Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rock Lobster - D'Albora Marinas Port Stephens

Ph: 4981 1813

Today we went to port stephens. We drove past this seaside cafe / restaurant on the way to little beach where we planned to snorkel for the morning. It was approaching midday when we felt hungry and cold since the water wasn't so warm this time of the day. So, we dried ourselves off and drove down to the D'Albora Marina to have a "light lunch".

We chose the beer battered barramundi with chips and a seafood platter. It didn't really take too long for the food to come out. The fish in Betty's opinion was the best fish and chips combination that she had ever had. I'd definately agree with her on that point. The fish was soft and tasty, with a crisp but not too thick layer of batter on the outside. Usually with fish and chips, it's mostly batter and the batter isn't even that great. This one was an exception to that observation. The chips were thick cut steak chips with some sort of light crumb coating on the outside. These were crunchy on the outside and light & fluffy on the inside.

On the seafood platter, there was crab, prawns, oysters, smoked salmon and some melon to fill the plate. I showed betty how to peel a prawn so that you can eat the head without it actually looking like you're eating the head. You end up with a prawn that has a bit of extra meat on the end where the head usually is, but without the shell and legs. The prawns tasted sweet and fresh, the flesh was nice and firm without the extra brine that you usually get. The oysters were, well, oysters. What more can I say? They were delicious! The same goes for the smoked salmon. There's not really that much to comment on when it comes to good seafood. Betty doesn't really like melon fruit, so I ended up eating it all.

At the end we were still slightly peckish. So, we ordered a half dozen mornay oysters. This came out pretty quickly since we ordered it half way through our meal. They were served on a bed of sea salt (a bit of a waste if you ask me), with a little bit of greens to garnish the plate. The cheese was so creamy, not unlike the cheese you get from the lasagne I used to order when in primary school. The oysters underneath the layer of creamy goodness were, just that, oysters. What more can I say? They were delicious! The crab wasn't the usual mudcrab i'd have at home, this was some new kind of crab i've never encountered before. It was smaller but the meat in the crab was quite sweet. When dipped in the gingery soy sauce, it was like having yakisoba with gingery soy sauce. Only it wasn't yakisoba. It was crab.

I'd definately come here again the next time I drive up to port stephens! I'd give it a 4 / 5 since I have to drive almost 3 hours to get there. You also get a good view of the marina where all the ships are parked. Quite a pretty view indeed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Meat & WIne Co. Parramatta

Here we are again at the Meat and Wine Co. Tonight we were lazy to decide on where to go, so we decided on the Meat and Wine Co.

Tonight, we ordered no entrees & stuck to the mains. Partly because we were really friggen starvin and partly because we were lazy. I ordered the Lamb Cutlets and Ms Betty ordered the pan fried giant prawns.

The Lamb Cutlets were well presented on top of a small serving of ratatouille. This was under the "specialties" section of their menu, so I was expecting to be king of lamb cutlet mountain when this dish arrived. The Lamb arrived in good time as usual with the absolutely fan-fucking-tastic service we always get from the Meat and Wine Co. The lamb was cooked exactly the way i liked it, still slightly pink on the inside, but still nice and soft on the palate. The mint jus was a little too sweet, but in small doses, it fit the bill perfectly. The ratatouille tasted like Jessica Alba drove by my house and I had an orgasm in my mouth. It was THAT GOOD. The tomato base wasn't too strong, I could taste all the individual flavours of the vegetables in the mixture.

Betty's pan fried giant prawns weren't so giant compared to the prawns I had in Thailand. Now those were some mutated giant MOFO prawns I've ever seen. The shells of the prawns were fried enough to be eaten with the meat of the prawns, reminiscent of prawn crackers. The rice was pretty average, but the flavour of the prawns were more than enough to make up for the lack of flavour in the rice!

Again, I'd say the service was good & the food was good. I'd come back again & again!

El Phoenician

328 Church Street
NSW 2150

Phone: (02) 9633 1611
Fax: (02) 9633 1622
E mail

Trading hours

Monday - Friday
Lunch- 12 pm - 3 pm
Monday - Saturday 
Dinner- 5 pm to late

Tonight's review will be on a little lebanese restaurant on the main strip of Parramatta CBD. We started off the night walking down Church street thinking what we should eat when came upon a few posters advertising belly dancers and sword jugglers. This caught our attention so we kept the restaurant in mind.

Met up with two friends: Julie and Sam. Everyone was pretty indecisive of where to go eat, so I suggested El phoenician , although it was right in front of us when I did :)

The place was dimly lit but still had enough light for us to see what we were ordering. We started off by ordering some drinks. I had a light beer, Sam had a Shiraz, Betty & Julie had some water. While we were ordering, we started chomping away on some deep fried lebanese bread. This was fantastic, the bread was so oily but yet so good.

We ordered a lamb shish kebab, grilled barramundi, salt and pepper squid & a plate of pickled vegetables. The plate of pickled vegetables was supposed to be the entree, strangely enough, all the mains came out first. About ten minutes into the meal, we had to remind the staff that we ordered the pickles.

The salt and pepper squid was deep fried and scored so they looked like a bunch of curled up super fatty pieces of golden brown goodness. Unlike most places, El phoenician  didn't completely smother the squid in salt. I could actually still taste the flavour of the squid for a change.

We ordered another dip for the lamb shish kebab, while we were waiting on this, we dug into the fish. The fish was grilled perfectly without any hint of being overcooked. This I could say is the best tasting fish dish I've had in a while, the creamy hummus looking sauce on top is actually a citrus tasting sauce called Tahina. The pine nuts added crunchiness and a little extra flavour to the mix.

When the extra sauce finally arrived, we all grabbed a shish kebab each (excluding Ms Betty). This I could say absolutely pwns the shish kebab I had with Hieu and Trang in fairfield. It absolutely smashes it to the ground, and then some. The meat was flavoured with spices, olive oil and a touch of red wine. This dish was quickly gone. There was only one shish kebab left so I split that with Sam. The taste of the meat aws unique compared to most kebabs I've had in my 23 years. It actually had extra flavouring (apart from the meaty taste). I'd say this is the BEST kebab I've ever had!

To end the night off, we couldn't eat any more. So we decided to give the dessert menu a miss. All up, I'd recommend this restaurant to everyone that asks me where to eat lebanese. I'd give this place a 9/10!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Little Snail

Open 7 days for Lunch and Dinner
50 Murray St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Tel: (02) 9212 7512
Fax: (02) 9211 6706

Tonight we decided to have a get together with a few friends @ The Little Snail in Pyrmont. It's located on the corner of Murray Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road. There's a car park conveniently located right next door to the restaurant with the monorail on the other side, so it's an easily accessable place.

We met Anne & Wade outside. Rob & Anita were inside already waiting for us. We arrived and were led to our table upstairs, right next to the glass window which had an awesome view of nothing. The table was set with all the required cutlery and a sheet of white paper on top of the table cloth, in case you get bored and want to scribble on something.

We took a year and a half to decide on what wine we would have that night and ended up having a penfolds shiraz. The waiter seemed very annoyed and went to serve another couple who had just arrived. After another year, we ordered our food. The menu comes as a three course dining experience, so we all chose our sets.

I chose the smoked salmon salad with capers and rocket to start, the seafood platter for the mains and a vanilla crepe for dessert. The smoked salmon was lightly flavoured and not too oily, it melted in my mouth with a creamy texture. The salad that accompanied the salmon was fresh and crunchy with a nice white dressing which was slightly sour but matched well with the greens. The capers however, were there for decoration.

Next up was the seafood platter. This was an oily smorgasbord of seafood. There were calamari rings, beer battered flathead fillets, Grilled salmon with crispy skin, grilled mussels and a little salad to go with it. There's not much you can say to describe deep fried seafood, so I'm just going to say that it was yummy and filled with oily goodness. The Mussels were covered in a tomato based sauce. They tasted pretty bland without the sauce, but even with the sauce it didn't really do much to help the lack of flavour in the mussels. The salmon's "crispy skin" wasn't so crispy. I think it had been sitting on a bench in the kitchen for a while and re-heated. Although it wasn't too crispy, the salmon was still good.

Lastly there was the vanilla crepe with what appeared to be thawed frozen strawberries, vanilla custard, whipped cream and lashings of chocolate sauce. This in my humble opinion was the best part of the 3 course meal. The crepe was light and cooked golden brown. The combination of strawberry, custard & chocolate sauce was like a sexytime explosion in my mouth.

Betty ordered a mushroom, cheese and sundried tomato entree. Thw whole package went quite well together, with the contrasts between the creamy cheese and the condensed flavour of the semi dried tomatos.

Next up was the Grilled barramundi fillet. The fish wasn't overly fresh with a overwhelming lack of flavour. If it wasn't for the sauce and asparagus, it would have been below average (although they weren't anything special either.

Last of all was the sticky date pudding. This came with a caramel sauce and a large dollop of ice cream on the side & a strawberry. The pudding was pretty dry. It needed a lot of the caramel sauce to counterbalance the dryness. There wasn't enough sauce to go around to completely make up for the lack of moisture in the pudding. Even with the ice cream, it was still too dry.

Overall, I'd say the little snail is an average tasting but nicely located restaurant. ALthough this is tagged as 'french', i would say its closer to Modern Australian.