Harvest Vegetarian Restaurant with Berfu

Finally, Berfu finished and submitted her thesis and we decided to celebrate at Harvest Vegetarian Restaurant with a bottle of Italian wine Elif (Berfu’s mother) sent for us (as seen in the photo below).

John had the same dish again because he can’t help himself (English Spinach and Kumara Gnocchi served in a Lemon and Garlic Cream sauce).

I had Nutty Leek and Cheese Tart (Handmade puff pastry with a combination of Gruyere, Mozzarella, Fetta and Parmesan cheeses with Walnuts and Lemon Thyme and served with Ratatouille)

The funniest event of the night was that we were trying to take a selfie. Someone from the next table told us that one of the guys sitting closer to us could take our photo. So, he did take our photo after struggling with John’s phone. You’re allowed to laugh as we did 🙂

That’s me but not all of me 🙂

Purpose of this photo? I don’t know but you can’t complain as it would’ve been  like the one before that.

Sacher Torte at Queen Victoria Building

After having this divine dessert in Vienna in 2015, it was interesting to see it at an Austrian cafe in Queen Victoria Building (QVB). It has always been my favourite building here in Sydney.

The verdict? It was more like a very rich chocolate cake whereas the original was well balanced and much lighter. Initially I thought, this Austrian cafe might be the only place to have sacher torte outside Vienna but I have just discovered that our local French patissier makes sacher torte as well. I think I’ll try theirs, too. Then make a decision.

Bentley’s Bar and Restaurant, again

It goes without saying: we absolutely LOVE Bentley’s Bar and Restaurant. We always get looked after incredibly well there. This time in particular. Let me explain…

We arrived unannounced without a booking. Still, a table was arranged. It was the same menu as before so we asked if they could whip up a different main dish for us. There was a discussion in the kitchen between their wait staff including the wine connoisseur and the head chef. And again, it was no problem. We were told that pine mushrooms were in season so they added pickled pine mushrooms to our main dish.  The starters were no problem as we decided to have each other’s pick from last time.

Another fantastic occurrence was that our favourite waiter Guillaume was there as well. He always makes it so special for us. God bless his French heart 🙂

Complimentary nibbles (above and below)

Remember this from our previous visit?

Our customised main dish (below)

I recently found a copy of Bentley’s cookbook on Book Depository. Even though it’s not a vegetarian cookbook, I am hoping to extract some techniques and get inspired around unique flavour combinations and extensive use of interesting ingredients.

John’s dessert (above). I didn’t have one. Instead, I had another glass of port.

An Evening with Ajoy and Meera

This was a birthday surprise for Dad during his visit to Sydney. We kept it quiet pretty much until the day. Dad thought we were going to have a drink or two with our hosts.

It turned out that Ajoy and Meera hosted us at their own place for the night. Ajoy cooked us some fantastic food for all of us and Meera lent her opinion every now and then.

Lads.

Lads and me.

Dad is a huge fan of Ajoy’s food as well as him as a person. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Thank you Ajoy. Thank you Meera…

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 sautéed 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.