Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bar Luca, Sydney

If you have checked out the Instagram hashtag #burgersofsydney lately, you've most likely noticed one place that seem to dominate it. Don't blame Bar Luca for it, Blame Canada! I will tell you why in a little bit. 

Bar Luca is a bistro that has become a haven for burger lovers. It's a casual licensed restaurant bar with a huge range of alcoholic beverages, the usual pub/bistro staples and mind blowin' burgers! The interior has the look of a sports bar and contemporary bistro. The best part about this place is their massive burgers! 
Classic cheese

Shoestring fries

Chicken wings

First visit, I tried their Classic Cheese ($12). It's a cheeseburger for the purists with 200g wagyu beef pattie, American cheddar, ketchup, mustard & pickles in a soft sweet bun. The medium well-cooked patty is ultra juicy, smoky and flavoursome. It was amazing with the sexy texture of melted cheese and tangy sweet & sour flavours from the ketchup, mustard and pickles. Also, you can add fries and fried chicken wings to any of their burgers for $6!
Chicken karaage burger

On another visit, I had their Chicken Karaage Burger ($14)
with wasabi aioli, pickled veg, coriander & coral lettuce. The fried chicken coating was crisped and slightly doughy. The meat inside was perfectly cooked with hints of sweet soy and ginger. The wasabi aioli was perfect to accompany the fried chicken.
Juan Mac'n'Ro
Every now and then, they do burger weekly specials. I was lucky to be in the area when their Juan Mac'n'Ro burger was on!! It's a creation that fuses mac n cheese and a cheeseburger with some extras. It included Bar Luca's 200 grams juicy wagyu patty, double American cheese, housemade Spanish bbq sauce, mac n cheese and pieces of chorizo in a soft burger bun. It may sound and look wrong, but I can confirm that it tasted so right! 
Blame Canada
Last but not least is the burger that blew my mind in 2015: Blame Canada ($15)! Monster burgers are not normally my thing but when constructed perfectly, you end up with a beautiful beast. It consists of 200grams of perfectly cooked wagyu beef patty, poutine, maple glazed streaky bacon and maple aioli. The burger's name comes from the components that are associated with Canada like poutine and maple. Think of it as a maple enhanced super cheesy bacon cheeseburger with fries and gravy. It's a huge two-handed burger with rich elements that just work perfectly. It can get messy but with all those things chucked into this burger, it still handles well. 
Onion rings
Their onion rings are pretty tasty too! Loved the herbed batter, which was crisped and airy. 
Woah Nelly doughnuts
Another thing I love about Bar Luca is that they stock doughnuts from Woah Nelly! Their maple bacon and salted caramel doughnuts are off the hook!

Bar Luca is definitely one of my favourite eats of 2015. Their burger game is definitely strong and I can't wait to see and try all their new burger specials in the New Year!

Bar Luca
52 Phillip Street

Opening Hours:

MON TO WED 7.30AM – 10PM


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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sokyo Restaurant, Pyrmont

"Simplicity is the key to brilliance" says Bruce Lee. I totally agree with that. Hence why I love Japanese food so much. Even the contemporary versions of Japanese cuisine and its twists still remain simple but amazing. Take Sokyo at The Star for instance. Executive Chef Chase Kojima has put his spin and fused different styles onto his dishes using Japanese cuisine as his base. But the  fresh and top notch produce still remain the highlight in every dish. It's one of the best Japanese restaurants I've come across in Sydney.

Now I understand all the amazing talk and reviews behind this One Chef Hat restaurant after experiencing it for myself. The restaurant interior has a very chic design with a cool feature wall that looks like fish scales. There are seating allocations for 2, 4 or more. Better yet, you can sit by the sushi bar and watch sushi chefs prepare fresh sashimi etc.
Moreton Bay bug tempura 

My mind was blown from the get go with their Moreton Bay bug tempura with green papaya pomelo salad, sambal mayo and amazu ($28). We savoured each bite of this perfectly deep fried crustacean pieces covered in beautiful light crisped airy batter. I enjoyed dipping it on the sambal mayo but the sweet and sour amazu sauce was a perfect match for this dish!
Kurobuta pork belly robata

Beef robata

There's also those awesome beef robata ($10 - minimum order 2 pieces) and kurobuta pork belly robata ($8 - minimum order 2 pieces). The beef robata is buttery tender wagyu tri-tip with caramelised eshallots and bbq teriyaki. Sweet notes of the eshallot rings went well with the beef. The Kurobuta pork belly robata was also tender and it came with grilled daikon, sansho and mustard aioli. The daikon's sweet and sharp flavour complimented the rendered fatty juicy pork belly.
Salmon belly nigiri
Their fresh salmon belly nigiri ($6 per piece) is a well-executed classic. The Tasmanian salmon belly was especially fatty and rich.
Spicy tuna roll with tenches and truffle mayo
The spicy tuna roll with tenkasu and truffle mayo ($21) wasn't so spicy but it was tasty and creamy with nutty notes.
Master Kobe wagyu tenderloin beef +7
The master Kobe wagyu tenderloin beef with +7 grading ($55) was also outstanding. The tender beef was cooked rare and perfectly paired with silky braised Japanese mushrooms. The katsuobushi not only made this dish look pretty but it gave it an extra umami flavour.

Then desserts came out:
Sochi ice cream
Sokyo's mochi ice cream ($10) consists of two beautiful circular-shaped strawberry ice creams covered in sweet stretchy & doughy yatsuhashi Kyoto mochi sheets.
Donuts with creme fruit ice cream

The donatsu ($15) was up my alley! Fluffy airy round doughnuts filled with lovely pineapple mascarpone filling with a side of creme fraiche ice cream. I never thought of a pineapple and mascarpone combo. Doing it as a filling is genius! The thick berry-type sauce went really well with the light creme fraiche ice cream.

From start to the last dish, Sokyo was outstanding. The service was excellent and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for an amazing Japanese feed on this side of the city.

Sokyo Restaurant
Ground Level, The Darling at The Star
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009

Opening hours:
Breakfast - Sunday & Saturday 7am to 10:30am

Dinner - 7 days from 5:30pm
Sokyo Restaurant - The Darling at the Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato