The Dough Collective, Sydney CBD ($)

Address: Shop G5, 614 George Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9264 6608

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

* * *

Reviewed by: Wicko

???????????????????????????????

The Dough Collective is a new bakery located in the heart of the city at 614 George Street between the Metro Theatre and McDonald’s.

20140203_183209

They have been open for one week, offering a twist to the usual bread experience.

20140203_182747

The Dough Collective believes in providing higher quality breads compared to other bakeries through their unique production process.

???????????????????????????????

20140203_183029

I was invited with a group of food bloggers, to go behind the scenes into the kitchen and see how the professionals make their bread.

Upon arrival, I saw some cool bread displays on show, including a giant lobster!

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

When we went into the backroom I was amazed at how many bakers were in there, creating magic with their hands.

???????????????????????????????

After learning more about the business I came to understand what it was the caused this bakery to stand above the rest. The business creates a much fresher product through many interesting techniques.

???????????????????????????????

First and foremost, almost everything is handmade; the only step of the process where a machine is used would be the baking (obviously) and the kneading for some types of bread.

???????????????????????????????

This kneading is kept to a minimum to ensure that the bread is not completely worked, as this causes the loss of air in the bread.

This in conjunction with the use of warm water when mixing the flour, ensures that the bread does not dry out, and cooks quickly, gives the bread its wonderful fluffiness.

The yeast used by the bakers is produced freshly on site from dried raisins which have been fermented with water for 9 days at 25.2 degrees.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

This provides a flavour advantage, as the liquid is used (as opposed to dried yeast where much of the flavour in the yeast is lost from the liquid). It also results in a fresher product.

In the process of baking, no sugars or oils are used, except for in the sweet products such as the “chocolate surprise”.

IMG_6479

Instead, they rely on quality products sourced from around the world, for example Belgian chocolate, and Italian parmesan.

???????????????????????????????

The business runs on 2 hour time slots. This is to make their wide range of products (58-60) possible.

The bakers in the back would cook only a few kinds of bread in a two hour slot, as cooking all types, all day would be near impossible. Thus the breads that are out are fresher, and a wide variety available.

IMG_6478

These shifts will soon be up on a sign out the front. They correspond to the time of the day, for example: sweeter breads during breakfast time or heavier and cheesier breads during lunch.

So we rolled our own bread for a minute or two. It looked like the easiest thing I could imagine while I watched the chef do it, however when it was my turn to rise to the challenge, I do not think I could’ve done worse!

When the tour was over we were shown around the front and introduced to their hot beverages.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

The Dough Collective is aiming to providing a holistic experience through their provision of both food and drink.

The coffee is from Single Origin Roasters which is ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable. The quality of the coffee is such that to use it in your shop, you must go through a tough interview, which many businesses do not pass; this really elucidates the quality of the product.

I had a large long black with no sugar.  It was one of the best coffees I have had in a while, strong and flavoursome just as I like it.

IMG_6514

As we left we were given bags to take home some bread (win!).

???????????????????????????????

There was a wide variety to choose from, including sweet and savoury options and individual or family sized loaves.

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? IMG_6499 ???????????????????????????????

Being a sweet tooth I decided to take home the “Chocolate surprise” which was a beautifully soft chocolate dough with a soft centre of liquid chocolate.

I also got my hands on the “Ham Pizza Toast”. This one would be a personal favourite out of the savouries. It seemed just like a loaf of bread with cheese on it from above, however I found out how wrong I was the first time I cut it. The centre was partly hollow, filled with a soft runny cheese and strips of ham. This perfectly complimented the crusty top.

IMG_6519

The “Gourmet Hot Dog” (below, bottom left) was great, it contained Australian pork and mustard in a soft pastry.

20140203_195546

Finally I tried the “sweet and savoury ring”. When I ate this I was so surprised. The combination of Belgian chocolate in a large, soft, ring, with cream cheese, and black kidney beans was amazing. I found it a great delight, due to its differentiation from the norm… and also because of the chocolate.

20140203_183038

Overall, The Dough Collective was a great place to explore the different kinds of breads, learn how they are made and try some delicious coffee.

I enjoyed the experience and especially the variety and quality of breads available.

The Dough Collective on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

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

* * *

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

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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!

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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

???????????????????????????????

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.

IMG_6364

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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!

???????????????????????????????

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

 

Mr Crackles, Darlinghurst ($)

Address: 155 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW

Tel: (02) 8068 2832

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

* * *

Atmosphere

One lunchtime KiwiKompanion and I decided to check out Mr Crackles after discovering it was really only a 10 minute walk from work.

When we finally got to the Oxford Street store, we found a small hole-in-the-wall takeaway joint with benches and stools lining the walls on both sides.

20140123_135230

The large blackboard lists the interesting and exciting rolls on the menu including The Crackles Classic, The Sweet Pork, The Lamb, The Chicken Katsu and The Vego.

20140123_135442

To the right is a glass cabinet with huge pieces of pork crackling which had us drooling!

20140123_135253

Loud and distracting music was blaring from the speakers, and KiwiKompanion and I were not too keen on sitting around so we ended up ordering quickly and eating again small park.

Service

Service wasn’t anything amazing and we didn’t even find that the staffs were friendly or even helpful.  We ordered our food and waited about 5 minutes to receive our orders, which were called out to us by one of the staff members.

Food

I ordered The Crackles Classic and KiwiKompanion ordered The Lamb.

The Crackles Classic contains five spice pork belly with crispy crackling and Vietnamese salad. The pork was soft, juicy, tasty and had a delicious super crispy skin. I also enjoyed the crusty roll and the tangy mayonnaise in the coleslaw style salad. Delicious!

20140123_140522

Crackles Classic, $12.00

KiwiKompanion’s lamb roll had rosemary and garlic infused lamb shoulder with caramelised onion, tahini  and spinach. She also enjoyed her roll and commented that the meat was soft and tender.

20140123_140527

The Lamb, $12.00

Overall, the food was amazing and one of the top rolls I have ever had.

A great foodie experience that I highly recommend!

Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  4
  • Food-  7
  • Atmosphere- 3.5
  • Value – 7

Mr Crackles on Urbanspoon

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).

IMG_5924

Atmosphere

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

IMG_5946

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:

IMG_5952

IMG_5954

IMG_5956IMG_5958

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.

IMG_5989

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.

IMG_5996

Hallway

IMG_5994

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.

???????????????????????????????

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

???????????????????????????????

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

IMG_6012

IMG_6011

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.

IMG_6009

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.

IMG_6010

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.

IMG_6014

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.

IMG_6016

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.

IMG_6018

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.

???????????????????????????????

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.

IMG_6023

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!

IMG_6026

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

Darley's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sydney Festival 2014

When: 9-26 January 2014

Website: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2014/

* * *

The Sydney Festival has a lot of great events on in and around the city.

It is full of fantastic shows, theatre, dance, live music, art and much more, in locations such as Town Hall, Parramatta and Hyde Park.

One Thursday after work, a bunch of friends and I (including Kat-the-Cat and Kiwi Kompanion) decided to check it out.

We headed over to the festival village at Hyde Park around 6.00pm. At this time it was not too busy and we were able to walk straight in, without any queues. We heard later that there was a huge line to get in around 7.00-7.30pm, so we were happy we got there early!

20140116_182504

The festival village is full of great tents and stalls including Jafe’s Jaffles, Food Society, the ever popular Gelato Messina, Woofy’s Hot Dogs and Rekorderlig.

20140116_182616We enjoyed walking around and checking out what was on and the atmosphere in the festival was lively and happening, making it easy to relax and enjoy.

After stopping for a little while at the Food Society stall to check out the menu (the smells coming out of there were mouth watering), we decided to head over to Messina instead as the line for the Food Society was far too long.

20140116_183958

Some of the options available (all about $9.00 each) included the messinaweiner- gelato wrapped in a thin pancake, fried and topped with a berry sauce; and the Yeaahh dawg- a gelato hot dog with berry and mango sauce in a brioche bun.

I tried the messinaweiner and my friend tried the Yeaahh dawg.

20140116_184746

The messinaweiner was fabulous. The crunchy fried exterior was delicious and perfect with creamy gelato and a rich jammy sauce.

20140116_184550

The hot dog was a little disappointing as the ice cream melted easily and the bread was a little bland.  That said, it did look amazingly like a real hot dog!

20140116_184633

I also tried some of Kiwi Kompanion’s choc banana sundae, which was, well, a choc banana sundae!  Nothing too special here.

Kat-the-Cat tried the gelatoffee apples.

20140116_193203

She said it was interesting but a little hard to eat and tasted like a frozen, creamy apple. She did love the chocolatey exterior though and we all thought it looked pretty cool!

After checking out the Messina stall, we each grabbed a cool drink at Rekorderlig’s tent, where I was surprised to be asked for my ID (I will take that as a compliment!).

At $8.00 a glass or $20.00 a jug (much better value as you get less ice and more drink!), it isn’t cheap but it was definitely worth it on this hot summer day!

20140116_185311

I opted for a good old Strawberry-Lime cider, while the popular choice in the group was Passionfruit.

20140116_192637

All up, we had a very enjoyable evening and really liked the fun treats at Messina and the cool drinks at Rekorderlig.

If I get another chance to visit I would love to check out the amazing food at Food Society as well.

Definitely suggest checking out the Sydney Festival and at least the Festival Village while it is still open!

If you’ve been to the Sydney Festival, I’d love to hear what you saw and what you thought of it. Please post your comments below!

Wok On Inn, The Rocks ($)

Address: 17/31 Playfair Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9247 8554

Website: http://www.wokoninn.com.au/

* * *

I visited Wok On Inn one evening after work to have dinner with the owner and “Chief Executive Noodle” Mr Ankur Sehgal.

Wok On Inn is a noodle bar specialising in Asian Street Food.
There are currently four stores: Balmain, Darlinghurst, The Rocks and Norwest, with four more to open soon in Sydney and Canberra.
Atmosphere

I got to the place around 6.20, a little early for our 6.30 start but Mr Sehgal was stuck in traffic anyway so I had a bit of time to look around and get a feel for the place before he arrived.

Wok On Inn is located close to Circular Quay, about a 5-10 minute walk from the station.

The Rocks restaurant is quite small, more of a takeaway/fast food restaurant.  However, it still has plenty of seating including long wooden benches with colourful stools, and metal tables and chairs in the middle of the area.

IMG_6176

I visited on a Wednesday night and it wasn’t very busy, but there was a steady stream of people; either those who happened to smell the food as they walked past or those who walked over with confidence and familiarity.

IMG_6188

Service

I seated myself at one of the large wooden benches.

It was a nice cool day so it was quite pleasant to sit outside, apart from the annoying seagull which patrolled the area walking up and down between the tables and staring diners down with its beady eyes (image below).

The seagull eventually even gained enough courage to jump onto the table and try to steal our food, despite my efforts to chase it away!

Ankur later informed me that this was a problem they faced in The Rocks store in particular, but that the other stores didn’t have this same issue.

???????????????????????????????

While I waited I enjoyed reading the interesting information on the chopstick cups:??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

A friendly waitress asked if I wanted a drink while I waited (yes, as it was a very hot day!).

I was pleased to receive a chilled glass and cold can of solo, a nice touch which made my short wait more relaxing!

???????????????????????????????

Overall, service throughout the meal was quite good.

It took less than 5-10 minutes for food to come out, staff were friendly and pleasant and as soon as diners left they cleared the plates (very efficient!), leaving nothing for the pesky seagulls!

Food

When Ankur arrived, I was pleased to find that he was very friendly and easy to talk to.

I liked the fact that he was passionate about good food and good service in all his restaurants, and that he was ambitious and committed to making Wok On Inn work in Australia.

Ankur informed me that he wanted to bring the authenticity of the Asian food in Asia, to Australia, without sacrificing on value.
He told me that the sauces they use are made in Asia because the ingredients are more authentic and you can get better onions, better chillis and more stronger flavours of spices in Asia than you could ever find in Australia.  The sauces he said, are snap frozen and sent to them for use in their dishes.
These pre-made sauces make the dishes much more authentic and the fact that they are already made means noodles can be prepared quickly and can be made to order within 10  – 12 minutes.  It also keeps costs down, allowing them to deliver any dish on the menu for under $14.00.
Ankur ordered a number of dishes for us to try.
???????????????????????????????
I enjoyed a lovely round steamed Spicy Chicken Dumpling ($3.95 for 3) which was quite soft, tasty and juicy.  It was not as good as Din Tai Fung (not even close), but considering this is a noodle restaurant, it was quite good!

IMG_6183

Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai, $13.95

First I tried the Pad Thai, a classic dish.

The dish was nicely presented, topped with beansprouts, crushed peanuts, a wedge of lemon and some parsley.

The noodles were delicious with a slightly sweet sauce and plenty of chicken and prawn.  A very tasty and satisfying dish and a great portion!

IMG_6184

Bangkok Noodles, $12.95

Next up were Ankur’s favourite: Bangkok Noodles with chicken: basically hokkien noodles with a sweet pad prik khing sauce (see my review of Spice I Am for another Pad Prik Khing dish).

The sauce was delicious and you could really taste some strong lemongrass flavours and smell the kaffir lime.

Ankur told me that the dish was originally served with rice instead of noodles but they found that it was not selling so they decided to change it up a little and reinvent it by using noodles instead.

The idea obviously worked as the dish is now one of their top sellers!

IMG_6187

Uncle’s Drunken Noodles, $13.95

Finally, we tried one of the other popular choices, Uncle’s Drunken Noodles.  Ankur told me that this was one of the famous dishes in Thailand, where it is made for drunk locals after a night out, with plenty of chilli and spice to awaken the senses.

The dish contains thai basil, homemade chilli paste, flat rice noodles, bamboo shoots (which I love), egg and (in our case), seafood.  It has quite a dry sauce, and is very very hot, a good one for those fiery spicelovers!

There was a lot of seafood in the dish and I thought the prawns were very nicely cooked, the calamari was not chewy or rubbery, and the vegetables were crunchy and tasted fresh.  Overall, a tasty dish, and yes, perfect for those late nights out!

Rating

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

  • Service- 6
  • Food- 8.75
  • Ambience- 5
  • Value – 8

???????????????????????????????

Here’s a photo of Ankur with one of the lovely staff!

TCFB dined as a guest of Mr Seghur and Wok On Inn.

Wok on Inn the Rocks on Urbanspoon

Kataifi Prawns (serves 3-4 as an entree)

This simple and quick recipe is great for entrees or just a light snack.

It is healthier than tempura prawns or prawn cocktails as it does not involve any frying and looks interesting on the plate.

20131023_205510

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet kataifi, kept out for a few hours until it is room temperature
  • 500gr prawns
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used an African-style rub mix)

Method:

1. Heat oven to 200C.

2. Peel and de-vein prawns, leaving the tails on.

20131023_202353

3. Take some kataifi out gently and put it in a small bowl. Separate some of the strands so it is easier to work with.

20131023_202401

20131023_202657

4. Beat the egg with a fork and add salt, pepper and your choice of seasoning.

20131023_202704

5. Lay the kataifi strands out in a long line. Place the prawn at the top of the strand and roll it down to the bottom until covered. Place on an oiled tray.

20131023_202330

6. Once all prawns are covered in kataifi, place tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until pastry is golden and crispy.

20131023_205403

Enjoy!