the hungry duck Sydney restaurants

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Victoria Room, High Tea, Sydney

The Victoria Room

Level 1, 235 Victoria Street

9357 4488

Last post for the month (I hope!). Its time to take a break from all this eating.

I really enjoy high tea. I think its a great way for girls (and boys) to get together, connect and chat over some nibbles, tea or wine. Its one of those things where its not about the food, its not about the tea or the wine- its about the chit-chat, the conversation and being able to enjoy each others company :)

And I mean, who can dislike high tea if its somewhere as nice as this?

We order the Crave Vintage High Tea Special ($45) which includes a three tiered high tea, loose leaf tea or coffee and a flute of Brown Brothers Champagne.

Sandwiches! I'd just come back from the gym so I demolished my share in like 10 minutes. They were not too bad. There were some chicken, smoked salmon and some cucumber sandwiches I think. To be honest I was too hungry to remember the names.

Sweets. This tier had lavender shortcakes, rose jelly, hummingbird cupcakes and these DELICIOUS fruit lemon custard tarts. I loved the lavender shortcakes and the tarts. The shortcake was really floral and each bite actually made me feel like I was standing in a lavender field.

Scones with fresh cream and jam. I think one was plain and one was sweetbread.

We were served by a really sweet waitress who actually wrote the words 'Thank You' on our bill. Quite liked the personal touch.

The Good: Beautiful surroundings, the atmosphere, the lavender shortbread & the fruit tart, good service

The Bad: I don't think this place has air conditioning (correct me if I'm wrong)

The Victoria Room on Urbanspoon

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant, Sydney

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant Sydney and Sunday Night Easy Listening

Level 6 Pitt St Mall

9232 8535

A quick post as its drawing close to 1am. Sunday night easy listening (which I haven't done for a while now) is the newly released Damien Rice- One. Its a cover of U2's One and it grows on you although at the start I didn't love it.

Xanthi is the newly established Greek eatery in the level 6 Pitt St mall Dining complex. The restaurant was fully booked out so we dined in the outside bar area which was also very nice.

Each table is given some complimentary nuts to start.

Service was impeccable and our wine was poured by this lovely gentleman who was more than happy to pose for a shot.

We ordered the 2009 Matinia Antonpoulous ($48.00) and it tasted very gentle, clean and clear. Its a aromatic white grape wine.

Our Hot Smoked Eggplant Dip ($10) was the first to arrive. This is a freshly smoked eggplant dip made fresh with coriander, cumin, lemon juice, bechamel and grated kasseri.

We order the BBQ Haloumi ($10) which was mind blowingly good. A must order if you enjoy haloumi :)

Zucchini fritters ($8.00). T found an ingenius way of eating this.. mix in some of the hot smoked eggplant dip and the flavours are amazing. Delicious.

The stand out dish. The Fried School Prawns ($9) are absolutely amazing. They taste a little like salt and pepper squid, but more sweet. They're also dressed with some flaked almond dressing. So good! You also eat the whole prawn at once so its crunchy :)

One of our meats from the spit- 250gm of lamb ($36). Fail. I forgot to take a photo of the pork that we also ordered :( We ordered a bit too much actually.. haha

This was extremely good. The lamb was tender and very flavoursome. I loved the yoghurt on the side. The pork was also very good. I would suggest you order one less dish than us if you also have a table of 4 as we struggled to finish.

The experience? Thoroughly enjoyable. Also very reasonably priced as it worked out to be $40pp but we had drinks and ordered too much.

The Good: The fried school prawns, the haloumi and the cooked-to-perfection lamb. And the service :)

The Bad: Not being able to get a booking as its so popular!

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wombok and Pork Mince Stir Fry

Wombok and Pork Mince Stir Fry served with Brown Rice Recipe

I've have this super easy recipe to share with you guys! I've been cooking alot for the last few weeks as its:
1) healthier
2) saves me lots of $$
3) did I mention healthier?

You can substitute the wombok for any type of white chinese vegetable like chokoes, cabbage or zucchini.

Time to prepare: 5-10 minutes
Time to marinade: At least an hour
Time to cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

500 grams of lean pork mince
Some ginger
Half a wombok, sliced more thickly at the leafy parts
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon peanut oil
some cooking oil

3 cups of brown rice
800mL of water (about 3/4 of your pot)

1. Cut up the ginger into little tiny cubes.
2. Mix the lean pork mince with the ginger, light soy sauce, the dark soy sauce, the cooking wine, some salt, pepper and peanut oil. Cover and marinade for at least an hour.
3. To cook the brown rice: place the rice in a pot of water and bring to boil. After it has boiled, turn the heat down to med-low and simmer for 30 minutes. At 25-30minutes test that the rice is soft but still chewy. Remove from heat, drain the rice and put the rice back in the pot for 2 minutes to dry.
4. Heat up some oil in a pan. Place the wombok, some water, some soy sauce and salt and cook for about 5-10minutes until the wombok is soft. Remove from heat and drain.
5. Heat up some oil in a pan. Stir fry the marinated mince pork until it is fully cooked (about 10minutes). Remove from heat.
6. Cook the mince and the wombok together for about 2-3 minutes and let the flavours combine.

