Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining, Sydney CBD ($$)

Address: Basement level, 82 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 8084 2505

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

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday -12.00 pm to late

Saturday- 4.00 pm to late

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Pendulum Communications invited MC and I to Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining’s (RHBD) first birthday party, located underground on Elizabeth Street.

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The entry

Celeb guests included Justine Schofield (of MasterChef and Everyday Gourmet fame), Nacho Pop, Sam McMillan and Brittany Cairns, while fellow food bloggers; Simon from Simon Food Favourites, Bob from Jugernauts, and Tina from Food, Booze and Shoes were also in attendance.

Atmosphere

RHBD has a very quaint almost 20’s feel to it with lots of neutral colours and old fashioned cartoons on the walls.

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There are two bars: one in the main area, and one in another more intimate space around the corner.  

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Main bar

We headed over after work, about 6.30pm and managed to find a table in the room to the left of the main bar area. 

This space had a bar in the middle and featured cushioned seats on one side of the wall and mismatched wooden chairs, large round barrels and stools around the rest of the space, some covered in white rabbit-like fur.

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Smaller bar area

It was quite dark and the only light we had came from down lights, mirrors, sky lights and candles which added depth and brightened up the dark spaces.

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The place has a quirky and private feel and features mysterious Alice in Wonderland-like accents such as rabbit-related cartoons, flowery cushions in contrast to the dark bar and seats, and “DRINK ME” worthy cocktail concoctions!

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The music was quite relaxed and laid back and contributed to the “classy hipster” vibe.

Service

The staff were pretty attentive, walking around to collect empty glasses and to ask if we wanted another drink, and the bar staff were great at pouring the drinks, serving them up with flair and informing us of the ingredients.

Food

Owner Doug Laming has appointed a new chef, Jeremy Metivier who has worked in Michelin star restaurants and who is the driving force behind RHBD’s new French fine dining menu.

The menu included dishes such as:

  • Goats Cheese and Beetroot Apples
  • Scallops on Beetroot Shortbread with Mango and Beetroot Emulsions
  • Mini Wagyu Sliders with Brie Cheese and house made Relish
  • Slow Roasted Lamb with Artichoke Puree, Coriander and Wine Jelly
  • Salmon Gravlax with Cucumber and Aloe Vera “Snow”
  • Chocolate Skulls, with Firm Spicy Pirate Cream and Coconut Cake

Unfortunately, as MC and I were seated on one side, most of the food never made it past the crowd at the front of the room, so we only got to try 3 dishes.

One of the dishes we tried were the Goats Cheese and Beetroot Apples.  This dish was very elegantly presented on a bed of golden crumbs with glossy grapes and peppered balls of goats cheese covered in an almost waxy edible red coating.

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The other savoury dish we tried was the Salmon Gravlax appetiser, mini versions of the salmon gravalax, cucumber lake, orange cream and aloe vera snow dish available from the dinner menu.

These were little morsels of heaven; perfectly sliced salmon with a green cucumber jelly, delicate edible decorations of orange, red and white and beautiful purple flowers to garnish.

An exquisite tasting dish which had a flavour that matched its appearance.

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Finally, for dessert we enjoyed the Chocolate Skulls– spoons of a spicy custard-like cream with coconut cake rounds, chopped summer fruit and dark chocolate skills with a gold dusting.

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These skulls were lit on fire, leaving the custard warm, the chocolate slightly melted and the on watchers in awe!

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Overall, while we didn’t get much food to try, the menu looked quite appetising and the dishes that were on offer seemed to be different and well put together.  I can see how this place would appeal to the office works and corporates in the Martin Place and CBD area with its fine dining dishes and creative cocktails.

Drinks  

As RHBD is owned and run by Doug Laming, a “molecular mixologist” (read: awesome cocktail maker who uses physical and chemical modification of ingredients to create interesting drinks), it makes sense that he would put his skills on display and serve up an array of cocktails. 

Some of the cocktails we tried included:

  • The Smoked Apple
  • Breakfast Bouquet
  • The White Cloud Above Mount Gay
  • The Wood and Smoke
  • You’ve Gone Nuts
  • Stolen painkiller

Although we didn’t have much food, we did have a LOT of drinks!  We wanted to try one of each of the ones we saw so we ended up sharing quite a few between us.

