Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ramen Lunch at Gaku, Darlinghurst


Chef Haru is back y’all!!! One of Sydney’s favourite chefs is back with a new joint. For those of us who’s a big fan of Ikkyu, this is a big deal. He’s teased us with pop-ups and appearances here and there throughout last year.





He has recently opened a new Japanese robata grill restaurant with Chef Shimon Hanakura in the heart of Darlinghurst called Gaku. It will be serving mouthwatering grilled meats and a solid range of Japanese sake for dinner. But every lunchtime, Gaku will be a ramenya. The interior is very contemporary Japanese with mostly counter-style seating. There are 4 ramen choices on offer. We opted for the chicken tonkotsu ramen and yuzu duck ramen.

Duck ramen is huge in Tokyo right now. But here in Sydney, it’s still considered novelty. The yuzu duck ramen ($17) is like no other in Sydney. The broth consists of hints of yuzu citrus flavour from the jus, which brings out this nice smoky duck flavour and some peppery notes in the duck consommé-style broth. The bouncy noodles are cooked somewhere between katame and medium. It’s topped with tasty sous vide duck, duck meatballs, sweet and crispy fried burdock sticks. It’s quite an innovative bowl in my opinion and a good example of Haru’s expertise in modern refined-style ramen.

The chicken tonkotsu ramen ($16) on the other hand is more of a classic. A bowl with broth that’s rich in umami and heavy on the chiyu (fat) but not too dense in consistency. The aburi chashu here is extremely good! Both fatty, smoky and flavoursome. This is probably my favourite between the two bowls. It’s also topped with negi, flavoursome half ajitama and fried burdock.


There are also side snacks available! Classic gyoza ($6 for 4 pieces) with those perfectly crisped caramelised bits and a tasty Shimon’s karaage chicken ($6). Do yourself a favour and order the karaage chicken! Some of the best I've had in Sydney.

I can’t wait until Haru-san starts serving grilled meats for dinner! But in the meantime, I’m more than happy to crush bowls at Gaku. Omedetou gozaimasu Haru-san and Shimon-san!

Gaku Robata Grill
2/132 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst NSW
Open for ramen every day Lunch from 12:00 until all bowls are finished.
40 to 50 ramen bowls daily.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Quay Restaurant, Sydney



This place does not need any introduction. Quay has made it to the World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants at No. 26 in 2011. For 9 years running, they have been within the top 100. Various reviews and tv shows have continuously vouched for this prestige institution.








Quay is situated at the Overseas Passenger terminal area between Circular Quay area and The Rocks. One cannot deny that this iconic culinary instution stands out amongst its peers in Sydney. They are not just another fine dining restaurant. Chef Peter Gilmore and his team tries and succeeds at harnessing local produce and fusing styles and techniques from different parts of the globe. The breathtaking backdrop of the Harbour Bridge on one side and the Sydney Opera house on another adds to the elegant charm of this place.

My homie Brian of Ramen Adventures and I visited Quay back in December. Here are the dishes from our 8 course tasting menu degustation:


The raw smoked Blackmore Wagyu, fermented chilli miso, shaved fungi, Kombu, cultured cream, dory roe was all about showing the different facets of umami. The cultured cream gave balance to the dish.

Congee of hand dived scallops, heart of palm, black vinegar laver.


Slow cooked quail, fermented mushroom custard, walnuts, brioche porridge, seed crackling.

I have never had a pork dish quite like the fan shell razor clam, shaved shiitake, smoked pig jowl, sea cucumber crackling. The pig jowl meat was buttery and it almost melts in your mouth. Replacing the pork crackling with a sea cucumber crackling was a genius way to add extra umami and texture to the dish.


The steamed coral trout, Southern squid, green almonds, sake is one of the best fish dishes I’ve had. The trout was perfectly cooked and I really appreciated the extra layers of flavours and textures from the squid, almonds and sake broth.


Arkady lamb, barletta onions, ice plant, oca, lemon puree, roasted hemp seed.



Oloroso caram, muscovado, dulce muscatel, walnut.


The last and star dish of the night is Sydney’s most famous dessert, the Snow Egg. It is legendary and amazing as everyone says it is. Everything from the granita to the delicate meringue shell to the custardy core is pure bliss. It is indeed my favourite dessert in the world and I’m quite sad that it’s leaving Quay after the 1st of April this year.



The dining experience at Quay was nothing short of spectacular. Everything from the service, to the iconic views and the food. I now see what the hype surrounding this place is all about. My dear readers, if you haven’t had the Snow Egg, I suggest you get there ASAP!

Quay Restaurant
Overseas Passenger Terminal,
Hickson Rd,
The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9251 5600

Opening hours:
Lunch
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Bookings from 12pm – 1.30pm

Dinner
Daily: Bookings from 6pm – 9.30pm
The reservations office is open from 9am – 7pm, Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday.



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

Monday, March 5, 2018

A-Team's Kitchen, Rooty Hill



Throughout my years of living in Sydney, I have not come across any accessible traditional OG Filipino food that gave me that “wow” factor until recently. Yes, there’s the high-end Rey’s Place that’s smashing it right now and I absolutely love them. But out here in Western Sydney only one Filipino shop has impressed me to date and that’s the A-Team Kitchen.





This humble eatery is located hidden on Weston Lane right in Rooty Hill’s core shopping area. The staff are heaps friendly but don’t expect anything fancy here. Yes, it can be loud and hectic but the food here is amazing even by your typical Filipino tito and tita (uncle and aunt in Tagalog) food critic standards. The menu is small but dude, every dish we tried delivered!



Let’s start with bar restaurant staple, sisig. You have a choice of either 1 serve of sisig, which comes with rice ($12), or a larger serving of sisig with 2 serves of rice ($19). Buttery and tasty broiled pieces of pork ears and cheeks came out on a sizzling plate with egg (to be mixed with the rest of the meat) and lemon for drizzling. It was textural, with caramelised crisps of fond, slightly sweet, slightly sour and it had lots of umami. Love the extra layer of sweetness an bite from the green onions and chilli. By far the most legit sisig I’ve had in Sydney.

The bbq pork skewers ($10 for 3 sticks) here are pretty good too. They use super tender pork neck mixed with some fatty parts. The flavour is slightly on the sweet peppery side.

I have never had Batangas lomi ($9.50) before. The soup base is like a thick Chinese-style egg drop soup that’s full of umami. It also had flat noodles cooked al dente, bits of pork meat and topped with chicharon (pork crackling).

The crispy pata ($20) here is insane! Not only is the crackling perfectly crisped with some soaked up flavour pre-cooking but the meat is juicy and flavoursome.

They also have that mouth-watering Cebu-style lechon belly that’s available for lunch most days!


They have some desserts available like taho ($5), which is silky tofu with caramel syrup and sago pearls. I highly recommend the special halo halo ($8) here, which includes the usual halo halo toppings with extra leche flan, ice cream and ube halaya.

Y’all need to visit the A-Team Kitchen whenever you are near Rooty Hill area. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with how delicious the food is!

Tip: You will need to get your own spoon and forks near the counter.

A-Team Kitchen
4/52 Rooty Hill Road North,
Rooty Hill NSW
(02) 983293376
Hours:
Mon to Wed 9:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday 9:00am - 6:00pm
Friday 9:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am - 4:00pm