Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taste of Sydney 2012, Centennial Park

Sorry for the lateness of this review. The last two months have been so busy for me so doing an epic post like this was going to take a while. Plus uploading photos from iPhone can be a bit of a pain...
Anyone for table tennis?

Considering how messed up the weather was lately, it was no surprise that Thursday's session of Taste of Sydney got cancelled due to the epic downpour of rain (and flooding!!!). Thankfully, the weather over the next few days was perfect but the ground was pretty muddy.

After attending Taste of Sydney over the past couple of years, it was no surprise that the restaurants appearing at the festival will deliver an array of amazing dishes and this year was no exception. In fact I thought there were too many dishes to choose from and not enough Crowns (currency used at Taste festivals) or stomach to devour them all. Most menu items are worth 8, 10 or 12 Crowns with exception to Icon dishes which varies between 8 to 20 Crowns and even 32 Crowns for one Icon dish from Flying Fish.

Hope you are full enough to enjoy the next batch of photos featuring a selection of dishes observed and/or tasted that day. (Warning: Avert your eyes if you are a vegetarian or love little piggies...)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stitch Bar, Sydney CBD

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed on the number of small bars popping up around Sydney, you are not alone. Small bars, wine bars, and hole-in-the-wall bars are popping up at nearly every corner in Sydney that you can be forgiven with for have trouble deciding on the place with all the choices. One bar that got me interested is Stitch Bar -founded by the same guys as Pocket Bar. Not just because of their immense wine and cocktail list with catchy names (Purple Haze and Goosebumps anyone?) but also because of the food they make.

Like most small bars, it is pretty tough in finding the location due to its hole in the wall and underground setting. When you find it, you are greeted with several sewing machines with bits of thread lying around that you will think that you may have entered into a 'Spotlight' store. After walking down the stairs you are greeted with an old Wild West-style bar with dim lighting and a small dining area on the other side.

I can't remember when I first heard about curly fries - possibly in a movie or a tv show. But ever since then, I have been craving to try curly fries anywhere - surprisingly you don't see this as much around Australia. So when I saw this on the menu, I literally jumped for joy! It was spicier than I expected after eating through the fries but it was enjoyable playing around with its curliness.

Curly Fries!

Another moment of jumping for joy is seeing tacos on the menu. I wanted to try all of the fillings (carnitas, drunken skirt and Ancho Chile pulled chicken) but I can pick on flavour for all 3 servings. This time, I opted for the drunken skirt. When it arrived at my table, I noticed that the tortillas have been grilled with the cheese melted with the fillings - like a qaesadilla! In fact I think it probably was a qaesadilla which can be a bit of a bother if you are expecting tacos. Thankfully, it tasted pretty nice altho the beef was somewhat tough to chew on. Next time, I got to try their hot dogs and burgers!

Drunken skirt tacos

When you are in a bar like Stitch, you may as well try the drinks especially with those catchy names. On this occasion, I was so indecisive so the bartender was nice enough to do a custom-made cocktail which isn't available on the menu! I can't really judge on this but it tasted very refreshing.

Next time you and your mates/co-workers are up for a classy night out and you are stuck on which small bar to check out, give Stitch Bar a go especially for their extensive cocktail list. Don't be surprised if you get there and there's a long queue of hungry patrons waiting at the bar for a table if you and your guests are planning to eat. I checked it out once on a Wednesday evening around 6pm, and it was already full. Plus in peak hours, I have heard that the bar gets really packed. It is a small bar after all.

Stitch Bar
61 York Street, Sydney
Contact no: 02 9299 2719

Stitch on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ramen Kan, Haymarket

These days. we think of hole in the wall places like the small bars that are literally popping on every corner of Sydney. Long before that, Ramen Kan has located itself in its own hole in the wall space upstairs where customers access this restaurant via an elevator. Hard to find if you had no idea about this.

At the time I went inside, the queue was not that long. Since the waiting area is fairly small, this can get very crowded for the hungry diners. As it is very close to UTS, it is a very popular place for students The menu offers different types of noodle dishes like ramen and udon as well as small side dishes such as chicken karaage, takoyaki, edamame and gyoza.

Tonkotsu Ramen

I headed straight for the ramen as I wasn't too hungry to grab the other dishes. The broth was fairly thick but it maintained the right consistency as I was able to clean up the whole bowl. Also, the noodles has a nice bite which made the dish very satisfying. It was accompanied with a little dish of fried shallots, garlic and chilli sauce to enhance the flavour to your liking.

The overall meal was pretty satisfying. If you are a fan of Japanese cuisine, this place does a really good job at it. Definitely somewhere to go and meet up with friends for a quick dinner or lunch. Plus the service was pretty good. When I left, the restauran was nearly full and there was about 10-20 people waiting in that small area near the lift to get a table. As looks like a walk in restaurant, expect the queues at peak hours.

Ramen Kan
90 Hay Street, Haymarket, 2000
Contact no: 02 9211 6677

Ramen-Kan on Urbanspoon