Made it to Muse Restaurant | Pokolbin

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Having just earned Two Chef Hats recently in this year’s Good Food Guide, Muse Restaurant is the creation of Husband and Wife team Troy and Megan Rhoades Brown. Not only has this Australian Restaurant held onto one chef hat for a consecutive three years, it has also earned catering industry awards five years straight in the Hunter Region.

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Worth the road trip to Muse Restaurant.

Though this award winning restaurant is a bit of a trek since it’s two hours drive out of Sydney to the entrance to Pokolbin in the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, Muse Restaurant does offer a season driven contemporary Australian menu that is truly unforgettable.

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Glass door entrance to Muse Restaurant.

As with anything labeled “chef hat”, you’d first question the price tag and it’s unimaginable how worthwhile this place is. It’s reasonably worth it at $95 per person considering it’s fine-dining also for three courses. I finally understand why this is repeatedly labeled Hunter Region, and often Australia’s best in Sydney Morning Herald. Arriving 12:25pm and still begging the girls that I want to continue earning my SingStar points in the car for karaoking two hours straight, we safely arrived to our destination all thanks to the Birthday Girl Almighty Princess who turns twenty-one (?). Teehee.

With a view of the green grass and vineyard like no other, I sense a mother nature vibe. It’s the kind of atmosphere where you don’t have to wear fancy outfits and you could just walk in with denim jeans and cow boy leather boots as the the staff understands that you have travelled a long way. We had one of the earliest seatings and when we entered the restaurant it was three quarters packed already.

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There seems to be a bit of confusion going around when we noticed the fermented garlic butter. It was soft and squishy. You can clearly tell this butter is rich and complex. At first I thought it was exquisite mustard but when the waitress confirmed we were amused and questioned ourselves how to it eat. But luckily a waitress came over with a basket of hot bread!

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Fermented Garlic Butter

We were offered bread and there were only two options so I picked one of each- light rye sourdough and a very eye-catching swirl of the caramelised onion brioche served extremely warm. These were an excellent carb filler for our tummies.

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Light Rye Sourdough and Caramelised Onion Brioche 

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Cross-section of the caramelised onion brioche

At this point, we received three complimentary canapes, which was a huge surprise for us. We start off with the spiced macaron that is filled with a house made labna. The outer shell is a crunch-tastic delight on the palate with a dust of curry powder to add that little kick to my tastebuds.

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Spiced Macaron

Make no mistake, this tea is quite dense and almost leveled with a soup texture with the aroma of shitake mushroom, lemongrass and ginger. It’s great stuff even for my attitude towards mushrooms that I had before as I was growing up as a kid. I’ve never had liquid served quirky like this before, have you? I giggled sipping this as it instantly reminded me one of those smoking pipes in the UK back in the 1980’s. Like how would I know that…#awkward :P

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Shitake Mushroom, Lemongrass and Ginger Tea

Rouding out the last of the savoury canapes is the mushroom wafer. It has now become my new favourite vegetable companion to almost anything. The paper thin crunch is most welcome on my plate and generous powered flavour of mushroom is rewarding.

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Mushroom wafer

Other than not having enough of this magnificent savoury wafer, I was intrigued how powerful the flavour was. It was weird trying to bite into the wafer, as it quickly melted on my tongue. I had to make a lot of effort not to look like a clown trying to nom nom nom it.

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Paper thin mushroom wafer

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Lemongrass stuck inside the sipping tunnel.

Not long after our first course arrived. Almighty Princess was served a theatrical dish, sashimi of hiramasa kingfish served with fennel, apple, Muse’s very own verjuice and liquid nitrogen Coppersfolly wasabi yoghurt. OMGEEEEE! There’s LIQUID NITROGEN in this dish.

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Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish

My only issue was that I didn’t order this for myself, however Almighty Princess was kind enough to give away a few tiny pieces for me taste and provide a verdict. Oh, I don’t mind welcoming the thick slices of kingfish and the refreshing taste of fennel, apple and verjuice again. And of course the wasabi yoghurt involved some sort of crazy taste.

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How does this taste?

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Portion size for entree is ridiculously generous.

For Miss S. the cuttlefish and king brown mushroom ‘noodles’ suitably impresses a lively gothic look, with the dark cuttlefish crackle, and deliciously soft and delicate ‘noodle’. Miss S. and I were 110% fooled by the menu name ‘noodles’. Sweetness is induced by the fresh herbs which acts as a balancer.

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Cuttlefish and King Brown Mushroom ‘Noodles’ 

As for me and Billy, we both couldn’t resist the confit of berkshire pork jowl – presented with smoked mussels, pickled cauliflower, black garlic and buttermilk. This was quite a heavy dish considering it to be entree. The fat slice of pork jowl was at the right level of saltiness and creaminess, with a perfectly tender meat throughout.

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Confit of Berkshire Pork Jowl

So far the dishes at Muse have unconditionally pleased us four girls. Next a waiter serves us the palate cleanser that contains an apple sorbet served on a rhubarb jelly and shiso. I can confidently say this was nice and breeze on the palate.

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Palate Cleanser

I’m always a sucker for fish and the confit petuna ocean trout did not disappoint. Muse shared another sensational dish and it was clearly noticeable because the girls enjoyed licking their plates clean. The trout is gently cooked to retain its bright orange colour and soft silky texture. To finish a bed of seaweed risotto with pickled daikon and broccolini perfectly marries all the ingredients together.

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Confit Petuna Ocean Trout

A meatier choice is the milly hill lamb. It is the classic red meat dish and pleasantly ‘served pink’. Aside is salt baked sweet potato, cultured goats milk, lentils and garden herbs. I had to make a lot of effort sawing each piece of lamb but that didn’t matter because the result of the texture is a level of softness that beyond what I have eaten for a very long time when it comes to lamb.

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Milly Hill Lamb 

The signature dessert is what us four girls came here for, isn’t it? For those who don’t actually know what the fuss is, the “Muse Coconut” is a dessert of legend at Muse Restaurant, one of its jaw-dropping desserts and it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD! If ever there is a moment of silence at the table, this is the reason for it. The thin edible coconut husk is made of dark chocolate and is sitting in a bed of raw shaved coconut. Inside, you have to witness yourself this coconut cloud mousse as light as air, filled with vanilla bean and coconut thick water.

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Muse Coconut

To eat, you must tap it with power ranger force to crack open the husk, revealing the liquid water, and the fun really begins by stirring  it all together to eat. This textural and flavour sensation elicits memories of a real coconut, but BETTER. There is NO BORING BITS in this dish!

This dessert blew its way onto everyone’s radar and it’s the BEST COCONUT DESSERT tasted to date. Raise my wine glass to the chefs who have to make many of these on a daily basis.

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Under the coconut tree you dance with me.

When you think dessert is over and then comes house made chocolates filled with a malt custard. The sweetness of the chocolate, balanced out by the creaminess of the custard is essentially perfect.

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Petit fours

It is incredible Muse Restaurant provides such exquisite dishes that I think the confit petuna ocean trout and Muse coconut has already secured a special place in my heart. It’s TOP NOTCH STUFF! It is clearly evident the chef’s devotion to each dish is an eye-opening display of the finest technique. Oh it really gives some city fine diners a run for their money.

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There’s definitely a Hunter Region feel at Muse Restaurant.

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Smooth Festival of Chocolate & Australian Patisserie Academy

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One of the best things about being a food blogger is sampling ALL of the amazing chocolates thanks to Smooth FM. Last Saturday we had the pleasure to celebrate decadent desserts and chocolate designs from the best patisseries, chocolatiers and ice-creameries when the Smooth Festival of Chocolate had returned to The Rocks.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (0)Don’t know where to start…

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (1)Spread of “CHOCOLATE GOODIE BAG

Pssst… I have a whole stash of these Tim Tams. Who doesn’t like Tim Tam O’cloak?! Put those Tim Tams in my bag and nobody gets hurt. For the first time Arnott’s Tim Tam joined the festival at the Arnott’s Tim Tam Temptation Tent allowing chocolate lovers like me to experience Australia’s favourite indulgences.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (2)Taking on the TIM TAM CHALLENGE!

It was a pleasure seducing La Renaissance chocolate tart. Garnishing this tart with chocolate included fresh raspberries, sprinkles of pistachio and a gold leaf gives this dessert a truly luxurious finish.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (2B)Beautifully smooth La Renaissance chocolate tart

We looked forward to trying some authentic handmade chocolates from Australian Patisserie Academy. We indulged each heavenly chocolate pieces. DAT CHOCOLATE SCENT! :D <3

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (2C)Impress Australian Patisserie Academy chocolates

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (3)Wag-Anna’s Wagon Wheel by Anna Polyviou.

Right before we attended the 2015 Smooth Festival of Chocolate, we were invited to attend the Smooth Festival of Chocolate Blogger Cooking Class‏ at the Australian Patisserie Academy. We had not clue what to expect other then it involved something like chocolate… :D

APA_Nessy Eater (13)Excited and ready for APA’s cooking class

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (4)Impressive showpieces by Australian Patisserie Academy

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (5)Loving the selection of fine ingredients

Whilst Chef Angelo Roche from the Australian Patisserie Academy discusses ideas for our Tim Tam dish …we couldn’t wait to share our plates with you guys and here’s a hint…it involves TIM TAM BABY!!!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (6)A great pastry education leads to great pastry!

We were a little obsessed with plating our dishes and felt a little tension coming from other bloggers such as *cough* Joe from 2 Hungry Guys *cough*. But this guy sure deserves two thumbs up for the creativity that I couldn’t possibly have. I ended up letting him win so I could eat more…that’s right. Teehee.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (7)Made with love man…can’t you see?!

We had so much fun creating wicked sweet treats. I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever had so much fun creating and eating at the same time. There was so much chocolatey flavour in my dish and to balance it out I HAD to add some fresh fruits like strawberryraspberry, blueberry and orange slices.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (8)How amazing are these little babies?

OH and I couldn’t resist making my very own “Tim Tam Ferrari Car“. Totally everyone that night suffered from major envy that I made this baby. Cameron Daddo and Chef Angelo Roch was pretty impressed with my work. #nonotreally

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (9)Perfection on a plate

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (10)Cameron Daddo in the house!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (11)Perfection by Joe from 2 Hungry Guys

You don’t need a map to figure out that Chef Angelo Roch is super talented. This born Sri Lanka and raised in India chef committed to sharpening up his patisserie skills in France and America to complete his professional development pastry courses at Ecole Lenôtre France, Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil Paris and the Callebaut Academy Chicago.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (12)Chef Angelo Roch

A sneak peak of one of the dishes Chef Angelo Roch created. I couldn’t bring myself to eat this especially when it looked so special and delicate. It was everything I imagined, but BETTER.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (13)Insane presentation by Chef Angelo Roch

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (14)Smooth FM’s Host Cameron Daddo and Nessy Eater Girl

We got to work with the most talented pastry chefs in Australia at Australian Patisserie Academy. And not just because these two chefs are brothers but they are both skilled, thoughtful and original chefs who are able to concentrate solely on patisseries.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (15)Chef Joseph and Chef Angelo Roche

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (16)If only I could add smell to these photos!!

Got another sweet surprise to take home that night at the Smooth Festival of Chocolate Blogger Cooking Class, I call it the “CHOCOLATE JEWELLERY BOX”. The harmony of sweet flavours starts with the white chocolate pieces. Teamed with the milk chocolates and dark chocolates, this box packs a punch when it comes to flavour and texture.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (17)CHOCOLATE JEWELLERY BOX by the Australian Patisserie Academy

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (18)Another gift bag and I don’t think I can ever refuse chocolate.

It was SATURDAY 12th September and we started our Smooth FM journey at the Tim Tam Temptation Tent and guess who was in my camera screen looking all happy with candy…ADRIANO ZUMBO of course.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (19)Happy Adriano Zumbo with science beakers filled with candy.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (20)Working in progress to eat all the chocolates in the world!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (21)Tim Tam Temptation Tent Instagram Wall.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (23)Adriano Zumbo with family memebers at the Tim Tam Temptation Tent

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (24)Löwenbräu HOT Pretzels

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (25)Löwenbräu Keller hot dogs

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (26)OH MY GOD Chocolate Cronuts

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (27)Bumped into Adriano Zumbo AGAIN!!

Fast forward two hours and we were inside BAR100. The solid sandstone building at 100 George Street in the Rocks was  built as a mariners’ church more than 100 years ago. Our jaws dropped when we noticed a long table filled with…you guessed it chocolate. While I tried my hardest to try everything…I kinda failed but that’s okay I knew 15+ packs of Tim Tam were waiting for me to eat them. HAHA.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (28)Spread of sweet SWEET chocolate TREATS at BAR 100

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (29)And there was MORE MORE MOREEEEEEE!!!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (30)Chocolate cocktail

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (31)I had a bit of this and that and this and that…

We arrived fashionably early that we managed to spot this elegant lady dressed in 1910’s style. She was hovering with her table filled with Tim Tams. It sounds crazy but she graciously moved around better than I can.

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (32)Tim Tam Lady

Smooth Festival of Chocolate_Nessy Eater (33)I was so tempted to take this GIGANTIC TIM TAM home.

Well that’s a wrap! It was freaken awesome to experience a taster of the amazing talent in this year’s Smooth Festival of Chocolate. There were truly some extraordinary chocolatier’s such as Adriano Zumbo and award winning Chocolatier Jodie Van De Velden. How can we forget Shangri-La Hotel Sydney’s Executive Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou punked up the kitchen at the Callebaut Test Kitchen. By the end of the day I realised I have a condition that makes me eat when I can’t sleep. It’s called insom-nom-nom-nom-nia.

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Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater plus guest attended Smooth Festival of Chocolate  thanks Nova Entertainment, SmoothFM and The Society Group

Nessy Eater attended Smooth Festival of Chocolate Blogger Cooking Class‏ thanks to Nova Entertainment and Australian Patisserie Academy

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

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Date with Vue De Monde at Rialto Towers |Melbourne

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You may have seen the acclaimed Australian Executive Chef Shannon Bennett earlier this year and that’s because his appeared on MasterChef Australia with his mouth watering and nasty surprise: the theatrical warm chocolate and orange mousse from Bistro Vue. Bennett who is one of the world’s most talented chef at his restaurant Vue De Monde is widely recognized as one of Australia’s top 100 fine dining venues and most impressively it is situated at level 55 of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building. 

For a price tag of $200-250 per person for the gastronomes menu and a commitment to have the wine pairing as well, ranging from $30+ per glass is only appropriate. Ahh, this review is going to be long because the food is too good. Continue reading and you may drool. Just a little as each dish really plays on your mind.

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We start off with compressed apple crisps with macadamia pureé. The crisps were a perfect crunch. It contained a nutty and sugary taste that seemed like a crime to eat with the compressed macadamia puree being intense. You’ll be nuts not to eat this because it almost tasted somewhat like Kettle chips, but only in a “healthier” form.

As far as first impression goes, two thumbs up.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (3)Compressed apple crisps & macadamia pureé

From this point onward, the menu was on fast-forward mode.

With no menu in front of me, Vue De Monde decides to keep it all mysterious or perhaps YOLO style. Our next snack was the pine smoked salmon pearls. I had absolutely no regret eating the colourful mini vegetable garden on a plate with that heavenly intense burst of flavour from the salmon pearls. It was impossibly difficult to pretend I didn’t like this dish.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (5)Middle: Pine smoked salmon pearls

I may have studded when I devoured the CANDY COATED smoked eel with a bit of caviar sprinkled on top and tucked underneath, white chocolate. I had immense fear this would vanish quickly and I was right. I enjoyed the savoury flavour and light candy crunch, but what was mind-blowing was that delightful buttery taste coming from the chocolate. I completely lost my mind…

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (4)Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar

Next on the entrée menu the BBQ lamb heart and duck tongue with a dash of pepper. I was utterly shocked to see these quirky parts of the animal in the menu, but that didn’t stop me from eating it. I wasn’t expecting this to be super impressive with that generous amount of caramelisation and light smokey smell, but after one bite it changed my perspective. I loved it. To accompany these BBQ meat I had to order a glass of NV Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Reserve’. This bubbly had its own personality with fresh floral notes.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (8)Top right to bottom right:  BBQ lamb hearts, Duck tongue w mountain pepper

Left: NV Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Reserve’, Reims, France

Soon after that oysters arrived with a citrus taste. They were fresh and creamy, just the way I like it, classic and simple.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (9)Oyster

Just when I was so convinced that the snacks were over, here comes a massive piece of Himalayan pink salt rock and as a bonus we get front seats watching thick slices of salt-cured Flinders Island wallaby being rolled up at our table.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (6)Prepared at the table 

The wallaby was pretty damn good with a drop of green herb puree. It almost had the same texture as a tuna sashimi, but slightly tougher and leaner. But yeah more of the wallaby would’ve been good because everything tastes better with pink salt rock.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (7)Salt cured wallaby

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (10)Vue De Monde’s open kitchen

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (11)At this point I realise that each of those rocks  were hand-crafted.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (12)Felt like I was eating with the Royal Family with these cutlery.

Now can we start on the first course? :D :D

The Spanish mackerel with cylinder potato filled with chicken puree and on top a teaspoon of caviar was simply perfect. The square piece of fish was fresh and succulent. My goodness the light crust was enough for a crunch but not enough to take over the entire dish. Now the quince sauce offered a sweet balance and tied together beautifully with the thinly sliced potato.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (14)Spanish mackerel, potato, chicken, caviar

I had no clue where the chef came from, but I was so excited to watch first-hand what he was preparing for me next. The chef explains to us that we are having Blackmore wagyu.

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I know I am having meat…

Fast-forward a minute later and it’s just oh so right watching wagyu being cooked like that. VDM knows how to serve me well. Medium rare please chef.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (16)Blackmore Wagyu “steak & onions”

So okay, yes I was drawn to this dish and it wasn’t just because VDM served wagyu…*rolls eyes*. I hearted that meat with the sauce which had the right amount of tenderness and were balanced out with the smoky scent in the air with a hint of pepper. Besides that piece of meat the garden greens looked astonishing.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (17)Adding the final touches

Baby I lost my breathe at my first bite of the wagyu. I just couldn’t keep up after that. I particularly liked the texture and I wish I could have a larger portion.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (18)Medium rare is just the way I like my meat

Not sure if you can handle this but this has got to be the best theatre experience I have ever had for pallet cleansing. You can’t go wrong with a bit of science especially when it’s liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen was poured into a bed of wood sorrell and this instantly snap-freeze the ingredients.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (19)Cucumber, wood sorrel

We were then asked to pound into fine pieces then a scoop of cucumber sorbet was spooned in. The result was freaken astonishing. Definitely super refreshing and no signs of it being tooth achingly. This dish was amazing and would return for that alone.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (20)Cucumber, wood sorrel

The kitchen sent us a small black leather pouch and in it contained a warm loaf of sour dough bread and to accompany hand churned butter. Somehow this just made my soul feel all fuzzy. I had no regrets covering my slice of bread with butter, NO REGRETS! As expected the butter was silky soft.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (21)Sour dough and house made butter

Excuse me but I think there seems to be a mistake. I didn’t order breakfast. In continuation of this mysterious menu, we were served with eggs on toast! Oh how I cannot resist this, especially when you can serve it with a glass of 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal champagne. I think this is called Champagne Breakfast“. And that kids is how VDM will spoil you for breakfast.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (22)“Champagne Breakfast”

This dish was TOP of my list at VDM because the textures were incredible and satisfied my tastebuds. That duck yolk and drizzle of truffle sauce did not disappoint. The crunch of the saltbush plus paper thin toast had my head spinning. It’s crazy rich, but you will not reach the overwhelmingly sick stage. Round 2, thanks!

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (23)Duck yolk, pear, truffle

OOOOZY!!! Oh how I love a good runny yolk, soooooo creamy and so heavenly deeeeeeeelicious! Gotta love me some calories. Get that calorie action game face on!!!!

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I don’t think you understand…this duck yolk belongs to me. 

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (25)Butter time!

Our next course was the three way marron. I had high hopes for this and I am glad it delivered. And while you are living the high life you might as well sneak in a glass of 2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay Domaine Paul Pernot. This wine maintains a great balance between fresh citrus notes and the lively acidity.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (26)Three Way Marron

The marron was super juicy, like, fully JUICY! I tell you this course was just pretty darn addictive. I smothered the marron into the super silky brown butter like full on. This baby marron has got to be right up there on my favourite fine dining course ever! I was pleasantly surprised how well the three way marron married so well together.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (27)Top left to bottom left: Brown butter, Marron & Marzipan

You know what’s perfect about this marron sandwich? EVERYTHING! Saving the best to last was an excellent idea. Not a single crumb was left behind and we all know that’s a really good sign. This delicate piece of sandwich required to be eaten with the hands and there may have been some finger-licking in between, so be prepared.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (28)Marron sandwich

OH NO! Savoury course is almost over and to be frankly honest, food coma had already been activated, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating the next dish. Ox tongue with beetroot and bone marrow sure opened new doors of discovering something adventurous. Greeted with a white powdered creme fraiche that visually looked dry but as soon as it lands on your tongue it instantly melted like a snowman that was under the sun.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (30)Ox tongue, beetroot, bone marrow

I had a bit of trouble trying to find the ox tongue but as soon as you scoop a tiny portion into your mouth there’s an enormous amount of meaty, creamy flavour laced with shreds of beetroot. Add a glass of 2010 Joh Jos Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese and you get a remarkable flavour.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (31)Can you spot where the ox tongue?

By now I mentally imagined I had gotten up and walked off the calories that I just digested. I did say mentally. Teehee. Helllllo butternut with sunflowers and passionfruit. This isn’t your ordinary pallet cleanser as I never heard these combinations before. Crunchy crushed sunflowers says howdy to my teeth with burst after burst of butternut and passionfruit flavour.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (32)Butternut squash, sunflower seeds, passionfruit

They tasted like summer with the fresh sweet fruity taste of the passionfruit. Sydney needs more of these nice light dessert to end the meal with.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (33)A ball of happiness

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (34)Spotted the cheese trolley!!! Say CHEEEEEESE.

I should have probably invested in 15 pairs of granny pants because I felt so overweight that I would require someone to roll me out of here. The goat’s milk with blueberries and fennel was welcomed to our table. Topped with sugary crystal that you could easily break with a spoon and the texture was sooooo fine with the similarity of a panna cotta times creme brulee that was served cold.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (35)Goat’s milk, blueberries, fennel

How can you decline chocolate soufflé when you get to witness the icing in action on your table? This dusting was going on for a solid 10 seconds. Shame it had to stop…

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (36)DARK Chocolate soufflé

BELLY SATISFYING souffle I have come across. I was not quite sure how I managed to finish this dessert but I did. It was light and fluffy with a knock in the face dark chocolate and an oozy molten chocolate centre.

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To celebrate the end of our degustation a selection of petit-fours arrived. Get ready to BREATHE HEAVY. It’s nothing you’ve seen before. These salted caramel chocolate seashells had me eyes tripping. With sprinkled salt added to them I honestly couldn’t spot which one was the edible ones. AHHH sugar gods why weren’t the rest of those shells be made out of chocolate?!

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (39)salted caramel chocolate seashells

We were offered jelly pennies and I liked the novelty but the taste wasn’t how I pictured. There’s a teeny wenny sign of alcoholic flavour but hardly noticeable, with a hint of sweetness made with it.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (40)Jelly pennies

Have you ever had menthol lollipops? For me this was my first time ever and there was rarely any actual menthol flavour, which is alright for me. Served frosted I digged the presentation more then the flavour. It looked incredibly kawaii. I seriously thought it was a cherry. VDM fooled me again! *applause*

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (41)Menthol lollipop

The famous cherry lamington was impressive. I can’t describe how wrong was I to believe yet again what you see is not what you get. This lamington was leaning towards a mousse cake and that cherry brings everything all together.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (42)Cherry lamington

ZOMG! Our degustation is finally over. Before I left the VDM building to head straight to the airport and catch my next flight back to Sydney, we were given a mini tour and we had to stop here to look at this spectacular view.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (43)This is what the view looks like at Vue De Monde.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (44)Yeah we are on level 55!!!

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (45)Tiny bubbles…

I seriously didn’t expect to visit Vue De Monde in my final hours in Melbourne. Did I mention I ran straight to the airport to catch my next flight home to Sydney after eating this degustation. I now know the meaning of gastronome. I am belly satisfied :D :D :D

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (2)Woo-hoo I can finally tick this off my bucket list!!!!

Just when the fat foodie gang were about to walk out of there, we were given a really awesome surprise package for the “next day”. It’s hard to forget Vue De Monde when they shower you with more food on your way out.

What I truly loved about this experience was the creativity for every single dish that was served to us, the exquisite service and food combined with high theatre. OH and the goodie bag on my way out, which I highly recommend every other fine-dining places should have because adults still act like kids and this big kid loves little surprises, especially when it contains food.

Vue De Monde_Nessy Eater (46)“For the next day” – brioche, honey, digestives, granola & tea

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Take Me To Toshiya Restaurant-Cremone

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HELLO FOODIE FRIENDS! So like the weather in Sydney is making me ache for summer already. I sure wouldn’t mind getting all snugged up on the couch with my fuzzy unicorn blanket in front of the TV to watch me favourite food shows. Moving on…look what we found the other day Toshiya located in Cremorne was established by owner chef Toshiya Kai in July 2010. Those who are needing a Japanese hit that is more casual but offers excellent starters and mains for a moderate price then this place is it.

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Basically this menu explains its special of the day. Immediately my brain cells told me to order the special assorted entree for 2 ($39). Continue reading to know what other dishes I ordered… :D

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What’s so secret about edamame? It is the perfect little pick-me-up snack whenever I am in a Japanese restaurant. This delightful soybeans in a pod is commonly served when you order the assorted entree for 2. The beans are generously covered in salt to add that extra pungent taste.

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On weekends it’s extremely busy here at Toshiya restaurant in Cremone, so I highly suggest you give them a call and make a booking.

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HOLY MOLY the special assorted entree for 2 ($39) was one GINORMOUS platter. This dish sure was impressive, 4 assortment of seafood and dumplings. We had a few stares and glares when this mighty SEA-FOOD platter arrived at our table, so I think this entree is winning for presentation. AND WHAT ABOUT THE TASTE?!?!

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 Special Assorted Entree for 2 ($39)

As expected the thickly sliced salmon in the carpaccio was fresh and packed with a lime and ponzu flavoured marinade dressing. The zestiness was ridiculously addictive that it had us asking for more.

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Salmon Carpaccio

YEAH BABY! Lightly battered soft shell crab was ready for us to devour. Each bite of the hot crab was heavenly pleasing with that crispy outside texture and chewy bite right in the center.

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Soft Shell Crab

Loved loved LOVED the grilled scallops. Surprisingly these plumped juicy scallops amazed me. The taste of the sweet soy sauce, grated ginger and spring onion stayed on my tongue longer than it should have. OHhhhhhhh this was SO GOOD!

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Grilled Scallops

I’m not too familiar with duck dumplings but look at the crispy skin! It’s fascinating to see it all covered in oil glossiness. Besides the hmmmm… skin the shredded duck filling was tasty, but it’s best to dip it in chilli soy sauce to give these wrappers a extra kick to flavour. It was a shame the dumplings didn’t win my heart after I had devoured it and it wasn’t because of the taste or textures. I felt as though these little ducklings looked a bit misplaced on the platter.

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 Duck Dumplings

How do you decide between taco and sashimi? Why don’t we have both? *Hooray* I tell you this is NOT YOUR ORDINARY TACO and I do think, NO, I BELIEVE these puts all other tacos I’ve had to shame. The golden fried taco shell was obviously crunchy and sandwiching generous amounts of chunky pieces of salmon, tuna and king fish, then drizzled with special Toshiya sauce, soy sauce and a spoonful of fish roe.

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 Sashimi Tacos

Loving the side view of this sashimi taco. I think I was doing the right thing at the right time and slowly devouring this fun-size snack. One is certainly not enough and if I had my greedy cap on I would have claimed the second taco MINE. Teehee.

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 So crispy and belly satisfying these sashimi tacos!

It was cold that night so we deliberately ordered the sukiyaki wagyu hotpot ($25). The amount of beef in this pot was pretty generous, each long slice of wagyu piece was juicy and tender. The sweet soup base wasn’t too thick so we could easily wash it down. Remember to order a bowl of rice because you certainly want to drown it with the soup.

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Sukiyaki Wagyu Hotpot ($25)

We chose the garlic teriyaki fish ($25) and it turns out we made a good decision with selecting the sauce. Loved the tenderness of the fish and there was no sign of being under or over cooked. For some odd reason the salad and dressing was damn tasty and married so well with the fish.

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Garlic Teriyaki Fish ($25)

Decided to go for the sweet miso salmon ($26) and it melted so softly in my mouth. Boy the fish had so much miso flavour but you must take a large mouthful of the fish and red onion slice together just so you can feel the tastebuds scream ITS BLOODY DELICIOUS.

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Sweet Miso Salmon ($26)

Last but not least, king fish terriyaki ($25) tastiest the same as the garlic teriyaki fish but the king fish was a bit tighter in texture. I still liked it, no doubt.

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King fish Terriyaki ($25)

DESSERT TIME!!! I spy with my little eye something that looks like tastiness! The assorted dessert plate ($14) was my weakness when our waitress convinced us it would be worth it. She told us this would be one epic plate not to be missed and it includes spring rolls, a scoop of ice-cream and green-tea crème brûlée. How can one say no to that?! The ice-cream had plenty of red bean flavour and I was still keen to have another scoop when it all vanished.

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Assorted Dessert Plate ($14)

MMmmmm the green tea crème brûlée pretty much says it all and it was awesome. My heart skipped a bit when the hard caramel cracked. Couldn’t help it but I giggled like a kid.

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Green Tea Crème Brûlée

Chocolate, fresh strawberries and deep fried pastry is always a winning flavour combo! I was intrigued Toshiya offers sweet style spring rolls. I poured my whole heart to this devilicious  dessert and I was well rewarded with this crunchy paper thin pastry that’s wrapped the warm gooey chocolate sauce and strawberries. I think my body just received a few thousand calories! Haha.

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Chocolate Spring Rolls with Fresh Strawberries

Toshiya restaurant in Cremone is a must visit because of their signature special assorted entree for 2 and assorted dessert plate. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for these two dishes as well as the sukiyaki wagyu hotpot for those extremely cold nights.

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Cooking with Kylie Kwong – Woolworths

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If you haven’t heard already Kylie Kwong who is an Australian television chef, author, restaurateur and was a guest judge for MasterChef Australia is now plating up her signature Chinese dishes to Woolworths customers. The oh so very new range of Chinese dishes includes Aussie favourites such as Mongolian style beef and stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts and if you LOVE Cantonese style dumplings then there is prawn dumplings with ginger and coriander that’s ready for you to make it yourself at home within minutes.

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Let’s get the party stared.

To celebrate Kylie Kwong’s partnership with Woolworths guests partied hard at Billy Kwong. The purpose of adding a new dedicated section in Woolworths stores is providing delicious Chinese meals in the space of your own kitchen at home. The experience of the meals will be the same fresh flavours you get at a restaurant with added authentic recipe secrets from Pauline Kwong’s unique approach to cooking Cantonese cuisine.

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Such a long LONG LIST for dinner. *Grins*

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Table is set!

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Billy Kwong’s open kitchen

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Started with a few glasses of white and red.

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Guess which object is Kylie Kwong’s instagram image?

Before we started our long-crazzzzzy tasting menu, Kylie tells us her stories of how she started her passion for Cantonese food and it’s all thanks to her mother, Pauline Kwong. Kylie jokingly tells us a story of when she use to attend Epping North Public School and how after school she’d go to her Russian friend’s house to eat their cuisine food and the very next day in exchange Kylie would bring her friends over to eat her mother’s cooking.

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Kylie tells us the history of how her passion started in her mother’s kitchen.

One Chinese classic dish that can grow better and richer over time would be the master stock eggs. Bathed heavily in pork stock you can tell these half sliced golden eggs have been soaked for what it seems to be hours, but really 45 mintues, said Kylie.

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Master Stock Eggs

We move on to the food kit that can be cooked from scratch and that is great value for money is the prawn dumplings with ginger and coriander. This is a great Cantonese style dumpling that combines a filling of seasoned chopped prawns and secret sauce. My mouth kinda fell open a little when this plate arrived looking so awesome. The sauce had an aromatic smell of fresh grated ginger and chopped coriander and it tasted exactly what I  had smelt.

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Prawn Dumplings with Ginger and Coriander 

Next up we deep-fried silken tofu squares with black bean sauce. The superstar ingredient of this dish was of course Kylie’s black bean sauce. This custardlike deep-fried tofu was simultaneously rich, creamy and light and married so well with the powerful taste of the black bean sauce. The sauce was a deeply savoury taste which had a pungent salty flavour.

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Deep-Fried Silken Tofu Squares with Black Bean Sauce

I had a weakness for the seared prawns when there was only one left remaining on the plate. It was crazy insane to see the perfectly tender prawn that’s been sweetly caramelised with honey and ginger sauce disappear and devoured in record time.

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Seared Prawns with Honey and Ginger Sauce

It was lovely guests had the opportunity to meet Pauline Kwong who is Kylie Kwong’s mother. She’s one beautiful lady who knows how to tell jokes. Pauline explains how every Chinese New Year and Christmas she’d be in her own kitchen for hours stir-frying or deep-frying to cater over 50+ relatives.

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Kylie introduces her mother, Pauline Kwong.

This fried rice is overloaded with nutritious vegetables that includes carrot, mushroom, buk choy and tofu. The fried rice is really simple and traditional, however I found it to be a tad soggy, but that didn’t matter because flavour was more important for my tastebuds.
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Vegetable Fried Rice

A popular Chinese stir fry with a spicy edge would be the stir-fried beef with black bean and chilli sauce. This was my least favourite because I can’t handle spicy food as much as I want to but I am trying. But if you enjoy the sharp, pungent and spicy flavours then you go for it because I did feel a punch to the mouth. Besides that wild flame on my tastebuds I really liked that somewhat syrupy flavour of the black bean sauce. I tell you this dish totes goes well with a bowl of plain rice.

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Stir-Fried Beef with Black Bean and Chilli Sauce? 

Something really simple yet I rarely see these days in Asian restaurants is the stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. I was so easily distracted eating the cashew nuts because of its crunchy texture and the chunks of juicy tender chicken that I had forgotten my bowl of rice. It just shows how this dish can be on its own.

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Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts

The stir-fried eggplant with black bean sauce was dangerously tasty. I mean WHOAH that black bean sauce goes so very well with eggplant. The slices of eggplant was evenly covered in the sauce and it contained a sticky outside and as you bite into it it was warm and gooey.

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Stir-Fried Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce

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Action shot of Kylie Kwong in her Billy Kwong kitchen.

It only takes seconds to notice the crispy chicken with sweet and sour sauce. The sauce are a deep red in colour and if you dunk a piece of the chicken into it then it’s going to be a satisfyingly sticky situation.

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Crispy Chicken with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Now Mongolian style beef is something I don’t often cross paths with but I do like the savoury flavours of the soy sauce and sweetness from the hoisin sauce. This dish is another perfect example of having it with a bowl of steamed rice. There’s a lot of bright colourful vegetables in this dish like carrot, red capsicum and spring onion.

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Mongolian Style Beef

Stir-fried chicken with honey and ginger sauce was really mind-blowing with chicken with thick strands of spring onions. And might I add that sauce was pure perfect comfort with rice as well.

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Stir-Fried Chicken with Honey and Ginger

Incredible fragrant of the pork belly soaked in master stock arrived soon after. It was hard to believe nothing was added into this dish for instance any extra spices or sauce because it tasted like it has been marinated for days.

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Master Stock Pork Belly

Even the vegetables in master stock provided the same full flavour. Kylie suggested if you use her ranges especially the master stock, it is best to let the meat, vegetables or egg soak for 30 minutes before cooking.

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Master Stock Vegetables

For our final savoury dish we were introduced with stir-fried mussels with black bean sauce. There was a lot of flavours going on with the fresh mussels and sauce. I was overjoyed for the first time to have black beans and mussels together.

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Stir-Fried Mussels with Black Bean Sauce

Not only was I super happy to meet Kylie Kwong but I also got to meet Lorraine Elliott from Not Quite Nigella. If you don’t know already I am such a FAN GIRL of her blog. Lorraine and I have crossed paths before at Maille High Tea, however I was sooooo nervous to introduce myself to her and plus it would have been freaky to go up to her and say I stalk your blog. Haha. Moving on! Lorriane is an incredibly talented food writer. She tells me her stories about her blog, her husband and how she started Not Quite Nigella. It was truly jaw-dropping to finally have a lonnnng conversation with ONE-OF-A-KIND full time food and travel writer. OH MYYYY GODDDDDD somebody pinch me I really can’t believe we took a selfie together :D :D :D

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Selfie time with the beautiful Lorriane from Not Quite Nigella

Photo credit: Lorriane from Not Quite Nigella

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Guess who’s got her very own personalised chopsticks?!

I had to take a photo with Kylie Kwong just to prove I wasn’t dreaming. But before a happy snap, Kylie was super-excited as she grabs my hand and gives me a personal tour of Billy Kwong’s open kitchen at Potts Point. Kylie is one passionate Chef who revealed her secrets and rewards of hard work. She gave us a glimpse of her family’s Australian-Chinese festivities and taught me how to use her NEW Cantonese cuisine ranges available only at Woolworths. I cannot wait to give these products a go at home. 

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Kylie Kwong with Nessy Eater Girl. 

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended Kylie Kwong’s Woolworths tasting menu, thanks to One Green Bean.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

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