Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Maslow's Nights at Maslow's, Naremburn

Life's a journey and bringing one's dream to life makes that journey quite spectacular. My buddy Chef Jack New re-opened Maslow's a few months ago at Naremburn. For 11 years, it's been his dream to create his own dinner menu in his own restaurant. That dream transpired into Maslow's Night Menu.

Beautiful flat white with Seven Seeds seasonal blend

Every Thursday to Saturday nights, you can indulge in Jack's new creations based on seasonal produce. You can choose between 2 courses ($45) or 3 courses ($60). There's a BYO corkrage of $5 if you want to bring in your own booze. Here's what we had on the night:

Entrée :
Beef pellmell with roasted beetroot dashi and soured cream

The beef Pelmeni with roasted beetroot dashi and soured cream tasted as beautiful as it looked. Pelmeni is a Russian-style dumpling where the pastry made from buttermilk stuffed with flavoursome beef. The pastry was cooked al dente. The beef filling was full of ginger and herby goodness. I would have liked the roasted beetroot dashi broth with more dashi punch but I still appreciated the lightness of the broth. The soured cream added body to the broth.
Black risotto with creamed cauliflower and curried cashews

Jack's passion for cooking seafood was evident in his black risotto with creamed cauliflower and curried cashews. The risotto also had squid ink and pieces of nicely cooked squid meat. The dish had a salty taste balanced with sweet and nutty flavours. The buttery flavour from the curried cashews  and sweet creamed cauliflower also helped to mellow down strong flavours in the dish.

Grilled swordfish with zucchini, edamame and brown butter

Another dish that made Jack's seafood cooking prowess shine was the grilled swordfish with zucchini, edamame and brown butter. The swordfish was very smokey and perfectly cooked. The browned butter and swordfish was a perfect match. The butter just goes well with the smokey fish. The zucchini and edamame brought nice sweet elements to the dish.
Braised beef cheek with slow roasted carrot and maple miso

The massive braised beef cheek with  slow roasted carrots and maple miso was an excellent dish! The beef cheeks went through a 2-day process and ended up extremely tender, buttery and flavoursome. The carrot is glazed with maple miso for extra sweetness. The carrot absolutely complimented the beef. It also came with crisp kipfler chips.

Tea poached pear with creme fraiche and smoked lavender
We tried the tea poached pear with crème fraiche and smoked lavender. The pear was soft with additional sweet herbal flavours. The smoked lavender pieces almost had a chewy consistency with a sweet taste. The crème fraiche was a good accompaniment to the smoked lavender and gave it a nice contrasting texture.
Butterscotch mousse with beignets and toasted almonds

Last but not least is a dessert that blew my mind: the butterscotch mousse with beignets and toasted almonds. I looked forward to this the most because I know that Jack's butterscotch game is strong. The mousse was just beautiful with its buttery and toffee flavours. The perfect mini beignets (Louisiana-style doughnuts) were fluffy with a slight crisped shell. The mousse and the beignets along with the icing sugar and almonds were absolute bliss in a plate.

Jack's love for various cuisines with highlights of Japanese and European influences are very evident in his dinner menu dishes. Maslow's Nights is something one shouldn't miss.

Ramen Raff was invited as a guest of Maslow's.

Maslow's Nights
286 Willoughby Rd,
Naremburn NSW 2065

Maslow's dinner hours:

Thursday to Saturday from 6pm till late.
Maslow's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 9, 2015

Night Noodle Markets 2015, Sydney

Cebu-style Lechon from Hoy Pinoy
One of the most anticipated events of Good Food Month is here! The Night Noodle Markets has become one of my favourite events of this food festive month. The street-like dynamic vibe  and 50 stalls across Hyde Park is a sight to behold. There are newcomers like the famed Black Star Pastry/N2 gelato collaboration, Devon, Ramen Zundo and the popular Neutral Bay Japanese establishment - Jugemu & Shimbashi. Hoy Pinoy from  Melbourne is back and bigger with two stalls including Cebu Lechon at the main stall (yes, just like last year just follow the smoke!).

We arrived before 5pm on the first night to avoid the big crowd and long queues. I knew that 50 stalls of Asian, Pan-Asian and fusion cuisine to chose from would be quite overwhelming. So I created a narrowed down list of stalls to visit:

Lechon with rice and lechon sauce

When I found out that Hoy Pinoy was bringing Cebu Lechon ($15 with rice, atchara and sauce) to event, it sealed the deal for me. The extra tender flavoursome meat was amazing! The meat was the highlight as I could taste the distinct garlic and herbs stuffing flavour in the smokey meat, which is what Cebu-style lechon is known for. It came with a sweet liver-based sauce. I was in happyland whilst devouring the lechon! The lechon is only available Thursday to Sunday during the Night Noodle Markets. 

Pork bbq skewers

Their famous large pork bbq skewers ($12 = 2pcs with rice and atchara) were also available. This time the meat was more fatty and juicy. The sweet banana ketchup based bbq glazed was spot on and legit as usual! 

Bao Chicka Bao Bao

Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar is back with their Asian-themed gelato desserts including fried gua bao desserts. Messina gave me a sample of their sexy Bao Chicka Bao Bao dessert ($12). It consists of peanut gelato, peanuts, and melted milk chocolate in a fried gua bao. The peanut gelato went so well with gua bao that was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This is one item you should not miss. 

Oh hai Ed!
Brokeback moment
Strawberry watermelon cake

Then there's that awesome plate combo ($25) plate from the Black Star/N2 collaboration, which consists of the Brokeback Moment, Teafogato, and strawberry watermelon cake. When those two get together, delicious culinary alchemy is born. The Brokeback is a lovely vanilla gelato with bites of honeycomb, choc topped and pipette of salted caramel sauce. Most of us know the Black Star's beautiful classic strawberry watermelon cake, which has layers of almond dacquoise, fresh whipped cream, watermelon, pistachios, strawberries and rose petals. The Teafogato was absolutely beautiful! It consists of strawberry watermelon cake smashed N2 gelato drowned in Tippity Hibiscus Rooibos Tea Soda with freeze-dried cherries.

Here are other dishes that we tried:
Roti making action at Mamak stall
Roti Canai from Mamak

Gyozas from Harajuku Gyoza

Flavoured edamame from Jugemu & Shimbashi

Okonomi pork belly pita sandwich from Jugemu & Shimbashi

Ramen fried chicken from Everybody Loves Ramen (From the folks that brought us Hoy Pinoy)
Fried Peking duck and braised pork belly gua baos

I went back on Saturday to try out Bao Stop. Word on the street is that their gua baos are insanely awesome. Believe the hype! The trifecta is a choice of three gua baos of your choice for $20. I opted for 2 braised pork belly gua baos and the fried peking duck gua bao. The tender pork belly braised in masterstock had a amazing sweet caramelised flavour. It worked perfectly with the other fillings, which includes pickled mustard greens, coriander, sweet soy, roasted crushed peanuts and Taiwanese mayo. The fried peking duck gua bao was also delicious. The glorious duck skin and the sauce were the highlights. 

It feels like the Night Noodle Markets gets better every year! The event will run from October 8 - October 25, 2015 and the entry is free. But get there before or by 5pm to avoid long queues on weeknights. 

Night Noodle Markets
Hyde Park, Sydney (closest train station is St James Station)

October 8–25;
Mon–Tue 5pm–9pm,
Wed–Thur 5pm–10pm,
Fri 5pm–11pm, Sat 4pm–10pm,
Sun 4pm–9pm

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shangri-La Sydney Philippine Food Week Buffet 2015

Cebu pork belly lechon
It's been over 20 years since I left the motherland and moved to my new home Sydney. But my love for the Philippines and its culture will never fade. This may sound bias but the delicious comfort of Filipino cuisine never fails to bring joy to my heart. From the sizzling sensations of sisig to the sweet cool delight of halo-halo, Philippine food no doubt rocks!

It's that time of the year again when Shangri-La Sydney kicks it off with Philippine Food Week! I was invited along with other food loving people to try Shangri-la Sydney's Philippine Food week buffet. Here's what to expect from the buffet including some highlights:
Bopis (Pork innards cooked in vinegar and radish)

Pata humba (Pork hock braised in sweet soy sauce)

Adobong kankong (Water spinach cooked in shrimp paste)



Tokwa't baboy (Fried tofu and pork)

Embotido (Minced pork wrapped in Crepinette) and banana ketchup

Lumpiang sariwa (Fresh vegetable spring roll)

Steamed fish
San Miguel beer

Ihaw--ihaw (Grilled bbq dishes: pork skewers, chicken bbq skewers, chicken inasal, baby back ribs, lamb chops and boneless beef ribs)
Chocolate fountain station

Turon (Banana and jackfruit spring roll)

Puto (steamed ground rice cakes)

Sans Rival slices

Fruit salad


Kare kare

I can confirm that the Kare Kare here is legit! The oxtail meat was totally tender and the veggies including banana blossom were perfectly cooked. The peanut and annatto based sauce was creamy with light sweetness. Try it with a bit of bagoong (sweet shrimp paste) to give the sauce a flavour lift.
Lechon kawali sisig
 I really enjoyed their version of sizzling lechon kawali sisig (sizzling fried pork belly pieces). Some chilli was used for some mild heat. The balance of sour and salty flavours was nice for cutting through the pork belly and pig's cheeks meat.

The dinuguan was also a hit at our table. For those of you who love English black pudding, this pork dish with blood jelly based sauce is a must! The chilli pepper and vinegar in the dish perfectly cuts through the rich elements of this dish.
Kilawing Tanguige (Photo Credit: Adobo Down Under food blog)

The Kilawing tanguige (Spanish mackarel) was amazing! It's a Philippine ceviche where the raw mackarel is cooked in citrus juice and vinegar. I just adore its freshness and delicate textures.
Cebu pork belly lechon carving station
Pork belly lechon and puffed crackling

Crackling from the pork belly lechon

The Philippine lechon (suckling pig) is my ultimate favourite Filipino dish. It's my first time to try a rolled pork belly version of it, which hails from the city of Cebu. Cebu is known to have the tastiest lechon in the Philippines. This version doesn't even require the usual lechon sauce as the fatty tender meat is packed with flavour from the garlic herb stuffing. It is said that it closely resembles Bali's babi guling. The crackling was gloriously crispy.


Last but not least is the "make your own halo-halo" station!! No Filipino buffet is complete without halo-halo. No rules, anything goes with what you want to put in this sweet shaved ice delight. As long as you finish off your creation with ube (purple yam) ice cream and leche flan on top!

The Philippine Week buffet will run from 2 October 2015 to 10 October 2015 at Café Mix. Buffet lunch will be available at $55 per person from Monday to Friday, noon to 2:30pm, and from 12:30pm to 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. The buffet dinner is available all week from 6pm to 10pm for $75 per person.

Ramen Raff was invited at Café Mix as a guest of Shangri-La Sydney.

Café Mix
Shangri-La Sydney
Level 1, 176 Cumberland Road
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9250 6260