Queenies at The Forresters.

queenies 003

What I’ve learned in the last few weeks. That eating a day old Zinger burger can be more pleasurable than eating a fresh one. That bacon in cocktails isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. That Lance Armstrong makes for great table conversation, and that as one door closes another is almost always bound to open.

For the past year or so I’ve been spending a lot of time dedicating said time to one of the most important things in my life, that being myself. There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George dodges a bullet when his fiancé passes away from licking stamps. Feeling the relief from not having to commit himself to anything other than himself, he then embarks on a journey of self discovery called the ‘Summer of George’. There was a sense of that when I began the new year hoping to conquer things that were only ever out of reach in my past. Of course much like George, a summer of self discovery for me invariably leads to a summer of laziness. After awhile I forgot what my goals were and found myself more often than not lying down on the couch gorging on pizza pockets and sitting through OC marathons.

My love life wasn’t faring much better either.  With each passing week I was out there looking for new targets, honing my charms and being the romantic that I am, falling in love with someone new every Friday night. Eventually I tried focusing my energies on one lovely lady however, a few slaps and unanswered calls later I found the door getting shut with my face pressed firmly against it, but hey even I knew how that one was going to end (can we be friends?).

For Lance Armstrong things may be a little trickier at present but as I mentioned earlier as one door closes, another will surely open and it always helps when there’s someone on the other side whose willing to put up with and sometimes even laugh at your lame jokes, that may or may not include repeated references to Jamaican cuisine with cries of ‘jamaican me crazy man!’, ‘we be jammin’ and ‘rectecp!’.

This dear readers is not how I found myself at Queenies (Jamaican jerk Shack) on its opening night. I received an invitation from Jamie Thomas (executive chef of the Drink and Dine group) to have a sit down dinner with a few other food loving bloggers and being a fan of his  food by way of The Carrington, I made my way over there as fast as I could. Like all Drink and Dine establishments there’s a kitschy cool to the fitout and without having been to Jamaica myself I’d have to say it was feeling very Jamaican inside from the thatched ceiling, the Rastafari colours and the constant reggae bouncing out of the speakers.

We’re sent out an obscene amount of food and by meals end I can only think of unbuttoning the top buttons of my jeans and heading straight into an extended belching session. Now I’m going to do abit of a cop out here and just post the photos without proper descriptions but you’ll find far better extended reviews here and here. I will make mention of my highlights which were the bammies (which are similar to Mexican tostadas), the curried oxtail patties and the goat curry.

queenies 002Pulled Pork and Prawn Bammies

queenies 004Soft Shell Crab with Hotstepper (turn around, I’m the lyrical gangster) Sauce

queenies 005Curried Oxtail Patties

queenies 007Calypso Coffee Ribs

queenies 006Jerk Corn

queenies 008Goat Curry (with Dirty Rice hidden underneath)

queenies 001Jerk Pork Neck with Sweet Potato Fries, Slaw, Salsa and Bread Rolls

queenies 009Pina Colada Dessert

I have to give a special mention to Jamie as he was extremely generous and even though he is an Arsenal fan he’s a pretty cool/ nice guy to boot. I guess if I never embarked on my own ‘Summer of George’ then I wouldn’t be presented with such opportunities as this and for that I’d have to say this year has been pretty awesome. Pizza pockets included.

I DINED AS A GUEST OF JAMIE THOMAS. How’s that for a disclaimer?

Queenies at The Forresters

Corner Foveaux and Riley Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9212 3035

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Filed under Jamaican, Surry Hills, Uncategorized

Kiroran Silk Road.

kiroransilkroad 005

I just hit my head against a table.

It’s my own fault really. A relatively quiet evening the night previous was backed up with one too many single malt scotches during one of my many beloved marathons of NCIS LA (yes I’m a fan, yes you can judge me, and no I don’t really care) which meant that I woke up today feeling a little worse for wear. With my boss away on holidays and my current work life being a little more relaxed than usual I thought I’d take it upon myself to have a quick little sit down/lie down/ nap behind my workmate’s desk whilst she regaled me with stories of her love life (I’d go into more detail but she’s just given me a quick little lecture about including her in my blog posts). Anyway, when it was time for me to get up I did so quickly without any thought and banged my head against the back of her desk.

Forgive me if I’m not making sense at the moment, I may or may not have a concussion; at the very least I’m feeling quite sore. I realise that you my dear readers care little for my own general idiocy but hey, when conversing one always needs a good ice breaker and everyone loves a good self-inflicted injury anecdote. Besides, the cold this winter has brought along has meant that things have been a little quiet in my neck of the woods, being in an endless lockdown with my good friends’ beer, wine and spirits.

So where have I been eating out lately? With Sydney deep in the craze that is dude food, and more recently rekindling it’s love for old school Cantonese food in a modern ‘ironic’ kind of way that the hipster generation seems to be defined by, I’ve found myself seeking out my old favourites like pho, ramen, hand-pulled noodles, basically anything quick, cheap and sometimes dirty… with the promise of cheap beer always a help too.

So this my dear readers is how I found myself at Kiroran Silk Road on a cold and blustery night that I have trouble remembering other than the food that was shared and the haircut that I’d received earlier in the evening and I’m still currently sporting.

Kiroran Silk Road (for the sake of this post let’s just call it KSR for the remainder of it) is an Uighur restaurant closer to the Liverpool Street end of Dixon Street, sitting right next to another Uighur restaurant that’s been creatively named Uighur Restaurant (KSR is up the stairs, Uighur Restaurant is street level). It’s an interesting cuisine and those not familiar with it or the people themselves would do well to do a quick Wikipedia search. If you can’t be bothered with that then I’m just going to throw out a blanket description and call it Muslim Chinese.

kiroransilkroad 001

One of my favourite things to eat when it comes to regional Chinese food is fried potato shreds. I call them Chinese French Fries. Sometimes they’re served cold in a salad, sometimes they’re warm, but they’re almost always awesome. The version at KSR is hot in both temperature and spice factor. Eat it with some rice for that perfect combination of carb and carb.

kiroransilkroad 003

I first fell in love with this cuisine when I realised they were masters of hand-pulled noodles. I love a good hand pull and KSR’s version has a good chew topped off with some fresh veggies and a great tasting cumin and chilli laced sauce.

kiroransilkroad 002

Another dish they do well here is the Lamb Skewers. I can’t think of a time when I’ve had bad lamb skewers, they’re so heavily seasoned that they’re always bound to rock in some way but, KSR’s lamb skewers go to the next level. The meat isn’t too chewy and the fat is charred enough to pop nicely in your mouth. Yes the skewers are good here.

kiroransilkroad 004

So after working your way through some carbs and meat you’ll probably feel the need to get your fill of greens in. Ok so this isn’t green but may I suggest the Eggplant in Uighur style? It doesn’t look like much but, if there’s a better eggplant dish in Sydney then I haven’t met it. The eggplant is so soft and is drowned in a sauce so rich and moreish (do I get points for using the word moreish for the first time in my blog?) you’ll wish you ordered some of the bread (nan) or meat pies to soak it all up with.

Ok please excuse me while I go for a lie down in the sick bay. My head still hurts.

Kiroran Silk Road

3/6 Dixon Street, Sydney
(02) 9283 0998

6 Comments

Filed under Chinatown, Sydney, Uighur

With a Little Help From My Friends.

I’ve often told a good friend of mine that she should start up a blog, not because of the excitement that constantly surrounds her life but rather because of the mundanity of it. She’s not jet setting around the world on a  monthly basis and she’s definitely not eating out not even on a weekly basis, but a more amusing life I do not know of. Most of her stories are of a calamitous nature and while I’m sure she wouldn’t want me sharing these moments with you dear readers (and knowing that she does take the time to read this blog of mine, I’m sure I’ll pay for it one way or another), one shouldn’t let the fear of reprisals get in the way of a good story.

Last week upon making a trip out west to pick up some cheap furniture she’d won on Gumtree, her husband and herself decided to stop off at McDonalds for a drive-thru cheeseburger. What happened next went a little something like this…

(please note that the names have been changed to help preserve anonymity)

Amy: Can I please get two 1 dollar cheeseburgers?

Drive-thru attendant: Sorry we’re not doing 1 dollar cheeseburgers anymore…

Amy: What? Oh well don’t worry about it then.

Drive-thru attendant: Well if you want I can sell you a double cheeseburger for 2 dollars and you can just have it without a patty.

Amy: …Wait, are you ripping me off for a patty?

Drive-thru attendant: No… it still works out cheaper than a regular cheeseburger.

Amy: Fine I’ll just do that then…

Drive-thru attendant: Ok, please drive thru…

Fast forward two minutes and Amy opens the takeaway bag…

Amy: WHAT THE F***?! They haven’t even given me any patties now! All I have is bread and f***ing cheese!

Amy then asks her husband Bart (who’s ordered a regular double cheeseburger) if she can have on of his patties. His reply is to wolf down his burger in 2 quick bites.

You seriously can’t make this stuff up. As for me, life’s been moving along at a comfortable pace of late and while I haven’t been getting into arguments over the economics of burgers with fast food attendants I have been happily eating and drinking my way around Sydney. Please forgive me for my second ‘what I’ve been up to on Instagram lately’ post, but something is always better than nothing right?

aweekinsydney 002Some people like to start off the day with a good shot of Scotch. I’m glad to say I’m not quite at that point in my life yet. Here I am at Three Ropes in Parramatta about to enjoy a Piccolo.

aweekinsydney 004I find it hard waking up for brunch on the weekend, but when brunch is this good, I try to make an effort. This is the baked eggs from those darlings of Parramatta and owners of Three Ropes, Circa Espresso.

aweekinsydney 001Sometimes all I want is wontons covered in oil with some cucumber thrown on top just to make it seem healthy. This is from a favourite of mine, Shanghai Nights in Ashfield. I always forget what this dish is called simply because I think they’re called Wu Zhu Hai dumplings. They’re not called Wu Zhu Hai dumplings.

aweekinsydney 003I love it when you just stumble on a dish. I love it even more when it happens to be a great rendition of a dish that you already love. This is an excellent Bakmi Ayam (Bakmie Gajamadah) from the Indonesian vendor in Eating World.

aweekinsydney 006Nothing says Japan quite like inebriated Japanese Salarymen acting rowdy in an Izakaya. While Sakuratei isn’t quite an Izakaya, the food is decent and the atmosphere authentic. I espescially like how they have a chef working the yakitori grill. This agedashi tofu was good.

aweekinsydney 008The Baron is a funky little small bar/ cafe in Castle Hill, sitting right near where the Timezone used to be. Back when I used to go to school around here, this is the area where all the cool kids used to hang out having a smoke or two. These days the cool kids are still here, ‘cept they’re having a latte or two.

aweekinsydney 009Last year when I went to the Macquarie Boutique Hotel for the first time I noticed the stool next to me was near on collapsing. I arranged it so my friend would sit in that stool. Hilarity ensued. A year later and there’s a cool little eatery upstairs called Pub Life Kitchen, where as well as the usual dude food items they have burger specials every wednesday. This one was a French themed burger. You know, for Bastille Day.

aweekinsydney 007You eat all the food, you drink all the drink and you sing all the songs, because how else would you wind up a working week?

aweekinsydney 010Until next time my dear readers, be happy and stay safe in everything you do.

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Filed under Sydney

Here Comes the Sun.

 You meet someone, take them out for dinner, suggest a bottle of wine, sneak in a kiss and somewhere down the line have them fall in love with you. After awhile you begin to spend more and more time with each other, drop the frequent fancy meals; feel more comfortable about calling a burger and fries a date night and begin to pass wind around each other. You no longer have to run out to the local fast food joint to use the toilet for anything other than a wee and may even be brave enough to leave the door open while doing so. Eventually you start planning trips together, buying things together, opening shared bank accounts together and then comes the day you shell out for that wedding ring and play out that out of this world proposal you’ve been planning for awhile. Months of planning lead to a lovely but quaint wedding ceremony, one that’ll have the guests using it as a benchmark for all future weddings, and when the day comes that you have a child together a whole new set of memories will begin to develop.

However, life doesn’t always work out that way. While that hot new Spanish restaurant may have seemed like a great idea at the time, she definitely wasn’t impressed by having to stand in line out in the cold for near on two hours. Realising you haven’t gotten off to the best of starts you decide to order a bottle of wine just to get things headed back in the right direction, only to find out that the 80 dollar bottle of red you’ve just ordered is wasted on her as she’s on medication tonight. By this point you may be a little intoxicated from having to complete that bottle of wine by yourself while she’s still completely sober, so when you go to reach in for that kiss all you end up with is a slap in the face and you asking hopelessly ‘will I be seeing you again?’. Unfortunately for you this is where the line ends and the stop doesn’t read ‘yes you will’.

For the longest time I’d thought to myself that by the time I reached 30 I’d be happily married, doing things that happily married people do and maybe even planning on having kids so that one day I could tell them how I met their mother… Call me Ted. I didn’t think that I’d be finding myself at places like Shark Hotel at 3 am on a Saturday morning chasing tail. I definitely didn’t think that I’d be embarking on my first ever solo trip to some far flung place in order to ‘find myself’. But kids as they say you never know where life is headed and as things go, I do, and I did.

So this my dear readers is how I found myself at the beginning of this month boarding a plane headed for Tokyo. What ensued was 2 weeks of fun, food and alcohol. At times it got a little crazy, maybe even a little stupid, but when you’re in your most favourite place in the world then these things tend to happen. I won’t bore you with anymore of my words so I’ll just leave you with a select bunch of Instagram photos that I snapped along the way and some captions to go along with them. Enjoy.

japan 001Hello Tokyo. It’s been awhile. I missed you.

japan 026When trying to find oneself this is probably the kind of thing you picture in your head.

japan 025Being in Japan though, the journey is always a little prettier and quirkier then what you may have expected.japan 011Before setting out, one must always respect local customs and heed the warning signs.

japan 020Speaking of warning signs…

japan 005On your journey you may meet some gruff looking people.

japan 004But don’t let their appearances fool you, they’re all a very friendly bunch.

japan 045If you’re lucky enough they may even take you a baseball game.

japan 041As you continue on your journey…

japan 042Always be sure to take a moment to look at what surrounds you.

japan 056For you never know what you may miss out on.

japan 055Now all that soul searching will make a grown man hungry. How about some katsu?

japan 017Or maybe some tonkotsu ramen thats been smoked?

japan 032Perhaps soba and tempura is more your thing?

japan 048But then again we’re all a little carb conscious, so how about some clams that have been cooked in sake?

japan 049If thats not filling enough maybe you’d like to hack into a tuna jaw.

japan 018However, if you’re only after a snack maybe some gyoza will do the trick.

japan 019Somehow though you’ll get your appetite back and you’ll end up wanting something hearty. Something like a katsu curry.

japan 021But then you begin to realise you miss the comforts of home just ever so slightly so you treat yourself to something that’s reminiscent of it.

japan 006Perhaps you might get something thats a combination of the two worlds. Perhaps you may just fall in love with a ramen burger.

japan 007I know I did.

japan 034I think the Glico man might have as well.

Goodbye Japan. Till we meet again.

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Filed under Japanese, Streetfood, Trumpeting my own horn

Hey Girl.

Dear readers, let me tell you a story. During my early childhood I never knew what the typical parent was. In fact I’m pretty sure I had no idea of the concept, because you see when I was only a few months old, my parents who’d only recently moved to this country were struggling to keep afloat. It’s a story that many of you with ethnic upbringings or those surrounded by people of ethnic backgrounds may be familiar with, and in the 80’s it was especially tough for a young migrant couple with a newborn child. Because of this my parents made the decision to send me back to Indonesia where I would live with my aunty and cousins for the next few years while my parents tried to build a life here.

My memories of growing up in Indonesia are quite sketchy these days, in fact the only vivid ones I have include that time I went into an open sewer to rescue the family cat (see, I don’t hate cats…), and also the time I saw my first ever sex scene on TV only to have the maid cover my eyes. What I do remember however, is that I was quite close with my cousins, and seeing how there was a 10 year gap to the next youngest one I was always quite in awe of them. I still remember seeing one of my cousins lighting a cigarette and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.

I came back to Sydney when I was 5 and it was strange. Strange to meet these people calling themselves Mum and Dad. Strange to be sleeping in my own bedroom. Strange that I had to say goodbye to my aunty who was the closest person in my life for what I thought was only going to be a week but indeed turned out to be indefinite.

Fast forward a few years to a only a couple of months ago and that same cousin who’d I thought was so cool for lighting up that cigarette in a South-East Asian James Dean kind of way came to visit, and to celebrate we had a gathering where I was of course in charge of the food. Not realising that in the 25 years since I had last seen him that he’d converted to Islam I, feeling in a very porky mood went on a spree of ordering anything with bacon, ham and chorizo. Of course when I did find out, I told him he was simply eating baby cow. Or was it lamb? Smoking, pork… makes us even right?

A few nights ago I was feeling a porky mood again and knowing that my Portuguese mate who you may remember from this post, had just received his permanent rodency, I decided to make some Portuguese Caldo Verde soup, as an ode to him, my cousin and my parents.

