Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Katsu Yachiyo

Katsu Yachiyo is one of the newbies on the scene. From the owners of Sushi Yachiyo in Darlinghurst (near the coke sign), Katsu Yachiyo is as the name suggests i.e. a katsu specialist!

It is tucked away on Devonshire St, Surry Hills and if you walk any faster you will miss it as they dont have a big flashy sign outfront. Instead they humbly wrote the restaurant name on the glass panel:

They only opened in December 2011 and its a shame its not packed on a friday night. They do not waste effort on the decor but ajourn the walls with blackboards that lists the specials and the array of imported sake on offer.

My sister being the japanese foodie that she is, ordered the Umeshu Shouchu without hesitation and of course i happily followed suit =) They only had 2 remaining so we shared it amongst 3 people. It is a very sweet plum shochu (japanese distilled spirit) which does not kill you on impact like sake does. Also ordered a fuji sparkling apple juice for my dearest.

Umeshu $9.50, apple sparking

There were some interesting dishes on the menu which i really wanted to try out. One of them was the prawn avocado with walnut and miso reduction. The walnut pieces were piled in the middle of the dish surrounded by sushi pieces so i had to scoop some every time I ate a sushi. As the avocado and prawn are quite textureless by themselves, the walnut brought the dish alive. Similarly with the miso reduction and mayo, omg i love the miso reduction! It was rich and sweet and oh so yummy. If only there was more sauce!

Prawn miso walnut roll $14.60

On a side note, they somehow have this amazing dipping soy sauce. I cannot describe it, but the soy sauce is thick and very tasty. So tasty i dipped everything that night in soy =)

I have a loving relationship with eggplant. The spongy eggplant soaked up the generous amounts of red and white miso reduction sauce and was divine, but definitely not enough to share around if you are an eggplant lover like me.

Nasudengaku $13.30

We also ordered two tuna shiso cigars where creamy tuna is wrapped in shiso herb served with miso and chipotle sauce. One bite wonders, the herb was crisp and the tuna chunky.

Tuna shiso cigars $3.50 each

The wagyu beef cheek which had been soy braised for 24hrs before being deep fried in fresh bread crumbs came out in balls that resembled deep fried takoyaki balls. A light super crunchy outershell encassed the delicate beef cheeks which melted in the mouth.

Wagyu cheek $16.50

Another interesting find was the edamame risotto croquette which also looked like deep friend takoyaki! haha. These were fried risotto rice balls with edamame beans and corn pieces. To compensate for the blandness it was unfortunately over peppered.

Edamame risotto croquette $14.50

Grilled salmon with soy caramelised vegetables with yuzu sauce was quite a refreshing dish. After all that katsu it was good to eat some chunky vegetables and also little cubed pieces of carrots and potatoes soaked in yuzu sauce. The salmon was lovely and the yuzu sauce simply irresistable. Can't go wrong with yuzu!

Salmon yuzu gomoku $20.50

What was funny was the table next to us. The guy ordered a plate of karaage chicken to eat by himself and when it arrived, there was a shocked expression on his face...what the? the dish is HUMUNGOUS!! Hence we ordered one ourselves hahhaha

The batter was light and the pieces were not oil at all. AND they used only chicken thigh fillet!! yummmm, no rough breast meat =) There were 8 very big pieces of chicken marinated in homemade soy miso sauce, so if you love your chicken karaage this is the ultimate indulgence.

Yachiyo chicken karaage $17.80

This place seriously knows their Katsu!

Katsu Yachiyo
208 Devonshire St
Surry Hills
Tel- 02 9690 2424

Monday, January 30, 2012

One Dim Sum - Hong Kong

One Dim Sum is a one Michelin star restaurant in Hong Kong, one of the cheapest ones out there! Having been to the so-called cheapest Michelin star restaurant i.e. Tim Ho Wan, i was eager to try One Dim Sum as my hong kong friends have reassured me One Dim Sum is comparable in price and the one that hong kongers prefer.

We traversed through the busy hong kong streets following my trusty google map directions, walked past the flower market and finally found the big red sign!! It is quite misleading as the entrance is not on the street per its address. If in doubt, give them a call =)

A line of chairs were positioined outside for patrons to sit down whilst they wait, but i was too eager to suss out the dim sum board!

Grab an order sheet and mark away! nom nom nom...

Once we got inside, i was surprised that they had such a good air conditioning system! It was a vast contrast to the mucky outside temperature and not the usual sweaty cafes i was used to in hong kong.

Prices were very reasonable, approx $10-20 HKD ($1.25 - $2.5 AUD) for a dim sum.

We ordered the typical dim sum items to see if they were up to scratch. The beef balls were a bit too soft and not as textured as i would have preferred.

The BBQ pork rice noodle rolls were super silky! But yes, i know it is silky because of the copious amount of oil that goes into it haha. It slid into my mouth with ease, coupled with the sweet soy sauce. However I would have liked the rice noodle sheets to be thinner and more transparent.

