La Kasbah, Drummoyne ($$)

Address: 190 Victoria Rd  Drummoyne NSW

Tel: (02) 9719 9261

Website: http://www.lakasbahdrummoyne.com.au/

* * *

Atmosphere

We bought a Groupon deal for La Kasbah and after weeks of trying to find a suitable date for the four of us to visit, we finally locked in a Friday night.

I had called to make a booking and the man who answered the phone (who I am assuming was the owner, Mohammed), was nice but not too friendly and I was a bit surprised to hear screaming kids in the background.

When we got there, we walked through a bit of a corridor until we reached a sliding door with glass windows. To our left was an open kitchen in which we could see a lady (which the website tells me is Siham, Mohammed’s wife). Once we got through the doors, we came to a medium sized room with chairs all around it and some purple and green patterned cloth hanging from the walls.

To be honest, the place is quite dated. The patterned fabric is not very attractive and the walls and decor look old. The kitchen area is very easy to see from the dining room and there are all sorts of ornaments and messy bits and pieces everywhere. It really does feel like you are eating in someone’s house.

My dad used the bathroom and said it was OK but there was a bathtub in there as well, which sort of reinforces the whole “eating in someone’s house” thing.

That said, it wasn’t as though the place was dirty. I think if they removed the curtains, painted it a nice Moroccan-y colour and put some nice mosaics on the wall it would look a lot nicer and cleaner. Also, covering up the kitchen area would make a huge difference!

1

Service

Service was very average. The owner is not very friendly at all, in fact when mum and I walked in to meet my dad and brother who were already seated, we weren’t even greeted with a “hello”.

His wife however was very pleasant and always had a smile on her face when she came to serve us the tagines.

My brother and parents thought food was a little slow to come out of the kitchen, but I didn’t think it took that long.

Overall, service was not that great. I think if the wife had been out greeting people it  would have been a lot better!

Food

To start with we each got to choose an entree.

They were all pretty similar, some sort of skewer with salad, each costing between $9.50 to $10.70.

I ordered the spicy sausages. I expected the sausages to be like those at Twelve Spices Lao & Thai Cuisine– large, generous and very spicy. However, I was surprised to get three skinny sausages with some average salad.  While the sausages were tasty, they were very small and didn’t look nice on the plate at all. The salad had a nice dressing but was just an average salad which we could have made at home ourselves. There wasn’t anything Moroccan about my dish.

3The bro ordered the beef skewers which were a little tough and hard to eat, but again had an OK flavour to them.

4

My mum’s mince meat kofta skewers were tasty, with parsley, onion and herbs. She enjoyed this part of the meal and said it was probably the best out of the three courses.

5

Finally, the chicken brochette with olive oil, onion, parsley, garlic and lemon juice, was probably the best looking entree out of the four. It also had good flavours and a nice breast bit of chicken.

6

For mains, we all decided to order a tagine (costing about $17.90-18.90) which, looking back was probably not the best idea. We should have instead tried the cous cous dish to see what it was like.

First out was my honey chicken tagine with cinnamon and sultanas. It contained two chicken legs with some mixed vegetables including carrots, courgettes and potatoes. All in all, I was disappointed as I had expected chicken breast pieces marinated in a thick and creamy sauce. What I got was a water, flavourless sauce, some boiled chicken leg and vegetables with a sprinkle of raisins. Very disappointing.

7

The other dishes were no different. All were cooked in the same yellowy tumeric sauce. The bro had a lemon chicken dish with preserved lemon and stuffed olives, but everything else about his dish was the same as mine.

8

Mum had a beef tagine with olives, tomatoes and a palm sized piece of beef.  The beef was tender and cooked until it was soft, which made it easy to eat.

10

Finally, my dad’s lamb tagine with prunes and honey was again, the same sort of thing.

9

While each dish was slightly different in terms of toppings, the vegetables, flavours, presentation and appearance were all the same.

