Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Smash Sausage Kitchen, Newtown

At this time, I probably should be doing a recap but 2014 has been a pretty average year for me to be honest. In terms of food blogging, it has been really awesome on the other hand especially with meeting more cool foodies and exploring new restaurants. So let's end the year with hearty comfort food...like sausages! 

Recently a friend invited me to check out one of her fave joints located on the quieter end of King Street, Newtown. While you don't hear this as much in social media, it has a solid following in the local community especially from the circle of friends who were with me that night. The decor may not be the fanciest (lots of really cool pop art though) but it definitely has the heart and soul when it comes to serving their good ol' fashioned snags. 

Bulmers Apple Cider ($7.50)

There was so many of us so it was hard to cover what everyone got. So this post will mainly focus on what I sampled on this visit. Went with the Bulmers Apple Cider, which was very sweet and rich but also a great way to cool down on a hot day with hot food.

Willie The Boatman Foo Brew Long Necks ($14.00)

Since it was a sausage joint, we couldn't help but laugh when we saw a drink called "Willie". While it looked dark and rich, the flavour was actually lighter than I expected. Quite easy to drink compared to the cider. Would order this drink if it wasn't that pricey. 

Sausages (2), Creamy Potato, Bacon and Leek Mash and Mushroom Gravy ($18.50)

The signature concept of Smash Sausage Kitchen is that you get to build your own sausage, mash and sauce to whatever way you like. First you choose your sausage/s then you choose your mash (or chips, garden salad or veggies if you don't like mash) then sauce, gravy or chutney to have on the side. For $2 extra, you also get the choice to add toppings to your snags whether it's grated cheddar or crispy bacon Parmesan crisps. My mash pick was the creamy potato, bacon and leek which was very tasty and not lumpy at all. The mushroom gravy has a smooth but not too creamy texture which made it ideal for pouring it over the sausages or the mash...or even something you could dip your sausage into...ahem.

Old English Pork sausage

There's a generous range of sausages to choose from including Smokey Bacon, Pork and Maple; Vegetarian sausage; and Lamb Mint and Rosemary to name a few. I decided on two flavours which were the Old English Pork and the Smokey Beef Texan. Both sausages were juicy, flavoursome, firm but not too hard nor was it too soft. While they were both delicious, I personally preferred the Smokey Beef Texan because of it's mild spices that gives it a good flavour boost. Bonus points for all sausages being gluten free! Extra bonus points for the size of those...erm yeah.

Smokey Beef Texan

Sausages, gravy and mash topped with cheese

Honey roasted carrots ($8.00)

We also got a bowl of honey roasted carrots to share between everyone on the table. Loved the not-too-sweet flavour as well as the stickiness that adds to the firm texture of the carrots. 

Lime creme brulee (special menu)

Initially I was planning to get one of the puddings but I was so keen to try the creme brulee when I spotted it on the special menu. Unfortunately this ended up being a let down because the custard way too soft and liquid-like when I tried it out. The saving grace was that the brulee topping was hard, which was how I preferred. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake with gooey chocolate sauce and cream ($9.50)

Only took a bite of this but I could sense the decadence and richness from the chocolate in this dessert. The cream will certainly be a good match to complement the intense flavour from the chocolate. Since I love chocolate, will definitely order this on a future visit

Sticky Date Pudding with salted macademias, hot butterscotch sauce and ice cream ($9.50)

Only had a sample of this as well but I really enjoyed this dessert. Warm, sticky and sweet; this dish was certainly my idea of comfort food on those cooler days. If it didn't belong to someone else, I would have certainly grabbed much more than a sample. 

Apart from the dessert I've had, I was pleased with the food I've tried at Smash Sausage Kitchen. There's so many different types of sausages to choose from plus the sausages were generous servings so you get full without worrying about spending too much on your budget. Will definitely return to try more different juicy and hearty sausages, mashes especially during the cooler weather .

