Barrafina, Wynyard ($$)

Address: Ground Floor, 2 Bligh Street Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9231 2551

Website: http://www.barrafina.com.au/barrafina-tapas-bar-location/

* * *

Barrafina tapas invited me and three guests to review the restaurant and try out their new menu.

I had been to Barrafina previously and while the food was tasty, service was quite disjointed and the portion sizes were not fantastic given the price.

This time around I was pleasantly surprised as our experience was much much better and we were impressed by how much things had changed.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere on this particular Wednesday was pretty good.

When we arrived around 6pm it was pretty quiet inside (outside was roaring with the sound of happy post-work diners). By the end of the evening however, the inside was packed out too and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. ??????????????????????????????? The decor is quite cute, and hadn’t changed much since I last visited.

There is a lot of yellow, grey and white furniture, which gives the place a very modern and funky atmosphere. The cute illustrations on the wall add some character and remind you that you are in a Spanish restaurant as it features wines, seafood and guitars. ??????????????????????????????? My Mum and I really liked the quaint little plants on the windowsill, which added a little colour and life to the place. ??????????????????????????????? Overall it is a very nice restaurant with lovely modern decor and a busy atmosphere.

Service

Service was great despite the fact that they were pretty busy, it being a Thursday night.

Our lovely waitresses Camilla and Paloma gave us each a menu and brought out some drinks.

Paloma suggested about 8 plates for 4 people, but we ended up ordering a bit more than that as there were so many new dishes to try. ??????????????????????????????? For drinks I had just a diet coke, as they did not have lemon lime bitters.

Mum and Nos, who dined with MC and I, wanted fresh juices but they only had bottled ones, so they settled for bottled apple and orange juices. ??????????????????????????????? MC ordered Estrella Dam, a Spanish lager which was recommended by Camilla. ??????????????????????????????? Estrella Dam, $8.50

Food

Food at Barrafina had improved a lot since I last visited with MDS.

Last time, MDS and I thought the food was tasty but not very well presented.

This time around, presentation was excellent. Every dish was plated up with flair and attention to detail.

The food was cooked well and was colourful and appealing to the eye.

We were served portions of four items per dish as there were four of us dining that evening.  However, Paloma informed me that most dishes usually have about three items each- something to remember if you decide to dine there- 3 or 6 people would be ideal.

We started off with a light and refreshing dish, the Yellow Fin Tuna.  This was a seared piece of tuna, which was glossy and beautiful in the middle and just cooked on the outside.  The outside had a coating of spices which made it crunchy and salty. There was also a delicious white peach dressing and chilli vinaigrette, and an olive tapenade on top. We all loved this dish and it was a lovely light way to start off the meal.

???????????????????????????????
Yellow Fin Tuna, $16.00
Next we enjoyed the Crisp Zucchini Flowers with Salted Cod Mayo.
Definitely the BEST zucchini flowers I have ever tasted, they were large, golden, crunchy and beautifully presented. The mayo was slightly fishy, but tasted a bit like aioli.
The zucchini stem was small and firm, yet cooked through, and the flowers were delicate and tasty.

??????????????????????????????? Zucchini flowers, $11.00

We asked for the Yamba King Prawns with lemon, confit garlic, chilli and micro herbs ($22.00), which sounded delicious. Unfortunately, they were out of prawns so we had to order something else.

Paloma brought out the Octopus, but after seeing the large tentacles, none of us were keen to try it.  It was nothing to do with the dish, but I just couldn’t fathom putting those little suckers anywhere near my face! ??????????????????????????????? Octopus

We decided to swap it for the Queensland Scallops with Chorizo and Sweetcorn Puree. This was a much better option, which we all enjoyed.

The scallops were slightly tough, just slightly, but the crispy chorizo and sweet, chunky corn puree were great with it.

Nos, who doesn’t eat pork, simply ate the scallops with the corn puree, and commented that she loved the texture and taste of the puree.  ??????????????????????????????? Queensland Scallops, $24.00

Next up were the Crispy Moroccan Cigars with, sheep’s feta, and charred eggplant puree.

The cigars were very crunchy and had a creamy taste from the sheep feta and a smoky taste from the eggplant puree, which tasted like baba ghanouj.

This is a delicious and tasty dish that I think everyone would enjoy. IMG_5651 Crispy Moroccan Cigars, $9.00

We then enjoyed the soft shell crab sliders. MDS and I had tried this previously but I liked them much much more this time.

The bread was sourdough and was soft and fresh. The crab wasn’t as crunchy as it could have been but was still delicious and salty, and I liked the addition of avocado. The harissa mayonnaise was tangy and sweet and the presentation was very cute. ??????????????????????????????? IMG_5655 Soft Shell Crab Slider, $9.00 

We enjoyed the Jamon Serrano and Manchego Cheese Croquetas with Tomato Salsa. Jamon Serrano is a Spanish cured and salted ham, similar to prosciutto, but made from a different breed of pig.

The croquettes were crispy and golden, almost perfectly round, and very nicely presented.

We enjoyed the creamy taste of the manchego and the little pork bits inside the croquettes. ??????????????????????????????? Croquettas, $10

On the recommendation of Paloma we tried the Beetroot Salad, a salad of gold beetroots, Spanish goats cheese, hazelnuts, sherry vinaigrette and baby beetroot puree.

The salad was vibrant and rich in flavour. The golden beetroot was a sweet and pumpkin-like vegetable which was lovely with the light and fluffy puree and tangy vinaigrette. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sheep’s cheese but there wasn’t too much of it in the dish. IMG_5664 IMG_5662 Beetroot Salad, $13.00

We moved on to the Wagyu Hanger Steak, a 5+ marble score piece of juicy meat, served with seasoned salt and herbs.

The steak was cooked medium-well (my preference) and came out perfectly cooked, juicy and succulent. The meat was already salted and didn’t need any of the salt on the plate. ??????????????????????????????? Wagyu steak, $22.00

After this feast, we shared two desserts between the four of us.

First up was the White Chocolate Parfait with Pistachio and Berries.

The ice cream element of the parfait was delicious and creamy but didn’t taste strongly of white chocolate. The crunchy tuile on top was lovely and added a beautiful texture.

We enjoyed the (very fresh and in season) blueberries and the lovely berry sauce. ??????????????????????????????? White Chocolate Parfait, $9.00

Next up was the Lime and Mango Crema Catalana with Summer Fruit.

The dish was well presented and my Mum loved the little glass jars.

The lime and mango curd at the bottom was delicious and tangy, almost like passionfruit. The crema catalana, is basically creme brulee. It was creamy and rich, super decadent and perfect with fresh fruits. A lovely way to end the meal. IMG_5677 Crema Catalan, $9.00

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 7
  • Food- 8.75
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value –6.5

TCFB and guests dined as guests of Barrafina tapas, complimentary. Barrafina Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

Chur Burger, Surry Hills ($)

Address: 48 Albion Street Surry Hills

Tel: (02) 9212 7979

Website: http://churburger.com.au/

Opening Hours:

Mon 11:30AM – 5pm
Tues – Sat 11:30AM – 10PM
Sunday Closed

* * *

After some Thursday night shopping and a little Nespresso tasting at Westfield Sydney, MDS and I headed over to Chur Burger in Surry Hills.

I had heard good things about this place, a new Sydney foodie hotspot which has even been described as having Sydney’s best burgers (Good Food, SMH).

Atmosphere

MDS and I walked in, past some people who were sitting outside.

20130926_191701

We didn’t know about the set up or how the whole reservation thing worked so we just waited near the door until someone came over to us.  We were told that we could get a table in 15 minutes, so we put our names down on the list and waited outside with the others.

We waited just 10 minutes before being shown to a high table with some stools around it.  While we had to share our table with two other groups, the table was pretty wide so we didn’t get in anyone’s way.

20130926_192642

Inside, Chur Burger has a very hip hop warehouse feel to it. There is loud music playing in the background (Kanye West at the time) and a large kitchen area on one side. You order at a small window on the right side of the room, and pay upon ordering.

20130926_192640

It was a bit of a different set up to anywhere else I have been and as I am a fan of hip hop, RnB and rap, I enjoyed the music and loved the chilled out atmosphere.

Service

Service was quite average and we didn’t have much interaction with the staff. However, the girl who put our names down for a table and greeted us was pretty friendly.

20130926_192538

Our food came out quickly and with no fuss and our used plates and cups were soon cleared away.

Food

MDS and I ordered a burger each and decided to share chips.

20130926_192541

20130926_192653

I ordered the Grilled Chicken, Hot Sauce Mayo and Minted Slaw burger ($10.00).

20130926_194029

The burger was pretty large and although I was hungry when I started, I couldn’t finish the whole burger. I ended up leaving the bun and eating the filling!

The sauce was not hot at all but it had a nice spicy tang to it. The slaw was tasty and fresh and the chicken had a lovely charcoal taste, which I enjoy.

MDS ordered the Pulled Pork, Chur BBQ Sauce, Red Slaw and Fennel Mayo burger (also $10.00).

20130926_194035

She enjoyed this colourful burger, but she too could not finish the whole thing.

For sides we shared the Chips with Chilli Salt ($5.00) and the Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Lime ($5.00).

The chips were crunchy and hot and the added kick of chilli was great!

Sweet potato fries are healthier than regular fries, and the sweetness of the thick cut chips was nice.  I couldn’t really taste much of the garlic and lime though.

Overall

I definitely think these burgers are some of the best I have had. There is some great variety on offer here, the burgers don’t take long to cook, service is fuss-free and the atmosphere is great.

A very cool option for a late night dinner and there is also a dessert and milkshake menu!

20130926_192659

20130926_192656

Cost

Our burgers and fries came to $30.00 all up.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 6.5
  • Food- 9
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 7.5

Chur Burger 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

* * *

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.

2

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

3

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.

5

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).

4

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?).

1

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

7

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.

6

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.

8

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.

9

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.

13

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.

10

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.

11

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.

12

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!

14

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