the hungry duck Sydney restaurants

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Hardware Societe and Yak Bar, Melbourne

The Hardware Societe Cafe

118-120 Hardware Street
Melbourne Victoria

03 9078 5992

Yak Bar

150 Flinders Lane 
Melbourne Victoria

03 9654 6699

Remember when I said I would blog more? Fail. I've written nil blogs since Jan 2012. 
Zilch. I must be the world's worst food blogger. Haha or just the world's most lazy food blogger. 

But I'm back! Even if its just to quickly say hello to share my recent (2 months old) experience at two eateries in Melbourne. Hopefully this wont be the last you'll hear for me for another eight months. I'll try.. *try* to blog. I'm surprised this blog is still 16 on urbanspoon and I've reached 37,000 hits (wooohooo!) so the least I can do is blog a bit more. 

This must be one of the most popular cafes in Melbourne. We dropped by around noon on a long weekend for a late brunch in the freezing Melbourne rain and we're greeted by a deceivingly short line. Deceiving because the wait seemed like eternity. It was cold. We were hungry. Big groups kept taking our table. And everyone in the cafe seemed sooo happy. And so warm. And did I mention happy? Happily digging away into their chorizo baked eggs and whatnot. So I mentally opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate when they finally called our names for table....

And was it worth it? This was the prize on offer:

The verdict? Honestly I can't give you a good one. I'm also a horrible food blogger because this is the first time I've ever had baked eggs for breakfast. So I didnt have anything to compare this to. The baked eggs with chorizo and tomato served with bread was a little overcooked for me.. I expected the eggs to be runny but instead it was solid and fully cooked. But the flavours were good and finding bits of chorizo in the pot made me really happy. So for me, I liked it. But I get the feeling that this could have been better if the egg was runny. 

I cant remember what this is. But I remembered the dish looked nothing than what I expected. Average reviews from memory. 

Oh man. Also have no idea what this is. I think its pork belly and some type of beans... A bit heavy for brunch. 

Definitely try the baked eggs with chorizo and tomato, its good enough to give it a try at least once. The cafe was lovely, the atmosphere bustling and as a Melbourne institution its definitely a must try. 

Yar Bar Pasta Artigianale

We had dinner here on the second night and it was actually really really good. A close friend had recommended it for some of the best pastas in Melbourne and it certainly didnt disappoint. 

Selection of cured meats and marinated vegetables with fennel grissini 

So good! Definitely recommend this. Also really good value.. $18.50. See! All restaurants should have websites and post up menus because otherwise its impossible to remember prices or even names..

Chargrilled baby calamari with salsa verde and shaved white zucchini

Calamari was superbly fresh and the salsa verde matched the seafood perfectly. Must order this as an entree.

Tagliatelle with pork rib and rosemary ragu

Roast half duck with semolina gnocchi and orange jus

Half duck? Yes half duck. The serving was huge.

Traditional Lasagne

This was so fresh.. the pasta sheets melted in your mouth. Didnt have that chewy texture that processed lasagne sheets have.

Gnocchi of the day- beef ragu

Gnocchi is my absolute favourite pasta and if a restaurant serves gnocchi you'll pretty much guess what my order would be. This was one of the better gnocchi I've had. I think I would prefer a white sauce but I guess thats personal preference rather than anything else. The gnocchi had the right texture and was fluffy.

Squid Ink Angel Hair Pasta

Didn't get a taste of this but it was very well received. 

Overall? Recommend Yak Bar! Give it a try if you're in Melbourne =) And the wine list was good. Also it doesnt have those ridiculous lines that places like Mamasita or Chin Chin has. 

Well thats it from me! Hope everyone has been well. 

Eat well and thanks for visiting!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why hello 2012..

Happy new year everyone!

How time flies, it seems like just yesterday that I started putting this blog together. I know I've been a little slow with new posts but don't worry, one of my new year's goals ('resolution' sounds too intimidating and scary) is to blog more. Hopefully more blogs about cooking and less eating out :)

I'll be back this weekend with a blog about the Sydney Food Blogger's Picnic! Until then, hope everyone has had a great start to the new year and I will catch you guys soon.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cru54 Kitchen & Bar, Spanish, Surry Hills

Cru54 Kitchen & Bar

54 Foveaux Street Surry Hills
02 9281 1054

Cru54 is a small funky tapas bar located a stones throw away from Central Station. Its just down the road from the Excelsior hotel so the area was buzzing with people. The food was quite good although personally I didn't think any of the dishes were outstanding. However this is a great place to share some food and sangria on a Friday night with friends. We ordered a number of tapas, mains and a salad to share.

