottles of wine and a lot more talk of blogs and food later, the three of us are are served a Quick & Fruity Slice by Isabella. It's the perfect light dessert to finish off an Asian inspired meal, as it's not too heavy. Even though I'm not often in the mood for desserts, this is a nice and light way to finish the meal off. It has puff pastry crunch and is topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries and custardy goodness. I find it a bit difficult to break the pastry with a spoon, and I think that if I were to do it again, it might be easier just to pick with my hands and eat it that way!
By this point, it's time to call it a night. The boy and I have extremely satisfied stomachs. His only feedback to Isabella involves putting more chilli into everything (well, maybe not the dessert), because, like me, he's a little chilli obsessed. But if that's the only feedback that we can give, you know it was a great night of food. I hope that we're invited back to the Chef's table in the Feeling Nibblish kitchen some time soon!
Wok + Wine, it's "40 people, 40 pounds of jumbo prawns, 40 bottles of delicious wine!"
"A long communal table laden with the most delicious jumbo prawns ever eaten and a perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc. These are the ingredients that have taken Wok+Wine, a phenomenal social concept born out of New York City in 2008, to the rest of the world."
Hosted at a secret venue (previous ones have been a library, demolition site and art galleries among others) this is all about meeting new people and eating a lot of prawns and wine. If you love secret foodie style events, you should get in quick (if there are tickets remaining). If I didn't already have plans, I'd be heading to this in a flash. If anyone's going, tell me how it is!
It's on February 17th in Sydney, is $40 and is limited to 40 people. And there's one going on in Melbourne on the 10th (these are the first ever ones in Australia). I'll head to the next one for sure!
We got there on time for our 7.30pm booking to find the rest of the place deserted. In the whole time we were there (till quite late) there was only 1 other table of 2, who ate a quick meal. Without our group booking the place would have been empty all night, bar 2 people. I would have thought that rather than place so many conditions on our booking they would have been happy to have us. It ended up being $100 a head. Not quite a cheap meal. Yes, there was wine involved. Which just kept on coming, although I'm not really sure if we asked it to. I didn't fill up my glass once and have no idea how many times it was refilled. Yes, the food was good. Yes, entrees, mains and dessert were included. But $100 a head just seemed like too much. The 10% surcharge is what pushed it over the edge into very pricey territory. We had a good time there, don't get me wrong (despite it being sticky and boiling hot in there). Maybe it's because I was quite excited by the images that I had seen before of diners being surrounded by cooking/ foodie books (which of course I had a look through), which weren't near our table.
The waiter suggested Selection of bread with olives and spiced walnuts ($6) and we agreed. I think 2 of these were placed on our table. Some on the table loved the spiced walnuts, however, I thought they were just a bit strange. Being a non- bread lover at the start of meals (waste of food points quite frankly) I thought that the bread was fine. Next up we had quite a few people order the Slow roasted pork belly, apple, cranberry & sage relish, crumbed feta & walnuts ($17), ravioli and a few other bits and pieces. My ravioli was bit too buttery, with some of the sauce actually tasting like pure butter, however, it was quite tasty.
For the main I shared half of the duck and the Seared farmed Barramundi with vongole, Chinese broccoli & a seafood velouté ($30). I found the duck to be a little dry and the barramundi was a little bland for my liking. Yes, you could tell that all of the ingredients were fresh, thought had gone into the meal, but maybe it was the size of the group? Does the quality of your food decrease withe the size of your group? Although we all know that it shouldn't, I wasn't so convinced. The white asparagus was a nice touch to the barramundi dish and all meals were nicely plated. I've heard people rave abut this place, but maybe it's more of a lazy brunch venue.
For dessert I had the Affogato: vanilla ice cream, coffee and Frangelico or Amaretto ($12), which was a nice way to finish off my meal (and to cool down). It was time for a farewell song to be song and photos and lots of hugs goodbye. We'll all miss you at work Mrs soon to be a mum!
The boy and I decided to stop for a quick drink at Mille Vini's on the way home. I've never been here before and it was a great place for a quick glass of cold wine facing Crown Street at the bar area to do some late night people watching. I like the bottles of wine reaching up to the ceiling, the strange cut out in the wall to expose the raw bricks beneath. It's a cozy place and I'll need to head back here to try out the menu.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
It's only after we're seated that we notice the bottles of liquid lit up from underneath. It's not until after that I realise that these are bottles of Tokonoma's signature house-infused beverages, or “shochu." To be perfectly honest, I didn't realise that Tokonoma Shochu Bar and Lounge is Tokonoma's full name. And the levels of lighting in there are so low, that I couldn't really read the drinks menu to pick up on this. We had a bottle of wine included in the Team Spreets voucher that I had bought for my friend's birthday and we decided to take it easy on the alcohol. But I have heard very good things about the sochu at Tokonoma. I've heard that the gen awa cha (genmaicha-infused shiro shochu, orange flower bubble tea, lychee tea, ($17) in particular, is a must try. It'll have to wait till next time for me.
