Tuesday, August 28, 2012

District Dining, Surry Hills [CLOSED]

Around this time, I just got back from my six week trip overseas and already there are more changes to the restaurant scene within that short time than over the last few years. By now, a growing number of fine dining restaurants including Manly Pavilion, Bilson, Montpellier Public House, Berowra Waters Inn and North's Becasse empire (to name a few...) have closed its doors due to finances being the main reason. And this really sucks for someone who has been away from Sydney the entire time.

If there's any restaurant that I must try and hopefully save before it disappears, District Dining is up there as the menu has mostly changed since my last visit. While it may not be as fine dining as its sister restaurant 'Assiette', its bistro-style layout outshines itself through its methods, presentation, tapas-style shared plates and unique flavours delivered by chef Warren Turnbull. With an ever changing seasonal menu inspired by a multitude of different cuisines, there's always something new to try along with some old favourites.

Crispy pig ears, szechuan salt

One thing that is making me keep coming back for more is the crispy pig ears. I know one of my mates is obsessed with them when we tried it the first time hehe. While it was a bit salty, it was also slightly sweet. It is sooo much crunchy goodness!

Crispy quail eggs, tarragon mayonnaise

Crispy quail eggs is another favourite of mine. How can you resist the oozing and runny egg yolk from such a small egg? The breadcrumbs covering the egg makes it all even better. The tarragon mayonnaise made the egg yolk even creamier when I scooped it all up.

Pork canitas tacos, pineapple salsa, chipotle mayo

Pork canitas tacos is a recent addition to the constantly changing menu. When it was presented to the table, it was layered out so you can create your own tacos. Despite being included on the 'Something to Snack On' menu, it was actually pretty filling even on 1 taco alone. Definitely enjoyed it with the chipotle mayo.

Veal tongue, truffle celeriac remoulade, salsa verde

I was instantly attracted to the veal tongue dish the moment I saw the words truffle and salsa verde (green salsa). This may not be the one dish that will immediately attract the usual diner but the tongue was cooked perfectly and its softness melts in your mouth with each bite while savouring its slightly crispy, chargrilled edge. You can immediately sense the truffle aroma with the remoulade that gives the dish a rather creamy texture. Like the quail eggs, it was enjoyable scooping up the salsa verde and the remoulade with pieces of the tongue.

Banana brûlée with peanut brittle and chocolate gelato

I was incredibly full by the end thanks to those tacos but the desserts look amazing and I needed something to balance my tastebuds from the savoury stuff. Upon looking at the desserts menu I fell in love with the sight of the Banana brulee and I knew I had to try it. The brulee was irresistably smooth and nourishing, and the gelato placed on top of a small bed of finely crushed peanuts tasted so good when mixed together. Sadly this is no longer available on the current menu but hopefully a creme brulee of any other flavour will be available soon.

Antler-like coat hangers

When dining, I found that the service was impeccable with friendly and attentive staff attending to your need almost immediately. The prices are fairly reasonable and the food is simply amazing that you should come by at least once. It will be a huge loss if restaurants like this close down anytime soon. Bring your friends, family, or partner so you can order as many dishes as you can.

District Dining
17 Randle Street, Surry Hills 2010
(02) 9211 7798

District Dining on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eating My Way Through Europe Part 3

In this final part, we've checked out some of the more unusual dishes that you don't see as much around Sydney (Czech cuisine) or have just gotten recent exposure (Pintxos in Spain) which has all been a mad journey for the taste buds.

Czech Republic

From this time onwards, I was pretty much hungover every night so I did not do as much sightseeing as before. However I did make the time to try several of their sweet and savoury delicacies that is hard to find elsewhere (possibly because of its hard-to-pronounce names). The food here was definitely one of the more unusual and fascinating cuisines as it isn't something you would normally see as much as Asian, Italian, German, French or American 'dude food' to name a few. While there are restaurants, it is the street food that won the hearts of locals and tourists.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eating My Way Through Europe Part 2

Still so much to tell but it's already been over a month and a half since I got back. Around this point, my camera got damaged. Thankfuly I brought a spare one along (sorry about the photo quality). For a country like Italy, there is so much to try and not much time left to try them all. Then there is Greece and Austria where you educate yourself on what the local cuisine really is and there were a few surprises.

Florence, Italy

Italian cuisine is one of my favourites in Europe. I go weak at carbs and the 5 nights spent in Florence, Rome and Venice was packed with pizza slices, pasta dishes and so much gelato. It is no surprise that food plays a major role in the Italian lifestyle. Like France, the cities in Italy (Florence, Rome and Venice) are packed with restaurants on every corner. The locals told us to try and avoid the pricey restaurants aimed at tourists but with so little time, we just went for the most convenient (and less pricey) one when we were starving after all the walking. Notably, restaurants in Italy often adds a service fee on top of the food which can be pretty annoying if the restaurant service was not enjoyable.