Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Glass Wine Bar - $20 Cheeseburger, Fries and Wine lunch deal

s there a meat-lover/comfort food lover who doesn't like a massive burger with thick juicy beef pattie? None I think. Cheeseburgers have been a long running success and popular amongst comfort food lovers. Even McDonalds chains would confirm that for you.

Look at all the wine!
My beloved readers, let me ask you this: What if someone uses high grade beef such as Wagyu in their burger and served in a place like Glass Brasserie at the Hilton Sydney Hotel with wine, would you be interested? I certainly was! Especially when I found out about their $20 burger and wine lunch deal! My friend Tonkosu Bexx and I could not resist this lunch deal.

Luke Mangan white wine
First, a glass of Luke Mangan's awesome white wine was served (which is normally $13) Perfect for a midday drink!

Wagyu cheeseburger, Fries, tomato sauce and pickle (hidden behind the burger)
The Wagyu cheeseburger, as the name describes it, uses Wagyu beef in their big juicy burger patty. The amount of awesome cheese was very generous. It also has slices of fresh tomato, barbeque sauce and bacon. The taste from each bite confirms the meat's high-grade quality. The other two things I love about this burger is the perfect bun and a generous amount of cheese! It also comes with perfectly crisp fries and a pickle, yes a whole pickle on the side, for the picky eaters who aren't big fans of pickles, there's an option to have it with your burger or leave it out.


This burger and wine deal for $20 is available for lunch only and for a limited time. My lunch at Glass Brasserie was very yummy for my tummy! How's yours?

Glass Wine Bar
at Glass Brasserie
Hilton Sydney Hotel
Level 2, 488 George Street,
Sydney, Australia 2000
Phone: (02) 9265 6068
Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holy Basil - Laos and Thai Cuisine

"Holy awesome Laotian/Thai food Batman! Holy Basil food, sure is good!" is what Robin would have told the Dark Knight if a Holy Basil restaurant existed in Gotham City. Luckily for the citizens of Western Sydney, Holy Basil does exist! In the busy strip of Canley Vale Road, Canley Heights.

I've been hearing and reading about this place from a lot of food blogs in the last few months. The fried ice cream here is amongst the most popular dishes ordered. Mrs Ramen Raff and I thought to ourselves, "Hey, let's check this place out!” so, we did visit Holy Basil, two weeks in a row!

The first visit was pretty awesome. It was lunchtime on our rostered day off work and there was no queue (Note that this joint does get packed and a queue eventually builds up). The decor was contemporary with a Southeast Asian (Laos/Thai) type theme. We sat down and having reviewed the menu days ahead, we knew what we wanted. We ordered marinated quails, red duck curry and the black harbour.

Red curry roast duck
The red curry roast duck ($17.90) had a generous serving of succulent pieces of roast duck meat. We picked medium spicy for the red curry sauce (a choice of mild, medium and hot was offered). We still found medium to be on the mild side but the sauce was overall very good.

Marinated quail
The marinated quails ($10) are amazing crispy fried pieces of joy. The skin was so crispy and the spicy dipping sauce that it came with takes the dish to another level of awesomeness. The quail doesn't have to be dipped in the sauce, as the fried quail is good on its own.

Black harbour
 The black harbour ($13.90) was an excellent dessert to end our lunch with. The vanilla ice cream with sweetened sticky black rice are partners in crime guilty of being dangerously delicious.

Lychee drink

We decided to visit Holy Basil once more on Sunday lunchtime to try the masaman beef and fried ice cream.

Beef masaman curry
The beef Masaman curry ($16.90) was as good as I expected it to be. The twist of using tamarind separates this from the usual Thai version. Same thick consistency but the taste is a bit lighter. The beef was so tender that it was effortless to pull it apart.

Fried ice cream

The fried ice cream ($13.90) is the "amazesome" item at Holy Basil in my opinion. The best fried ice cream I’ve ever had. The filo pastry & ice cream tastes like sweetened butter caramel popcorn!

Holy Basil now has a branch in the CBD inside the Shark Hotel on Liverpool Street, Sydney. I really want to go back soon even just for the fried ice cream. I found a new “happy place” in Holy Basil. Our lunch at Holy Basil was yummy for our tummies! How's yours?

Holy Basil – Canley Heights
233A Canley Vale Rd
Canley Heights NSW 2166
Phone: 9727 7585

Lunch 12pm to 3pm
Dinner 5pm to 10pm Sun- Wed
5pm-11pm Thu-Sat

Holy Basil on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gumshara - Sydney's best tonkotsu ramen!

Food continues to fascinate and amaze me. Everything from the diversity, the colours, the flavours, the cooking techniques and innovations by many chefs to give classic dishes a contemporary twist. This year has been a magnificent culinary journey for me. The food I’ve tried, places I’ve been to and people I’ve met have lead and inspired the creation and posts in Ramen Raff.

Ramen Raff – Sydney Food Blog turns one year old! To celebrate my blog’s one year birthday, I would like to show a big respect to my ultimate happy place "Gumshara". I can't get enough of the tonkotsu ramen here. It is where "amazing" and "awesome" meets. It’s Amazesome!

 Gumshara is Chef Mori's (chef and owner) gem and baby. To all of us who love Gumshara, we consider this place as a hidden gem and a happy place. Well, it isn't hidden anymore (but it still is a gem) as it is increasingly becoming more popular.  It is located inside Eating World Food Court at Haymarket, Sydney.

Chef Mori - Sydney's master ramen chef

Golden porky tonkotsu broth

Chef Mori mastered the art and craft of making ramen at Muteppou, which is a popular tonkotsu ramen place in Japan. He fast tracked a five years worth of training down to one and a half years by working longer hours every week. He uses about 120 kg pork bones daily to produce the rich pork broth. It takes about 7 days to create the broth. There are two giant pots used in the process. One starts the whole process and is transferred to a second giant pot. A mixture of both broths is mixed to create the ultimate delicious porky broth. It is liquified pork at it's finest. A small dash of tare (soy sauce mixture of around 1:10 tare to broth ratio) is poured on the broth just before adding the noodles and toppings. No MSG is used in any dishes at Gumshara.

Most tonkotsu broths that I've come across and tasted (including ramen joints in San Francisco and Hawaii) had more of a milky appearance and consistency. What separates Gumshara's tonkotsu ramen broth from other tonkotsu broths is that it is thicker (an almost gravy-like consistency) and the pork taste is much more potent. The broth holds on to the perfectly cooked noodles with every slurp. I love that about Gumshara's broth. It is collagen goodness in a bowl! Every spoonful sip of the rich broth takes me to different levels of heavenly bliss. To me, it is the supreme pork broth.

Here are my favourite ramen dishes at Gumshara:

Tonkotsu ramen

The classic tonkotsu ramen has the standard thick soup, egg noodles, soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, a sheet of nori and pork slices. The slices of pork are so tasty. It is so tender, that it almost melts your mouth.

Gyozas are awesome to have as an accompaniment to your ramen. It is ramen's best friend! One of the best I've had in Sydney. It has a slightly crisp bottom and most of all perfectly steamed. The gingery pork filling is so good.

Pork spare rib ramen

My favourite out of all their ramen dishes is the Pork sparerib ramen ($15.50). This ramen is limited to 20 bowls a day. The pork spare rib is so juicy and succulent. The fat layer holds delicious juiciness that sends my taste buds to euphoria.

The Ramen League attacks the Mega Ramen

Mega Ramen

The Mega Ramen ($25) is Mega in meat content! It has layers of pork slices, a slab of pork sparerib, one skewer of their new barbecue pork, four sheets of nori and a serving of soft-boiled egg.  It has the same amount of soup and noodles. It was a struggle trying to finish it all. But eventually, I devoured and conquered the Mega Ramen.

 In my opinion, Gumshara's ramen has the best tonkotsu pork broth I've ever had. It is the most amazing ramen that has ever landed in my mouth. This is where I come to comfort my mind, body and soul with food. This is the ultimate soul food on many accounts. I am Ramen Raff and this is my favourite ramen. The best tonkotsu ramen in Sydney! Itadakimasu!

To all my amazesome readers that have been following my blog, arigato gozaimasu!

Gumshara Ramen
Eating World Harbour Plaza
209/25-29 Dixon St  
Haymarket New South Wales 2000
Open Monday - Sunday for lunch and dinner

Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Glass Brasserie - at the Hilton Sydney Hotel

Days, months and years come and go. But the special ties with that special someone; we should cherish and not let go. It seems like it was just yesterday when Mrs Ramen Raff and I got married. Where did the time go? I really wanted to make our anniversary this year special. So, I made a dinner reservation at the Glass Brasserie. Making someone feel special is one of the things Glass is very good at.

The Glass Brasserie is located at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. Internationally acclaimed interior designer Tony Chi came up with the stunning design of this 240-seat restaurant. By day, the earthy colours, high ceilings and modern design utilises the use of natural light and by night, it is one of the most romantic spots in Sydney. The staff were fantastic! We were looked after well from the time we stepped in and all the way until we left.

Local restaurateur, Chef Luke Mangan, is the culinary expert behind the amazing menu of Glass Brasserie. Chef Luke Mangan and Chef Joe Pavlovich uses precise French cooking techniques to come up with a contemporary twist on classic dishes. One could say that Glass offers French/Modern Australian dishes, which are also influenced by an array of international cooking styles. The use of fresh local produce is very evident with every bite of their food.

Parmesan and truffled fries
The Parmesan and truffled fries ($13) was a winner from the start! Crispy fries with a balanced amount and flavours from white truffle and Parmesan cheese.

kurobuta pork loin with miso crust, braised cheek, daikon, shallots, broad beans, black fungi, and dashi broth
We each had the kurobuta pork loin with miso crust, braised cheek, daikon, shallots, broad beans, black fungi, and dashi broth ($43) is the perfect example of what Glass Brasserie cooking is like. It is a Japanese/Asian influenced dish where French cooking techniques have been used. It is the epitome of a dish with clean and well-balanced flavours. The tender and succulent pork cheeks were my favourite. The pork loin was perfectly cooked. It had a hint of miso taste that works perfectly with the dish.

toffee soufflé with pecan butter ice cream
The highlight of our dinner was the toffee soufflé with pecan butter ice cream ($20). What made the night extra special was when the chefs took the extra mile by writing the words "Happy" and "Anniversary" on each of our dessert plates. The soufflé and ice cream were absolutely amazing. The soufflé has perfectly risen with an inside that’s soft and gooey. There was so much awesomeness in the taste. The pecan butter ice cream was delish.

For whatever special occasion you may be celebrating or if you are after an excellent fine dining experience, Glass Brasserie is the place to be. Our dinner at the Glass Brasserie was very yummy for our tummies! How's yours?

Glass Brasserie
Hilton Sydney Hotel
Level 2, 488 George Street,
Sydney, Australia 2000
Phone: (02) 9265 6068
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri 6am - 10am
Sat to Sun 7am - 11am

Mon to Fri Noon - 3pm

Mon to Sun 6pm – till late

Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon