Archive | Restaurant RSS feed for this section

Birthday Adventures to Berry NSW

14 Oct

So Miss Wallflower turned 30 a little while ago. How does a Legal Tart celebrate the birthday of a friend. By taking a road trip to Berry and seeing a palm reader.

A friend of mine had raved about the uncanny insights of Ric, a palm reader who operated on weekends out of a shop in Berry. I have to admit that I tend to regard such things as hocus pocus. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to claim no belief in the psychic world, I have no doubt that some people do possess a gift, but I am really hard to convince.

I had come home and retold the story about Ric to Miss Wallflower and she decided we should definitely go, so I said I would take her for her birthday. A road trip was born to one of my favourite places with a progressive dining plan to be followed by a palm reading for Miss Wallflower and I.

We started off nice and early and made our first stop after arrival at the Berry Sourdough Cafe. I have to confess that I have no photos here as the service was a bit slow, so by the time my macadamia tart arrived I was salivating and simply inhaled it. It was good…very good. I hadn’t realised before arriving that the café now did lunch which looked lovely and involved a wine list…very important 🙂 After we finally got our coffee and tea we departed buying a lovely sourdough loaf on our way out.

Next stop after a brief walk about was the Savannah Cafe and Bar. The café is licensed and serves South African inspired food. I had booked a table fearing that I would be unable to get a table during the busy lunch period, but we were the only diner besides one other couple. The restaurant is located down one of the arcades and I can only guess that this is the reason the restaurant is not very busy, because the food was certainly good and the service friendly.

P1020087

I had the bobotie with rice and a salad. The bobotie was arranged nicely with the sides on a plate and came out with a bubbling top just calling for a spoon to break through to the curried meat beneath. The sauce as well seasoned with a perfect mix of sweet and spice. The salad was lightly dressed and a nice fresh accompaniment. Wine was served by way of a piccolo bottle.

SAMSUNG

Miss Wallflower had the gnocchi with boar sausage. This was generously proportioned and the gnocchi was clearly hand made and was light as a feather. It was topped with a persian style fetta.

SAMSUNG

Before our palm reading we had some time to walk around and see the sights. First stop was Miss Pompadours. A fabulous little chocolate shop, where I bought some dark chocolate bark and a dried raspberry and milk chocolate bark. I have been very good with it and there is still some left…not much though 😦

P1020088

Then a little visit to the Berry Tea shop. A lovely little place with great gift ideas and quirky teapots.

Our final visit for the day was to Ric who was doing readings at Global Contact.

Ric is a lovely man in his seventies, who learnt the art of palm reading as a child from his grandmother who also had the gift. I don’t want to give all of my future away, because lets be honest I am not sure I can live up to the promise of my palms, but I will say this..boys… only those with potential waterfront property in their future need apply. Ric tells me my lunar crescent means I simply have to live near water 😉

P1020090

Have you ever seen a psychic

Peppers Craigieburn Bowral and Monfort’s Dining Room

23 Jul

I have discovered as I have got older, that I am not very good at doing nothing. Well I am great at doing nothing  as long as I am at work, but if I am at home I can’t just do nothing for extended periods of time and because work and uni can suck up a lot of my time I have a tendency to utilise every bit of free time to do things like housework, run errands and have the occassional drinkies, just the one of course! For this reason when a small window between trials finishing and uni starting again presented itself, I decided to pursue a little mini break. I settled on two days off work to go somewhere where I could not succumb to obligatory cleaning or ironing. So I picked my destination, Bowral and packed my bags.

Entry to the main house

I checked into Peppers Craigieburn and got my keys excited to see my room. I was a little disappointed because in my fantasy night away I was going to spend a good long time soaking in a bath with a glass of wine and a magazine, this room had no bath. So I returned to reception explained my dilemma to the lovely Nicole and she found me another room at a small additional cost. The new room was larger with a queen sized bed and a balcony.

Beautiful Sunset

The bed linen was thick and there was plenty of extra bedding if you happen to be someone who feels the cold like I do.

The bathroom boasted a bath and shower. The bath was neither long nor deep but it served the purpose I needed it for and I appreciated the roomy shower which is a change from some of the showers I have had at hotels in the past. There were Peppers branded toiletries and vanity kits and plenty of towels.

After a visit to the endota day spa on site, which left me feeling all floppy and relaxed and a long soak in my tub, I got ready for dinner at Monfort’s Dining Room which is located in the guesthouse through the lounge. The lounge deserves a special mention with its open fireplaces and big comfy sofas, but I didn’t have time to sit and enjoy as I had a much needed meal coming.

Monfort’s did have a Christmas in July special which involved 3 courses and a glass of house wine for $75.00 but I chose items on their standard menu.

Salty and Buttery

I had the dukkah crusted poached eggs with brioche fingers to start. The yolks were perfectly soft and runny and the dukkah added a lovely saltiness and contrast in texture. The brioche fingers were small but exactly the right amount for the eggs, given they were rich and buttery.

I followed my entrée with the slow roasted pork cheek in an apple cider reduction accompanied by pickled vegetables. The pork was divine, it simply melted in the mouth and was luscious and full of flavour. If you are not a pork lover you may find the taste of this pork cheek is too strong and while I can not claim that pork is my favourite meat, this was so unctuous and tender that I was in heaven. I was advised the pork is cooked for 12 hours. 6 hours at an extremely low heat and a further 6 hours at a higher heat. The reduction coated the pork and added a lovely sharpness and stickiness.

Slow cooked Pork Cheek

The vegetables were apparently pickled but I could not detect a strong pickled flavour. They were a good crunchy accompaniment to the pork. The only complaint I would have is that they were so firm that cutting them with a normal knife was difficult and I was concerned that another diner would end up with one in their lap due to it flying of the plate as I tried to saw through it.

While I don’t always go for dessert I thought in the name of a complete review I would on this occasion. I am so self sacrificing 😉

Gourmet Doughnuts!

I had the apple and ricotta fritters. They arrived hot and aromatic with cinnamon and sugar. They were accompanied by a raspberry coulis and a cider jelly. I have to say the dipping sauce and jelly left me perplexed as I didn’t think that the three textures and flavours integrated that well. The fritters however were light, crispy on the outside and with a distinctive apple flavour that combined with the cinnamon reminded me of strudel.

I would definitely go again but in the interim must heed the sirens call of ironing…..

Being led up the garden path

Peppers Craigieburn

Centennial Road, Bowral

Endota Day Spa

Monforts Dining Room

White Rabbit Gallery Chippendale and dumplings

3 Jul

I caught up with a friend of mine and her son on Sunday. After a trip to see the Colosseum built out of Lego at Sydney University we took a trip to White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale for some tea and dumplings. White Rabbit is actually and art gallery showcasing contemporary art by Asian artists. It has some interesting installations and free admission. But primarily I went because someone mentioned the word dumplings and that is enough to seduce me in to going anywhere.

The eating space is to the left as you enter and is nice and open with birdcages hanging from the ceiling and plenty of light. I doubt that the White Rabbit would claim to be a dumpling powerhouse but they have managed to provide a range of teas and 2 choices of dumplings as well as savoury and sweet tasting plates.

Tea $4.50 a pot

We ordered 2 pots of tea. I had a Rose Oolong which had a prominent rose aroma but a slightly spicy taste and was very drinkable, plus extremely pretty with its small rosebuds floating in the teapot. Miss Fine Arts had a Chrysanthemum tea. We also ordered some chive and egg dumplings as well as a sweet tasting plate for the little man. There are 8 dumplings a serve. They are handmade, steamed and served with both a soy sauce and a chilli dipping sauce. The dumplings were tasty and the skin was a nice consistency with the right amount of filling.

Egg and Chive Dumplings $9.50

The tasting plate consisted of mainly dried fruits and 2 small shortbread style biscuits. It would have been nicer to have maybe a little less dried fruit as maybe some alternative biscuits or slice as a sweet finish to the lunch, but despite this criticism it didn’t stop me picking at the craisins.

A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Sydney

Are you easily seduced by the offer of a dumpling?

 

Picasso and Lunch: Chophouse

5 Jan

A trip out of the house over the Christmas period was required to ensure that I didn’t turn into a book reading, champagne sipping hermit. Not that there is anything wrong with that. An outing to see the Picasso exhibition currently showing at the Art Gallery of NSW, followed by lunch seemed like an enjoyable way to spend a day and a change from my slothful pace.

After an hour of looking at Picasso paintings with my head on tilted angles while squinting hoping that like a magic eye, the picture would jump out at me, I was starving and ready for lunch.

We had picked Chophouse and although I was feeling really over meat (way too much turkey and ham over the Christmas period) I needn’t have been concerned about the menu choices.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a waiter dashing outside with some lovely looking meals. Shortly after we were approached and told that the table outside we had requested would be available in a few minutes and so we ordered a drink and sat at the bar. The inside of the restaurant is rather cavernous with moody lighting and high ceilings. I noticed that most of the seating inside tended to be booths. I don’t know why but I love booths at a restaurant, I don’t know if it is because it reminds me of childhood dinners at pizzerias or because it seems like clandestine meetings could be going on and I am intrinsically nosy.

The wait staff were very friendly and explained the specials and answered all our questions, they seemed very well informed and happy to help. I ordered the octopus salad with a pomegranate dressing and a side of shoe string fries. You didn’t honestly think I would just eat a salad! 🙂

Salad $19.50

The octopus was tender and perfectly paired with the haloumi,watercress and smoky eggplant. The haloumi added just the right amount of saltiness without be overpowering. The pomegranate dressing was light and tart and I made sure I located all the seeds because I love that little juicy pop when you bite in to them.

Dad had the kangaroo burger with chunky chips. The burger wasn’t overly large which was good, if you are looking for a filling but not overwhelming lunch. I got to try some of the burger and the kangaroo pattie was juicy with a tangy aioli and a soft bread roll.

Kangaroo Burger $18.90

The shoe string fries I had as a side were crispy, with just the right amount of salt. They were not oily and I found myself picking at them long after I was full.

The chunky chips served with the burger needed a bit more salt, but were light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside just the way they should be.

I did eye off a gruyere cauliflower gratin and some risotto balls that I would have loved to try, but given that I was trying to reign in the excesses of Christmas over consumption, the less is more philosophy of ordering food was imposed.

Are you a shoestring fry fan or a chunky chip fan?

Chophouse

25 Bligh St, Sydney 2000

Ph: 1300 246 748

%d bloggers like this: