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


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


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.


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.


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


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’


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


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


Filed under BBQ, CBD, Korean, Sydney

It’s Been Awhile….

It can be an awkward moment when you try and start a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in awhile. There’s that short uncomfortable exchange of ‘how are you’s?’ and ‘what have you been up to’s?’ – even though  in this age of social networking we all know what really is up. It gets even more awkward when the last time you spoke to that person there wasn’t any suspicion on their behalf that that was most likely going to be the last time you’d be speaking with each other in awhile; that the ‘I’ll see you soon’ coming from your mouth really should have been backed up with a disclaimer of ‘don’t count on it’.

Not being one for confrontation I’d usually just skirt around the issue, act as though we’d only spoken just yesterday and tell of some half amusing anecdote like the one about that time I passed out at a friend’s apartment only to wake up in the morning with a burning need to use the bathroom and then come to the horrible realisation that bathroom access was only through her bedroom which then led me to contemplate doing my business in her kitchen sink instead (it’s ok I went on the balcony).

But alas, perhaps I do owe you my dear readers an explanation for my absence of late. It’s not that I don’t care about you all it’s just that sometimes life gets in the way of a good thing. Lack of motivation, disappointment, excessive alcohol consumption and a questioning of one’s existence had all melded into the perfect storm that was the sorry state I was in until about 20 minutes ago.

A lull can only go on for so long though, so like any good TV hero that’s gone through some major lows in their life I pick myself up as best I can and this is how I found myself in the kitchen on a cold and dreary Thursday night cooking a very soul warming dish of ‘Pan fried fish with a salad of chickpeas and roasted green friends’ (inspired by the awesome heartbreakpie).  

Ingredients  (serves 2)


  • 2 filets of any white fish of your choice
  • 1 small head of broccoli (my local had no broccoli so I just used broccolini)
  • 5 or so asparagus spears
  • Good handful of spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 400 gm can of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 small chillis (finely sliced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely sliced)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Extra virgin olive oil



  • Pat your fish fillets dry and if you suffer a little from OCD like me then trim off any scungy parts just so the fish looks pretty. Season well on both sides.
  • After washing your fresh ingredients (or not if you’re like my workmate) tear off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut them into 5 cm lengths and whack them on a roasting tray along with the broccoli which you would have chopped roughly into the same size.
  • Dress the asparagus and broccoli with the thyme, olive oil, lemon zest, chillis and a little dusting of the smoked paprika, and throw it under the grill for 8-10 minutes turning everything halfway.
  • While the broccoli and asparagus are in the oven, quickly sauté off the spinach in a pan with some olive oil and the finely sliced garlic.
  • Once the greens are cooked combine them all into a bowl with the chickpeas and mix well, seasoning with the juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper and a little more smoked paprika.
  • Set the salad aside and bring a pan up to heat with some olive oil (Ok if you’re like me you’ll probably whack in a whole load of butter as well). Once the pan is up to heat throw your fish in and watch in pleasure as it swims amongst all the butter. Once it’s done take it off the heat and squeeze in the other half of the lemon.
  • Get a piece of fish onto your plate as well as a reasonable amount of the salad and along with a glass of any white wine you’ll have the makings of a decent evening. It gets even more decent if you have another 1 or 2 glasses after that, although drink anymore than that and it may turn into something indecent.


So those of you who are observant enough will notice this is my second post in a row where a bottle of Arrogant Frog wine can be seen in the background. I am in no way loyal to this brand, just its pricing of $10.00 a bottle at woollies liquor, and hey if I can bring a little bit of France into my kitchen then that’s $10.00 well spent I think. Now I’m hoping by this point you’ll have forgotten about the lack of activity on this humble blog of mine and instead remember all those things that you loved coming back here for, but just in case you haven’t I promise I’ll try and make this a more regular thing*.

(Excuse the change in photography direction, I was trying to have new age fun with a vintage feel…. If you’re not a fan let me know, it may or may not effect what I do in the future).

*disclaimer: don’t count on it.  


Filed under Cooking, Sydney, Western Sydney

Cutting the Fat

My workmate bowled me over in the hallway today. We have this ridiculous game where we like to push each other into things, and 95% of the time it’s me doing the pushing, whether it be into a pot plant, stairways, clients or even the various managers offices. Today however, she got me good. Yes before I go on, the workmate is indeed a she and while I would never lay a hand on a female (in fact anyone in general as I see myself as a lover/ not a fighter with a little bit of George Costanza thrown in), I wouldn’t really label her a female; instead she’s more of a tank/ beast. As I write this post my shoulder is still a little sore from where she nailed me and my head’s a little bruised from where it met the wall after said nailing (get your mind out of the gutter).

This whole ordeal has made me realise that maybe I’m not leading a balanced lifestyle after all. I’ve been feeling a little weak and unfit of late and situations such as this and running out of breath after a quick minutes jog aren’t helping matters much. I tried to rectify this awhile back by exercising on a regular basis, and I can proudly say that I even completed the City 2 Surf in a respectable time. However, having done so I’ve rested on my laurels fallen back into a world of sloth and gluttony. Seems like my penchant for anything deep fried and alcoholic is coming back to haunt me.

Last night in recognition of this I prepared myself something erring a little on the healthier side. I pinched a Donna Hay recipe and bastardised it slightly, and needless to say it was pretty tasty (enough to blog about).

Dear readers I present to you my ‘Feeling guilty ‘bout my state of being white bean and friends toasties’.

Ingredients (serves 2)

whitebeantoast - ingredients

  • 400 gm of canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 4 bocconcini cheese balls
  • Handful of rocket
  • 1 Chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread of your choice (I used pre packaged bruschetta)


whitebeantoast - method

    • Get a stick mixer out and throw in your beans, garlic and half of your lemon juice. Blitz it till you get a nice and chunky paste. Give it a taste and season it to your liking with salt and pepper. (If you don’t have a stick mixer, give it a bash on a mortar and pestle)
    • Get your parsley and throw it in to your white bean mix and give it a good stir with a fork/ spoon.
    • While you’re doing this toast your bread until it’s nice and charred.
    • To prepare the toasties, get your toast and smear with a generous portion of the white bean mix. Throw on a few rocket leaves, a few tomatoes, a slice of prosciutto and tear the bocconcini over it.
    • Simple as that and if you’re like me you’ll want to sprinkle some of the chilli over it along with a good drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice (wow all of Jamie Oliver’s favourite things).

whitebeantoast - finished2

By this point you’ve probably realised it’s not the healthiest thing you’ve ever made and seeing as you’re just in time to catch NCIS LA on TV you might as well crack open that bottle of white you had lying around (i.e. you bought with the intent of eating with the meal) and pat yourself on the back for not having succumbed to ordering that pizza you were seriously thinking about an hour earlier. Go on… you deserve it.


Filed under Cooking, Italian, Western Sydney

Kura – Pyrmont

kura - kura

Did you know that Sydney has some secret underground tunnels? Right underneath Hyde Park, around St. James station lies a criss cross of unused tunnels that were slated for use with lines that never went into commission. Later it was used during world war II as some kind of bomb shelter or something and more recently in 2008 when Sydney was going through a drought crisis there were plans to access water in a 10km long section of tunnel for recycling purposes. Even more recently however, there’s been some kind of monster/ demon lurking in there. Nobody knows what it really is (although I suspect the government may know more then they’re letting on) as the only footage seen of it looks like some shady zombified version of an Eastern European male that was of course captured in darkness.

I found all this out the other night when I was watching ‘The Tunnel’ (don’t worry I haven’t revealed too many spoilers), which just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity is based off real footage meaning everything you see actually happened. During the course of the movie I may have been heard ragging on the film in order to lighten the mood, because secretly I may have been a little scared.

Later that night while asleep I dreamt of demons with sharp teeth,  wearing red jumpsuits breaking through my bedroom door and lunging towards me. I dreamt of them trying to claw at my face and I dreamt of myself grabbing them by the necks and pushing them out the door. I also dreamt of myself having somehow ripped off one of their legs and beating them with said leg. I woke up a little sweaty, but with a kind of relief. Relief mostly because I always thought that in these kinds of situations, my inner George Costanza would come shining through, and I’d be the first one running out the door leaving everyone else behind me. The dream suggested there was some hope for me yet.

I don’t know what it is but when I think of fighting monsters and whatnot I usually think of Godzilla, and thinking of Godzilla leads me onto thinking of Japanese food; so after a night of fighting demons what better to way gain my strength back then with a steaming hot bowl of Japanese curry and rice; and this my dear readers is how I find myself at Kura.

Most people know of Kura’s other branches in Chinatown (near Market City and 1 Dixon Place), but I recently discovered their other outlet here in Pyrmont and what a little gem it is. The menu here is slightly different to the others (from what I can remember) but it’s all the better for it.

kura - tunatatakiTuna Tataki

The tuna tataki here looks good enough to get my non sushi/ sashimi loving diners into giving it a go. I’m kind of sad that they do as that means there’s that much less for me. Seems like my plan of ordering something that no-one else would like has backfired on me on this occasion. The tuna is clean and the salad bed it’s presented on provides a pleasing crunch and zinginess.

kura- deepfriedoysterDeep Fried Oysters

I love anything deep fried. There’s something so right about a food item that’s been crumbed and scorched in hot oil till it resembles something the Colonel would be proud of, no matter how wrong everyone else is telling you it is. The deep fried oysters here are one of my favourite things to eat in Sydney at the moment. I could do without the nanban sauce though and go for some Tabasco instead. Believe it or not the oysters are incredibly juicy and soft inside their coating.

kura - katsu curryChicken Katsu Curry

The Katsu curry here is one of the better ones I’ve had in Sydney and reminds me of the curry houses you find scattered around Tokyo train stations. The curry has been stewed with carrots and other veggies and the coating on the chicken is satisfyingly crunchy. The portion size itself satisfies one diner’s wish of eating something bigger than his head. The chicken itself remains tender and goes down really well with an ice cold glass of Asahi…. Or 3.

kura - asahi

If there is anything this dream has taught me is that monsters/ demons have no emotions whatsoever so there’s little point of running away or reasoning with one. It’s not like an argument at a bar where it can easily be dealt with by offering to buy the protagonist a drink or by simply blaming it on someone else; no, when faced with the supernatural its best to take your chances and tackle them head on, and when fighting the forces of evil you need to have the necessary sustenance that a few lettuce leaves and heirloom tomatoes will not help you with in this carb conscious world. Deep fried with a side of carbs is the way to go.

141 Harris Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 7944


Filed under Japanese, Pyrmont, Sydney, Uncategorized