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Restaurants | Posse

Devout dining in Sydney’s Thai scene

January 21, 2015 at 5:22 pm

 

Image by Ramen Raff

Image by Ramen Raff

Known for being one of the best in the west, Holy Basil has branched out from the central Asian restaurant hub in Canley Vale and scattered its blessings upon Sydney’s CBD.

Best described as a divine eating experience, you’re immediately immersed into the exoticism of Thai and Laotian culture through the cacophony of intense smells, sights and vivid colours scattered across every table.

The story of the restaurant’s unique food heralding from deep in the southwest is not unknown – local cuisine hitting a high note and making it big in the city. But this fresh new location offers something a little more posh. Mashing together a perfect balance between sophisticated and casual dining are long wooden communal tables, dazzling red ceiling lanterns, and extravagant golden statues.

A mellow aroma of herbs and spices escapes the open kitchen and ties in with the décor, capturing the essence of Asian culture, Buddhist tradition and Thai delicacies. Come opening time at midday, the Liverpool St restaurant is thriving with hungry eaters scouting a convenient location for both sociable catch ups and business lunch meetings.

The menu offers a modern twist on traditional Thai and Laotian dishes ranging from rich creamy curries, to exotic salads. Then there’s the not to be missed marinated seafood and red meats, roasted or fried to perfection. Every dish is bursting with flavour combinations that are sure to not only satisfy but also excite.

Oodles of noodles with this winner - Pad See Ew. Image by Jina Hong

Oodles of noodles with this winner – Pad See Ew. Image by Jina Hong

In true essence of Asian cultures far and wide, sharing dishes with fellow dining companions is the way to go, and is definitely the best way to explore the menu – it’s also an easy way to save yourself from forking out big bucks and purchasing several dishes for your lonesome.

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the savoury dishes on offer, it is impossible to over look the intriguing desserts, especially the likes of the outstandingly popular fried vanilla ice cream, encased in a warm and crispy fried pastry sheet, served with coconut muesli, caramel drizzle and topped off with a light dusting of icing sugar. The whole arrangement is a serious killer in taste, texture, and presentation. With those 3 boxes checked, it’s no wonder this mouthful is a foodie fave.

From start to finish, your tastebuds will be on a ride through sugar, spice, and everything nice, so expect nothing short of a glorious stomach-filling meal and a sanctified soul after an experience at this heavenly destination.

Something special in Canley Vale

January 12, 2015 at 12:27 pm
TK Something Octopus

They may have eight legs, but you’ll need eight stomachs to get through every dish. Source

Canley Vale is essentially the lesser-known, quiet underachieving brother of Asian cuisine behemoth Cabramatta. And he’s currently going through puberty, becoming more and more well rounded as the months go by.

About 1500 metres from the most popular eateries in Canley Heights, another hotspot for Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes, TK Something claims an all-you-can-eat throne. It’s here, for around $30 per person that the best of south-western Sydney is in the spotlight, the restaurant basking in a glow that lasts well past sunset and into the late evening before closing time.

Roaring crowds of local families from backgrounds that encompass much of South East Asia flood the restaurant on the daily. They come for the simplicity offered in a self-serve, buffet-style Korean BBQ restaurant.

Sweet or spicy - you're spoilt for choice with the sauce selection. Source

Sweet or spicy – you’re spoilt for choice with the sauce selection. Source

As an accompaniment to the classic sweet chilli, soy and sriracha, a range of Korean sauces are also perched on the large wooden table tops for those more traditionally inclined. But breaking traditions and blending cultures is what contemporary dining is all about.

Rather than being limited to a few choices of poultry or red meat, TK Something goes all out and offers a wider variety of meats than found on Old MacDonald’s farm. Ranging from pork belly and chicken breast to kangaroo and octopus, they’ve scoured their local supplier for the best picks for us to chow down.

Got s Source

Got beef? Or are you more of a chicken? Source

With the option of choosing as many plates as you want, the only ‘difficulty’ is that TK, like a number of barbeque restaurants, is not pre-cooked. You need to pick up a pair of tongs and rotate your own beef strips or calamari, grilling it to your own preferred standards.

But relax – you won’t go entirely hungry as your meat sears in front of you. Scattered between you and your dining companions are several side dishes to peck at – there’s boiled white rice, iceberg lettuce, cucumber strips and of course, kimchi.

Kimchi or Cucumber? It isn't all about the spice and rice.

Kimchi or Cucumber? It isn’t all about the spice and rice. Source

Once you’ve dunked your dishes in sauces and cleared your plates, make sure there’s room for dessert – it’s the first time the word buffet makes total sense – as you wander towards the small fridge in the centre of the restaurant and make your choice from numerous rotating desserts. Pana cotta, crème brûlée, fresh watermelon and sliced oranges feature upon last visit, each worth trying if you’ve saved enough space.

Ready to take on the blossoming teen of South-West Sydney? We hope so – Canley Vale’s sure to be a stud in the future with joints like TK Something dotted along their main street.

The Li’l Darlin of Darlinghurst

December 12, 2014 at 10:37 am
Prosciutto that literally makes the mouth water... Source: Li'l Darlin

Prosciutto that literally makes the mouth water… Source: Li’l Darlin

Located in the heart of Darlinghurst, and just a five minute walk from Kings Cross station, Kieran McKinn found Li’l  Darlin to be a welcome change, breaking the monotonous trend of usual joints that he and his mates usually end up in.

After jogging through the rain, I would be forgiven for having to do a double take to find this inconspicuous bar. Shaking my rain sodden hair, I was welcomed with a chorus of chatter as vintage lamps and lanterns bathed a series of stone tables in a golden glow. To my surprise, half of Sydney had braved the weather and the venue was bursting at the seams.

My visit to the cocktail bar was for a friend’s 21st and without wanting to waste the bar tab (as good friends do) we sampled some of the finest cocktails Sydney has to offer. Not only did they taste exceptional, but they were presented in a pleasantly unique manner. Step back into your childhood with the hundreds and thousands cocktail, a refreshing mix of homemade apple and strawberry juice, infused with lemon and vodka (and of course the topping that turns any slice of buttered bread into fairy goodness).

If you’re not too worried about your waistline, my drink of choice for the night was the pomegranate sour, a combination of white rum, apple juice, lemon and lime, with a crusty exterior coated in vanilla sugar.  After walking into Li’l Darlin, positively anti-rum, my taste buds were easily overwhelmed and were constantly thirsty for a follow-up jar.

Little Darlin_002

Pamper yourself with the fairy floss cocktail. Source: Li’l Darlin

The variety of food at Li’l Darlin compliments the extensive range of cocktails on offer. Whilst the kitchen provides pastries, pizzas, salads and sides, the tapas made for the perfect snack. The Bocconcini cheese platter filled with chargrilled vegetables and an assortment of dips were a huge hit and didn’t last long at our table. Whilst I didn’t get a chance to give the pizzas a crack, it appears the chefs really know their stuff.

For those with a sweeter tooth, give the desserts a shot, especially the vanilla & orange panna cotta with berries & mint compote. If you don’t want anything too heavy, then nibble on a li’l dried fruit, nuts, water biscuits and a selection of imported cheese (a perfect light meal for two).

How's the serenity - there's plenty of room to move around at Li'l Darlin

The open space bar facilitates for both food enthusiasts and those looking to sample a range of cocktails. Source Lil’ Darlin

The best part is that a night out at Li’l  Darlin isn’t going to hit your back pocket too hard. Offering all the luxuries of a quintessential bar, the cocktails are reasonably priced at around $17 each. The smaller sides and tapas are the best option and you can get away with bread, olive oil and balsamic for $5 or share a platter with friends for a bargain $28.

Li’l Darlin is ideal for those wanting to head out for a few quiet drinks with friends, date night or as I found out, a great opener for a hen’s or buck’s party. Open from 4pm till late, make sure you pencil it in for your next post-work drinks. I’ll see you there with a pomegranate rum in hand!

Wine and dine at Wynyard’s Panzerotti

December 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm
Panzerotti-Bar-96

Poached eggs for brekkie anyone? Source

The freshly relocated Panzerotti is back with a bang. And Ryan Auberson-Walsh is pretty happy with the new offerings.

A favourite restaurant contender for the busy CBD crowds, Panzerotti is generally open for breakfast through to late lunch weekdays, whipping up some of the most filling Italian-style dishes in Sydney.

Having recently moved to a new location with more room for the lunchtime rush, they’re now wedged underneath a heritage sandstone church with views opposite of Wynyard Park. But it’s also meant that their humble café has transformed into a new after hours bar and restaurant, becoming a hub to unwind and relax after a stressful day in the office.

Panzerotti bar snack

Lamb croquettes – part of the new bar menu. Source

With the move has also come a new menu – having been granted a liquor licence they’ve come up with some quirky cocktails that are just as delicious to taste than they appear on paper. The Bees Knees is exactly as it sounds, blending whiskey, pineapple, lime, honey and mint, while the Days End is something wicked to wind down with – bison vodka, basil, lemon and white vermouth.

Beers include the inevitable Peroni (what Italian bar is complete without this), Vale Ale, Stone & Wood, Balmain Pale Ale and Hop Hog. But for something a little fuller, there’s a neat selection of Italian, Australian and New Zealand reds, whites and rosés on offer.

Panzerotti-Bar-57

Super slider – one of many scrumptious dishes. Source

When it comes to food, it’s obvious from the lunch menu that Panzerotti take their pasta seriously – a highlight for dining in or takeout, there’s a choice of penne, linguine and homemade gnocchi with a generous selection of toppings and sauces. Alternatively, how down a wagyu burger with taleggio cheese or for the carb-conscious, the smoked trout or beetroot and feta salads are must tries.

It isn’t, however, all about pasta. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and here is where your choice won’t leave you feeling worn out by midday. Two favourites include the 3 egg omelette with king brown mushrooms or the French toast, doused with honeycomb butter, lemon curd, raspberry, mint and pear.

Panzerotti-Bar-14

Panzerotti’s Dessert of the Day. Source

Whatever time of day it is, the new Panzerotti Bar won’t leave you disappointed, and sitting in for an easy-going lunch is much more spectacular now that they’ve opened up to the world and offering an even snazzier food and drink selection.

Eat like an Italian at Bertoni

November 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm
Carbonara. Image by Paula F Machado

Carbonara. Image by Paula F Machado

Typically Italian from the food to the facade, Bertoni’s Farrer Place restaurant is one of the greatest city spots for easy pasta. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

We’ve mentioned before that we love Bertoni’s restaurateur talent – their original Balmain venture a dear friend whenever we want to opt for some hearty Italian. But we’re yet to introduce you to their most recent establishment that’s opened up on the northern end of the Sydney CBD.

Sitting underneath a busy office tower on the corner of Bent and Phillip Streets, the pasta palace has been given a rustic Bertoni branding. With glossy white tiles covering the walls contrasted against elegant black wooden bench tops, the décor is subtle and not overpowering, leaving the quality and colours of the food to stand out.

Upon entry you’re greeted by friendly staff smiles and the cheeky odour of pastries splayed out in the counter display. The welcoming smell of brewing coffee (we all know Italians can whip together the greatest coffee) punctuates the nostrils and the aromas of the open kitchen waft throughout the restaurant.

Marinara. Photo by Paula F Machado

Marinara. Photo by Paula F Machado

Separated by a sleek shelving unit dotted with vino bottles and glasses, patrons can see, hear and smell their orders being freshly prepared – the one sense it leaves you without is taste, but the intimate atmosphere of the lunch crowds puts you at ease while you wait with anticipation for your dish (Take note, they’ll be staying open later for dinner very soon).

And what dishes they are! Prosciutto paninis and the famous favourite, the wonderfully cheesy lasagne burger, are all on the menu. It’s also worth trying the Pasta Bertoni for a delightful blend of baked pasta with smoked ham, salami, peas, mozzarella and Napoli sauce.

You’ve got to give it to them – as much as your Italian pals insist their mother makes the best pasta, Bertoni certainly sets a new benchmark.

 

This ain’t your ordinary bistro

November 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Fish of the day. Source

Fish of the day. Source

An impressive list of restaurateurs has made Southbank’s fare synonymous with high quality dining, and our introduction of Downstairs Bistro & Lounge is no exception. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Binge eat through Balmain

November 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen

The Cottage Bar & Kitchen. Source

Sitting proudly along Balmain’s blossoming tree-lined streets are a generous number of dining spots pouring some of Sydney’s best coffee, and plating up tender treats for their patrons.

Many among them are already local institutions, but we think it’s time the word got out for people far and wide to swing on by, enjoy a cuppa and chow down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any naughty snacking in between. We’ve done the intense work (if you call eating your way through two suburbs a life-ruiner), and come up with our favourite dining order – but that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to a future return for any other mealtime munching. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh


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