Sunday, July 12, 2009

Friday, July 10

For dinner I went to Sydney 3-hat stalwart, Bilson's. It was my first visit to the restaurant and I was hugely excited, having drooled over the menu since securing our table.

It absolutely did no disappoint. Each course was brilliant, with a few masterpieces interspersed. The roasted partridge dish took my breath away. The assiette of chocolate was also a huge winner.

One of the courses was interesting. A wine was served in pitch-black, blind tasting glasses and we were instructed to try and guess. Served with this is what is essentially cheese on toast. I may be reading too much into it, but I liked the cheekiness of this dish. Some of us may claim to be gourmands, but when there's a test sitting in front of us, what do we really know? How much of our food and wine knowledge is nothing but hot air?

While the food left me completely satisfied, the whole experience was only heightened by the great atmosphere of the room, and the outstanding service we received.

It wasn't a cheap night by any stretch of the imagination, but a fantastic experience, one I hope to repeat sooner rather than later.

Bilson's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 7

For dinner I went to Guru in Surry Hills. Previously known as Beluga (reviewed on this blog), the restaurant was closed down for a make-over and a new name. Guru is more strongly-focused on modern Indian food and has a more accessible menu than Beluga.

I'd loved Beluga on both of the visits I made there, so I was a little hesitant to see if the changes had taken anything away from it. The menu was certainly different, down from 7 courses to 4. The previous entrance was now an Indian takeaway shop.

But the things that haven't changed at Guru are the most important. The food was still exceptional and is still entirely unique. The value was outstanding (4 courses, plus 3 palate cleansers/appetisers for $48) and chef/owner Opel Khan's generosity an warmth still fills the room.

Highlight of the dinner was the deconstructed samosa.

Khan mentioned that in a week or so the restaurant will again be having a bit of a makeover. In comes some heavy-duty equipment from overseas for a new 10 course, circa $100 degustation. Out goes the a la carte menu. That's right, only a 4 course or 10 course degustation will be offered.

It should be fantastic and I'll definitely be going back in a few weeks to try the new menu.

Guru Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 5

The Food and Wine Show was in town so I thought I'd head over to the Convention Centre and see if it was any good.

There was a huge array of stalls in the hall. Everything from pasta to sponges to salmon to cat food. And there was samples to try for everything (except for maybe the cat food). Wine was definitely well represented, with dozens of wineries having tasting booths.

Some of the stalls that caught my attention were the following:
- d'Arenberg had a huge range of wines to try (from their massive range).
- Appleton Rum was a big surprise with a great stall. I have no idea that aged rum could be so smooth and tasty.
- The $50 showbag was great value, especially since they gave me an extra one free. My fridge was packed with strange items the next day (and still is, really).

While I would have preferred some more food to eat and some better wineries doing tastings, it was still a good show and one I think I'll be attending in the future.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Saturday, July 4

Around 3 months ago I purchased a bottle of Dom Ruinart 96 on sale. I'd intended to save it for some sort of "special occasion" but had recently become frustrated that there was no foreseeable "special occasion". The bottle mocked me as it sat in the cupboard. I don't know if you've ever been mocked by a bottle of champagne before, but let me tell you that it's not a nice experience.

So I thought of excuses to drink it. They still didn't come, so I put it in the fridge yesterday and set my mind on drinking it today.

To aid in the drinking of it, I got some oysters and scallops from the shops.

I pan-fried the scallops (cleaned, with the roe off) in some butter, seasoned them, took them out and dressed them with some white wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. I added some diced tomato for freshness. It wasn't one of my more memorable dishes, but it warmed me up for the oysters and champagne.

To the oysters I added some olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and a small amount of sugar.

I cracked the champagne. It reminds me a lot of Dom Perignon, taste wise. Technically it's very different. A medium bead and mousse. Nice aromas of vanilla, peach, lemon and blueberry. Peach and vanilla dominate the palate. It's really nice and floral. Great finish. Very smooth, lingers for ages.

At yesterday's lunch the topic of Ethiopian food had come up. It's a cuisine which I totally adore. Limited in scope, but containing some of the best dishes I've ever tasted. Needless to say, it put me in the mood for some Ethiopian, which I haven't cooked for a while.

Dinner had to be my favourite Ethiopian dish, a sort of stir fry of chicken thighs, capsicum, red onion, tomatoes, chilli, garlic, ginger and berbere, the greatest spice mix known to man.


Friday, July 3

For lunch we went to Merrylands for some Lebanese food and Al-Arzah. One of the guys in my team at work had recommended it, so a bunch of us headed over.

My favourite option at any Lebanese place is always the mixed grill. A delicious mix of smokey kebabs, delicious dips, salad and soft pita bread.

While it wasn't the best Lebanese I've had, it left us all feeling pretty satisfied and groggy for the remainder of the afternoon.

For dinner I went to Medusa's Greek Taverna in the city, on the corner of Kent and Market sts. I've been there once before and thought that it was probably the best Greek food in the city. Very generous portions, good value, great taste, good service. It's still not perfect Greek food, but it is great for what it is.

The mixed mezes plate is the best way to start, giving the table a selection of all of the entrees. For mains, I had the slow-baked lamb last time (and loved it), so this time I went for the exohiko arni, lamb backstrap with cheese and spinach in filo pastry. Very pleasing.

Dessert was an adventure. We were totally stuffed, but decided that sharing the dessert plate for two (between three of us) would be manageable. What came back from the kitchen was 4-5 desserts on the one plate. The table next to us looked like a Weight Watchers graduation party and looked completely aghast, yet amazed, at our food.

It was totally delicious (particularly when washed down with the port from Cyprus) and we left totally stuffed.

Medusa Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon