Monday, September 1, 2014

The Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills

Earlier this year, I promised to try to keep up with the brunch trends around Sydney. Considering that there are quite a few cafes opening in places like Alexandria, Petersham, Bondi Beach and Parramatta; this was much harder than I thought. So it was no surprise that I am probably the last person to talk about Paramount Coffee Project. My review for this cafe has been long overdue for months that I have already made a number of visits. With the drool-worthy food porn and a diverse selection of roasted coffee beans led by the team from Reuben Hills and Melbourne's Seven Seeds, it was no surprise that there was so many raves about this cafe so soon after it opened last year.



This modern and industrial-looking interior space with natural lighting and minimalist decor was also the home of Paramount Pictures Building as well as the Golden Age Cinemas for the keen movie buffs at night. While there was so much space, there actually wasn't much seating options so there was a bit of a wait before a table was available if you go on weekends. On one of my visits, there was a fashion sale happening upstairs which was a great way to kill time while you wait.


Skim Mocha ($4.00) 

Considering the alumni managing PCP, it's no surprise that there would be high expectations when it comes to the coffee. Thankfully, the usual mocha order didn't disappoint. The mocha was balanced with not too much chocolate and not as much milk. It also had an aromatic, roasted texture as I sip into the cup.


Rose Iced Tea ($5.00) 

Based on a staff recommendation, I also got a Rose Iced Tea on another visit when the weather was warmer. I think it's becoming a trend for fresh juices and iced tea drinks to be served in those big jars since I've spotted them in nearly every hipster-esque cafe lately. While the iced tea wasn't very sweet, it was refreshing to enjoy on a warm day.


Baked Eggs: chorizo, cannelini beans, toast ($17.00) 

Been a fan of baked eggs lately even though I only got into it this year. While the egg yolk wasn't as runny as I would have liked, PCP's version was actually very delicious. The flavour of the sauce was not too strong and the texture wasn't very heavy or watery compared to a few other versions of this dish. The serving size is reasonable enough to eat without feeling too bloated at the end. Cannot go wrong with chorizos in baked eggs either. Always a winner for me. 


Coca Cola Ox Cheek Waffles: corn and tomato salsa, horseradish mayo, coriander ($19.00; $24.00 - including hush puppies) 

Another item that has gotten me curious after seeing it countless times on instagram was the lovely looking Coca Cola Ox Cheek Waffles. The braised ox cheek had strong flavours that were quite spicy - possibly from the horseradish mayo. While the waffles did get a bit soggy from all the toppings, the crumbled pork crackling added a good crunch that was much needed. I didn't mind the hush puppies since I haven't tried it elsewhere, though it did tasted dry. With all the starch in the waffles, the hush puppies were probably a bit too much to handle in the stomach.


Crab Po' Boy: soft shell crab, house slaw, ranch sauce, milk bun ($19.00; $24.00 - including onion rings)

While the menu changes every month, the one item that has not been removed since Paramount Coffee Project opened its doors was the famous Crab Po' Boy. While the usual Po' Boy found in America was served in a sandwich sub, PCP's version was served in a milk bun similar to what you see in a burger. Was satisfied with the soft, buttery bun and the crispy soft shell crab even though it was very messy to handle. Just one bite and you can see the creamy ranch sauce and slaw flow onto your plate. While it did fill me up, the price was pretty expensive in my opinion. The onion rings were also tasty and well-cooked with its fried batter and tangy mayo on the side.



Even though most of the seating was shared tables, I actually didn't mind since PCP delivers a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere even when it's not as busy. As it was housed in the Paramount Building, it's no surprise when you are surrounded by film buffs discussing their latest project. The prices were on the more expensive side and the dishes won't reduce your waistline so this isn't a cafe I would go on a regular basis. However, the dishes were tasty even with the minor flaws and the service was attentive. Since Spring is here, I look forward to seeing what they offer next on their menu.

Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 1122
https://www.facebook.com/theparamountcoffeeproject
Mon-Sun: 7:00am - 4:00pm
The Paramount Coffee Project on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 29, 2014

Spaghetti with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto


You probably won't believe this especially with what I've been posting up on the blog and instagram lately but for most of last year, I barely ate pasta or pizza for diet reasons. It was hard but surprisingly I was able to manage it. Kinda funny since every time I go to an Italian restaurant, the first thing I look on the menu was always the pasta or 'primi' section. While I haven't been as strict with the diet these days, I still get that guilty feeling every time that slippery spaghetti lands in the mouth. However there has been different pasta alternatives available that are actually slightly better for the pasta addicts out there like myself.



