Sunday, December 15, 2019

Poly, Surry Hills

What is up everyone?! I apologise for the long hiatus in this blog. It’s been a really busy few months. Also, if you don’t know yet, I have started a Youtube channel (link here) and have concentrated on posting vlogs to get it started. If you haven’t yet, please support your boy Raff and subscribe to the channel and hit the notification bell to stay up to date with all my up coming videos. Also, the blog just turned 9 years old!

Now, let’s go to the main subject of this blog post. We’re here to talk about a restaurant that I have visited a few weeks ago and has become one of my new favourite restaurants in Sydney. Poly is a modern Australian restaurant and is located on Commonwealth Street (next to Paramount Coffee Project) in Surry Hills. It’s also by the same team behind another favourite restaurant of mine Ester. The space has the same elegant industrial vibe that Ester has. I also love the fact that when you put the two names together, it reads out as “PolyEster” (very witty).

First dish that we had was straight off the bat, AMAZING! I could eat their scarlet prawns, harissa and lardo on toast ($16 per piece) everyday! The combination of the umami packed prawns that had hints of sweetness, the complex spices of harissa and creamy lardo on toast was one of the most delicious things I’ve had.

The most premium way I’ve ever eaten potato chips is at Poly when we had their raw scallop, salted kombu and potato chips ($18). These were plump perfectly cooked scallops sandwiched in housemade potato crisps with salted kombu.

I can see why the fried potato and salted egg sauce ($15) is popular. It was like the most perfect golden hash browns shaped in cubes and elevated with umami from the salted egg sauce. I love the contrast of the textures of being fluffy soft inside and crisped outer layers.

I love the combination of cheese and mushrooms so we ordered the oyster mushrooms, stracciatella with beer and yeast sauce ($26). The oyster mushrooms just went so well with the stretchy stracciatella.

The koji marinated pork chop with corn sauce and smoked onion cream ($58) was easily my highlight of the night. The pork was fatty and tender with smokey notes and was packed with a lot of umami. The sweet and tangy notes from the corn sauce and smoked onion cream went so well with the pork meat. The meat was seasoned well and it came with a nice airy crackling.

The food and service is on par with their sister restaurant Ester. We were too full to try their desserts so we will definitely go back for that!


Address: 74-76 Commonwealth Street,
Surry Hills, NSW
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 5pm-late; Sat & Sun noon-late

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

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Kurumac Cafe, Marrickville

My favourite café north of bridge has opened an offshoot in Marrickville. You’ll find the new Kurumac Café in the Addison Road area, which is also home to other great coffee shops like Coffee Alchemy. Kurumac is Japanese for Coolmac. Yes, you’ve guess that right, it’s by the same awesome team behind Coolmac Café in Kirribilli.

Pastries by Bread and Butter Project

Kurumac is a partnership between my homies Eugene Leung and Dika Prianata. The space is very Japanese in terms of minimalism and clean lines. Everything from décor to fittings are smooth and crisp. Then there’s the uber cool murals done by artist Ar-chive. Head chef Jun brings his Japanese café style flair to Marrickville with his Japanese café classics with a twist. I visited them twice this past week.

Their coffee is sourced from Campos. For filter coffee lovers out there, they have a rotating batch ($5) on offer. They had a fruity Kenya available on batch during my visit. They use the Campos Superior blend for their milk coffee. I had a piccolo latte ($4) and it had a full body with milk chocolate notes.

The onigiri rice ball set ($14) comes with miso soup and tamagoyaki. You get two sushi rice balls where 1 is stuffed with avocado and the other with tanaka or Japanese pickled mustard greens. Simple yet addictive! The tamagoyaki were fluffy, slightly sweet and flavoursome.

The grilled salmon congee ($17) is a must try from their all day menu. It’s a Japanese style congee with perfectly cooked grilled salmon and umami packed juicy ikura. To top all of that, it also comes with crispiest and super tasty salmon skin.

The curry scrambled eggs and tempura prawns ($19) on toast was another favourite of mine. Delightful fluffy eggs with Japanese curry and crisped tempura. The creamy chilli sauce also had notes of umami.

The ox tongue curry with koshihikari rice ($24) is available during lunch. The ox tongue was tender and buttery, which is nicely complimented by Jun’s very own Japanese curry blend and dollops of cream. The fragrant koshihikari rice was perfect for mopping up all that delicious curry.

Another dish that y’all need to try is the tempura eel with green tea broth rice ($23) a.k.a. ochazuke. There’s just another whole level of depth to the flavours when you have rice poured with green tea broth and paired with tempura eel. You get earthy, sweet and umami notes and the contrast of textures just works so well.

They have a few beverages that uses Mapo Newtown (my current favourite gelato shop in Sydney) gelato. Their hojicha gelato milkshake was insanely good. There’s a nice balance of that roasted tea and creamy milky goodness.
Wagyu beef, udon and prawn fritter
Kurumac is the best of 2 worlds: Japanese flavours and good Australian vibes. Another awesome thing about their spot is that there’s a lot of street parking in the area.

107 Addison Road
Marrickville NSW
Opening hours:
7am to 4pm - 7 days

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Chuuka, Pyrmont, Sydney

I’m sure it’s pretty obvious with the blog’s name on how much I love ramen. Ramen is also referred to as Chuka Soba, which means Chinese noodles. Chuka or Chuuka normally refers to Japanese style or take on Chinese food. It’s dishes like ramen, gyoza, and kakuni pork belly. But with Chefs Victor Liong and Chase Kojima’s Chuuka Restaurant, it’s more of a 50/50 fusion of Japanese and Chinese flavours and cooking style.

Chuuka Restaurant is part of The Star group of restaurants and is located at Jones Bay Wharf. The space has a rustic contemporary look with nice scenic views of the Johnstons bay area. I visited Chuuka for lunch a few weeks back with the fam.

The hiramasa kingfish with white fungi, radish, burnt garlic, spring onion and soy cream ($24) was beautifully delicate with sweet notes and light umami.

Chuuka’s version of chawanmushi ($13pp) is a savoury steamed custard  dish with foie gras, blue swimmer crab, carrot ginger sauce and shellfish essence. This dish is all about silky textures with notes of umami and some sweetness to balance the overall flavour of the dish.

Y’all need to try Chase’s ‘tempura yuzu chicken”($24) with dried chilli, sweet & sour yuzu sauce. It is like a very premium Chinese lemon chicken. It was so damn addictive.

Another addictive item on the menu is the Chuuka ebi chilli ($42), which is stir fried prawns in chilli miso butter and accompanied by Japanese milk buns. The chilli and umami factors weren’t as intense but it was very well-balanced with hints of sweet flavour. The soft buns were perfect to soak up all the delicious chilli miso butter sauce.

The Sichuan eggplant dish with puffed chickpeas, crispy garlic, fried wonton skins and white miso sesame dressing ($28) had an interesting contrast of textures and flavours. It’s a mix and toss type of dish to bring out all the awesome flavours from the ingredients.

The wagyu short rib ($59) was so tender and buttery! It comes with baby cos lettuce, ginger & spring onion relish to make mini wraps.

My favourite savoury dish hands down was the tenshindon ($35). This is a classic Chuka dish, which is typically a blanket of crab omelette on rice. Chuuka’s version is levelled up with blue swimmer crab, and a thick broth like Japanese style XO Sauce with egg on scallop rice. It was packed with punches of umami with light sweet, earthy and peppery notes.

The “Chuuka yoghurt service” is a massive dessert set that’s good for 2 or more people ($38). It’s yoghurt sorbet with mascarpone ice cream and frozen meringue. It also comes with toppings (served on the side): 1) yuzu & ginger jam; 2) raspberry , freeze dried beetroot & pink peppercorn; 3) roasted hazelnuts and kinako; 4) Vietnamese coffee jelly, 5) matcha milk crumb; 6) bitter chocolate and cocoa nibs.

If you’re a fan of bubble tea, then you need try the super fun Japanese purple yam ice cream dessert with pearl jasmine tea, sago and bluberries ($14).

The Kurozato brown sugar mochi ice cream ($9) is a simple yet amazing play on Kyoto yatsuhashi mochi. Rather than stuffed with azuki bean filling etc., ice cream is sandwiched in yatsuhashi mochi.

Suite 62-64, Jones Bay Wharf
26-32 Pirrrama Road
Pyrmont NSW
Ph: 02 9657 9882

Opening hours:
Tues to Sat 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Sun 12pm-3pm

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