Sunday, 13 April 2014

Element6 Cafe (West Ryde, Sydney)

I think I have said it before on my blog that I can be so slow sometimes. Well, when it comes to this cafe I was slow! It has taken me so long to check it out and am I glad I did!

Element6 is located on the quiet and slow end of West Ryde. It is on the side where the Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club is located and is seriously the only place on the strip of shops showing any signs of life.

Who would think there would be a cool, hip and very happening cafe here? But there is.

My post covers 3 visits I have done over the past few weeks. The first 2 were at breakfast and the 3rd was at lunch time.

Moroccan spiced baked eggs with chickpeas, eggplant, haloumi, zhough and dukkah. Served with some warmed Lebanese bread.

How good was it?!? Let's just say I finished it up and was full as. Loved the spices, and the saltiness of the haloumi added another dimension to the baked eggs. Loved it!

Honeybee smoothie banana with cinnamon, yoghurt and honey. Deliciously creamy!

E6 fav of Rosemary garlic mushrooms with 2 poached eggs, haloumi, baby spinach, roast tomato on sourdough.

It was a very generous serving of mushrooms. Talk about abundance. And the 2 poached eggs were perfectly cooked. They looked too perfect to break into to but I did it anyway. Another great dish!

This time I ordered a 'green with envy' smoothie which consisted of kale, spinach, green apple, lemon, beets, cucumber, parsley, mint and agave. Suffice to say it was delicious, it didn't taste like it was full of veggies and I loved it enough to order it the 3rd time I was there. I sure felt healthy drinking it! :)

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Armchair Collective (Mona Vale, NSW)

A cafe right smack in the midst of a home and decor store! How cool is this and how attractive a thought?!?

I cannot recall when I first heard or read about Armchair Collective but I do remember putting it on my list. Not long ago, I decided to take a Saturday drive with my friend MO. Partly to belatedly celebrate her birthday and partly to de-stress from what has been one of the worst weeks I have had at work.

The weather forecast on that day warned of potential rain but we were blessed with fantastic weather.

When we arrived at the cafe/store I was fascinated by the eclectic homeware and how the tables and seats were cleverly interspersed throughout the store.

After perusing their menu their corn fritters caught my eye. It was a breakfast only dish which was served until 11.30 am. We missed it by about 10 minutes. There is a section of the menu which was 'all day breakfast' but the corn fritters was not on that list. I decided to ask if I could order it and the chef was apparently in a good mood and said yes! Woo hoo!

My sweet corn fritters with avocado salsa and bacon was delicious! Beautifully plated with gorgeous colours; it was slightly sweet, salty and there were hits of saltiness from the bacon which was wrapped in the middle of the fritters!

MO had a craving for burger so she had the Collective beef burger with tomato chilli jam, Spanish onion, fresh tomato, beetroot, tasty cheese with some thick cut chips. She definitely liked the serving on a board. It was a very rustic looking serving of what was a rather delicious burger. The chips were great too! And yes..I stole a few mouthful of the chips and even had a bit of the burger! :)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Botanist (Kirribilli, Sydney)

Who would think a restaurant/bar would be named The Botanist? This place is named in homage to Gerard Fothergill, a pioneer in the studies of medicinal benefits of plants and spices. He was renowned for wearing a hat and bow ties. This accounts for the very interesting logo fronting the venue and menus.

I met up with some of my fellow travellers from my last NYC trip and they were equally delighted with the venue. It was quite cute and had a funky bar vibe. All amongst plants scattered throughout the place.

We decided to order some share plates.

Crunchy fried squid with tahini remoulade.

Spiced goats cheese ravioli, peas, spinach, and rustic crumbs.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

March into Merivale 2014 at Est. (Sydney CBD)

Believe it or not, this is my first time attending a March into Merivale event ever! Why on earth haven't I taken advantage of a $33 meal at a 3 hatted restaurant is beyond my comprehension!

My dear friend CW was the one who suggested we do it and after deciding on a weeknight we met up at Est. for dinner. Having been to Est many moons ago I knew the quality of the food would be great and the service beyond par.

Once again, I was not disappointed. The $33 meal deal includes a main and a drink. The main options were:

1) Palmers Island Mulloway fillet, fennel, tomato, radish, pearl couscous, shellfish sauce.
2) Pan-roasted lamb rib eye, cumin seed spinach, green peas, tahini, chickpea shoots, lemon
3) Glazed beef cheeks, grilled pear, pickled onion, puffed rice, roast celeriac puree.

The 2 wine options were:
a) 2013 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc
b) 2013 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir

We had the lamb rib eye and the glazed beef cheeks for our mains. Great selections. The beef was so tender it was practically melt-in-your-mouth. The lamb rib eye was apparently very good too, evidenced by a cleaned up plate.
Lamb rib eye
Beef cheeks
The wine of choice by my 2 friends was the Pinot Noir. I stuck to sparkling water.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Antoine's Grill (Concord, Sydney)

Wow! I cannot believe this will be my 250th post. 3 years on, my blog is still very much alive! Here goes...

I felt like a good piece of steak and when it came time to organising a catch up with some dear friends of mine, I started looking at restaurants which offered quality steak.

Antoine's Grill caught my eye. A French restaurant located in Concord that had a rather nice menu was our choice. Antoine Moscovitz is the chef with a CV filled with having worked under Alain Ducasse, was private chef to the House of Roderer Cristal Champagne, and in Australia had worked at Salt and Bather's Pavilion. Not too bad I say!

Majors Bay Road in Concord is certainly getting busier and busier. And it looks like there are a couple of other restaurants I should bookmark to check out.

When we stepped into Antoine's Grill, I had a sense of being in an European restaurant. The front of house and wait team all had French accents, bar 1 Aussie lad. The tables were square and made of roughly hued wood. Quite rustic but not out of place.

We were seated at a table which looked out to the front and would be considered a private little nook. And little bits of decor accented the French theme.

We started off with an appetiser and entrees:

Toasted sourdough with aged olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The crustiness of the French style bread came through.

Confit diver scallops, green papaya and pickled asparagus, served with beetroot and sweet leek, and preserved Calypso mangoes. I cannot resist scallops and these were perfectly cooked. Succulent, sweet and beautifully offset by the julienned green papaya and asparagus. In terms of balance of portions, I felt there was a lot more of the beetroot puree than was necessary but the colours sure popped on my plate!

Crispy pork belly, sweet capsicum puree caramelised apple, lemon myrtle honey glaze. It went down a treat, NF finished off the plate and throughly enjoyed the dish.

Our mains were:

200g Eye fillet with green peppercorn sauce. The beef was from Darling Downs in Queensland and was 200 days naturally pasture fed. It definitely had a creamy, buttery texture. I had it medium rare and it was beautifully cooked. A very good piece of steak indeed! I forgot to take a picture of the middle of the fillet to display its lovely colour, sorry!