The team at Barilla has kindly sent a package of their delicious pastas and sauces including the Wholegrain Spaghetti from their newly released Wholegrain range, which has got me intrigued. Like noodles, it's amazing how many recipes you can think of using pasta whether you like it creamy, tomato-based or without any sauce at all. Anyhow, it's been a while since I did a recipe post. Using the products provided by Barilla, ingredients purchased from the local supermarket and inspiration by a few recipes ideas from Taste, I was able to come up with the below recipe. 




Spaghetti with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto 

Makes: 4 servings 

Ingredients:

375g Barilla Wholegrain Spaghetti (this can be used with any other dried thin pasta)
1 jar Barilla Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
400g chicken breast (tip: chop the chicken breast into smaller pieces before adding to pan)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove
Parmesan shavings, to serve



Method:

1. In a large frying pan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat (because my stove is takes a looong time to heat up, I used high heat).
2. Add the chicken breast and reduce the heat to the next level. Cook for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven) then set aside for another 15 minutes or till it's cooked through.
3. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water until it's al dente.
4. Heat another frying pan using a drizzle of olive oil and a garlic clove.
5. Drain the pasta and return to the frying pan.
6. Add the chicken, parsley and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto to the pan and toss it for up to 5 minutes with the pasta.
7. Serve with parmesan shavings and left-over parsley. Enjoy!




Disclaimer: The Random Foodie received the pasta and pasta sauces courtesy of Barilla. All other ingredients were paid independently.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Product Review: Domino's Pizza - New Pulled Pork Range


A few years ago, you don't see that much restaurants serving pulled pork in whatever form. Times have changed and pretty much every second or third restaurant now has it whether it's a pulled pork roll, pulled pork burger or even a pulled pork pizza. It's no surprise that Domino's Pizza has released a new range of Chef's Best pulled pork pizzas for you to sample this delicacy without the need to travel.


Hickory BBQ Pulled Pork

The first slice I've tried was the Hickory BBQ Pulled Pork, which contains generous amounts of tender pulled pork, red onion, capsicum, mozzarella and a hickory BBQ sauce swirl. It was quite sweet from the sauce and the red onion. While the pulled pork was slightly dry, it didn't really bother me. While I enjoyed this pizza as it was well balanced with between the pulled pork and the veggies, the folks thought this pizza was too sweet for their liking. Reminded me of the classic Supreme pizza with a pulled pork twist with these toppings.


Chilli Lime Pulled Pork

The Chilli Lime Pulled Pork Pizza (pulled pork, crunchy Vietnamese slaw, mushrooms, red onion, baby spinach on creme fraiche with mozzarella on a chilli lime drizzle) ended up being the favourite for the parents due to its abundance of veggie toppings and unique flavours. While I'm generally not a fan of creme fraiche, there wasn't much of it detected in the toppings so I actually enjoyed it. The white-based pizza did have a strong ginger-like flavour and the chilli lime was a tad spicy. With all those toppings and Asian-inspired flavours, it was different to the usual fare I've had at Domino's in the past.


Pulled Pork Meatlovers

Thought that the Pulled Pork Meatlovers (tender pulled pork, Italian sausage, pepperoni, rasher bacon, mozzarella on a Hickory BBQ sauce) was pretty similar to the regular Meatlovers pizzas except with extra pulled pork. While I liked the smoked flavour and aroma, the abundance of different meats seemed to overshadow the pulled pork. Although the Pulled Pork Meatlovers had the same sauce as the Hickory BBQ Pulled Pork, it wasn't as sweet thanks to the different meats which pleased the folks. It is delicious option though if you love a meaty feast.


Belgian Hot Choc Fudge Brownies

For dessert, we got to try Domino's Belgian Hot Choc Fudge Brownies with hot fudge dipping sauce on the side. Initially I didn't have high expectations but I was surprised at how warm, soft and moist these brownies were. It felt so sinful when you pour the rich fudge sauce all over these baked treats.




The folks enjoyed it too and it's a good way to take a break from cooking for the night. The three pizzas and the brownies were more than enough for 4 or even 6 people to dig in since we had a good amount of slices for leftovers. While I'm not sure if the pulled pork pizzas will be on the permanent menu, it was a tasty experience trying a new range of flavours with the family instead of the usual favourites. 

DISCLAIMER: The Random Foodie was invited to sample the pizzas, courtesy of Domino's Pizza. Opinions are however, my own.

Domino's Pizza
1300 DOMINOS
http://www.dominos.com.au/

Speaking of food delivery, don't forget to enter my Menulog giveaway! Entries close at midnight on Monday 1st September 2014.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

PappaRich, Parramatta


After drooling at THAT chicken skin from countless PappaRich reviews across its NSW branches, I finally got the chance to indulge in that fried chicken goodness at their newly opened Parramatta branch with a few other food bloggers for a lunch of epic proportions. Literally. No really, it was epic.



Located at the former Pho Pasteur site near Nandos (the Church Street branch is still open btw), it is very easy to spot PappaRich over the other outdoor restaurant especially with the insane lines. Not sure if they do bookings but dang I really did not expect PappaRich queues to be that crazy!



It was equally busy and noisy when you get inside the full restaurant too but there is a button to get the waiter's attention - similar to the Korean restaurants actually. When you decide what you want to order, there is a pad where you get to fill out what you want to eat using the codes from the menu and then hand it to the waiter once it's done.


Milo Dinosaur ($4.90)

We kicked off with choosing our beverage from an extensive list of drinks. Even the drinks looked incredible with many unusual ingredient combinations that you would not see elsewhere. My pick was the bombastic Milo Dinosaur. Just look at those massive layers of Milo chocolate powder cluttered on top of thick, decadent chocolate milk! This was served in a large beer-sized mug that you would normally expect at a beer garden. It definitely wasn't your ordinary Milo chocolate milk.


Clockwise L-R: Coconut Paradise, Mango Mania (x2), Tropical Lime, Lychee Soda, Matcha Rocks, Milo Dinosaur

You can see the work of art in PappaRich's drinks. There are currently over 60 types of beverages available including their more exotic signature drinks that I would recommend trying when you make a visit. The Mango Mania was a popular drink at the table which was no surprise from its aesthetic appearance filled with lychees and watermelon balls. Another PappaRich classic drink was the tropical Coconut Paradise consisting of blended coconut juice and coconut shavings, which was actually refreshing to have especially with the warmer seasons arriving soon. For the green tea lover, there's the creamy Matcha Rocks packed with green tea soya, red bean and green tea ice cream. So much green tea goodness and it looks amazing too! The Tropical Lime is another classic with its ice-blended lychee and lime sweetness combined with the generous scoop of Vanilla ice cream. If you want something light, simple and flavour-bursting then I would go for the fresh Lychee Soda.


Satay Chicken ($12.90 for 6 pieces, $21.90 for 12 pieces)

The feast started off with a platter of satay chicken skewers. The skewers were quite tender and well seasoned with a nicely charred outer texture. The highlight for me was the mouth-watering satay sauce especially when you can taste the crumbled peanuts meshing well in the sauce. Felt the urge to use the satay sauce with everything else, especially the rotis.


Roti Canai ($6.90)

Speaking of rotis, we were treated with a wide range of different types available at PappaRich. The original Roti Canai was soft and fluffy in the inside and crispy and flaky on the outside. It was served on a platter with curry, sambal and daal on the side. End up making the most of the delicious curry dip and the creamy daal since the sambal was a bit too spicy for my preference. However, the roti helped in balancing the hotness. Could eat this whole dish by myself.


Roti Canai with Curry Chicken ($12.90)

We also had a variation of the roti canai with curry chicken on the side. The chicken curry was mild, succulent and easy to pull apart with a touch of the knife.


Roti Telur Bawang with Beef Rendang ($13.90)

I was also a fan of the Roti Telur Bawang, which is laced with egg and onions. Softer and denser than the roti canai, this was more filling and moreish but equally tasty if you want to try something different. This arrived with beef rendang on the side, which melted in your mouth with a burst of flavours and various spices on the tastebuds.


Roti Planta ($7.90)

I actually forgot to take a picture of this until I scrolled through my photos and realised something was missing (sorry). The Roti Planta was another type of roti I haven't tried at other Malaysian restaurants before. It was sweeter and stickier than the other savoury rotis though it was also quite soft and light in its texture.


Vegetarian Shui Kau Dumplings ($4.90)


Vegetarian Siew Mai Dumplings ($4.90)

I was really surprised to spot various vegetarian dumplings at the table. Not too soft and not too firm. Equally surprised that I was keen for seconds for them since I usually prefer meat dumplings in the past.


Pappa Deep Fried Chicken Skin ($6.90)

And now finally, the famous Pappa Deep Fried Chicken Skin I have been looking forward to the most for months. That friiieeeddd chicken skin! And I gotta say, it was definitely worth the hype. The above picture really does not do this dish any justice. While it's not gonna decrease the waistline anytime soon (sadly), it was absolute crunchy goodness. Even when I grabbed a piece towards the end, it was still extra crispy. Must have!


Curry Chicken Laksa ($13.50)


Curry Laksa - Vegetables ($13.50)

After all that, we finally got onto the main dishes. Yup that was just the entrees! It's still the middle of winter so we ordered a couple of bowls of laksa. The Curry Chicken Laksa had a fragrant aroma with various spices to enhance the flavour (though mild compared to Malay Chinese Takeaway). It was also creamy, thick and generous with the coconut and juicy chicken fillets and firm noodles. Even spotted eggplant and beancurd skin in the broth. I didn't get to try the Curry Vegetable Laksa but it looked very appetising from afar. While the vegetable curry is very similar to the chicken curry (except without the chicken of course), it also has a generous serving of eggplants along with lots of beansprouts. 


Pappa Asam Laksa ($13.50)

If rich and creamy laksa are too much for you to handle, the Pappa Asam Laksa was lighter in comparison with its rather clear broth. The overall flavour was quite sour and fishy and the noodles were well cooked. Definitely a dish I am very keen to order again even during the warmer seasons.


Vegetarian Fried Mee Hoon ($13.90)

We also got a plate of Vegetarian Fried Mee Hoon, which consisted of dry vermicelli noodles served with vegetarian sambal, tofu and shredded eggs. For a dish that looks plain and simple, this was light and refreshing. Very nice breakaway from the heavy, rich and creamy dishes. Would recommend this dish for the strict vegetarians as it was a tasty dish.


Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken ($13.50)

The Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken reminded me of Haianese Chicken Rice from the various Singapore food stalls. The soy sauce added a decent amount of flavour to the chicken, whereas the chicken rice was fragrant and had a balanced texture that wasn't too soft or too hard. 


Pappa Fried Rice Noodles ($13.50)

To end the mammoth feast, there was the seemingly innocent but spicy Pappa Fried Rice Noodles. This contains wok fried noodles, prawn, shredded chicken, egg and bean sprouts. Personally I found that this dish was too spicy and quite oily for my preference though I did enjoy digging into the juicy prawns. 


Sago Pudding ($5.50)

By this point I was absolutely stuffed but when it's a food blogger gathering, you cannot miss out on the dessert. The traditional Sago Pudding was sweet, creamy and...well...bubbly. Seriously, I thought that the bubbly sago pudding looked adorable in a bed of coconut milk.


Pappa Premium Ice Cream

If the Sago Pudding is a bit too adventurous for the palate, the Pappa Premium Ice Cream brings out the child in you with its beautiful presentation. Although it was simply a strawberry and chocolate ice cream sundae with cream and banana in a waffle basket, it was lovely to try and would certainly be popular for the kids.


Roti Banana with Vanilla Ice Cream

If I wasn't so stuffed, I would gladly eat up the Roti Banana with Vanilla Ice Cream for sure. This was thick, sticky, sweet and packed with banana inside the roti pastry. It was well complemented with the vanilla ice cream which melted across the roti. Felt so sinful yet so indulgent.




At the end, we were treated to a few cooking demonstrations at PappaRich's open kitchen including the roti demonstration where we got to see the chef twirling and spinning the roti dough.


It was an amazing experience sampling as many dishes as possible at PappaRich - even with the subsequent food coma afterwards. While the service was busy due to the noisy and packed out restaurant, they still looked after us on the day. While there were a few dishes that were slightly pricey, most of the dishes on the menu were reasonable if you are on a budget. It's halal-approved so you get to try the fried chicken skin without the guilt. Because of the many variety of Malaysian dishes available on the menu that we haven't tried yet (yup there's still much much more), I would certainly be coming back at one of the PappaRich branches whether it's Parramatta, Broadway or even Chatswood if I'm in the area - even if the wait can be pretty crazy during peak hours. With another branch opening at Macquarie Centre soon, you can be sure that there will be more branches opening up in your local area in the near future.



Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined as a guest of PappaRich Parramatta, courtesy of Wasamedia. Opinions are however, my own. 

PappaRich Parramatta
Shop 2185A, Westfield Parramatta
159-175 Church Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9633 3387
http://papparich.net.au/
PappaRich on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 18, 2014

[GIVEAWAY + REVIEW] My Tandoori Indian Restaurant, Green Valley via Menulog Food Delivery

Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post! :)

It's August so the weather is having its mood swings. One week it's bright and sunny with clear blue skies. The next week it's cold, windy and rainy. Then there's a sudden blackout on your street and you are having post-gym hunger cravings (true story). That's where Menulog Food Delivery comes in to save the day. With its own mobile app, you can easily order takeaway online without needing to wait for the electricity to turn back on (though I would recommend eating with a torch or candle next to you). 



Long time readers may remember that I have previously reviewed Menulog late last year which was an enjoyable experience getting food delivered to my workplace - apart from a minor mishap with the delivery date from the restaurant (but it was still on the dot). However, I am one of those people who believes in second chances especially when Menulog resolved it immediately without any added burdens.

Menulog has been expanding its list of more than 3500 restaurants offering online delivery and takeaway across Australia. You can use it anytime, anywhere and it's free to use! You can even pre-order in advance if you wish. If you do not have the Menulog app on your phone, it is available to download for free on iTunes and Google Play.



Simply type the postcode or the name of your suburb on the app and you can access countless restaurants available within your area whether it's takeaway or delivery. For a suburb as obscure as Sadleir, I was surprised to see a decent selection of restaurants in the area offering Italian, Lebanese and Indian cuisines. 



Since the weather was cold and wet and I already had pizza a few days ago, I decided to go for Indian food this time with My Tandoori as my restaurant pick based on ratings, reviews, specials and the delicious selection of dishes on the menu. Though be mindful of the Minimum Delivery cost!



Select your dishes from the menu and make your order. There are options for certain types of dishes like curries such as the level of spice whether it's mild, medium or hot.



After you made your choices, review and confirm your order then enter your contact and delivery details and voucher code at the checkout. Finally you enter your payment details and away we go! 



After the order has been processed, you receive an SMS confirming your order and expected delivery time. Get your stomach ready!



This time, the friendly delivery guy arrived on the dot which has definitely put a smile on my face. Imagine our excitement when we opened up the large bag afterwards.




We started out with the vegetable samosas with slightly spicy mint chutney on the side. The vegetable filling had lots of unusual flavours and seasonings which were crumbled and mashed together inside layers of crispy pastry. Despite the delivery time, the samosas still remained crunchy.


Vegetable Samosas ($6.90 for 2) 

There was actually many different types of naan bread available on the My Tandoori restaurant menu including plain, garlic, cheese, Keema (stuffed mince) to name a few. Because the folks enjoy eating garlic bread on the side in the past, I opted for the garlic naan. It did not have that strong garlic taste but was still light, fluffy and perfect to dip with the curries.


Garlic Naan Bread ($2.50) 

Finally we dug into the curries starting with the Beef Korma. While the beef was not too soft (but not too hard), the curry had a mild, rich, nutty and creamy taste with a hint of coconut milk which balances everything out in this dish. In fact, the beef helped to soak up the curry juices especially once the milky and creamy taste took over the taste buds. Really liked that the beef cuts used in this curry had no fatty parts attached.


 Beef Korma ($15.90)

The Chicken Tikka Masala was a favourite for me and the folks out of all the dishes. It was a tad spicier than the beef korma since it was cooked in various spices but still mild enough to handle if you aren't a fan of spicy food. It was also incredibly flavoursome and aromatic with loads of soft and tender tandoori chicken. Perfect for dipping with naan bread. The thick and rich curry was so good that we nearly finished this off before the food coma took over. 


Chicken Tikka Masala ($15.90)

Really enjoyed the dishes I've had tonight even though it's pricier compared to other local restaurants especially in South-West Sydney. The minimum delivery cost was $35 so I had to order a few more dishes than my stomach could handle but at least there are left-overs to eat again on a later day. After this experience, I am definitely keen to order from My Tandoori Indian Restaurant again at a later date to discover more essential Indian dishes whether it's by delivery, takeaway or dining in. 


GIVEAWAYYYY TIME!
Thanks to Menulog (and because I'm a nice girl), I've got 1 x $25 Menulog voucher to giveaway! For your chance to win the voucher, use the Rafflecopter app below to follow the prompts:
1. Like The Random Foodie on Facebook
2. Follow randomgrrl on Twitter
3. Leave a comment on the post below answering the following question: What's your favourite dish or cuisine to eat on a rainy night? 



Terms and Conditions:
1. This giveaway is open to Australian residents.
2. Giveaway closes at 12:00am AEST on Monday 1st September 2014.
3. The winner will be notified by email and announced on the blog and relevant social media sites on Monday 1st September 2014. 
4. Voucher is valid for delivery, credit card payment and one-use only.
5. The voucher will be emailed to the winner as supplied by Menulog and expires 1 month after winner selection.

Good luck everyone!

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie received a voucher courtesy of Menulog. Opinions are however, my own.

My Tandoori Indian Restaurant
Shop 6, 170 Green Valley Road, Green Valley NSW 2168
(02) 9608 8023
Tue-Sun: 4:00pm-9:30pm
My Tandoori Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Menulog Sydney: http://www.menulog.com.au/browse/sydney