Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Norita Cafe & Board Games

Level 2, 77 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9267 3753

I've walked past this entrance many times before but never seemed to notice the sign. A friend took us here, and the sounds of a 'board games cafe' kind of excited me .. ;)

You get a comfy couch, and your own large table, and Monstors Inc was playing as we sat down.

We got some complimentary marshmallows & cookies which was really nice! I really liked the skull shaped one..

I ordered a pot of green gen mai cha tea.

Rick got the black coffee, & Ben the peach tea (which was, by the way, the best and sweetest peach tea i've ever let pass my lips!!). Wensy got the hot milk tea, which wasnt too bad either i really liked it, they sure do like to overload your drinks with sugar haha..

Me & Ben shared this slice of tiramisu cake. I've had better, this was not coffee-ey enough for me..

So, to the board games! We started off with jenga which was really fun, the loser who spilled the tower, got hit by all the players with this red plastic hammer type of thing. Hence the majorly intense concentration by Ben here in this pic haha :P

more complimentary goodies yayness!

The boys tried to make it hard for all of us by taking out all the bottom blocks..

Then onto some scrabble which is one of my favs.

Norita is such a fun place to hang out at, and major bonus that it was a rainy day, it was good to dry up the bottoms of our jeans :)

Bonta Vita

Shop 10-02 Regent Place
501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9267 2212

After seeing Shez post up about an italian-malaysian restaurant, i really wanted to try this place out myself.

Months later i was able to spend a day out in the city & remembered that this place was on my to-eat list.

But only a couple days before i saw a post on NotQuiteNigella's that made me think twice about coming here.. Someone threatened legal action? No photo's allowed? (and a sign out front to prove it), Manager posted a comment supposedly covering up for a mean comment that was left on Lorraine's site? This slowly turned me away from wanting to eat @ Bonta Vita anymore..

But the rizza sounded so intriguing, and i had planned for this for ages, & we were practically in the same block coming from Norita..

Whispering to Rick whilst walking into the restaurant.. "Do you think we should keep our cameras away?" and "Do you think they'll confiscate it?"

My friend Ben suggested we casually take pictures of ourselves with the food in the background haha/ It aint a crime to take pictures of eachother???

We were pretty hungry, after only having breakfast at about 10am, some cake & drinks at 2pm, and now it was 4pm we were starved for some food. My friends Wensy & Ben liked the sounds of malaysian-italian food so i had already booked us a table. 4pm was not quite dinner time yet, so the place was pretty empty..

After opening the doors & stepping in, we heard a man yell out in an extremely condescending tone.. "hell-ooo, we have customers". What a way to greet customers ? ..

The waitresses were friendly, not very good english speakers (this annoys me at restaurants), but she did her best to help us with menu enquiries & ordering.

Mezi di Piatto $21.95

After taking a couple of photo's, & checking to see if any workers were giving me a "put that camera away" look, or anyone that looked like they were coming to confiscate it (Lols), no one said anything (although, it might just be my imagination, but from the corner of my eye i thinks the owner was looking over at our table everytime a flash went off??!!), so i went on happily snapping away as i usually do at any other restaurant.

A variety of dips including eggplant, hommus & guacamole served with slices of toasted bread. The bread tasted stale, much like old Cabramatta bread rolls. The dips tasted very.. un-fresh. Except the eggplant dip, that was nice. But the other two seemed like they were taken off the shelf of a Woolworths or Coles or something like that. So for $21.95, this dish was expensive :/

Hainanese Chicken Rice $17.95

Rick ordered this as there wasn't much on the menu that he could have (he can't eat wheat dairy tomato chilli eggplant and various other things for the moment). The dish came with a ginger & garlic dip, & was decorated with coriander & a sprig of mint, and sliced cucumber. He didn't look like he enjoyed it, mentioning that his mum made it one hundred times better than here.

Rizza No. 7 $16.95

This was why i wanted to come to Bonta Vita, for their Rizza's (roti+pizza=rizza!). Quite frankly, it was a huge let down :( While the pastry LOOKED crispy, it was really soft &.. sort of soggy, and it was just so bland the filling didn't go well with the texture of the rizza. We chose the Rizza No.7 which was Char Grilled eggplant, green peas, grilled onions, mushroom, tomato, mozzerella served with vegetarian sauce. & also Rizza No. 1 Bocconcini, pesto, cherry tomato, mozzarella served with BV sauce. (i didnt get a picture of this)

The rizza much reminded me of the soggy gozleme that i get at fairfield markets (which is so much nicer??! & only costed half the price.

Roti Canai (i think??) $9.95

I don't remember what this was, looking over the menu it must be this.. basically it was just crunchy sheets of pastry, that was really buttery & flakey in the middle. Slightly sweet, and served with two types of dips. Wasn't a big fan, we actually didn't finish it either..

We didn't finish most of the dishes, not because we weren't hungry, but because the food wasn't that nice and we'd be forcing it down. Rick finished his rice though, he was pretty hungry.

All in all, we were all bitterly disappointed, & i feel really bad for taking my friends here to eat :(

The ambience was horrible, having the owner (i assume he was the owner) talk to his workers in such a rude way, doesn't scream 'friendly' at all. I'm happy to say that i have tried out Bonta Vita, but sadly won't ever go back ever again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Level 1, 78-86 Harbour Street
Haymarket Sydney NSW 2000
02-9212 6068 (bookings recommended otherwise you might be waiting!)

Ok, so our friend Chris told us about a restaurant where you order from a touch screen. What a novelty, maybe someday it'll be served from a conveyor belt with a touch screen and we wouldn't have to interact with a human!


After work, we decided to all meet up at Wagaya in Chinatown. The restaurant's signage was just around the corner from market city next to Ramen Kan. I stood outside thinking this little nook filled with garbage can't possibly be Wagaya. So I walked another ten metres and found the entrance proper. What a silly place to put a sign!

We started off by ordering some drinks. Chris had a beer, Betty & Ann had cocktails and I ordered a sake. I thought the sake would be the same as the other restaurants where it's a little 120ml ceramic bottle. I was so wrong. It turned out to be a very round bottle compared to the skinny bottles found elsewhere. This got me a little tipsy and sleepy. Ah good times :)

We all had a bit of a play around with the touchscreen and realised the stylus on my HTC Touch HD phone worked quite well with the screen as opposed to my finger. After playing around with the screen longer, I realised my knuckled worked even better than the stylus. Awesome.


We ordered some edamame, seaweed salad, agedashi tofu, tempura cheese, gyoza, a spider hand roll, scallop sushi, salmon sushi roulette, tempura eel, renkon chips, kimuchi fried rice, salmon sashimi and lastly seafood sticks. That was a massive amount of food for just the four of us but it didn't end up being too pricey.

As many of you know, edamame is our favourite starter at japanese restaurants. You can never go wrong with edamame, it's salt crystals make the young soy beens so delicious. I wish I had some right now *salivates*. 

The seaweed salad here was quite good also, it was nice and fresh looking with bright green colouring without a trace of ice. Some places serve their seaweed salad with a little ice in it since they've had it in the freezer a while and they haven't defrosted it. So, I'm assuming they make their own here!

The agedashi tofu had a nice crispy tempura batter on the outside and the tofu inside was piping hot. I had to be a little careful eating this, but I took a whole piece anyways, drenched it in the sauce and was in tofu heaven.

 The tempura cheese I skipped because I'm on a detox with no dairy allowed. Such a shame. But from what i saw, it was pretty damn good because Betty ordered another serving for herself hehe. But like, how can you go wrong with deep fried cheese right??

The gyoza was served on a plate with the sauce on the side. The saltiness of the sauce complimented the pork filling quite well. If I could have, I would have eaten the lot. I also liked the way the skin was pan fried until it was crispy on one side.

Chris Had the spider hand roll to himself, so I can't comment on that. Although it did look quite well made and the soft shell crab inside looked crunchy :) 

Next up was the scallop sushi. The scallop on top was slightly seared with a blow torch, it had a slightly burnt taste (in a good way) and the scallop flesh was quite sweet.

The funniest part of the night was when the salmon sushi roulette was served. We all had a feeling that Ann would be the one to get it and on the first round, she got it straight away. Her face went all squished up, Chris and I were laughing pretty hard when we saw her cheat and still end up with the wasabi bomb HAHA!

she cheated by peeking to see which was the bomb

After we recovered from the hilarity of the situation, we had some tempura eel. It wasn't quite what I was expecting since I usually have teriyaki eel. The batter wasn't too crispy, but it was still tasty. The skin of the eel was a little tough, almost like having a really rubbery mozzarella string when biting into a pizza. The flavour overall was pretty average.

This was i think deep fried seafood with more tofu.

Now onto the highlight of this culinary / technological experience. The renkon chips were awesome. Move over potatos, the lotus roots rule supreme now. I reckon they taste better than potato chips by a long mile. The drizzled sauce sweetened the renkon chips much like when you have taro chips in cabramatta and they drizzle honey on top. Although, this is not as sweet as honey it was still quite good. I'm salivating just thinking about it now...

The kimuchi fried rice was served in a hot ceramic bowl on a wooden platter. The bowl was hot enough to make a crunchy crust of kimuchi fried rice at the bottom. That was definately the best part of this dish. It wasn't too spicey or salty or sweet. The flavours were nicely in balance and the added crunchyness of the crust was excellent. 

On the side was the salmon sashimi, it was fresh, thick and very tasty. I love the butteryness of salmon sashimi, it's just so yummy!

At the end we were really really full. The seafood sticks reminded me of the stuff you can get at strathfield at the takeaway places. It was covered in cheese and a little mayo. The seafood sticks were the usual affair. I don't think anyone actually makes them in house. It tasted pretty much like the ones you get at strathfield, except they're smothered with melted cheese. Enough to give you an instant heart attack.

The touchscreen was quite a novelty but the novelty wore off towards the end of the night when we were full and couldn't bring ourselves to order any more food. The thing I liked about this system is the billing. We can check our bill any time throughout the night and rein in our trigger happy fingers (knuckles). I liked the idea of the touch screen since it automated and made the service quite efficient. It also took away the language barrier! Overall I'd say the food is above average, but it doesn't beat ben bu in terms of taste.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The Entertainment Quarter
(Formally known as Fox Studios)
Shop 211, G01 Driver Ave

Ph: +61 2 9332 1409
F: +61 2 9332 1404
E: info@cine.com.au

Tonight is the night The Presets play. We started off walking around Fox Studios and ended up choosing some italian food from Cine. (there isnt actually much to eat here, there is chinese, pubfood, German.. what else?)

At the entrance, we saw Geoff Jansz! He looked so stocky and tanned in person. We decided not to pester him for an autograph since he was having dinner with someone.

We were directed to our table quickly upon entering the restaurant (thinking we had to wait since the bbc was so packed). Cine was semi-packed but we got a table for four quite quickly. Betty had the pumpkin risotto, I had the lamb shank and there was also a fetta cheese pizza for everyone to share.

Ann chose this bottle of wine (she usually does whenever we go out to eat), this was probably the first red wine that i've enjoyed :)

Frankly, the lamb shank was absolute rubbish. The flesh was hard and not even anywhere near the right texture of a lamb shank. It should be soft, tender and falling off the bone. This one was really bad. Betty's uncle (to date) makes the best lamb shank. The saving grace for this hard and clumpy lamb was the jus it was covered in. The jus gave the lamb quite a nice flavour, but the texture of the meat ruined the entire dish.

The pizza was steaming hot right from the oven,  covered with generous amounts of goats cheese, chicken pieces & Zucchini. Flavors were a bit weak, the base was semi dry (but i guess healthy isn't a bad thing!).

The risotto had lashings of parmesan shavings on top, with spinach leaves stirred through right before serving. It wasn't too oily or thick, was a very light type of risotto, with chunks of soft pumpkin throughout. I also liked the pine nuts i found in each spoon i had.

From my bad experience with the lamb shank, I would not recommend the food at this restaurant. It was below food court level lamb roast even. The carvery at my local north sydney eatery makes their roast better than this lamb shank!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Icing

I had brought a punnet of raspberries for a chai porridge recipe i had found in 'Womens Health', but the little things were mushy (i assumed they should be abit more firm? Like with blueberries i know they are good when you bite into them they have a slight crunch but if they are soft then they aren't as good..)

So since my workmate's wifes Birthday was coming up i looked for a cupcake recipe with raspberries. I looked through all my cupcakes books, but ended up finding this one on LemonPi's Website here.

& the icing i used one from '200 cakes and bakes' by Sara Lewis.

3 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups whole raspberries
1/2 cup coarse raw sugar

Preheat oven to 190′C.

Sift flour, caster sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and milk, and mix with a whisk until combined. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Slowly add melted butter and continue mixing until batter is smooth and there are no visible streaks of butter. Gently fold fruit into batter, taking care to avoid crushing the fruit.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tin, filling the cups to the top. Sprinkle coarse raw sugar on tops of muffins and bake on center rack of oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Finished muffins will be golden brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes before lifting each muffin from the pan.

Lemon Icing:

1 cup icing sugar & lemon juice. Double sift the icing sugar into a bowl & gradually mix in just enough lemon juice to make a thin spoonable icing. Drizzle icing from a spoon in random lines over the top. Leave to harden slightly before serving.

Let the muffins cool completely before icing them (in my case i didn't follow instructions & was abit of an eager beaver so it got a tiny bit messy!). 

These muffins were really delicious probably the nicest i've ever made & i LOVE the colors of the raspberry when you bite into it. The top part was nice too because it was extra sweet from the raw brown sugar.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

KoKo Black

Bunda Street
Canberra ACT
Australia 2600

website here

On our way back down from the camping grounds at Hobart Beach (about 2 hrs past Canberra) we remembered that I had Koko Black on my to-eat list. So here we were, stretching our feet out in this 'chocolat' place.

The line was quite long, it was about 2pm, just after lunch, & it was wet outside (& very warm inside). I think we were standing in line for about 10-15 minutes before being able to sit down.

The Front table was full of their chocolates & truffles i ended up getting a gift box for Susan since her birthday was coming up in a few days..

We ordered, & got a receipt straight after. Our orders came out in about 10 minutes, so not bad!

Ann had her supposed affogato hot chocolate ($7.75) & me & Rick shared a cappuchino ($3.85), large pot of Chai Tea ($6.00), Dulce Martini ($8.95) & a cake & biscuit plate ($5.50). I think it was a fair price altogether, but how often do we get to go to Koko Black? (Many cafes in Melb and ONE in Canberra, NONE in syd).

affogato hot chocolate

I probably would of loved the affogato seeing that it had a decent amount of condensed milk :)


The cappuchino came with a serving of milk chocolate flakes.

cake & biscuit plate

The cake & biscuit plate had a mini chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, & two short bread rounds. Oh, and a massive chocolate swirly piece, which i didn't really like i don't like chocolate when its cold its just hard & takes longer to melt in your mouth.

dulce martini

The dulce martini was dulce de leche flavoured icecream, with chocolate sauce & caramelised coconut garnish. It was more vanilla actually, i've only had dulce de leche once and i saw none of that in this.

It was quite a let down actually i don't know. Many people have raved about this place, but i still favour Lindt as my number one chocolate pig out cafe :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cream cheese & kiwi Tart

On a quiet, Thursday afternoon i tweeted ...

'My dad just brought home some Kiwi Fruits. What should i do with them?'

& @eece a.k.a Lis Enos replied with ...

'tarts!' & emailed me her recipe for 'Cream Cheese & Strawberry Tart'.

Off to the shops i bought a 12 pack of Pampas pre-made frozen tarts. I already had kiwi, apricot jam, thickened cream & Philadelphia at home.

Here is the recipe except i had double the amount of cream cheese therefor doubled everything else & was left over with about one cup of filling which i just threw away.

First I baked the tarts according to the packet instructions, & let them cool. WHile they were cooling i made the filling:

~125g Philadelphia spread
~4 tablespoons caster sugar
~3 tablespoons cream (pouring or thickened)
~1 kiwi fruit, peeled & sliced (thick or thin up to you though i find thicker is better)
~Apricot Jam (to glaze)

1. Mix the philly & sugar on low speed. 

2. Add the pouring cream & mix on medium speed until well mixed.

3. Spoon into cooled tart cases.

4. Place kiwi slice on top.

5. Heat up the jam (make sure it is heated properly, i didn't and it was clumpy & ugly boo)

6. Brush over fruit as a glaze
 (not i glazed the whole tart haha friggin hell me + instructions = fail)

I want to try again (i still have kiwi fruits left) but with custard instead, only because i have a major sweet tooth!

S&i Thai

Simple & Irresistible Thai Cuisine
283 Miller Street
North SYdney
t. 9929 6696
Mon-Sat: 10am-10pm
Sun: 5pm-10pm

This restaurant is on the corner of Ridge Street, & i was lucky enough to find parking about 20 seconds down the road :)

From the outside, it looks like a very modern restaurant, the decoration was sleek, lighting was semi-low, & you can see into the kitchen, which runs along parallel to the dining area.

The staff are really polite & attentive (this could also be because it was after 5.30pm, not many diners in the place).

We BYO'ed a bottle of Brown Brothers Zibibo ROse (one of my top five's), & ordered shortly after our wine glasses were filled.

S&I is Ann's regular eat-out for work functions, & she suggested the curry puffs (i can't say no to these yummy)!

It came with a small bed of garden salad, slice of orange, and sweet & sour dipping sauce.

The curry puff itself was golden brown, crispy (and too small @ $1.90 per puff) but inside was a mixture of softly mushed vegies. I would of liked two but i was anticipating a large main so i left it at that. 

Curry Puff

I ordered my favourite dish - tofu & vegies Pad Thai. Rick had eaten here a while back, & said the flavours in each dish were very promising, and i totally agree. My Pad Thai was extremely flavoursome, & i regret asking for chilli because i was 'ahhh-ing' so much & drinking lots of water :(

I LOVE my foods full of flavour & ZING! & this place had ZING. hehe. Presentation was average - i was left trying to get every bit of flavour off of my banana leaf :)

Pad Thai

Chicken & Cashew Nut - served with Rice

Chicken Green Curry Served with Rice

Service, decor, ambience & food were all good. I want to come back here when Rick can go back to his normal diet again..