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

The Old Brewery Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

District Dining - Surry Hills

My second time to District Dining and I wasn't disappointed. The ambiance is still fantastic with that not so fine dinning feeling but casual and relaxing. The menu has changed but has some of the old favourites like the crispy quails eggs.

We tried 2 courses from each of the 3 menus starting with the eggs and pigs ears which were yummy. We then moved onto their zucchini flowers and steak tartare which came with toast and a bottle of Tabasco. Both of these were very morish.

We then moved to the larger menu and had the crispy skin Barramundi with eggplant and lastly the lamb ribs. Oh and a side of broccoli and tofu salad. This was all washed down with bottle of Edward Shiraz from Margaret River.

All in all the experience was excellent with service 9/10 and food 8/10. I will return once more to try some of the other items on the menu.

District Dinning
17 Randle St
Surry Hills
02 92117798

District Dining on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chef Mavro - Waikiki Beach Hawaii

While we were  in Hawaii we decided to try a fine dinning restaurant and after some considerable research I decided on Chef Mavro. The restaurant is not on the beach but towards the city on a corner block and quite obscure. The back ground on the Chef is that he is a frenchman who used to live in Provonce and moved to Hawaii many years ago.

The restaurant is unlike many in Hawaii being quite small and somewhat romantic, which was good since I was dinning with my wife.

The menu was very flexible in that they had a 3 course, a 4 course and a six course menu and you could choose all six or simply mix and match off the 3 menus. All were designed as a degustation dinner. They also offered a matching wine with each dish however we decided to buy a few good quality glasses of wine. The first dish was a cold mushroom custard with a caramalised top. This was ok but a bit off putting as it was cold.

The second dish was Maitake mushroom with roasted kabocha with onion and bacon shavings with a yuzu dressing. This was delicious with all the flavours coming together well giving it an organic taste with the sweetness of the yuzu dressing.

I had the scallops which were served raw with a kamuela vegetable escabeche, rosemary scented fougas. Absolutely delcious, fresh, light and a great way to start a meal.

The first main course was the daily boat catch - Kabosu which was served with crusted mochi, citris-sansho sauce and jumbo asparagus & veloute. The fish was beautiful but the winner of the dish was the crust which was rice pounded into powder and then lightly baked. wow.
As always I couldn't go pass the duck which was served with a gingered green mango chutney and a sweet kahuku corn fritter with a modern bigarade sauce. The sauce and the fritter were really nice but I found the duck to be a bit tough. However it was worth tasting for the chutney and fritter.

Break time -  to assist our palate they served watermelon encased in champagne jelly. This was great and came at exactly the right time.

The last main was a Vadouvan lamb curry which we both chose. The lamb was from Colorado and was probably the tastiest piece of lamb I have ever eaten. The dish was more of a deconstructed curry with poha rice eggplant fritters, cured olives, fennel and thyme relish.

 My wife chose the Goat cheese - strawberry which was goat cheese filled with strawberry jus, with farm baby greens. She said it was like eating heaven with the jus running out of the centre of the cheese.

For desert I chose the Malasadas which were like round donuts served with guava ice cream. However each of the donuts had a different filling including, mui apple, azuki bean and lilikoi . These may not sound good but they were very moreish and although I was full I would have liked more.

A very satisfying fine dinning experience and maybe the only one in Hawaii. The cost was high when comparing to other restaurants it cost us $380.00. The service was too good and the timing was too quick. The food was excellent without being over the top. I would recommend if you wanted to try fine dinning in Hawaii. I would rate the food 7.5/10 and the service 7/10 because it was all too quick. We were in and out within 2 hours.

Chef Mavro
South King street

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hawaiian Holiday

So far all of my blogs have been on restaurants and that's where I am going to stay, however I have had some comments that I do not blog all the restaurants I go to and also about some of the other experiences I have like I have just got back from 5 days in Hawaii. What restaurants did I go to and maybe some other information to help you if you ever decide to go to Hawaii. So here goes.

Hawaii is such a nice place and this is our third visit and we will definitely go back. The temperature is the same every day around 28-30 degrees. The main place to go of course is Waikiki and why not they have a great beach, great restaurants and shopping, did I say shopping.

Firstly, to my first love, food. With so many restaurants its hard to say whats best etc but let me tell you about the ones I visited by type. For an informal dinner or just a bit of fun with some good music I found a Margaretaville restaurant which is the country singer Jimmy Buffets chain, great for a burger or steak while enjoying the music. For Japanese  I would not go pass Japengo it was lovely serving up traditional Japanese with a modern twist. By the way there are more Japanese people in Hawaii than in Japan, ha ha. For a more upmarket steak go to Wolfgang's and for Italian don't miss out on dinning atTaormina where I had the best bolognese ever, Spinach Fettuccine with Meat and Foie Gras, simply the best.

For lunch at this wonderful city there is so much to do but we were recommended to go to the Helacalarnie hotel ( on the beach ) and have a crab sandwich. Which we did and it was pretty sensational, loads of Alaskan king crab with avocado and crispy bacon served on wholemeal bread cut into soldiers. We ate this whilst sitting in their outdoor area watching the beach and all that goes with it. heaven.

I could not have left Hawaii without a fine dinning experience so after some research we ended up at Chef Mavro which is not on the beach but located in the city. Chef Mavro is an old french chef from Provence and the food was excellent without being over the top. (See separate Blog for more ).

So apart from food there are many places to stay depending on your economic circumstances however if you can afford it stay on the beach at either The Royal Hawaiian, Helacalarnie, Moana Surfrider or the Sheraton. All are great but my favourite is the surfrider as it has a great outside setting, pool, music and you can go to the beach and use their facilities even if you dont stay there. 5 star so it wont be cheap. There are many other cheaper hotels like the Waikiki Gateway which is about 500m from the beach.

So lastly, shopping wow we spent heaps on shoes in particular as they are so cheap, plus good polos shirts, jeans and I even bought a sports jacket. These are best bought at the shopping factory outlet which you can get there by shuttle bus but beware you will spend.

All in all a great 5 days in one of the worlds best destinations and I could write much more but that would be boring. So hope you liked my short travel blog.

Remember you need to book at most good restaurants otherwise you will be disappointed plus if you would like more information on anything just write a comment and I will respond.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MoMo - Melbourne

In Melbourne for the Grand Prix once again and it is something I look forward to every year as the weekend is full of good food, good wine and good people. What else do you need?.

So firstly, we head to MoMo a Middle Eastern style restaurant which has become a bit of an Icon in Melbourne. Unfortunately, although I am writing about this place you will need to be quick if you want to go as it is closing down, I believe next month as the chef is moving on.

The ambiance is fantastic and our private room is large enough for everyone to be seated comfortably. Tonight we are having a degustation menu with matching wines. my flash on my camera wasn't working so I do not have any photographs.

We start off with Fresh water crayfish with egg, saffron and haloumy batter, sautéed scallops, hummus and crispy zucchini flowers in yeast butter. 

This was followed by crispy pigeon with sukkah salt on a mintled salad. Wow this was good. We then had Bistayeea - Morocco's celebrated duck pie with almonds and sweet spices.

The important thing to note is that with every course the waiter did a great job in explaining the dish and the matching wines in a way which made the dinning experience somewhat theatrical making the whole night quite sensational. The winning dish of the night for me was the suckling pig which they bought out on a massive platter before the cut it up to show us what we were getting.

Deserts included frozen orange Turkish delight parfait, fresh fruit and a Turkish apple tea souffle.

This was washed down with matching wines from Spain, France, Victoria and Tuscany.

What a night and wonderfully arranged and executed without a flaw.

If you can get there before it closes I would as it is a worthwhile dinning experience. My score was 9/10 for food and service with delivery a perfect score of 10/10.

MoMo Restaurant
Lower Plaza Level
123 Collins Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

MoMo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blancharu Restaurant - Elizabeth Bay Sydney

A restaurant I have not yet written about and we have been there several times is Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay. This is situated not too far away from the park in Kings Cross near the fountain. The restaurant is quite small and is placed below the footpath so it is easy to miss.

The chef Harunobu Inukai was trained in the art of cooking at Tsuji Cooking School in Osaka, Japan. Harunobu worked at Bilson’s Restaurant for a year, followed by Ampersand Restaurant for two years, where he was awarded two Chefs Hats. In 2000, Harunobu joined VII Restaurant as Executive Chef, where he was again, awarded two Chefs Hats as well as ‘Best New Restaurant’.

The cuisine is Japanese / french and if that rings a bell it is because the chefs have worked in some of our best known restaurants. The food is fine dinning and the 7 course degustation is well worth trying not only for the dishes but the price is affordable as well around $70.

This time around we are taking some friends who are not necessarily into fine dinning so we were a bit worried about what they were going to think. Well we didn't have to worry at all they loved it. Below are 4 dishes we had and all were excellent.

Crown of crab served with eggplant caviar and green pea mousse

Pork belly galette and ganmodoki with mizore sauce

I love this place for its inventive food which is not too far out to enjoy. The menu is constantly changing and if you give them your email address they will send you updates on the changes.My score for service was 8/10 and for food was 9/10. Grab some friends and try it and I am sure you will return for more.