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dinner | 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.

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!

A (Dear) Delicious Dulwich Hill cafe

November 28, 2014 at 11:50 am
Avocado Heaven Dear Delicious

In heaven with their top avocado dish and the croque monsieur.

Of all Sydney’s inner-west cafes, Ryan Auberson-Walsh has found one he can’t help but fangirl over. 

Dear Delicious,

What a wonderful experience my friends and I had the other day as we devoured several perfectly blended hot-drip coffees, fudgy chocolate brownies and enough egg and cheese dishes to destroy someone with lactose intolerance’s insides.

Creamy and mouth-watering, hearing that many of the products are made onsite (including that wonderful, wonderful ricotta) just seems to add a huge sense of credibility to your kitchen skills. Kudos to your chef/s for churning out such splendidly plated dishes – I’m currently craving the rhubarb and orange blossom pistachio labneh parfait, the blood red and coconut white hues positioned on the table opposite us were demanding our tummy-rumbling attention.

Breakfast beauties - the Avocado Smash and Croque Monsieur

Breakfast beauties – the Avocado Smash and Croque Monsieur

You’re one of those places that no matter how grand or quaint a meal seems, there wasn’t any food regret. Each of our plates was stacked a few inches high, my Avocado Heaven layered with two perfectly poached eggs, ruby red tomatoes, smashed avocado and baby spinach on top of locally-sourced Brickfields sourdough.

My mates also picked well – I have to admit, your attention to detail when plating dishes is so on point that I couldn’t help but nibble on what they ordered – the scrambled eggs (goats chèvre, spinach and giant field mushrooms) and croque monsieur (free range ham and horseradish clotted cream sandwich with fried egg) were out of this world.

Ready for the taking - cinnamon scrolls and other sweets are sourced locally.

Ready for the taking – cinnamon scrolls and other sweets are sourced locally.

We enjoyed making our way through the whimsical décor and past the open-plan kitchen to the intimate courtyard out back, lounging across a surprisingly comfortable wooden bench in Sydney’s sunshine, sipping at Little Marionette cappuccinos and iced mochas as a gentle breeze kicked up.

You’ve won us over – and we, or at least I, certainly cannot wait for a glorious return to try several other menu items (I’m looking at you, ricotta pancakes and coconut milk chai with nutmeg and star anise). But hearing that as of November 28 you’re staying open a little later for dinner service between 6pm and 9pm, perhaps I’ll have to swing by and munch on an entirely different menu.

Cheers for the eye-opening inner-west brekkie experience. It was, to say the least, delicious.

Sincerely,

Your newest and most-obsessed fangirl Ryan Auberson-Walsh

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

Copo load of this joint

November 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm
House smoked trout baked eggs with creme fraiche, herbs and toast

House smoked trout baked eggs with creme fraîche, herbs and toast. Image by Eileen Kha

We have finally tracked down a Sydney brunch spot worth taking your mother-in-law to. A round of applause to Copo Cafe & Diner in Drummoyne. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Wellington’s best allergy-friendly coffee stops

May 15, 2014 at 12:16 am
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Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gotovan/

Being gluten and dairy intolerant and liking coffee is one of life’s great challenges. So many places earnestly tell you that yes they have soy milk, to which you reply; which one? Only to be left to awkwardly explain to the bemused barista that unfortunately you can’t drink their gluten filled milk and will now have to tell your friend to choose another café. Then, just when you’ve decided to give up and have a long black, you find it: that shining beacon of both gluten and dairy friendly goodness. 

 Finding the perfect allergy-free cafè is the hard part. So to help, Posse has pulled together a list of five delicious and convenient coffee stops the allergy-prone people of Wellington.


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