Dinner @ Nido Bar & Pasta (Adelaide, Australia)

January 7, 2021 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

For my second trip to Adelaide (in October ’20), my line up of restaurants included Magill Estate Restaurant, Nido Bar & Pasta, Botanic Gardens Restaurant and Topiary. I was really keen in checking out Nido because of ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win (2020)’. A program which I faithfully followed (while in Australia). My curiosity was piqued because the judges would often rain praises on Laura Sharrad’s pasta dishes.

With that… Reservation was made for dinner, 2 weeks in advanced via Nido’s website. And one could say I was excited for my meal. I even went to their website to check out the online (sample) menu. Trying to anticipate what pasta dishes would be on the actual menu when I reach the restaurant.

And I was really hoping for cacio e pepe to be on the menu, but was slightly disappointed to see it’s not. Sob. But the real disappointment came when the staff said the tasting menu (AUD52 or AUD78) was not available for solo diner as the dishes on the tasting menu were meant to be shared. SOB!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), I ordered:-


1) Sicilian anchovy finger, AUD7 (above) – With fermented chilli, ricotta and basil. I knew I ordered anchovy, but nothing prepared me for what was to come. It was too salty for my liking! I couldn’t. There were two flavours on the menu for this finger food/morsel; Anchovy and crab. I probably should have stuck to blue swimmer crab.

2) Market fish crudo, AUD24 (above) – With lemon mascarpone, pickled fennel. And I really enjoyed this dish. The tangy sauce and pickled fennel ribbons went really well with the kingfish.


3) Gnocchi, AUD30 (above) – With spiced pork ragu, pecorino. With no cacio e pepe on the menu, my next choice of pasta was gnocchi. Gnocchi was also one of the pastas which Laura made on MasterChef, but with ricotta, peas, apple caramel and mint. And now… I am not who would crave for Italian cuisine. And even if I do have Italian cuisine with my friends, we would be sticking to the spaghetti, linguine, angle hair pasta or ravioli. So this gnocchi dish was honestly a first for me, as far as I could remember. And to be honest, I always thought gnocchi was the size of our pinky finger. But boy was I wrong. They were huge. And they were cooked to perfection! The texture of the gnocchi… It was light, soft (not to be mistaken as mushy), and… Airy. If we could eat clouds, this would be it. And I would say the gnocchi was adequately sized such that one could feel its texture as one chewed. Oddly addictive! And pork ragu was a good match; In terms of texture, the pork ragu was more chewy than the pasta. So beside nailing the flavour, I honestly felt it was a good balance in the textures too. Am really glad to have my proper taste of gnocchi at Nido.

4) Yoghurt gelato, AUD10 (above) – With bay leaf oil. This looked deceivingly simple, but it was so good! This was also a dish which Laura pulled out on MasterChef! Just that the restaurant’s rendition was without the snow-like salted white chocolate.

5) Tiramisu, AUD16 (above) – Creamy, with a very wet sponge. Just the way I like my tiramisu, though I nearly choked on the generous amount of cocoa powder. Ha.

Out of the 5 dishes, 3 were brought out by Laura. And it was pretty cool to see her up close and personal! And the thing was… When I was enjoying my meal, I wondered if the dishes (especially the pasta ones) were personally cooked by Laura. It was later from my conversation with her that I learnt they had been looking for a manager. And in the absence of one, she had been temporarily filling that role while her husband Max Sharrad (who is also a chef) took charge of the kitchen.

And now… When I was making my reservation, I was given the option to choose my seating. Between standard (table), outdoor and counter, I opted for counter. Was expecting to be seated facing the kitchen, but was assigned to a table that was smacked right beside the entrance instead. And because it was pushed against the closed bi-fold door, I was basically sitting with my back facing the restaurant and looking out. And what annoyed me was that whenever someone entered, my table would rattle when they closed the entrance door since it’s all part of the same bi-fold door system.

But that aside, I enjoyed my meal at Nido Bar & Pasta. Worth a visit, especially if one is a fan of Laura because of MasterChef.

NIDO BAR & PASTA
2/160 King William Road, Hyde Park, Adelaide, SA, Australia
+61 8 8373 2044, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 22:30
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Hours are post-COVID lockdown, and may change when normality resumes.

Lunch @ LuMi Dining (Sydney, Australia)

September 5, 2020 in Italian, Italian Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

So after my arrival in Sydney for my overseas work stint, my first fine dining meal was at LuMi Dining which had 2 hats in the Australia Good Food Guide (2020). Why LuMi Dining? Well… I guess I was attracted by the water views it offered. Keke.

As I made my way to the restaurant on the day of my lunch, I was surprised to see where LuMi Dining was located in. I was expecting the restaurant to occupy a ground floor unit of a building based on pictures of its interior. But it was located in a standalone container perched on the wharf. Okie, it’s probably not a container. That’s the engineer in me talking with my construction language of my first impression. Others called it a modern glass structure or a lightbox. I guess I walked towards the restaurant from the wrong side.

So yes, the exterior and the interior were very different. It may look dull on the outside, but it was beautifully furnished on the inside. I came for the view and was greeted with a perfect view of water and yachts. Even the light reflected off the water looked like sparkling diamonds!

As I took my seat, the staff asked if it was my first time at LuMi Dining. I nodded. And she went on to explain the menu. Now… When I was made my reservation, I made my selection for the chef’s menu. But there was options to have add-ons. I decided against ordering additional oysters. Instead, I went with the pasta dish with additional truffle. Uh huh. Add-on on top of add-on. Haha.

And with that, I commenced my lunch (chef’s menu, AUD185) with:-


  
  

1) Tuna, tart, Italian gunkan, buckwheat, taco (above) – Started my lunch with assorted snacks which I was told would keep coming one after another. And indeed, it came non-stop. Although I finished my first and was struggling to finish taking picture of the second, the staff placed the fifth snack on my table. Oh my god. Snacks included tuna tartare with shisho leaf which was meant to be eaten like a sandwich, pumpkin tart with glazed pumpkin seeds, Italian gunkan, bckwheat gougère with casera cheese within, and taco with fish tartare and chives. The snacks were amazing. The Italian gunkan, or what one could call an Italian sushi, was sea urchin topped on koshihikari rice and with stracciatella cheese within. But my favourite was the pumpkin tart.


2) Pie (above) – Served with thick chicken sauce gravy on the side. And for the pie, I was only given a knife. Wasn’t sure why but I requested for a fork. It was only later through observing others that I realised one was to slice the pie and pick it up with one’s fingers. Well, I’m eating it the ladylike way. Hahaha. But! I also realised the pie was meant to be shared by the table. I polished the entire pie by myself. Gasp.


3) Red emperor (above) – Red emperor sashimi with kiwi, dashi jelly, herb oil and buffalo cheese. Loved this!


4) Asparagus (above) – Steamed egg (chawanmushi) with white asparagus, caviar and yuzu dressing. And the texture of the steamed egg was very light on the palette. Almost similar to silken tofu!

5) Agnolotti (above) – Served in (clear) mushroom dashi broth. I would normally bite into the ravioli to snap a photograph of the the filling. But I couldn’t because it was liquid within the ravioli. Really interesting! The filling was akin to thick, creamy mushroom soup. Really tasty!


6) Pici scarlet prawns globe artichoke & sesame, AUD22 (+ AUD28, black truffle) (above) – Got this as an add-on to my set menu. Served very al dente, I didn’t really like the noodle texture. I also didn’t like the white sesame seeds. And I felt the truffle did nothing for the dish. This unfortunately didn’t work for me.


7) Murray cod (above)


  

8) Pork (above) – The skin was pretty black, but this was so good! Although the cabbage could do with less butter. I spied other tables and realised their strips were like 25% thicker. But all’s good though. I most likely couldn’t finish a thicker strip than what was served because I was feeling pretty full from finishing an entire pie earlier.

9) White chocolate & sudachi (above) – The sudachi was like a frozen yogurt. And I liked that it was citrus flavoured. A very interesting (form of) palette cleanser.

10) Buffalo (above) – Coffee-infused cream, and popcorn with kombucha.

11) Frangipane (above) – And this was actually a (halved) tart.

There were 3 waiting staff attending to customers on the day of my lunch. One was exceptional. But I was particularly annoyed at another who introduced the dishes by standing behind me, rattled on like a machine gun, and ended his dish introduction immediately with a “welcome”. Ain’t sure if it’s just me that’s picky, but the difference in the service standards stood out when Mr Poor Performing was compared against Ms Exceptional.

Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable meal at LuMi Dining. My meal came up to a total of AUD213. I left the restaurant feeling really full. And was slightly surprised that my lunch lasted 3 hours!

LUMI BAR AND DINING
56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, Sydney, NSW, Australia
+61 2 9571 1999, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Fri – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Wed – Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon & Tue

Dinner @ Nishiazabu K+ (Tokyo, Japan)

June 8, 2020 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

It was from the many pictures posted on instagram that I got to know about Nishiazabu K+. Well… The then Kagero, and now Nishiazabu K+. I was particularly drawn to their shaved ice dessert (kakigori). I mean… It’s hard not to since I love kakigori and many people were raving how good theirs was.

So a bit on the restaurant’s background… Thought it may helpful because I was baffled when I got down to making my reservation; I knew the restaurant as Kagero, but it was with K+ that I made my reservation with.

Through instagrammer @andrew_gyokudari and blogger missneverfull, I learnt it all started with L’equateur. Since 2015, L’equateur (arguably the hardest-to-book French restaurant in Tokyo) would go on a 3-months hiatus every year to change its name to Kagero where head chef Yoshiyuki Ono took on his interpretation of Japanese-Italian cuisine. However by late 2017, they decided to open a new restaurant named K+. But unlike their previous practise with Kagero where it’s only opened during summer, K+ would be operational all year long. Yeah! However, while chef Ono san does not lead the kitchen at K+, the menu is produced by him.

For my reservation in March 2019, I did the booking 1 month in advanced. Ie, starts on the first date of each month for the following month’s reservation. And for overseas reservation, a non-refundable pre-payment was required. The restaurant would send the payment link via email after the reservation was made on their website.

And in my reservation, I indicated I was dining solo. To which the restaurant replied they could prepare 1 seat for me, with the course fee being ¥20,196 (tax and service charged included). After I made my pre-payment, I was further informed that I may have to pay additional cost and cover charged depending on what I ordered during my meal.

By public transport, one could choose the 10 minutes walk to K+ from Hiro-o metro station. I chose to alight at Roppongi metro station, which was a slightly longer walk of 20 to 25 minutes. And it was weird that I entered to an almost empty restaurant at 7pm. I guess I was expecting them to be ‘full house’. But that said, I guess the locals could only dine late. It’s either that or they were after the a-la carte menu which was only offered from 9pm. Cause when I left around 9.30pm, most of the tables were occupied.

After taking my counter seat, I was given the menu (pages 1, 2, 3). And for my pre-fixed course (¥17,000), I could choose 5 dishes from the appetiser section, and 5 dishes from the main course and dessert sections. And I ordered:-


1) Bread, Complimentary (above)

2) Appetiser with options of:-


  

(A) Steamed black abalone and caviar with abalone liver sauce (+ ¥700) (topmost)

(B) Marinated jelly fish with yuzu pepper (above, right)

(C) Fish carpaccio (above)

(D) Soft boiled egg with truffle (above, left)


(E) Snow crab croquette with tartare and caviar (+ ¥700) (above)

3) Main course with options of:-

(A) Sea urchin carbonara (+ ¥700) (above)

(B) Squid ink tagliolini with oyster and tomato (above)

(C) Risotto (above) – I decided to go with one of the specials; Risotto with scallop and truffle.

(D) Roasted kinka porc loin (+ ¥500) (above)

4) Dessert with options of:-


(A) Shaved ice with strawberry sauce (above)

5) Drink, Complimentary (above) – Now, I didn’t realise 3 drinks was included in my ¥17,000 course. Before I was shown the menu, the staff asked if I wanted to drink which I responded with a “water please”. And although I had the menu later, I failed to notice the fine prints stating ‘including 3 glasses drinks’. It was only towards the middle of my dinner while messaging a friend that I realised my mistake. And so, with my dessert, I requested for a sweet wine and was served this.

And for my dinner, I had to top up additional ¥3089 (including tax and service charge). Would I recommend K+? A big yes. And honestly… I couldn’t think of a better place if one is craving for (good) food late into the night too. Till today, I am still thinking about the other dishes that I didn’t get to try from their menu. Although if I had a chance to re-select my choices, I would give the jelly fish and squid ink tagliolini a miss.

So! Before I get to head down to K+ again, please try the soft cod roe gratin and the spaghetti with whitebait for me. Have only read good reviews about these 2 dishes!

NISHIAZABU K+
4-5-8 Nishiazabu, Minato City, Tokyo, Japan (東京都 港区 西麻布 4-5-8)
+81 3 6433 5141, Website, Tablelog
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Thur – Tues: 18:00 – 02:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Wed