Sugaroom, Pyrmont

Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.  (Jim Davis)

Sugaroom is a Modern Australian restaurant that is secluded from the busy street of Pyrmont, it is located beside the water at the end of Harris Street.

The atmosphere of the dining room is lovely. It's spacious and quite, there's a good distance between each table so you can bearly hear what's the next table gossiping about. 

It is definitely a great place if you want to have a good chat over dinner. Food is a mixture of good and bad, but I think it's quite common for a restaurant to have some very good dishes and some average ones. And when it comes to food, it can be pretty subjective too.

This restaurant is right for you, if you are looking for a place for a slow and long dinner to catch up with friends/family, as the food is served pretty slow, we started ordering our meal at 8.30PM and I think we waited around 40 minutes for the entree to come and by the time the main came, it was 10.00PM. Lucky, we had a great company that evening, we didn't even realise that we waited for so long as we just couldnt stop talking. Best part of the restaurant is the desserts are excellent. Everyone truly enjoyed it.

We ordered 3 different entrees, they are all good. The salt and pepper squid's seasoning tasted abit like Kentucky, but it's not crispy. I think it wasn't intended to be crispy anyway. 

Salt and Pepper Squid, Lime Wedge and Wasabi Oioli $16

beef carpaccio, parsley, radish, capers and lemon oil $15

Tartare of Ocean Trout, Lemon Vianigrette and Salmon Pearls  $17

The good thing about being a food blogger is your lovely friends will offer you to have the first bite on their dishes =p (Thank you guys!)

The best mains are the Chargrilled Beef Fillet and the Risotto. The Chargrilled beef was cooked to perfection, very juicy and very tasty. Risotto was very good too, creamy and full of seafood flavour.

Chargrilled beef fillet, roasted field mushroom, creamed parsnip and port wine jus $36

saffron risotto, scallops, mussels, fresh peas, capsicum rouille  $28

The Pork cutlet is abit dry and I didn't think the couscous goes well with the tomato salsa sauce. So this one is quite a disappointment to me.

Cajun spiced pork cutlet, burghel, spinach and chimichurri
grain fed sirloin, café de paris and fries  $28

The Barramundi was cooked well but the taste of the caper skordalia is too strong for my liking.

seared barramundi, caper skordalia, beetroot tapenade  $32

The Sirloin is pretty average, if you are going for beef, definitely go for the chargrilled beef fillet.

grain fed sirloin, café de paris and fries  $26

One of my friends had the  Green mango and crystal bay prawn salad, peanuts, chilli, lime and papaya jam, this is pretty good for a Thai style salad to be served in a Modern Australian restaurant.

green mango and crystal bay prawn salad, peanuts,
chilli, lime and papaya jam  $25

Now, the desserts. Desserts are absolutely wonderful here! 
The Chocolate Pave was so rich and smooth, it's not suprising that this is the table's favourite. Just perfect!

chocolate pavé with crème anglaise,
frosted pistachios and pistachio ice cream $15

The Baked date and custard tart is very good too, tart is firm and love the date filling inside with abit of caramel on top. The tart is not overly sweet too.

 baked date and custard tart, vanilla bean icecream,
 roasted macadamias  $15

The Panna Cotta might not be the best, but it's still good enough. It could be better if it's lighter in texture.

vanilla bean panna cotta,
spiced cherries and clove shortbread  $15

Overall, we had a good dinner that evening, everyone just enjoyed the food and laughters throughout the slow serving dinner.
But don't expect a knowledgeable staff, as they are certainly lack of knowledge on their own menu, when we asked the waitress what are the most popular dishes in the restaurant, it took her 5 minutes to come up with something which she didn't sound convince herself too.

Restaurant Balzac, Randwick

If we're not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn't settle for junk food.(Sally Edwards)

Restaurant Balzac has been on my wish list for a long long time. Each time I drive past the place, I would always think, 'Gotta try it, gotta try it!'. Finally, my wish came true yesterday, when my husband suggested maybe we should try Restaurant Balzac, it's so close to where we live and his colleague has highly recommended this to him too.

So I went to their website and to my suprise, they actually offer a $55 Pre-Ritz dinner, which is a 2 course dinner plus tea/coffee (between 6-8pm). What a great value for a one chef hat restaurant! So I picked up the phone and reserved a table for two.

The dining room is very cosy with an elegant sandstone wall. The staff is friendly and attentive. Service is five-star and everything seems perfect so far. Now let's see if the food will impress my taste bud too.

 The staff served us with a complimentary corn valoute that kindle our appetite. It's very creamy and full of corn flavour in it. We are impressed!

Entree: Cannelloni of Tuna Tartare with Panfried Mackerel, Poached beetroot and Horsedish sorbet ($24). The Tuna tartare is superb, it's rolled with something like a jelly sheet and the horsedish sorbet is sweet and matches very well with the caviar. We are impressed!

Entree: The Warm Citrus Cured Ocean Trout with Baby Fennel , Pink Grapefruit and Radish ($25). The ocean trout is really fresh but overall it failed to impress me, as there's nothing really distinctive about this dish. We were not dissapointed but I would recommend you to perhaps try other entree.

Main: Pasture Fed Black Angus Sirloin with Bone Marrow and Wild Pine Mushroom ($42).
We ordered medium rare but I think it was cooked closer to medium. The sirloin was complemented well with the sauce and I absolutely adore the bone marrow, it's so rich, unctuous and full of flavour. It's just indescribable how it enhances the flavour of the sirloin. But be warned that you will actually feel like you are swallowing fats and the beef smell is really strong. 
The mushrooms come as a side with some dutch carrots and to my surprise again brussels sprout. 
(It was not long ago, in my previous post I actually asked myself, if there's any restaurant do serve brussels sprout since so many people hate it)

Main: Suckling Pig with Black Pudding, Celeriac Puree, Savoy Cabbage and Peridog Truffle ($38). I actually like this better than the beef,  it's really tasty and the black pudding is delicious, it's meaty, with a little sweet and spicy taste. This impressed me!

Complementary Dessert: Pineapple with crust ice and Panna cotta. After such a tasty meal, this dessert come just at the right time, the pineapple is sligthly sour, it's icy and panna cotta is perfectly creamy.

Finally, the star of the evening is the Bread and Butter Pudding with Pain d'Epice Ice Cream. $16
This beats any of the above! It's so good!
Even the waitress told us we picked the right choice, their Bread and Butter Pudding is never disappointing. 

The bread is warm, with a crispy burnt layer on top, so buttery with some raisins in the middle.
Not only the ice cream melts in your mouth but the bread too!
What a satisfying dinner. So if you wish to indulge yourself with a french cuisine at a fraction of price, I can't see why Balzac is not on your list.

Restaurant Balzac
141 Belmore Road, Randwick 
NSW 2031
Ph: (02) 9399 9660

Bacco Pasticceria, Chifley Plaza Sydney

The first time I Had Bacco Pasticceria was on my husband's birthday few months ago. I decided to buy him varieties of cakes instead of just one big cake. I have to admit it was actually me who wanted to try them. I was totally out of control when going through the selection of cakes. I think I ended up buying six of them. Some of the cakes are abit too sweet for my liking, but quality is not a question in Bacco, the cakes are so rich in flavour and beautifully crafted. My favourite is the strawberry tart. It was perfect! The base is firm, the custard is light and not overly sweet, you can taste the eggy flavour of the custard very well too. I just love it so much.

So this afternoon when my friend told me she was going to Chifley for lunch, I get her to buy me a strawberry tart, and she recommended me one of her favourite there. I was too excited that I totally forgot to ask her what it is, my respond was just, "Yes please, just get me one of that too!" From what I remember she told me it has orange jelly in it. But I'm sure by looking at the picture, you will know it tastes really good. 

It was good from top to bottom. It has layer of cream, sponge cake, strawberry and jelly, texture is almost like tiramisu mix with jelly, taste is lightly sweeten with a touch of sourness. It's just so delightful and fresh. Absolutely love it!

Below are some of the cakes that I bought before.

(Left) Blueberry Macaron
(Bottom right) Tiramisu - this is really really sweet. You will only like it if you like your dessert really sweet.

The Chocolate Brownie is really rich.