The staff are extremely competent, the service is efficient and fast and we always have at least 1 item of food on our table at all times. Within minutes of being seated we had two glasses of lovely cold white wine (perfect to combat the scorching temperatures of this week) and warm, salty edamame in front of us.
|gyu niku no tataki seared beef, pickled onions, mizuna, garlic chips|
|watari-gani kara-age crispy soft-shell crab, wasabi mayonnaise|
|assorted selection of nigiri|
I enjoyed each new vessel our meals were plated on, almost as much as the food. The nigiri was fresh and melted in your mouth. The tofu was delicate, yet layered in flavours and the the shreds of dehydrated chilli were a nice subtle touch. The grilled prok melted in your mouth and had a delicious grilled flavour (even though I don't normally order pork).
|tofu with misu paste|
(more photos to come)...
We finished it all off with a palate cleansing misu and some more of our bottle of wine. We thought we were all done, but then the dessert came out. The icecream was served on ice, which was nice touch and the mango in particular was very tasty. The creme brulee had some mystery items at the bottom of it and was unlike any other creme brulee I've had before. This was accompanied with some tropical fruits: strawberry, kiwi fruit, lychee and dragon fruit: yum.
The ambience, food and beverages, service and the design of Tokonoma all combined to make our visit a memorable one. It's contemporary Japanese food (a fusion perhaps) was spot on. We had a great time having a look at all of the bottles of Sochu on the way out, as we re-entered the ridiculously hot summer night.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
|Some of the girls checking out the amazing deli section. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING!|
Miss B had also been here before and has been raving about it ever since. Overlooking Barangaroo, it's situated in Google building in Pyrmont in an eerily quite area (despite the casino being around the corner). We all get there ridiculously early as our stomachs were all eagerly awaiting the meal, so we thought we would go in to see if our table was ready. There had been some "miscommunication" on the phone, wherein they had no understood Miss B confirming our booking the day before and cancelled the booking. Both C - words. This is my only gripe with the entire restaurant/ deli that is Signorelli Gastronoma. Miss B was not impressed by this as we were now on a table in the weird outside part, rather than in the fabulousness that is the main section. Make sure you request an inside table in you book. Otherwise, you'll get a view of industrial pipes if you look up and white walls.
|View from the centre of the building from our table. I'd recommend an inside table if I were you!|
|I love my knife that can stand up, or on it's side!|
|Wine room. Drooll...|
Walk in and you're greeted by the delicatessan, the walls and walls of amazing foods, the cheese room, the wine room, the open kitchen, the demonstration bench, the pizza kitchen and dinner tables scattered amongst everything. Pure heaven. We all had to have a stroll amongst it all. Even the dinner table are great wide, long tables on wheels. This is serious eating. We had already pre-booked the Long table Menu, which is more than 8 dishes for $59 each (technically 3 courses, but actually a lot more). You will need to select which dishes you want before when you make the booking.
|Looking down our table for 8|
|The demonstration table|
|Old till as decoration|
|baked Italian bread selection with extra virgin olive oil|
The baked Italian bread selection with extra virgin olive oil was nice and crusty and made waiting for everyone to arrive just that little bit easier. The “Signorelli Gastronomia” Antipasto, Selection of Salumi / Olives / Parmigiano / Grissini (normally $24) mocked us while we kept on waiting (not that anyone was late, we were just so early!) There was a great selection of green and brown firm olives, great crumbly cheese and cold meats. I'm not a fan of bread sticks but I could appreciate what they added to the presentation. The sweet ricotta didn't quite work with the sharper cheeses and meats for me.
|“Signorelli Gastronomia” Antipasto, Selection of Salumi / Olives / Parmigiano / Grissini|
|Vine Tomato Salad / Local Burrata / Basil / Vincotto / Wild Cherries|
We were given an extra "amusement" with grapes, sultanas, a yellow cheery tomato, and some other bits and pieces, which disappeared in one mouthful. It was full of interesting flavours and a mouthful with the perfect amount. The cheese in the Vine Tomato Salad / Local Burrata / Basil / Vincotto / Wild Cherries (normally $20) melted in your mouth with the classic combination of tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar reduction.
|Italian Sausage / Rosemary/ White Onion/ Provolone|
|Prosciutto di Parma / Wild Rocket / Provolone / Ricotta|
|Margherita / Fior di Latte / Tomato / Basil|
Next up were the pizzas. Margherita / Fior di Latte / Tomato / Basil (normally $19), Italian Sausage / Rosemary/ White Onion/ Provolone (normally $23) and Prosciutto di Parma / Wild Rocket / Provolone / Ricotta (normally $22). I feel that Margherita pizza, alike too much bread to start off with, is a waste of food points, so I passed up on this one. The Italian sausage was more like a deconstructed sausage and was extremely moorish, as was the prosciutto di parma. I always enjoy wild rocket on my pizza, as it makes it feel like a more balanced meal that you're eating, rather than just delicious cheese and dough. The pizza crusts were thin and we could watch them being made at the pizza table, before they were placed into the pizza oven with its large flames.
|Mixed Leaf Insalata|
The meat of the scampi in the Scampi Risotto / Tomato / Seafood Essence (normally $29/34) was delicious, but the risotto was a little too buttery. The Penne ragu- fresh herbs didn't score many points for presentation, however, judged purely on taste alone was simple, but perfect. We were given a Mixed Leaf Insalata ($9) to counteract the heaviness of the mains. Just what the palate needed.
|Scampi Risotto / Tomato / Seafood Essence (normally $29/34)|
|Penne ragu- fresh herbs|
To finish off we had the Signorelli gastronomia cheese selection and the Chocolate almond torta – crème fraiche – choc earth. The blue cheese on the platter was one of my favourites, which was places beside other cheeses, sun ripened sultanas on the vine, a jelly like slice of something (?) and truffle honey. I'm not quite sure about truffle honey personally. It's extremely rich and I'm not sure that it worked with the cheeses. The chocolate torta was of course, deliciously chocolatey. It was firm chocolate on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. I had to finish it (as well as the cheeses), despite the pain coming from my stomach telling me to stop eating. I quite liked the term choc earth, which was crumbled bits of chocolate torta on the side.
|Signorelli gastronomia cheese selection|
|torta – crème fraiche – choc earth|
Overall, despite the initial confusion about our booking, we had an amazing meal and experience at Signorelli Gastronoma. You can tell that the ingredients are all extremely fresh and only the best of quality, that they seriously love food and take it as seriously as I do here. The fact that they have a cheese and wine room, as well as a deli makes it a really interesting dining experience. I'm looking forward to coming back for a cooking class with Miss B here. Time to waddle home and walk off the food a little.
|I'll have to come back for one of these!|
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Today was hot. Very hot. The kind of hot that makes you feel like you're melting. We headed to Cruise Bar first and after being told that they weren't doing any jugs or cocktails as they would "make us drunk" (um.. hello - it's Australia Day... I'm pretty sure that people were drunk by the time the pubs opened and it was 2pm) we ordered some Pimms and Lemonade.
|Some random dude in my shot...|
We watched Cuthbert and the Nightwalkers from the Rock Stage from our spot at Cruise Bar. But eventually we had to retreat to shade. We strolled up Argyle Street past all the people to The Argyle. Since I've been there last the Argyle has had a make over. A Gazebo - style make over. However, it doesn't quite work. Yes, it's an improvement from the old large booth style seating arrangements. The problem is that it's trying too hard. In the dining area, what is now called Argyle Bazar is like that nerdy little kid at school trying so desperately hard to be cool, but totally missing the point.
|The ugly light shade above our table. Tacky much?|
|View of the bar section from our table|
|Trying to work out how to pour the sangria with some much fruit jammed into it. We try using a fork, a knife...|
|Got there in the end!|
|Sher Wagyu Roast Beef Tortilla $14 |
|Valencian Bread Salad $14. A colourful mix of capsicum, Roma tomatoes, croutons, pine nuts |
& herbs, dressed with balsamic & olive oil
|Patatas Bravas $11. Crispy potatoes, served with chilli aioli. To the left: Albóndigas $17, Sher Wagyu meatballs, served with warm tomato relish|
|The ever elusive water. You may have to ask more than 4 times for this.|
The Valencian Bread Salad was fine. The Sher Wagyu Roast Beef Tortilla tasted like rare roast beef on cold thin crust pizza with a few capers added for decoration. Overall I was extremely "whelmed" as Miss B would say. The Boy also had an air conditioner drip on his head, into his food and in his beer, not a happy chappy. This isn't acceptable even in a dodgy pub.
My recommendations would be to fire all of the staff and start all over again. I asked a man working there clearing plates if we needed to wait to be seated or not, and he looked confused and told me that he didn't know. Unless he clears plates as a hobby, he certainly worked there. Then we waited to try to get someone's attention. Finally, we were told to wait and a table would be set for us. This took some time. I haven't had this bad service for a long time. Next recommendation: get rid of the hideous lamps. Add a bit of character, rather than bland mass produced "attempting to be funky" stuff. And my final recommendation: use jugs that you can pour drinks out of for sangria. Oh, and one more. Improve the food and the prices. That's all for now. Yes, this is one harsh review, but come on! Up your game. There's just too many great options these days in Sydney to be so sloppy.
We decided to have a bit more picnic rug on the grass time, stopping to grab a hot corn on a cob. We were still hungry after our few mouth fulls of "tapas," read: poor excuse to serve pricey small dishes so we got some more food including kababs on sticks and gyoza from the Rocks markets. We watched some more bands then headed home on the ferry enthusiastically waving our free Aussie flags. Good work Angus and Julia Stone for no. 1 in the Triple J Hottest 100! Happy Australia Day everyone! I hope you all had a fab day!