Was a bit disappointed with my favourite dish i.e. the fried dough wrapped in rice noodle, "Ja Leung". The fried dough was so soft and soggy!! Not happy =(

I dont usually order this steamed chicken dish "Gai Zat" but it was surprisingly flavoursome. The chicken was very tender with the shiitake mushroom and fish maw. YUM.

The BBQ pork bun is another of my favourite all time dim sum because i love the sweet bun and honeyed bbq pork centres. This one didn't disappoint either! It had enough juicy filling that wasn't dry with a hot, cotton soft sweet bun. At $12 HDK ($1.5AUD) for 2 BBQ pork buns, you cant ask for much more at a one Michelin star restaurant.

One Dim Sum
15 Playing Field Road
Mongkok, Kowloon Hong Kong
tel - +852 2789 2280

Cafe Mint

Walking from Town Hall to Cafe Mint on Crown Street Surry Hills sounded like a great idea as i needed to burn off a few calories before some indulgence! But i forgot about the weird humid weather and arrived after 30 (very sweaty) minutes. It is a very cosy cafe with wooden fitouts that could easily have been missed if i walked too fast but i think it was well worth my sweatiness.

Cafe Mint serves modern middle eastern cuisine and in my mind similar to Kazbah if you want to compare. This cafe is a fantastic sunday brunch hangout but only if you have a small group as it is tiny!

The breakfast menu is refreshing and not overloaded with a list of egg dishes made twenty ways. They have sweet breakfast couscous, a turkish style breakfast plate, breakfast hummus wiht spiced chickpeas just to name a few.

I read somewhere that the sweet mint tea is superb so i ordered one in anticipation.

Sweet moroccan fresh mint tea $4.50

The mint tea is definitely sweet as the name suggests! It is quite minty but the sweetness is overpowering, like drinking concentrated honey. I didn't mind it as much as i have a sweet tooth, but you have been warned! =)

Spicy merguez lamb sausages and lamb kefta, baked in chackchouka with peas & mint served with za'tar bread $21.50

Cous cous salad with fresh and roasted vegetables and grilled haloumi $15.50

Turkish breakfast, with spice roast tomato, spinach, boiled egg, olives, haloumi and za’tar toast $16.90

I ordered the turkish breakfast which came with big pieces of haloumi which i had a craving for =) It came with 4 triangle slices of za'tar toast, which is basically toast that is smothered with za'tar spice mixture, sesame seeds, salt and then toasted. It is a much healthier option compared to the normal butter oozing toast! The soft boiled egg was goey and wobbly which tells me they know exactly how to make their eggs! The spice roasted tomatoes were sweet and the mix of different olives complimented the dish well.

Cafe Mint
579 Crown St
Surry Hills
Tel - 02 9319 0848

Thursday, December 15, 2011


My 2 week holiday turned into a 2 month hiatus from blogging!! im so sorry, i've been super busy after my overseas and interstate trips =P

But the main reason why i've been so busy is because I GOT ENGAGED!!! yippppeeee.....Hence i have been spending most of my waking momenst planning and thinking about the big day.

I promise to start blogging again during the upcoming Christmas holidays. I'm super excited, theres a lot of cool blog posts coming up, so stick around!!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

notice board =D

hey friends, i'll be away on holidays for 2 weeks so i wont be posting any updates until im back. see u soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jamie's Italian Sydney

Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Jamie's Italian has finally FINALLY made its debut in Sydney Australia!! I have anticipated its opening for months (ever since they announced it around August this year) and could not be more ecstatic when it opened yesterday that i rushed there tonight.

It must have been a low key soft opening with not a lot of fanfare as there was no media hype around the whole thing. Maybe it was Jamie's idea?

Jamie's philosophy has always been to serve up quality food at reasonable prices so that it is affordable for everyone. His Sydney restaurant has done exactly that. When i looked at the exciting menu on offer, i could not believe the price tags attached to them. Dessert for $9?? Impossible!!

It is hard when you have high expectations for a restaurant to come out the other end with your expectations met. Not only did it exceed my expectations, i was jumping up and down with joy!

At the front of the restaurant you can see through the glass at the pasta coming out of the pasta machine (which looks more like a mincing machine =P)

They do not take bookings except for 6 or more people. I was so eager to get a seat i was outside their door at 5.45pm but the restaurant seats 200, so there was no real rush as there were plenty of tables available over 2 levels.

We had excellent service throughout the night, 10/10. They were passionate about the food, kept refilling water and we were asked quite a few times if we enjoyed the dishes. Maybe because it is only their 2nd day of work but i hope this enthusiam continues because it was fantastic.

Amongst the 3 of us we ordered 4 entree dishes to share, 3 mains and 3 desserts. All up $50pp. I cant stop smiling!!

A wall of wines lined up in wired cupboards decorated the wall on one side of the ground level seating area.

The vegetarian plate was only $10 per head and comprised of sliced vegetables chargrilled & marinated, buffalo mozzarella & pecorino with chilli jam, aubergine caponata, curly green chillies, olives & caper berries and a crunchy salad of shaved root veg with chilli, lemon & mint. Even though it was a one person serve, it was massive and perfect for those greedy eaters like me who like to eat a bit of everything.

Planks - Vegetables $10 per head

The chargrilled vegetables were huge and chunky covered in glossy oil and sweet vinegar. I learned that aubergine is another name for the humble eggplant and caponata is a salad comprising of eggplants, veges and capers in a sweet n sour sauce with sweet vinegar. No wonder it was vinegar tangy!

The platter is balanced on top of tomato cans! An absolutely brilliant idea =)

The mozzarella was reminescent of fresh milk - creamy and light but oozy in the centre.

The crunchy salad was indeed crunchy, with the vegetables finely julienned.

A piece of hard cheese, pecorino, is sliced into a triangle with a dollop of chilli jam on top so that it resembled a sunny side up egg.

I took so many pics of this dish because i got overly excited haha.

We ordered the small size of the cuttlefish paccheri. Short tubes of pasta with slowbraised cuttlefish, parsley, white wine, capers and tomatoes. It was a really small serving but perfect as an entree size. The flavours were all there, very seafoody but the pasta tubes were a bit too firm.

Cuttlefish paccheri $13.50

Yum yum polenta chips!! It was more like potenta chunks, as the polenta came in chunky cubes lightly deep fried with rosemary salt topped with parmesan. Heaven in a cube! Thinly crispy on the outside, not too oily with the inside still soft and spongy. $8 for a bowl of indulgence.

Crispy polenta chips $8

We also picked the mushroom fritto. The mushrooms are grown in-house, sliced and deep fried until crispy. Served with irresistable garlicky mayo.

Mushroom fritto $9

The only deceiving part is that the bottom half of the container is empty, filled with brown paper haha. If only the whole thing was filled with mushroom!!!

Cross section of the mushroom slice:

Tip for when you come here: you need to physically ask for the bread (on the house, free). It was listed on the menu but none of the tables around us got any, so, being greedy me i asked for it =)

There is a selection of different breads: homemade rosemary focaccia Artisan sourdough, ciabatta and tortano from their bakery Crispy carta di musica. Served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic. They are only small pieces, but great for nibbling in between dishes.

One of our mains was the grilled chicken. Half a free range bird marinated and chargrilled with a warm tomato, olive, chilli and caper sauce. My sister said the chicken was too dry and the sauce super overpowering. When i tried the sauce i was knocked over. It was also a smaller portion size compared to my Lamb and our friend's fish.

My sister was told to rip the meat off the bone, mix it with the sauce with a squeeze of lemon.

Grilled chicken $29

I had the Best of Aussie Lamb Spiedini - marinated and grilled leg, shoulder and liver with smashed new potatoes and a minty chilli and yoghurt dressing.

Not only were the potatoes smashed, but i was smashed after eating the dish, it was that big!! The meat and liver came skewered on a metal rod and sat on top of a thick bed of potatoes.

Best of Aussie Lamb Spiedini $25

The lamb was perfectly pink in the centre and super tender. Lamb liver is not something that people would normally like, but as a Chinese who eats all sorts of innards, i loved the liver. And all that on a plate for $25?! Must be dreaming.

The fish chosen was the Fritto Misto - mixed crispy fried fish of the day served with zesty Italian tartare sauce and fresh lemon.

The fish was hidden beneath a blanket of deep fried angel hair pasta with 3 slices of lemon on top haha. The angel hair is tied artistically around a prawn. The deep fried angel hair is addictive like chips! But after a few more mouthfuls you definitely have a very oily lingering around the back of the throat.

There was an obviously big dish of tartare sauce which was not hidden! It was very zingy and as it was a generous serving of sauce it lets you to fully dunk your fish in it.

The piece of fish i had was nicely battered and fried but my sister's piece was apparently a bit salty. But does it really matter when you can drown it in tangy sauce =)

Fritto Misto $26

No matter what, leave room for dessert because you will regret regret regret if you dont. There, i've warned you.

We ordered the brownie, tiramisu and panna cotta to share.

The panna cotta was my favourite as it was creamy, delicate and not overly sweet. Coupled with intense berry puree it was pure bliss.

Creamy Panna Cotta $8.50

The warm brownie was richly chocolately with extra chocolate sauce on top.It was a chocolate, raspberry and amaretto brownie served with vanilla ice cream.

Ultimate Brownie $8.50

Last but not least, the tiramisu! If you love jaffas, then this is the winning dessert. Coffee-flavoured trifle with orange mascarpone and chocolate.

Our Special Tiramisu $9

And as you can tell, we scraped every plate and licked every spoon. Doesn't it speak louder than words =P

Well done Jamie!

Jamie's Italian
107 Pitt Street
Tel - 02 8240 9000