Long Luxurious Night at La Grillade Crows Nest

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Tucked away behind the Lower North Shore terrace, La Grillade has been the gourmet retreat for the social set and often the romantic dinner spot. This iconic venue is operated by husband and wife team, George and Ann. You may be familiar with this couple at The Little Snail  where French style cooking combined with friendly service meets personality and charm for each table.

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Such a cosy restaurant at La Grillade

Dining at La Grillade you will expect food as being exotic and sophisticated at realistic prices. For instance we opted for a set priced menu at $63 for 3 courses (for an entrée, main and dessert) with the full a la carte menu to choose from including snails and prime steaks, which are a key feature of La Grillade’s menu. But if you fancy something a little more meatier than it is your mission to order the 14 hrs slow cooked lamb shoulder for two (additional $20).

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What’s on the menu?

For entrée I was happily digging in to the platter of garlic-drenched escargots. The snails in the shell came in one dozen and sizzled in garlic parsley butter that may have overpowered the the red wine. My personal recommendation is to also order a few slices of plain bread so you can watch the puddle of butter and bread marry together like a edible sponge.

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Snails in the shell

I was busted for taking a small scoop of someone’s duck liver pate that contained green peppercorns, port jelly and croutons. That teeny tiny bowl of pate had us glancing at each other. Port jelly was one of my absolute favourite things. The flavours was sweet and very aromatic with red wine. As for the pate it was super SUPER SMOOTH.

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Duck Liver Pate 

If you are not so keen to ordering a duck liver pate then perhaps the rillettes of pork is an option. Traditional rillettes of pork with a hint of orange and tarragon fell far short of doing the generous quantity. The rillette was tasty and it was stuffed with a lot of shredded pork meat and cooked slowly in fat until it was tender enough to be easily served to form a paste.

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Rillettes of Pork

I thought I’d have issues with this entree but it was alllll good with the a generous portion of crispy pieces of croutons to balance it off the taste of pork love making in my mouth.

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Our starter wasn’t complete till we chosen the golden fried calamari which came with chilli, salt and pepper with garlic aioli. I love the calamari’s strong flavour and utterly unique texture; it’s nice and meaty but soft in the center, and when the coating is lightly fried, it is utter perfection on a plate.

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Golden Fried Calamari

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Love the setting at La Grillade

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True French style courtyard dining

Moving on to mains came this sexy ENORMOUS piece of lamb shoulder (for two) (additional $20 for set priced menu) that’s been slow-cooked for 14 hrs straight. It looked like a GIGANTIC slab of meaty goodness, just sprinkled with deliciousness from the crispy herb bits which then drowned in the Junee’s finest lamb sauce. It may look small in the photo but oh boy was it filling for three dinosaur stomachs. If you are not in a rush and want to spend the final minutes with this shoulder then now is the time to order a glass of red to accommodate this dish. A lovely falling-off-the-bone moment was witnessed and for the taste and texture it developed a deep, rich flavour that melts in the mouth.

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14 hrs Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder (for two) 

And because we love meat so much it is very important to decorate your main with some glossy steamed vegetables that has been generously tossed with olive oil.

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Steamed Vegetables

Say goodbye to boring duck breast because the one in La Grillade was pretty damn tasty as it has been twice cooked and decorated with pink flesh then glazed with sweet and sour cherries. The duck breast wasn’t a challenge to eat as I believe it’s the meatiest and best eating part of the duck. Okay…there may be some signs that these breasts were dry, but that didn’t stop me! This dish was easily finished because of the sauce, delicately sweet.

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Duck breast

To complement any meaty mains we ordered the creamed potato ($8). The texture was mild, thick and creamy, and this was a pleasant change from vegetables. There was no river of gravy in sight but I totally approve how delicious this was because none of us wanted to share.