In terms of portions, my brother was still hungry and we were quite disappointed with the size of the tagine and the entrees.

Still, we held on with some hope for dessert!

I ordered a lemon crepe, with honey and cinnamon and a side of whipped cream. This was probably the best thing I had there all night. Although again, the serving was stingy (one pancake for $7.50- really?), but the flavours were amazing.

I had never used lemon with cinnamon and honey before and I really liked the combination of flavours.

12

My bro’s picked the chocolate crepe which had a drizzle of a sort of sundae sauce. It was pretty average and could have done with a scoop of ice cream, a side of strawberries and another pancake.

13

My parents both ordered the only other dessert available (the briout was not available)- the creme caramel. It was quite well presented and my dad said he enjoyed it, but when I tried some I thought it was a little watery. Overall, not that bad as far as creme caramels go, but not amazing.

14

Overall a very disappointing experience.

While the lady was friendly and the entrees were tasty, the portion sizes in general left you feeling as though you had been ripped off. The decor is very dull and dated, and the menu options are limited.

Cost

We used a Groupon voucher for this deal.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-4.5
  • Food- 4
  • Ambience-4
  • Value –4

La Kasbah on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Guest Review: Woolpack Hotel, Redfern

Address: 229 Chalmers St  Redfern NSW

Tel: (02) 9698 2977

Website: http://woolpack.com.au/

* * *

Sim, Dave and Mike are back again with a review of the Woolpack Hotel. Read on to see what they thought of the Hotel’s burgers.

Michael’s Review

‘Babe the Burger’ – $18.00- includes a pulled pork patty, char-grilled apple, radish, watercress, horseradish mayo, tallegio cheese and redcurrant jelly.

Photo 10-02-13 1 32 22 PM

This burger had a bit of everything. The star of the show has to be the pulled pork patty, which you don’t normally see on your everyday burger. It melts in your mouth and is surprisingly sweet.

Together with the char-grilled apple and redcurrant jelly, the sweetness of these three ingredients is nicely contrasted with the bite of the rocket and horseradish mayo and is topped off in style with tallegio cheese.

There were a lot of flavours at work here. Personally, I’m not a fan of rocket so this burger was never going to reach any great heights for me but I can appreciate the flavour and texture diversity in the burger. The pulled pork was sensational.

I give ‘Babe the Burger’ 7/10.

Sim’s Review

It felt a bit weird eating a ‘Babe’ burger. Then again, I never enjoyed the movie with the talking pig.

IMG_0270

This pork burger was different from the norm. The fruit giving it a somewhat sweet taste. Not necessarily superior but a nice change.

As shown in the video, I picked the rocket off my burger before digging in. If I wanted that I would have ordered a salad.

Photo 10-02-13 1 36 24 PM

The combination of the pork, apple and mayo made for a nice combination. However I believe this burger made the ‘top 5 Sydney burgers’ list based on that novelty and not on the quality of the burger itself.

The decor of the pub was fantastic. Especially as we went at a quieter time. The burger was served with good, crunchy chips too.

Overall I give the burger 8 out of 10. I did not like the rocket and the bun was a bit dry.

Dave’s Review

‘The Vego Drama’ – $15.00. This burger contains two big slices of grilled haloumi, roasted veggies, rocket, aioli.

IMG_0271

The ‘Vego Drama’ enticed me with haloumi and grilled vegetables. Overall it was a terrific burger, but let down by the overwhelming amount of aioli. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the stuff, but more than willing to push through it in the name of a proper review. On this occasion, however,the amount of aioli on the burger would be enough to startle even the most passionate of aioli enthusiasts, taking away from some of the other qualities of the Vego Drama.

Other than that, the haloumi was great (though it is hard for haloumi to disappoint), vegetables tasty and the burger spot on. Unlike the others, I’d eat rocket any day, and it was a great addition as a replacement for the standard lettuce found on most burger.

I’d recommend this burger for vego fans, but be warned about the aioli, which smothered the score down from a 9 to a 7 out of 10.”

The guys also made a YouTube video review which you can find here.

DISCLAIMER:

This review is a guest review and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions on the product. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in this review or anything contained in, or arising out of the videos or photos contained in or referred to in this review. 

Woolpack Hotel & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Guest Review: 3 Weeds Hotel, Rozelle

Address: 193/197 Evans St  Rozelle NSW

Tel: (02) 9818 2788

Website: http://www.3weeds.com.au/

* * *

Simon, Mike and our friend Dave visited the 3 Weeds Hotel in Rozelle to review their burgers.

After an initial hiccup, they were finally able to try out the Hotel’s offerings and it seems it was worth the wait!

IMG_0257Here’s a link to the YouTube video.

imageDISCLAIMER:

This review is a guest review and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions on the product. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in this review or anything contained in, or arising out of the videos or photos contained in or referred to in this review. 

Made, Balmain ($$)

Address: 358 Darling Street Balmain NSW

Tel: (02) 8086 0467

Website: http://www.madebalmain.com.au/

Opening Hours: 

Thursday to Monday 7.30am til late

* * *

A trip to Birkenhead Point for some shopping led us to the lovely part of the world that is Balmain. Having been here a few times before I knew that this area is full of cute and quirky cafes and gorgeous views of the harbour.

We parked on the side of the road (metered parking) and took a short walk along Darling Street to see what was around.

Although it was 1.00pm, I was in the mood for brunch food and so we had a look at a few of the menus from some breakfast cafes in the area, finally settling on Made.

1 Made is a small cafe with a little outdoor area in a building which was probably once a terrace house.

A friendly waiter asked us to take a seat (anywhere we wanted as it wasn’t too busy), and we chose a seat out on the balcony.

After a lot of “umming” and “ahhing”, mainly on my part, we placed our orders. While we waited I had an English Breakfast tea and MC had a (very yuummy) banana milkshake.

MC ordered the Made Steak & Eggs Breakfast which contained:

  • 2 eggs
  • Steak
  • Grilled tomato
  • Potato rosti
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Choice of toast

He was pretty pleased with it and seemed to enjoy it. He did mention that he wanted some bacon (available as an extra for $3.50) but I just swapped him some of mine for some of those delicious potato rostis!

3

I ordered the Made Full Breakfast which consisted of:

  • 2 eggs
  • Grilled tomato
  • A rasher of bacon
  • Roasted mushroom
  • Baked Beans
  • Black Pudding (I swapped this for an extra rasher of bacon)
  • Choice of toast (I picked sourdough)

The beans were cooked in a delicious tomato-y sauce and the bacon was golden and brown-just the way I like it! The bread was well toasted and the tomato and mushroom were char-grilled. I had my eggs poached and they were made just to my liking-  not too runny. Overall a delicious and very filling brunch!

2

I also have to comment that service was pretty good and the girl who was our waitress was very friendly and nice.

I would certainly recommend brunch at Made for anyone living in the area or visiting.

Rating:

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

    • Service- 6
    • Food- 8
    • Ambience- 6.5
    • Value – 7

Made Balmain on Urbanspoon

 

Aperitivo, Leichardt ($$$)

Address: 163 Norton Street Leichardt

Tel: (02) 9564 0003

Website:  http://www.aperitivo.com.au/

* * *

I hadn’t been to Leichardt for a few years but a friend recommended this restaurant and I thought it would be good to try it out.

Atmosphere

The decor is cute and cosy and the dim lighting makes for an interesting space. The restaurant doubles as a wine bar with small high tables and stools at the front and dining tables on the sides and towards the back.

I really loved the Italian flag made out of coloured bottles near the bar as it was something I’d never seen before.

We arrived at about 7.30pm on a Friday night (without a reservation). We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table but we had a few drinks in the meantime which made the wait less painful.

The restaurant gets pretty busy and I always think this is a plus as it means the atmosphere is more lively, and the food is probably going to be good as so many people want to try it out, are returning for more, or like me, have come on a recommendation.

Service

Service was pretty good and we had some nice waiters.

Food

Aperitivo is Italian for “appetiser” and the food certainly was appetising.

The menu has a variety of dishes (especially pizzas), and we decided to get 4 entrees to share between the four of us.

We ordered:

  • Prawns kataifi with spicy tomato coulis ($16.00)

This dish was delicious. I love prawns, they are one of my favourite foods and the kataifi was delicious and crunchy. However, I wish the portion size was bigger as 4 prawns for $16.00 just doesn’t cut it.

  • Pan seared scallops, crispy pork belly and asparagus sauce ($16.00)

Well-cooked scallops with a creamy sauce and delicious soft pork which was moist on the bottom and had a delicious crunchy crackling. Great dish. Nice presentation too.

  • Slow cooked baby octopus in a fresh tomato sauce with crostini ($15.00)

Not a big fan of octopus and I normally don’t order it or eat it but I tried a tiny non-tentacle/sucker piece and thought it was ok. It is similar to calamari but a little more flavoursome. I just can’t get over those suckers though.

  • Kingfish tartare with pistachio and beetroot puree ($18.00)

A lovely dish with cured kingfish and crunchy bread. A deliciously sweet puree was great with the sour fish.

We then moved on to mains.

I ordered the crumbed lamb backstrap with cauliflower and pistachio puree served on baby spinach ($28.00).

At first I thought the portion was quite small, but after I started eating I began to get full, although it was probably from the entrees. This is a small dish so I wouldn’t recommend you order it if you are not getting entrees.

The lamb was soft and tender. It was more on the well done side although I asked for it to be medium-well. The crumb on top was slightly salty and went well with the puree. I love baby spinach so that went down well. I really enjoyed this dish and liked the presentation as well.

Two friends ordered the 250g beef fillet with baby spinach vincotto salad and crispy prosciutto ($29.00). While the salad and prosciutto were fine, they both commented that the meat was dry and needed a sauce or some sort of gravy.

One ordered hers medium rare and the other ordered his medium well. The medium well one was, like mine, more on the well side. The medium rare however, was medium well and she barely ate half of the beef.

Our other dining companion ordered the homemade spaghetti alla chitarra served with veal osso bucco ragu and aged pecorino cheese ($23.00). Pretty much a fancy way of saying pasta with veal.

There was an OK serving of pasta on the plate, and all of it was eaten. I’m not a fan of veal but my fellow diner commented that he enjoyed it.

For dessert MC and I shared a three way brulee stack ($15.00) which included tiramisu, saffron with persian fairy floss, and pistachio with nougat crumbs.

I really loved this dish and we demolished it. The persian fairy floss is lovely and so light and went so well with the saffron flavoured brulee.

The texture of the brulee itself was like a sort of creamy, cheesy and floury slice, but it was somehow nice and moreish. Presentation was fantastic and it looked like something which came from of a top restaurant.

Our friend ordered an amadei chocolate ganache served with orange ice cream, praline crumbs and kahlua sauce ($15.00). He said it was too rich however, and was unable to finish it.

Our other dining companion ordered the nutella tart with caramelised banana and white chocolate flakes served with vanilla ice cream ($15.00). The presentation on this dish was lovely and of course everyone knows that nutella and banana is a match made in heaven.

A few of us ordered tea and coffee.

Cost:

The bill came to $285 for 4 people. Quite an expensive meal at about $70 each, but we did have entrees, mains, dessert and quite a few drinks!

Rating:

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

    • Service- 6
    • Food- 6
    • Ambience- 7
    • Value – 5.75

I gave points for presentation but took some away due to the over cooked meat.

Aperitivo on Urbanspoon