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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Surrounded by deliciousness at Signorelli Gastronoma

With a tag line of: Eat. Drink. Shop. Cook. We had to go to: Signorelli Gastronoma!

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

'Stralia Day at The Rocks

Idea: Celebrate Australia Day at The Rocks

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

Passion Sangria

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
Char-grilled Tortilla layered with rare roast beef, horseradish,
capsicum, lemon juice & fried capers

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.
I didn't like the new stylings overall. A bit too tacky and not enough kitsch to be cool. The service, or what service should I ask? Was all over the place. Despite being Australia Day, the Argyle Bazar was not packed. We had to repeatedly ask for water and ended up getting some well after all meals had been eaten. All meals were average and too expensive for what they were. The "wagyu" meatballs were bland, the kind of thing you would whip up at home in a minute from cheap mince. The tomato sauce was too thin and no spoon - like implement was given in order to get the sauce. The patatas bravas were average, especially after the amazing ones we had in Jah Bar a few weeks ago. They weren't crispy and tasted like they had been cooked hours ago.

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!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get your name up in lights - Sydney Festival

Idea: Get your name up in lights!

With a tag line like "For the 23rd Kaldor Public Art Project, US artist John Baldessari is giving more than 100,000 people the opportunity for their name to appear in lights on the side of the Australian Museum. Will you be one of them?" Who could resist? I couldn't! I got my name up in lights! My time was 6.50pm tonight!

So it's official people - I'm famous! And anyone else can be too (so long as you get in on time!) It's quite an interesting experience to see your name up in lights, but more than anything, it's all a bit of fun and another bit of the Sydney Festival to engage in.

Pub lunch, Wildfire, followed by a dash of Smoke & Mirrors

 Idea: A day of eating and playing

The boy met me at work today and we were in the mood for a pub lunch. I ordered what I always do at the Hero of Waterloo: Lambshanks and the Boy ordered the Bangers and Mash. Good proper pub food. It's not the cheapest, due to location: The Rocks, but it's good tasty, hearty fare. The lamb always melts off the bone, the gravy is thick, salty and goes perfectly with green beans and mash. Apart from a random, appetising, sad looking bit of tomato of the Boy's, his meal is exactly the sort of pub food that we were craving.

A Wildfire style Wagyu flat iron steak 200g, burnt eggplant, variations on onion, aerated potato ‘veloute', rosemary and oxtail jus and a glass of Stoneleigh Pinot Noir wine for $30. Yes Please. I love these Fast Festival Feasts and have tried to go to as many as possible during Sydney Festival this January.

I've been meaning to go to Wildfire for ages now and thought that this would be the perfect chance. I know that in the past, Wildfire's reputation for rude staff has gotten the better of it, but on our visit the service wasn't bad at all. Although, there was a minimum level of service required for us seeing as we had one meal on our menu: wagyu, which they didn't even ask how we wanted it cooked. The meat was tender, the aerated potato veloute was essentially pureed potato and cream, which was an interesting take on the idea of potato mash being served with steak. The rosemary and oxtail jus had depth and theingredients complimented each other nicely.

Wagyu flat iron steak 200g, burnt eggplant, variations on onion, aerated potato ‘veloute', rosemary and oxtail jus.

Add caption

Quite a few of the sides looked like they were worth trying and we settled on a crunchy spinach side of some kind (that doesn't appear to be on their online menu). It was crunchy and refreshing. The views were of course to die for and the Boy and I were both happy with our Wildfire experience.

Next up, we were off to see Smoke and Mirrors:

Having a nice cold bottle of white wine

In the Festival Garden - it was very packed by the time the sun dipped down.

We needed another quick bite to eat so the Boy got a Chilli Dog, which he said was satisfactory.

I got some dumplings, which were fab!

Walking through the faux vineyard

Time for Smoke and Mirrors to begin!

The strong men were my favourite act
If it wasn't sold out already, I would highly recommend going to see Smoke and Mirrors. So instead I'll say that it deserved its many awards and try to get tickets next year! What a great night!