Cocktail

Onyx Lounge- Newtown Stations Secret Cocktail Life

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Don’t feel guilty about going straight to the bar and ordering endless amounts of cocktail, tapas and dessert at Onyx Lounge, near Newtown Station. This romantic bar specialises in adults only drinks and has over 120 cocktails you can choose from, from their menu. Yes, this bar allows you to create your own mini tapas party for the evening with the choice of share plates, mains, pizza and burgers. Seconds from Cuckoo Callay, this newish bar is surprisingly gorgeous and hidden upstairs. Keep an eye out for the Onyx sign on King Street, Newtown.

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 You can easily spot Onyx with this sign.

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 Speechless when I first walked in.

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 Deciding what to eat at Onyx.

I love the look of the swanky Fairyfloss cocktail ($16.90). This beverage is without doubt a girly drink because it’s so hard to hide behind the curtains with the contagious colour of pink. A large pile of fairyfloss was swimming in vodka and strawberry coulis.

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 Fairyfloss cocktail ($16.90)

If no one orders this Blue Galactic cocktail ($16.90) then you need to move to another galaxy. The idea of bringing vodka, blue curacao, lemon, and berry coulis is brilliant. It is possible to believe we didn’t order another one because it was the most desirable cocktail for the evening.

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 Blue Galactic cocktail ($16.90) 

We cheated a little with the Quesadilla Chicken ($14), conning our way by chucking a few slices of chorizo. However the marinated chicken strips, mozzarella cheese on a flour tortilla served with avocado dipping sauce seriously knows how to knock your face with burst of flavours.

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 Quesadilla Chicken ($14)

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 That close-up!

Remember to look carefully at the Chorizo and Potato ($14) as it was a bit of a roller-coaster of flavour and fun with Spanish pork chorizo slices, chat potato chunks in an oven roasted roma tomato and smokey chipotle chilli jam. I found the chorizo to be very tasty as it literally brings the heat to this dish. I was challenged to go fire walking with the tomato and chipotle chilli jam.

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Chorizo and Potato ($14) 

It is compulsory to order the Deep Fried Tasmanian Heritage Brie ($10). The cranberry sauce brings the best out of the fried brie. It’s kind of like a stepping stone of new flavours. This dish brought a confident smile out of me. Under enormous pressure from Almighty Princess, I ordered another one of these because our hearts couldn’t stop melting for these.

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 Deep Fried Tasmanian Heritage Brie ($10)

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You know how to make my heart melt fried brie ❤

Discover the Spicy Italian Meatballs ($16) as you attempt to give your tastebuds some character. There is no way you won’t connect with these meatballs because every bite full contains that extra heat to your body. The texture is faultless with a bouncy chewiness centre  with the splash of the homemade tomato sauce and shaved parmesan atop, it lets your tongue enter a whole new world. If you’re craving for some spice, better feed your intestines with this bowl of meatballs.

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 Spicy Italian Meatballs ($16) 

Back in the day I remember that fairy god mothers would sprinkle rainbows on my toast but when you’re 18+ the 100 & 1000s cocktail ($16.90) is the new way of seeing rainbows and butterflies. This cocktail contained vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice. It goes down sweet with the extra colours.

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 100 & 1000s cocktail ($16.90)

Almighty Princess and I were set to order desserts, so it occurred to me that the Pistachio Ice-Cream ($10) appeared to look classic on their menu, so what we did best is order it. However, something about the presentation didn’t seem right. I felt like it didn’t have its own identity and it was chilling to see it look like this. But the scoop and half ice-cream had flavours of pistachio, fig & honey and buried undernealth berry coulis with fresh crushed pistachio nuts which made me ask for more.

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 Pistachio Ice-Cream ($10)

It’s hard not to love the Flaming Chocolate Tarte ($10) on a Friday night, especially if your dessert gives you a front-row seat to see it go on FIRE. Which mine did. I’m a sucker for the quirky tricks and creative spirit when a restaurant offers this kind of ingredient.

