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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Moltofino, Dee Why

So, there are a lot of restaurants/ cafes on the Dee Why beachfront. My friends and I often stroll down this patch. The location alone secures them a lot of customers. We were in the mood for a tasty lunch to have a great gossip over, while escaping from the horrible weather we've been having in Sydney in this month. We randomly picked Moltofino, as the rain made us dash into the closest building.

One friend ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid (Fried in Szechuan Pepper with Pear & Fennel Salad). This was the only meal that was plated well, but even for this meal I felt no desire to whip out a camera to take any photos. This meal was described as ok, but the batter wasn't very nice.

Another friend had the Vegetarian Risotto (Tomato Based with Shaved Parmesan). Similar to my meal, this was described as a bit bland and not very exciting. Not bad enough to complain about, but just very ordinary. I ordered from the specials menu. Friend number 3 and I ordered the same meal of rigatoni with olives, sardines and grilled capsicum in a tomato sauce. It came out of the kitchen and I have to say that I wasn't feeling very excited about eating it. There was no garnish. It looked like something you would whip up at home from leftovers from the fridge. However, if I had made it at home it would have a). tasted better and b). looked better. It was fine. Ok. Just. Although, I would also like to point out the difference between penne and rigatoni pasta to their chef. Maybe they ran out of rigatoni? I hate to be a food snob, but the food was just plain boring. Maybe we had come on a bad day? Maybe the Moltofino dinner menu is a lot better? Having great view of Dee Why Beach is a plus, but they need to work on the food to match the location. We decided the only thing to do was to go and grab an ice cream to forget about the whole experience.


Moltofino on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reviews of foodie books

Idea: If you love your food, why not read about it and get some inspiration

One of the great things about having your Birthday and Christmas in the one month is the fantastic presents, the endless great food and the non-stop parties! Naturally, quite a few of my presents involved the theme of food. I was given some great cooking and food related books, and here they are:

Sushi & Beyond by Michael Booth (Vintage):

Every time I picked up this book to have a bit of a read, I became insanely hungry. And not just for any type of food. It was a hunger for Japanese food alone. I admit to going just a little bit crazy whilst reading this novel. The premise of the novel being that Booth sets off with his family to find out "what the Japanese know about cooking," and focuses on the health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet.

As I read this, I began to spurt interesting facts about the history of sushi, the deadly fugu fush, unami (two unami rich ingredients being konbu and katsuobushi, which are both in dashi), the production of miso, soy sauce, saki and more. I found out that it is almost impossible to find real wasabi (wasabia japonica) served outside of Japan. This means that most people will never know what real wasabi tastes like. It is a lot sweeter than that green stuff served in a tube here and does not produce that burn in your nose. I also discovered that chanko nabe is the traditional hotpot prepared and eaten by sumo wrestlers and Osaka is the home to the world's largest cooking school. By the end of reading this, I'm pretty sure that everyone around me was sick of these facts, but I couldn't get enough.

This novel reiterated the importance of colour in Japanese food, the use of the seasons and their desire to use the natural flavours of their ingredients. Booth's novel has only increased my desire to return to Japan and try out even more traditional Japanese food. In particular, there's a restaurant called Mibu that you can only visit on invitation (ie. somewhere I would never be able to get into). In this tiny restaurant the food served was "seasonal, fresh, local and simple." The food worked on "so many levels: visual, cerebral, in terms of flavour, and viscerally." I can still feel my stomach rumbling thinking about the food described in this novel.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who has a love for Japanese food. It's one of the few food related novels that I've read, which is well written, researched and makes you insanely hungry. You can tell that Booth has a great passion for food.

A little taste of... Japan recipes by Jane Lawson, photographs by Alan Benson and Gorazd Vilhar, additional text by Charlotte Anderson (Murdoch Books):

It seems only right to go to another Japanese themed book. A little taste of... Japan continues this idea ofJapanese food as seasonal food that is "prepared with a light hand" to emphasise their natural flavours and textures. The flavour being "delicate... and never overpowering." Each chapter begins with pictures and a brief history and explanation of food types in Japan, eg. noodles. Each recipe has one large image and a few smaller ones down the side of the page. The recipes are clearly set out and easy to follow. There is enough white space on the page and the photographs made me want to prepare everything in the book (as well as take another trip to Japan).

