Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Shanghai - Chatswood Chase

Very quick Monday lunch at the New Shanghai Restaurant in Chatswood Chase shopping centre.  Had to get an IPhone repaired at the Apple Store, and this favourite is just downstairs.    What we love about this place is the home made noodles and dumplings - all done behind a big glass window.  It's also very quick.

We started with the Steamed Mini Pork Bun - 8 per serve.  These come with a warning "These dumplings have delicious hot broth in them.  Please make a small hole on the dumpling to allow broth to flow out onto your spoon.  This will avoid burning your mouth while still lets you enjoy the broth in the dumpling."  Mind you, you still end up burning your mouth and its funny to watch people juggling the dumpling in their mouth whilst flapping their hand in front!!!

We then ordered Stir Fried Spinach with Garlic, very delicate and healthy!  Then we tried the Chinese Rice Cake with Shredded Pork in an XO Sauce.  Lovely flavour, but the rice cake turned out to be slices of a noodle 'sausage' and were rather chewy.  We had to have our favourite - Deep Fried Chicken with special Garlic and Chilli Sauce.  I wish I could get my chicken skin so crispy, and the sauce obviously has Black Vinegar and Coriander in it too.

With a Coke each, and Jasmine tea, the bill came to $57.20.


Lunch - Ginger and Spice

Back to one of our favourites on Saturday.  We took two friends.  He was born in Malaysia and just loves Malaysian food.  We've been telling him for ages about Ginger and Spice.

As you walk into the restaurant, you can see through to the kitchen.  The Chef always has a friendly wave.  This time when we arrived the very friendly and courteous young waitress, who has made some delicious suggestions previously,  quietly said that the Chef thought we should try something new this time.  Obviously he was worried that we only ever order our favourites.  So - we agreed to try.

Firstly - Ngoh Hiang - deep fried 'Five Spice' rolls of minced pork, prawns and water chestnuts in beancurd skin.  Why haven't we tried these before?  Really lovely, and the water chestnuts gave them a refreshing crunch.  Then the Roti Prata - crispy pan-friend Indian wheat bread with curry dipping sauce.  We had ordered this before, but our guests wanted to try.  Heavenly as usual.   For main we ordered Beef Rendang - melt in your mouth beef and just the perfect chilli temperature.  Then Assam Curry Fish - cutlet of Cod simmered with eggplant, okra and tomato in a curry and tamarind sauce.  The skin of the fish was a little off-putting, as was the Okra (not my favourite), but the sauce was very flavourful.

Our guests were thrilled to see the Nasi Lemak on the menu, so of course we ordered that - Coconut rice with Beef Rendang, Sambal Prawn, Egg, Ikan Bilis and Acar (pickled vegetables), served with a mound of steamed rice with a perfectly fried egg on top.  One essential was the Chow Fan (what I refer to as the best Fried Rice in Australia) - Street Hawker Fried Rice with BBQ Pork, Prawns, eggs and peas.  And as if that wasn't enough, we had to let them try the Prawns in Black Pepper Sauce which were amazing, as usual.  

And to top it all off, we each took home takeaway dishes.  We chose Char Kway Teo and Chow Fan, they chose  Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf with Coconut Rice and another Beef Rendang.

This restaurant is cash only, and I have previously mentioned that it wasn't cheap.  But it really is value for money and very good food.  Mains average around $20.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ginger and Spice

Dinner last night at one of our favourites - Singaporean Malaysian 'Ginger and Spice' in Neutral Bay.  Excellent food.  Roti Prata, black pepper prawns, black pepper chicken (our guest's request), Char Kway Teo, a really unusual crisp fried squid in an amazing sauce, and the best fried rice in Australia.   Not cheap - $140 for 3, but wonderful food.  So good, we're returning there with friends on Saturday.  Also recommend their Ikan Bilis, and as for the Laksa!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jaspers Restaurant

Had a birthday dinner for a good friend last night at Jaspers in Hunters Hill.

Long time since I've been there.  Because we were 8, we had the small dining room at the front on the left.   Started with steamed prawn dumplings with a crustacean oil.  I think they would have been better with a dash of light soy sauce - just looked a little dry sitting on the plate.  Then had the Sirloin which was served perfectly cooked medium rare and sliced.    The side dish of very garlic mashed potatoes was to die for.   The chef Shane Watson is good.  But the thing that will stop me from returning was the maitre d' - who I nicknamed 'The Dragon Lady'.  Very uptight, verging on rude.   Can't really criticise her service, but very brisk and gave us the distinct message that she wanted us to hurry up and leave - to the point of collecting the dessert dishes way too quickly before everyone had finished picking.

Shame.  She probably owns the restaurant!


Pork and Noodles

Cooked a lovely dish of Pork, Mushrooms and Noodles for a quick meal at home.  Delicious.  Pork mince with onion, garlic, coriander roots chopped, sesame and olive oil and chopped chillies, then added chopped celery, carrot, 4 types of mushrooms, peas, and then added the dried Japanese Rice Noodles which I had soaked in hot water then drained, sliced Chinese Cabbage and fresh Bean Sprouts, seasoned with a splash of Chinese Rice Wine and Light Soy Sauce and scattered with Coriander and finely chopped Spring Onion.


Finally got to Porteno in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills.  Thought all the hype might be over and we would be able to get a table (no bookings).  Our friends arrived at 6.00 pm having had inside info, and we arrived at 6.30 pm and they were almost at the door - queuing on a cold winters' night.

The first sitting had gone, so we were offered a drink in one of the huge bar areas, but a table could not be possible until at least 9 pm by which time the best BBQ meat would be gone.

We sat at a very pleasant banquette with probably 100 others and did order some delicious nibblies - convinced we wouldn't last till 9 pm.  One standout was their meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce.

We finally got a table around 9.15 pm (and there were quite a few empty tables hmmmmm), and ordered way too much food to share.   And there was no BBQ meat left.

Not impressed with the food, and must say I wouldn't rush back.


SakeSake Isakaya

Interesting lunch last Saturday, totally unexpected.  SakeSake Izakaya in the Stockland Centre, Miller Street, Cammeray.  Executive Chef Hiroya Yamaguchi is impressive.  Deliciously light tempura prawns and vegetables and also Ginger Pork - fine slices of pork in a very gingery sauce. Served with salad (with a lovely dressing) and Miso, but also surprisingly a selection of titbits - battered calamari in a wasabi mustard sauce - wonderful.  Tightly rolled spinach in a delicious dressing, plus a bowl of rice.  All for $20 per head.  Lovely surprise.  Recommended.


Monday, June 20, 2011

My Food Blog Di-licious Food

I'm not a chef, but I really enjoy cooking.  I'm not a restaurant reviewer, but I know what I like!  Because I love food, I thought it was about time I wrote about my food experiences, both in and out so to speak!