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

โค

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Review: Mr Wong’s

Mr. Wong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So to celebrate my birthday *sigh I am getting older* among other important things, we headed to Mr Wong’s in Sydney’s CBD, and boy was I truly impressed. Tucked away in an alleyway with very modest signage is this wonderful restaurant, that isn’t small at all. Upon entering you feel gusts of cool breeze (It’s the aerodynamics of the room #engineeringgraduaterighthere) and you see the expansive set up all decorated in a colonial french theme. I loved the colors, the vibe, the ambience, and the sounds from the place – it was all so cozy and inviting.

We had a reservation, but we were a little early. Thankfully they seated us right away. Now the first thing I noticed, were how friendly and smiley the wait staff was. Not a single one looked unhappy or b***hy – something I have noticed in the city. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly loud the table next to us was. Here we were having an intimate dinner while a bunch of corporate dressed men were swearing their heads off. It did ruin the mood a little, but alas not the fault of the restaurant itself.

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Oh and you can literally see the chefs working! It’s so wonderful! The open kitchen really shows you the story of how the food is made and I loved it. The fact that the kitchen was so beautifully clean was another awesome point.

Now to the bits and bobs of the food and menu. Firstly, the wine list – so good!! They have a fabulous range of drinks to serve, which I loved. We didn’t order anything too heavy, considering it was only the afternoon. We stuck to a simple Reisling and Rose wine. We also were offered complimentary tea, which I really enjoyed. I chose Chrysanthemum, which is deliciously nutty and subtle and perfect with food. I would definitely recommend grabbing a nice tea during your meal, I find that it helps all the food just go down well.

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Okay, the menu. It’s expansive! I loved that there were multiple dim sum options, and they were certainly very unique. I had never seen aubergine (eggplant) and chicken together in a dumpling, thought we didn’t order it.

We stuck with our favourite, the Pork xiao long bao, a delicious steamed dumpling which has a broth encased. It’s incredibly hot so you need to ‘pop’ the dumpling before eating it otherwise you will burn your mouth. Would I recommend it. Yes. Hell yes I would. The dumpling was soft and delicious and the pork was tender and flavourful. The broth wasn’t overpowering at all and just complimented the meat beautifully.

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For mains we decided to order the Kung Pao Chicken, along with the ‘Typhoon shelter type’ King crab fried rice. The rice was such a treat to the eyes. The speckles of the crab meat, the garlic, the rice, and chilli were just beautiful. The rice itself was surprisingly light, and not oily at all which I really loved. Normally I find fried rice at restaurants just drenched in oil, with all it’s flavour taken over by this oil. But not at Mr Wong’s. The rice was perfectly seasoned, and was just so damn good! In my opinion this was one of the best fried rice’s I had ever eaten.

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The Kung Pao Chicken was wonderful. Just wonderful. It was a true balance of sweet, spicy and salty – umami :P. The chicken had a beautiful smokey color and flavour, and the roasted peanuts were just a lovely crunchy compliment to the soft and tender meat. The meal came with fried chilli as well, and not only were these great to look at, but they tasted phenomenal when eaten with pieces of chicken and rice also. ย The green’s along with the chicken balanced the saltyness of the meal greatly, and offered some color and freshness to the meal and palate too. With the fried rice… it was absolute perfection.

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Did we order dessert? Sadly. No we didn’t – We got macron’s from Adriano Zumbo in QVB instead โค

Okay time to rate the place. My favourite part.

Food: 10/10

I really have nothing more to say about it. It was delicious.

Service: 9/10

I’m only taking a point off because the wait staff that looked after us was a little slow, and well forgetful :/

Ambiance: 10/10

They have done a fantastic job at Mr Wong’s in bringing in a bit of history and culture into the restaurant. The whole place is warm, and inviting and tells a little story about the food and everything behind it. The fact that the kitchen is completely open to everyone, is a huge added bonus.

The menu: 9.5/10

Half a point off because I would have liked to see more chicken in the meat section of the menu, but otherwise this one is really great.

Total score: 38.5/40 OR 9.625/10 ๐Ÿ˜€

Would I go back. Of course.

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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Review: Silverspoon Vietnamese

(featured image from Zomato!)

Silverspoon Vietnamese Street Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So for a fun monthly meet up the gang decided to try out Vietnamese food. We’ve done the thai (a bit too many times), the korean (though we love it so much), and the Japanese (ramen of course!). It made sense to go for viet food! And I do not mean banh mi no matter how amazing those rolls of deliciousness are.

Before I even begin this review, I must apologise! We all got so caught up in eating… that we totally forgot to take photos of the meals! I have a few but I will add some more from my online sources *cough* zomato *cough* .

Tucked away on Castlereagh sweet, on the quiet side I might add, the restaurant boasts a beautiful entrance and store front. It’s the kind that isn’t flashy but is nice and noticeable. The interiors are simple and actually really warm. There is a romantic vibe to the restaurant, not so much to make you awkward with friends, but enough to give your meals an intimate feel. The seating is ample, and most importantly well spaced out. I absolutely detest restaurants that are overly cramped. (Now I should note we did go on a Wednesday night… so the restaurant was a little bit empty -_-)

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Image from Zomato!

What I found really impressive?ย The menu! It’s substantial with a really good variety of items, though lacking in the vegetarian department. I’d personally stayed away from vietnamese cuisine because of the beef based broths used, but Silverspoon offered a bunch of alternatives. The section for street food was fun, with a range of exotic flavours and meats, while incorporating the classics too – yup they do have banh mi and sweet and sour pork.

Now to the service. This I would normally add after discussing the food… but seriously, the service was amazing. Our waiter hardly spoke English but he made the biggest effort to offer us our table water, drinks, and help us through the menu to give us his personal opinion of the good food ๐Ÿ™‚ Honestly, he was just the sweetest.

Now to the food, many thanks to the waiter for helping us select!

We opened the night with some lotus tea for two, lemon lime bitters and coca cola with cute Crispy Wontons along with Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus shoot salad. The Wontons were super crispy and the little packages were packed with just enough filling and flavour. Accompanied with some fish sauce (which wasn’t as pungent as the one we would buy at the super market… it was a lot lighter!) and sweet chili sauce… oh and hot chili slices of course. At face value, I would say that the entree was rather small… but I found the quantity of food we bought to actually be perfect for the group of 5 ๐Ÿ™‚ The salad was a star for me.

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Served with some prawn crackers, the fresh salad was packed with flavour! The prawns were cooked perfectly and were wonderfully tender. The dressing that went over it just made them even more amazing. I’m not usually a fan of steamed any meat other than fish… but everyone agreed that the pork was moist and tender and basically just fell apart in your mouth. Definitely recommend the salad to share!

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Oh I should talk about the lotus tea! WARNING: ONLY PURCHASE IF YOU ARE AN AVID TEA DRINKER. I’m being 100% serious that this didn’t go down well with everyone. I liked the nutty and mildly floral tones, that sort of gave me the slightest hint of licorice right at the end. Not for everyone… ย but if you are feeling a little adventurous… go for it ๐Ÿ™‚

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The mains… were fabulously substantial! The rice servings are included in the price of each meal which is great. We ordered…. (I’m going to list these)

  1. Thit Kho – caramelised pork
  2. Heo chua ngot – sweet and sour pork (of course!)
  3. Heo xa ot – Lemongrass pork
  4. Ga xao tieu den – pepper chicken
  5. Ga xao hat dieu – cashew nut chicken

The highlight of it all… honestly the sweet and sour pork and the pepper chicken.

To deconstruct every meal though… the caramelised pork was incredibly dense and well… meaty. The broth was actually fabulous to pour over the rice to accompany the other drier dishes. The meat was incredibly tender, and basically melted away. What was great? The meal wasn’t salty! What was no so great? I think I like more veggies, or something to give a little bit of texture to the meal.

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The biggest disappointment of the night… the lemongrass pork. Unfortunately it was a little over cooked. The flavours were there, and there was depth in texture, but the over done meat basically killed the other flavours. The meat was dry and chewy, and it sort of drew out the moisture from everything else. Okay that sounds a little scathing. Maybe on a different night it would be 1000 times better ๐Ÿ˜€

I liked the sweetness of cashew nut chicken, but it didn’t go well with everyone. The chicken was lovely and the meal was packed with veggies, which I loved. The meat lovers obviously wanted more chicken. The cashews provided the meal with some added crunch and texture. I would recommend this one for anyone that really cannot handle spicy food, and wants to play it fairly safe in terms of the food.

Pepper chicken was truly delish. I loved the warm taste of the pepper that wasn’t overdone at all. The chicken was tender and moist and went deliciously with the rice. I topped this one with the broth from the caramelised pork and it tasted even more amazing! yum yum yum. Can’t say more. Defs recommend this one!

Now to the sweet and sour pork. Most of us unanimously agreed that this was an equal stand-out. I mean how could you possibly go wrong with such a classic dish? And they do it so wonderfull ๐Ÿ™‚ The pork is crispy and sticky and accompanied with veggies that just add a pop of colour, pop of texture, and fun flavour. Obviously I recommend this to everyone.

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Average Rankings:

Service: 9.5/10 Food was bought our in a timely manner!(the only downside was the struggle to understand our waiter!)

Ambiance: 9/10 (the restaurant was a little empty when we went)

Food: 8/10 There were true stand-outs in the pack, and the flavours were all bang on. Ofc we had one overcooked meal, but on a good day, even it would be a highlight meal.

Originality: 7.5/10 I like that the menu has street food elements, the well known banh mi and a wide range of foods, however I would love to see more vegetarian options and a few more dishes that are a little more unique and well… unheard of

Overall ranking: 8.5/10

Boop di boop. Everything was delish and I would definitely come back. It’s a sweet date place, and is operated by truly the sweetest people. I have to say that the ambiance and service were the true highlights of the overall experience.

๐Ÿ˜€