Darley’s Restaurant @ Lilianfel’s, Katoomba ($$$$)

Address: Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba NSW

Tel: (020 4780 1200

Email: reservations@lilianfels.com.au

Website: http://www.darleysrestaurant.com.au/about.html

Opening Hours:  6.00pm – 10.30pm Tuesday to Saturday

* * *

One Saturday in summer, MC and I decided to go for a drive up to the Blue Mountains to check out Darley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels.

We spent the day in the Mountains and checked out some of the usual tourist spots, including the Three Sisters (below).

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Atmosphere

After a long afternoon exploring, we headed over to Lilianfels.

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Lilianfels is a luxury Blue Mountains resort, located around the corner from some of the main attractions in Katoomba.

It features beautiful manicured gardens, tennis courts, flowers, fountains, pools and five star accommodation.

Have a look at some of our pictures of the grounds:

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Darley’s is a multi-award winning hatted restaurant located in a world heritage listed area.

The restaurant was named after Sir Frederick Darley, the sixth Chief Justice of New South Wales.  It is situated in the original Lilianfel’s house, which Darley built for his daughter Lilian, on 11 acres of land that he bought in August 1888.

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Upon entering the restaurant, you are immediately transported to another era.

A beautiful and elegant hallway featuring a bright chandelier and extravagant wallpaper leads you from the door to the private dining room, the drinks room and the dining rooms.

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Hallway

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Private dining area

MC and I were soon seated by the window overlooking the beautiful flower garden, on what had once been Darley’s verandah, but had now become a covered and air-conditioned dining area.

Service

Service was exceptional.

Our lovely waitress was very easy going yet extremely professional. She explained the menu and our choices for the three course dinner with knowledge and confidence.

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First we ordered our drinks, followed by entrees and mains, and then, dessert.

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Our water glasses were always filled up and we didn’t feel pestered to buy more drinks or order more, unlike other places I have been to.

Overall it was a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

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Food

We were served some delicious soft and warm, locally-baked bread with herbed butter that was slightly salty, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth-good.

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The bread was fantastic and we already knew we were off to a good start!

Next up we were served the amuse-bouche. Amuse-bouche means literally, “mouth amuser” in French. It is served as a means to prepare a guest for a meal and get their appetite going, whilst giving them a look into the Chef’s inspiration and direction for the meal.

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This amuse-bouche was a cucumber jelly with fresh salmon. It was light, cold and superbly refreshing. The perfect way to cleanse and prepare the palate for the flavours to come.

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For the entree I chose the Poached Queensland Spanner Crab, Dashi Custard, Fennel Puree, Asparagus Shitake Mushrooms.

The crab was perfectly cooked and the woody mushrooms and silky, delicate custard were in contrast with the crunchy asparagus.

A delightful dish which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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MC chose the Slow Cooked Pork Jowl, Maltose Crackling, Seared Scallop, Cauliflower Custard, Roasted Cauliflower and Shellfish Sauce.

Of course, we tried some of each other’s dishes and I loved how the crackling was crunchy and sweet, light a sheet of toffee, and the scallop was crunchy and golden.

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My choice for the main was the Kanimbla Valley Lamb Loin, Smoked Eggplant, Chickpea Puree, Harissa, Cracked Wheat, Cumin and Coriander seed Infused Lamb Jus.

Presentation was exquisite and the shapes on the plate created a fancy piece of artwork that was vibrant and interesting.

The diagonal grain on the lamb was so neat and the meat was perfectly cut.

The eggplant had a deep flavour and the fresh bursts of cumin and coriander broke up the creaminess of the chickpea puree.

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MC chose the Roast Fillet of Cape Grim Beef, Sarladaise Potato, Heirloom Carrots, Cauliflower Cream, Confit Shallots, Horseradish Butter, Red Wine Jus.

He upgraded to the local wagyu beef, with a marble score of 9+ for an additional $10.  And boy was it worth it. This was the best meat I have ever eaten. It was well cut, perfectly cooked (medium well, the way we like it), and so tender and juicy. It just melted in your mouth.

The vegetables were neatly cut and tidily presented, and looked cute on the plate despite being standard cauliflower, carrots and potato.

The horseradish butter and red wine jus were just the right strength to compliment the meat without overpowering it.

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For dessert I couldn’t go past the dish that combined three of my favourite fruits: mango, lychee and passionfruit.

I chose the Toasted Coconut Parfait, Mango Sorbet, Italian Meringue, Fresh mango, Passionfruit and Lychee Salad.

Apart from being, well, beautiful, the mango was very fresh, just perfectly ripe yet still firm, and still sweet.

The lychee was fresh but a little sparse, and the fresh passionfruit added some tang, complimenting the creamy meringue and the cool sorbet.

Definitely one of the most beautiful tropical dishes I have seen.

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Popcorn lover MC went for the ‘Mena Creek’, Zokoko Chocolate Mousse, Salted Caramel Fudge, popcorn Ice Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb.

The dish was lovely, so well presented and such a wonderfully inspired combination of flavours.

The popcorn ice cream was salty and tasted a little buttery, with real popcorn to add some crunch.  The mousse was light and fluffy, delicious with the sweet cookie crumb, and the dark chocolate piece was beautiful and crunchy.

Sooooo goood!

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Cost:

The three course meal on Saturday was $125 per person. Wagyu beef was an extra $10 upgrade.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  9.5
  • Food-  9.5
  • Ambience- 9
  • Value – 8

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Euro Taste Cafe, Top Ryde ($)

Address: Corner Devlin Street and Blaxland Road, Ryde NSW

Tel: (02) 9808 1268

Website: http://www.toprydecity.com.au/dining-a-entertainment/restaurants/item/eurotaste-cafe

Opening Hours: 

8am – 11pm – 7 days a week

* * *

MC and I had originally been hoping to go to Hurricanes in Top Ryde. However, once we got there we found that it was packed out and we would have to wait one hour to get a table.

We decided it definitely was not worth the wait and walked around the restaurants and cafes looking for somewhere to eat. I had already been to Kazbah before, had eaten at Red Spoon Thai in Castle Hill the night before, and had tried The Poets and Sushi Roll previously. We wanted something different and eventually we settled on Euro Taste.

Despite the name, Euro Taste appears to be run by Asians. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but just don’t expect very authentic European food.

The fare is the typical Italian style foods with classics including pizzas, pastas, schnitzel, steaks and grilled salmon.

Atmosphere

There were quite a few people around and the restaurant was busy but as it was a cold night and the only source of heating were the patio heaters, I think most people were just trying to get warm. Euro Taste doesn’t really have much indoor space, it’s mainly outdoors but covered with a pergola. It’s not too bad but some better insulation and cool music would help (listening to Get Lucky by Daft Punk now and thinking that some of this wouldn’t be amiss there :p).

Service

Service was OK. Our waitress didn’t say much and was a bit inattentive. I did notice a male waiter who was very helpful to both his own customers and to us when we needed something.

Food

There was a special deal where you could get a free garlic bread or garlic pizza and we decided to take advantage of it by ordering one of each.

While the garlic bread was pretty average, the garlic pizza was surprisingly good. Not surprisingly because it was garlic pizza (everyone knows that garlic pizza is amazing), but surprising because I didn’t expect this small and (to be honest) pretty cheap cafe to have such great garlic pizza. It was hot, cheesy (could always do with more though- especially around the edges), very garlicky and had a delicious soft base.

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MC ordered the steak with Pepper Sauce – which was quite peppery. The steak was tasty and quite well cooked, although perhaps a little too well done to be medium-well.

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My grilled salmon with chips and salad was delicious. The salmon was well cooked, hot and slightly buttery, if a little small. The salad was refreshing AND colourful on the plate and the chips were generous, well salted and crunchy.

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Overall, a pretty good meal for under $50.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 5
  • Food- 7
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value –7.5

Helm Bar, Darling Harbour ($$)

Address: Aquarium Wharf, 7 Wheat Road Darling Harbour NSW

Tel: (02) 9290 1571

Website: http://www.helmbar.com.au/

* * *

I was recently invited to Helm Bar’s menu launch and was allowed to bring some friends along.

I brought MDS, Wallace, MC, Dino, Daniel, SenoritaLay and MRyan.

MRyan Photography was the guest photographer for The Casual Food Blogger on the night and took some fabulous pics. Check out his webpage for more!

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About the event

The event was a launch party for the menu, open only to Gold Members.  Becoming a Gold Member was free; all we had to do was sign up.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Complimentary and priority entry to Helm Bar when your card is displayed
  • Complimentary venue hire on your birthday, as well as a bottle of Champagne on the house
  • 10% off all food and beverage, 7 days a week until 9pm
  • Loyalty Points Program where you will receive points for every dollar spent. These points can be redeemed for food and beverage
  • Receive regular updates of all Helm Bar’s exclusive events and members only specials

Atmosphere

 We arrived at the bar at 6.30pm after work, and MC, Daniel and I found a spot at the back area of the event.

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The girls enjoying some drinks

The “function space” was sectioned off with a black tape but, unfortunately, it wasn’t really enclosed.  People from outside the sectioned off area came in, and those from inside went out to get more tables and chairs.  Not exactly ideal if you are having a function and are paying for food as other people can easily crash your party!

The atmosphere in general was pretty nice though There is a great view of the Harbour with it’s bright lights, and the open layout makes it feel more spacious and cool. The venue had comfy seats lining the side of the bar, small stools and high bar tables scattered throughout.

The DJ was playing some great tunes and MDS, Wallace and I found ourselves bopping to the beats a couple of times through the night!

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TCFB, Wallace, MDS, Dino, Daniel, MC and SenoritaLay

The only issue we had with the venue during the night was with people smoking next to us. Although one side of the bar was somewhat open, the blinds were pulled down and so you couldn’t really say it was outdoors. I would definitely have described it as “enclosed”. The guy who was smoking next to us made our clothes smell and made it a little harder to enjoy the night, and none of the staff members seemed to notice him smoking!

Service

Initially, service was pretty average.  This was because all the food was being taken to the front of the event and those of us at the back were missing out on some of the dishes.

I think there were maybe one or two dishes we missed out on, including chicken satay skewers.

After MRyan spoke to some of the staff members, they were really helpful and began serving some dishes to the back first. This meant MRyan could get some great pics, and we could actually try some of the dishes on the winter menu!

Despite the above hiccup, service overall was pretty good as the staff were very helpful, extremely friendly and pleasant.

Food

There was free wine tasting for those in the event, and MDS, Wallace and I tried about 2-3 different wines.

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We also got free cocktails, including the Tom Collins – described on the website as “a classic: Tanqueray Gin mixed with fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda to create that traditional lemonade taste”, and the Strawberry Woo Woo– described as “a British classic: Ketel One Vodka with Peach Liqueur, muddled strawberries and cranberry juice.”

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Tom Collins, $12.00 and Strawberry Woo Woo, $14.00

However, it was the new food menu that I was interested in! 

All of the food was extremely well presented, and MDS and I loved the cute little bamboo style baskets the chicken and paella were served in.

We tried (please note these are only sample sizes and don’t reflect the true portions):

Cajun Style Seafood Paella – w/ chorizo sausage, mussels, calamari, prawns & cajun chicken (normally $26.00).

The paella was hot and slightly spicy, with large prawns and pieces of chicken. The rice was well-cooked and overall, the paella was really tasty.

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Peking Duck pizza– peking duck, oyster mushrooms, green shallots,
hoi sin sauce, chilli oil, w/ fresh cucumber ribbon salad (normally $20.00).

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Chargrilled Chicken Burger – marinated chicken breast fillet, tomato, lettuce, cheese, aioli & peri peri sauce (normally $12.00 or $18.00 with fries).

The chicken burgers had a delicious sweet chilli flavour to them and the chicken breasts were generous.

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Thai Marinated Chicken Drummettes w/ lime aoli (normally $15.00).

The thai drumsticks were fantastic, with juicy pieces of chicken, cooked through (no pinkness) and full of flavour. The coconut milk on top and chilli pieces scattered over it added colour and creaminess.

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and delicious Margarita pizzas (normally $18.00).

The pizzas were a decent size and had a good amount of toppings on them. They were served on a nice wooden board, hot out of the oven.

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Overall, I was pretty pleased with the menu. It showed some great crowd -pleasing items such as pizza and chicken burgers, whilst delivering food with great flavour and depth, such as the paella and Thai drumsticks.

Overall a very interesting menu, and one that is adaptable to both meal -sized and canape-sized portions.

Rating:

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

  • Service- 6
  • Food- 7.5
  • Ambience- 7
  • Value – 7

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The Cook’s Garden, Turramurra ($)

Address: 272 Bobbin Head Rd  North Turramurra NSW

Tel: (02) 9144 5086

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

* * *

I had heard good things about this place and had been wanting to visit for some time.

Prowsey and I finally got the chance one Saturday afternoon as we headed up to North Turramurra to check it out.

Atmosphere

As it was the afternoon the atmosphere was pretty quiet and calm, really serene.

The interior is decorated with lots of wood panelling and neutral colours like whites and greens and you can see the little garden at the back which is a nice touch, but the front view of the street is quite boring.

The tables were nicely set up and as we were dining the waitress was preparing them up for dinner service.

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The Cook’s Garden proved to be a good spot to have a chat as apart from Prowsey and I, there were only two other ladies at the restaurant.

Service

We stepped into the little chocolate and cake shop at the front of the restaurant and waited about 5 minutes before someone came to the front of the shop to greet us.

We decided to have a tea and cake each and ordered and paid at the front counter before taking our own seats by the window.

There really wasn’t much to the service. We didn’t have any amazing waiters or friendly smiles. We just ordered, our tea and cakes were brought out and that’s it.  As we were leaving however, a friendly gentleman at the front of the shop did thank us for coming and was quite nice but other than that it was a really average experience.

Food

Prowsey and I both ordered English Breakfast teas and Persian Polenta cakes.

The Persian Polenta cakes were delicious. They were moist and very orangey, had a lovely mini-sized presentation and were slightly sticky. Delicious.

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Persian Orange Polenta Cake

While the tea was also tasty and quite nice, the cups they were served in were a little stained and chipped. Not very good presentation for a place which supposedly has a couple of Good Food Chef Hats!

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English Breakfast Tea

Cost

The tea cost $4.00.

There are a variety of cakes available at the front of the restaurant.

Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 5.5
  • Food-  7
  • Ambience- 6.5

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The Oaks, Neutral Bay ($)

Address: 118 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW

Tel: (02) 9953 5515

Website: http://www.oakshotel.com.au/articles/Home/1

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The Oaks in Neutral Bay, is owned and run by the Thomas family. They purchased it about 40 years ago from the Furlong family, which had held the licence for it since 1918. It has been described as an “institution”, serving lower north shore patrons since 1885, and has become an icon in the food and bar world, especially north of the bridge.

When I mentioned that I was going to The Oaks this weekend, a number of my friends (mainly those who are older than me- in their 30s and 40s) exclaimed “oh, The Oaks”, or “yeah I know that place.”  When I had asked people my age, some had heard of it but not many had visited.

Based on these reactions, it is was easy to see that The Oaks was more popular with the older crowd, or even with Generation Xers, than the recent 18-25 year olds.

