Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rey's Place, Darlinghurst - Sydney

I can’t help but feel proud when a Filipino restaurant opens in Sydney. I love the comfort that I get from Filipino food with every bite. I was so excited when I found out Rey’s Place opened in Darlo.

The place is owned by Jon Bayad and named after his dad, Reynaldo. Some of you may remember Jon from Osaka Trading Co. The man behind the delicious food is Chef Shaun Oligo. Rey’s Place takes a modern approach to beloved Filipino classics. It was all familiar flavours but done in a very innovative way. The restaurant has a ground and basement floor. The space has a moody “en casa” style interior that’s also reminiscent of classic Spanish tapas wine bar with some touches of Filipiniana.

The inihaw na pusit ($18) is a chargrilled smoky squid stuffed with delicious chorizo paella. It also comes with a refreshing sweet mango salad. This was amazing! It’s pretty much a tapas style Filipino dish that you can easily pair with a fruity rosé or Sauvignon blanc style wine.

Another tapas style dish is their sisig bao sliders($14)! Braised and chopped crispy pork belly with ginger, garlic, and onion dressed in smoky adobar sauce in a soft housemade bao bun.

The lechon ($22) is their take on slow roast suckling pig. It comes with sweet liver-based housemade sarsa (sauce) and soy calamansi dipping sauce. This is probably one of the best lechon-style dishes I’ve had in Sydney with it’s crispy crackling and tasty tender meat.

The kare kare ($25) is not presented in a traditional way but the main components and flavours are very present. It had chunks of braised buttery and tender oxtail with thick flavoursome peanut annatto sauce, umami packed shrimp sauce, braised eggplants and greens.

For dessert, we tried their modern take on turon ($10). It is a sugar glazed fried banana in filo pastry with ube parfait, shards of toffee and jackfruit. The turon was crisped on the outside with sweet soft banana on the inside . The housemade ube parfait was smooth and tasty. It was a great way to end our dinner.

It’s about time that refined-style Filipino food is introduced in Sydney. There are no gimmicks here. Just quality dishes, excellent service and a good range of booze.

Rey’s Place

163 Crown Street
Darlinghurst NSW
Ph: 02 9631 5938

Tues to Sat 12:00 to 11:00pm

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ester, Chippendale - Sydney

 This place needs no introduction. It became one of the hottest restaurants in Sydney shortly after it opened in 2013. Then in 2015, it was awarded best new restaurant by SMH Good Food. Currently, it’s a 2-hatted restaurant. All forms of online food media and Sydney’s best chefs have always raved about Ester. I would say this is currently my favourite restaurant in Sydney.

Head chef Mat Lindsay, his team and the massive wood-fired oven at the back of the restaurant does wonders. The space has an elegant and industrial vibe. Their menu is pretty much seasonal driven so some of the dishes I’ve tried might not be available on the most current menu. 

The fermented potato bread with trout roe and kefir cream ($22) is loved by many including myself. The bread was amazingly fluffy with a nice smoky crust. The dashi jelly and roe added umami to the plate. The kefir cream provided balance to everything.
The rock oysters ($5 each) was dressed in vinegary goodness and laced with sharp and sweet notes from the onion.

The cured bonito ($22) was a plate of umami bliss and textural excellence.

The potato pasta ($18) was insane! An incredible potato puree covered in premium sheets of silky pasta in a pond of potato dashi. Also topped with egg yolk that adds a nice extra texture to the dish when punctured.

The grilled prawns ($39) was my second favourite dish on the menu. The prawns were perfectly cooked and smoky with buttery, sweet and umami goodness from the sauce and capers.

The veal short rib ($45) dish was a special that night. It was ridiculously tender, buttery and tasty.

We had the rib along with a smoky cauliflower, almond sauce and mint ($15). A perfect combo and one of my favourite vegetable dishes ever.

The three milks dessert ($16) consists of three different types of milk components prepared into one dish. The dulce de leche element was amazing. 

Last but not least, the burnt pav ($16). I’m not a fan of pavlova but their modern interpretation of this Aussie classic won me over. Everything from texture to flavour was excellent.

Ester to me is modern Australian cuisine at its finest. I’ve dined here a few times and have been very impressed everytime. If you could only visit one restaurant in Sydney then it has to be Ester.

46-52 Meagher Street
Chippendale NSW
Phone: 02 8068 8279
Reservations online:

Sat 12:00pm onwards
Sun 12:00pm – 6pm

Mon to Sat 6:00om - late

Ester Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy Ending Burger , Concord

The Sydney artisinal burger scene has grown over the years. But only a few places have made marks in my burger loving heart. One of them is Gee Ozgen’s Mister Gee Burger Truck. The OG Sydney burger truck, the one that started it all. At the time, he was one of the few burger cooks in Sydney that did my favourite smash-style burger patties and did it really well.

Three years later since Mister Gee’s launch, my homie Gee expanded his empire. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the beginning of a Happy Ending. Gee’s very own takeaway/diner concept shop located in Concord. Not just a shop of burgers but also everything from fried chicken, sandwiches, loaded nachos, loaded fries and more. Two notable changes from the Mister Gee style burgers is that here, dry aged beef is used for the patties and milk buns are now sourced from St Malo.
Why have normal shoestring fries when you can have Fries loaded with cheese with Gee’s very own Fries with Cheese ($6)?!
Yess!!! They’ve got loaded nachos ($6) too! Nachos topped with cheese sauce and mango salsa.

The No Mustard Please burger ($12) is hands down my favourite item on the menu. Y’all know I love minimalist burgers and this one only consists of beef patty, nicely melted American cheese, caramelised onion and a special blend sauce called sauce No.2 in a lightly toasted Japanese milk bun. The coarsely minced patty had a nice caramelised crust with a lot of umami. I absolutely loved the pockets of juice trapped between the minced meats. The sweetness from the onion and sauce no.2 was perfect for cutting through all the umami and richness.

The Deep Fried Friends ($15) chicken sandwich consists of deep fried chicken fillet, pickles, American cheese, mayo and KAYA BUTTER (coconut jam). I can see why Bianca loves this burg so much. The sweet notes from the mayo and kaya complimented the fried chicken fillet well. Definitely one of the best fried chicken burgers I’ve had in Sydney.

The Anxiety in NYC ($15 and $3 for extra bacon) burger consists of beef patty, American cheese, tarragon bacon mayo, mushroom duxelle and confit shallots. This is Gee’s gourmet-style burger and is also a winner!

Gee shares my love for Korean Fried Chicken and I’m so glad to see that he has Korean Chicken Tenders ($9) on the menu. These are beatifully cooked twice-fried crispy chicken coated in sweet and chilli Yangnyeom-style sauce. Dayumn!

Gee’s new joint is a reflection of his passion and cuisines that has inspired him over the years. Who says Happy Endings only happen in fairytales? Come to Concord and get yours when Gee’s new shop officially opens to the public this Saturday, 9th of December.

Ramen Raff was invited by ‘For Food’s Sake’ as a guest of Happy Ending.

Happy Ending
55 Majors Bay Road,
Concord NSW
Opening Hours
5.30pm to 10:00pm
Wednesday to Sunday

Happy Ending Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato