Dinner @ Aubergine (Canberra, Australia)

October 14, 2019 in Australian

When I was holidaying in Sydney back in 2017, I didn’t think I would return to Sydney. Don’t get me wrong… It’s just that I would visit the other states when I do return to Australia for travels. But I guess the statement ‘You never know what your future holds’ is true. I certainly didn’t expect myself to be out-stationed. *Sheepish grin*

After I settled my accomodation, etc, I began making my plans to travel within Australia. And my first trip out of Sydney was to Canberra! I mean, Canberra was really accessible. Just a 4-hours rail journey. And October couldn’t be a better time to visit because of Floriade! But of course, no trip would be complete without satisfying my craving for good food. Keke. And for my Canberra trip, I made reservation at Aubergine and Courgette. =)

For Aubergine, I was re-directed to a third party online booking system The Fork where I made my reservation 1.5 weeks ahead.

Aubergine wasn’t located in the city centre. The suburb which it was located in was actually nearer to Canberra Railway Station. And from the city, I took bus R6 to reach the restaurant at 6.25pm.

For dinner, Aubergine served a 4-courses meal (AUD105) where one had up to 4 options to choose from for 3 of the 4 courses. And from the dinner menu, I ordered:-


  

1) Snack #1, Complimentary (above) – Beetroot tart, and puff with smoked ocean trout cream. The beetroot tart was a delight to eat; It had various textures which included beetroot puree, beet-vinegar jelly, etc.

2) Snack #2, Complimentary (above) – And I was told the sugar pea was meant to be a refreshing dish. Hmm… Interesting.

  

3) Bread, Complimentary (above)


4) Dish #1 (above) – Hiramasa kingfish, celeriac, creme fraiche & mustard oil. I really enjoyed this refreshing dish. It was brilliant! I especially liked how they played with the textures; The crunchy celariac strips and buckwheat against the kingfish’s chewiness. Glad there’s no option offered for the first course so that every diner would get to enjoy this.

5) Dish #2 (above) – Duck breast, grilled celtuce, lovage, wakame & buttermilk dressing.

6) Dish #3 with options of:-

(A) Potato tart, roasted yeast, black garlic puree & creamed swiss chard. (above) – This potato tart tasted like pizza to me. What scorery is this! The potato was cooked perfectly through, and was so soft to the bite. I never had a potato tart before cause it’s like carbohydrates on carbohydrates. But I was so glad I decided to be more adventurous care less about putting on weight from eating too much carbohydrates. Keke.

(B) Fillet of hapuka, baby octopus, caramelised cauliflower & sudachi. (above) – And I was told that the fish was cooked skin down and then cooked through in the oven. Now, I am not one to order fish for my main but I was attracted to this dish because of the baby octopus. Ha. But I am glad I ordered this fish dish (because of the baby octopus). Pretty good!

7) Dish #4 with options of:-

(A) Baked cheesecake, lemonade fruit, passionfruit & coconut sorbet (above)


(B) Coffee & caramel delice, frozen chocolate milk, brown butter (above) – The waiting staff went on to explain egg white and cocoa powder were put into a piper and hardened with nitrogen. Thus, creating the melt-in-mouth melt-upon-contact texture of the frozen chocolate milk.

Everything about my dinner at Aubergine was great! I really enjoyed the dishes. To be honest, I didn’t think much of the dining scene in Canberra. But this meal changed my mind. Good food could also be found in Canberra! Not just Sydney and Melbourne! Hee. During my dinner, I even heard the table of diners seated near me exclaim “this is really good” at least twice. Looked like I wasn’t the only one enjoying my meal!

Will I recommend Aubergine? Definitely.

So while it was a 4 courses menu, I ordered additional. Thus explaining the 6 dishes instead of 4. Yes, I finished everything as a solo diner even though the serving were regular portion. Keke. And for my additional main and dessert, I was charged AUD25 and AUD16 respectively. Really reasonable, I say!

And I thought I should share… So while Michelin Guide hasn’t come to Australia, Australia has their Good Food Guide Award where restaurants are awarded hats. The more hats, the better. And for the latest Good Food Guide Award (2019), Aubergerine has 2 hats under their belt. I certainly agreed with their verdict!

AUBERGINE
18 Barker Street, Griffith, Canberra ACT, Australia
+61 2 6260 8666, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 8
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

Breakfast @ Bourke Street Bakery (Sydney, Australia)

July 6, 2017 in European (cafe)

My colleague, who has been to Sydney a few times, raved about the pies in Australia. “You must try the pies,” she said. Unfortunately, the good ones she had were beef. I can’t eat beef due to religious reason. Thus, the hunt for good (non-beef) pie began.

While researching on-the-go, we got to learn about Bourke Street Bakery. With a few outlets in Sydney, my colleague and I decided on Surry Hill’s because it was within walking distance from our AirBNB apartment. Just perfect for us to drop by for breakfast before we went on with our travel itinerary. And because we had a long day planned ahead of us, my colleague and I reached the cafe at 8.35am. We initially planned to reach at 8am. Gasp.

However, the staff informed the pies were only ready at 9am. Since it was another 25 minutes, my colleague and I decided to wait it out. In fact, after our first visit and a more detailed research on Bourke Street Bakery, I went back again for breakfast on the last day of my trip to try the other items which they were famous for. Keke.

And from the menu and display shelf, we ordered:-

1) Ginger brulee tart, AUD5.50 (above) – So good! It’s interesting how they infused the ginger into the caramelised layer.

2) Lemon curd tart, AUD5.50 (above) – My favourite of the tarts! Be careful when one bite into the thick but crispy buttery crust as the curd within was flowy. I loved how tangy it was too. Just perfect.

3) Passionfruit curd Italian meringue tart, AUD5.50 (above) – And if I didn’t taste wrongly, there was coconut in the meringue. Pretty good!


  

4) Chocolate almond croissant, AUD5 (above)


5) Chicken, sweet potato, pea & lime pickle pie, $6 (above)


6) Pork & fennel sausage roll, AUD5.50 (above) – We made the mistake of not ordering the tomato sauce (AUD0.20) to go with it. I wouldn’t say the fillings within was dry. Rather, it lacked that bouncy texture because the filling was minced. And because it was a little bland, the tomato sauce would have brought out the taste better. As though I’m using their tomato sauce as seasoning instead of salt. Ha.


7) Carrot & walnut cake, AUD5 (above) – This was a such delight! It’s no wonder why this was a favourite among customers too.


8) Bacon & egg frittata sandwich, $6.50 (above) – Frittata, bacon, caramelised onion and homemade BBQ sauce.

9) Latte, $4.50 (regular) (above)

I definitely recommend Bourke Street Bakery! Must tries include the carrot & walnut cake and the tarts. Having tried 3 of their 4 tarts, I probably should have ordered the chocolate ganache tart too then. Keke. I didn’t expect all the 3 tarts to be so good. And I liked that the curd used for the 3 tarts won’t the same.

And if it wasn’t because I was on a short trip to Sydney, I probably would have returned for the other yummy goodies which include the lemon-vanilla ricotta cake, flourless Belgian chocolate cake, croissant, wholemeal sourdough bread… Oh wait, I can go on and on and on. Keke.

BOURKE STREET BAKERY
633 Bourke Street, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9699 1011, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 07:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 6
Sat – Sun : 07:00 – 17:00
Value: 7
Service: 6

Sweets @ KOI Dessert Bar (Sydney, Australia)

July 3, 2017 in Australian

It was by luck that I chanced upon photographs of MasterChef Australia’s Reynold Poernomo’s desserts on instagram. Located in Sydney? Oh my. There’s no way I was going to allow myself to not visit his shop. And with that, I immediately pinned it on my Google map. Keke.

It was on a weekday that my colleague and I arrived at KOI Dessert Bar at 12.15pm. And we were their first dine-in customers for cakes and coffee. Or maybe there were customers before us, just that they packed the cakes on the go. And from the display shelf, my colleague and I ordered:-


1) Berry cheesecake, AUD9.50 (above) – Vanilla cream cheese mousse, berry coulis and baked lemon cheesecake.


2) Chocolate delight, AUD12 (above) – Almond sable, 55% dark chocolate excellence mousse, passion fruit curd, brownies with dark chocolate ganache and raspbrry.

3) Watermelon, AUD12 (above) – Lychee creme, watermelon, chia seed, strawberry. Honestly, I didn’t like this. I mean… It’s after all just lychee creme layered over chia seed.

And KOI Dessert Bar is divided into 2 sections; Cafe at level 1 and restaurant at level 2. I looked up their website prior to my Sydney trip and learnt that level 2 opens for dining service in the evening. But for that, one would need to make advanced reservation. Wanting to try the plated desserts which was only available during dinner service and at their restaurant on level 2, I did just that. Hee.

I was required to select between set dinner menu and set dessert menu when I was making my reservation on their online booking system. I chose the latter since it’s all about the desserts that I was after. I mean… Chef Reynold is also nicked as the ‘dessert whiz’.

And for my 6pm appointment, I waited by the stairs for the staff to check my reservation and to lead me to my table at level 2. After reconfirming my order for the set dessert from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), I commenced my meal with:-

1) Set dessert menu, AUD65 comprised of:-


  

(A) Lemongrab (above) – Lemon curd, lemon jam with lemon sorbet, herbal lemon meringue and lemon balm.


(B) Autumn forest (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.

(C) Tea (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.


(D) Coconut (above) – Coconut and yogurt with chocolate, almond sand, passionfruit curd, mango and kaffir lime dust.

2) Moss, AUD20 (above) – Pistachio mousse with caramel gel, dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime yogurt and green apples. Knowing that this was a signature dish of chef Reynold, I (went crazy and) ordered it from the a-la carte menu too.

Unfortunately, the cakes and plated desserts failed to impress. Was it a case of me heading down with too high expectations? Probably. Would I recommend KOI Dessert Bar? Well… The sweets were good, but not to the extent that it blew me away. And these were pretty pricey too. So for their price tags, I would recommend checking out other patisserie instead. In my short trip to Sydney, I ironically had better desserts elsewhere.

But of course, I had my fan-girl moment when my colleague and I visited in the afternoon and we got to see chef Reynold in person.

KOI DESSERT BAR
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9212 1230, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Sun : 10:00 – 22:00 (Cakes)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon