Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Restaurant Hubert, Sydney

The most visited and recommended restaurant this year has got to be Hubert. Based on social media praises and great reviews, it seems like they are not far off from being crowned "best Sydney restaurant" in 2016.

I paid them a visit a couple of months ago.  From the stairs leading down to the restaurant and upon entering the restaurant and bar premises, two things came to mind: grand and magical. The space and fit out is like a bar/club/restaurant straight out of a 1920s Paris period piece film setting. Just like what my dining companion Suze said "The fitout of Hubert is like nothing I've seen in Sydney". Head chef Dan Pepperell (ex-10 William St) is behind the food that has received raving reviews from many punters. We went to try their bar menu (see Suze’s blog post of their restaurant menu offerings) because of our mission: to try the Normandy burger.

One of the most popular dishes here is their Malakoff ($14), which is a half sphere shaped fried gruyere with mustard and pickle. We decided to order two of these because it’s that damn good that we didn’t want to share! From the crisped tasty shell down to the melted stretchy innards it was nothing short of amazing. The sharpness of mustard complimented the cheese well.

The steak frites ($28) is a classic steak and fries dish that consists of a beautifully cooked medium rare 200grams grilled Rangers Valley flank with bordelaise butter and French fries. It was phenomenal! It has to be the best steak and fries I’ve had to date. The bordelaise butter with its red wine and bone marrow goodness was perfect for the steak. The generous amount of thin hand cut fries was crunch and perfectly seasoned.
Normandy Burger
There are many great burgers in Sydney at the moment and Hubert’s Normandy burger ($24 with fries) is one of them. It’s a gourmet cheeseburger with grilled dry aged beef patty, melted gruyere cheese, generous amount of tangy and creamy sauce Hubert in a light brioche bun. It also came with dill pickles on the side. The beef patty was juicy and smoky with a caramelised crust that added extra umami to the burger. The soft light brioche bun used for the burger was the perfect vessel. The whole burger handled well too.

You can also order desserts at the bar area.

The crème caramel ($18) was good and flawless in technique but didn’t quite get there for me. I liked the bitter caramel and how smooth the egg custard was, but I would have preferred if the custard was a little bit sweeter. That way, you would get a nice contrast between the egg custard and caramel.

The melon en surprise ($22) was amazing and refreshing! I forgot take a photo of its innards but underneath the top layer of coconut sorbet you’ll find balls of Santa Claus melon, which has a similar taste to honeydew with pieces of sorrel jelly and finger lime. You need to order this when in Hubert.

Believe the hype! Restaurant Hubert is as great as everyone says it is. I will definitely be back for a sit down session at their restaurant area.

Restaurant Hubert
15 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Operating hours:
Monday to Saturday 5pm-1am.
Restaurant Hubert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bar Ume, Surry Hills

Kerby Craig (Executive chef) is back along with head chef Jo (ex-chef and Pitmaster at Vic's Meat Market) and a new team. They are located at the same spot as Ume Restaurant but has rebranded the joint as Bar Ume.

It is now a casual Japanese themed bar that's generally a bar that includes a menu from Kerby's Ume Burger and daily/weekly Japanese snacks specials. I can't help but feel like I was transported back to Blacows at Ebisu. It has a bar/cafe/bistro vibe just like Blacows. The place still has most of Ume Restaurant's interior intact but with a few changes. Expect a good range of sake, wine and whisky. But I was there to smash burgers and fried chicken.
Koji fried chicken

The koji fried chicken ($9) is pieces of amazing karaage chicken! Each bite starts with a crisped coating and followed by a super succulent meat bursting with flavoursome juice consisting fruity and ginger notes from the shio koji marinade. The mayo was so addictive too. 
Double bacon cheeseburger

The double bacon cheeseburger ($20) is a well constructed classic burger with double wagyu beef patty, sexy melted double American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, onion, rice vinegar pickles and Ume's special sauce in a soft milk bun. The wagyu patty works well even if it was cooked almost well-done as it was still so juicy. The patty was also lightly seasoned so that it doesn't get overly flavoured along with the sauce. I prefer my burgers without the salad but the salad in this didn't bother me at all as it was quite minimal. This has gotta be the best "classic style" burger in Sydney at the moment.
Ebi burger

Their ebi burger ($15) tastes as perfect as it looks. I mean just look at it! It's so beatifully constructed! It consists of prawn katsu, Japanese tartare sauce and shredded cabbage in a soft milk bun. The prawn katsu patty was simply awesome with its golden-crisped crumb coating and perfectly cooked prawns.

I love the burgers at Bar Ume right now. They are all about perfection in simplicity and balance.

Bar Ume
478 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW
Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 11am to 11pm

Sunday 11am to 9pm

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Seoul Project, Sydney

Seoul good in the hood mah homies! Sydney's Townhall area has just gotten more delicious with the addition of a new Korean restaurant. The new Seoul Project is tucked away in the laneway-like Wilmot Street. 

The place has a contemporary tavern feel with industrial fittings. It's definitely not your typical traditional Korean restaurant. It offers modern Korean cuisine, which breaks the boundaries of traditional cooking. Basically in their case, Korean cuisine meets Dude Food. You can still expect the fermented based dishes, Bo ssam, bibimbap and jjigae dishes. There's also Western influenced dishes like kimchi fries and corn cheese pizza! 
Brown and black rice mix
Kimchi jjigae
Their kimchi jjigae or hot pot/stew ($16) is super tasty and perfect to have in this cold weather! It has a kimchi infused broth, tender pork ribs, tofu, enoki, and other vegetables. I loved the mild to medium heat and sour flavour in the broth. The smoky notes in the soup gave it depth. Perfect for adding to your rice! The sweetness from the soft veggies gave balance to the dish. 
Corn cheese pizza

The corn cheese pizza ($16) is not an actual pizza but rather a smart and mind blowing play on an Italian classic. The base is a buttery flaky pastry topped with corn, scallions and gooey melted cheese. It all worked so freakin' well! It also had hints of garlic and sweet chive flavours.
Snow Korean fried chicken
Then the main event: their snow Korean Fried Chicken ($18 half chicken). This one belongs up there as one of the best Korean Fried Chickens in Sydney. The rippled coating of the chicken was super crunchy and the meat was juicy and flavoursome. The cheese powder was like powdered twisties with tiny notes of garlic and sweet onion flavour. It was a complete delightful sensory experience indeed!

I will definitely be back to try their original Korean Fried chicken ($17), tteokbokki ($26) and oven platter (which is a set of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken wings, and roasted pork belly with chips and salad - $45).

Ah mashita!

Seoul Project
9 Wilmot Street
Sydney NSW

Opening Hours
Mon to Thurs: 11:30am - 3pm, 5:00om - 1:00am
Friday to Saturday: 11:30am - 1:00am

Sunday: 11:30am - 12am
Seoul Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shin Yasaka, Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is blessed with heaps of Japanese restaurants. It's no wonder that one of Sydney's leading ramen shops has opened a new branch north of the bridge. Shin (meaning new) Yasaka opened in the heart of Neutral Bay last Saturday, 2nd of July 2016. Yasaka's head chef Takeshi Sekigawa will be moving from the CBD shop to concentrate more on Shin Yasaka. 
Head chef - Takeshi Sekigawa

Besides from the space being smaller than the CBD joint, the menu is different too. You'll find a cut down version of Yasaka's ramen menu plus some new additions like the kakuni and chashu bao. The big difference will be in the broth. Whilst Yasaka CBD uses a pressure cooker to create their tonkotsu broth, Shin Yasaka uses a labour intensive two-pot method that creates a thicker and intense broth. The final broth is a result of combining stock from a pot with gentle boil and stock from another pot with an agressive boil. It's similar to Gumshara and Muteppou's gravy-like broth but with his own spin to it. Every broth is flavoured with either a shoyu, shio or miso tare of your choice. You're also given an order sheet to customise your ramen and order dishes with. The whole wheat noodles used in every ramen are still made in-house. 

I was invited to their opening ceremony ahead of the official opening day to sample some items from the menu. 

Their karaage chicken is a delicious version of this classic Japanese snack. It had a juicy, gingery and slightly sweet flavoured meat with crisped and doughy batter.
Shin yasaka ramen with extra ajitama
We were served with their house specialty ramen, which is the shin Yasaka ramen ($14) with extra ajitama (flavoured marinated egg). Toppings included double tender slices of chashu, green onion, menma and nori. The broth is like golden liquid! It was dense, rich and thanks to the shoyu tare, it had a deep pork flavour. The noodles were springy but slightly on the soft side. The ajitama was lightly flavoured with a runny yolk. I was really impressed with this ramen.

We also got to try their kakuni bao ($6.80), which is a buttery braised pork tendon in a soft pillow of half moon steamed bun. It also comes with a cool Yasaka stamp! 

I went back on their opening day to try another ramen and be one of the first 50 customers to get a free No Ramen No Life sweater!

Karaage chicken

Spare rib ramen
I had their spare rib ramen ($22) with extra chilli pickled cabbage and ajitama topping. Hot damn the pork spare rib was massive! The tender fatty meat was braised for hours and then flame seared before serving. I asked for the same shoyu tonkotsu broth and on the sheet I chose: normal taste with thick consistency. The broth came out the same as the shin yasaka ramen from the opening ceremony but was a little less thick. I asked for an extra topping of chilli pickled cabbage to cut through the richness. I preferred the noodles this time around as it was more springy. 

Just like the CBD shop, Shin Yasaka does pretty amazing and solid ramen. There's still some hiccups with the way the ordering system works but since they are quite new, I'm sure it will all be sorted out soon. 


Ramen Raff was invited by SD Marketing Global as a guest of Shin Yasaka for the opening ceremony.

Ramen Raff paid for food and beverages on the second visit.

Shin Yasaka
161-163 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW 

Opening hours
Lunch: 11:30am to 3:00pm
Dinner: 5:00pm to 9:30pm

Yasaka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato