<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\0757753387073704291704\46blogName\75What+Em+Did...\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75BLUE\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75http://whatemdid.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en_GB\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://whatemdid.blogspot.com/\46blogFollowUrl\75https://plus.google.com/103737775917082045146\46vt\0755732750793925431402', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
Gastro Park, Potts Point
Sunday, 5 April 2015 20:21
Leave A Comment / (0 Comments)
I've always been interested in chemistry but was never any good at it in school. I remember in class once, my science teacher had two beakers with clear liquid in them - one was water, the other was lead. It was impossible to tell the two apart until he mixed them together and it turned into a bright yellow paint-like consistency. What even?! 

Eight years later and I'm still as fascinated and as lost as ever when it comes to science. Then we have gastronomy; the fusion of science with food and art. The whole concept is completely beyond me, who even thinks of these things? My gastronomy 101 lessons came from watching countless eps of Heston's Feasts, but while I'm miles away from experiencing anything Bluementhal (obviously I didn't get picked for Melb Fat Fuck /cri), I can at least get a taste of it at chef Grant King's restaurant, Gastro Park.

Having been opened since 2011 and consistently maintaining its Two Hats status, Gastro Park has always been on my "go-to" list (along with 500 other places though, of course). What really sparked my interest is when I saw their innovative, creative and inspiring Game of Thrones menu last year so finally I made it my mission to tick it off the list. 

No surprises that we was running late for our booking (ok, it was my fault...), but we called in advance to let them know. The staff were very accommodating, taking our coats and umbrella when we arrived and made sure we settled properly before ordering drinks. I do apologise that I've forgotten to take the drink names, but they don't do many reds by glass from memory. I'm not usually a red wine drinker, but thought this went well with the courses dinner - not too sweet, nor bitter - sort of 'cleansing' between each dish.

When our complimentary amuse bouche arrived, Rvr and I just stared at it and wondered what it was. To this day we don't know and I can't seem to find it anywhere online... Hiding among the stones (yes, they were real stones not imitation ones like Sepia's dessert) were two black wafer thin cracker-shells. The filling was black and soil-like, and eaten together with the micro-herbs it was all quite interesting... 

Our second snack was the was wagyu on grissini. The rare paper thin slices of smokey wagyu just melted in your mouth, with a nice crunch from the grissni and saltiness from the cheese. So simple but so good.  

Foie Gras, cherry, rhubarb and toasted grain

I haven't had foie gras in the longest time, it's too much of a luxury and I don't know many places in Syd that serve it. Nothing can compare to that smooth, rich and buttery goodness of foie gras. The toasted grain added a crunch, like if you were to eat it with bread/crackers, and the cherry and rhubarb gave a light sweetness to it. Perfect way to begin a meal. 

California recently lifted their foie gras ban, and every time I see chefs post pictures of it on IG there's thousands of negative comments about it. There's a lot of stigma against foie gras because people often see it as animal cruelty. I've watched a couple of documentaries recently (like this one) and it's a real eye opener. I enjoy eating it and foie gras can be ethical and natural fed. As well, force feeding does not make it unethical if you put in perspective the environment of the ducks and geese. It's an interesting topic of discussion - feel free to comment on your thoughts!

Roast scallop, cauliflower tofu, leaves, branches and lobster sauce

Ermaghhaaad, scallop! Juicy, plump and sweet jewel of the sea! The lobster sauce added sweetness to an otherwise bland dish. I thought the cauliflower tofu sounded real good on paper but the flavours and texture got a bit lost since it was crumbed so finely.

Liquid butternut gnocchi with mushroom consomme

Now we get to the good stuff. This is what I've been waiting for, what food gastronomy is about to me. The little ball of gnocchi just POPS in your mouth, melts and transforms into a sweet liquid. It actually reminded me of those bobba pearls things you can get with your froyo! The consomme was rich and full of flavour, they must of used tonnes of mushroom to create such depth. Completely new levels of excitement for me and Rvr and I both agree this was the best dish of the night. 

Excuse the lack of dish name, I'm sure it was lamb with caramelised figs... But I could be wrong as this is a super laterpost and my memory doesn't serve me as well as it should. The meat was cooked well but it wasn't anything spectacular in terms of flavours, nothing memorable to say the least. 

Again, another apology for missing dish name. I'm fairly certain this was the kangaroo dish, an additional $15(?) on top of the tasting menu courses. We figured we were already there so why not? The roo was incredibly tender that went well with the jus, but like the lamb this wasn't anything  too memorable.  

Crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree and ink sauce

The signature dish at a famous restaurant is always a must! It's like not trying the snow egg if you go Quay - simply outrageous! A standard item as part of their a la carte and tasting menu, it's easy to see why that is by looking at it. The dish is beautiful and the saying "you eat with your eyes" has never been more appropriate. The crispy scales adds a unique technique to an otherwise plain fish. The snapper was moist and juicy, but lacked a little seasoning. I loved the puffed grain cracker that was a bit salty and reminded me of eating chips with my fish. The puree was super silky with a nice hint of smokiness, which went well eaten together with the fish. I've never been a fan of ink and have always thought of it as a decorative purpose, but it def does pull together the whole presentation. 

I am actually missing a photo of the quail dish we had! It tasted sort of like pork so we thought we were missing a dish until we realised... oops! The quail was juicy and I preferred it over the red meats, but like most of the mains it didn't seem very technical. Not that any of them were bad dishes, perhaps just nothing to be excited about.

By now we were quite full from the main courses, but it only means the best course is next... DESSERT! There's always (ALWAYS) room for dessert ^_^. 1-2-3-Boom. 

Chocolate, honeycomb & vanilla sphere, cardamon, saffron and ginger

How sexy is this dessert? An unassuming spherical chocolate shell, crack it open and out oozes the vanilla and honeycomb lava. The honeycomb chunks are sweet, sticky and adds texture to the flowing mess. Eat all the elements in a spoonful and you can see why this dessert will never be like any other. 

Gastro Park is understated fine dining and it's no wonder why it retains its two hat status year on year. It's refreshing to see Sydney offer experimental restaurants like GP who just do things a bit differently and with flair. While there were some stand out dishes (dat gnocchi tho), some also fell short of expectation and amazement - the bill was also not too amazing :'(. The entire tasting menu took 2-3 hours which we were exhausted from by the time we finished - Rvr and I are just not very fine dining people and we're ok with that. Don't be fooled by the location, it is a darling place for date nights and special occasions. 

Food gastronomy amazes me, so hats off to King and his team for their incredible work. Now... to wait for the day I can get a seat at one of Martín Berasategui's restaurants... 


Mary's, Newtown
Monday, 16 March 2015 21:34
Leave A Comment / (1 Comments)
Excuse the mini-hiatus boys and girls, this has been a helluva month. I just can't even at the fact that it's March already :O!!!! This past month has been exhausting and exciting, to say the least, as I celebrate my first career woman job! I am incredibly grateful for the love and support of my nearest and nothing fills me with more joy than celebrating their wins as well. On top of all the birthdays and events, this past month I celebrated the engagement of two friends, watched 3 start jobs in their respective careers, attended a house warming and toasted to my partner's super cool new internship! 

So many exciting times ahead and the only way to celebrate, naturally, is by going to eat burgers. Not just any burgers of course, but Mary's (awwww yeahhhh).

I have only ever been to Mary's CBD because the numerous occasions I've tried to come to their Newtown joint had been a fail (too big of a group, closed due to plumbing issues...). The place is loud and blasting with old school rock, suited to the whole Day of the Dead type aesthetic I guess. The bar was busy, the tables were filled and the line for dining upstairs was a short 20 min wait (quite decent considering it was dinner hour). 

We ordered almost immediately after being seated, I mean, the quicker you order the faster you get your food right? Probably wrong. Soon after we ordered we saw the main waiter guy (wearing a shazzy silver tank) come up carrying a large serving tray with about 50 burgers and 30 buckets of chicken - none of them which were for us unfortunately :-(. As they cook in batches, after another 30 mins or so of waiting and growing weary, we saw the sparkle of the waiter's tank slowly crawl up the staircase. Sweet, sweet food. 

Mash and Gravy $5

A classic pub/bistro type food that's hard to say no to. The mash is silky smooth, but the star is most definitely the gravy. A rich, intense beefy stock flavour that is well seasoned and just the right thick consistency (who likes runny gravy, bleh). We took it a step further by dipping the fried chicken into the gravy and mash and it was next level good - crunchy, salty, fiery, smooth - the combinations of flavours and textures was match made. 

Fried Chicken (Whole Bird) $30

Fried chiggen is a must order at any restaurant, but Mary's is extra special. The crunchy batter was not too thick and full of bold flavours that made this finger licking good. A bit salty, but I didn't mind it, and it had a great spice kick. The chicken itself was juicy and moist with lots of meat and hardly any bones (win). However it was quite oily - you can really taste the oil and feel it running down your lips and fingers. But, despite that, I def know what the hype is about now. 

Mary's Burger with Trashcan Bacon $14 + $4

The star we've been waiting for to arrive, drum roll please. Though claimed by many as Sydney's best burger, I did not expect much after being sadly disappointed at its CBD store. I take my first bite through the soft, sweet bun into a BAM!-Holy-Sh*t moment. The smoked, crispy bacon and then the incredible juicy, fatty patty, which was perfectly medium rare; damn, it was goooooooooodd. Together with the cheese, secret sauce and refreshing salad - it was burgasmic. If I didn't already feel my arteries clogging up, I would eat this everyday (ok, maybe every second day).

Mary's Burger with Double Meat & Cheese $14 + $3

Definitely go double meat and cheese if you're a boy with an appetite. The burgers were a decent size, but don't think they're filling if you're extra hunger (luckily we had a whole chicken on the side as well). You really can't go wrong with double meat and cheese. I love shoe string fries with burgers, they're just so easy to munch on. I would have love if it had a sauce to accompany it besides tomato or if it was better seasoned (like the chips at Grill'd), but they're fairly standard so can't complain.

Feast for the Gods

I'm waiting for the day I can justify paying $24 for a burger + bacon + double meat & cheese to try that out for size :O The first time I tried at the CBD store, Rvr compared it to a Maccas burger in it's simplicity and similarity, but Mary's def lived up to its name this visit. Sydney's best burger title is questionable, but it's definitely a top contender. The wait was long, the music was loud, but the food was a great way to celebrate the small wins in life (though I don't think my doctor's should check my cholesterol levels anytime soon). 

To more celebratory breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas, dinners and desserts! 

Mary's on Urbanspoon


The year that was 2014.
Thursday, 12 February 2015 22:40
Leave A Comment / (1 Comments)
Each year I set out on doing bigger and better things for myself. But recently, upon drafting this post and reflecting on my goals for the year, I had an epiphany - how do you define bigger and better? Sure, I can have a checklist of things I'd like to accomplish for the year, but what makes them bigger and better than the year before? Maybe it's based on results and success, maybe it's based on failures and did-nots. At this point, I know one thing is for certain - this year (and the years after) I am set out on being happy. 

This sounds quite vague, I know, but it's sort of like that whole "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "I want to be happy" outlook on life. (Read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, she explains it much better than I can). We're already halfway through February and I'm so incredibly excited for the journey ahead. 

Though I certainly had my share of downs last year, it is not without all its joys as well. Thank you to everyone who made 2014 such an incredible memory. To sum up my year, I: 

- Left my FC fam to complete my studies and travel. Is it ironic that I left my job in travel to travel?

- Got rejected by a deer.

- Decided to do a short summer course abroad in Firenze. We planned an event to launch two Italian handbag companies. It was an amazing experience with so many new friends made along the way.

- Completed another internship. The best group of girls to work with and awesome rooftop BBQs. 

- Became crew with Snoopy and Woodstock. 

- But always with my main crew(s). Oops, excuse the offensiveness in last photo. 

- Decided to live on the edge a little.

(Sienna, Santorini, Cinque Terre)

- Ticked off places I've always wanted to go to. And ticked off others twice.
(Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine, Firenze Duomo, Tomorrowland Round 2, Berlin East Side Gallery, Berlin Fall of The Wall 25th Anniversary, Uluru)

- Saw my favourite artist in the world. Twice.

- Second year of Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas. Thanks for hosting again, Suze & Helen!

- Had two new rascals join the family. Welcome Coffee and Cinnamon. Dw Peach, you'll always be main. 

- Said hi and bye six times. 

This year I also:
- Finished the year on a Distinction average! 
- Got around to holding a Glebe Market stall. 
- Revamped my room; new paint, feature wall, furniture. 
- Survived my first camping experience.
- Ate too much but never regretted it (though my waistline did). 
- Made more memories with my fam and loved ones. 

2014 was a great year, perhaps bigger and better than 2013. I know for certain that 2015 will bring us just as much and even more happiness, because we'll make it so. 

Labels: , , ,

Have a Berry good day - Berry Day Trip, Part 2
Monday, 9 February 2015 22:09
Leave A Comment / (1 Comments)
Oops, sorry for this delayed post. I was too busy recovering from my food coma ^_^"... We ate so much in the span of 4 hours that I could not fit all the photos in one post. So, think of this as an extended degustation meal, where by the end of it you're so full and can barely move even though it took ages for the entire meal to finish but it was worth every bite (and every kilo you gained). 

After amazing pastries at Milkwood, we set for Pompadour's Chocolate House as recommended by our waitress at South on Albany. I read many good things about these gorgeous handmade chocolate and treats so excitement was an understatement. I mean, it's chocolate! 

Belgium Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Slice $4.50(?)

All the shards of beautiful white, milk and dark chocolate displayed in the wooden cabinet was just a pretty sight for sore eyes. There's a confused aromatic whiff of coffee and chocolate (duh), with lots of locals having ice-cream and tea outside as well. An array of goodies presented themselves near the counter, from delicate handmade bonbons to praline bars. I eye the caramel slice on the bench top and we both knew at first sight it was meant to be. I'm a massive sucker for caramel slices, there's something about the chocolate top, gooey caramel centre, and crumbly biscuit base - it's a heavenly trifecta. 

This. Is. The. Best. Caramel. Slice. Ever. In. History. Geez, how can  anything be this amazing(!!!). I think I pretty much cried tears when I finished my last bite knowing that I have to travel all those kilometres just to get another one. That dark, rich cocoa and salty caramel... What a combo. 

Dark and Milk Salted Caramel $1.90 each

We took these little morsels home to try as we ate a crap tonne of food already and decided to save them. Rvr has his when we got home and said it was "oh god, sooo good", but little did I know how divine these little drops of heaven actually were. A thin layer of chocolate that covered the most delicious, intense and rich gooey salted caramel. So much ragrat not getting a few more of these :'(

After our pitstop at Pompadour's, we strolled down the street to "burn some cals off." Berry is such a charming town with cute cafes and boutiques lining the main street, and even the alleyways were good-looking. After covering the short main street, we headed to Il Locale Gelato, which translates pretty much to "The Locale Gelato". Hard to miss with its simple white and wood interior, covered in drawings outside and in.  

Cup - 1 flavour $4 (Caramel)

A generous scoop of homemade gelato. It had a deep caramel flavour that wasn't too overly sweet, which was perfect considering how much sugar we had already consumed. It had a wonderful consistency and taste that differs it to the likes of Messina et al. - must be all that organic milk! 

Affogato $6 (with Hazelnut Ice-Cream)

Our lovely South on Albany waitress recommended getting the Affogato with Hazelnut Ice-Cream, which hit the spot for a long afternoon drive back home. A strong, rich and fragrant hit of coffee with this creamy, delightful gelato that did the Italians justice - perfect pairing of flavours.

Heading back to the car we almost forgot one important thing - the reason why we came to Berry in the first place - The Famous Berry Donut Van (yes, that's the official name)!!! 

The donuts are made to order, so they're fried and then generously seasoned with sugar and cinnamon in front of you! And god, the smell of it - I would wear it as perfume so when people walk past they'll say "You smell delicious" in the most totally non-creeper type way.

Very well priced with 6 donuts for $8 or 12 for $14, which makes me cry thinking about the prices of everything in Sydney. Fresh out of the fryer, I was so excited I almost burnt myself. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside and covering your lips with cinnamon sugar, just like how a donut should be. They were quite dense so we could only eat one before calling it quits and saving the rest for home.

It was a long drive home, but was it worth it? Two-hundred per cent. I can't wait for our next trip down (or until someone else goes and can get takeaway for me ^_^).

Pompadour’s Chocolate House on Urbanspoon Il Locale on Urbanspoon Famous Berry Donut Van on Urbanspoon

Labels: ,