Monday, 9 November 2015

Saké, The Rocks - Sydney

Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Chef Selection Sushi Set from Saké

That's what Saké is for me.

Raved as one of the most renowned Japanese restaurant in Sydney, I expected nothing but the spectacular stuff when I decided to book for the guy's birthday dinner.

I took no interior pictures because (a) the lightning makes it a bit challenging, (b) we were seated on the bar table and not the main dining area, (c) I was trying to touch my camera as little as possible because a special birthday dinner shouldn't be ruined by me taking photos of every crooks of the restaurant (like I usually do).

We did check out the main dining area and boy it was lively and such a great view. Open kitchen with chefs, Japanese or not, yelling orders in Japanese, and food flying out from the bench to hungry customers' plate. Japanese articles dotted merrily across the elegant and stylish dining area. Service was great too; attentive and very friendly.

I wish we had ordered the main courses, but it was clear that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.

After a round or two of Asahi and choya umeshu, chicken karaage arrived on the table because it was the first one I spotted from the menu. Ridiculously crispy batter and juicy tender chicken, served with three different sauces and salsas, it was sure a great way to start the night.

And in my opinion, chicken karaage and Asahi should just get married already.

Chicken karaage - served with sauces and salsa ($17)

Brined pork belly robata looked and smelled as amazing as it tasted, fatty and succulent pork belly with braised daikon in the middle.

Brined pork belly robata ($12)

We thought sharing Chef's Selection Sushi Set was a good idea; we wasn't expecting it to be that filling. The colourful plate consisted of 10 different types of nigiri, classic thin roll, tamago as the 'dessert', escorted with a bowl of the most amazing miso soup I've ever tasted.

Although all of the raw seafood was fresh and did not leave any disturbing fishy smell or after taste, my pupils dilated to the smoked kingsfish. The tamago ended the medley with a sweet note, and have I told you it was the most amazing miso soup?

Chef selection sushi set - nigiri, sushi roll, tamago, miso soup ($47)

Between the miso caramel chocolate fondant and green tea kit kat, the guy chose the latter. It was his birthday so automatically I followed suit.

I have never been so surprised in my life. Before I met this picturesque dessert, my favourite green-tea based dessert is Chanoma's soft serve. And I am not a green tea liker, let alone lover.

I LOVED this one.

The layered dessert included Varlhona milk chocolate crunch, green tea ganache, and white chocolate mousse on the description, perfected by cubes and strip of raspberry jelly, a quanelle of earl grey ice cream and chocolate wafer.

It tasted like green tea kit kat but a hundred thousand times better. The green tea flavour was strong enough so any green tea devotee can't complain, but dimmed only so slightly by the creamy and sweet white chocolate mousse. The crunch gave another dimension for the texture play, contrasted the wiggly jelly, and the earl grey ice cream really couldn't get better than that. So creamy and fragrant, with vivid flavour.

Green tea kit kat ($?)

Drink wise, they have vast selection of it. From Japanese sweet choya umeshu (plum wine) to varieties of cocktails. My pink blossom was very appealing, with refreshing tangy notes and lovely sweet aftertaste while the Hattori Hanzo was the more interesting between the two, a concoction made of Bombay Sapphire gin, yuzu sake, jalapeno pepper, cucumber, elderflower & citrus, served with mishima (herby and salty) rim.

Fore: Pink Blossom (choya umeshu shaken with fresh passionfruit, strawberries & citrus, topped with cranberry juice - $18), back: Hattori Hanzo (Bombay Sapphire gin, Yuzu Sake, jalapeno pepper, cucumber, elderflower & citrus, served with a mishima rim - $18)

Overall it was a handsome dinner with remarkable ambiance. Next visit will see me ordering more food and not easily conquered by a sushi platter for sure. That's a promise.


Currency: $1 = IDR 9,600

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Great Japanese food with awesome ambiance, service is great, price is reasonable on the higher end.



12 Argyle St
The Rocks
Sydney, NSW

Phone: (02) 6181 2661

Web: Saké

Saké Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously, Surry Hills

They take coffee seriously.
Pork belly kimcheese burger from HTCJ

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously, HTCJ for short, located just five steps away from Central Station, opened its doors to coffee connoisseurs, foodies, and all Sydney-siders who are eager to welcome more cafes into the town.

They specializes in coffee and all its complicated stratum. The interior is somewhat rustic with visible vent pipes and brick wall. One side of the cafe is dedicated for coffee and tea display, with their fancy coffee machine.


I was genuinely tempted by the hot chocolate but I thought I just had to try their coffee. I won't use big words to describe my mocha; it was a pleasant sip although I did have to put some white sugar in.


Anna had called dibs on the pork belly kimcheese burger, although I'd have ordered it for myself, just secretly. The burger was filled so full to the brim with delicious five spices roasted pork belly, kimchi, bocconccini cheese, grated apples, kale, sesame omelet and shaved radish.

The whole shebang was like a parade full of jumping flavours, although some were dimmed by the others. The pork belly was of course the queen of the show, incredibly tender and succulent. Touches of zing were obtained from the radish, kimchi, and apples. My only problem was that I found the buns slightly dry.

Pork belly kimcheese burger - $20

I took the second most-appealing menu: genmaicha tea & miso roasted chicken burger. It looked like it can feed two people easily and consisted of fried cabbage, flaked almond and coriander. It was fragrant and the textural contrast was lovely. The sauce itself was interesting, creamy with subtle purr of tea and the umami miso. The chicken, albeit smoky and tender, was a wee bit undercooked in the middle.

Genmaicha tea & miso roasted chicken burger - $16.5

Of course, we just had to have dessert.

Masfogato was a clever twist of affogato, although here, we wasn't pleasured by any scoop of ice cream. Instead, we had the rich brownie with creamy mascarpone. The pecans were a nice touch, and because neither of us is a coffee-drinker, we found the espresso a bit too strong for us. This is, however, a perfect dessert for a coffee geek.

More perfect if there is a scoop of ice cream.

Masfogato (73% Madagascan dark chocolate brownie with frozen mascarpone and a shot of house blend espresso) - $13


Currency: $1 = IDR 10,000

Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Great place for dedicated coffee lover, good food with quite numerous options on the menu, price is reasonable, cozy ambiance and great service.



30-34 Chalmers St
Surry Hills
Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8317 6390

Web: Haven

Haven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sokyo Ramen Pop-Up, The Star - Sydney

It's Sokyo, so it MUST be good, right?

Needles to say, expectations were high for these bowls of ramen from Chase Kojima's kitchen, along with his head chef Mai Tatekawa. Sokyo Ramen Pop-Up has been attracting curious Instagramers and all foodie alike, and we hungry bunch of ramen lovers head there on a Thursday night hoping it won't be too crowded.

With bright neon light and striking colourful cut-outs, the little stall is impossible to miss.

Sokyo Ramen Pop-Up

There were five of us so we went all in. Four ramens, one fried chicken, and two drinks.

Before I continue further, let me make a huge announcement: I am a Gumshara girl. I'm all about that thick, full-of-collagen soup with slightly hard noodles. I'm all about clogging my arteries, in other words.

Sokyo's ramen, on the contrast, is generally very tame. The broth is light, clean, and rather salty.

Kyoto shoyu ramen showcased it's umami goodness, the chicken-based broth played daintily against the backfat and pork cheek chashu which was heavenly tender. Unlike most ramen houses, they use pork cheek instead of pork belly.

Kyoto shoyu ramen (umami soy; chicken dashi with pork backfat and pork cheek chashu) - $15

I had my money on the gyokairui tonkatsu ramen as it has the threesome combination of pork, chicken, and seafood as the bases of the broth, but it was not as rich as I hoped it would be.

The noodles were cooked nicely, although many have complained about them being soft, I found no case of it here.

Gyokairui tonkotsu ramen (pork, seafood & chicken dashi with pork cheek chashu) - $16

The yuzu shio ramen was probably the most interesting, with transient linger of the tangy and fragrant yuzu. The broth has the essence of chicken and katsuoboshi (dried fish).

Yuzu shio ramen (chicken & katsuobushi dashi with yuzu and mixed green salad and pork cheek chashu) - $15

When all hope of stronger flavours almost seemed to vanish, spicy miso tantanmen gave a great breakthrough.

The vivid red broth is obtained from mixing spicy miso butter to pork and seafood dashi, topped with pork minced, tomato, and broccoli. It does not have a strong fiery kick and there is still a solid salty notes, but it sure packed more punch and excitement than its other siblings.

Spicy miso tantanmen (right corner) (pork & seafood dashi with miso and spicy pork mince) - $16

Now let us talk about Mai-san fried chicken.

Crunchy batter, succulent flesh, and tasty spicy aioli. It couldn't get better. Give me more.

Mai-san fried chicken - $9

A mention needs to be given to the watermelon juice which I absolutely adore although the rest of the group prefer the refreshing yuzu pop soda.

It may not be my bowl of ramen but I'm sure it's attracting its own fans. It's only here until the end of November you guys.


Currency: $1 = IDR 9,800

Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Please note that the rating only reflects on the food and food only. 



Level G Darling at the Star
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9657 9161

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