Monday, 6 July 2015

Yebisu Izakaya, Regent Place.

I love a lively atmosphere, the buzz and bright neon signs, the bustling crowds, you name it. My favourite place to find that would definitely be the lively street markets of Taipei, Hong Kong and Japan. Alas, I can't afford to travel often, so a local joint to satisfy my cravings is needed.

Yebisu Izakaya has been on my list for far too long, I have tried out their neighbours Chanoma and Tenkomori a fair few times for a quick meal but had never had the chance till now to have a proper sit down meal.

I love the way Yebisu is decked out, the abundance of neon signage and the exposed brick walls give it the much street food vibe. Lucky for us, we scored a bar seating that evening (the best seats in the house IMO) so we got to watch the chefs doing their thing. (bust out them dance moves!) 


Angus beef tataki

We started our evening with the beef tataki, the beef was fresh but a tad sinewy side, nothing like a small jaw workout to prepare us for the food to come ;)



Salmon chazuke

I am always up for something off the beaten track, in this case, it is the chasuke. What is chasuke you ask? chasuke translates to tea over rice, a slight savoury tone with a light tea aftertaste, it was a really refreshing dish to start the evening. The salmon cheek was a neat little addition to this dish but definitely made this a more hands on dish!


Skewers: pork belly, salmon belly, wagyu beef and tsukune (chicken meatballs) w/ 63 degree egg (below) 

A selections of skewers were also ordered, my picks of the evening would definitely be the salmon belly and the tsukune. The tsukune had a nice bite to it whilst the salmon belly was juicy, fatty and oh so good! I would happily polish off 10 or so of them before rolling myself out of the restaurant.


63 degree egg porn.

Oh yes! bring on that egg porn!


Skewers:  Teriyaki eel

After much deliberation, we couldn't pass up their daily special of grilled eel.

Can I please take a moment to recover from my swooning?
This piece of eel was out of the world delicious, sweet, sticky and smokey. So good!


Eel omelette

After some amazing grilled eel, we decided to try out their other daily special, the eel omelette.
The flavours of this was okay but I didn't quite like the texture of the omelette against the eel.


Deep fried rice cake with pork, black sesame sauce

We also tried the deep fried mochi with pork and black sesame sauce. This dish was quite moreish but a bit difficult to unlodge from the roof of your mouth after each bite! I thought the black sesame sauce didn't quite go with the dish but was actually quite nice in flavour on its own.


Negi shio rice bowl

My favourite dish of the night was definitely this negi shio rice bowl, the pork belly was satisfyingly creamy and had a nice char from the grilling. This would definitely make it onto my death row meal list!


Mochi w/ red bean and syrup

For dessert we opted to try their new item, mochi with red bean and syrup. The texture of the mochi was quite interesting, quite firm on the exterior but sticky and chewy on the inside, we had heaps of fun trying to eat this in a civilised manner!

So tell me, what is your favourite dish at an Izakaya? Let me know in the comments below! 


Stay warm and till next time, 

Milkteaxx


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Milkteaxx dined at Yebisu Izakaya courtesy of SD Marketing, opinions however remain her own.
Photos by Maikeru Nirvana unless otherwise stated. 

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Illi Hill, Marrickville.

The inner west that was mostly industrial was now had quite a facelift and is inundated with more cafes than ever.  A few of my favourites are located quite close to me, but I love branching out and finding other good eats in the area too. This is how I found Illi Hill. Previously a corner shop and butcher, this café promises plenty of choices for everyone, vegans and gluten free too. The menu changes seasonally and in divided into breakfast and lunch, although you are free to order from whichever tickles your fancy.

Breakfast salad anyone?

As per usual, a café visit starts with a round of drinks, as much as I’d like a coffee, having a 3rd cup that day would have tipped me over. So better steer clear and opt for a milder option. (Trust me, a caffeinated up me isn’t pretty.)


                                                             Non-dairy Green smoothie


We were so glad when we saw the non-dairy smoothie on the menu as the dining buddy is lactose intolerant. The green smoothie tasted anything but green and earthy, it was slightly sweet with a nice tang to it. I would definitely order it again!



Soy chai

The weather was getting cold when we visited, so a hot drink was needed to warm up our souls. Soy chai is our go-to whenever we café hop, The version at Illi Hill is on the weak side but we have both yet to find a chai that is both strong enough for both of us, with exception to the sticky chai from Circa. Let us know if you know of a good strong chai! 


Mushrooms on toast


Don’t be fooled by the simple description, this dish was my pick of the day. Juicy field mushrooms were paired with tangy tomatoes and a house made pepita dukkah, complementing the saltiness of the feta perfectly. The sourdough was a bit on the tough side, so we ended up going hands-on. What etiquette?!?


Salad of 6 hour roasted lamb shoulder


I only ever order a salad if there is a substantial amount of protein attached to it, because truthfully speaking, I’m not a cow grazing the fields, so bring on the meat! This 6 hour roasted lamb did not disappoint flavour-wise. Tender and flavoursome, it was however a bit on the dry side. The serving size of this salad is massive though, I’m known to demolish food but even I struggled to finish it! Must be the hefty amount of grains and greens!


Gluten free lychee rose and coconut cake

We were about to grab the bill when I spotted some sweet delicacies on the front counter. They looked too pretty to pass up so I talked my dining buddy into sharing one with me. After much decision-phobia, we opted for the mini gluten free lychee rose and coconut cake. The cake was lightly scented but strong in flavour, crumbly, buttery and moist, albeit a tad on the sweet side. I would definitely come back for the other versions!

So what do you look for in a cafe? I love a cafe with a cosy homely feel. Let me know yours in the comments below! 


Till next time, 
Milkteaxx



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Monday, 22 June 2015

Tabaq, Newtown. Indian and Pakistani cuisine.


My experience with Indian and Pakistani cuisine has been somewhat limited, ok, very limited, does university days food court butter chicken count? 

yeah, probably not. 


pappadums and mint raita

the pappadums were thin and crispy, and when paired with mint raita? Godsend indeed.
I love the addition of mint to the raita, the only thing I could fault was how thin the raita was.


tandoori chicken

Next up was the tandoori chicken. We could smell this a mile away, so fragrant and nostril tickling.
The chicken was so juicy and tender, I could easily polish a whole chicken myself!


pakora

I had never had pakora before, but the name sure sounds like a dance move!
Instead, pakora is a deep fried vegetable fritter, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, quite tasty for a vegetable fritter!


karachi machli

I grew up eating fish on a daily basis, you know the asian way with soy sauce, ginger and scallions? One does get bored of eating the same thing so often, so steamed fish hasn't made much of an appearance since the beginning of my kitchen experimentation days.

The karachi machli is an interesting way of cooking fish, the whole fish is marinated and grilled till smokey and slightly charred. however, if you aren't use to eating fish with bones, this is not the dish for you as I found many smaller bones embedding within the flesh.


palak paneer

The first of the curries to hit our table was the spinach and cheese. This one failed to wow us as the texture was quite odd, sloppy from the spinach paired with rather firm cubes of cheese.
Unfortunately we left most of this behind.


deer karahi

The deer curry on the other hand was quite good, the deer meat was stewed till it fell apart with a prod of the fork. Amazinggggg!


basmati rice

You either love or hate basmati rice, I remember a couple years back, basmati was being touted as the diabetic rice as it was higher in G.I. I personally prefer this less glutinous rice to the usual jasmine, but sushi rice still trumps over this by a long shot.


peshawari naan and garlic naan (pictured)

Carbs carbs carbs! I love my bread, especially in the form of fluffy warm naan bread. I have tried making these babies at home, but nothing beats the comfort that garlic naan gives. The peshawari naan is also a winner, it is sweet and coconutty, delicious!


chicken briyani

I may have unbuttoned my pants by this point, but who am I to refuse chicken briyani? flavoursome and spice heavenly, big thumbs up from me!

pistachio and mango kulfi

Dessert arrives in the form of pistachio and mango kulfi. The mango one is spot on and delicious abeit giving us a brain freeze, the pistachio however had a slight burnt plastic aftertaste, not so pleasant.

Overall, a fantastic experience, I would definitely be back for the peshawari naan and chicken briyani! 


Stay warm and till next time,

Milkteaxx


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Milkteaxx dined as guests of Tabaq Restaurant, opinions however remain her own.
Photos by Maikeru Nirvana unless otherwise stated. 

Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sokyo- The Star

Japanese is probably one of the most loved cuisines in our household, not only is it an emphasis on fresh produces, delicate flavours and presentation, the fusion of Japanese with out flavours is endless. 


Speaking of Japanese cuisine, let me share with you my (not so hidden gem) favourite, Sokyo at The Star. 
Headed by the talented Chase kojima, the menu has never failed to impress. 


Interiors

I love the ambience of Sokyo, it is the perfect place to wind down and catch up over good food. This time round, it was a mother and daughter bonding session pre-theatre. 


Maguro Tataki- Seared tuna, carbonized leek aioli, pickled mushrooms, asparagus, smoked ponzu

Sokyo has a lovely pre-theatre menu available, but I always like to go back for the full menu so I can activate my decision-phobia with all the choices.

Salmon is probably the most well known sashimi out there, but for me, tuna and kingfish have always had my heart. This dish was simply amazing, with lovely contrasting flavours, smokey from the light sear and tangy from the pickled mushrooms. I could easily polish off 3 servings of this myself. 


Moreton Bay Bug- Green papaya pomelo salad, sambal mayo, black pepper amazu

What I also love about Sokyo's menu is their tempura offerings, not only are they items you won't find in other Japanese restaurants, the flavour combinations are also unique and a fusion of other flavours. 

After sampling a fair few last time, this time round I opt for the moreton bay bug tempura, the texture is similar to lobster but less firm, the flesh however is sweeter and softer. The only thing I could fault about this dish was how little of it there was!


The talented Chase Kojima at work 

Check out that concentration level. 


Jurassic Quail- Sweet potato, pickled cabbage, wasabi dressing

Moving on to the protein! Quail is delicious when done properly, but I have had my fair share of burnt to crisps quail from the local Chinese BBQ place but fear not as my faith has been restored by this dish. The quail is cooked to perfectly, still slightly pink and juicy. The sweet potato mash was also unbelievably delicious and added a nice sweetness to the quail. My mother, who normally doesn't like anything gamey gave this dish a big thumbs up!


Lamb Chops- Burnt eggplant purée, Aka miso, Basil

For the more substantial dishes, we opted for the lamb chops with the promise of some delicious sounding eggplant puree. The lamb chops were flavoursome but a tad too fatty for our liking, the eggplant puree however had us scraping the plate clean, do you think I can order a bucket of that puree as a dish? 


Tai Ceviche- Crispy nori, shio konbu, lime salsa

You cannot visit Sokyo and not sample some sushi, my long time favourite is the tuna crispy rice, but I think i have just found a new favourite. The tai ceviche is all things delicious and textural. The tai itself is mildly creamy and reminiscent of tuna, the crispy nori pushed it to the next level of awesome. This was definitely my pick of the night!


Goma street- Caramelised white chocolate, black sesame ice cream

One always has a spare stomach for dessert, well at least I do. I insisted that we do dessert here because it has never failed me. Goma street is like a dream come true, thin discs of chocolate sandwiching caramelised white chocolate, it pairs perfectly with the smooth and robust black sesame ice cream. I can never turn down this dessert. ever. 

So tell me, what is your favourite cuisine and why? let me know in the comments below. 



Stay warm and till next time,

Milkteaxx.


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                                       Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Buttermelt Cafe, Strathfield.

"You melt my heart babe" 

Yes, I was eavesdropping what the couple on the adjacent table to me was saying while waiting for food at what used to be Moochi in Strathfield. 

I really should probably keep my stalker tendencies to a minimum.... or is that called people watching (listening)...? 

Anyways, let's move on from my stalker behaviour. 
Let me tell you about some good food instead. 

Yes, Strathfield finally has a cosy cafe that serves more than your usual waffles and matcha lattes, Buttermelt has definitely upped the game for cafes in Strathfield IMO. 


Wild mushroom bruschetta 

I like to start my day with something savoury, and if it features mushrooms then I can guarantee that there will be no hangry meltdowns for the next 4 hours. 

This wild mushroom bruschetta has all my favourite things, a medley of juicy mushrooms, baby spinach and that oozy egg. Oh and a good grating of parmesan too! 
Almost food coma inducing, just almost. 


 Brioche French Toast 

One does not merely say no to french toast, scratch that, no one ever says no to french toast! (immediately unfriended if you do) 

I had had my fair share in Hong Kong, eating eggy french toast drenched in syrup and butter, as amazing as that sounds, there is something about the addition of berries to french toast that makes it that little bit better. 