Ingredients (Serves 4, or a very hungry 1)

caldo verde-ingredientsThis picture is kind of disturbing. Hehehe.

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1 bunch kale (or if you can’t find any, Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 chourico (or if you can’t find any, chorizo – notice a theme here?)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 cups of water or stock

Method

caldo verde-method

    • Peel your potatoes and roughly chop them up into cubes, or whatever shape you’re feeling for. While you’re at the chopping board get your kale/ Chinese broccoli and roll the leaves up like a cigar then finely slice them. Seeing as you’re still at the chopping board, get your garlic and again, finely slice.
    • Now, chourico is pretty hard to find and unless you know a good Portuguese butcher then you can just substitute it with chorizo. It’s a fine substitute. Get your sausage and slice it.
    • Now you’ve done all your prep get a medium sized saucepan and heat up with a little oil. Drop your chorizo in and fry it off to your liking. I like mine with charred edges. Once that’s done take the chorizo out and set it aside on some paper towels. You’ll notice that you have a nice amount of chorizo fat at the bottom of the pan. If you’re a little conscious about your weight then remove some of it, as you know what they say, ‘a moment on your lips, forever on your hips’. I on the other hand have big hips so I choose to leave the oil in.
    • With your reserved pork fat, lightly fry the garlic and once you have some nice colour add in the potatoes. I toss everything around so it’s all nicely coated. By now your kitchen should smell of garlic and pork. Awesome.
    • Now fill your pan with the water/ stock and bring to the boil. Once there, keep on simmering until the potatoes are soft and creamy. You could leave your soup as is from here, but I like to get my stick mixer out and blitz away until left with a nice thin and creamy consistency.

caldo verde-soupmix

  • Once you’ve done that bring it back to the boil and throw the chourico/ chorizo back in then throw in the kale/ Chinese broccoli, letting it simmer away for a further 5 minutes.
  •  From here Ladle a few spoonfuls into a bowl, crack open a bottle of red, pour yourself a glass or 3, put on the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother you’ve just finished downloading, take a photo for Instagram and wait for the comments and likes to come in.

caldo verde-finishedBin Ends – Because ‘all ends, start with a beginning’

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Filed under Cooking, Portuguese

The Long Goodbye

It’s never easy saying goodbye, whether it be a long drawn out affair or short and sweet, there’s sure to be certain shared memories that are evoked that may lead to tearful moments and an occasional feeling of despair and hopelessness. Sometimes there’s the comfort of a return date to let you know that the goodbye is merely an intermission but when it’s indefinite it can be especially hard to take.

Of course goodbyes are always made easier with alcohol as is life in general (I’m kidding kids), and what better way to signal the end of something then with a few pints of beer, a few shots of something on fire and a bunch of stupid ideas. It can turn something that is potentially sad into something fun, and if the few turns into a car load then it can be wildly ridiculous, just like the time I may or may have not made advances on my boss’s wife at a work function… but that’s a story for another time.

When I heard the news that the Sydney monorail was being taken down I was hit with an immense feeling of sadness. I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day thinking about the glory of an eyesore that was those blue rails, about the automated voice that got you all excited that Sydney had a Spanish Quarter, about the monorail stop in Chinatown that never was, and all this accompanied by the constant soundtrack of ‘monorail, monorail monoooraaaaaiiiil… mono-doh!’. Later a friend of mine and I decided that the best way to say goodbye to this dear old friend of ours was with a monorail pub crawl, the idea being that we’d get off each stop and have a few drinks at whatever bar was close. The only thing we needed was a name.

monocrawl-coronationClockwise from top left – Hello front door; Yes I’m sad too; Oh look its the inside; fatty fries and a surprisingly good aioli.

And this, my dear readers is how I found myself out on a mildly chilly Saturday night embarking on #monocrawl2012. We start our evening at the highly trendy Hotel Coronation which sits right near the Galleries Victoria stop. Ok so it’s not the coolest place in Sydney and a place that attracts drunkards at a highly disturbing 7am on a weekday doesn’t scream inviting to non-locals, but it’s this diveyness that I find so appealing. We kick back with a few beers and, some gloriously fried in not canola oil fries and what’s great for me and not so much my company, F1 qualifying live on one of the TV’s. If sticky carpeted floors and memories of an 80’s Irish pub/ sports bar aren’t your thing then you could try going to The Arthouse Hotel.

monocrawl-monorailClockwise from top left – It’s the monorail; Psychedelic seats and bored passengers; Poignant shot; What I see when I’m drunk.

From here our night begins in earnest and we jump aboard the monorail. Now those of you from Sydney would be fairly familiar with how expensive a monorail ride can be ($5.00 for a single ticket), but if you’re smart about this then you’ll go and get yourself a day pass at $9.80 which allows you unlimited access for the day.

At our next stop – the aptly named City Centre – we encounter our first hiccup of the night with the closest bar Kulabar looking to be no longer in business. We try going to St. James Hotel which is further up on Castlereagh Street only to find that that too is sadly closed. Realising we’re behind on time anyway we decide to get back onto the monorail.  If you come across the same problem that we had then I might suggest that you try City Tattersalls, which is directly opposite the station. This sadly wasn’t an option for us as several people in our group lived within the 5KM radius that forces them to become members should they want to go inside.

monocrawl-helmbarLeft: The view from Helm; Right The view outside of Helm. Hello ladies.

Never one to be down after a minor setback we kick on and head towards Darling Harbour, with the first stop of this precinct being Darling Park. Here we head into Helm Bar. It’s remarkably quiet for a Saturday night and lacking in character, but with its views of the harbour and an empty bar we weren’t about to start complaining. By this point I’ve switched to Gin and after buying a round of shots I find it amusing that due to a tequila aversion by one of the girls she decides to sip on it using a straw rather than knocking it back. It is an odd sight. If drinking in an overextended tin shed isn’t really your thing then you might want to try Pontoon around the corner, Cargo Bar on the other side of the aquarium, or if you’re feeling a little classy then at Coast above Cockle Bay Wharf.

monocrawl-pyrmontbridgeA quiet moment of reflection outside the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Memories.

The closeness of the next stop reminds us of how redundant the monorail is. At only a few hundred metres away it would have made more sense to walk across the Pyrmont Bridge (affording us time to get sober), but what’s a monocrawl without a monorail? Like the good sports we are, we get back on and head to our next Destination the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. In the past I’ve always avoided this pub as I always saw it as the seedy 24 hour joint in Darling Harbour. I’m pleasantly surprised to be greeted by friendly bouncers (going beyond their call of duty to find extra chairs for other patrons) and an interior lifted straight from the 1920’s that wouldn’t look so far removed in uber trendy Surry Hills/ Darlinghurst. If however, you can’t get past these reservations then you may want to try heading inside Harbourside and going to Cohibar where you can sit back with an excellent cocktail while puffing on a very fine cigar.

monocrawl-charliesClockwise from top left – The Flaming Charlie; Larb so good from Mrs’s Chans, Being creepily served by me; Larb so good I had to throw in another shot.

With the next stop being even closer in proximity – Convention – and with us running behind on time and being fairly intoxicated we decide to bypass it and head towards the Paddy’s Markets stop where we stroll towards Charlie Chan’s. Ok so technically this isn’t the closest bar and if you wanted to stick to the rules then you may want to try going over to the Market City Tavern, but Charlie Chan’s (or Chacha’s as I affectionately call it) happen to serve one of my favourite drinks in Sydney, the amusingly named Flaming Charlie (fits in with the Simpson’s theme as well), a layered shot of drinks that I can’t remember that’s set aflame and further ignited using cinnamon powder. Feeling overly tipsy we order some food from Mrs Chan’s (by Crocodile Senior), a lovely plate of larb gai and some vegetarian spring rolls. The food sits well in our stomachs and perhaps I’m a little drunk at this point as I believe it to be the best larb gai I’d ever come across (will have to go back and retry it in a sober state). I guess the cute waitress didn’t hurt either (although the rejection kind of did).

Unfortunately we spend a little too long inside and therefore miss the last monorail and with it our last monorail stop, World Square. Had we made it we could have tried going to Shark Hotel and ordered some fried ice cream from Holy Basil, or we may have walked on over to Mr B’s where we would have experienced a little bit of Bangkok in Sydney.

From there the monocrawl was over but my night had only just begun. Begun to get stupid that is. A brief summary would include karaoke, copious amounts of something alcoholic mixed with green tea, a drunken meal of bibimbap at 4 or 5 am and an all day vomiting session the day after, by which point I had fallen completely off the rails. So just like any other farewell then.

Ok so I realise that alcohol isn’t for everyone but I suggest a monocrawl is something you should do before the monorail gets taken down. Perhaps you’ll want to try a monorail food crawl which would also be a brilliant idea. If it were me then my itinerary may look something like this; katsu cheese curry from Ichi-Ban Boshi at The Galleries, a Reuben Sandwich from Reuben and More inside Westfield at City Centre, a mini tsukemen from Menya at Darling Park, a scoop or 2 of ice cream from Movenpick at Harbourside, nothing from Convention, a Chinese Lamb Burger from the Northern Chinese vendor in Dixon House at Paddy’s Markets and finally that fried ice cream I mentioned from Holy Basil inside Shark Hotel at World Square. Go on, I implore you. #monocrawl2012

Hotel Coronation

5-7 Park Street, Sydney
(02) 9266 3100

Helm Bar

Wheat Road, Sydney
(02) 9290 1571

Pyrmont Bridge Hotel

96 Union Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9660 6996

Charlie Chans

635 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9281 4299

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Filed under CBD, Pub Crawl, Pyrmont, Sydney, Thai Food, Uncategorized

O Bal Tan Sydney

You can’t say you’re back and then not actually be back.

A short while ago I was toying around with the idea of getting myself a cat or a dog. It was one of those things that one seems to go through when they’ve freshly come out of a long term relationship and decide that a bottle of wine or two doesn’t necessarily amount to good company. Thinking to myself how brilliant of an idea it was to replace a void in my life with something that can be so needy I broached the subject with my workmate (who you may remember from past incidents such as hallway bowling and refused vegetable washing… actually as I type this she’s gorging herself on her fifth Easter egg of the morning).

The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Hey so I’m thinking of getting a cat or a dog…

Workmate: Oh yeah how’s your bonsai going? (background: she’d given me a bonsai a couple of Christmas’s earlier after hearing me speak of how much I had wanted one)

Me: Oh F*** I haven’t seen that in over a year (just remembering that I had one)

Workmate: …Please don’t get a pet.

Well there went that idea. She did remind me though that I did have a blog, (which my dear readers you’re currently having the pleasure of reading) and that if I so wanted to invest my time into something then perhaps that wasn’t such a bad idea considering that if I happened to neglect it then it wouldn’t equate to the death of something innocent. Or that I should just go and get a stuffed animal.

After spending a few weeks searching and not finding anything decent in the way of stuffed animals I decided to give this blogging thing another go, which is how I found myself on a cold and windy night within the warm confines of a Korean BBQ joint.

On this particular night I found myself at O Bal Tan. For those not familiar you may know it’s more illustrious queue-laden neighbour Madang which sits adjacent to it in the same alleyway. Now I know they say that a full restaurant generally means a good restaurant and I won’t deny that Madang is pretty damn good, but the repressed hipster inside of me prefers the more relaxed crowds at O Bal Tan and also its use of a charcoal grill as opposed to a gas burner.

obaltan-premeatPanchan Selection and a glowing BBQ. Servings seem tight, but ask for more and the next servings are generally bigger.

Tonight I’m dining with two others and we go for the rather easy option of ‘Combination A’, a cleverly named platter of beef brisket, beef skirt, boneless beef ribs and pork belly. At $67.00 this could easily feed a group of four and as a threesome by meal’s end we are seriously struggling with the meat sweats.

obaltan-meatCombination ‘A’ sizzling away – $67.00 

Accompanying the meat is a decent selection of panchan. Tonight it’s a macaroni salad with what I think is puree’d sweet potato, onions in soy sauce, shredded cabbage in a sesame/ soy dressing and a very good kim chi. We’re also given some dipping sauces for the meat – my favourite being the chilli soybean paste, and a generous serve of lettuce leaves for wrapping said meat.

obaltan-lettuceboatLettuce cups, Hite beer and a failed Instagram upload.

My only regret for this evening is that it’s a school night and I’m convinced by my dining companions to not order one of the huge beer towers that I see some other tables indulging in, and there’s also a veto on soju. Rack one up for the non-alcoholics.

obaltan-wrapshotWrap me up in your love. Or is the love on the inside?

So I know it’s been awhile, in fact that while has been a fair bit longer than the while that went on before my previous it’s been awhile post, but hey seeing as we’re getting into the colder months and I’m generally a winter sports type person let’s just say I was taking a long and flakey summer break.

O Bal Tan Sydney

363A Pitt Street, Sydney
(02) 9269 0299

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Filed under BBQ, CBD, Korean, Sydney