So here we are at the end of 2014. I've had lots of awesome foodie adventures this year whether it's at a foodie catch up outing, the occasional travel or discovering new restaurants, bars and food-related products. Thank you to everyone who has checked out The Random Foodie this year. Cheers to even more foodie memories in 2015!

Smash Sausage Kitchen
512 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9516 5424
Mon-Thurs: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Fri-Sat: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Sun: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Smash Sausage Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food, Haymarket

Once the location of a Vietnamese restaurant, Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food has created a solid following since it opened in 2012. Centrally located in the Haymarket/Chinatown side of George Street, it has a wide range of traditional Malaysian dishes with generous servings and decent prices for the hungry masses. As of 2014, this restaurant has opened three additional branches including Kingsford, Bonnyrigg and a take-away sister restaurant 'Petaling Express' at Strathfield.

Ice Milo Dinosaur ($4.80)

While it looked small from the outside, there's actually two levels to this restaurant with more seating downstairs. The buzz was very social especially during peak hours. Mostly students and anyone looking for a cheap eat. Very casual vibe. We ordered a few drinks to start off. My pick was Petaling's version of the Milo Dinosaur. The taste was a bit more milky than the PappaRich version but it went down well smoothly. Loved how it was served in a good old fashioned milkshake glass.

Roti Canai with Beef Rendang ($11.80)

Although the roti canai with beef rendang was intended to be AC's main dish, we couldn't help getting a sample of the roti pastry. It wasn't as thin and silky like Mamak's but I still liked the crispy, flaky bite that this has. Tasted even better when dipped into the spicy beef curry. 

Quarter of Hainan Chicken ($7.80)

Didn't try much of this but it seemed to be well-cooked, tender and warm from what I could recall. Enjoyed dipping it with the sauces on the side. The other peeps seemed to really enjoy this. 

Petaling Street Claypot Short Rice Noodle ($11.80)

Been looking forward to trying the Petaling Street Claypot Short Rice Noodle after seeing its presence in a few blogs. The noodles were quite chewy and the dish itself was too greasy and oily for my personal liking. However, it was still a delicious dish especially with the amount of minced pork and mushrooms. The serving size was on the heavier end so I didn't manage to finish this but I could see this dish to be suitable to share between two people.

Marmite Pork Spare Ribs with Rice ($11.80)

The dish that we enjoyed the most was the Marmite pork spare ribs. It was crispy and sticky on the outside but so juicy on the inside. Quite sweet with lots of flavour to our liking. Definitely would try this again on a future visit.

Roti Kaya ($6.80) 

Roti Pisang ($6.80)

While the above two sweet roti plates looked very similar, they each have different fillings. We all ordered a Roti Kaya (coconut jam) and a Roti Pisang (banana bread) to share between the four of us. Both of these plates were served with condensed milk on the side. While both fillings were sweet, rich and buttery, my preference was the Roti Pisang because of the banana filling. 

With the generous serving sizes, cheap prices and quick service; I was satisfied by my experience trying more Malaysian hawker dishes. There was a wide range of dishes to pick here that I wouldn't spot at many other Malaysian restaurants. Will definitely make a further visit to try a few more of their specialty dishes including the Hawker style dry egg noodle with roast chicken or one of their laksa bowls. Would recommend this place to go with friends or even family looking for a cheap and cheerful joint without the fuss.   

Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food
760 George Street, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9280 1006
Mon-Sun: 11am - late
Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Frankie's Pizza, Sydney CBD

These days, I enjoy sipping a drink or two at a good bar whether it's in the CBD or somewhere in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst or Newtown. Frankie's Pizza has that charm where it operates as both a dive bar (with live music!) and a New-York-esque pizza lounge. And a cheap and decent one too. With the same management team who also run The Baxter Inn and Shady Pines Saloon, you know you are onto a very good thing here.

You can order a whole pizza which allows you to pick any flavours from the menu. If you want to order by the slice, you can only get a choice of four flavours (which changes regularly) which is listed on the board above the pizza oven in the diner room. On the first night we went, there was a special Halloween event so the pizzas had different horror-themed names that night such as 'Blood and Bone' (Margherita) Green Meanie (Spinach), Acid Tongue (Salami) and Sea Beast (Napoletana). While each slice was $5 on my first visit, the prices had increased to $6 when I returned a few weeks ago.

Sidra Del Verano Apple and Pear Cider ($13.00)

Usually I've found that ciders can be too sweet and rich to the point that it can be a struggle to finish up. This cider was the opposite for us. It was refreshing, light, not too sweet and very easy to finish. We were bummed when we did finish off this cider so quickly.

Salami: salami, onion, chilli, olives. tomato, cheese (Slice: $6.00, Whole: $21.00)

Since we opted for different toppings of pizza by the slice, we observed the staff putting the pizza in the oven. In less than 2 minutes, it was already out of the oven for us to eat immediately. The pizza slices were similar to a New York pizza in terms of look, taste and texture. 

The crust was super thin, crispy and light while the slices were so massive that you need to fold them up so that the toppings won't fall onto the plate. I really enjoyed the Salami pizza with the thin, juicy and slightly spicy salami slices as well as the thinly sliced onion. While the menu said there was olives, there wasn't much on the pizza and was particularly hidden on the above shot.

Margherita: tomato, cheese, basil (Slice: $6.00, Whole: $18.00)

I always enjoy a simple Margherita if it's done right. This was one of the better versions of this classic pizza. The cheese did not overload the pizza slice and it balanced well with the tomato, which was how I usually prefer when it comes to this.

Spinach: spinach, ricotto, tomato, cheese (Slice: $6.00, Whole: $19.00)

I didn't get the chance to try the Spinach pizza but CC said that she really enjoyed the toppings on this slice. Toppings were also quite balanced here. Good choice for the vegetarians.

Napoletana: anchovies, capers, oregano, tomato, cheese (S: $6.00, W: $18.00)

Because the slices were light and thin, I was still keen for another slice. While I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the anchovies because of too many negative pop culture references (heh), I was surprised that it tasted nice with this pizza. While it was salty and bursting with lots of flavour, I could imagine how good this would have tasted after a heavy drinking session.

Chorizo: chorizo sausages, mozzarella, mushrooms, jalapeno (S: $6.00, W: $21.00)

I returned again after having cravings for a quick slice of pizza after work. The order by the slice menu was similar to what I've tried on the previous visit except with the choice of a chorizo pizza slice. The Chorizo was another slice that I enjoyed from this joint. It was a tad spicy due to the jalapenos but not to the point where you need that glass of milk. There was a good share of toppings on this slice including the juicy sausages and the chopped mushrooms.

While it was understandably quiet when we got there at the grandma hour of 6pm (it's a bar after all), both rooms filled up very quickly not long afterwards. The service experience was a mixed bag since the person serving me was friendly but a different one serving my friend was a bit more abrupt. Despite that, the pizzas were delicious and addictive to make me want more. While this isn't the pizza that you would get from renowned pizza restaurants such as Pizza Mario, Gigi's, and Via Napoli, it's an accessible and affordable option in the heart of the CBD especially if you are keen for a cheap eat and drinks with your colleagues or friends after work. Bonus points that Frankie's is open till 4am which is much much later compared to most Sydney CBD bars that close at midnight or 11pm.

Frankie's Pizza
50 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Sat-Thurs: 4:00pm - 3:00am
Fri: 12:00pm - 3:00am
Frankie's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 7, 2014

LL Wine and Dine, Potts Point

A long long time ago, this site once housed an illegal casino, adult bookshop and brothel...to name a few! Who would have thought that a restaurant/bar would take its place at the same location given its more than colourful history. These days Llankelly Place is housed to numerous renowned dining joints including Wilbur's Place, Kim and Room 10 so it's no surprise that LL Wine and Dine is situated on this spot given the current vibe of this surprisingly foodie street. Recently, I was invited to try the new dishes on LL Wine and Dine's latest seasonal menu which showcased a variety of Modern Asian dishes ranging from Chinese to Japanese and South East Asian cuisines

LL Cool Sling ($16.00)

We both kicked off our night with a couple of cocktails, or in my case, mocktails. At the time, I was on antibiotics so I was glad to hear that the cocktails can still be made mocktail-style so you won't miss out on the experience if you are not much of a drinker. My first drink was the LL Cool Sling which was a fresh lime, pineapple and orange juice mixed with passionfruit and a dash of vanilla and orgeat. Plus Bacardi rum for that cocktail experience. Had a sweet, citrus-like taste mainly from the passionfruit, pinapple and orange juice.

Shanghai Bling ($16.00)

Also got another mocktail later that evening after seeing what it looked like when CC ordered the cocktail version. The Shanghai Bling contains Pimms and Bombay Sapphire served tall with limes, mint, strawberries and topped with ginger ale and lemonade. While my mocktail didn't contain the alcoholic elements, I liked the sweeter, fruitier flavour coming from the berries as well as the surprise lychee attached to the straw.

Atlantic Salmon Crudo ($18.00)

We were prepared to decide which dishes to order till we were informed by our friendly waiter that the we would get our own special menu of dishes served degustation style with smaller serving sizes than the actual dish so we get a taste of everything without getting too full. Given that we did not know how many dishes or even which dishes will be served to us, I looked forward to getting surprised this evening.

The first of these surprises was the Atlantic Salmon Crudo which consist of wasabi balsamic vinaigrette, fried capers and greamy garlic sauce. Light, fresh and gluten free! The garlic sauce had that tangy, zesty flavour while the tender salmon complemented well with the crunchy fried capers.

Prawn and Scallop Dim Sum ($18.00 for 4 pieces)

Because of my soft spot for dumplings, I was looking forward to trying these morsels when it landed on our table. While I did enjoy the flavour kick from the sweet and chilli XO sauce as well as the dumpling skin wrapped around the prawn and scallop filling, the dumplings didn't amaze us as much as we hoped. Especially when you look at the price.

Lightly fried cauliflower and chickpea ($11.00)

Although this dish came out at the same time as the dumplings, it was a standout dish for us. I'm usually not a huge fan of cauliflower but this fried version was crispy, salty and flavoursome. Also enjoyed the chickpeas which were fried on the outside but soft on the inside. This dish was tossed with basil, garlic and malt vinegar and is perfect for vegetarians as well as those on a soy free or gluten free diet. CC said this was her favourite dish of the night.

Pork Belly Bun with pickled mustard, chilli ginger mayo, crushed peanuts and coriander ($8.00 each)

We were so excited when we saw that pork belly bun. Definitely a messy mouthful to handle with all the fillings sandwiched together by the fluffy and slightly sticky bun (I would recommend eating this as soon as it hits your table). Gotta love the fatty slab of juicy pork belly along with the mildly spicy chilli ginger mayo.

Calamari with black fungus, carrot salad and lemon gherkin aioli ($18.00)

The calamari was a slightly more refreshing change to most of the dishes so far despite the vast amounts of aioli sauce enveloping itself onto the other ingredients. While it didn't excite us as much as some of other dishes, the calamari had a decent chewiness and it worked well especially with the lemon and the veggies.

Massaman Curry Crumbled Lamb Popcorn with pickled chilli and cucumber yoghurt dipping sauce ($24.00)

I've mentioned countless times about my love for lamb and this was no exception. The lamb filling didn't have that gamey taste that some people tend to avoid. The crumbled coating was also a bonus for me since it had a good crunch that matched with the soft lamb. It was a tad oily so I made the most of the pickled chilli as well as the creamy yoghurt sauce.

Almond Crusted Prawns tossed with chilli, garlic and shallot and Thai dipping sauce ($31.00)

I was getting quite full by this point but I couldn't help getting more than my share of the Almond crusted prawns. The almond crust was crispy and the prawn itself was juicy. Though that this dish was a nice twist on the old tempura prawn favourite. Certainly my fave dish from the night.

Crispy Pork Belly and Grilled Sea Scallops ($28.00)

We were absolutely stuffed by this point so we were actually quite pleased to hear that it was the last dish from our waiter (Sad but true. CC couldn't handle it anymore). Seeing that it was pork belly was enough for me to soldier on. The pork belly had that crisp, caramelised fatty bits on the outside and was also juicy and soft as you bite into these meaty cuts as well as the grilled scallops. This was served on a bed of baby buk choy, fried kale and crushed peanuts. Like many dishes at this restaurant, this can be made gluten free. While it was a delicious finish, we were just too full to enjoy this dish as much as we usually would.

We were at LL Wine and Dine on a Wednesday evening so it was no surprise that it was quiet when we got there however it did get busier later on when we left. I can imagine this would be busier later in the week. It had a chilled relaxing atmosphere with retro music playing in the background and friendly, down to earth service. There was the choice for indoor and outdoor seating but with the crazy stormy weather this week, I've personally been more inclined for the former. On the menu, there's a generous range of dishes that were listed as gluten free, which was a bonus for those on that diet. In terms of pricing, it seemed to be on the more expensive end but it's a good place to dine for a special occasion with friends for drinks or even on a romantic date.

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie and guest dined at LL Wine and Dine as a guest. Opinions are however, my own. The serving sizes of most of the dishes we've had were much smaller than what you will receive when ordering off the menu. Prices highlighted in this post corresponds to the full-sized dishes listed on the menu.

LL Wine and Dine
42 Llankelly Place, Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9356 8393
Mon-Thurs: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
Fri-Sat: 12:00pm - late
Sun: 11:00am - 10:00pm
LL Wine & Dine on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 1, 2014

Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe, Sydney CBD

Located within 5 minutes from Bavarian Bier York Street and only a couple of blocks from The Lobo Plantation, Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe is not your average beer cafe. It didn't have the German beer garden gimmick that your would expect from Lowenbrau and Bavarian Bier Cafe, but it remains a favourite for those who know and love their beer especially with food pairings. It's funny that less than 2 months ago, I have never even heard of this joint until KT suggested this when we were too indecisive on where to go for dinner.


Considering the amount of drinks we've had that night, I forgot to note down the exact beers we've got that evening. Heh. The Marzen Lager beer that KT ordered was dark, intensely flavoured and slightly bitter. KT seemed to enjoy this alot since he ordered another (smaller) glass after this. My pick was one of the fruitier Bloody Wit which did have a citrus-like flavour that is light and easier to drink up compared to the rich, malty beers.

Charcuterie ($25.00)

We decided to get a charcuterie plate to share as an entree. Our platter consisted of cured meats (including salami, prosciutto and pastrami), olives, assorted veggies, whipped feta, pickles and bread though from looking at the current menu, this changes on a regular basis. We both enjoyed the platter especially the cured meats to the point where we nearly fought on who gets the last prosciutto and the last salami (I got the salami).

Lamb Brioche Burger with Chips ($25.00)

With all the cheap burger joints opening up around Sydney these days, we were stunned to see that this burger was $25...I mean it includes chips too but still. KT likes lamb so ended up going for this option. The burger itself was juicy with a pinkish colour in the middle and the rest of the compents matched well. I didn't get to try the burger but got my hands on the chips which were a winner for me. Thick, crispy and fluffy.

Barramundi Fillet ($32.00)

I decided to go for the slightly healthier seafood option. The Barramundi had that delicate crispy skin and the fillet was well cooked for my liking. The bisque had a rich and slightly creamy flavour but it worked well altogether. I did like how the menu shows which beers matched well with certain dishes such as the Summer Lager being an ideal pairing with this dish.

Since we had the charcuterie, the two main dishes and a few beers, it was no surprise that we got full quickly. While it didn't seem busy on a Thursday night, it still had that noisy vibe that you would expect at a usual Sydney CBD bar on a Friday night. Dishes were decent servings though it's a lot more expensive than we expected. It's ideal if you would like to have after work drinks or a birthday/special occasion gathering. Especially if you love your beer.

Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
201 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9262 3303
Mon-Sat: 11:00am - late
Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon