Restaurant Review: Sails on Lavender Bay

Sails on Lavender Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Oh my goodness.

This is the best way to describe each and every item that came to our table.

Here is the link

We went to Sails as a nice lunch date to celebrate an anniversary, and boy was it worth it! On lavender bay, close to Milsons point, with a magnificent view of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, lies this cute little restaurant. It’s located right next to the ferry stop, and it is kind of cute to have the customers arrive by ferry before stepping into the eatery.

We decided to drive there, because unfortunately we were short on time :'(. We stepped inside to see the array of awards received by the restaurant and walked into a cozy and very warm room filled with the noises of happy customers and the smell of delicious food. Honestly, every person was smiling. We were greeted wonderfully by the head of the waitstaff who directed us to our tables with a gorgeous view of the water.

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The first thing I noticed, before I even get to the food, was the service. The table next to us were eating the Sails degustation menu. This is a truly hefty menu that requires at least 2 1/2 hours to devour. The servers would come over to them and not only explain the food they were about to eat, but deconstruct the matching wine right from the flavours in it to why it matches the food. I loved this addition.

Our service was equally as wonderful.

We began the meal by the complimentary fresh baked bread with home-made chive butter, and a whole butter with leek ash (what even.). The butter was divine. The bread was so bloody soft and warm. The balsamic salt to go with it was the perfect addition. The bread came to us so warm, I cannot get over it. I dunno, I guess it’s the little things that make a world of difference.

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This was followed by a wonderful and tangy fennel soup as the amuse bouche. (Can anyone pick up on the friends reference here???). This soup was so light and creamy and tangy and fun all at the same time. It was the sort of soup that came in the tiniest cup that could be drunk straight like a shot, but really should come in a massive bowl with dunking bread to eat in the middle of winter. It was delicious.

Now to our actual order. So far… this was just complimentary…

Entree:ย 

  • hiramasa kingfish tataki, cucumber caviar, kimchi, rice paper
  • scallops (the item I ordered isn’t on the online menu… so I actually cannot quote it 100%)

Mains:

  • grimaud duck breast, eggplant, baby cos, bacon powder, grape must
  • The day special of a crispy skin cod served with scallops, fennel, and well… a lot of deliciousness

Dessert:

  • pineapple and coconut eton mess, pineapple sorbet, passionfruit jelly, coriander
  • chocolate hazelnut pavรฉ, white chocolate and yoghurt mousse, sorbet, caramel crunch

We also ordered a side salad ofย broccolini, sugar snaps, snow peas, squash, cumin, lime.

Alright. To deconstruct our order.

The entree. My work were they wonderful. My scallops came with this delicious creamy mayo liked sauce. It was tangy and spicy at the same time, with some sort of a citrus infused rice cracker and bacon, that looked to me liked it was smoked and cooked in a delicious sweet maple syrup. Honestly, it was truly phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word in my reviews before ๐Ÿ˜› The scallops were so incredibly flavoursome, which is saying something. They were soft on the inside but just lightly crispy on the outside.

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The kingfish was equally as incredible. I wasn’t expecting the kimchi flavour to be as amazing as it was. The cucumber caviar was such a surpirse! We couldn’t pin point the little green balls on the plate until we looked back at the menu. The dressing all over the meal was incredible and the little pieces of freshness in every bite. The spice was not overpowering at all and we could still taste the delicious tender kingfish below the layers of superb flavours.

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The mains were just as wonderful. The daily special cod was amazing. The skin was so amazingly crispy! It sliced apart so easily. I love a brittle crispy skin. That’s how you know its perfect. The meat was tender and juicy and flaky and served on a bed of spinach that had been wilted down in this delicious sauce. I really wish I knew what was it. I really do. The scallops were different in this meal! They were seared too, but weren’t as spicy. In fact they were kept a little more bland to soak up the flavour of the sauce and compliment the fish perfectly. The addition of the fennel was interesting. it added a tartness to the meal that was actually so welcoming. I know this special probably won’t be there if you do go… but damn was it delicious.

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The duck breast was equally as incredible. The skin was crispy and perfect, and the meat was so succulent and tender. The nutty flavour of the duck was truly delicous when paired with the bits and bobs of salad on the plate. It didn’t look like much when it came out, but boy did it fill us up. I was so pleasantly surprised by this meal. The meat wasn’t chewy at all, but each and every bite of the meat was different and delicious. Whatever they had used to tenderise the meat most definitely worked. The whole thing was wonderful. I recommend this one to you all.

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The side salad was so surprising too. If possible, grab this too. It seems so simple with the broccolini, snap peas and squash but oh the dressing. That dressing was so light and subtle but so flavoursome. It actually was the perfect accompaniment to the fish and duck. It added so much freshness to the deep nutty flavour of the duck and the tangy flavour of the fish ย and sauces.

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Now to the dessert. The eton mess was delightful. It has coconut meringue, and a truly delicious pineappleย sorbet that I could eat forever. Honestly it was stunning. The passionfruit jelly was equally amazing and was just perfect. There were chunks of fruit in the mess and it was just a little piece of fruity heaven. For a dessert, I think this was one of the lightest I’ve had. It’s great for a fairly full tummy!!

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My dessert was the hazelnut pave and oh gosh was it decadent and rich. I thought it was a little too rich for my liking but I did finish it nevertheless because it tasted like a bloody fancy nutella for a princess and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. The crumbs with it were crunchy and tangy, while the entire pave was dusted with a bitter coffee. It actually cut down on the rich sweetness which I didn’t mind at all. The white chocolate mousse was delightful and delicious while the sorbet was a little tangy. The caramel crunch was just the perfect little thing to add to bite between bites.

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Okay… let’s get to the score before I kill you with my words about incredibly wonderful food.

Food: 10/10

Seriously do I really need to add anything more?

Service: 10/10

It was wonderful and kind and well… just plain nice ๐Ÿ™‚

Ambiance: 8/10

I think the fact I could see the ferry stop bugged my a little, and it blocked out view of the bridge. Plus the restaurant did get really loud, but it might be because of the slightly tipsy couple next to us that progressively used more and more swear words

Originality: 10/10

Seriously. An eton mess with coriander? What even. It was amazing.

Overall Score: 9.5/10

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Review: Criniti’s Italian

Criniti's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For some reason or other, Criniti’s has become my go to restaurant. Need to go to a decent restaurant? Criniti’s. Need to go to a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options? Criniti’s. Need to go somewhere closeby and/or has multiple outlets? Yup. Criniti’s.

So this particular review is based on all the vegetarian meals I ate. SO, meat eaters, this one isn’t for you.

I sound like a big advertisement :/ But in all seriousness. This is place is pretty packed on weekdays as well. During lunch there are always plenty of families, or people from work getting a bite. At night, the ambiance is warm and cozy and it is always someone’s birthday. Now the decor isn’t exactly to my personal taste, with the large mounted Ducati and spare parts adorning the place, but I absolutely love the visible wood fire oven, colorful bar serving some pretty great drinks (with plenty of Italian liquors and wines), along with the overall slightly vintage look.

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DEMOLISHED!

The service I have found to be very friendly, but a little slow. Particularly on weekdays! But alas when short staffed, this is bound to happen. The staff is most definitely patient however. It’s not all that customary for the manager to be serving food, but when needed he or she is also out there serving or cleaning up, which is something I really liked. I think it’s fantastic when the entire staff is working as a team ya know? #teamspirit. Much too often I’ve seen managers unprepared to do the dirty work. *sigh*

The menu here is pretty damn expansive, with regular pizza, white pizza, risotto, burgers, salad and so much more. The prices are a bit on the high side, but the portions are pretty large. I would generally say one plate between two people is the right amount. I love the drinks menu because of the excellent wine and beer range. Yes even their beer range is great. Typically I opt for a simple Riesling with my food, or a really good fruity White, coz I love my white wine. Dad went for a peroni, and I must say I did like it.

Alright onto the part that you really want to hear about. The food.

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We started our meal with the Tomato Brushcetta Pizza Crust, as an entree. Dad in paricular loves this one because it’s delicious and fresh. There is fresh tomato, basil and onion which have been rested in their own juices with some salt and pepper ofc. It’s such a simple combination, but it is a bang on winner. The garlic crust this was served on was wonderfully thin, with a thick but soft crust. The juices of the bruschetta softens the crust down so much… love it. In saying this however, this is something you can easily do at home, so for the price you are paying I would like to see something more original and extravagant. Even a hint of balsamic would have elevated this to another level.

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Next up we ordered the Penne Vegetarian. This was a delicious pasta in a magnificent basil sauce with eggplant, sundried tomatos, olives, zucchini and capsicum. I love it when pasta is loaded with rich vegetables, and this was just that. The sauce was a stand-out really, and in fact paired as a tasty sauce for the left over crusts from our pizza. The pasta was cooked perfectly, and so were the vegetables. I certainly would recommend this one for any vegetarians out there.

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This was followed by our next main -the ferrara pizza. This I absolutely loved. There was onion, capsicum, olives and the crust was so excellent. You could taste the light smokiness of the wood fire oven on it, which is just another added taste element. The only downside to this one was that it had cooled down a little before it came to our table. We could actually see our pizza on the counter waiting to be delivered to us. This was a bit of a bummer, but the pizza itself was great. On top of that, look at the large crust! This wasn’t a huge deal for us, since we did dip the crust in the leftover pasta sauce, but considering the price, I would have like to see more topping and less bread.

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And we did decide to grab some dessert too. We opted for the 3 scoop gelato, choosing salted caramel, lemon sorbet and cookies and cream (seriously how cute is the serving!!). The cookies and cream was PHENOMENAL. Truly it was so creamy and decadent, with chunks of little cookies scattered in the scoops. Each little chunk was a different size, and portion, so it added a great dimension of texture to the ice cream. The salted caramel was true bliss in a scoop and was finished by my sister in a jiffy. The least liked was the lemon sorbet, mainly because it tasted more like an icy pole than anything else!

Okay time to rank.

Food: 6.5/10

I’ve taken points off because of the brushetta and the pizza. The un-originality of the former, along with the price of it was a let down. As I mentioned above, I would have liked more of the topping than the crust that we got. Also the lemon sorbet gelato, well I didn’t really like it all that much.

Service: 5/10

This is really the let down. I understand busy, but having to wait over 10 minutes to even catch someone’s eye for the bill, did bug me. Oh and the bill was just given to us – a piece of paper. No book or anything!

Ambiance: 9/10

Apart from all the biking gear, which you actually lose focus on within 10 minutes, the ambiance is lovely and cozy.

The menu: 8/10

The menu has a number of items, but I would love to see some more original recipes.

Total: 7/10

Would I go back? Well yes. I’ve actually always had really good experiences at Criniti’s!

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes!!

So it happens to be Valentine’s day, and well I spent it shopping. Literally, shopped alone for a few hours… spent some moolah… and came home. Sounds sad? No it was actually really good. I got myself some new work clothes and shoes and some bits and bobs for The Miniature Kitchen ofc :P. Oh well, for those looking for a delicious and fun recipe to celebrate with your Valentine… here is a simple one ๐Ÿ˜€

So these are chocolate cupcakes, made with some yogurt for added amazingness, filled with some more chocolate and sweet raspberries. The frosting? How could I give up creamy and rich raspberry and cream cheese ๐Ÿ˜€ Yum yum yum yum yum.

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Now this recipe is tweaked fromย http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/02/11/chocolate-cupcakes-creamy-raspberry-frosting/ – this site is definitely my inspiration when it comes to baking. The main changes? The frosting, the amount of oil used and instead of the buttermilk I made 1/4 of a coconut milk and yogurt mixture. I just love the flavours of coconut and chocolate together, and when combined with raspberry… I think it is just heaven!

TO Sally, thank you for being such an amazing inspiration when it comes to baking. I love each and every one of your recipes. I love trying them out and I love trying out something new each time with them.

Alright, so some key points here.

  1. the egg MUST be at room temperature!
  2. the milk MUST be at room temperature
  3. you CAN use both frozen or fresh raspberries ๐Ÿ™‚

Now based off the quantities, you should make 6-8 big cupcakes

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Real talk – the first time I made this I messed them up pretty bad! I took the quantities down wrong *sigh*

Can you use strawberries instead? Ofc ๐Ÿ˜€

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So now to talk about the frosting.

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I didn’t use the recipe that Sally lists, and instead made my own version of a raspberry frosting using cream cheese (yumyum). The recipe is simple, and to be honest I usually taste and go when it comes to fresh fruit in frosting. This is mainly because the sweetness will always vary between fruit, season and batch! Now you can skip the milk in this recipe if your cream cheese is really soft and smooth, but if it’s fresh and thick then the milk will just help you achieve a silky consistency.

I used left over white chocolate ganache in this recipe to boost the creamy texture and add just a hint of luxury to this mixture. This is TOTALLY optional and if you want to add it you MUST add white chocolate ganache, otherwise you won’t end up with pretty pink frosting.

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And that is that!! This recipe doesn’t take long at all, there aren’t a million and one steps, and it’s pretty fool proof as long as you follow the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean if I can do it, you can. Trust me. Baking and me are not good friends ๐Ÿ˜›

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Coconut and Lime Tapioca Pudding

Finallllly I am getting around to writing up this delicious recipe. The cold Sydney weather with the really late onset of autumn rains made for the perfect weather to whip up some of this stuff. I don’t make it often… but when I do, it doesn’t last for long at all. I guess I just love pudding, whether it’s tapioca or some spiced Indian kheer.

The recipe is super simple, and can be tweaked in so many ways. You can make it with whole milk, or cream sometimes, or coconut milk. It goes perfectly with whatever seasonal fruit you can get your hands on! But a point to remember is that tapioca is one of the purest forms of starch you can find. If you are trying to cut down that blood sugar then most definitely avoid this stuff at all costs!

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You might be wondering… well duh? Why make a dessert if you are trying to cut down on sugar intake? Well tapioca can be used to make savory food too . At home we make a spiced tapioca meal during fasting periods as an alternative to rice or breads. I’m moving way off track here.

Coconut and Lime pudding! How can anyone resist the combination? It’s fun and tropical and really refreshing. It’s the kind that works wonderfully well during the hotter months and cooler months too. Here’s that simple recipe

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Right? Simple. And it works a treat. It’s the easy dessert that you can whip up in no time. Perfect for those last minute dinner parties or a quick treat for an every day dinner.

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Coconut and Oreo Thickshake

Sydney heat has truly been awful this past week; way too hot for the last week of summer!

I came home the other day and honestly started to crave some sugar. Not just chocolate… I needed a cooling thickshake packed with oreos, and milk, and ice cream and delicious. This simple recipe is super easy and quick to make, and the best thing about it is that kids absolutely love it.

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My baby sister always asks me for this shake whenever our mom let’s her have a bit of a treat. You can make these incredibly fun with toppings, and I will detail just how you can do that ๐Ÿ˜›

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From another day

My favourite topping for a shake like this just include some melted chocolate, some sprinkles, an oreo, maybe some crushed pecan or pistachios, maybe some popcorn… the possibilities are endless! Head over to pinterest or instagram for some insane milkshake inspiration ๐Ÿ˜›

Here is the easy recipe:oreo thick.jpg

See. I told you… simple. I made mine in one of my 15 dollar bottle blenders from Kmart. I love Kmart… the point of saying this is that the recipe is easy on the pocket and is really quite delicious. Have a go at experimenting with different flavours, or chocolates and share your recipes with me! I would love to try them out ๐Ÿ™‚

Passionfruit Kulfi

Alas we have approached the last week of summer in Sydney and boy is it stinking hot!! There’s a heatwave along with bushfires and I’ve had orientation week responsibilities. Oh the fun. Sitting in the stall, all sweaty and stuffy, greeting everyone that walks by trying to entice them to join our ย society. All the while eating plenty of junk food, drinking insane amounts of water and not needing to pee, handing out flyers and pamphlets and collecting money off people.

Okay enough about orientation.

I actually love the entire process. I mean it’s become a tradition to spend oweek with all my society people lugging around my now famous suitcase.

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Between all the fuss about O-week I decided to have a go at making Kulfi. It took two tries to perfect this recipe where the first try ended in a serious disaster with curdled milk. Yikes!

What is Kulfi?

Kulfi is an insanely delicious un-churned ice cream made from reduced creamy milk and flavours such as saffron, almond, pistachio or rose (traditionally). It’s a popular sweet across the Indian subcontinent and would be stored in a clay pot before serving it up. I have so many fond memories of travelling to India, going to the beach and buying an insanely tasty stick of Kulfi. It’s a bit of a tradition for my family.

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Now with passionfruit in season and the hot summer heat, I decided to have a go at this new flavour. I must say it turned out delicious. Honestly I really enjoyed it and so did mum and my sister. The recipe is fairly straightforward, you just have to be patient and really allow the milk to come together.

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Here’s the recipe

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Have a go at this crazy yum recipe. It’s easy and is so worth it. It’s one of those that will actually really impress your houseguests. If you enjoyed the recipe, do let me know! I am going to start experimenting with more fruit and flavours to develop more kulfi and sweet Indian fusion recipes.

Orange and Elderflower Halwa

OOh yes… another Halwa recipe. I think I’ve become a little obsessed with making new halwa recipes. Halwa is just so yummy!

Like I said in my previous Halwa recipe… Halwa is basically a pudding usually made with semolina or milk solids (khoya). With origins in the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, this pudding is eaten during festivals, special occasions and religious events. My mom typically makes it with bananas and semolina, and it was definitely one of my favorite things while growing up. So if you have checked out the blog lately, you will see that I’ve already made a sugarfree halwa which turned out seriously amazing! Here is the link!

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Why orange? Because we tend to always have oranges at home, and they never seem to finish! Plus, I haven’t eaten all that many orange sweet recipes in India, and well.. I just felt a little bit inspired. The elderflower? Well that is because I had a really refreshing orange and elderflower drink some time ago, and it’s become my new infusion flavour. You can grab elderflower cordial, which is the easiest way to infuse the flower, from good supermarkets. I picked mine up from Woolworths, but I found only a few of them stock up on the cordial ๐Ÿ™‚ Now please remember that cordial is basically sugar and elderflower made into a syrup… so not all that good for the diabetics ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

This recipe is fairly straightforward, but does have a little bit of prep times (i.e. like 2 hours!).

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For a sweeter halwa, of course add more sugar while cooking. Also, it is important to toast off the semolina prior to making the complete halwa otherwise you end up with a kind of uncooked and clumpy semolina mixture which isn’t all that appetising ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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Hope you guys liked this easy recipe! Look out for more easy halwa recipes that I’ll be posting up! Are you guys enjoying the fusion foods from the Indian Subcontinent? I’m going to have a go at doing some more t