The brioche french toast was crispy and soft, perfectly complimenting the mascarpone cream, pistachios and luscious mixed berries. I was so close to face planting myself into this. Thank god the plate was snatched away from me. (I kid you not!) 
I highly recommend this french toast, it is almost as my favourite from Three Williams


Taro Latte 

The purple hue of taro is so captivating and gorgeous, we could smell the taro from this drink a mile away but unfortunately the flavour didn't carry through. In fact, it had a rather unappetising soapy aftertaste. This was pretty much left untouched besides the first sips we took. 


Green Tea Smash 

Matcha. Put it in cake, in tea, you name it, I love that stuff!
The green tea smash here however didn't quite float my boat. I could barely taste any matcha flavour and was rather icy and bland.  the foodie in tow agreed with me, and I quote her, "taste like watered-down milk". 

Reviews of this place is rather mixed, but I can see why though, it could be still them ironing out some issues with consistency. 

In a nutshell, the food is brilliant, but the drinks could do with a bit more work. 

So tell me guys, what do you look for in a cafe? ambience? good food? wifi? Let me know in the comments below!


Till next time, 

Milkteaxx 

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                                                        Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Sefa Kitchen, Bondi.

When I hear Bondi, I think beach, sunshine and hipstery of all sorts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all things hipster and trendy, it must be my lack of it!
But what had me in Bondi on a fine Saturday afternoon was the Middle Eastern culinary delight, Sefa Kitchen.



Juice of the day- watermelon

We start our relaxing afternoon with a few drinks while basking in the natural light filled tables. I choose the fresh juice of the day, which is the watermelon juice, it is refreshing and all things delicious, perfect for whetting the appetite for the feast ahead.



Watermelon and elderflower Spritzer- Sparkling wine, aperol, watermelon liquor, elderflower & san Pellegrino.

The foodie partner in crime opts for something more exotic, a watermelon and elderflower spritzer. It is sweet, refreshing, slightly tangy and just a tad fizzy from allthe sparkly components.




interiors

Upon entering, your nostrils are tickled with the aroma of many amazing spices and herbs. But this eatery isn’t Bondi hipstery at all, it is intimate and cosy while still maintaining the homely vibe, oozing with comfort, perfect for a wind down Saturday.


food flat lay anyone?

Hungry? 

On to the food!

  
pumpkin fatteh w chickpeas & sour yoghurt

I love pumpkin, be it in soups, salads or in this case, pumpkin fatteh. This vibrantly coloured dish did not disappoint in flavour and texture either, crunchy bits of flatbread scattered through a delicious mix of chickpeas and creamy and sweet pumpkin. This dish was a strong contender for our favourite dish of the meal!


lamb kafta w yoghurt & pickles

Next up was the lamb kafta, these delicious morsels of seasoned lamb mince were made even better with their house made yoghurt and pickles, I found myself picking at this even though my stomach was screaming at me to stop eating.


fried lamb mince, hommus & pomegranate molasses

Of course we save the best for last. My pick of the day would definitely be the fried lamb mince, asides the obvious of this dish containing hommus (gosh, that stuff is amazing!),
this dish was so full of other aromatics, not only could we not taste any gamy taste.  I have recently found a liking for lamb. I used to avoid anything lamb because it was too gamey for my liking, but

We were so stuffed by this point that we wanted to refuse dessert, but seeing that it is a food blogging sin to do so, we took a couple of deep breaths and forged on. 


almond cake, sahleb & sumac watermelon

After some intense deep breath exercises we tackled the dessert menu. After much consideration, we opted for the almond cake w/ sahleb and sumac watermelon.

The best way to describe their almond cake? A deconstructed version of Black Star Pastry’s famed watermelon cake! The sahleb component was a winner, it gave the dessert a creamy and nutty aftertaste. So good I tell you!

How good you ask?
So good I continued to stuff myself silly despite being at bursting point. (Like that doesn’t happen all the time!)

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Sefa, I would definitely go back for the extended dinner menu, with a couple of dishes that sounds mouth wateringly good! You now where to go if you get sick of the cliché fish and chips!

Till next time,



Milkteaxx

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Milkteaxx dined as guests of Sefa Kitchen, opinions however remain her own.
*drinks were paid for independently.


Say hi on social media, I only bite food! I can be found on Instagramfacebook, twitter and Google+