The Triple Chocolate Mousse does melt in your mouth

If you are a dessert lover, please do make a trip to Bacco Pasticceria.
The cakes are just lovely!

I will surely go back again, as there just so many of them that I would like to try. 

Bacco Pasticceria
LG03, Chifley Plaza
2 Chifley Square
Sydney NSW 2000

Stir fry udon with chicken and scallop

Today I made Stir fry japanese udon with chicken and scallop. This  recipe is where Japanese meet Chinese,  it actually mixes both Japanese and Chinese ingredients/sauces in the cooking. When you see the ingredients below you might think this recipe is too troublesome as you need to prepare so many stuffs, actually you can always add/opt out some of the ingredients I used.

When I cook, I tend to add a lot of ingredients and sometimes I just add them to clear the stuffs in my fridge. Trust me, this is a really simple and satisfying dish.

The measurement of this recipe is just an approximation and my measurement is enough to serve 3-4 people, so please do your own multiplication accordingly.

Stir fry udon with chicken and scallop
- 750 gm of Japanese Udon
- Scallops (amount you desired and you can change to prawns if you prefer)
- 2 chicken thigh fillet (chop to your desired size)
- 1 red capsium (Julienned)
- 1/2 carrot (Julienned)
- Enoki Mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1/4 of cabbage (shredded) 
- A handful of bean sprouts (optional)
- A handful of fresh chives
- Cooking oil

Seasoning (Please adjust the sauces according to your taste):
- 2 tbsp Terriyaki Sauce
- 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp Sweet(dark) soya sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Shao Xing)
- 1 tbsp Sesame oil

1) Marinate the chicken in teriyaki sauce and set aside.
2) Blanch the udon over boiling water (make sure udon is not too soft) and drain. Set aside.
3) Heat up wok and add cooking oil. Fry the Scallop until it turns golden. Set aside.
4) Heat up some oil again and stir fry the chicken until cooked. Set aside.
5) Heat up some oil again and add in the red capsicums and carrots until tender, before turning off the heat add in the enoki mushroom and give it a quick stir. Dish up and set aside.
6) Heat up some oil again, add in the garlic and then add in the ingredients from (4) and (5). Add in the cabbage and bean sprouts. Give it a quick stir, and then add the seasoning sauce according to your taste. 
7) Add in the udon, stir and mix well. Add sauces if required.
8) Toss in the chives, give it a quick stir and turn off the heat.
9) Dish up to serving plate/bowl and add the fried scallop on top.

Belacan Kangkung (water spinach)

Each country in the world has its own particular ingredient or condiment that epitomizes umami. In Japan it is dashi stock, in the USA, tomato ketchup. In Malaysia, meanwhile, it is belacan.
(REPORT on the Umami Symposim held at the Putra University of Malaysia)

Belacan Kangkung is probably the most popular vegetable dish in Southeast Asia. It is well loved by people of all ages. I often hear people saying,"I don't eat vege, except kangkung". Kangkung is also known as water spinach or morning glory.

The main ingredient in this dish is belacan (dried shrimp paste). Belacan is one of the essential ingredients in southeast asian cooking, the smell is really strong and pungent, however it adds a sharp and interesting aroma to the dish. Just make sure you leave your window open widely while cooking with this, it will surely stink your whole room.

Belacan Kangkung
- 1 bunch kangkung
- 1 tbsp toasted belacan ( I bought the ready toasted one from asian grocery)
- Chilli paste ( you can find the chilli paste recipe here)
- 3 chopped garlic (you can add more if you like)
- 1 chopped red onion ( this is optional)
- 2 tablespoon ground dried shrimp (sold in in Asian grocery)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- Cooking oil

- Heat up the wok to high heat, add cooking oil and add in garlic and onion. Do a quick stir, add in the belacan, ground dried shrimp and the chilli paste and continue stirring until fragrant. Toss in the kangkung, stir until the leaves soften (but make sure the leaves don't turn dark), add in fish sauce. 
-Dish up and serve with steamed rice.

The taste of this exotic dish is so delicious and alluring, the stinky room is sure worth it!

Steamed Chilli Fish

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili." (Harry James)

One of the good things about cooking at home is you know exactly what you are putting in your meal, where you are able to limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat. I always try to cook healthier at home. I think that's the whole point of cooking at home, is to eat healthier, but of course it gotta be tasty at the same time.

Today, I made chilli fish, this is a very common dish in Indonesia and Malaysia where the fish is deep fried/grilled first and chilli paste is added on top , but I instead of deep frying/grilling the fish, I actually steam it.

So the first thing you need to prepare is the chilli paste. This chilli paste is the similar one that I used in my "Thai Chilli Chicken Basil" recipe, the only difference is I added some fresh lemon grass. The lemongrass will freshen up the paste with citrus flavour.

Chilli Paste
- A Hand full of red chillies (if you can't eat too spicy then it's better to use the big red chillies, but if you like spicy then you can add more small chillies)
- 1 tomato
- 1 red onion
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 stem of lemongrass (use the pale part and cut into aprroximately 5 cm long and slice it thinner)
- Salt and sugar to taste

-Place chillies, tomato, red onion and garlic into blender/food processor and blend to paste.
-Heat up wok/stir fry pan, add cooking oil, add in the chilli paste and then add in the fresh lemon grass. Stir for a while. Add in sugar and salt according to taste. Stir the chilli paste in low heat until fragrant and turn off the heat.
Chilli Fish
-1 whole fish ( I used Barramundi)
-Chilli Paste (As prepared above)
-A handful of fresh basil leaves
-Soya sauce and sweet soya sauce to taste

-Place the chilli paste at the centre of the steaming plate, place the fish on top of the chilli paste,  and spread the rest of the chilli on top of the fish evenly. 
-Spread some of the basil leaves on top of the fish some around the side of the plate.
-Place the plate into a wok with full of water, or how you usually do your steaming.
-Open the lid after 15 minutes, add sweet soya sauce and soya sauce to the fish and into the sauce.
(I added around 1 1/2 tablespoon of sweet soya sauce and 1/2 tablespoon of soya sauce)
-Continue steaming until fish is cooked.

This recipe is so simple but trust me, it is very tasty at the same time!
Best served with steamed rice.

La Piazza, Bankstown

“My idea of feng shui is to have them arrange the pepperoni in a circle on my pizza” (unknown)

Hi guys, I just went to Italy yesterday!
Just kidding...but I did find a hidden treasure in Sydney, more like a hidden Italy in Sydney.
Again, this place was recommended by my friend MT.

La Piazza is located within the Banktown Sports Club. Believe me, this place is surreal. I would never expect such a place exist in Sydney, let alone Bankstown. When I walked inside, I was absolutely captivated by the charm of the place. Along the way to La Piazza, there was a restaurant with an old train station theme, there were two old classic trains inside the restaurant, you feel like you were brought back to the past. It was amazing.

But the best part was not this restaurant. It was La Piazza, the entrance reminded me of Harry Porter. It felt like I was entering a magical world. I wouldn't reveal too much about the place, I hope my photos would convince you to make a trip there. Because, this is the ultimate dining experience everyone will not want to miss. I was hipnotized by the beauty of the place. Believe me, you will feel like you are actually dining in Italy.
The food was excellent too. Overall, is a must visit place for everyone.

Another good thing about this place is, if the place is full, you can put your name down for a table and they will give you a pager, so you can walk around the club and they will page you when your table is ready.

All the photos you've seen so far, was taken in La Piazza. Isn't it amazing?
Farnese (Mozzarella, garlic, prawns, basil and chilli)  $18.00
Pizza Bresaola (mozzarella, air dried beef, extra virgin olive oil, rocket and shave parmesan) $22.00

The pizza was really good, probably the best pizza I had so far. 
You know it's a good pizza not only because the taste is good but when you bite it, the cheese is not dry and the whole layer will not go off from the base like those from the franchise shops. The base is thin and the crust is crispy.
Two thumbs up for the pizza!

Ricotta and Spinach Raviolli $ 14.00
Chicken Caesar Salad $18.00

 We truly enjoyed the Caesar Salad and the Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli too.

I can't thank MT enough for recommending me this place, this place was an eye opening.
I will definitely bring my friends here.

La Piazza
Bankstown Sports Club
8 Greenfield Parade
Bankstown NSW 2200
Ph: (02) 9722 9810