Mercado

Mercado European | Sydney CBD

You know I have to say, I love my job. Not only is my office situated right above the train station at which I get off, but I’ve got decent hours, and most importantly – the people I work with are nothing short of fantastic.

But you know what? Food’s always been a bit of an issue. Sure, you do have the recently revamped MLC which is probably the classiest food court around, and a smattering of mainly Italian-based joints dotting the place, but no restaurant in particular I would write home about or – as it turns out – on which I’d write a blog post. Enter Mercado, the next “big thing” in Martin Place.

Date Last Visited: 13/5/2016
Address: 4 Ash St, Sydney 2000
Recommended Dish(es): truffle mortadella, wagyu tongue brioche, roasted octopus

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Koi Dessert Bar by Reynold Poernomo [Updated] | Chippendale

In Japanese, Koi is a verb meaning “come”, or via another written form, (romantic) love. It also happens to denote the carp fish, which is a common tattoo seen on the backs of Japanese Yakuza members. Yeah, it’s lovey-dovey, as well as badass.

Masterchef 2015 contestant Reynold Poernomo has mostly-aptly named his long-awaited dessert bar after this versatile word – this is a dessert with a fresh attitude. For the sugar lovers – there is no question but to come to Koi Dessert Bar!

Date Last Visited: 8/6/16 10/1/2016
Address: 42-44 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): chocolate mousse sphere, coconut panna cotta

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Restaurant Hubert | Sydney CBD

A restaurant opened up in Sydney just two months ago. You may have heard of it – it’s called Hubert, and when its doors unlocked, so did the proverbial floodgates of hype. To date, I have heard nobody say they dislike Hubert. Even SMH chief food critic Terry Durack, in an incredible departure from form, noted – in caps lock – that “I LOVE THIS PLACE”.

Goddamn, a restaurant of such alleged calibre could only mean one thing for me – the assemblement of the food squad, to launch an all out assault of highly conspicuous consumption on Hubert. All for uh, “research purpose”. The results are…well…you’ll have to read on to find out!

Date Last Visited: 1/6/2016
Address: 15 Bligh Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): everything we ordered except the beef tartare or desserts

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Mekong | Chippendale

When it comes to Asian restaurants, I have a few rules in order to effectively judge whether one is worth visiting. An oft-cited example is if most diners in there aren’t Asian, then run fast, run far. Another one would be if the menu doesn’t have a focus on a single country’s cuisine – if I see dandan noodles, beef pho and Pad Thai on the same page, I’m outta there faster than you can slurp your “char koay teow”.

But here’s the thing, and you’ve already guessed it – rules are made to be broken. Here’s to Mekong – a restaurant that’s about as iconoclastic as it gets with throwing specialisation out the window, and breaks mold with flair and aplomb.

Date Last Visited: 29/5/2016
Address: 16 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008
Recommended Dish(es): squid ink dumplings, pork in betel leaf, grilled scallops, wagyu beef salad (if you can handle the spice), royal seafood amok, a duck at sunrise, morning glory (side dish), bangkok ice cream bowl

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Sushi Omakase – Sokyo at The Star | Pyrmont, Sydney

When it comes to sushi, Sydney has its fair share of options, which would satisfy all but the most devoted sushi aficionados.

But then, what if you are one such connoisseur? For those who’ve experienced the grand omakase experiences in Japan, Sydney’s a little bit lacking – it’s no shame to admit this – facts are facts.

That said, where there’s a gap, there’s opportunity – an opportunity that Chase Kojima, of Sokyo fame has gladly embraced. If you’ve been eating sushi off of a train your whole life, be prepared to be taken on a first class experience like you’ve never had before.

Date Last Visited: 18/5/2016 (six omakase visits to date) 4/2/2015
Address: The Darling, The Star – Level G 80 Pyrmont St Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Recommended Dish(es): book the omakase experience and you can’t go wrong

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Kaiseki Tsuruko (つる幸) | Kanazawa

Welcome back, Japan-obsessed foodies! With an introduction to kaiseki written, I hope that this venerable cuisine will become far easier to understand (though it’s oh so, so easy to eat). A necessary lesson, for many posts like the current one cover my experiences at various kaiseki and kaiseki-like restaurants. My first true-to-form experience of kaiseki was at restaurant Tsuruko, in the tranquil, highly underrated city of Kanazawa.

This is a long read, so if you’re feeling lazy, let me jump the gun for you before you do – this restaurant is worth every last Yen.

Best that you keep reading 🙂

Date Last Visited: 24/3/2016 – Spring seasonality
Details (address, hours, etc.): link
Food cost only: 30000JPY
Actual price paid (cost includes dinner + 1 carafe of sake + all taxes): 33,813JPY (~$402AUD at time of writing). 

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Ms.G’s | Potts Point

Dan Hong and Paul Donnelly are constantly on a mission to break the mould. You know they’ve succeeded when you can’t encapsulate the kind of food that comes out of the kitchen at Ms.G’s. Asian? Well yes, but that’s broad. Vietnamese? Getting closer, for sure. But go to Vietnam and try and find me a banh mi burger or cheeseburger spring rolls.

The food at Ms.G’s isn’t that normal after all, is it? I first visited three years ago, and at the time decided that it’s one of those restaurants that are well-worth a return. I just didn’t expect it to take three years to get there. Well, here we are!

Date Last Visited: 24/2/2016
Address: 155 Victoria Street Potts Point, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): mini banh mi, sweet & sour ribs; The BOSS

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An Introduction to Kaiseki

Well, here we are folks. After 19 days fooding (and fooling) around in Japan, you saw this coming. Yes, it’s time to do the hard yards and blog about the whole darn thing. I just hope I can get it done while the year still starts with a 2.

There will be two parts to the “Japan Chronicles”, as I’ve just decided to call it. Firstly, there are sixteen restaurants that will receive their own, dedicated blog posts. The reason being that these are substantive experiences, featuring a wide array of courses that require their own space. Additionally I will, for the first time, introduce a series of travel posts that will outline my trip more generally, including Japan’s non-food highlights. Why? Because I love the country, and hell, I want you to know why.

You know how I said there’d be two parts? I lied – this post is the standalone third aspect, and one I believe is necessary. It’s as the title says – an introduction to kaiseki. No joke, this post is well and truly needed, as a disproportionate number of them I’ll be publishing are about kaiseki restaurants. If however you’re already familiar with kaiseki, feel free to move right along. If you’re staying, here’s the deal: there are plenty of resources, online and offline, that offer a wealth of information into what kaiseki is all about. I’ll try and keep it simple, and explain it using my own words. Yeah…that could be a bad thing – read on and find out!

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Gelato Messina Dessert Degustation

It’s time to talk about Gelato Messina.

Specifically, what the creative minds behind Sydney’s greatest name in gelato have in store at their new fit-out in Darlinghurst. But this isn’t anything like the Messina you’re intimately familiar with. No, this is something else entirely: 7 courses of painstakingly-crafted desserts, with matched non-alcoholic drinks that spans a near 2 hour sitting. Price? A cool $130. It’s a lot to pay, but I’m going to convince you that it’s worth every last dollar.

Welcome to Messina’s newest and flashiest halo product: the Creative Department’s Dessert Bar Degustation!

Date Last Visited: 21/4/2016
Address: 243 Victoria Street,Darlinghurst, Sydney
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Lazy Suzie | Darlinghurst

When chef Zacharay Tan of Devon Cafe & Devon on Danks fame announces that he’s opening up yet another venture amongst the milieu of Sydney’s cafes, even the laziest Suzies among us – particularly a walrus such as I, will come to attention. You see, despite Sydney’s propensity to go over the top for just about anything these days, there is still clearly ample room for talented individuals to leave their mark.

In this case, we’re talking about scorching wok marks, and perhaps a case of purple tongue.

Welcome to Lazy Suzie, a hawker food centre-cum-in vogue cafe, smack bang in Darlinghurst’s hub of what’s what to eat. Don’t expect to find avocado on toast here – you’ve been warned.

Date Last Visited: 17/4/2016
Address: 78 Stanley Street,Darlinghurst, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): Auntie Jenny’s roti, Pie Tee, CKT (if you can swallow the price), the ABC

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