Patatas bravas con aiolo (Potatoes with brava relish & aioli)

This was okay but fairly average. Actually I think the kitchen forgot the aioli..

Jamon Serrano, aged 22 months from Spain

Ever since the 'meat plank' from Jamie's I've been craving for some jamon or bresola. This had a deep flavour  and was delicious.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Orange & Asparagus

First of all, the goat cheese was incredible. Nutty, creamy and melt in your mouth. However the actual salad was so salty that even the orange failed to make an impact.

Paprika dusted crispy chicken wings with Tequila Salmorejo

Tequila and chicken?? Hell yeah! Unfortunately we couldn't taste (or feel the effects) of any tequila. Perhaps they forgot that as well? Haha. But actually this was a really tasty and probably one of my favourite dishes of the night.

Seafood Paella 

This was quite good, definitely recommended if you're dining at Cru54.

Pork Belly with marmalade braised red cabbage & aioli

This was the dish that we were all waiting for. Personally, I loved it. The crackling.. omgg.. delicious! But I think it depends on the piece of pork belly since the other people I dined with found this quite average. I liked it though :)

The bill came to $25 per head since we used a 25% off ent book voucher.

Cru54 Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sushi e, Japanese, Sydney


Level 4, Establishment
252 George St Sydney

9240 3000

"Imagine you’re in Tokyo dining at an enclave of modern Japanese expression. At the centre of a huge marble bar you watch head chef, Nobuyuki Ura, and his team serenely at work, precisely turning fresh fish into edible works of art. Welcome to sushi e."

Sushi e promises and delivers. From the moment we stepped into sushi e we knew that this was something special.

We started with a selection of three sashimi. The flavours were so delicate. I definitely recommend these, they were incredible.  Kingfish topped with slices of ginger, chives and sesame seeds, drizzled with garlic oil immersed in ponzu and seared with smoking hot olive oil. 

Snapper topped with sesame seeds, chives, lime juice sprinked with english sea salt and drizzled with white soy based dressing.

Spicy scallop flame seared under black mountain chilli and spicy mayo, baby leaf salad

If you dine at sushi-e you must order the sashimi. Everything is of the highest quality and oh so fresh. We ordered the scampi and salmon belly nigiri and requested them to be lightly seared. Best scampi sushi I have ever had in my life.

The Dragon Ash roll is very popular amongst diners and I noticed that several other tables had also ordered the same roll. This was seared salmon inside-out wrapped with prawn and mayo flame seared topped with fried onion and ponzu dressing. I also tasted some really fresh crisp pickled ginger.

We had the fried chicken kaarage and the prawn siu mai as sides. The prawn siumai was fresh and pipping hot and delicious. The kaarage crispy and succulent.

By this stage we were extremely full but the main act was still to come. For our main to share we had the balmain bug tempura which is bug tail tempura tossed in a rich spicy chilli dressing and chives and served with dressed salad greens. This dish actually really reminded me of tofu adegashi.. but instead balmain bug adegashi! I loved this, incredible flavours. A must order.

Overall- a great dining experience. If you want outstanding Japanese, this is the place. If you also want to impress someone this is also the place to take them.

The Good: Incredible food and attentive service. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The Bad: Pricey but then again past diners include Kanye West, Jason Derulo and Leonardo Dicaprio.

Sushi E on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian

107 Pitt Street
8240 9000

Lines often signify great things. The apple iPhone 4s. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Din Tai Fung. So if you see the line outside 107 Pitt St be aware that yes, it is the new Jamie Oliver restaurant. Yes its the first of Jamie's Italians in Australia. Yes there is a min 20 minute wait to get a buzzer. And yes its another hour wait after that buzzer to actually get a table. But dont worry, it serves some pretty good pasta and its served by some pretty good looking waiters.

We start off with the must order antipasti plank ($13 per head). When I say must order, every table orders this. And for good reason, its damn good.

We also share a Crispy Squid served with really garlicky mayo ($12). Crunchy goodness.

Our mains were the Bucatini Carbonara ($12), Truffle Risotto ($17) and a special of Pork chop served with Pumpkin ($26) (in order).

For desserts we had the Our Special Tiramisu ($9), the Creamy Panna Cotta ($8.50) and The Ultimate Brownie ($8.50)

The damage was $45 each which was actually quite good considering it was basically a three course meal and we ordered some sparkling water. I guess its also a bit of a novelty- I mean come on. It is Jamie Oliver. I liked it but wouldn't really say that its worth waiting an hour for.

The Good: Reasonably priced food, celebrity chef (ish), cute waiters and cool atmosphere

The Bad: Feel sorry for all the people who were still in line at 9pm waiting

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

eat drink blog conference

eat drink blog conference 2011

On the 5th of November 87 bloggers, including yours truly, attended the 2011 eat drink blog conference at the Electrolux showroom in Mascot. This was one hell of an event. One that went for 17 hours (yes basically 17 hours of eating and drinking) and three much needed coffees.

A big amazing shout out to the guys at Toby's Estate for serving some damned good coffee. If it wasn't for these guys the 87 bloggers may have all passed out from food coma before dinner like I almost did.

So what was the conference? It was basically a way for bloggers to get together and discuss issues like seo, writing and legal as well as a day of constant eating. When I say constant, I mean constant. To start, lets all say hello to the Delice Tower kindly donated by Lindt. This poor baby was nothing but an empty shell at the end of the day.

We also had the opportunity to take bread making classes by Brasserie Bread, singaporean crab classes by Kingsley's Crabhouse and believe it or not, a lamb butchery class run by the Meat and Livestock Association.

Lars Executive Chef of the Kingley's Group showing how to make the perfect singaporean chilli crab.

Souvlaki for the Soul also ran a Food Styling class which was hilarious and educational. Yes we all know what its like walking into Ikea with the intention of just buying a lamp but coming out with $500 worth of random shit. lol

We were then treated to an amazing three course meal at Kingsley's Steak and Crabhouse Woollomoolloo. The waterviews, the amazing atmosphere, the delicious food and the warm greeting from Lars made it a night to remember.

Throughout those seventeen hours I met a lot of people who were as diverse and different as can be. Some of them were full time mothers, some corporate high flyers and some who started blogging as uni students. Even the lawyer who gave us a talk on Copyright Law was an obsessed foodie! Also food blogging isn't about fine dining or showing off who ate at the most expensive restaurant. Its about a group of people who genuinely have a common passion coming together and sharing that passion. I hope you guys enjoy reading my posts but most importantly- please don't take it too seriously. At the end of the day we're just a bunch of ordinary people who really like our food.

Again, thank you to the organisers of the conference for inviting me and organising such an amazing day.

The Commons

The Commons Local Eating House

32 Burton Street

Darlinghurst NSW

9358 1487

The Commons is styled like a farmstyle eating house but with restaurant quality food. Its situated in Darlinghurst but also a short walk from Town Halll station.

On Sundays they have a reduced menu, but at amazing prices. Most of the entrees are $10-$15, all mains are $20 and the first glass of house wine is $5. An offer too good to resist.

Personally I was amazed by how good the food and service was. I'll definitely be coming back here and recommend all of you to give it a try :)

We ordered the sourdough toast w/anchovy butter ($7). I've never had toast with anchovy butter but this was really good. There was no fishy taste, it was more of a salty savoury taste. Definitely recommended.

We shared the stuffed zuchinni flowers ($14) which were amazing. Seriously so ordering these again.

I absolutely love gnocchi. If a restaurant serves gnocchi I'll often order it. This was by far the best gnocchi I've ever had. The mushrooms, the flavour.. delicious! The pasta was so rich and creamy. Actually I'm really glad we shared all the dishes as this was quite heavy and probably too much for one person. My favourite dish of the night :)

The rest of our mains were all amazing. We shared the Fillet Mignon, the Crumbed Latchet and the Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs and Chicken (As well as the gnocchi) between four and were absolutely stuffed.

To top it off we then had a huge chocolate cake called The Duchess from Christopher's cakes. Now this was no ordinary cake, this was a massive cake that would easily have fed a party of thirty.

We actually ended up sharing the cake with the waitresses/waiters/kitchen and also the table of 6 people next to us and still managed to take a quarter home (Yes. It was that big.).

An amazing night. Thank you to the Commons for their wonderful and warm hospitality. We will be seeing you more often :)

The Good: Warm service, casual atmosphere, delicious food, gnocchi!! and great value

The Bad: Nope. None whatsoever.

The Commons on Urbanspoon