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 Flaming Chocolate Tarte ($10) 

This chocolate tarte is a really decadent and it’s so entertaining to witness my dessert in flames. The tart filling is an absolute delight and will make your your mouth water with semi-sweet chocolate, and sweet pastry. Add a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream to lighten the rich texture, but create a creamy flavour.

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Never thought I’d be happy that my dessert would go up in flames. 

There’s an array of flavours and textures in Onyx’s menu. For me though, the soul of the menu is in the cocktails and nibbles. From the minute I walked upstairs and noticed the fairy lights, my heart instantly skipped a beat. I naturally started thinking this place is a hot spot in every sense for Newtown with chilled, classy interior and cosy seats. Onyx Restaurant & Cocktail Bar is great for after work drinks and can easily turn it into a romantic date.

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Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended as a guest with $100 voucher,  thanks to Onyx Restaurant & Cocktail Bar.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

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China Republic Restaurant Pre-Opening- A DuckTastic Night

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Thanks to China Republic for sending me an invite to their Pre-Opening last Thursday and is NOW OFFICIALLY OPENED today (Tuesday 12 November) . I fondly remember a handful of chefs flown in from all parts of China specialising authentic Asian cuisines, the opportunity to get an exclusive tour around the restaurant and the sacred peking duck room where all the ducks are crafted to perfection.

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The service team represented an energy that was impressive and friendly however there were a few hiccups with the orders for example some of the dishes we didn’t order miraculously appeared to our table. But hey, its a pre-opening, mistakes are bound to happen. If you ever happen to come across a waitress who is down to earth and enthusiastic then that’s Lauren. She was my personally favourite that night as she managed to deal with the tiny errors. Unlike grand-openings, China Republic’s Pre-Opening provided an irresistible menu besides having to taste a tasty selection of canapés.

Looking at the menu, I honestly wanted to try every single dish, but my main focus was to try their signature and recommended dishes. Therefore I quickly grabbed one of the host “K” to order for us. I never would have thought for a pre-opening that all their dishes that night were meal sizes. “K” had ordered a total 9 dishes plus 3 cocktails for two people. Having the opportunity to feast I finally experienced how it feels to be in the position of an emperor. Wow, I really am very grateful 🙂 🙂 🙂

Feast your eyes by reading on foodie lovers.

Throughout the entire evening Charles the Bartender Manager made the most amazing cocktails. They’re far from just sweet concoctions for the bitter sting of alcohol.

Charlies Angel Cocktail supplies great flavours of shiraz wine mild on the palate, bringing a hint of rich sweet strawberry to still keep the refreshing clean finish.

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Charlies Angel Cocktail

Vee Vee Cocktail remarkably an island mist fruity beverage with the blend of muddled kiwi, crushed mint, lime, vodka and sugar syrup. This cocktail sure adds a whole new level of freshness.

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Vee Vee Cocktail

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Close up of the Vee Vee Cocktail

Phenomenal is the Oolong Long Island Ice tea– A complex and sophisticated flavor appears earthy with the decoration of fresh mint. With its fresh green floral aroma, this highly prized tea releases sweet flavours and delicate mouthfeel.

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Oolong Long Island Ice tea

Cold Pork, Beef and Chicken served with Salt and Special Sweet and Sour Dressing ($18) apparently has 12 flavours. Can you guess all 12 flavours? Cleverly presented on a stone cement plate all the meat presented is a snack of food heaven.

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Cold Pork, Beef and Chicken served with Salt and Special Sweet and Sour Dressing ($18)

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Cold Pork

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Beef 

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Chicken

Apart from its impressive cold cuts their sweet dressing may tempt you to bathe your sliced meat before eating.

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Salt and Special Sweet and Sour Dressing

Holy Tofu! Seeing the Beijing-style Tofu with Shallots and Fish Roe ($9) is absolutely stunning. This cold dish separated in 3 parts probably is ideal for foodies who don’t want to share. Teehee.

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Beijing-style Tofu with Shallots and Fish Roe ($9)

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Simply stunning dish

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Doesn’t this remind you of a Dragon boat ?

Seaweed Soup with Tofu and Scallops ($9)–  It was nearly identical to the texture of chicken broth soup. Generally served warm, this soup should not be underestimated as it lets you explore all the flavours in a bowl.

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Seaweed Soup with Tofu and Scallops ($9)

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Wave those spaghetti hands tofu. 

The Spinach Soup with Enoki Mushrooms ($9) tastes noticeably different compared to other creamy vegetable soups. A healthy nutritious soup full of flavour and is no spinach soup I’d ever had. This soup worked beautifully on it’s own and has inspired me to eat more spinach.

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Spinach Soup with Enoki Mushrooms ($9) is perfect for vegetarians

Crispy Spicy Prawns ($32) is a versatile dish worth sharing, with its prawn sugar coated in chilli, garlic, strands of spring onion and cooked in special sauce, it’s just a dish you are looking for.

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Crispy Spicy Prawns ($32)

Sauteed Spicy Beef Mince with Basil served with Pocket Pancake China Republic ($32) will be easy peasy to eat if you have surgeon hands or you happen to be just naturally talented at handling delicate things, because their pocket pancakes are quite fragile. There’s a high chance you’ll be finger licking as this dish can be surprisingly addictive and messy.

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Sauteed Spicy Beef Mince with Basil served with Pocket Pancake China Republic ($32)

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Quite a filling dish

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Pocket pancake filled with minced beef- How freaken adorable! 

This is a nice change of pace from the typical Peking duck. Introducing China Republic’s Braised Lamb Brisket served with Pepper Salt and Mandarin Pancake with Dressing ($36) is going to overwhelm some people. When the chunks of lamb, salad and sauce are combined onto a piece of pancake it offers a decent mild flavour that doesn’t overpower each other.

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China Republic’s Braised Lamb Brisket served with Pepper Salt and Mandarin Pancake with Dressing ($36) 

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I was unable to identify a sweet subtle flavour in the braised lamb brisket, perhaps it’s a Chef’s secret ingredient added.

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Let your lamb brisket  roll around the crushed peanuts.

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Half a dozen peking duck pancakes

It’s no surprise peking duck is one of the world’’s favourite dishes and I am certainly glad China Republic has bought Signature Peking Duck ($88) to Sydney. China Republic’s duck take a total of 8 days to prepare before placing them into an oven. Firstly the ducks are cleaned, then hung up to be blow dried for a day. Next the ducks are pumped with air to set the skin structure before dipped in boiling water for a short while then it is hung up again to dry. While it is hanging, the ducks are thoroughly smeared with layers of date syrup, honey and special sauce. The ducks are then placed into a 16c freezer for 7 days. Before being roasted and turning golden brown the ducks are rinsed once more with hot water. To allow the ducks look evenly shiny and crispy, they are rotated systematically with a stick for 40-45 minutes in a 250c oven.

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Signature Peking Duck ($88)

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The Chef who masters at delivering authentic peking duck

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My Oh My…Just look how the  duck skin is glisteningly puffed.

As a mad peking duck lover, we were looking forward to the duck arriving at our table, but having two plates of juicy ducks that’s just INSANE for 2 people to share. We soon learn after this is one whole duck!

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 Excited at the idea of two plates of peking duck.

The real difference in China Republic’s peking duck shines through with the duck’s skin. Whether eaten on its own or with the pancake, the crispy skin noticeably melts quickly in your mouth is very much like sinking your tongue into s’mores except in a savory version.

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Juicy roasted duck that is served boneless.

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Crispiest Peking Duck skin is beautifully moist and tender. 

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With every peking duck comes with 2 dozen of peking duck pancakes plus a few gua bao buns.

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Every time I picked up my next pancake or pocket pancake, I think deeply about what nasty things I’m going to do with it. Teehee.

In case you’re not familiar with filling your peking duck pancake, I recommend asking one of their friendly staff for a pamphlet on how to eat a peking duck. No joke! China Republic offers a PAMPHLET. Did you know China Republic suggests 6 ways of filling your pancake? With supplied 8 ingredients including:

– White sugar

– Garlic paste

– Shallot

– Cucumber

– Sweet bean paste also known as ho sin sauce

– Pickled cucumber

– Chopped red onion

– Chinese mustard

You must play with your food, YOU MUST! Even if the angel voice pops in your head “don’t play with your food”. I personally ignored it that night and got messy. The excitement of decorating your own pancake is fun and delightful.

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Besides Hoisin sauce China Republic offers additional 7 ingredients, that’s a total 8 

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Me thinks minion Phil wanted some pancakes too…Teehee.

I admit, we were completely stuffed but when the dessert menu arrived in a satin silk cover. We’re told by “K” there’s a few intriguing treats in their menu that I must try. Indeed there is a fair few fascinating desserts…just a fair few… 😀

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Whatever your sugar hungry tummy wants and the giddiness of ordering the entire dessert that the menu has to offer, first start off with their Assorted Dessert Plate for 2 ($21.50) Also available for 6-8. This EXTRAORDINARY Chinese antique themed dessert goes above and beyond with the presentation of desserts. It is an art plated dessert were the individual sweets are very uniquely delicious and creative.

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Can’t go wrong ordering the Assorted Dessert Plate for 2 ($21.50)

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Steamed Rice cake with Sweet Stuffing

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Glutinous Rice Roll with Waffle Cookie

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Glutinous Rice Cake served with Rose Jam

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Mashed Sweet Pea Cake

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Glutinous Rice Cake served with Mashed Fruits

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Black Sesame Jelly

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Rice Pudding

Right after our HUGE FOOD FEAST, “K” gave us a tour around their stunning Chinese themed restaurant. Whether it is for a few cocktails before dining, or a few drinks to catch up with friends, this elegant bar area is perfect place for conversation and relaxation after work.

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Sophisticated bar area

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Interesting decorations 

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Second Level were they offer private rooms for functions.

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A piece of hand crafted Chinese Teapot. 

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Apparently this classic emperors house is made of sticks, also handmade. Jaw-dropping.

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Antique pieces imported all the way from China.

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Photo with Head Peking Duck Chef Jian Wang

As we reached the end of our tour, Charles continues to make a variety of tropical cocktails. To create an enjoyable mixed drink it must be shaken.

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Such a small world I bumped into my old high school friend who I haven’t seen in years since our High School Graduation and he is now a Chef at China Republic. Surprised his the man behind the peking duck making.

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 Photo with Peking Duck Chef Linyi Yuan

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Ridiculously clever way to fold napkins. 

MUST TRY: 

-Peking Duck

-Spinach Soup with Enoki Mushrooms

-Braised Lamb Brisket served with Pepper Salt and Mandarin Pancake with Dressing

-Assorted Dessert Plate for 2

A good peking duck is usually a good sign for a decent meal and so far China Republic menus is tempting to try again in my books. A passionate chef will go out of their way to make a dish worth it and clearly these chefs have done so in my opinion. 

Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater dined as guests of China Republic Pre-Opening. Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Update on 16/11/2013: Check out an article Good Food has written for China Republic 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 🙂

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Essenza Italian – An Italian Commitment

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The rustic setting of Essenza Italian in Surry Hills is a small restaurant but the table settings didn’t make us feel cramped. Service was attentive and gracious as I kept hassling for the waiter a few times for some suggestions on their menu. I was pleased with the menu as it has a few interesting dishes.

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As soon as the Garlic Bread ($6) smacked my nose the amount of garlic and butter on the bread was just perfect and as for the bread itself, thick and crisp along with the edges served warm.

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Espresso Martini ($14) was the first cocktail to arrive and good enough to order for a second time, a  combination of bitter espresso with a shot of Kahlua coffee liqueur, Absolute vodka and white crème de cacao.

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Apparently the Orange Cocktail ($14) is exactly the same taste as lemon lime bitter so it’s not hard to pass on this drink and try something else more exciting.

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We decided to try Beef Carpaccio with Aioli ($17) from their antipasti section of the menu and seemed to not disappoint.  The glossy pinkish meat rich in beefy flavour and complemented perfectly with the aioli, parmesan and crispy almond biscuit.

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Essenza Spaghetti Meat Balls with Tomato Ragu ($25) was one of the most interesting dish I found to be incredibly appetising. The meat balls combined with the fresh chunks of tomato and purée sauce was a real winner dish. With the fancy title I believe this is the best spaghetti bolognaise I’ve come across. The meat balls itself is enough to serve as a dish on its own.

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The large pieces of meat ball seasoned well without the need of adding additional pepper or salt to bring out the flavours.

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Meat balls were delicate as it was falling apart- as a result ensure you eat it quick!

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If the cheerful staff provide the Special of the day ($25) menu, you must order something from this menu. Creamy based sauce with seafood particularly generous on the prawns, asparagus and a hint of pesto with thick fettuccine pasta was really rich and flavoursome.

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The Strawberries on a plate ($15) is expressed as three parts on one plate- the strawberries in a brulee shaped mold consist of baked syrupy strawberries and crumbled biscuits and not excessively sweet. The edible bowl shaped biscuit with strawberry ice-cream topped with fresh strawberries was simply a bliss. As for the large strawberry covered in milk chocolate I found the chocolate to be too sweet.

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I find this dish to be a little pricey, especially if it’s $5 for each section then I personally wouldn’t want to pay that amount on a piece of strawberry dipped in milk chocolate at a Italian restaurant.

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We decided to accompany our first dessert with their traditional Crème brulee ($12) – a deliciously silky rich decadent, flavoured with vanilla bean. Unfortunately the sugar coated crust was under caramelised as I managed to texture the crunchy sugar pieces rather than the smooth liquefied sensation of the sugar. Next to the delicious brulee included a delicate biscuit basket with a scoop of smooth vanilla ice-cream and cooked rhubarb that added a tangy sweet twist to this dish.

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Right after we paid our bill we were greeted with Complimentary house-made biscuits (Free)– Horary for freebies!

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I would definitely return to Essenza Italian for their lovely friendly service, cocktails, antipasti and most importantly try more traditional Italian pastas!

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All Aboard Captain Cook Dinner Cruise

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Saturday night King Street Wharf is the night life in the heart of Sydney. The wharf is packed full of pretty ladies in 2 inch stilettos, families,  cheerful blokes and entertainers.

It was Almighty Princess’s Forever 21 Birthday and we needed a celebratory  dinner somewhere in the CBD. We originally intended to book a fancy hotel for a night and party hard indoors but somehow Ice-cream L popped up an  idea to go on a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. Me and Miss Boobie Trap weren’t going to decline after browsing on the net the show boats package deal.

After a long painful walk from Wynyard Station to King Street Wharf in my 10cm heels  we arrived at our destination with no boat. During this time Almighty Princess wasn’t aware of where we were taking her because it was a surprise.

Just so happen at the same time a cruise arrived and two  tall, young, muscular British males exited the cruise topless. Yes, TOPLESS! I think all 4 of us were silently thinking the same thing… to hop aboard on topless men cruise instead of the one we planned. Haha

Not long after our lovely Sydney 2000 show cruise arrived looking spectacular.

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Walking towards our seats I was able to get a glimpse of Sydney’s night life and it was truly captivating to see the sparkling building lights flash, people roaming around the wharf and I hear RNB music on full blast.

It was very generous of Ice-cream L to offer the window seat for me as I am such a BIG KID IN HEELS. During the entire evening we had a lovely, enthusiastic and cheerful host Kerrie who helped made our night even more enjoyable.

Kerrie started off by pampering us with a glass of Complimentary Sparkling House Wine which unloosened my fear of being sea sick.

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Complimentary Italian Ciabatta Bread was provided. It was perfectly crisp outside and warm and soft inside. It would of been better if they offered butter.

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It was very quick for the entrée to arrive before I even had the chance to finish my bread. Not that I am complaining.  Service is plausible.

Miss Boobie Trap ordered Australian Tiger Prawns with Tropical Salsa. It was pleasingly to see the bright redness of the prawns which suggest it is fresh. The salsa mixed well with the green mixed salad. Truly a refreshing entrée to start off with.

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For me Ice-cream L and Almighty Princess we decided to try the first option on their menu Smoked Ocean Trout, Fennel with Black Caviar and Dill Aioli – a pretty elegant and delicate dish. The smoked trout was shaped into a rose and tasted delicious with caviar,  a tiny scoop of aioli and slices of fennel . Shocked when Almighty Princess wanted to give this dish a go as I rarely see her eat anything raw but she thought it was a satisfying dish.

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Service was excruciatingly quick, our mains arrived right after Kerrie had packed away some of our silver cutleries and plates.

Grilled Atlantic Salmon incredibly popular at our table served with gremolata crust, oven roasted seasonal vegetables and creamy hollandaise sauce to complete the dish.

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Coincidentally me and Almighty Princess ordered the Beef Tenderloin Fillet plated with sautéed peas and pancetta, caramelized onion, rich veal jus with potatoes. I ordered my beef to be cooked medium rare which turned out to be tiny overcooked. The meat  quite tough in terms of texture however when I reached to the centre it was a miracle it had a pinkish colour leaving it with a tender finish.

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As for Almighty Princess she asked hers to be cooked well done.

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Miss Boobie Trap ordered the Slow Braised Lamb Shank bathed in red wine and vegetable ragout served in mash potato. Smooth silky mash can be incredible when dipped with the tasty red wine sauce.

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Burnt meat was detected but it didn’t stop Miss Boobie Trap or me from devouring this dish.

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Behold colourful cocktails ($15.50) each arrived whilst we were feasting on our mains. We weren’t going to celebrate Almighty Princess’s birthday without ordering a few cocktails.

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Midori Splice was surprisingly nice! (that rhymed) mixed with Midori, Cointreau, Malibu, pineapple juice and dollop of cream, garnished with a strawberry and mint. A bit difficult to finish as it started to taste more and more syrupy towards the end.

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Observe liqueur lovers, The John Cadman a delightful creamy cocktail contained Kahlua, Baileys Irish cream, Frangelico Liqueur and cream. A rich flavoursome drink that reminded me of chocolate milkshake.

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Sydney Bay Breeze a fruit bursting cocktail – Vodka, pineapple and cranberry juice.

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For dessert,  Miss Ice-cream L asked Kerrie if the kitchen can organise something dazzling for Almighty Princess.

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Surprise! Almighty Princess’s dessert came with a lit sparkler. After singing the traditional happy birthday she was into her Slow baked raspberry and apple crumble with cream. Crumble pie was great. A hot and cold dessert dish covered with berry sauce.

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Sydney berry included crush of blueberries, light meringue mascarpone and fresh whipped cream with zesty lemon. A sugary dish that Ice-cream L could not let go of.

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The Velvety vanilla and chocolate mousse with light caramel syrup a splendid mousse filling treat. Just breathtaking.

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Nothing beats the dessert I ordered White and dark layered chocolate tower. The NAME SAYS IT ALL! The ladies managed to secretly dig their fork through to my dessert without me knowing. Perhaps it was because I was staring too long at the beautiful view. The chocolate tower offers smooth white chocolate cheesecake. Then a layer of rich dark chocolate cheesecake and the bottom layer a gooey milk chocolate cake. Drizzled with mixed berry sauce and mixed berries to garnish. Oh boy! I think I just died for a moment. This was too good.

A chocolaty experience I would want to repeat!

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The girls and I were extremely keen the entire night as we waited till after dessert to explore the top deck of the cruise. Whilst we were up there we may of taken a few luvos photos and reacted out as the character Rose and Jack from the movie Titanic.

The cruise stopped at Circular Quay without us knowing and all passengers had already left the ship. Can you guess what happened next?

HOORAY! We were extremely lucky to have the last half an hour of the cruise to OURSELVES! *Insert Happy Dance*

We had the cruise ALL TO OURSELVES! 😀

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Hello Opera House!

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Sailing under the Harbour Bridge

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Such a magical evening spending time with my girls and celebrating Almighty Princess’s Forever 21. Teehee. Once again Happy Birthday Almighty Princess! 🙂

It’s great to go on a Captain Cook Cruise as the service was fantastic, food representation was excellent however the burnt lamb shank was the downfall. The colourful cocktails made my night but to top that Sydney CBD scenery was gold.

I wonder how would Sydney’s CBD look like during the day? Just another excuse for me to jump on board with Captain Cook Cruise again.

Photos by Vanny Tang

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