In order to attract a younger crowd, The Oaks recently hired renowned architect Paul Kelly, who has worked on masterpieces such as Black By Ezard, Sokyo and Cargo Bar. The majority of the $4 million renovations were recently completed, and I was lucky enought to be invited to try the new menu by Celebrity Chef Danny Russo and long time The Oaks cook, Denise Brinson.

Owner, David Kelly and the lovely George from Wasamedia took us on a tour around the historic hotel.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere varies depending on which room you are in.

The Bar & Grill area is where we started our tour, and concluded it.

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It is the newly renovated area of the Hotel, with dark colours and funky lights, beautiful wooden finishes, and a modern yet classic look.

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The cellar in the Bar & Grill room makes this room feel more like a restaurant than a pub

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The glass partitions add some depth to the room, while the dark colours ensure the room is still cosy and welcoming

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The stone walls and chequered carpets ensure that The Oaks retains some of its pub characteristics, despite its classy new look

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The bar area is quite large and there are plenty of great beers on tap

The Oaks Butcher sources some of the best meat in Sydney and The Oaks offers diners the option of cooking their own meat! While some find this a little strange (why would you pay to cook your own meat?), others (such as MC) are fans, and think it is a novel way to make cooking exciting, like Korean BBQ!

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Fun fact: apparently the purple lighting in the room was a mistake!

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In the outdoor area, you can cook your own meat on the DIY BBQ and enjoy the lovely sunshine or the shade of the giant oak tree, planted by Ms Kathleen McGill (nee Furlong) in 1938.

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The BBQ area is located in that little hut with a chimney…

It was a custom of the store in the 1930s to give an Oak Tree to any patron spending more than Ten pounds in one purchase.

It is now a tradition that good luck comes to anyone struck by an acorn from the tree in Autumn.

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The Garden Pavilion is coming soon and renovations are currently underway for this area of The Oaks.

Following this, Mr Thomas led us to Nineteenthirtysix, the funky bar which opened in that same year.

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Mr Thomas told us that the bar was popular with locals in the area who would rush in for a beer after work at 5.00pm, before it closed at 6.00pm.

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Mr Thomas giving us a tour of the Hotel

He said the bar originally had many doors facing onto the road, and the actual bar was in the middle of the room, to make it easier for the crowd to get in and get out in the one hour after work.

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It was interesting to see the original tiles and the $90,000 painting hanging in the bar, which are historic parts of Sydney’s history.

It was also intriguing to see the Bottle Department window where patrons used to purchase bottles of beer and alcohol to take home.

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While the bar looks a little dated, I think the old school retro vibe adds character and authenticity to The Oaks.

We moved through the back kitchen areas to the Garden Bar, a quaint little art deco space with a lovely view of the courtyard.

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The Garden Bar from outside

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The view from inside

Inside, the bar is the perfect sports bar, and offers a great space for a chilled out drink or a game of pool.

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The Garden Bar area

Next we headed up to the Cue & Cushion, the pool table area of the bar, located upstairs.

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Mr Thomas told us that the wooden stairs and paneling are all original. They looked to be in excellent repair and I was impressed that a Hotel that is over 100 years old could be in such great condition.

We walked through some of the many pool table rooms, and the outdoor balcony area which can be hired out for functions including birthdays and special occasions.

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The upstairs bar

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An old telephone, still mounted on the wall in one of the rooms

Walking through the rooms we were led past the poker machines, and back down the stairs to the Bar & Grill. 

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The tour gave us a lovely insight into the historic Hotel and really brought home the importance of supporting local businesses which work so hard to preserve Sydney’s historic and cultural history.

Service

Mr Thomas was lovely and MC and I both commented on how he and his son, Andrew worked in the pub, wearing the same uniform as the rest of the staff, and doing the same jobs.

They were friendly and down to earth, and you could see that they had a real connection with the patrons and locals in the area.

MC and I both noted that the staff were also quite relaxed and friendly, very helpful and polite (although I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that we were a table of food bloggers!). 

Nonetheless, we had no complaints with respect to service.

We were also excited to hear Chef Danny Russo’s explanation of the menu.

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Chef Danny Russo

He mentioned that it was designed to deliver tasty and exciting food which is good quality, without alienating the locals who were after good value pub grub.

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He also noted that there were plenty of salads and dishes to please the ladies, as well as a number of good sharing options. 

Food

The Oaks has about 5 different bar and restaurant areas: Bar & Grill, Garden Pavillion, Cue & Cushion Bar, Nineteenthirtysix and Garden Bar, each with it’s own distinct style and vibe.

We dined at the Bar & Grill area and had an array of entrees, mains and desserts.

We started off with a drink- I had a Lemon Lime Bitters and MC had a cider.

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Entrees

To start off with we had:

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Brioche bun with smoked butter, $6.00

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Buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli, $15.00

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Beer battered potato scallops, with sea salt and vinegar, $10.00

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Fried buttermilk chicken with aioli, $15.00

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Popcorn shrimp with chilli mayonnaise, $19.00

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Ocean trout gravlax with baby capers, radish, horseradish cream & fresh dill, $22.00

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Fried baby calamari with lemon and aioli, $18.00

All the entrees were delicious: the salmon fresh and light, the calamari and chicken crunchy and golden, the brioche (best I have ever tasted) soft and sweet, and the blue cheese aioli, creamy yet tangy.

There was a great selection and although some of the entrees were a little pricey for their size, they were quite filling and all were great quality.

My favourite entree: a toss up between the Buttermilk Chicken and the Brioche. The chicken was so crunchy and flavoursome, and the brioche was just soft and moreish.

Least favourite entree: the potato scallops were a bit too oily for my liking and not very crunchy either.

Mains

For mains, we shared a variety of dishes around the table:

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Slow roasted Pork Belly with cauliflower puree, brussel sprouts, bacon, red wine jus & apple cider relish, $28.00

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Roasted brussel sprouts, crispy bacon & almonds, $8.00

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200g fillet mignon (grain fed), wrapped in bacon with spinach and mash, $28.00

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Not sure which steak this is (I think sirloin- 300g $28.00?), served with Cafe de Paris butter 

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Eye fillet, 200g (grain fed), $28.00

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Au Congo Mussels, cooked with coconut cream, lemongrass & chilli, $29.00

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The Original Burger with tomato, lettuce, ‘tomato ketchup for grownups’, fries & condiments, $18.00

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The Vegie Burger with grilled zucchini & eggplant, roasted tomato, rocket, haloumi cheese, caramelised onion, aioli & fries, $22.00

Sorry I don’t have an image for this one!

The Classic Cheese Burger with tomato, lettuce, beetroot, cheese, apple wood smoked streaky bacon, ‘tomato ketchup for grownups’, fries & condiments, $23.00

All the dishes were great but the delicious steaks were cooked to perfection (we ordered them medium rare). They were soft and juicy and there was a lot of variety from the meat to the sauces.

The burgers were great too, with a quirky brioche bun and some crunchy and golden chips on the side.

Favourite dish: I loved the pork belly, I am always a fan of it but the crunchy crackling and soft belly, paired with bacon (double pork) and apple cider relish, is definitely a winner.

Least favourite dish: the mussels. Although there was a fabulous portion size, the flavour of the mussels did not appeal to me, it was a little too much as I would prefer them with fresher flavours like chilli and garlic. Perhaps Provencale would have been better!

Desserts

Finally, we tried three of the desserts:

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Hot apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream & cream, $14.00

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Warm sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce & vanilla bean ice cream, $14.00

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Banoffee pie served with caramel gelato, $14.00

All the desserts were tasty but the Sticky Date could have done with a little more sauce (personally I thought my own version of sticky date was better and so did MC).

I would have liked to try the soft centred chocolate fondant with hazelnut gelato ($14.00), and the passionfruit creme brulee with passionfruit gelato ($14.00), but we ran out of time and couldn’t wait the 15 minutes for the fondant. Oh well- next time!

Favourite dish: Can’t beat a banoffee pie, and this one was delicious with a gooey caramel and a creamy gelato.

Least favourite: probably the apple pie. It was pretty average and just not as good as the other two!

Summary

Overall, The Oaks is a fabulous place for a Sunday lunch or a post-work drink. It is a 30 minute bus ride from the city, and the Coles carpark in Neutral Bay has free parking on weekends (there is also metred street parking).

The lovely family-owned Hotel has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the renovations are modern but still in line with the pub feel of the Hotel.

The new menu is extensive and full of great options which are sure to please anyone and everyone.

Definitely recommend this place!

Cost

TCFB and MC dined as guests of Wasamedia and The Oaks.

Rating:

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

  • Service- 8
  • Food- 9
  • Ambience- 7.5
  • Value – 7.5

The Oaks on Urbanspoon

Momo Brasserie, Sydney CBD ($)

Address: 65 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9233 8838

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

* * *

Atmosphere

Momo Brasserie is located near the courts, at the top end of Hyde Park.

It’s about a 5 minute walk from Wynyard station and just around the corner from Martin Place station.

When we walked in, mum and I were greeted by a friendly waiter who asked us to choose a seat. We picked a window seat in the corner as the comfy lounges along the side of the wall are always the best!

The atmosphere inside is pretty calm and relaxed. The warm browns and soft lighting make it a relaxing place to enjoy a morning breakfast or afternoon tea.

I must admit I was a little reluctant to leave and head out into the chilly breeze!

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Mum having a read of the menu

Service

Although I resented the fact that the lady who took my booking called me “hun” (pretty unprofessional when you don’t know the person!), I have to admit that the gentleman who served us was pretty nice.

He was helpful, took our orders efficiently and without error, didn’t let our empty plates sit in front of us for too long, and asked us if we wanted more tea or coffee when we had finished our cups.

They also refilled our water, a small thing that I find is quite often overlooked in many cafes around Sydney.

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Me in the comfy wall seat 🙂

Food

Mum decided to go with the “Momo Breakfast”. The big brekky which came with a side of…well almost everything you could ask for with brekky except spinach and baked beans.

It included two eggs (which she ordered poached), a gourmet sausage, double-smoked bacon, grilled tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and toasted sourdough, served with cute individual pats of butter.

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Momo Breakfast, $16.00

Her breakfast was served with a generous amount of everything and she struggled to eat it all (although I expect my bro would have easily demolished this serving).

The eggs were poached quite well and were still quite runny in the middle which is perfect. It looked to us like they had been poached in Glad wrap as you could see the lines from where the wrap had been twisted.

One comment I would make about the breakfast was that the sourdough was a little too thin. There is nothing better than a piece of thick sourdough bread to soak up your eggs with, and I would have preferred a slightly bigger piece.

I decided to go for a less traditional brekky of poached eggs, prosciutto, grilled tomato and grilled haloumi cheese on toasted sourdough bread.

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Haloumi and prosciutto brekky, $14.00

The haloumi was delicious and salty, one of my favourite cheeses and I have seen it appearing on more and more menus lately.

The eggs were again, poached very well.

The breakfast was enjoyable but it was a little small compared to the Momo Breakfast, and it wasn’t very colourful either. Some wilted baby spinach on the side would have been great!

For drinks mum ordered a latte….

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Latte, $3.80

…and I ordered a Chai Tea.

5 Chai Tea, $4.00

Cost

We used a Groupon voucher.

Rating:

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

  • Service- 7.5
  • Food- 7.5
  • Ambience- 7
  • Value – 7

Momo Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ, Potts Point ($$)

Address: 33/37 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point NSW

Tel: (02) 9368 7333

Website: http://sweetheartsbbq.com.au/

Open: 

Wednesdays to Sunday

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Atmosphere

Sweethearts is a restaurant I stumbled across when searching for a place to go with some of my friends from work.  Eventually we ended up going somewhere with more variety but I always kept this place in the back of my head in case another opportunity arose to check it out.

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After climbing about 7 (?) sets of stairs and getting a great thigh workout, we finally got to the bar. 

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A lift would have been helpful but the one we saw out the back was only for staff.

The place isn’t as big as I had expected but has a cute holiday bar sort of vibe. The string lights, high wooden tables and old leather stools give it a sort of 70s beach bar feel to it.

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Service

When we arrived, past the Backyard Cricket Rules at the door, we were greeted by a staff member who informed us that it was bar service, and we could sit at any table (despite the fact that I had made a reservation- apparently unnecessary on a Thursday night).

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We ordered ciders (James Squire) as there was a $5 beer, wine, cider offer on that night between 4-7pm (woo who doesn’t love a long happy hour?).

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When the others arrived, including Wallace (formerly known as Nic), and MDS, we ummed and ahhhed a bit over what to order.

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I was really disappointed that the menu was not the same as the one online, and some of my other friends who had also had a look at the menu online, agreed. MDS even suggested going somewhere else for dinner, but eventually the group decided to stay and try it out.

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Food

MDS, Nancy and I decided to share some dishes so we could try a few things out. Best decision ever as we got to taste a little of almost everything on the menu.

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The soup tin table numbers.

Laura and Olga decided to go with the brisket sandwiches ($20.00), which came out as very cute looking sliders.

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Emma ordered the garlic prawns ($30.00) with a vegetable skewer, while Borna and Wallace ordered the $15.00 special medium ribs.

MDS, Nancy and I ordered garlic bread (MDS’ favourite) to start with. While, it looks like Coles or Pizza Hut/Domino’s garlic bread, it was actually amazingly buttery, fresh and hot out of the oven and deliciously fragrant with herbs.

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Next up we ordered the medium sized ribs for a special price of $15.  The ribs were lamb ribs, and when i tried to cut the bone off with my fork and knife, the meat just fell away and the bone came off clean. The sauce was sticky and rich, with a charred and smoky flavour.

I love citrus and the fresh lemon was great over the sweet ribs and added some colour to the plate.

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The marinated vegetables were a bit of a disappointment for me. While there was a good mix of Mediterranean vegetables including zucchini, Spanish onion, tomato, capsicum and mushroom, the vegetables were a little too oily, and the serving was very miserly for $12. I think at least two skewers minimum would be needed to make this dish worthwhile.

While the salad was fresh and the aioli delicious (especially with the chips- see below), the dish overall was a let down.

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Next up were the chicken skewers. This was basically the same situation as the vegetable skewers, While the chicken was well-cooked, juicy and flavoursome, there just wasn’t enough to justify charging $13 (you could buy over a kilogram of chicken breast for that price!). The pesto was chunky and tasty although perhaps a little slimy looking!

I loved the presentation of the sauces in cute little jars though.

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Finally, we ordered a side of chips ($9.00) which were billed as “the world’s best chips”.  They were pretty good. I don’t know about “world’s best” but they were quite crunchy, thick cut, well salted and had a creamy taste. We dipped them into the aioli and pesto which made them even better!

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Overall, good food, a bit pricey (especially the skewers- bit of a rip off!), but a cute chilled atmosphere. Would be great for long afternoons in summer.

The menu thing was a little disappointing, maybe it’s a weekend menu on the website? If so, I think the weekday menu should be on there as well as it was a little misleading for us.

Cost

MDS, Nancy & I paid about $22 each for our meals (not including drinks).

Rating:

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

  • Service- 7
  • Food- 7.5
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value – 5.75

Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ on Urbanspoon