First up was the Smoked Apple. It contained  torrontes and pomme verte layered agar apples, Ceylon tea infused cinnamon syrup, rhubarb butters and cloudy apple juice finished with fresh cider, smoked salt and some apple slices.

It was a pleasant looking dish, served in a short glass and while the smokey flavour wasn’t really to my liking, MC enjoyed the fresh flavours and boldness of the drink.

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We then shared one of the sweetest drinks, the Breakfast Bouquet.

This drink has larios, gin, double creme de cassis, rose and strawberry jam, wild willow water, fresh lemon and a dash of rhubarb bitters.  It is a complex yet sweet looking cocktail which looked lovely, topped with a rose petal and blueberry.

As you drink the cocktail the scent of the rose petal wafts up and leaves you feeling as though you are walking through a field of roses!  Lame but true.

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We also enjoyed a rum and marshmallow foam cocktail which was called the White Cloud Above Mount Gay.

Mount Gay extra old rum is shaken with black pepper, pineapple caramel, fresh lime and more pineapple, and is then poured over marshmallow foam which leaves a white cloud on top.

The drink is another sweet one which, after the previous sweet drinks, we found a little hard to swallow.  While it was interesting to watch it being made, I wasn’t a fan of it as it was a little too sweet.

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The Wood and Smoke was an interesting cocktail which the menu says is made from ingredients including Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Laphroaig single malt whiskey, quassia (bark chips), barberry bark syrup, acid phosphate and bitters.

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After shaking up a storm, the bartender pours the slightly cloudy drink over ice, where it settles and turns from creamy to clear.  A cinnamon stick is placed in the drink and is then set alight, giving a woody and smoky scent.

While I preferred the sweeter drinks, MC, a Jim Beam and Jack Daniels fan, enjoyed this smoky, cinnamon flavoured cocktail over the rest.

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The You’ve Gone Nuts drink contains Sierra Millenario infused with tonka beans, and shaken with Disaronno amaretto, house-made peanut and cashew syrup and finished with walnut bitters.

The cocktail looks like it is full of lemon juice with a sugar rim but in actual fact, like the other cocktails, it was quite sweet rather than sour.

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Finally, the Stolen Painkiller, a first for me, this powdered cocktail tasted like fizzy sherbert pops.  It contained powdered rum, pineapple, coconut and passionfruit powder and was served in half a passionfruit shell.

The interesting presentation and tangy sour taste was a great way to finish off our cocktail tasting and we enjoyed it, although one of the guys seated next to us wasn’t a fan!

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Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  6
  • Food-   5 (what food?)
  • Atmosphere- 7
  • Value – 7

TCFB dined as a guest of Pendulum Communications and Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining.

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

 

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Julia’s Melting Moments

After meeting the lovely Julia Taylor at MasterChef Live and seeing her make those famous Melting Moments, I knew I just had to try them out for myself!

I decided to follow her recipe and see how I went making them and guess what? They turned out great! They are definitely melt-in-your-mouth moments and would be perfect with a cuppa!

Here’s her recipe for melting moments:

Ingredients:

  • 180g unsalted butter (I used salted as I didn’t have unsalted at home)
  • 60g custard powder
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 180g plain flour
  • Icing and jam to sandwich the biscuits

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and spray baking trays with oil.

2. Cream the butter until light and fluffy.

Tip: use softened butter not melted butter!

3. Add custard powder, then icing sugar and mix in.

4. Sift flour and baking powder together and add to dough. Mix in until it just comes together.

5. Roll teaspoon sized amounts of dough into balls and place evenly apart on the greased trays.

6. Press each ball down gently with a fork to flatten.

7. Bake in oven at 180C for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

8. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.

9. Sandwich with jam and icing and enjoy!

MasterChef Live- 7 October 2012

When I found out that there was going to be a MasterChef Live event I just had to go! MasterChef has been one of my favourite TV shows and I have watched it from the very first series.

We bought tickets for Sunday and had pre-booked for the 11.45am ‘Sharp Celebrity How To’ show with the lovely Julia Taylor and the 1.30pm ‘Mystery Box Theatre’ with Adriano Zumbo, Darren Robertson and Kylie Millar.

When we got there we had a bit of extra time before Julia’s demonstration so we decided to have a walk around. The show was at the Hordern Pavilion and the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney, and both were packed out with exhibitors, demonstration kitchens, and foodies!

There were some great shows and demonstrations around the room by many well-known and upcoming chefs!

 

 

 

 

Casa Barilla 

Kylie Kwong!!! Ahh one of my favourites!

 

Kikkoman Products

Andy Allen– Masterchef 2012 Winner!

Dani Venn, hosting at the Blanco Theatre

Amina Elshafei in the Blanco Contestants Theatre

Vincent Gadan of Patisse

Artisan Bakery Classes

Patak’s Barbecue Classes

Alvin Quah at the Ayam Demonstrations

Food Tasting

We tasted so many products:

Caesar salad with mayo

Sweet and salty popcorn

Defence Force chef’s creamy raspberry mousse (?). Not exactly sure what this was meant to be but it tasted AMAZING! It wasn’t as green as it looks in the photo though!

Delicious lemon and ricotta pastry

…and bought quite a few as well (review of Wild 1 Sparkling Drinks- Blood Orange, coming soon!).

Exhibitors

Some of my favourite stalls which we explored during the day included:

  • The Wild 1 drinks- a fantastic 100% Australian owned family company which produces some delicious drinks;
  • Patisse’s HUMONGOUS colourful meringues (I bought one in each colour!)

  • Sami’s Kitchen– Zaata pizzas are one of my favourite foods and I fell in love with their delicious zaata seasoning on a trip to the Taste of Sydney Festival earlier this year. I was very happy to replenish my supplies with some more great spice mixes!;
  • Moochi– delicious frozen yogurt with some cool toppings!;

  • Adriano Zumbo- ’nuff said;

  • High Tea in the bath– I never knew bath time could be so delicious, I wanted to eat some of their food-shaped soaps! Such a great idea for presents or high tea/wedding favours!;

  • MissChu– this little Asian pop-up restaurant provided us with some yummy treats at lunch time which were very much enjoyed!;

Pork Bun

Spring Rolls

Messy Prawn and Scallop Dumplings

  • Spanish Kitchen- we had an absolutely wonderful paella here, full of seafood and so bright and colourful! Great portion sizes as well- we struggled to finish this off; and

  • Rekorderlig Cider– always one of my favourites! We enjoyed the free samples and indulged in some refreshments of our own choosing as well. The BEST drink I can think of for a summery day. The only problem is that it tastes so good you’ll forget it’s alcoholic!

Sharp How To with Julia Taylor

Julia’s demonstration kitchen was a great way to learn some of her cooking tips. In this demo she gave us some advice on how to make her famous melting moments biscuits.

The lovely Mindy Woods was the host and she did so well that you would never know that it wasn’t her full-time job. Alice Zaslavsky was always there for some interesting food facts and a bit of a laugh!

We were able to try the melting moments, and they were goooood!

I’m hoping to try making them myself sometime soon using the tips Julia gave us, so please keep checking back for updates.

Mystery Box Theatre

We lined up (for about 10 minutes mind you), for the Mystery Box Theatre and were soon let into a dark enclosed room with a stage at the front of it.

The Mystery Box challenges were lots of fun and host Justine Schofield did a great job of talking us through the dishes with the chefs. Camera-man Ben also entertained the crowd with his cheeky food-stealing antics!

The challenges were great and it was good to see a lot of desserts being prepared right in front of us by some of the country’s most well-known chefs.

Kylie’s quick and easy wonton wrapper stack with marscapone cream and berries

 

Adriano’s Passion of Chocolate Goes Nuts dessert

Adriano and Darren face off in a cook-off

 

 

 

Meeting the Contestants!

One of the highlights of the day, other than the yummy food, was the opportunity to meet some of the lovely former Masterchef contestants.

Here are some photos of me with a few of them:

 

With the lovely Audra

Bumping into Alice!

 

 

With the gorgeous Mindy- cheeky Alice in the background!

 

With Sweet Treat Queen Julia!

With Friendly Ben– image courtesy of American Express Australia

I had a really good time at MasterChef Live and would definitely consider going again next year.

If any of my lovely readers went to MasterChef Live this year, or have been in previous years I would love to hear what you thought of it! Would you return? What was your favourite part of it?

Post your comments below!

Zumbos are the best!!

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Adriano Zumbo, Rozelle

Address: 114 Terry Street  Rozelle NSW 2039

Telephone: (02) 9810 7318

Website: http://adrianozumbo.com/cafe-rozelle/

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday 6:30am till 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 7:30am till 4:00pm

Closed on Public Holidays

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Delicious macarons from Adriano zumbo!!!