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Creamed Potato ($8)

The rib eye (400gm) was just so mindblowingly good here that it was only right to have it cooked to medium rare. You can tell this slab of prime beef, dry aged was lightly smoked and grilled. It was seductive to see the pool of beef juice and served with Paris butter and veal glaze. There was so much tenderness in this beef that I managed to sneak a few more slices back to my own plate. Oh that evil grin begins!

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Rib Eye (400gm)

Can you handle dessert after all the above?! Well YES FOR ME. We chosen the baked lemon cheesecake because we saw the word “cake” at the end of cheesecake. Teehee. I must say this was a very ordinary dessert, nothing that fancy my pants other than the slight sour lemon flavour and silky smooth texture of the cheese.

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Baked Lemon Cheesecake

If you can’t handle a super heavy dessert then the coffee profiteroles Kahlua anglaise would be a good pick, which are stuffed full of sweet coffee creme covered in a profiteroles patissière and are placed over a small pond of mild Kahlua sauce.

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Coffee Profiteroles Kahluaanglaise

We weren’t going to leave a French restaurant without having the crème brulee. Although for some reason, a bowl of custard isn’t seen as an appropriate dessert for a grown adult, but stabbing our way through a perfect golden sugary layer and into the smooth custard can be an excuse to having this.

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Crème Brulee

Can you see how this decadent dessert is with the vanilla custard and tops it with a layer of crisp caramelized sugar…Hmmm I feel fat.

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That brulee…

By now I’ve reached exploding point and it felt like I was ready to roll out of here, but first let me just finish our last dessert- rich chocolate mousse. It was a perfectly fine mousse even though it wasn’t anything super special. Not only did it manage to convey both indulgence and comfort it was a heaven in a dish for all you chocolate fans out there.

Well I was feeling a tad heavier than I was before I visited La Grillade. Best to go for the set menu as I feel it’s more worth it when you calculate in your mind the original price for each dish. I will definitely come back for dinner again an try my luck on the rest of the menu.

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Rich Chocolate Mousse

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Rengaya- Premium Wagyu Grade 9+

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If you heart beef, especially with a beef marble score of 9+ than Rengaya is the place to be. With the weather getting more cooler in Sydney I think this place is looking like a winner for best restaurant to eat this winter. There’s plenty of beef dishes to order at Rengaya and I have mentioned before they also do ALL YOU CAN EAT. Besides stuffing my face with unlimited supplies of wagyu I thought I’d switch my classy mode on and give the al carte menu a try. Dining with Yuri (SD Marketing Global) and Angelica (Angelica’s Blog) made me feel more like a lady and I had such pleasure to getting to know both of them more.

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Meatasaurus Nessy Eater coming through!

So if you LOVE FREEBIES like me than sign up to Washoku Lovers and members score themselves a free drink at Rengaya or maybe a glass of 400ml Japanese draft beer (choice of Asahi Super Dry on tap or Suntory – The Premium Malt’s value up to $9.50) or if you can’t handle alcohol than a soft drink from the drinks menu. All you need to do is flash your membership card when you order. Show-off that card as if you’re wearing a twenty carat diamond ring on your finger. YES it’s free to join and you get to score some freebies at participating Japanese restaurants too. Note each restaurant offers freebies to members – Click here for more info.

Moving on and we have the kinako milk ($5.90) (prepared soybean) that’s a very healthy beverage in Asia and popular too. Served chilled, Angelica mentioned it had a grainy kind of texture which she quite enjoyed. From her facial expression I think that was my queue not to ask if I could try some.

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Kinako Milk ($5.90)

For Yuri and I we opted for the Asahi Super Dry on tap 400ml ($9.80). There’s no shame in admitting that I couldn’t finish it all because I was too busy concentrating on the waygu. That’s right!

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Asahi Super Dry on tap 400ml ($9.80)

We start slowly with the namuru ($8.90) that’s so much similar to Korean seasoned vegetables namul. It contains 5 kinds of vegetables including zucchini, shiitake mushroomwhite radish, bean sprouts and spinach. My face lit up when this dish was well seasoned with salt, sesame oil and vinegar. I couldn’t refuse my chopsticks to continue to grab a few more slices or strands of those pickled goodness.

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Namuru ($8.90)

Are you ready to get some wagyu in your belly? If you are nodding your head in front of the computer screen then I have to introduce you to the wagyu “yukke” ($13.90)– Served with finely chopped shallots, drizzled in sesame oil, rubbed with garlic and sitting so still atop of the beef tartar was an egg yolk that had no sign it had escaped from the egg white.

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Wagyu “Yukke” ($13.90)

My face was traumatised when Yuri did the unthinkable, pop the egg yolk. The quality and freshness of this dish is top notch. I always heart that creamy texture from the egg yolk and chewy feel of the shredded beef.

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Baby yolk me one more time…

We were still waiting for the main star to arrive so in the meantime let’s help balance out our meat consumption with wrap-up lettuce leaves ($8.90). It includes a fair few washed large lettuce leaves that’s the size of my face, pieces of sliced carrot, green chilli, garlic and special sauce. I was informed by Yuri that Japanese people combined the leaves together with the meat so it feels healthier. I can confirm it does feel a bit healthier but I still love meat on its own.

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Wrap-Up Lettuce Leaves ($8.90)

Drum rolls please and the moment we have been waiting for was the premium wagyu amusement ($49.90) that’s a chef’s recommendation of premium wagyu beef cuts of wagyu rib, wagyu loin, wagyu oyster, wagyu rib finger and wagyu ox tongue. Words cannot describe how many times my mouth orgasimed. My body was going through all sorts of feelings. Each piece of wagyu was heaven in my mouth. I felt like there was fireworks happening every few minutes in my body. No need to add oil in a pan because it knew how to oozes its fat out and provide that beefy fragant.

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Premium Wagyu Amusement ($49.90)

Each wagyu piece knew how to please my mouth and body. Every bite felt satisfying with its incredible tenderness and juicy flavours. At the end of this adventurous wagyu party it looked like I had wagyu lip balm all over my lips because it was that oily.

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Premium wagyu beef right there.

The stone pot mentaiko bibimbap with soup ($15.90) arrives sizzling with vegetables, egg, chili cod roe, squid and of course rice. It was no joke this rice was pipping hot and comes with a bowl of hot miso soup and a dollop of sweet and spicy miso paste just in case you think you’ve got what it takes to handle that extra kick.

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Stone Pot Mentaiko Bibimbap with soup ($15.90)

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Mixed Mentaiko Bibimbap

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Wagyu lettuce us be together…

The girls were eager to fulfill their dessert stomach’s cravings and so was I, so we order the shiratama cream anmitsu ($15.90) that includes kanten with shiratama and sweet red beans topped with one scoop of vanilla and green tea ice cream served with sweet black syrup and seasonal fruits. This beautiful platter had caught my eye and it was pretty darn epic to see black syrup being poured on top of the two large scoops of ice-cream.

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Shiratama Cream Anmitsu ($15.90)

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Bathe me with more black syrup!

We couldn’t pass the “WA 和 (Japanese)” Plate ($18.90) as it had so many components on the one plate. To warm our souls we had the shiratama zenzai, which is pretty much red bean soup. Next we shared thick slices of warabimochi with sweet black syrup, then green tea creme brulee served with tea. There was just too many choices on this plate and I personally love anything that contains green tea in it, so I totes raised my hand high for the brulee. Definitely the kind of dessert that you would want this winter.

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“WA 和 (Japanese)” Plate ($18.90)

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“Cover me in syrup” said the Warabimochi

There’s no reason for me not to return to Rengaya other than its upmarket price, but with that being said it does offer top quality meat and dishes on its menu for what you pay for. The wagyu is thumbs up and desserts is a must. I’m definitely not saying good-bye to this restaurant, instead it’s see you later alligator.

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Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended Rengaya, thanks SD Marketing Global and Washoku Lovers.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Check out my other Rengaya post I did. Click here.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

You can follow Nessy Eater on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter or feel free to leave a YUMMY comment :D

Nadia Lim’s My Food Bag “Easy Weeknight Meals”‏ Book Launch + Lamb Recipe

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Glad the stormy weather from last week is finally over. During the crazy mother nature being oh so harsh to Sydney, I decided to have a lunch date with 2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim to celebrate the launch of her third cookbook, “Easy Weeknight Meals“. This book showcases Nadia’s passion for everyday good food cooked at home. The book includes a delicious, well-balanced, nutritious, yet simple recipes that anyone can follow, including myself. Teehee.

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Easy Weeknight Meals Book Launch

When I mentioned to my Kiwi friends that I was going to see Nadia Lim…they went ballistic. Nadia Lim is seriously a household name in New Zealand. She’s basically like Poh Ling Yeow in Sydney, except based in New Zealand (I hope I didn’t offend anyone). Nadia hosts her own TV show on the Asian Food Channel and has her own online healthy food community called The Healthy Food Channel.

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Congratulations to Nadia Lim and My Food Bag 

Arriving super early to the My Food Bag Head Quarters, I managed to have the whole charcuterie platter to myself…well almost.

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Charcuterie platter

Nadia Lim is not only an award-winning cook and champion of Master Chef NZ but she’s the Head Chefdietitian and co-founder of My Food Bag. My Food Bag has just been recently landed in Australia as it originated from New Zealand 2 years ago. The idea of My Food Bag is making healthy eating as simple, easy and delicious as possible at home. So I heard from a birdie that you don’t have to do the grocery shopping because My Food Bag does that ALL for you and they deliver straight to your door on Sundays. WINNING on saving time and carrying all the grocery bags to and from the car.

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My Food Bag Sample Bag

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Loved the decor

When I was told that I was going to be sitting next to a MasterChef winner you should have seen the look on my face…it was like someone had just asked me to their school formal. My hands were all sweaty and my heart was beating so fast. I couldn’t contain my excitement.

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Can you guess who was Nessy Eater Girl sitting next to?

But before my date sits next to me, Co-Founder of My Food BagTheresa Turmeric Gattung and Nadia Lim tells us more about My Food Bag and asks us all to give ourselves a nickname with our favourite fruit or vegetable. I named myself Vanny Mango Tang causes I love mangoes. I mean who doesn’t like mangoes?! If you don’t then I don’t think we can be friends…KIDDING!

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Co-Founder of My Food Bag-Theresa Turmeric Gattung and Nadia Lim

Did you know? Nadia Lim started her passion for food when she was 12 years old and all because of one guy, Jamie Oliver. In the television series The Naked Chef, Nadia truly believed she would one day write her own cook book and perhaps call it “Foodie in a Nudie“. Although all three books did not have the word foodie or nudie in the one sentence, I’m sure it will be coming soon. Fingers crossed her fourth book would be called that.

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2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim

Time for lunch and we have a delicious green mix salad with slices of shepard avocado, sprinkles of pomegranate seeds. Did you know? Shepard avocado have a smooth green skin and golden buttery flesh which doesn’t turn brown when cut like a hass avocado. Crazy! I think I’m converting to a shepard avocado from now on.

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Eat your greens kids!

It’s pretty intense seeing Nadia cook in the My Food Bag Head Quarters Test Kitchen. Was awesome to see her in action whip up the Chermoula Chicken Drums with Moroccan Couscous and Yoghurt Dressing. The chicken was ridiculously flavoursome and married so well with the couscous. I had to sneakily grab another piece of chicken because it was just everything a girl could ask for.

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Chermoula Chicken Drums with Moroccan Couscous and Yoghurt Dressing

After graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science in Human Nutrition and Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics, Nadia spent a few years as a clinical dietitian. When MasterChef NZ came up, she thought she’d give it a go and BAM 2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner. Fast forward a few years Nadia is now writing recipes and nutritional articles to developing and testing recipes for My Food Bag. She jokingly tells us that “My Food Bag saves marriages” and for the adults “Better sex life too“. I can’t confirm or guarantee that because I’m not married nor am I an adult. HAHAHA!

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Nadia making our DESSERT

Our next dish was awesome too that it blew my mind. My face went blank when Nadia told me what was in the Chocolate Mousse. Only three ingredients she tells us and they are dark chocolate that’s 70% melted, coconut milk and avocado. Whhhaaaaaat?! Are you reading it wrong…AVOCADO in chocolate mousse. No sir you are not reading it wrong. There was avocado in my chocolate mousse and I couldn’t even taste it at all! It was light and I would certainly re-eat this again.

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There’s avocado in this chocolate mousse!

And I thought meeting Nadia Lim was enough…nope there was more dessert. She offered all of us a slice of her easy peasy pear tart that’s made with puff pastry, maple syrup and bosc pears. I admit this dessert lingers on the palate and in a good way off course. Before we all waved our hands to say good-bye to Nadia and the My Food Bag Team, each guest received a My Food Bag mystery gift bag (see first image) that contains a variety of herbs, spices, fruits, veggies and two thick pieces of lamb. The My Food Bag team challenged their guests to cook something using these ingredients. Keep scrolling to see what I made…

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Pear tart

Applause for scrolling down. Well we all know Australians love their lamb and for me to be honest it’s never been easy cook lamb. I’ve always had difficulty trying to find the right recipe and luckily I managed to cheat my way through using only the My Food Bag mystery gift bag (see first image). Yes, I cheated…using herbs and spices. I hope you all enjoy this dish.

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Nessy Eater’s Easy Peasy Lamb Recipe Challenge

The following ingredients you will need for Nessy Eater’s Easy Peasy Lamb Recipe:

10 mins to prepare

30 mins to cook

2 servings

100 grams of Cherry Tomatoes

60 ml Olive Oil (3 tablespoons)

300 grams Lamb Striploin

3 Tablespoons Red Meat Spice (Prefer Sami’s Kitchen)

2 Tablespoons Rosemary (Chopped)

100 grams French Style Lentils

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

4 Fresh Mint Leaves

2 Sage Leaves (Chopped)

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Challenge Bag thanks to My Food Bag

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Cook 100 grams of French Style Lentils in pot of boiling water for 15 minutes or until medium-soft.
  2. Meanwhile rub lamb with 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary and sage, then add 2 tablespoons of oil. Continue to rub until the oil and herb is absorbed to the lamb. Add 3 tablespoons of red meat spice. Continue to rub until lamb is covered in spice. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (14)
  3. Toss 100 grams of cherry tomatoes in 1/4 tsp, season and wrap tomatoes loosely in foil. Place foil on baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes until soft. Make sure to check every 3 minutes.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (15)
  4. Cook marinated lamb in a frypan over medium heat for 3 mintues or until browned. Turn and cook for a further 4 minutes.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (16)
  5. Rest the lamb, cover tightly in foil and place it in oven for 12 mintues for medium, or until done to your liking. My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (17)
  6. Drain lentils and toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season.
  7. To serve, scatter lentils in the middle of the plate, top with slices of lamb. Scatter tomatoes and 4 mint leaves. Drizzle the remaining lamb juice from the foil onto the plate.

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Final product of Nessy Eater’s Lamb Recipe. What do you guys think?

It was a fantastic experience meeting the one and only Nadia Lim and celebrating her launch of her new cookbook “Easy Weeknight Meals“. I learnt a lot about My Food Bag using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create delicious, healthy meals that are not only good for your body but at the same time should also look and taste great. I really look forward to seeing My Food Bag bring energy and enthusiasm to Australian couples and families.

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2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim

 Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended “Easy Weeknight Meals”‏ Book Launch thanks to Porter Novelli.

Nessy Eater received challenge bag thanks to My Food Bag.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

You can follow Nessy Eater on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter or feel free to leave a YUMMY comment :D

Public Dining Room- Balmoral Beach

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Nothing beats a waterfront view on lovely sunny day. I drove to Balmoral Beach one weekday and dined at Public Dining Room. Considering it’s location and view we scored ourselves a spectacular window-side table facing the beach. This was a pretty good deal if you don’t mind me rubbing it in. Teehee. I noticed some people brushed off the sand on their feet and waked in to the restaurant. Talk about casual beach feel that makes me feel right at home already. There is one thing you shouldn’t expect at this restaurant and that’s fish and chips. Public Dining Room is not only popular for its location but also their presentation in their fancy meals.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (1)Fancy lunch time

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I always get excited when FREE rye sourdough arrives at our table. With a thick square of creamy super soft butter and a little bowl of sea salt for the table to share.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (2)Complimentary slice of soft rye bread

Those fat juicy seared scallops ($26) were so fresh that they could have still swam. Teehee. They were seriously tender and lovingly plated with the crisp jamon serrano, pea puree and goats curd. Take one mouthful and you’d be quickly convinced to have another. For the delicate pea puree it wasn’t overwhelmingly rich and was a perfect match with the paper thin salty jamon serrano.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (3)Fat juicy scallops come to Mama!

It took us a while to nibble through the duck terrine ($22) with house made fig chutney, watercress and foie gras. The generous slices of crostini was very helpful to balance out the overwhelming flavour of the terrine and added a crisp texture. I found this dish to be a very interesting presentation and reminded me of a forest. Mother nature was calling me to eat this forest!

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (4)What the duck? It’s Terrine.

Mocktail ($10) arrives looking all fabulous and coral pink. With a mix of pineappleapplecranberry and a squeeze of fresh lime. I think the lemon does lift and lighten the beverage.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (5)Mocktail ($10)

A unique flavor experience was the fried zucchini flowers ($24) that came fresh from the fryer with stuffed ricotta, parmesan, papillon roquefort that was deliciously gooey and soft. The celeriac and cabbage remoulade with the sprinkles of pangrattato was equally impressive and seasoned to perfection.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (6)Fried zucchini flowers ($24)

Crispy Pork belly ($26) was my favourite dish, the porky skin was so crisp that they were quickly munched down for an extreme hit of pork flavour. To accompany the meat we had generous dollops of apple sauce. Slices of apple, strands of savoy cabbage and woodland sorrel to decorate made this dish look super healthy. Close enough!

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (7)Pork calling!

Bursting with intense flavours and alluring aromas was the Tasmanian pasture fed eye fillet ($46) – The most tender of all steaks must be paired well with the massive pieces of king brown mushroom, roasted globe artichoke, mustard cress and a drizzle of brown onion jus. I could taste the long-lasting flavours of the eye fillet and mushrooms. The steak was lightly greased and it was all so very good.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (8)I’m eyeing on you fillet.

Do I need to mention to you how tender the steak was? That thick juicy piece of meat may as well have been made out of butter. Hmmm medium rare is just the way I like it.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (9)Eye-eye Captain Fillet.

Would you believe this is the view from our table? The atmosphere was so peaceful and relaxing at the same time. It felt like a get-away. If you enjoy this view then I totes recommend you to ask the staff to be seated next to the window.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (10)What a Beach! Balmoral Beach

You’ll die and go to heaven with every bite of the Valrhona chocolate textures ($19). Decadently rich in chocolate with the bitterness of dark chocolate, the texture remains deliciously light and creamy. It’s the type of dessert you savour slowly with a glass of cold milk or tea or coffee as the intensity of chocolatey madness slowly builds on your palate.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (11)You deserve this Valrhona chocolate textures ($19)

Meet and greet this chocolate bar with your fork. The crushed hazelnut pieces were incredibly tasty along with the smooth chocolate sensation. I’m GUILTY of eating this.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (12)So many pretty textures in this Valrhona chocolate

If you’re looking for a tasty fruity dessert, try this sensational Mango and lychee bombe alaska ($18). The toasted meringue was heavily contained with a coconut crumble base and secured by green mango droplets . This beautiful merinague tastes as great as it looks, so fluffy and airy. I give this a gold medal for presentation of because if you look closely, you’d see it’s handcrafted with swirls.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (13)Mango and lychee bombe alaska ($18)

I’m sure my teeth were hurting from all the sugar goodness, especially this was our second dessert, but that didn’t stop me from devouring this precious dessert. My teeth felt so spoilt with the hidden ice-cream in the center. Each bite delights with sweet mango…hmmm refreshing. I am so pumped to have another bombe alaska right now.

With a lovely view and heart-warming service, Public Dining Room is a real highlight for a fancy lunch and or romantic dinner. If you’re super eager to check out the beach make sure you bring swimmers along because I heard it’s great to visit on a perfect Sydney beach day.

Public Dining Room_Nessy Eater (14)You’re the BOMBE!

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Appointment with ARIA, Sydney

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In Sydney I believe the perfect lunch is including a spectacular view. So I did a little research and TA DA I was on my way to ARIA. For lunch I believe Matt Moran and his team has created very elegant dishes to match the atmosphere. One thing I already liked about this restaurant is the fact it’s a set price menu for example $46 for one course, $74 for two course and $89 for three courses. Off course I went all out and decided to choose THREE COURSE!

Aria_Nessy Eater (1)

An intense and fruity little appetiser of fresh fig purée tart hits the table first, tasting sweet and gorgeously presented. There was a distinctively sharp taste of goat’s curd and my taste buds on the tongue could also detect the buttery flavour coming from the tart shell itself. I loved the crumbly biscuit from the tart base, it almost had a pie crust texture, ALMOST.

Aria_Nessy Eater (2)Goat’s Curd and Fig Purée tart

Soon after our delicious start, a lovely waiter walks to our table and offers a selection of the highest quality breads matched with seaweed and original butter. I opted for a warm thick slice of sourdough containing walnuts. Let me tell you I felt 100% guilty enjoying the whole slice of sourdough alone with a few smears of seaweed butter. The edges of the bread was indeed solid like a rock and as for the the spongy middle section it offered a tangy taste that can vary form barely perceptible to slightly sour. As for the seaweed butter, MY GOODNESS I have never encountered such a meeting like this before. It’s not your classic butter you have at home, it’s TOP NOTCH BUTTER that delivers a divine sweet yet salty, mellow flavour that is absolutely delicious with any selection of breads you prefer.

Aria_Nessy Eater (3)Sour Dough matched with Seaweed and Original Butter

By now we were starting to suffer the effects of butter madness and we had to quickly forget about it and move onto our first course. These beautiful shelled pacific oysters was disturbingly presented well like a little “nihon teien” translate to Japanese-style garden with the ice plants looking similar to moss garden, oysters looking similar to rocks and the blackberries reminded me of bushes. The raw oysters were meaty, strong flavoured and had a silky fresh plumpness to it. That oyster juice with the blend of the other ingredients on the plate was precious and tasted insanely good that it was unacceptable to rinse it off.

Aria_Nessy Eater (4)Shelled Pacific Oysters

Another option from the first course also included the pressed rabbit and chorizo terrine with romesco sauce and a piece of focaccia. This dish was absolutely interesting because rabbits are not usually on the menu so fancy lunch indeed. The terrine had a summer theme to it with the colours and garnish. I was impressed by the texture as it provided a jello feel to it with the added chunks of meat and spice from the chorizo which left a meaty package into my mouth.

Aria_Nessy Eater (5)Pressed Rabbit and Chorizo Terrine

Aria_Nessy Eater (6)Side view is always better :P

For the FRIED focaccia it left me speechless!!! It was nice, soft and crispy in the first bite that I couldn’t control myself having the whole darn thing. OH DEAR! I don’t think I can stick to “sharing is caring”. Teehee.

Aria_Nessy Eater (7)Have you tried Deep Fried Focaccia before?

I was lucky enough to catch a steamed bass grouper on my plate with spanner crabCoorong pipis and smoked dulse. The snow white fillet was incredibly smooth with large flakes and it was tender, moist and had a mild flavour to it. The texture and consistency are similar to a swordfish. The creamy dressing and fish complimented each other because I had a cheeky grin after devouring this. 

Aria_Nessy Eater (8)Steamed Bass Grouper

Another main dish you MUST order is ARIA’s roasted holmbrae duck breasts with golden beetrootselderflower and chamomile. I went BALLISTIC having my very first bite. I went cray cray when the duck vanished into thin air. At the time of the disappearance of the duck I wished I could be a super slower eater because that duck was DUCKING GOOD, excuse the language.

Aria_Nessy Eater (9)Roasted Holmbrae Duck

What made it extremely a highlighting dish was not only the rich, strong flavour of the duck and the elderflower and not so the chamomile but it was the glossy golden layer atop of the duck which appeared to be a long strip sugar coat. It had a crackle noise and sounded like a wonderful orchestra.

Aria_Nessy Eater (10)Just can’t stop sharing inwards shot. 

Aria_Nessy Eater (11)Very lucky to sit window seat and it’s Sydney Harbour Bridge, well half of it. 

Moving onto DESSERTS but the only problem for us was deciding on which one to fulfil our dessert stomach’s cravings. Being indecisive our helpful waiter suggested the very popular mango and passionfruit soufflé. After a 20 minute wait ta-da the soufflé appears at our table looking all seductive with a scoop of roasted rice ice-cream and dusted icing. Look at that signature height of the soufflé, it was unbelievably 4-5cms tall. The dessert is served hot and oozing with goodness.

Aria_Nessy Eater (12)Mango and Passionfruit Soufflé

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE was the valrhona chocolate ganache– It was certainly eye catching to the point it could be displayed at a art gallery or maybe a museum. It was a very sophisticated dessert with cherries, cherry sorbet, warm chocolate doughnuts and hazelnut. I was seriously and I mean SERIOUSLY HYPNOTISED by the many many looks of this dessert.

Aria_Nessy Eater (13)Valrhona Chocolate Ganache

From a side angle it feels like this must be a new dessert. The valrhona chocolate ganache was super rich and smooth to the point I could just lick the extras on the plate. Cherries and cherry sorbet married so well together that their wasn’t a hint of sourness. As for the chocolate doughnuts and hazelnut I lost my sh!ts. Teehee.

Aria_Nessy Eater (16)It’s too pretty to eat this!!! BUT Oh well…nom nom nom

Aria_Nessy Eater (18)Smashed the dessert into pieces… :D

WAIT there’s MORE DESSERT!!! What…more dessert? YES MORE DESSERT. Does this get any better?!?!

By now I felt like I was about to give birth to a food baby. The waiter walks straight towards our table with this gorgeously presented petit fours that I couldn’t decline such an opportunity to stuff my face with sweets. They were only a bite-size…

Aria_Nessy Eater (19)Complimentary Petit Fours (Normally $9.50 with tea or coffee)

Aria_Nessy Eater (20)Just one more bite…

After an indulgent lunch you may want to act like a tourist and take a glimpse of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It would be wrong not to walk around.

Aria_Nessy Eater (22)Needed to stretch my legs after a luxury lunch experience at ARIA.

ARIA is certainly a luxurious lunch and so it does require you to put a side some time for you to really enjoy it. For $89 for 3 course I certainly loved each dish as I can really see the effort they put in with presentation and flavour. Goodness I can’t stop thinking about the dessert. Make sure when you book to request for WINDOW SEAT, you won’t be disappointed. Overall I give this place a two thumbs up. I look forward to returning and testing their degustation at night.

Aria_Nessy Eater (21)See you again ARIA’s. 

Photos by Vanny Tang

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