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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"The Family Meal" cookbook launch at Kika Tapas

When asked about the number one restaurant, El Bulli restaurant comes to mind. This restaurant was voted number one for 5 years in the world: 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Ferran Adrià is the head chef behind this number one restaurant.

Ferran Adrià is a world-renowned chef and has been associated as one of the innovators and expert in molecular gastronomy. He prefers for his creations and cooking to be referred as deconstructive gastronomy. But behind the success of El Bulli not only rest on its head chef, but also its staff.

The Family Meal cookbook contains recipes of dishes that Chef Ferran Adrià has prepared and cooked for his staff at El Bulli. Before the restaurant would open for business, they would all gather and share meals together, which they referred to as “The Family Meal”. Kika Tapas (which is located in Victoria Street at Darlinghurst) will recreate these amazing dishes from every Tuesday for the next few weeks. Last week, I had the privilege to try mouth-watering food prepared by Kika Tapas from the cookbook. The lime marinated fish, osso bucco, and piña colada. 

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with Spanish wines and pinxtos.

lime marinated fish
The lime marinated fish is all about utilising and uniting the flavours of fresh ingredients such as fresh kingfish and lime juice. The olive oil carries the fresh flavours of the fish and lime superbly. The sea salt heightens and balances the flavours.

osso bucco
I love osso bucco and I love how it was cooked in this meal. The meat is braised to perfect tenderness and the sauce is excellent. The gremolata's fresh and slightly citrus flavours gave this braised dish more character and to another level of awesome. It was a succulent experience of bliss upon tasting the marrow, which absorbed all the juicy flavours. It was the star of the night.
piña colada
The perfect way to end the night was with a piña colada. It was very refreshing and soothing after a very hearty dish like the osso bucco.
Bread with chocolate and olive
I was so happy to have received a copy of the cookbook, courtesy of PEPR Publicity. Thanks to the cookbook, I was able to replicate the osso bucco dish from the book and I’m glad that it turned out as good and tasty. The book has about 90 recipes that are very easy to follow. It contains step-by-step photos of how to execute the process and techniques to create the perfect “family meal”. One of the things I love about this book is it also has extra basic recipes (aside from the 90 recipes). It has recipes on how to make your own barbeque sauce, pesto, and tomato sauce from scratch!

My osso bucco - photo taken from my phone in a hurry! Was too hungry!

The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià, by Ferran Adrià, buy it for $39.95. Phaidon 2011 www.phaidon.com

Whether you’re new to cooking or an experienced cook, “The Family Meal” cookbook has something to offer for everyone. It has delicious recipes to bring families and friends together.

Ramen Raff was invited to dine as a guest at Kika Tapas during the launch of “The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià” cookbook. Thanks to Bianca and Anna of PEPR Publicity.

Kika Tapas
247 Victoria Street  
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9360 7865
Opening hours:
Monday – Sunday from 5:30pm til late

Kika Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kazbah - Darling Harbour "Let's do lunch"

Crave Sydney international food festival (Crave SIFF) ended weeks ago. Here I am wishing that I should have gone to more Crave SIFF lunches, dinners and sugar hits.  However, I did check out Kazbah Darling Habour's "Let's do lunch" special with Mrs Ramen Raff. Even if it was just one Crave SIFF lunch that we were able to do, it was one absolutely amazing lunch.

Kazbah at Darling Harbour is located outside Harbourside Shopping Centre's ground floor. Kazbah offers a range of Middle Eastern cuisine. First thing I noticed upon arrival was the staff's exceptional hospitality. They were very accommodating and knowledgeable of the menu. The restaurant has a Moroccan style décor and a very relaxing atmosphere. It has indoor and alfresco dining. I read so many good reviews about their breakfast menu. Wonder what their lunch selections are like? They were delicious!

The lunch deal ($38):
1. Casablanca royale lamb tagine with roasted vegetables and couscous.
2. San Pellegrino sparkling water or a glass of Brown Brothers white wine
3. A choice of turkish coffee or tea.
Casablanca royale lamb tagine with roasted vegetables and couscous (normally around $23)

The Casablanca royale lamb tagine with roasted vegetables and couscous (normally around $23) was like a groovy disco of flavours and colours, Oh Yeah! The lamb was so tender that all you need is a fork to pull it apart. I savoured each bite of the colourful vegetables. The vegetables were so tasty and perfectly cooked.

San Pellegrino sparkling water and a glass of Brown Brothers white wine

San Pellegrino sparkling water and a glass of Brown Brothers white wine

Chahi "Yemeny Sweet Milky Tea"

It was the first time I had Turkish coffee and I enjoyed it a lot! It was strong and slightly sweetened. Mrs Ramen Raff had Chahi "Yemeny Sweet Milky Tea" that was similar to chai tea. The tea was slightly sweet with a hint of cinnamon and ginger.
brandy battered nougat dates with salted caramel sauce and halawa ice cream ($15)

Any meal is incomplete without dessert right? As Mrs. Ramen Raff and I were browsing through the dessert menu, the brandy battered nougat dates with salted caramel sauce and halawa ice cream ($15) caught our attention. This has got to be one of the best desserts I’ve had in my life. The dates were sweet and mushy inside the delicious crispy brandy batter. I love fried desserts that are accompanied by ice cream and some sweet sauce. “The salted caramel sauce and halawa ice cream were delightful” says my taste buds.

We enjoyed our overall experience at Kazbah and we intend to return soon to try their popular breakfast menu. Our lunch at Kazbah Darling Harbour was very yummy for our tummies! How’s yours?

Kazbah - Darling Harbour
The Promenade Harbourside Shopping Centre  Darling HarbourNSW 2000
Phone: 02 9555 7067
Opening hours: Open 7 Days - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner from 8am
Kazbah Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EasyWay Bubble Tea - New smoothie range

Summer is just around the corner! I know a lot of y'all are so excited about the upcoming season. Our beautiful sunny beaches will be packed again and the sight of outdoor sports will be everywhere. While it is a fun season, the heat on the other hand can be pretty annoying. So, where could we go to cool our systems down during the heat? Why not head to Easy Way!

Easy Way has released a range of tropical smoothies. Drinks that will help you chillax during the high temperatures of summer.  Good quality fruits, ice creams and juices  are used in their  range of delicious smoothies.

Classic Mango:
It was like liquefied fresh mango that was thick in texture and fresh in taste.  

Mango Pash - Mango, Passionfruit, Banana, Apple & Orange Juice, Ice cream:
The creamy mango texture and taste served as the perfect carrier to the passionfruit’s sweet and slight sour taste.

Golden Straw - Mango, Strawberries, Pineapple Juice, Ice cream:
The perfect balance of fruity sweet and sour is present in this refreshing smoothie. Fresh strawberries are used in every golden drink.

Tutti Berries - Mixed Berries, Pineapple & Orange Juice, Ice cream.
It was like a tutti fruity party of united berry flavours.

Tropical - Banana, Coconut, Pineapple Juice, Ice cream:This is my favourite out of the whole range. The coconut element is what makes this drink so tropical.

Mango Blues - Mango, Blueberries, Banana, Mango & Orange Juice, Ice cream:
The combination of orange, mango, banana and blueberry works well. The citrus taste of orange stands out in this refreshing smoothie.

 As I type this post, I can’t help but crave for Easy Way’s new smoothie range. Curious as to how awesome their drinks are? Why not head out to your nearest Easy Way and give it a try! Enjoy!

Ramen Raff was invited to try Easy Way’s new smoothie range thanks to Kath of Easy Way Bubble Tea- Australia.

Check out http://www.easywaytea.com.au/ for your nearest Easy Way store.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gotham - Bar and Dining

A few weeks ago, my friend Tonkotsu Bexx celebrated her birthday at Gotham. The word Gotham is used in pop culture as another name for New York and it is also a popular city in the comic book world. When Bex first mentioned that she wanted to celebrate her birthday at Gotham, I was expecting for this guy to show up:
There was no sign of this dude

Gotham – Bar and Dining is one of the coolest and sleek looking bars that I've been to. It is located on Oxford Street at Darlinghurst. It had a combined look of a vintage and contemporary New York bar. Gotta love the giant clock display behind the bar! Food is chosen from a small menu and ordered at the bar.

 grilled scallop, lemon & basil risotto with shellfish sauce

The grilled scallop, lemon & basil risotto with shellfish sauce ($16 – entrée) was amazing. It had a smooth buttery and creamy taste that is tamed by the citrus lemon. The hint of basil completes the dish. The grilled scallop was perfectly cooked.

crisp chicken wings with lime mayonnaise

The crisp chicken wings with lime mayonnaise ($12.50) were to die for! It had an outer layer of crunchiness that is packed with great flavour. The inside is so juicy good. The fun does not stop there! Dipping the fried chicken in lime mayo takes it to another level of awesomeness.

chocolate brownie with coconut sorbet & chocolate sauce

The chocolate brownie with coconut sorbet & chocolate sauce ($13) was a homerun-winning dessert! I enjoyed it heaps. It was the best chocolate brownie I’ve had. The coconut sorbet was so good on its own and a perfect partner to the chocolate brownie.

Based on how their food tasted, it seemed like they don't hold back on good quality ingredients. Gotham Bar has a great dining atmosphere, friendly staff, and amazing tasting food. Will I return to Gotham Bar for dinner/drinks? You bet I will! My dinner at Gotham was very yummy for my tummy! How's yours?

Gotham - Bar & Dining
35 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 5pm to midnight
Sun 4pm to Late
Phone: (02) 9283 1891
Gotham on Urbanspoon