Sunday, 31 August 2014

Cho Cho San, Potts Point - Sydney

This is why dining in a group is great.
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Cho Cho San feast: the fore is tuna, avocado & pickled eggplant

We can practically try every single thing on the menu. In case of Cho Cho San gathering last weekend, it was really close enough.

So I was joined by a squad of food bloggers all stars featuring Shirley, Isaac, Vanny, Annie, Amy, Yvonne, and Michael and The Lady for (late) lunch at one of the hippest places in town. Cho Cho San is a rather petite restaurant offering Japanese izakaya cuisine, piloted by chef Nic Wong (ex. Ester, Kylie Kwong, Bodega, Rockpool).

It wasn't the easiest place to be found, but the interior is sure one of the trendiest. Dominated with white and cream colours, the place emits a comforting light and casual ambiance without being sub-standard. Bar seating as well as communal table are available for smaller groups, while a row of bigger tables are to be occupied by larger ones.

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Interior

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Chefs in action (Head chef Nic Wong is the one on the right)

Our group of 9 was seated on the corner, which turned out to be the perfect place for (loud) food bloggers, each with their own weapon of choice that would be put into action everytime a plate was brought to the table.

There was degustation option listed on the menu as well, but we figured we might try more items without it. We ordered so many, some even twice-ordered, and I didn't even remember which came first. So lets go according to the menu list.

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Menu & table setting

Of course we had all the fried things. What do you expect?

I don't usually like eggplant but this is the case where deep frying makes everything 100x better. Fried eggplant miso consisted of logs of eggplant with juicy innards within their crispy golden jackets, drizzled generously with miso sauce full with pleasant umami smack.

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Fried eggplant miso - $10

The fried chicken was a bit blonde compared to the usual fried chicken, but was not inferior in any aspects. The meat was succulent and the batter was crispy enough to make the satisfying biting sound. Wasabi was involved in the dipping sauce, so don't go crazy with it or the spiciness will hit you hard.

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Fried chicken - $14

Another case of the excellence of deep frying method. The tempura pumpkin was moreish with light, crunchy batter encasing sweet pumpkin. I thought I was eating sweet potato.

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Tempura pumpkin - $12

Silken tofu in tomato dashi wasn't that innocent in terms of flavour although it looked tame enough. The tofu was as soft as a tofu can be, and the tomato dashi had such dominant tomato taste.

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Silken tofu in tomato dashi - $4 (ea)

Another thing that Cho Cho San managed to compel me to try is raw seafood. Anyone who's close with me would know that the sight of sashimi doesn't really excite me, but I made an exception. As long as it comes from Cho Cho San, I'm all game.

The ensemble of tuna, avocado, and pickled eggplant basically contained the three ingredients I am not fond of. Surprise surprise, it was one of my favourite dishes of the day. Really, nobody can say that the cubes of ruby fish weren't fresh, and the avocado puree combined with pickled eggplant and that soy-based light sauce made such a good combination.

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Tuna, avocado, pickled eggplant - $22

The Hokkaido scallops, corn, and house cured katsusuobushi was not the most photogenic dish but it was ordered twice. I think that alone speaks a lot. Although I didn't have a heaping mouthful of this, the scallop was plump and the whole mixture was interesting and undoubtedly tasty. I couldn't point what the dark-coloured paste was though.

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Hokkaido scallops, corn, house-cured katsusuobushi - $18

I never knew I can enjoy raw fish so much like this. The Petuna trout with black pepper and wasabi was genuinely wonderful, with such fresh fish and alluring sauce that boosted every bite. I even went for seconds.

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Petuna ocean trout, black pepper, wasabi - $20

Confession: I had never had raw beef before this. I eat my steak at least medium well-done.

Exclamations of 'OMG that looks RAW' were exchanged around the table when beef tataki with wild rice and ginger dressing arrived, and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to try those slivers of red raw beef. But in the name of research, and as an effort to be a good food blogger, I soldiered on.

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Beef tataki, wild rice, ginger dressing - $18

OH MY GOD.

I am not joking here. Saying it was really good is a massive understatement.

The paper-thin beef didn't have any kind of off-putting smell that I was being vigilant about, and it dispersed easier than I thought too. It was utterly delightful, and the chefs definitely know how to dress their food because the involvement of the watery yet lovely sauce made the beef looks even more like a diva.

The wild rice was an interesting part of the dish, which tasted like the savoury twin of rice krispies and added contrast on the textural department.

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Beef tataki - wild rice innards

We are only halfway, you guys.

The king crab omelette with Japanese curry wafted seductive aroma of curry, forcing us to dig in immediately as soon as the photoshoot was finished. The king crab might have been overwhelmed by the strong curry flavour, but the omelette with crispy edges and fluffy center put endless amount of smiles on our faces.

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King crab omelette, Japanese curry - $28

You know what's missing so far? Carbs. Oh yeah, we all love the carbs.

This is where the udon noodles with pork and chilli was needed. The udon's slippery and chewy features themselves were already good on their own, so when they held hands with spicy minced pork, my love for them multiply vastly.

I am still figuring out what the white sauce-like stuff on top though. Mayo? Silken tofu? Egg white?

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Udon noodles, pork, chilli - $15

The calamari and lime ponzu from the Hibachi grill almost sent me into frenzy. The sauce/marinade was successful in zapping my taste buds, and the calamari itself was grilled into perfection. The bites still retained the chewiness but it was not a labor at all to chew them.

I might have steal a piece or two while the others were distracted...

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Calamari, lime ponzu - $16

Another option from the grill was this melt-in-your-mouth miso cod with celery shavings and ginger. Although I couldn't really sense the ginger, the perfection of the miso cod itself satisfied every part of my existence.

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Miso cod, celery, ginger - $40

Soy glazed angus beef was another one that practically stopped me for a few seconds to contemplate about how good life is. My words will not cover how good this angus beef was. Succulent, tender, with perfect amount of fat and pink hue in the middle. Every pieces was also coated in such flawless seasoning, we all agreed that the three kinds of condiments on the side as unnecessary.

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Soy glazed angus beef - $36

The marathon was ended with all of their desserts. Our ratio was 9:2:2, 9 being the banana soft serve in cone with peanuts and caramel because we didn't want any ugly ice cream fight on the table.

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Banana soft serve in cone with peanut & caramel - $7 (ea)

While some among us wished that they had the green tea soft serve on the menu, I personally am very happy with the banana version. Not only it was smooth and not too sweet, the peanuts gave nice addition in terms of flavour and texture. And not to mention the caramel, which you can also find in the bottom of the cone. Winning!

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Banana soft serve in cone

The other two desserts were ordered 2 each to share, and although they were good in their own ways, they didn't really float my boat. Steamed yuzu pudding was sweet, spongy, and zingy with interesting bonus of sour cream on top. The cho cho snow was basically a mountain of shaved ice concealing apple custard in the bottom, dribbled by ginger-y brown syrup.

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Steamed yuzu pudding - 12

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Cho cho snow - $10

The portion may be a bit small for some, so my advice would be to bring a few people with you to share the dishes. We did eat lots, and although the portion wasn't that big, we were stuffed. Too stuffed even to fit a Messina run after.

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#asiantakingphotoofasianstakingphotosoffood

Bottom line, there were a bit of hits and misses here for me, but if you need another person to try more dishes, I'll keep my agenda clean for that.

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Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000


Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great selections of food with some really amazing items, service is great and rather efficient, ambiance is really comfy and nice, price is relatively on the higher end based on the portion.







Address:

CHO CHO SAN

73 Macleay St 
Potts Point, NSW 2011

Phone: (02) 9331 6601

Web: Cho Cho San
Facebook: Cho Cho San

Cho Cho San on Urbanspoon



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Sunday, 24 August 2014

PappaRich, Broadway - Ultimo

I'm gonna show you some skin here.
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Roti telur bawang with beef rendang from Papparich

Not my skin, of course. If I mention Papparich, you'd know what kind of skin I'm raving about, right?

There has been quite a frenzy about Papparich now. With a several branches around the town, the franchise is easily accessible and has sure gained much love from eager Sydney-siders. I visited their Boradway branch once, and rather sadly to say, has not shared all the hysteria about the place. Except for the chicken skin, of course.

The Broadway shop appears elegant and modern from every crooks and crannies. Some vintage-looking items give an interesting touch for the warm-looking and brown-dominated room.

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Interior

Hungry for some roti flipping and teh tarik pouring actions? Go ahead and watch the chefs rocking all the skilled moves at the open kitchen.

Ordering system is the same with the other branches, which involve your filling up a paper with the dishes' code number, and push the green button if you're ready with your order or if you just need something from the staff.

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Open kitchen

I don't really drink teh tarik, so the super lovable Milo dinosaur was ordered. Great ration between the Milo and the milk/water, and a heaped spoonful (maybe more) of more Milo on top. Can't complain.

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Milo dinosaur

A cup of hot teh tarik still joined the table though, and was enjoyed fully. The Ribena melon came with some plump lychees on top, which looked refreshing and perfect for warmer days.

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Teh tarik (hot)

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Ribena melon

We started off with something that needs no introduction.

Just like what the others commented: these deep fried, crunchy, golden morsels of chicken skin are just another obvious evidence that absolute geniuses do walk the earth. Pappa's deep fried chicken skin was undoubtedly moreish, with salty character and none of the oiliness. I reckon this will be perfect with some kind of spicy seasoning, like cajun.

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Fried chicken skin - $6.9

I had the roti telur bawang with beef rendang, which also came with watery curry sauce and fiery sambal (chilli). The roti itself was adequately fluffy and full of wilted onion and egg, and was perfect dipped in either or both of the sauces. The beef rendang was also nice with tender meat, it was just lacking the 'oomph' I was looking for.

To compare it with Mamak's, I still think Mamak is the king of roti in Sydney, but it doesn't mean that Pappa's roti is terribly inferior.

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Roti telur bawang with beef rendang

The hot chicken congee with steamed chicken is an effective sinus clearer. The bowl was comforting and aromatic, but the steamed chicken had even more satisfying whiff. The slices of tender chicken were swimming on a shallow pool of soy sauce, and while it was juicy and succulent, I was hoping for more flavour explosions.

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Chicken congee with steamed chicken - $12.9

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The steamed chicken

Nasi lemak with fried chicken arrived in colourful manner, and beside the absolutely sexy and rather huge fried chicken, the plate was also crowded by half of cooked egg, cucumber, fried peanuts, fried ikan bilis, and that same fiery sambal. I didn't get to try but it did have an inviting aroma. And you really can't go wrong with fried chicken.

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Nasi lemak with fried chicken - $13.5

We were indecisive about desserts, but finally deciding to save roti bomb for next time and settling with roti kaya this time. The floppy triangles of roti had interesting contrast of some soft parts and some crispy edges, and the kaya wasn't smeared as thick as I hoped but it ticked the right boxes.

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Roti kaya

Being a good family member, I took some takeaway boxes with me. Three other menus (not pictured) were demolished as supper that night, including char koay teow (wok-fried flat noodles with prawns, egg, and bean sprouts), dry koay teow with steamed chicken (flat rice noodles in tasty soy sweet sauce and a serve of steamed chicken), and fried rice noodles (wok-fried rice noodles with prawns, egg, and bean-sprouts).

Between them, the fried rice noodles was the one I couldn't stop having forkfuls of. There was more of that charred, smoky smell in this one compared to that in char koay teow, and some profound kicks of chilli lifted the eating experience.

There were some really satisfying moments from Papparich, but there were also some anticlimax ones. I guess I need to try more of their dishes then!

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Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000


Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Pretty decent dishes with really good roti selections, service is quick and friendly, ambiance is really nice and comfy, price is reasonable.







Address:

PAPPARICH

Shop 5 / 185-211 Broadway  
Ultimo, NSW 2007

Phone: (02) 9281 3228

Web: PappaRich
Facebook: PappaRich

PappaRich Broadway on Urbanspoon



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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Brewtown, Newtown - Sydney

Brewnuts.
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Elvis Burger from Brewtown

Do I get your attention now? I know how much love and adoration the brewnuts (just another name of cronuts, you guys) from Brewtown have received, but actually, the gorgeous café is much more than those pastry hybrid. But if you stumbled upon this page and want to go straight to the brewnuts, feel free to skip to the very last part of the post.

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If you're planning to eat in, arrive early or really late or otherwise, prepare to wait for a table. Every single spot in this rustic and elegant café fills up easily, especially on weekends. We went there for a Saturday brunch but only had to wait about 15 mins for a table for two.

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Interior

The interior is super appealing. Dimly lighted to create a warm and romantic ambiance, accentuated with wooden furnitures and related colours. Naked brick walls and exposed pipes; this place screams trendy. Communal tables are available (yes, there is one with that Instagram-famous beehive pattern), but that day we were seated on a small table further inside.

Do something productive while you wait for your table. And by saying productive, I mean spy all those brewnuts flying to the counter!

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Brewnuts stalking

We started with warm cups of our favourites. My hot chocolate was perfect and adequately chocolatey, and the mocha was also rather adored by my date of the day.

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Hot chocolate (fore) and mocha (back)

While choosing the menu, we spied some polenta and corned beef dishes being served, and if I had not heard about the Elvis burger, I would've picked one of them. Talking about serving, the service  was excellent. Our waiters were really friendly and efficient albeit being busy, some even equipped with really good sense of humours.

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Serving like a boss

I reckon the banana bread here is often overlooked and people would go straight to the more popular items. Make no mistake, the toasted banana bread was also served brilliantly. A thick slab of fragrant banana bread with crispy edges, flanked with cinnamon butter and tangy hone and lime mascarpone.

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Toasted homemade banana bread with cinnamon butter, honey & lime mascarpone - $6

It was moist, fluffy, and had perfect level of sweetness. The unique butter brought more alluring aroma out, and the mascarpone was such a perfect companion.

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Spreading the butter

I went straight to the heavier package, the Elvis burger. Imagine everything's good about burger, and multiply it by two. Maybe three.

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Elvis burger (savoury brewnut, beef, bacon, gruyere w/hand cut chips & house relish) - $16.5

Everything just worked. The savoury brewnut might be a wee bit oily but it was easily ignored by the great flavours of perfectly cooked patty, bacon, and melty gruyere cheese. The relish was rather zingy, which was good as it prevented the whole bite to be too heavy. The fat, thick chips were soggy and definitely moreish.

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Obligatory innards shot

Choosing which brewnuts to take away was easy, it was an 'one of each please' kind of situation. We got the whole gang: jam (dusted with icing sugar), chocolate crumble, glazed, and cinnamon. Among them, my favourite was the chocolate crumble, as the chocolate wasn't too sweet and I love the texture play. The jam would probably be my second choice, although the jam was a tad too sweet for me. The glazed one was good, but I found the cinnamon one to be rather plain.

My biggest problem with them is about the amount of oil. They were amazingly crispy and the layers couldn't be more obvious and beautiful, but I reckon they'll be even better if somehow they're delivered to our hands in a drier state.

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Brewnuts ($4.5 ea) - jam, chocolate crumble, cinnamon sugar, glazed

I might have complained a bit about those brewnuts there, but as I am writing this I am actually craving for them. What kind of sorcery is this?

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Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000


Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Really great brewnut burger, wide ranges of menu and drinks, service is impeccable and very friendly, ambiance is nice and comfy but prepare to wait for a table, especially on weekends. Sweet brewnuts were good but a tad too oily for me.







Address:

BREWTOWN

6 - 8 O'Connell Street
Newtown, NSW 2042

Phone: (02) 9519 2920

Website: Brewtown
Facebook: Brewtown Newtown

Brewtown Newtown on Urbanspoon


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