This cook book also mentions the origins of sushi, which "lie in the ancient Asian custom of preserving raw fish in fermenting rice." This type of sushi, or zushi, is called nare-zushi and can still be eaten today in Japan. Although there is always the East way of doing things in Japan or the West, this cookbook only claims to be a little taste of, which it is. It would be impossible to summarise the whole of Japanese cooking in such a slim book.

Lucio's, Ligurian Kitchen by Lucio Galletto and David Dale, Photography by Paul Green (A & U)

Lucio states that he draws his inspiration from both Australia and Liguria, drawing similarities between the two, such as "mellow climate, closeness to the sea, great produce and regular infusions of new ideas from other places" making for interesting eating. Some of the key ingredients of Ligurian cooking being olive oil, herbs, garlic, onions, mussles, cheeses, tomatoes and pasta. If you haven't been to Lucio's restaurant in Paddington yet, I would highly recommend doing so. You can taste the influences of Liguria, where he grew up and spent half his life, as well as these Australian influences.

I love the special touches in this book, such as the page titled "the equipment," which details all of the equipment in the kitchen that is needed for the recipes. This saves you time later on when you realise that you don't have some vital implement halfway through a recipe such as a mezzaluma, slotted spoons or a cooking thermometer.

I also enjoyed the section on wines, and the best ones for the recipes in the book. Being a wine lover, this section is a great addition to any cookbook. The photographs in this book are also amazing, both those of Liguria and of the food, making you want to both eat and travel at the same time. They make a great addition to the well researched book and fantastic recipes. I love the pesce al cartoccio (whole fish baked in parchment), an easy to make recipe that I've made versions of before. The presentation is always amazing and it's difficult to mess up this recipe. Another fun to make recipe is the ravioli di carciofi alle erbe (artichoke ravioli with herb sauce). This is partly because I find making ravioli so fun and partly because artichokes, herbs and parmesan taste fantastic together.

The contrast of Japanese to Italian cooking (although there are of course some similarities, such as their appreciation for fresh flavours) was quite intense, after my last two Japanese reads (and the food that I cooked from them). Next up was a cookbook (the name of which everyone in Australian is familiar with) that looked at food that is "fast, fresh, simple." Her name of course being Donna Hay.

Fast, fresh, simple by Donna Hay (4th)

For me, Donna Hay's book is one of those ones which you flip through for inspiration. I don't always follow these recipes ingredient for ingredient, and the photograph of the meal is always a starting point. Take the barbequed lamb, eggpant and haloumi for example. Essentially telling you to barbeque all of the ingredients. When I looked at this, I decided to look in my fridge and see what was in there that I could barbeque and applied a similar sauce. But this isn't exactly the type of cooking that is so difficult that it will fluster you in the kitchen.

The torn pasta with chorizo and peas was also a great starting point for a recipe, which tasted fresh and tangy, with the mint and lemon in the sauce contrasting nicely. I love the photos in this cookbook, many of them filling up the entire page, with beautifully positioned food and simple white plating. This is why everyone has at least one Donna Hay recipe book in their kitchen.

Now, I've really got to go and make something to eat. All of this talk of food is making me hungry again...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drinking & Eating at The Commons

I've been meaning to take a visit to The Commons since it was that pop - up bar The Pond. Luckily, they have a much wider selection of drinks, including a great bottle of Sangoivese that we tried out, as well as some great food now.

I love the feeling that you're at someone's house amongst friends at The Commons. In the warmer months, I would recommend sitting in the front outside section, on what feels like a front porch, and downstairs in the darker, moodier section in the colder months. It's one of those fantastic old buildings in Sydney that has a lot of character, including giant stone bricks that you can tell have been chipped away by convict labour. There are lots of hanging plants in the front section, including some herbs on the sides. There are cute wooden tables and stools. However, after waiting a while for your food, your tiny little stool will become somewhat of an enemy to your behind.

We both decide to go for the Farmhouse Menu, a four course degustation. On their website, The Commons states that they are "inspired by skilled, traditional cooking that uses regional produce and ingredients that 'taste of what they are.'" This is evident straight away. The first courses are a Charcuterie board and a Seasonal Produce Plate. There is some amazing pâté, gerkins, rocket, wholemeal bread, cured meat and other bits and pieces on these boards. 

For our entrees we had Ana’s ravioli w/ brown butter & sage and a Carpaccio of organic wagyu topside w/ shaved radish. The carpaccio was delicious, but was a little bit too oily. The raviolo however, was amazing, with two giant raviolis for us to share, and the butter and sage sauce was simple, but delicious. They disappeared very quickly. 

Now, what I haven't mentioned so far, is the fact that we had also been given some bread with oil to share and had already drunk half a bottle of wine and a glass of sparkling white. I was starting to get full. This is because after sitting there for over an hour, my dining and drinking companion was starting to get extremely hungry. I had just been to a work Christmas party, so I had already had some nibbleys and some vino. When I inquired as to how our food was coming along, we got a bit of a blank look. "Oh, I think I misunderstood your order" was the waiter's reply. "Huh?" We wondered? I stopped myself from a smart ass reply of "well, just bring us whatever it was that you thought we ordered." The waiters and kitchen then went into overdrive. We had a free plate of bread with oil and olives, our glasses of sparkling on the house, and all of our plates of food came shooting out of the kitchen at lightening speed. We could barely keep up. You could tell that they felt terrible about forgetting our order.

For our mains we had Hunters Chicken braised w/ rosemary, lemon and cannellini beans and Best of farm vegetables. The chicken was cooked extremely well, however was a tad on the bland side overall, and the farm vegetables had some oven baked beetroot in it that was to die for.

For dessert (by which time I was so full, a nap on the table was looking like a good idea) we had Baked lemon & ricotta cheesecake. I could only fit a mouth-full in. It was good. Really good. And was served with a small bowl of fresh cherries. I love cherries, so I managed to fit some in. I'm not sure where I fit them in, but I did somehow. By this point I felt an explosion in my stomach was imminent, and we decided to leave. The food was good, the wine was good, but my bottom was very sore (as we had been there all night). It was quite late, and I knew I was going to sleep well.

The Commons on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rambutan, Shady Pines Saloon and The Flinders

Being the silly season in Sydney at the moment, we had to wait forever to get our table (which was booked) and had to line up at every bar. Despite this, Rambutan, Shady Pines Saloon and the Flinders are all worth recommending.

First up, Rambutan. Whilst waiting for our table, we decided to order my two favourite cocktails at Rambutan in the Tiki Lounge downstairs. The reason for this, is the drinking vessel that they are served in. Although on previous visits, I remember being impressed with their other cocktails, such as Thai me up, Thai me down Sangria, which is a refreshing white sangria served in a jug, I can never go past a drink served in a giant Tiki glass or cocktail. The Flaming Lemon & Ginger Pina Colada is served in a cocktail and has a generous serving of Appleton VX in it. Dr Phil's Famous Flaming Rum Punch also has Appleton VX and is a rum based drinks that makes you instantly feel like you're on holidays. Especially when it's sitting next to another cocktail that's in a coconut. Anther reason to order these two cocktails is the fact that they both get set on fire! What's not to love about that?!

The downstairs Tiki Lounge is my favourite section of Rambutan. It's got funky lamps, a lit up aquarium and apparently the mint green stools are designed by Philippe Starck. By the time our cocktails were almost empty, it was time to eat. We skipped entrees in favour of our mains coming earlier and ordered the Blue swimmer crab Lon with yellow bean & green mango and wok fried King Prawns with pong gari and coconut cream, baby corn & curry leaf. In hindsight, I wouldn't recommend going for a giant coconut based cocktail followed by meals with coconut cream in them. I ended up feeling like I could have exploded, despite the food and cocktails being amazing!

The prawns were cooked perfectly and the curry sauce that they were sitting in was just spicy enough to be tasty, but without causing explosions in your mouth. The crab was also delicious, but by this point, I just couldn't eat/drink much more coconut milk or cream. You could eat it in one of the betal leaves or other leaves served with it. The sprouts and cucumbert were refreshing to eat in between spoonfuls of it, to counter out the saltiness. I'm not sure if I would recommend this dish however, if you're on a first date, because if you eat it from one of hte leaves, you will be guaranteed to get it all over you. I've had a banquet at Rambutan before, so I can safely say that the vast majority of their menu is amazing, including the desserts!

Rambutan on Urbanspoon

Next up, we were off to have a drink at Shady Pines Saloon. I'm always a sucker for a lane-way entrance. As soon as the door swings open, we're greeted by a pioneer-style bar with crazy stuff everywhere. I love bars like this! There's carved American Indians around the room, the stuffed heads of animals, and other random bits and pieces everywhere. There's lots of small round tables in the room, and a good buzzing crowd. They have the most random, banjo style music playing, that's such a nice change from the usual bar and club music in Sydney. It makes me want to get up and do some line dancing, or at least jump up on a bale of hay wearing cowboy boots and shouting "yeeeee haaawww!"

Everyone is Sydney who is sick of the usual same-same bars, has to come have a drink here. Although I feel like I'm meant to be drinking  straight up whiskey or something similar here, we decide to order tow Salty Dog cocktails. Not a cocktail that you can drink fast, or the salt with get you, followed by the pieces of fresh pineapple. But these cocktails were nice and refreshing for a hot Sydney night in Summer.

Shady Pines Saloon on Urbanspoon

We decided it was time for one more drink, and thought what better place than The Flinders? Although greeted by the "Boobs for Bubbly" sign as well as noticing that the drink of the week was a Mel Gibson: Gin + Pickled Onion + Dry Sherry, I thought I would decline both offers, and go for a beer instead.

The Flinders is the sort of pub that would be great on a week night, to catch up with some friends to grab a drink or two. By the time we got there on a Friday night, it was jam-packed with people and had obnoxious bouncers out the front. I did love the random bits and pieces hanging from the ceiling and the great selection of music. Talking Heads in a pub anyone? Again, like Shady Pines Saloon, any place in Sydney playing music that's a bit different to everything else is always a good thing.

Flinders Hotel on Urbanspoon

By this time it was time to call it a night. Until next time...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Anyone who prepares cocktails for me wearing safety goggles and heavy duty science-lab style gloves gets my tick of approval! Deciding it was about time I get myself to one of Sydney's best cocktail bars of the moment, I chose to celebrate my birthday party at Eau-de-Vie. Now, it wasn't quite the easiest bar for my friends to find. This might have something to do with a lack of signs out the front (as it's in the Kirkton Hotel), and you have you walk through another bar to get there. But I quite liked this. Just a little bit secret squirrel, which only adds to it's charm. This means the trashy crowds having trouble finding it!

The second that we arrived and walked to my reserved seated section, I could tell that I had chosen the perfect location for my birthday drinks. It was a great crowd of slightly dressed up, but without being pretentious, crew who were all very chatty. The level of noise never got so loud that we had to shout, but if was definitely buzzing. I was far too distracted by catching up with all of my friends to remember the style of music that was playing, but I'm assuming that it was good, because it didn't annoy me. It's a great intimate sized bar, but without being too small, or feeling squashed (although it was definitely busy).

The cocktails impressed us all. Some were served in great vintage-y crystal jugs, some served in tin cups with handles and most importantly there were the cocktails that weren't on the menu. My friend and I happened to look to our left when we were waiting at the bar. All of a sudden test tubes, goggles and dry ice could be spotted. We wanted what they were having! We were told my the bar tender that he could make us something even better (still off the menu) to which we eagerly agreed. Again, the safety goggles, dry ice and gloves were pulled out, liquids were poured here and there, shaken, stirred and evaporated. We stood bug eyed watching. We were extremely impressed. Everyone around us soon had drink envy. After this we were informed that it was a Martini. This was no Martini I had ever seen before. To prove his point, it was served with a small dish of delicious green olives to go with our many piece drink.

Most cocktails that they make at Eau-de-Vie will not disappoint, as they take any opportunity to bring out a blow torch, dry ice or something similarly exciting. This is why they've had rave reviews all round. The Sydney Morning Herald loved it, Time Out loved it, Two Thousand loved it and I loved it. The service is unlike any other bar I've been to in while, even when they're extremely busy and are making complicated drinks. I have also always liked a barman in a bow tie! The staff will always be more than happy to help you choose the perfect cocktail for yourself and talk you through the cocktail list, or other options they can whip you up on the stop.(Even if you're being a bit difficult!)

Although meaning “water of life” as well as describing a style of fruit brandy, Eau-de-Vie has much more than water or fruit brandy on offer. It's my style of bar. And the food that my friends ordered looked great too. But I have to admit filling up on Thai around the corner before hand, so I can't comment on it.

This has been officially added to my list of bars to come to regularly (when I'm not in the mood for a quick, cheap drink). This was the perfect venue for birthday drinks when you actually want to be able to hold conversations and I think it would also be perfect for a date (provided you wanted to be able to hear them).

Next up for the night, we were off to a club...

Eau de Vie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spend the day on a yacht in the harbour

Idea: Accept an invitation aboard a yacht in the Harbour and try to cram far too much into one day/ night

A quick flight home from Adelaide back to Sydney, drop off of bags, then we headed straight down to Hugos in Manly. The Pimms Cocktail at Hugos is fantastic, they're one of the few places in Sydney to do Pimms properly. This means with slices of fresh apple, orange, cucumber and more. Perfect for the fab weather we got on Saturday. We all shared some of their thin based pizzas, the vegetarian ones were great, as well as the one with chilli prawns and other bits and pieces. I have to admit to having food envy of the meal sitting in front of me, which was grilled Atlantic Salmon with some kind of pea puree around it. It looked amazing, but I decided to keep my eyes on my own plate for fear of getting attacked by a fork.

Hugos in Manly is a great place to be on a sunny day, with great views of the ferrys coming in (as well as our yacht that we were about to climb aboard). The only problem is that on really hot days your legs will get stuck to the plasticy long share chairs. This will hurt when it's time to get up.

Hugos Manly on Urbanspoon

Next up we grabbed some bottles of Champagne and boarded the yacht. Now, I don't know much about boats. Not at all. But it was big. I mean BIG. We were suitable impressed. My friend and I spent the next half an hour taking silly photos all over the boat and giggling like little school girls. Then we sat back and relaxed. There's nothing nicer than sitting on a boat on Sydney Harbour on a beautiful sunny day. It was a bit windy towards the end, but most of the afternoon was perfect. We had the music blasting, conversation and Champagne flowing. I even managed to get the Champagne all over me when we were passing between the heads. But boating is fun!

We had every intention after our little boat party to get changed and head to a Jungle themed party at Lo Fi. But... we didn't quite make it there. We had the costumes and everything. But before we knew it, it was quite late. We docked into Rushcutters Bay and the party was just getting started onboard, but being land loving girls, we decided to jump ship. So we headed off to Darling Harbour.

After a little bit of a walk, we ended up at THE funniest club/ bar in Sydney. The Shelbourne Hotel. There was a podium to dance on. A stand selling sausages outside the door. A cover charge - not quite sure why??? And there were lazers- everywhere! Quite funny. We got our trashy dancing on, all the while I was making a mental note of never coming back here again. EVER!

Next up, I was off to a balcony overlooking Manly Beach to watch the sunrise and talk absolute rubbish with good friends. Some time after sunrise, we decided that Sunday was looking like a good day to sleep! It was quite a big day/ night.