It’s always a pleasure to dine at Nilgiri’s. I must admit, this time around we have had one of the most interesting menus. Here’s what we had:
Aloo Chana Dal Samosa with pomegranate chutney (above)
Thanda Baingan (charred eggplant | dry lentil chutney | seasoned yoghurt & caramelised onions)
Paneer Tikka Chaat (tandoor-cooked ‘paneer’ | mint chatni | spiced chick peas & ‘besan’ vermicelli)
Bhindi Til Aur Imli (baby okra | ground sesame, tamarind & curry leaf sauce)
Zeera Gobhi Saag (cauliﬂower ﬂowerettes | roast cumin, coriander & turmeric garlic & fenugreek tempered spinach puree)
Paneer Methi Kofta (house-made fresh ‘paneer’ kofta fresh fenugreek & ginger ﬁlling | ‘malai’ sauce)
Lahsooni Dal Makhani (slow-cooked trio of lentils fresh garlic & ‘pepe saya’ ghee ‘tadka’). I must admit, Nilgiri’s dhal is an absolute triumph! It’s so creamy and moorish.
Fig Almond & Honey Kulfi (fig & local ‘two creeks’ honey-flavoured Indian ice-cream with almonds)
This is our second time at Gigi Pizzeria in Newtown. Last time it was us and Rachel as her husband couldn’t make it because of an emergency operation. This time though, we all made it. Eventually.
Gigi Pizzeria is one hip vegan pizza place in Newtown and their pizza is quite a hit even among the meat eaters. Well, they must be doing something, right?
This was their special for that particular day and I have no idea what the ingredients were but it was quite tasty. That’s all I have to say about that.
I know what this one is because we had the same one last time. It is called Funghi e Radicchio (Swiss brown mushrooms, garlic, dairy free blue cheese, parsley, radicchio, & roasted walnuts, extra virgin olive oil).
As for the dolci (desserts), we had:
Tiramisu di Gigi (above). Coffee soaked homemade Savoiardi biscuits layered with plant based Marsala cream dusted with cacao.
Torta all’arancia (above). Orange almond & polenta sponge served with orange candy & fresh berries.
Pastiera di gigi (above) which is orange blossom whole wheat & candied citrus tart.
Dona and Lorraine has been raving about The Wine Room (which is a part of Balgowlah RSL Club) for a very long time but we only managed to get ourselves there recently.
A realistic image of a fireplace in the middle of Australian summer? Really? Anyway, we had a glass of bubbly before dinner, sitting down and watching the flames dance while catching up with friends.
They have nice vegetarian options at The Wine Room. Here’s what we had:
Starter no 1: Fried zucchini flowers, goat’s cheese, basil and tomato cardamom chutney (above).
Starter no 2: Grilled haloumi, preserved lemon and cherry tomatoes (above).
Our main course was roast pumpkin, leek and labne tart, Roma tomato, rocket and dukkah (above).
Lorraine and I didn’t have dessert: we had port instead but this is John’s Creme Brulee.
We had so little time left with Berfu. So, we took her to one of our favourite places for dinner: The Malaya. Here’s what we had:
Vegetable San Choy Bow (above) before all wrapped up. Water chestnut, onion, mushroom, carrot and shallot stir-fried. Served in a lettuce leaf.
Salt and Pepper Cauliflower (above).
Cauliflower florettes lightly battered, deep-fried and tossed in fresh chilli, salt, cracked black pepper and shallots.
Szechuan Eggplant (above). This is pretty much everyone’s favourite. Marinated eggplant stir-fried dry style with shallot, cashew nuts and dry chillies. Served on a bed of Chinese water spinach.
Sayor Masak Lemak (above)
Malay style vegetable curry cooked with fresh chilli, lemongrass and coconut milk.
Sago Pudding (above). Sago and coconut pudding flavoured with palm sugar and topped with coconut sorbet.
Gigi Pizzeria is one hip vegan pizza place we have been thinking about going for a long time. I don’t know how many times we talked about it. In the end, though, it all came together when a friend from the area suggested to have dinner together at Gigi Pizzeria on a Saturday evening.
They do not take bookings and the place is always busy, especially on the weekends. So, you queue outside until a table is available. We would’ve liked to sit at the entrance overlooking the street but ended up sitting so close to the oven. I would say we felt the heat, especially on an incredibly hot evening. You know how hot it gets in Sydney and you sweat in all kinds of weird places even without the help of a pizza oven.
Food at Gigi Pizzeria
Well, everything is vegan here. They use the traditional Neapolitan method of pizza making. Their pizza oven is a wood-fired one with a stone base. All of their pizza is same size: 13 inches in diameter.
Here’s what we had at Gigi Pizzeria:
Funghi e Radicchio (below)
Swiss brown mushrooms, garlic, dairy free blue cheese, parsley, radicchio, & roasted walnuts, extra virgin olive oil.
Cauliflower puree, artichokes, pine nuts, capers, currants, garlic & parsley, extra virgin olive oil.
This was quite an experience with vegan pizza and we are actually thinking of going back to Gigi Pizzeria again soon.