Chatkazz, revisited

When John and I first introduced to Chatkazz, one thing we both agreed was the fact that Dad would enjoy this place. We put this idea to test when Dad arrived in Sydney. And it is safe to say that we were right: he LOVED it.

Here, dad is taking a photo of the gigantic menu to show Mum.

Even though nobody makes Pani Puri (above) like Gujju’s Smita in Melbourne and not many Indian places have it on their menu, it is one dish (starter actually) we have to have if the opportunity presents itself. Luckily, Pani Puri is on Chatkazz’s menu.

Apart from Pani Puri and Sabudana Vada (above), we also had or repeated the same order as last time to be precise, Chhole Bhatura, Dahi Puri and Chinese Bhel on the day. Once again, Chinese Bhel was the star of the day.

And that’s us. John took our very own selfie on the day. I don’t have an upper lip, do I? 🙂

Bentley’s Bar and Restaurant, revisited

We went back to Bentley’s Bar and Restaurant on Friday night. I wasn’t going to take photos to write a review because I did that not long ago. I didn’t even take my low-light-handling-well-camera with me. But, the food and the staff were fantastic. So, I couldn’t help myself. Here’s what we had from Bentley’s a-la-carte menu:

My starter: Carrot + Chamomile + Buttermilk + Grapefruit

John’s starter: Charred Onion + Wood ear mushroom + Brussels sprouts

This is the only vegetarian main dish on the menu: Beetroot + Black rice + Blackberry + Purple kale

John’s dessert: White chocolate parfait + Pear + Saffron + Cashew. This was recommended by Guillaume and John said it was fantastic.

Complementary sweet nibbles, thanks to Guillaume.

In short, I can say that Bentley’s Bar and Restaurant and their fantastic staff did it again!

Nilgiri’s – Feast of India, Sydney

We went to Nilgiri’s on Friday night to try their new menu. Here’s what we had:

Bhel Puri (above) whole meal flour crisps, sprouts, fresh herbs, tamarind chutney & chick pea flour vermicelli.

Tali Gobhi Hara Dhania Chatni (above) batter-fried cauliflower, green coriander & cashewnut chatni.

Khumb Makki Saag Methi (above) corn kernels and mushrooms with pureed spinach.

Zeera Aloo Muttar Nariyali Khurma (above) chat potatoes and green peas coconut khurma.

Mango Creme Brulee (above).

Manjit’s at The Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney

We went to Manjit’s at The Wharf last night. It is located at Darling Harbour therefore the restaurant has a harbour view. The cuisine here is modern Indian and it is divine.

The view before it gets dark.

The view after it gets dark.

Starter no 1: Gol Gol Gappa (above)
A contemporary twist on a classic street food delight. I believe it’s pani puri. They are tiny, crunchy, puffed bread filled with spiced chickpea, potato, onion, herbs and flowers. It’s served with tamarind and amchur (mango powder) caviar. You pour it into the puri and eat it all in one go. It was very fresh and spicy. It tickled the back of my palate. Just the way I like it.

Complimentary poppadoms and they were rolled! Photo above.

Starter no 2: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Khumb (above)
Grilled whole organic mushrooms filled with paneer and cottage cheese, spiced corn and water chestnut.

Main no 1: Kaju Ki Sabzi (above) is one of their signature dishes. It is (as described on the menu) “a preparation of cashew nuts sautĂ©ed with mixed spices, served with caramelized onion” but there is a surprise there. This sabzi is topped with a spinach kofta stuffed with paneer. It looks like a saag paneer scotch egg!

Main no 2: Phool (above) is described as cauliflower pan cooked with coriander seeds, served on potato espuma and toasted cumin. Espuma is Spanish term for froth or foam, by the way. So, if you are expecting aloo gobi kind of dish here, you are in for a treat.

Desserts

My dessert: Apple Jalebi (above)

John’s dessert: Chai Creme Brulee (above)

Sunday Lunch with Don, Lorraine and Moet

Don and John chilling…

Chatkazz, Harris Park with Madhu and Kushal

Our friends, Madhu and Kushal, took us to Chatkazz last night for a night of Indian street food. It was fantastic! We are thinking of bringing Dad here. He would love it.

It is such a busy place. With all the hustle and bustle it actually feels like you are in India!

They have chairs, menus, pens and order slips outside where you wait for a table. While you’re waiting, you choose what you want from the menu and then scribble it down on the order slip.

Once you are inside, food just keeps coming so fast; you wouldn’t believe. Here we are, just before having incredible street food…

And, here’s what we had:

Sabudana Vada (above)

Chhole Bhatura (above)

Pani Puri (above) They are one of my old time favourites.

Dahi Puri (above)

Khaman-Dhokla (above). Another old-time favourites of mine.

Chinese Bhel (above): This was everyone’s favourite. I have just tracked down the recipe this morning. I will make it.

Chatkazz has a separate sweet shop. Those colourful sweets were so inviting when we popped in before dinner. I mean, look at them.

So, we bought some sweets after dinner but Kushal had already picked up some jalebi before dinner. He says jalebi is the first one they run out at the shop. Jalebi is one of my favourite Indian sweets. Thanks to Kushal I came home with some.

 

New Years Eve at Taronga Zoo

This year, we entered new year at Taronga Zoo!

One of our neighbours has been doing a volunteer job at the zoo for years. She was allowed to bring 3 guests on New Years Eve and she asked us if we wanted to go. An offer we couldn’t turn down. It was a fabulous night and the giraffes seemed to enjoy the fireworks, too.

I have always felt that giraffes have the best harbour view. By the way, this guy and I had serious eye contact at some stage. We just connected 🙂

Here, it is getting dark at Taronga Zoo.

Sydney Opera House night view from giraffe enclosure.

The video above is taken by yours truly. It’s the 9 o’clock one. Enjoy!

A delightful evening at Shirley and Mario’s

Miscellaneous Sydney

The Oaks, Neutral Bay

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The Oaks in Neutral Bay is just a walking distance from our place. Although, it has always been quite inviting, I have recently started to go there. Being a pub and everything, we actually didn’t expect it to be vegetarian friendly. But, that’s not the case.

So far, I have had their veggie burger and one of the vegetarian gourmet pizzas. The veggie burger is grilled zucchini and eggplant, roasted tomato, rocket, halloumi  cheese, caramelised onion, aioli and fries. The whole ensemble is huge; you wouldn’t go hungry. The gourmet pizza I had was Mixed Wild Mushrooms, garlic, mozzarella and truffle oil. It was one tasty pizza. Actually it puts Crust on the other side of the road into shame.

The best feature of The Oaks is its signature oak tree in the middle of the outdoor beer garden. It is “the” oak tree and it’s 78 years old. It was planted in August 1938 by Kathleen McGill. The sapling came from the old Anthony Horden’s department store on George Street as a gift with every purchase over 10 pounds.

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The magnificient oak tree (above).

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And this is what it looks like when the lights are on, providing an all-year-around Xmas tree.