Monday, May 14, 2018

Brewristas 2.0, Darlinghurst

We see some of our favourite restaurants and cafes come and go. One of those places was Brewristas in Glebe almost a year ago. It was a sad day for all of us who loved their creations like the Brewmonade and Porky Pig’s hotteok. Guess what folks? The boys are back!

Kevin Ly and the team have recently re-opened at a new location in Darlinghurst. It’s a smaller space compared to their 1.0 joint but their new pocket rocket shop delivers quite a punch. They got your espresso and filter coffee needs sorted along with a new minimalist style menu and some pastries from Brickfields. There’s a good combination of usual café-fare to Vietnamese inspired dishes.

The beans are sourced from Savant Roasters. The espresso-roast blend is a bit on the darker side. Even through a latte, the dark chocolate notes are quite defined. I’m more of light to medium roast kinda guy. But for those of you who like your coffee strong, then you will dig this. The Colombian coffee on pour over was quite juicy and nutty. The filter coffee was more of my jam.

I’m a fan of cheese toasties in general but I’m a bigger fan of the Gruyere cheese toastie ($10) here. I added ham for an extra $3. The sourdough bread was well buttered with the cheese nicely melted. It had a nice balance of sweet, sour and umami flavours.

Their Brewristas banh mi ($10) was next level! It had the classic banh mi thit salad like pickled veggies, coriander leaves, shallot, chilli and well buttered baguette-like roll. You get a choice of pork, chicken or mushrooms & tofu. I went with their extremely tasty and tender honey, shallot and black pepper pork. The bread was amazing! Quite similar to a baguette, which was flaky crisped on the outside and super soft on the inside. Seriously, this was the best non-traditional banh mi thit that I’ve had.

Last but not least is the Lunch in a Bowl ($16). It’s their take on a Vietnamese noodles salad with with vermicelli noodles, pickles, herbs, peanuts, and fish sauce dressing. You also get to choose between chicken, pork and mushroom with tofu. I opted for a perfectly cooked lemongrass and chilli chicken. The whole noodle salad dish was so flavoursome and fresh. I could have this for lunch everyday!

Version 2 of Brewristas might be smaller than its predecessor but the quality of coffee, food and service is more than ordinary. Congrats Kevin and to the rest of the crew!

Brewristas 2.0
2/303A Liverpool Street
Darlinghurst NSW
Open 7 days, 6:30am – 4pm

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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sando Bar, Surry Hills

Winter is just around the corner and Sydney is just pumping out new restaurants opening left, right, front and center. In the past month, there’s one that I have patiently waited on. Let’s welcome Sando Bar to the Sydney cafe scene folks!

I’ve been a fan of Head chef and co-owner Naoya Shimada’s (aka @Nasir_San) cooking since his stint at Hills Bros. He’s teamed up with the crew behind Tokyo Bird and Osaka Trading Co to bring this Japanese sando inspired cafe in Surry Hills to life! But wait, it’s more than just a sandwich cafe, he also does ramen!!! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Sando Bar will eventually also serve as an extension of Tokyo Bird at night. Chocolatesuze and I checked them out on their opening day.

The coffee beans are sourced from Little Marionette. So expect some sweet chocolate notes in your coffee. The chocolate flavour profiled coffee was more prominent in my piccolo latte ($3.70). The textured milk temperature was just right.

His pork katsu sando ($14) is insanely good! A perfectly cooked juicy fried crumbed pork loin with apple cabbage slaw, mustard mayo & tonkatsu sauce. The pork was also marinated in shio koji for extra flavour and juiciness. Takes me back to Japan yo and it comes with a side of renkon (lotus root chips).

The breakfast sando ($7) consists of bacon, sweet fluffy tamagoyaki, mayo, rocket and bbq sauce with a side of fruits. 

My homie Nas came up with a ramen that’s suitable for a cafe menu. The shoyu ramen ($17) consists of a torigara shoyu broth that has subtle umami, light chicken flavour with yuzu and peppery notes. The noodles are cooked medium. Toppings include sous vide chicken in butter garlic yuzu, menma, mizuna dressed in yuzu, nori, negi and half hanjuku tamago. The runny yolk on that tamago was on point. Would have loved some extra fat on the broth. Nas doesn't claim that it's the legit kind but I think it is pretty solid for a cafe style ramen. It kind of reminds me of Afuri ramen.

A place of awesome sandos, coffee and ramen all in one place is my kind of joint. Come and visit them as soon as possible fam!! Trust me, they won’t disappoint.

Sando Bar
226 Commonwealth Street
Sydney NSW
Hours: Monday - Saturday 7am to 4pm

Sando Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Shirosaka - Minato Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan

Every Japan trip of mine has always been memorable. The food part always stands out. Many of y’all know I went on a quick trip to Tokyo recently with my mum. I wanted to make her first trip to the land of the rising sun as amazing for her as possible. So, I made a booking for two at the famed Shirosaka in Akasaka. It’s a place that was recommended by my homie Yas Nakano ages ago and I’m glad to have finally made the time to visit them.

Yuzushu with soda
Chef Max Barber

This lovely little serene restaurant is run by Head Chef Hideki II (ex- Tetsuya Sydney) along with his team that includes chef Max Barber and Mr. Kota Kaito. The dining concept is modern omakase kappo & Ryotei style. It’s modern in a sense that you can tell that various techniques that is heavily French have been used throughout each course other than just Japanese. It’s counter seating where you can watch the chef create the dishes in front of you. It’s a complete sensory culinary experience. They also have a private room in the restaurant. The omakase course cost around the ¥8,000 mark per person, which is good value for money in my opinion for the quality of food and service you get.

We started with a beautiful seasonal bonito with tare-flavoured greens.

The second course was perfectly cooked chargrilled unagi and baby eel in dashi. We worked our way through the dish starting with the grilled eel, followed by the baby eel and then we sipped dashi right at the end as a refreshing way to end the course.

The fresh tuna with uni, onsen egg and cracker was insane! Once all the ingredients were mixed together, the dish had a similar effect as a beef tartare but with next level creaminess and umami.

The green pea soup tasted so premium. I couldn’t believe that it only had peas, salt and dashi?! Wow!

I have so much respect for perfectly fried seafood. It ain’t an easy feat. The fried amadai fish was so beautifully cooked. Delicately crisped on the outside and was soft, juicy and sweet on the inside.

It was followed by a Spanish mackarel topped with white miso sauce and some sansho leaves. Love the contrasting bite from the sansho leaves that complimented the fish and miso sauce well.

The top rump Wagyu was cooked two ways. Firstly, slow cooked in a braising tare liquid and then seared over a charcoal grill. The marbley tender beef was topped with deep fried negi and served with some seasonal veggies.

Excuse the photo of the takikomi gohan with fire fly squid. It was so good that I almost forgot to take a photo of it! It came with miso soup and tsukemono.

The lemonade sorbet with sake was a freshing palate cleanser.

We ended the night with a luscious brûlée frozen cream cheesecake with apple crumble. The brulee frozen cheesecake was like a cream cheese ice cream topped with an amazing creme brûlée. The apple crumble was just the perfect accompaniment to an already excellent dessert.

It would have been great to see Chef Hideki II that night but nevertheless , Chef Max and Kota-san provided an amazing dining experience both in food and service. I expected nothing less than excellent from a restaurant by a former Tetsuya chef. If there is only one sit down restaurant that you can visit on your Tokyo trip, Shirosaka is the one you really need to check out.

6-3-9 Akasaka Minato-Ku
Tokyo 107-0052 Japan
Reservations: Ph 050-2018-0254
Monday to Saturday 5:30pm to 11:00pm