And voila! A simple, healthy and yummy dish that reminds me of home cooking (except for the brown rice part)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quarter Twenty One

Quarter Twenty One

Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Pitt St Mall

(02) 8064 7900

Take the express elevators up and on your right will be Quarter Twenty One. Sleek, modern and contemporary, the restaurant has been on my 'must try list' ever since it opened. So when Quarter Twenty One announced they would be participating in this year's Crave Sydney Food Festival 'Lets do lunch' promotion, my tastebuds were already salivating in anticipation. ready for the lunch.

Fast forward two weeks later and finally we have lunch! I was joined by the lovely Dolly and the awesome KSY.

Don't the ladies in this photo look so carefree and happy? Wish I could have long breezy lunches every day :)

We were served some complimentary bread to start. The butter that was served with the bread was really cool, it was foamy rather than hard. The bread roll was warm and freshly baked.

Slow-cooked short rib of beef, spring vegetable ragout and fondant potato

The beef is slow cooked for 38 hours which meant it was incredibly tender. The flavour was also spot on but I found my rib a little fatty though. I loved the spring vegetable ragout! It was colourful, vibrant and an array of textures. It makes the dish look really beautiful.

The 'Lets do Lunch' promotion also includes either a glass of Brown Brothers red or white wine, coopers beer or sparkling water for $38. If you can spare an hour during your lunch break, I definitely recommend you try the Quarter Twenty One 'Lets Do Lunch'. Also the three guys sitting across us ordered an amazing looking dessert which I think must have been the warm 68% alto beni zokoko chocolate pudding, orange & tonka bean ice cream. The dessert looked so good that I think I'll be coming back just for it..

The Good: Good location, Ambience, Fantastic friendly service

The Bad: I didn't get to try that dessert! Damn :(

Quarter Twenty One on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chophouse Steakhouse, Sydney & News


25 Bligh Street

1300 246 748

Happy weekend everyone! This post is a bit delayed (oops). Its been hard to find time to blog but here we go! Other interesting news:

Adriano Zumbo has just opened the newest addition to the Zumbo chain at The Star.

Also every foodie is awaiting the opening of David Chang's Momofuku seiobo at the Star. Seems like there is no chef that money cant buy.

The restaurant Bilson's has closed down after a financing rescue package fell through. Devastating news.

And Jamie Oliver's hotly anticipated Jamie's Italian opens 24 October. Bookings are available for groups of 6 or more.

I will also be attending the blogger's conference on the 5th of November! There is a photo comp for anyone who is interested :)

Now back to Chophouse..

We arrived on Saturday evening and were seated at one of the booths. The restaurant is quite large and looks very spacious as the walls of the restaurant are lined with mirrors. Every table is given some complimentary bread to start with.

We ordered a pinot and a merlot. I ordered the Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir ($12.50) which was light bodied and clean.

To start we were served some Pork Scratching, served with smoked salt, vinegar and chilli, compliments of the house. These were so naughty but so good!

Crisp Pork Belly & Sea Scallop, Chinese cabbage, coriander, pea shoots & soy vinaigrette chopped salad ($22)

I never thought that I would go to a steakhouse and rave about the salad. I mean the steak was great but.. in terms of salads, this salad is like the king of all salads. Seriously guys, you have to order this. Fricking damn awesome. The pork belly was actually crispy! None of that fatty stuff. And the scallops were huge, plump and fresh. Also the serving size was huge! Sooooooo good!

We both ordered the F1 Wagyu Striploin MB4+, harissa & jus 300g ($49.9) which was the smallest 'proper' steak on the menu but still really big. I really struggled to finish mine. Maybe it was because of the giant salad and cauliflower gratin we also ordered.. Must learn not to overorder!

The steak was divine and so tasty. We ordered medium and medium rare and we got exactly that.

Didnt really understand what the lemon was for though. Do you guys put lemon on your steaks? I've never been served lemon on the side before.. was slightly confused.

On the side we shared the cauliflower gratin ($8). Cauliflower+cheese, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and baked. I call this 'comfort food' because its just so warming and hearty. I really liked this :) Would also definitely recommend this as a side dish order.

On the Saturday night we went there was also a band playing. The girl sung an acoustic version of Damien Rice/U2's I still haven't found what I'm looking for which is one of my all time favourite songs! Best night ever.

The Good: Fantastic steaks, the pork belly salad (MUST ORDER), nice atmosphere

The Bad: This area of the CBD can be a bit of a ghost town on weekends.

Chophouse on Urbanspoon

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe, Sydney

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe

Darling Park
Darling Harbour

So much for going on a diet.

They opened a Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe in the new Darling Park entertainment precinct. Theres also new restaurants and a new park in that area.

The cafe is quite big so I don't think you'll ever have to wait for a table.

They also sell a huge range of cakes, desserts, pastries and chocolates.

Milk Hot Chocolate

How cute! There's a chocolate seashell in each cup :) You just pour the hot chocolate in.


They were also giving everyone a free chocolate with every drink.

Great place for a chilled casual catch up with a few friends :)

Now excuse me while I go to the gym. Bye guys!

The Good: Friendly service, spacious cafe, no waiting, great location

The Bad: Not much to fault. Just maybe those extra kilos you'll gain..

Musashi, Japanese, Sydney

Musashi Japanese Restaurant

447 Pitt Street
(Cnr of Pitt Street & Campbell Street)

9280 0377

Last minute impromptu dinner at Musashi! Crap thing about dining out on a Friday is that if you don't organise and book ahead you'll end up like us: waiting half an hour at Chat Thai before giving up and waiting another 20 minutes at Musashi.

Musashi is a casual Japanese restaurant near Haymarket. Its always busy and the food is consistently good (or at least consistent). The interior is also kind of cool.

We share the Tofu and Seaweed salad ($8.80) and the Takoyaki ($8.80). We were like really hungry so failed to take a photo of the takoyaki before it was demolished. Got a pic of the salad though! The salad was really healthy :)

I ordered the Seafood Udon ($15.80). I always order this :) The soup is delicious but also very clean, doesn't have that MSG taste.

The boys all ordered the Musashi Bento Box ($24.80) which is huge. It comes with sashimi, sushi, croquettes, prawn tempura, salad, brocolli, potato salad and teriyaki chicken.

K ordered the Pork Katsu Don ($15.80).

Overall a good experience. There might be a wait but the food is consistent and doesn't damage the wallet.

The Good: Great food, consistent and affordable

The Bad: Might need to wait for a table. The toilets are a bit dodgy.

Musashi on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chophouse Meat Masterclass, Sydney


25 Bligh Street Sydney

1300 246 748

Bookings Recommended

I have a confession to make. I like steak. Okay, thats a bit of an understatement. I love steak. If I'm eating out at a restaurant, there is a one in two chance I'll order steak.

Why you ask? Well one reason is because eating steak makes me happy (steak does to me what chocolate does to normal people).. but to be honest the real reason is because I cannot cook a decent steak to save my life. Until now.

I was luckily enough to get tickets to Chophouse's Meat Masterclass which was fun, entertaining and educational. Thanks to Chophouse for the tickets :)

On arrival we were greeted by Eric Tan, Head Chef and Stu, Sous Chef of the Chophouse Restaurant. Eric was an amazing host and his passion for food really showed. Everytime he explained or showed us how to do something about food, his eyes would light up. He was also extremely welcoming and even made us coffee while we were waiting for the last few bloggers. :)

First up we were given a short overview about the suppliers of the best steaks, different types of cuts, the difference between those cuts and different cooking methods. Remember when I said Eric & Stu were amazing hosts? Haha they even demonstrated where the different cuts of steak are from.

Eric then introduced us to the tomahawk, a massive full rib steak on the bone. I think this one weighed 1.2kilograms.

We were then given a run through of how the steaks are prepared and cooked. The entire process is quite meticulous, from carefully apportioning and weighing each steak to testing the temperature of each steak before resting.

The Chophouse Restaurant was one of the first steakhouses in Sydney to use a broiler (the Chophouse's one is affectionately named George) to cook its steaks. Using a broiler means less cooking time and also the steaks are more likely to be consistently cooked. But exactly how many people own a broiler? I mean they cost $65k! So because of that, we learned the different methods of cooking steak and how you can even cook a perfect steak in your own home.

D & I getting ready to get our hands dirty

We learned how to cook steak on a pan, on a chargrill and got an idea of how to cook steak with a broiler.

George, the mean steak cooking machine

To be honest.. with all this cooking I was starting to get hungry! I think everyone else felt the same way too. Imagine ten hungry food bloggers descending on ten perfectly cooked steaks and one pork chop..

The steak cooked in the broiler definitely won over the others. It was so much more juicy and also it was consistently cooked on the inside and nicely seared on the outside. All the steaks were delicious though! It just goes to show that you can cook the perfect steak with any equipment, as long as you control the temperature properly.

We were then spoiled even further with a take home carepack from the Chophouse restaurant, each with a steak for us to cook at home, some instructions and a block of delicious honeycomb chocolate (which I have since demolished).

Thank you so much to the team from Chophouse. I had such a wonderful time.. So much that I made a reservation for dinner that night hehe.. but that is another blog post :)

And just to finish this post, I would like to share with you 8 steps to cook the perfect steak, courtesy of the Chophouse. We tried this at home on Monday and believe it or not, I think I can finally cook steak properly :)

The trick was to use an oven.