Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Meat District Co., King Street Wharf - Sydney

Meat, burgers, ribs. And beer.
Burgers in spotlight.

How good does that sound?

Meat District Co. has joined Sydney's dining scene since November, offering high quality, reasonably priced burgers and BBQ wonders at the pretty King Street Wharf. Craft beers, wines, and signature cocktails are also in offer to go with your hefty meat feast. With contemporary and rustic design, the place is brimming with comfortable elegance and welcoming ambiance, and the open kitchen downstairs is a thrilling view on its own.

Rather than making you yawn with more words, I'll make you drool with the pictures instead. Enjoy.


Level 2 dining area in natural light. Wooden tables, high stools, and little green plants; elegant and casual at the same time.

Outdoor seating. Who would say no for such view?

The spiral staircase is also a unique addition of the gorgeous interior.


Cured meat platter ($18 for 2, $34 for 4): cold cuts, olives, gherkin, olive bread, crisp lavosh and grapes. Great mix with appealing presentation.

They aren't short on cocktails department either. These molecular cocktails had the pearls that popped cheekily upon consumption.

Compressed, grilled watermelon salad with sumac, goat cheese, and hazelnuts.

Sweet summer corn with chilli, lime and truffle parmesan.

Fries with truffle salt, truffle parmesan, truffle aioli.

Battered onion rings with truffle aioli.

Open kitchen on Level 1. All those grills and meat!

Are those burgers I'm looking at?

Chicken burgers: crumbed chicken breast with sesame seeds, almond flakes, tomato, coleslaw and horseradish.

From all the burgers served that night, my favourite went for the truffle burger than had truffle parmesan and truffle aioli. And mind you, they have 11 different burgers listed on the menu!

Roasted bone marrow served with sourdough.

Beef ribs (twice-cooked, finished on the grill).

One of the highlights of the night: super tender, lip-smacking pork ribs. I can eat this all day.

Steak. I am not sure which cut but they sure know how to handle their meat. Pink in the middle with oozing juice. I wish I had the whole plank.

Meat District Co is a great place to wind up and have some cocktails. Most of the food sampled that night hit the right spot, and personally, I would be happy to come back and have the full portion of the steak. And the fries. And of course, the pork ribs.


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,800

Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Great selections of BBQ items, price is reasonable, can't really say anything about the service since I wasn't actually dining but food seemed to come to the customers' tables quite quickly, ambiance is really nice with killer view.

Irene's Getting Fat! and guest attended launch of Meat District Co. courtesy of Meat District Co. and Polkadot PR (Jordana). Thank you very much! However, all opinions are purely based on my personal taste.



Shop R3 11 Lime Street
King Street Wharf, Sydney
NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9279 4115

Web: Meat District Co
Facebook: Meat District Co

Meat District Co. on Urbanspoon

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Sepia, Sydney CBD

Restaurant of the Year they say.
Sepia's 'Spring Chocolate Forest'

How can I not try? Finally, I can tick off one huge box on my bucketlist. Dining at Sepia, Sydney's Restaurant of the Year 2014. Hoorah.

Sepia, Sydney CBD

There's a lot of expectation when it comes to Sepia. After all, it holds prestigious titles and wins awards, and with chef Martin Benn on the helm, nothing else is accepted but excellence.

The place has deluxe and elegant interior, dominated with dark and neutral colours. It is not a place to wear your summer singlet and thongs, but really, I'm more than happy to doll up for a beautiful place like this.


Sepia is equipped with expert sommeliers and extended variety of wine, but with such warm day, sips of reviving tea were enjoyed instead. My iced koyuki tea had lovely fragrance with subtle hint of citrus.

I was joined by some pretty and hilarious ladies for their degustation option, $190 pp. Seven savoury courses, two desserts.

The teas: (R) iced koyuki tea (high altitude with yuzu, lemon balm, elderflower and white rose)

Our amuse bouche was a bite-sized seared bonito with interesting crunchy surface, creamy chicken cream and smoky sobacha.  It might be tiny but it left giant impression on our taste buds.

Seared bonito, roasted chicken cream, sobacha

Sepia's dishes were incredibly scenic and there were so many ingredients listed, I had to Google some to know what they actually were. Despite the complexity and the crowded description, every single ingredient seemed to belong to each dish they were served in.

A stunning pink ring of sashimi yellow fin tuna encasing goat milk chevre was demolished in no time, thanks to its slightly tangy and smooth characteristic and the thrilling texture play with the pork crackling.

Sashimi yellow fin tuna, goat milk chevre, avocado, pink beauty radish, pork crackling

Hokkaido sea scallop appeared very delicate with the crumbed feta that resembled snow. Beneath a soft layer of spiced tomato jelly/kombu were the fresh and soft scallops hidden.

Hokkaido sea scallop, spiced tomato, horseradish, kombu, aged feta, olive oil

A log of perfectly seared smoked Saikou salmon arrived next and we couldn't be happier. I tried to act classy and elegant by cutting the magnificent smoky salmon but all I wanted to do was to get another five serving of this and stuff them all in my mouth. Especially with the complimenting garlic cream and umami seaweed powder.

