Saturday, January 4, 2014

Vamps Bistro

Vamps is an old traditional French bistro with. slightly Asian feel, however the majority of the food is classic french. The restaurant is nestled in amongst a number of other restaurants at 5 ways Paddington which is always buzzing on the weekends. The old terrace house has been there as a restaurant for over 25 years and this was my first visit.

I like traditional French as it does remind me of my French holiday some years ago spending 5 weeks travelling around the country side. There is plenty to like about Vamps from the atmosphere to the smell of garlic to the noisy chatter of kitchen staff and guests.

The menu is full of goodies including French onion soup, escargot, scallops in moray sauce, lambs brains and kidneys. I had the escargot in garlic whilst the others had shagpile prawns in shredded wontons, both were very good.

When it came time to order the mains I wanted the duck a l orange and the rabbit pie and then the beef with pepper sauce also sounded good. I settled on the rabbit pie only to find out that they had none but was replaced with a pheasant pie, so I had that. it did not disappoint me in fast it was lovely nice flakey pastry with a thick creamy, wine pheasant filling. We had the potato mash and beans as sides. The others had the twice cooked pork belly, lamb and the duck, all were very good and everyone enjoyed the meal.

no one had room for dessert unfortunately but they do have the traditional French desserts and you won't be disappointed here either.

It was a very pleasant night out and with the added advantage of being BYO we also took our own wine. corkage is a very reasonable $5 per person. I would return and overall I would give it a 7/10 for both food and service.

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Location:227 Glemore Rd Paddington

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This is the second time I have gone to Brooks and I must admit the food is excellent. Some of it is a little rich but all the same it is presented with precision and flair. The restaurant does degustation and you should to do dinner this way to sample what they have on offer.

The restaurant itself is located in a lane way just off Collins Street and is where Jamie Oliver's 15 used to be. Although the premises are a bit dated the food and service makes up for this.

The following dishes are a sample of some of their dishes.

Chicken Parfait, rye bread and rhubarb jam

Vegetable croquettes, charcoal, ginger & red wine

Nic's souvenir of Laguiole. Meli Melo vegetables

Spanner crab, pickled oysters, mussels, Shizo oil, nori

"Forrest floor" , chocolate & hazelnut parfait, pork crackling, mint, sorrel granita and

The service was excellent and the wine list long. Overall a very pleasant dinning experience and I would recommend you try some time. Score for food 8/10 and service 9/10.

Basement 115 - 117 Collins street
telephone: 03 90018755

Monday, October 7, 2013

Felix - Ash St Sydney CBD

This is a Merivale restaurant and one of my favourite. I have been there 3 times and enjoyed the experience each time. Although some better than others. this is a true French bistro and you could be in Paris if you close your eyes.

This night we dinned with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the night. The atmosphere is buzzy as it is always nearly full.

For entree I had Oysters, as I am on a diet but my guests had a seafood chowder which he loved, and a prawn salad with quinoa.

For mains we had lamb, barramundi and spatchcock and a duck cassoulet. All were fine except the cassoulet was too dry but still tasty.

As you can see they all look delicious and they were. you need to be careful with the wine list and choose wisely. The service was good without being great and the waiters were a little hard to understand. I give it 5/10 for service and 6/10 for food.

I will return as I like the buzz about the restaurant and it is always pleasant.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gastro Park - Roslyn st Potts Point

Well,everyone has been talking about this restaurant so I thought I should try it out. Although I dont believe the name does it justice.

The restaurant is in a small street off the main drag in Kings Cross called Roslyn street which is also home to a number of bars. The ambiance is casual dinning but is definitely a fine dinning menu.

The menu has a number of options including snacks which we tried before ordering our entree & mains. The snack was described as following. Foie gras, wild hare, beetroot, plum vinegar and red cabbage granita.

For entree we had Slow cooked pork belly seared cuttlefish, pork crackling carot witlof & crab sauce.

Liquid butternut gnocchi, mushroom consommé, shimeji, opinion crumb

Agendashi of cauliflower & scallop, lobster consommé.

the above entrees were all well presented and tasted great.

For mains we had crispy scaled jewfish, smoked potato purée, calamari crackling in ink sauce. this was quite amazing but it didn't seem to work for me. The fish was nice and the smoked potato very salty.

Rare seared venison, red cabbage, rhubarb, beetroot, puffed barley, spiced red wine. this was far too well cooked for venison which made it a little tough.

Steamed Murray cod, charred white asparagus, roast watercress & shiitake mushroom, trompette sauce.

We washed the above down with a Parker Terra Rossa Cabernet and then proceeded to desert. These were all fabulous and a highlight of the meal.

Mulberry milk & honey cluster, blueberry, mascarpone & lemon. This was absolutely beautiful as was the other dish below.

then we both had the chocolate, honeycomb & vanilla sphere, cardamom, saffron, ginger.

Overall the food was very innovative, presented very well but lacked something ? The service was very good and the ambiance was good as well especially as the night went on with being able to look out the window at all the action. I would recommend you try it but be wary it is innovative food. I give it 6/10 for food and 8/10 for service.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sails - Lavender Bay

I have not been here for about 2 years and we booked to celebrate my daughters 30th birthday. The menu was a bit non seafood for a known seafood restaurant but looked ok. We turned up to be greeted by a lady who was not only rude but spoke to us in a most unusual way. It did not stop there as during the night her manners were appalling interrupting me twice to ask a question and quite frankly ruined the night. By the way the food was fantastic from the entree to desert. I can't complain about the food but the service was 2/10. I wouldn't go back.

So lets talk about the food, the menu is a Little short on seafood as mentioned above but the terrine and the prawns were very good. The main included a special of a rib eye on the bone with fat chips, now that sounded good so I ordered that as did another person. unfortunately they only had one special left so I took the fillet instead, oh and no fat chips available for that steak. 

Apparently the Barramundi was excellent as was the lamb, but the bad service continued. Desert was also very good being a mixture of banana, peanut butter, icecream and toffee.

All in all if the service was better it would have been a great night as the view is sensational watching the harbour bridge and the ferries coming and going all night.

For food I give it a 7/10 and service I have already commented.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

New York Restaurants

We have been here in New York for 2 weeks and have visited quite a few restaurants but only a small number have lived up to what we are used to in Australia. The best so far has been Buddakan in Chelsea which if you are a sex in the city fan may remember as one of their favourite places. We had their suggested menu and it was sensational from the duck salad to their deserts which were to die for. Cost was $80 per head but worthwhile plus wine.

The next best was Momofuku Noodle Bar in Greenwich which lived up to their reputation. We had their famous pork bun and their pork ramen. Not expensive but like the one above you have to either wait for an hour or book ahead.

Just down the road from us was a real gem called Eataly which is a grocer shop, for all your Italian needs plus 5 different restaurants. pasta, seafood, meat, cold meats and cheese, vegetarian and a full restaurant upstairs on the roof. We ate there 3 times.

Talking about roofs if you would like to view New York by night on a roof top bar we found a great one called 230 on 5th avenue. You will need to book a table but great views, bar food, lots of people and take plenty of money as it is not cheap.

Another Asian restaurant we visited was TAO in the city which was  also good but not as good as Buddakan, but worth going to if not just for the decor, a giant Budda in the restaurant looks over the proceedings. Must book ahead.

If you are looking for a restaurant to go to before the theatre try Da Rosina on 46th street great pasta and veal in quick time.

For Sushi you can't go past Sushi Azabu in Tribeca it was by far the best sushi in New York. They also have Greenwich Grill upstairs which is Italian Japanese infused style.

Other good places to try Are PO and Villa Mosconi in Greenwich both are excellent.

Pizza of course is everywhere but go to Grimaldi in Brooklyn as this is the most famous and the best we ate.

For hamburgers and fries there is a small park called Maddison Square Park on Broadway in the flatiron area where there is a small shop called Shake and Shack where people line up in a queue about 200 metres long to try theirs. Their fries are crinkle cut which is quite different in New York and their hamburgers are ok. But definitely worth the wait.

I can't speak highly enough about where we stayed which was The Inn on 23rd Street, very clean, rooms were a good size, a great place to meet people and it was very central to the subway system which we used everyday. They are also on top of a bar called The Guilty Goose great steak and atmosphere.

Make sure you visit Cafe Wha in Greenwich and some of the bars in the area for both food, wine and a little music. They also own the bar up the street called Groove which is also worth a visit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Alphabet street - Cronulla

A new restaurant in the Sutherland shire that has recently received a number of good reviews. So I thought I should try as the chef and owner have some good credentials. Well I must say I was impressed with not only the food but the atmosphere and friendly service. The restaurant was packed and is packed most nights so if you want to go you need to book ahead.

The food was excellent from the whole fish to the pork belly. This is one worth going to and I have rated it 7/10 for food and service.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ms G's - Potts Point Sydney

I had been waiting a while to go to here and I was not disappointed. The restaurant is run by the Merivale Group and the chef is none other than Dan Hong. This is one of the places which is fast becoming the norm that you cannot book unless you have more than 9 people. So if you want to try this place you need to go early and line up which if you know me I hate. However, we planned it so we got there at around 6pm and was given a table straight away, no waiting. But by 7pm there was quite a line outside waiting for a table.

The menu is full of asian infused dishes all to share and lots to choose from. The restaurant
itself was not fancy and no tablecloths so it was very casual dinning. Everyone raves about their pork bun so we started with this, and they were right. the only issue was that it is too small because you could eat 2 or 3 easy.

Try their lamb ribs and curry which comes with a bread roll instead of rice. Everything we tried we liked and if I had room I would have eaten more which is the reason we will go back. Service was excellent as it did not slow down once the restaurant was full so I give this a 9/10 for service and food.

155 Victoria St Potts Point

phone 02 83131000

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Monday, October 1, 2012


There are so many restaurants to go to and sometimes you forget about old ones that you should go back to. I have been to many good places recently including Chiswick Gardens, Matt Moran's new restaurant. I went on a busy Saturday night and booked about 6 weeks before and could only get an 8.30pm sitting.

We turned up in a place that I remember playing their as a child as I was bought up in Woollahra. At the back of a small park stands this wonderful old building which has been the site of other famous restaurants in the past. We pushed the glass door open and the noise was incredible and so many People. The restaurant is split into 2 areas, a bar with communal eating on a long timber table and the sit down restaurant.

Our table was not quite ready so we had a drink in the bar area sitting next to some people who were having dinner and it looked delicious. It took about 15 minutes before we got to the table, now very hungry.

The menu is quite different as they have dishes to share, main plates, small plates and nibbles plus desserts. We chose 2 dishes off the mains but people near us were sharing the wood roasted Moran family lamb with chick peas and mint. Another couple had the roasted chicken dish seen on TV.

We both had the snow crab slider, lettuce and kewpie mayonnaise from the nibbles menu as an entree. This was perfect, a beautiful moist crab Pattie on a bun but all aspects of this was good. The photo is not very good as I started eating before I remembered to take a photo.

Now that I had started eating I decided I needed a steak so I went for the char grilled  Moran family grass fed beef with horseradish. The other person had the Roasted Snapper, leeks, Swiss brown mushrooms and salsa verde. Both dishes were excellent along with our sides of hand cut chips with lemon thyme aioli.

Being near where I grew up I couldn't go past having dessert and in particular the rhubarb eclair with poached rhubarb and custard apple. This was very different but lovely and we also ordered the Bombe Alaska with fresh raspberries.

All in all a good dinning experience and hopefully I will go back and try some other dishes. Service given the number of people was ok but not great so only 6/10. The food was excellent and rate this 8/10.

Chiswick Gardens Restaurant
65 Ocean St Woollahra
02 83888688

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Old Brewery - Perth

I have been going to Perth on business for many years and it's good to find a restaurant that you have not been to. This is indeed an old brewery on the shores of the Swan River 5 minutes from the CBD. The outlook is great as you look back to the city with the water almost at your feet. If you are a beer drinker then take some time and do a tasting as I did trying all 5 brews. The best as far as I was concerned was a light colored beer called " Narrows ".

That aside the restaurant is quite large and has that rustic feeling about it. I was quite surprised as I had not been there before. They specialize in steak but have many seafood and other dishes on the menu.I had a 28 day old sirloin which was perfectly cooked at medium. They have what they called a Tomahawk Steak that you can share as shown below. It was a little too big for our party but looks interesting and I might go back to try.

Everyone had steak and all were happy with the result including quite a number of side dishes from creamed spinach to massive hand cut chips to mash to some greens. All presented well and tasty.

I couldn't believe that after a large steak that most wanted deserts and these were interesting with cheesecake and honeycomb fresh strawberries, and of course a cheese plate.

May I suggest that if you are in Perth and feel like a decent steak try this place and you won't be disappointed. The cost is reasonable and they have excellent wine selections. We had the 2007 Parker Terarosa Cabernet Sauvignon which was smooth and rich and went down very well.

The Old Brewery
173 Mounts Bay Rd

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