Review: Belle’s Chicken

Belles Hot Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For a casual meetup after work one night, in my first week no less, a couple of friends and I decided to head to Barangaroo in the heart of Sydney city for some good American style friend chicken. Thankfully I only had to walk for 10 minutes from work, which wasn’t too bad.

Now I hadn’t heard much about Belle’s. The only thing I knew was that it was a place to buy chicken. Surprise surprise!! What I didn’t know was that they had an interesting range of spicy-ness which of course was a huge point of interest for me πŸ˜›

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In terms of the menu, it is short and concise. Only wings, drumsticks, tenders, and ribs on offer in terms of the chicken. Each of those comes with a side, which I thought were interesting. In a way I do like that the menu was so small and meant that the focus was completely on those few items. The real variation is in the heat of the chicken topping. Now they offer some fish and steak too, and burgers, but it’s clear from everyone eating at Belle’s that it is the chicken you really need to go for.

We opted for southern chicken tenders, the mildest option, with a broccoli and almond salad with blue cheese sauce, medium drumsticks with the house chips, and another round of medium drumsticks with the pickled vegetables both with ranch sauce. Β The Bar at the restaurant looked pretty good and was actually the front of the counters. We saw two fancy looking liquids and ordered both – the lemonade with cardamom and house tea.

The tenders, I thought we great. Tenders are just such a simple choice, and Belle’s does them fantastically. The chicken was crispy on the outside and beautifully moist on the inside. The blue cheese sauce was equally amazing, and rich and just slightly pungent. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the broccoli and almond salad mainly because I couldn’t taste the almond and the sauce was a little off almost bitter tasting. I ended up dipping the chunks of broccoli into the blue cheese sauce to just lift the flavour a little.

The medium wings were SALTY! This was just such a shame because the spice level was really lovely and manageable. But that salt content, was off the roof. Dipping the chicken into the sauces helped, but only slightly. The chicken left me feeling fairly parched, and thankfully we had that lemonade and tea to help the chicken go down nicely. The chips were decent, and with the ranch sauce tasted just like other chips to be honest. The pickled vegetables were nice, and tangy, and went well with the crunchy and spicy chicken.

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The drinks? LOVED THEM! The tea seemed to have some saffron through it, which was just so different and tasty. The tea wasn’t overly sweet which was great. I loved the cardamom in the lemonade. It kept it warm yet refreshing and wasn’t overdone at all. The drink was just laced with the spice.

Now for the voting?

The menu: 7/10

I liked the simplicity, but I would like to have seen a few more sides perhaps?

Ambiance: 9/10

Honestly Belle’s loses a point only because on the view of the cranes still constructing the Barangaroo area which does ruin the sight line a little. Otherwise the outdoor decked setting is really wonderful to enjoy the night in. That along with the fairy lights on the roof – spectacular.

The Food: 7/10

I loved the tenders, but not the salad. The spice of the drumsticks was good, but unfortunately that salt was far too overpowering. I’ve given extra points for the excellent drinks, but otherwise the food was fairly average.

Service: 7/10

The line moved fairly slow, and there really wasn’t much interaction with them. Overall they all seem fairly friendly, but perhaps more talk with them would be nice!

Average score: 7.5/10

Would I go back. Probably. Who says no to fried chicken that doesn’t make you sick?

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Restaurant Review: Green Peppercorn

Green Peppercorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard so many awesome things about Green Peppercorn and I am so happy my bestie took us out to check it out. What better way to celebrate good friendship than with Thai food? I feel like its the perfect cuisine with the balance of the spicy, the creamy, the sweet, and the sour. Some of my favourite restaurants happen to be Thai πŸ˜› I think Green Peppercorn is a new addition to the list πŸ˜›

Tucked away above a bar, we basically completely missed the sign. It’s like those brain teaser tests, where there is a colour spelled out, and it’s written in a different colour. Like GREENΒ or BLUE.Β Furthermore, the sign is right in front of a staircase… so it definitely threw us all off a little. Anyway, up the long and funky staircase we went where on the ground floor there is a wall of mirrors and while climbing I just remember some form of cool painting.Β 

Once you enter the restaurant, it’s a loud and casual set up. On the left was the large and very well equipped bar, while on the right and ahead there are plenty of tables. We went on a Wednesday, so ofc a booking wasn’t really necessary. Now even for a Wednesday, there was a decent crowd… enough for the sounds of laughter and chatter to drift out to the staircase.

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The menu boasted with plenty of items to choose and select from. The drink menu was vast, and the food… blimey there was heaps of it. Green Peppercorn offers all the classics like green and red curry, pad thai and pad kee mao, while serving up plenty of the irregulars. The good thing is that there is a great selection of vegetarian options, and plenty of really exotic and fun flavours. I mean how many times do you see betal leaf and 2 pages of salad options? Not very often.

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We ordered the following:

  1. roast red duck curry
  2. thai papaya salad
  3. lamb massaman curry
  4. chicken pad thai
  5. pandan creme brulee x 3

The food came to us fairly quickly, and was served up with a beautiful steaming pot of jasmine rice. We accompanied our food with the classic coconut water ofc, served up right in a coconut. It really can’t get better than that in my opinion. The first thing i notice about food is the smell and boy did everything smell fabulous. First thing to reach us was the roast red duck curry and it looked and smelt divine.

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The first, and last time before this, that I had eaten duck… I honestly didn’t enjoy it. it was chewy and little odd tasting to me. So obviously I was a bit apprehensive to try this one, but alas… the bestie knows best! Her choice did not dissapoint! Now at first glance the serving size seemed really small… it is comfortably enough for one person. The plate itself was gorgeous, and you can see the beautiful roasted pieces of duck floating in the curry. The duck was cooked perfectly, with a light crispy skin and nutty meat. The curry was fairly mild but the green peppercorn (lol see what they did there?) and chili pieces packed some fire to the bowl. I definitely recommend this dish πŸ™‚

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Oh the papaya salad was stunning. It was light, and spicy, and sour and sweet all at the same time. How does that even happen!? The dressing was truly fabulous. I mean that was the real star of this dish… like good enough to spoon out and drink it alone. I don’t ask condone doing that. The dressing is quite spicy. It will clean out your sinus completely.Β Back on track. The salad. Get it. Because it is scrumptious and is a great way to compliment the creamy curries. My goodness… my mouth just filled up with saliva just thinking about it.

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The lamb massaman curry was another stellar dish. It was just so hearty and wholesome! This curry I thought was on the heavier side, and I definitely couldn’t finish it alone. I’m always a little worried with Lamb because it really does have to be cooked just right. Boy was this was perfect. The meat literally fell off the bone and my friends were left to contemplate whether or not they were going to tackle the marrow too. The meat was flavorsome and succulent, and the curry was lightly spicy but truly delicious. Another one to add to the recommendation list for sure!

As far as pad thai goes… I didn’t think this one really bought anything new to the table. At $12.90 I guess I expected something a litttttle better than the regular take out style ones, but I personally didn’t note much of a difference. On that note, it was still a really good bowl of noodles. Would I have it again there? Probably not… I think you are much better off trying something you wouldn’t find on a regular take out menu there – it will be worth the bucks.

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Now finally to the dessert. Oh blimey this dessert. I had dreams of this dessert. I still have dreams of this pandan, caramelly, coconutty creme brulee. The crack was perfect, the dish was delish, the taste was honestly heavenly. Even if you only go there for dessert… just get this. It is worth it. I want to go back just for this dessert. Back to the serious stuff. Size wise I think it’s a little too big for one person, as the boys realised after it came out, and is a perfect little dish to share between two. Its not too sweet, which is fabulous, and the coconut is not overpowering at all. In fact the coconut tastes real, and not synthetic like a lottt of coconut desserts nowadays.

And ofc… we forgot to take a photo of dessert -_-

I must add a note about the service. I wouldn’t call it fantastic, but it is decent enough for the evening. I felt like they took a little too long to come around to our table to take the order, but were in more of a hurry to clear the table away. Not sure if I liked that… but I thought I may as well mention it. One thing I did LOVE though was the fact that the general manager of the restaurant – the attractive bearded man roaming around the restaurant πŸ˜› – would go around to every single table to hear their thoughts on the food and offer up some light and funny conversation. He came around to us twice with something funny to say which I think was really quite great.

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Now to the ranking:

Food: 9/10

Perhaps even a full score… but I think the Pad Thai let it down.

Service: 7/10

I loved how the general manager came to us, but otherwise the service is really quite average

Ambiance: 10/10Β 

Green Peppercorn has really nailed this. The bar is fantastic and everyone was just so happy and casual which is great to see.

Originality: 9.5/10

The half point is only because of the fact that there was nothing new to the pad thai, but otherwise the expansive menu is truly original and truly wonderful.

Overall: 8.875 (to be exact) Β /10 (haha)Β 

okay 9/10 πŸ˜€

Yay food. Let me know what you think once you’ve visited this place! I would love to see if you thought different πŸ˜€

 

 

 

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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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 Β 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.

Spicy Garlic and Tamarind Fish

With this recipe I think I’ve realised that I cook way too much fish. I need to start cooking or at least sharing some of my chicken and other vegetarian recipes! That just means a little extra effort to come up with new and fun recipes. It’s okay… I am looking forward to it πŸ˜›

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Now a friend actually asked me to make a few more Indian recipes, like I mentioned in my Lahori fish recipe. So here is one of my family’s favourite simple fish curries that just works great with rice and roti. It’s a fairly basic curry, but I add a little twist to it to make it a bit more fun.

I use, like I always do, Basa fillets, which are great because they a cheap and work great in curry, BUT they are very flaky and break apart too easily. When it comes to curry, this makes working with Basa a bit difficult. To overcome this I went ahead and did a gram flour coating to the fish and fried the fillets off before making the entire curry. This process really is optional if you are using a more robust fish such as cod or haddock, but works fine either way!

Tamarind fish is one of my favourite dishes to make, and it works so oddly well with garlic! The sweet and sour flavour is complimented so well with the pungent and strong flavour of the garlic. This with the flavours of dried mango, cumin and coriander… you end up with this magnificent beast.

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Here is the recipe!

 

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It’s a bit long isn’t it :/ It’s okay… it really is fairly straightforward!!

Let me know what you think about this recipe! I don’t really know what else to write today haha. Just make it and eat it. Okay?

 

❀

 

Lime and Coconut and Pancakes

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the end result!

Pancakes are just the best thing in the world, and they are truly the best pick me up after a really long or hard day. I tend to save these for the congratulations-on-finishing-exams or time-to-cheer-up kind of days.

This is one of my absolute favourite pancake recipes to make. For those that know anything about me know just how much I truly love coconut. The recipe is 10000% more appealing because it is totally eggless and can very easily be made into a vegan variation for which I will give details below!

What you need?

  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/4 of self raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar (this is the flufffffing agent πŸ˜› )
  • 1 lime (we are going to use the rind and juice)
  • some milk (I used full cream, but you can use almond, coconut, rice or soy)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of yogurt (I used a naturally sweetened variety. If you are vegan you can use some coconut whip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or essence
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coconut essence (this stuff is super strong!)
  • less than 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
  • some butter for frying
  • toasted coconut shavings **optional** (for garnishing)
  • whipped cream (or thickened cream like I used)
  • powdered sugar and maple syrup (of course)

What to do?

  1. Mix the milk and yogurt in a cup and set aside
  2. Sift the flours and add them to a bowl
  3. Add the baking powder and soda to the flours
  4. Add the vinegar straight over the baking powder and soda and watch them fizz up
  5. Add the vanilla and coconut essence to the flours
  6. Add the rind of half the lime.
  7. Grab a whisk and break up the flours before adding the juice of a bit over half a lime. If you like a really tangy flavour, add more lime juice.
  8. Add the desiccated coconut and whisk through well
  9. Now whisk through the milk and yogurt mixture, little by little, until you achieve a thick pancake batter. It should be thick enough to hold a trail when spooning it out.
  10. Heat some butter in a fry pan and spread it around everywhere, on a low flame. I think its best to start on a low heat.
  11. Using a ladle, spoon out one ladle full of the batter and pour it straight into the center of the fry pan and watch the batter spread out.
  12. Allow the pancake to fry until you see bubbles form around the sides of the pancake. This may take a few minutes
  13. Flip the pancake, and allow the pancake to cook for a few minutes
  14. Remove the pancake and then repeat steps 10 to 13. Generate a stack of pancakes for serving.
  15. To serve, top the stack with the toasted coconut flakes, maybe some pecans, maybe some more lime rind… I went with some coconut infused whipped cream. To do this pour some thickened cream into a bowl and add a few drops of coconut essence. Grab your whisk and whip away!

These pancakes are super tangy and coconutty and I truly love them. They are a really wonderful summer breakfast treat and great cheat to your healthy week. Better yet, the pancakes are eggless which will prevent you feeling bloated in the mornings. And, the pancakes themselves are sugarfree. I choose to allow the vanilla and the maple syrup topping to do all the sweetening. Thus, the pancake itself can be eaten by diabetics, like my dad, absolutely guilt free. Just add some sugarfree whipped cream and you are good to go.

Let me know what you think of this recipe! I really would love to hear feedback! I apologise in advance for not having photos of all the steps. I am a truly terrible photographer and well.. they all look a little funny πŸ˜›