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NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide - Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

During my trip visiting New Zealand and the east coast of Melbourne, I thought I’d share some reviews & info of who I flew with, where I stayed, how I travelled to & from the airport, tours or attractions I attended, and maybe some tips or good shopping spots (for guys not that . . . → Read More: NZ & Australian East Coast Travel Guide – Flights, Hotels, Tours & Tips

NSW, Sydney - Est

Est - Goat's Feta Panna Cotta

The service element in this fine dining restaurant is once again highly professional. I particularly appreciated the service provided by one of the men who was professional but still friendly. Sometimes service can become very stilted. The whole dining experience at Est was excellent, as was the high quality food served. I find the style of cooking is to use quality ingredients, not do too much to them, and use other elements to provide the flavour, thereby keeping the integrity of the proteins intact. The first course of goat’s curd panna cotta was absolutely outstanding and the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately, while the following dishes were delicious, they didn’t meet the same standard set by this fabulous dish. The silky smooth panna cotta had a lovely creamy texture, a slight richness, but was counteracted by the vinaigrette and Jamon. The Moreton Bay bug and other seafood elements were cooked perfectly and the butter sauce provided the flavour with the peas providing a freshness. The Murray cod was super tender and the ginger vinaigrette provided a lovely Asian inspired flavour to the dish. I also loved the complimentary half bowl of shoestring fries which were crisp, golden brown, and moorish, perfect. The slow poached quince was another dish with beautiful presentation, however, the differing types of sweetness from several elements and the richness of the vanilla cream, overpowered the dish and threw the flavour balance out. A few slight tweaks and this dish can be excellent. I had a really lovely dining experience and am very full. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Est

NSW, Sydney - The Lobo Plantation

Lobo Plantation - Pulled Pork Tamales

Plenty of people started filling in to the bar which is always a good sign. I was only after a simple dinner and the bar food menu fitted the bill. The golden puff pastry was delicious and the mince filling was good too with the lovely dipping sauce. The tamales are really soft, a nice mixture of soft pulled pork, polenta, and corn, but not too rich. The tomato salsa on top provides a nice tartness to the dish. They’ve certainly created an environment fitting with the name of the bar. Nice atmosphere. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – The Lobo Plantation

NSW, Sydney - Quay

Quay - Custard Apple Snow Egg

It’s been a privilege to travel around and visit some fine restaurants. I was keen to see what Peter Gilmore’s creations at Quay would be like. The service is highly professional and the quality of the dishes are perfectly executed. The location and view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, plus the river views are amazing. However, on reflection of the whole meal, I expected more. The XO sea was a lovely dish creating excellent flavours and the perfectly cooked delicate seafood was special. The tender just pink poached duck with crunchy leaves and the green salad was very enjoyable. Though neither dish really wowed. What did wow was the dessert. I can see why the snow egg is a signature dish and this truly is a special creation. A dessert with several layers and components that compliment each other perfectly, I loved the refreshing granita, the meringue, the custard apple flavoured ice cream, the custard apple flesh, and especially the last layer on the very bottom – the vanilla custard. This dish is to die for and blew me away. It would be hard to get the other courses to match the impact this dish has but if the other dishes could rise a few notches it would make the dining experience all that more satisfying. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Quay

NSW, Sydney - Mamak

Mamak - Roti Canai

A visit to Mamak and eating this authentic Malaysian food reminds me of my travels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The dishes are simple and the menu slightly limited. But it’s better to offer a limited selection and do them extremely well than to offer lots and have a few star dishes. The curry and soft puffed roti and really delicious. It’s a simple meal that people are flocking here for. The curry has a lovely flavour and tearing the roti into pieces to sop up the curry is yum. I liked the Satay sticks with a slight grilled flavour and a different kind of sweet peanut sauce. To finish, the ais kacang which was one of the first desserts I had in Malaysia was delicious. It’s a cheap dinner with variety and EFTPOS facilities are available too. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Mamak

NSW, Sydney - Snag Stand

Snag Stand - Toulouse Haute Dog & Chips

A visit to Snag Stack was fruitful. There’s a nice variety on the menu to suit your tastes so I rather like French food so I chose the Toulouse and got a side of chips. I like what they’ve done – created delicious gourmet sausages, taken a little more effort to create some other ingredients to compliment the sausage (aka the sautéed onions and creamy sauce), placed it into a delicious bun and offered some excellent chips. There doesn’t seem to be a place that does hot dogs with a variety of delicious sausages so it’s excellent to see a place like this bob up. Just need more of these types of eateries in Perth. I like the play on words too – haute cuisine -> haute dogs. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Snag Stand

NSW, Sydney - Lindt Café

Lindt Café - Waffles

If you need something delectable and just want to treat or indulge yourself, then a visit to the Lindt Café is a must. I ordered a waffle for breakfast. It’s pretty good but not the best but the Lindt flavoured vanilla ice cream and the thick rich Lindt chocolate sauce are the elements which make it indulgent. The maccarons were tasty but I didn’t care that much for the chocolate hazelnut gateau. I’m not sure what the hot chocolate would be like but this is a place you can buy just about everything. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Lindt Café

NSW, Sydney - Ippudo

Ippudo - Akamaru Shinaji

I’m no expert on ramen but I think most people’s experience of noodles is the instant variety. At Ippudo, the noodles are made on the spot and you can taste the difference. Combined with a delicious flavoursome broth, some protein in a lovely roasted pork belly oozing flavour, black mushrooms cut to look like noodles, and some spring onions for a sharpish flavour, this heart winter meal really warms you up. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Ippudo

NSW, Sydney - Almond Bar

Almond Bar - Almond Selection: Cinnamon & Sugar, Caramelised, Smoked, Chilli & Sesame Seed

I haven’t eaten much Middle Eastern food so I’m keen to explore other cuisines. The staff are friendly and welcoming and helped advise what dishes would be a good choice. I was really surprised at the selection of almonds placed on the table. Their preparation to give different flavours was unique, something I’ve never come across before. That led me to buy a jar to take home with me. For entrée, I loved the tender calamari but the light mild spice mix really added a delicious flavour to the meal. The succulent tender and flavour infused beef cheek was superb. The red wine and grape molasses the beef is prepared in gives a rich vibrant flavour. For dessert, I tried booza which is an ice cream with an elastic texture and spiced with mastic. Rather foreign but enjoyable. I was really full and really enjoyed the delicious array of flavours in the dishes I sampled. I’d love to come back again but will have to save that for a future trip to Sydney. . . . → Read More: NSW, Sydney – Almond Bar

Holiday Part 15 – Sydney - The Original Maltese Cafe

You’ve got to try try pastizzi. It’s non-negotiable. Yum! . . . → Read More: Holiday Part 15 – Sydney – The Original Maltese Cafe