Lunch @ Tetsuya’s (Sydney, Australia)

July 7, 2020 in Australian, French

Because I was going to be in Sydney for 2 years for my overseas (work) stint, I decided not to be (too) aggressive in checking out the dining scene in Sydney. I guess one could say I was also trying to go easy on my waistline and purse when I self-imposed the ’1 atas splurge meal per month’ rule. But!!! Who would have known dining out was actually an activity most have taken for granted. :(

When COVID-19 restrictions were eased and dining at restaurants was allowed, I made reservation at Tetsuya’s for a Sunday lunch.

There were 2 seating areas. And I liked how the seating areas were built around Tetsuya’s on-site garden such that everyone had access to the view of the Japanese garden. Although I also overheard 1.5 to 2 months of advanced reservation was required for a window table.

Tetsuya’s had a wine-pairing course to go with the degustation menu, but I decided to go by the glass instead. And after taking my drinks order, I commenced my 8-courses degustation lunch, AUD250 with:-

1) Oysters, AUD15 (above) – From Tasmania, served with ginger & rice wine vinaigrette.


2) Dish #1 (above) – Sashimi of Hiramasa kingfish with sesame leaf and daikon. So good!


3) Bread, Complimentary (above) – Organic sourdough and kombu scroll, served with truffle butter. And the pastry of the scroll was buttery and flaky. Almost similar to that of a croissant.


4) Dish #2 (above) – NZ scampi tails with vanilla and lemon zest. And I loved the attention to the small details. The flesh was detached from the shell till the tail for ease of consumption. And I noticed the kitchen also drizzled dressing onto the shell such that not just the top side but also the bottom/non-exposed side of the scampi flesh was seasoned. This dish made me realise this was truly fine dining at its best. Loved it!


5) Dish #3 (above) – Confit of Tasmanian ocean trout with salad of apple and witlof.

6) Deep-fried golden mushroom with roasted mushroom broth, Complimentary (above) – Got a surprise when the waiting staff came up to me and said “Chef arranged an additional dish. Our chef likes to spoil single diners if you don’t mind.” Oh my god! Was definitely not expecting that.

7) Dish #4 (above) – Patagonian toothfish with cannellini beans and TAS black truffle.

8) Dish #5 (above) – Snowy mountains squab with charred onion broth and enoki.


9) Dish #6 (above) – And because I don’t take beef, they replaced it with spatchcock. Paired with shiitake mushroom and char-grilled red cabbage.


10) Palate cleanser (above) – Yuzu, chartreuse, apple.


11) Dish #7 (above) – Chocolate stone with honey and milk. I tried different renditions of ‘pebble dessert’ at various restaurants, and this certainly impressed. I wasn’t expecting the ‘pebble’ to be so complicated! Loved it!

12) Petit fours (above)

13) Coffee, Complimentary (above) – And as always, I went with latte. Keke.

I left Tetusya’s very happy and I highly recommend one to check them out in Sydney. Food was great, but the service was better! When I was looking at the drinks menu before my meal started, I had shortlisted 2 whites that I wanted to try. And when I was still on my first, the sommelier came up and generously poured me a glass of rose to go with my ocean trout. And I really appreciated it because the white that I was having tasted quite weird with the trout! And when I was onto my second glass of white, I was touched when the sommelier (yes! again!) poured me a glass of shiraz (that’s specially made for Tetsuya’s) because he really wanted me to try it with my main. I mean, 1 glass on the house is already much appreciated. But 2? Wow.

Now… In my recent bid to know my wines better, these days I would request to take picture of the wine bottles. And when I was taking picture of the third wine bottle, the sommelier was holding it in his hands. Though that’s actually because I had too many glasses on my table and there was no space for him to place the bottle beside the (original) glass. As I was taking the picture, he asked “do you want it on the table?” How cute! And I really appreciated it because that simple gesture was an example of how Tetsuya’s waiting staff understands and tries to anticipate the different requirements of their customers.

If it wasn’t for my secondment, I would have missed out on a great meal because I didn’t visit Tetsuya’s when I was holidaying in Sydney back in 2017. But I didn’t then because I wanted to dine at restaurants which served Australian cuisine. But Tetsuya’s is definitely worth visiting for its Japanese-French cuisine. To be exact… As taken from their website, Tetsuya’s degustation is based on the Japanese philosophy of using natural seasonal flavours, enhanced by classic French technique and utilising the freshest possible ingredients.

Would I recommend Tetsuya’s. A big yes. I am definitely making a return trip.

TETSUYA’S
529 Kent Street, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9267 2900, Website
Overall: 9
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 9
Tues – Fri : 17:30 – 21:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Sat : 18:30 – 21:00 (Dinner)
Service: 10
 
* Closed on Mon & 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