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Dong Vu, Cabramatta
Sunday, 13 July 2014 21:08
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Ciao, bellas! I am currently in Florence, Italy at the moment studying and travelling around. Not to worry, I have a whole heap of back posts lined up for you all. Firenze, if I am to speak like a true Florentine, has been nothing short of amazing. There's something truly beautiful about Florence, unlike its sister cities, Rome and Milan. The streets are cleaner, the locals are friendlier, and not to mention the food and coffee! The one thing I miss about home though is humble and honest Asian food. Luckily, I got a quick fix before I left at Dong Vu.

This unassuming restaurant has been opened for more than 15 years. I know this because I sat in the exact same spot, eating the exact same dish all those years ago with Papa. Ah, the amazing nostalgia food can give.



The simple decor remains unchanged, with much resemblance to something out of a 90's Hong Kong movie. The menu, displayed in Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and English, is lined on the wall (no prices for English menu). I later learnt that the owners were Chinese Cambodian, but spoke Vietnamese as well. 

Cambodia Rice Noodle Soup ($9?)

Thin rice noodles with different cuts of meat, a few prawn pieces and Chinese veg in a clear and incredibly tasty broth. They use secondary cuts of meat though, including stomach, tripe, and blood jelly - not for the faint hearted. Garnished with spoonful of fried garlic and fresh chilli, this made for one satisfying dish. With a full belly, I am overwhelmed with the familiarity of it all. This is home food like no other. 

Stir Fry Rice Noodle with Beef ($9?)

With plenty if beef slices and Chinese broccoli, Vee got this dish was unable to finish it all. We both agree that there are other places that do this dish better as the "sauce" was quite watered down with not as much flavour. However, it will leave you full at least. 

Locals continue to come to Dong Vu for its traditional and unpretentious meals. You will see lots of regular customers, with grandpa's bringing their grandchildren. You don't come to Cabramatta if you want fancy and top tier service. You come to Cabramatta for it's authentic food, and expect nothing less from Dong Vu.

(Couldn't find them on Urbanspoon)
20-22 Hughes St, Cabramatta (There's a sign above that also says Tang Bou)

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Candelori's Reopening, Smithfield
Friday, 4 July 2014 06:39
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A few weeks ago I was invited to dine at an old favourite, Candelori's Restaurant and Bar. Since my last visit, Candelori's has undergone a huge multi-milion dollar face lift, in which they were closed for 2 months. And my, what a change. 

The transformation was done by acclaimed designers, DS17, the masterminds behind Alpha and China Republic in the city. A large 17-metre marble-clad open kitchen, additional bar at the back, displays of their extensive local and Italian wine selection in glass-encased wine towers around the venue, and a luxurious new bathroom (for some serious selfies, you know). 

Head chef, Antonio Rotondo, has refined and modernised all the classics in the new menu. The menu, as extensive as ever, explores all of Italy and its wonderful flavours. For the launch dinner of the new Candelori's, there were also a number of suppliers that had set up tables for us to try their fresh produce - olives, olive oil, prosciutto, mozzarella, wine, wine, and more wine! 



Finniss Estate olives and olive oil is made in South Australia, but their seeds come from Italy. Nothing makes me happier than olive oil and bread, which had an intense and rich flavour. The olives was also top notch, not too salty, firm or soft. 



Media table

Dedicated back bar

The main addition to the renovation is the creation of a dedicated bar at the back of the venue. A long marble bench with dark and glossy wooden touches. Every bit as sophisticated as the rest of the venue, and offers a chic place to sip on Candelori's range of cocktails and wine before or after dining. The bartender even smiled for my photo when I asked :-) 




Having never seen fresh mozzarella made, this made me super stoked. I felt very much at peace watching these talented masters fondle the curdled milk and stretching and shaping the balls of fresh deliciousness. Fresh prosciutto was also sliced in front of us in all its cured and fatty goodness. 



Owner of Candelor's, Ross Candelori

Guests for the evening 

Fresh house baked bread

Crumbled olives stuffed with goat's milk feta cheese


I can see how these would make as an addictive snack, but wasn't my cup of tea unfortunately. The green olives were too solid for my liking, and the cheese was not too noticeable. 

Mixed bruschetta

Now this I could of eaten the plateful of. Fresh tomatoes dancing with basil, garlic and olive oil, every bite was as good as the next. I would've enjoyed red onions in my bruschetta, though I know it's not very "traditional." The other side was some wood-fire capsicums, which I was too late to snatch up. 

Antipasto board 


San Danielle proscuitto, salami casareccia, wagyu bresaola, Sicilian green olvies, Sardinian crisp bread, and parmigianno regianno - need I say more? 

Octopus Carpaccio 


A little different from the usual beef or fish carpaccio, this was def one of the highlights of the night for me. The octopus was marinated in extra virgin olive oil, lemon, dry chilli, parsley, orange zest, lemon thyme, baby capers, and pomegranate seeds. This ensued a burst of fresh summer flavours (even though we were in the middle of winter), and made as a great light starter.

Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese 


Having already eaten my fair share the mozzarella during the beginning of the night, I opted to skip to save room for the other dishes to come. All the ingredients look amazingly fresh, especially that creamy mozzarella.

Oven baked figs wrapped in prosciutto with gorgonzola sauce 


Another gem of the night. Oven baked semi-sweet figs, wrapped in a salty cured proscuitto, with a rich, but not intense, cheese and buttery sauce. Absolute brilliance, I thought, as others around me commented the same. 

Zucchini followers stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach


I feel like it is a true treat getting served such beautiful zucchini flowers (God bless the Italians!). A light and crispy golden batter, with soft oozy ricotta. Didn't taste much spinach in the mix, but who's to complain. 

Gamberi in Tegame

Having previously tried this dish (or similar, see here) before, I was expecting a bit more. I love the amount of prawns given, but for a launch party with many guests I suppose they weren't actually able to serve it in a tegame (pan). It had lovely hints of garlic, parsley, and chilli, and made as a great dip to the bread provided. 

Gnocchi with duck ragu


Potato as pasta. Carbs as carbs. This is both a gift and a sin. Fresh pillowy soft gnocchi, along with slow-braised ragu tipped me to a food baby point. I much prefer red sauce based dishes, and this dish was aromatic and inviting. 

There was also margheritta pizza that was too far for a photo. Wood-fire, of course, with a lovely thin crispy base, topped with diced tomatoes, melted buffalo mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil.  

Crespelle 

Mascarpone crepe with warm Belgium dark chocolate and crushed hazelnuts. Simple dessert to finish a wonderful feast. Nothing tops Belgium dark chocolate, so rich and smooth in flavour. To finish off the meal, we were offered coffee like true Italians. I wasn't sure how keen I was to drink coffee at 9pm on a Thursday night though. 

Latte

Along with great house wine, a photobooth machine, and a red carpet, the night was a successful one to say the least. While the price points are considerably higher for the western-Sydney suburbs, the quality of dining and service speaks wonders for itself. From its humble beginnings more than 15 years ago, to an institute that is still family owned and passed down through the generations (to his sons, Christian and Robert), Candelori's warm and casual dining atmosphere is one to come to for your social gatherings. 


**Disclaimer** What Em Did dined at Candelori's as a guest, with thanks to Wasamedia. All opinions are of my own.

Candelori's on Urbanspoon

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Menulog Online Restaurant & Home Delivery Service - Review and Giveaway
Friday, 20 June 2014 17:54
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I barely had a Summer, and now we're already in Winter. Sad times are ahead, well, for the next 3 months at least... And with Winter comes my unbearable laziness to stay in bed all day, getting up only to eat and go to the bathroom. Luckily, Menulog has made this even easier for me (bye bye, gym bod). 

Introducing Menulog, Australia's No. 1 for Online Takeaway and Delivery. This genius website hosts over 3500 restaurants, from many areas in every capital, with lots of cuisines to choose from. The hardest part is? Choosing what to eat! What I also love about this service is that many restaurants have vouchers and discounts (free deliver, free product, 10% off next purchase).


This free and super simple service aims to expose us to our great local variety. Just follow the super simple steps:

1. Jump onto Menulog.
2. Enter your postcode - a list of your local Menulog restaurants will appear. We chose the area Canley Heights to support our local.
3. Choose your restaurant. We decided Thai (http://www.menulog.com.au/browse/thai) take out from a new local restaurant called Thai Coriander in Canley Vale (http://www.menulog.com.au/takeaway/canley-vale).
4. Add items into your basket (there's also an option to choose additionals, such as level of heat for your Thai). 
5. Pick up or delivery? Choose a time you'd like for your meal to get picked up/delivered. You can also order days in advance, great for parties!
6. Checkout and pay (with credit card or paypal). You can also leave a comment, in which I asked for no peanuts in anything since my partner is allergic, but I asked for them on the side. 
7. Confirmation SMS and email will be sent. 
8. Wait for your easy and delicious meal!

You can register and login online for their rewards system, as well as track your order. I received the SMS saying it would be approximately 30mins till delivery, and they arrived in a little over 20! As I spent over $30 we also got 4 cans (or 1.25L bottle) of coke! We also got 10% off our next Menulog order (with a minimum $15 spend)!

Green Curry with Chicken $11.90

Laos Papaya Salad $10.90

Pad See Ew with Beef  $11.90

Exotic Pad Thai with Veg & Tofu $11.90

Ox Tongue $10.90

My partner has never tried Laos papaya salad or ox tongue before and loved it. Does anyone else get excited when they introduce people to new foods and they enjoy it? We also ordered a side of jasmine rice ($3.00) to go with the curry. Everything was delicious, nothing that stands out in particular but great value for money. Our favourites were def the ox tongue (so tender!) and the salad (so much flavour and heat!). The only downside was the Pad Thai which was too dry. Also I asked for 2 chillies (indicating the heat) for the curry and salad, but it was quite mild for me. Must order 3 chillies next time!

So, so very satisfied with the service, ease and convenience. Would def be using this again considering what a lazy bum I am. Hopefully more restaurants in my area start to hop onto this service!

Our delicious Thai feast - with my peanuts on the side!

Now to the exciting part... Thanks for the guys at Menulog, What Em Did has 2x $10 vouchers to give away! Yay, free stuff!! Order a pizza or some butter chicken on them!

COMMENT BELOW and let me know what your favourite takeout cuisine and dish is!

Mine is def Italian wood fire pizza, but pad see ew comes close!

Some boring but necessary terms and conditions: 
Opened to Australian residents only.
Winner will be notified via email/social media and given 48 hours to respond. New winner will be drawn after this.
Two separate winners will be chosen, who each will receive a $10 voucher to be used on Menulog - restaurant, area etc. is up to you! Valid for one use only.
Cannot be redeemed for cash
Vouchers expire a month after winner selection
Deliver and payments via credit card Only.
Voucher code will be emailed to winner.
Winner will be selected at random and will be the final decision.
Competition closes on Friday, 27th June 2014, at 5pm.

Winners will be announced via blog/social media channels and contacted by me directly!
Good luck, everyone!!!


**Disclosure** Vouchers for meals were provided by Menulog. Words and opinion are all of my own. 

Thai Coriander on Urbanspoon

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The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club, Sydney CBD
Monday, 16 June 2014 20:33
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The Dip at Goodgod Small Club is opened from 5pm Wed - Sat, serving classic American fast food favourites, as well as their signature punch jugs and a list full of cocktail concoctions. Oh, and not to mention Wednesday night trivia with everything from Beyonce to Daria. This underground 'diner' has their mind in all the right places - music, atmosphere, decor, food.


Chevy Chase $28

A refreshing mix of organic vodka (sooooo me, right?), lemon barley water, zesty lemon bitters and lemon wheels. It reminded me of the lemon sodas I use to make at home, just with alcohol, so much win. One jug gets around 4 drinks. 

Pull Pork Nachos $15

Having tried the nachos before, I just HAD to order them again. Corn chips with 12 hour smoked pork, pinto beans, tomato salsa, BBQ sauce, jalapeño cream and melted cheese... So much deliciousness on a plate. The perfect combination of spicy, smoky, sweet, creamy, as well as all that cheese. Def one of my faves!  

BBQ plate $15

I ordered the monthly special which was North Carolina style pulled pork, BBQ beans, slaw, crackling and corned bread. The pork was juicy and flavoursome, and I have never felt as American as I did eating this meal. The crackling was very crunchy, but a bit too crunchy perhaps (is that possible?!). I've never had corned bread prior, which I later found it it just bread made with cornflour and not corn, but it is very dense in texture which was fitting to my very heavy meal. 

DFC $12

Vee had the DFC which was made of buttermilk fried chicken burger with lettuce and chipotle mayo. The chicken was golden, crispy and juicy, but needed more sauce. It seemed a bit plain with just the lettuce and sauce, nevertheless it was still a great burger. 

The Dip has a chill and laid-back atmosphere. Staff were friendly, however the bar chick took our order after someone else's even though it was more than obvious we were there first. The have specials monthly, with new burgers, nachos and hotdog flavours. I will def be back, next time for trivia night I think...


EDIT: The Dip just announced today on their Facebook page that they will be shutting in 4 weeks, with the last day of trade on the 12th of July. I hope the successor of The Dip will do it justice. All the best to Bianca, Levins, and their new bub, Archie.


The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club on Urbanspoon

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The Forresters, Surry Hills
Thursday, 29 May 2014 13:47
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Of course it would be packed on a Wednesday night in Surry Hills. It is always packed. Though I can see why, when Forresters offer $10 pizzas and a list of discounted cocktails and drinks. An overdue catchup was needed with Tripod, and what better way to talk about life then over burgers and beer. With a few tables booked out and most of the dining near the bar taken, we share a long table near the back bar with couple. The atmosphere was buzzing with hump day relief, as we also toasted to our mid-week celebrations. 

Bulmer Pear Cider $7, Chicky Babe? $10, Pure Blonde $7 

Fish Taco $5.50

I was very for the influx of Mexican food trend in Sydney. From El Loco down the road to food trucks, fancy smancy tacos were popping up everywhere. The only taco Forresters serve is this fish one as a starter, and I guess that's all they need. Served with mojo verde (Spanish green sauce), guac, corn salsa, jicama slaw and a lovely crispy thin fillet of fish, this was tasty and a great start. Only comment is that the soft taco shell was a bit cold, a bit of warming up in the oven would've done it wonders. 

Cheeseburger $18

With cheddar, pickles, onion rings, mustard mayo, and BBQ sauce. This mammoth burger served on a brioche bun (I think), was nothing short of delicious The patty had that charcoal taste that I love, and was still pink in the middle, which I also love. Along with the melted cheese, onion ring and sauce, it is seriously a winning combo. I wished there were more onion rings though, like lots of small little ones instead of one big one, it would of added lots of texture to it. Highly rate the cheese burger here, and Tiff agreed. Though she commented that The Fish Shop's was better, and I still have dreams about the O.G from BRGRS.

Fried Chicken Burger $18

Lis had this one, being a big fan of chicken, esp deep fried chicken. I wonder how she manages to stay so thin with the amount she eats. This was served with guac, tomato salsa and slaw. Lis enjoyed the burger, but found it difficult to consume as the chicken was so big! The chicken was juicy and crunchy, and the flavours with the sauce and slaw was match made. 

There were condiments on every table, which we used for our chips. The chips were super crispy and I did enjoy the change of crinkle cut. Nothing special but a great accompaniment to more drinks. 

Service was quick and simple; order at the bar, get your number, waiter brings food out to you. The chill and laid-back environment is the mere persona of Surry Hills, and is probably why I'll always come back.


The Forresters on Urbanspoon


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