Seared smoked Saikou salmon, garlic cream, baby onion, seaweed powder, momiji leaf

Trying to find the Western Australian scampi in the midst of paper-thin sheep yoghurt mushroom was so much fun on its own, and the woody aroma from the raw mushroom passionately hugged my olfactory sense.

Western Austalian scampi scented with Japanese curry, apple, sheep yoghurt mushroom

The scampi was exceptionally juicy and the flesh was sweet; it was obviously cooked to perfection. The Japanese curry made its contribution with its faint yet exciting strokes.

Revealing the scampi

Prior to our main dishes, buttermilk bread and butter were served. The bun was so good I had to do take two. And the pearl-like butter was so perfectly-shaped it was unreal.

Buttermilk bread and butter

Apart from the wasabi butter that was a little bit too overwhelming for me and unusual (for me) sea vegetables, the ribbons of seared David Blackmore wagyu was as good as it could be. Melt-in-your-mouth texture with some fatty traces that only made the whole dish even more exhilarating.

Grilled David Blackmore wagyu, salt pickled cucumber, native sea vegetables, chestnut mushroom, wasabi leaf butter

Feli doesn't eat beef and so she had the Western Australian marron that she gave thumbs up for. The puffed rice crackers were brilliant idea.

Western Australia marron smoked over charcoal, sudachi and shellfish butter, candied lemon aspen, sea vegetables, shell powder

Seared Mandagery Creek venison was our last savoury dish and it closed the session with a bang. I was expecting it to be gamey but it was pleasant on my palate and jaw. It was tender, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. The artichoke leaves were almost mistaken as sweet potato, and everyone scraped the pumpkin puree clean from their plates.

Seared Mandagery Creek venison, sansho pepper, roasted pumpkin, miso, artichoke

Here comes one of the best desserts I've tried: the Citrus. A crackable sphere of white chocolate enclosing oozy blood orange gel sitting on a small pile of many other shades and textures of citrus.

'Citrus' - mandarin, blood orange, yuzu, dai dai, sudachi, thyme flower

It was a pre-dessert and it was one hell of a palate cleanser. It was acidic for sure, but not so much to make you grimace. The white chocolate balanced the piquant parts, and each of us just kept licking our spoons even when there was nothing left on the plate.

Cracked 'Citrus'

The Spring Chocolate Forest was the pièce de résistance for me, and the presentation was so appealing with all facets of the 'forest'.

It looked rather real: the twigs, leaves, pebbles, dirt, flowers. It was a powerful and intense dessert with so many hidden elements and bits and pieces beneath the refreshing and tangy raspberry sorbet. The dominating flavour was clearly the chocolate, although others, such as licorice, blackberry, and the nuts, were also quite recognizable.

The contrasting textures between the smooth sorbet and the cream and the crunchy chocolate 'soil' and twigs just emphasized Sepia's attention to details. 

It did get too overwhelming for me though, and I struggled to get to the finish line.

'Spring Chocolate Forest' - soft chocolate, hazelnut, almond, lavender & honey cream, blackberry sorbet, shiso vinegar jelly, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, bronze fennel

We weren't gonna leave Sepia with another one of their signature dessert: the Japanese stones. Note that this isn't included in the degustation menu.

Japanese stones - $40 (additional dessert)

Another dish that had striking resemblance to the real thing. I would've taken these as real stones if I had not known better.

Not real stones, you guys

There was no way of knowing which stone was filled with either raspberry, passionfruit, or chocolate, so we had to rely on pure luck. Each of us somehow managed to try all three flavours, and it was an unanimous agreement that the zesty passionfruit was the best one.

Raspberry Japanese stone

Overall, it was such an marvelous dining experience, especially given that I've been always a bit skeptical about fine dining. Sepia definitely doesn't skimp on anything food wise, and I can barely fault anything I consumed that day.


With such attention to details, outstanding skills from the kitchen, and food that look more like artworks, nobody should question Sepia's titles.


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,800

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Amazing dishes with minimal misses for me, price is high-end (it's a fine dining what do you expect?), service is great, ambiance is really nice and comfortable.



201 Sussex St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9283 1990

Web: Sepia

Sepia on Urbanspoon

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Cuckoo Callay, Newtown - Sydney

Blink and you'll miss it.
Best.Chips.Ever from Cuckoo Allay

But this one, my friend, you do not want to miss. Cuckoo Callay is the chic little café nestled snuggly literally 10 steps away from the ticket gate of Newtown train station, and with little signage, it is rather easy to miss. But now that you've read this post, I hope you will not walk past this place without at least declaring that you will have to try their food soon.

Cuckoo Allay's exterior

Their outdoor seating is super lovely. Especially with some sunshine and cool breezes. The seating is minimally adorned but they look casual, unique, and pleasing to the eye.

The interior isn't inferior. If anything, some may say it looks better than the exterior with all the pretty lights and more organized couches, chairs, and tables. Just over the corner there are the open kitchen, counter, and the glass cabinet full of baked goodness.


Seating & counter

I was joined by hyped food bloggers and food enthusiasts alike on a gorgeous day, savouring 10 items from their new summer menu.


For the drinks, I was tossing up between the milkshakes and the juices, but the fat Irene won and went for the salted caramel milkshake in the end. Probably one of the best decisions in my life. Not too thick to make it taste like custard, but so moreish with the salty-sweet combo. The PB & J milkshake had such strong peanut hint, which made me stick with mine.

R - L: salted caramel milkshake, PB & J milkshake

We started off with something vegan-friendly, the pretty bowl of Birdy Nom Nom. I am not a big fan of quinoa but this one was superb. I didn't know quinoa pairs well with coconut! And the mango slices were lovely, with interesting candy-like blood orange marmalade on top.

Birdy Nom Nom - coconut quinoa and date bircher served with fresh mango and house made blood orange marmalade ($15)

Why is it called Cinderella's Breakfast?

It's the pumpkin, you see.

Cuckoo Callay seems to have a way to cook my least favourite ingredients. Pumpkin isn't included in the list of food that excites me, but the sweet and dense fritter made a way to my heart. Especially with the ribbons of tasty cured salmon and sexy poached egg!

Cinderella's Breakfast - pumpkin fritters, house cured salmon, poached egg, house made basil pesto and fresh heirloom tomatoes ($17)

The duck sausage on the plate of Bubbles that Squeak was a highlight for me. Supplied by Black Forest Smokehouse in Marrickville, it was very flavoursome with interesting herb-y traces here and there. The pattie itself was solid and quite filling.

Bubbles that Squeak - a bubble and squeak pattie served with duck sausage, house made chilli chutney and a poached egg ($18)

And I am so impressed with the eggs. Perfect poached egg with super sexy runny yolk each time, everytime. Respect.

Egg porn!

Speedy Gonzalez was more of a bare-hand kind of situation, which made it fun to eat. I steered away from the avocado and stole some fiery chorizo instead.

Yes, I don't like avocado. And pumpkin. And eggplant. And oyster. And no, I'm not a picky eater.

Speedy Gonzalez - two breakfast burritos with chorizo, turtle bean relish, fried eggs, marinated avocado, sour cream & chive dressing ($18)

Beeting the Sheep sounded a bit controversial but the fact that I enjoyed eating lamb (which is really unusual for me) was more controversial to me. The paper-thin, crispy pastry made it feel like eating spring rolls, with tender slow cooked lamb hiding inside.

Beeting the Sheep - slow cooked lamb in pastry served with goats turd, toasted pine nuts, pickled beetroot, radish and snow-pea tendrils salad ($19)

Dr Salmon sure loves his summer because the entire plate screamed summer to me. Each parts fit together very well, and the tangy dressing with citrus cured salmon just enhanced the refreshing effect of this dish.

Bring on summer!

Dr Salmon - citrus cured salmon, black quinoa, avocado, fennel, blood orange, French radish and snow-pea tendrils with a lime & ginger dressing ($19)

These are not your typical chips. Shaped and sized more like jenga blocks, each log of the Best.Chips. Ever guaranteed satisfaction but also induced greed. Although it wasn't as crunchy as I had hoped, sharing was a big challenge on this one.

Best.Chips.Ever - triple cooked chips with aioli ($9)

By this point I was holding my stomach and panting because I was so full. I only managed to get one bite of Mother Ducker but it was one hell of a mouthful. The flavours were great, and the tender duck won me.

Mother Ducker - pulled duck, sauteed potatoes, green lentils, shallots, shaved asparagus, poached egg and chilli jam ($22)

Snowman in Summer offered manifold textures from all of the ingredients, and the dressing just made it very easy to consume, especially in a warm day of summer.

Snowman in Summer - marinated Dutch carrot salad with blanched kale, avocado, toasted pepitas and lemon yogurt dressing ($16)

Having to leave early, I left before meeting Berets, Stars & Stripes (brioche French toast with maple bacon, peanut caramel, whipped ricotta, cornflakes and maple syrup). Just another reason for me to come back.

And BTW, who says only humans can enjoy their meal at Cuckoo Callay? Just ask Ziggy, I think he thoroughly enjoyed his treats and Pupachino.

Ziggy and his Pupachino ($3)

Overall, I think Cuckoo Callay has successfully morphed boring breakfast items into something that's exciting and satisfying. Each ingredients play significant part in every dish, either for texture, flavour, or visual.

So that's why, people, you don't wanna miss Cuckoo Callay.


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,800

Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great dishes with amazing presentation, price is really reasonable, service is top notch, ambiance is casual and comfy.

Irene's Getting Fat! and guest attended Summer Menu tasting at Cuckoo Callay courtesy of Cuckoo Callay and Wasamedia (Alana). Thank you very much! However, all opinions are purely based on my personal taste.



Newtown Train Station
Newtown, NSW 2042

Phone: (02) 9557 7006

Facebook: Cuckoo Allay

Cuckoo Callay on Urbanspoon

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