Tag Archives: Sydney

Kiroran Silk Road.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Kura – Pyrmont

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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.

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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.

Kura
141 Harris Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 7944

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Filed under Japanese, Pyrmont, Sydney, Uncategorized

Makan @ Alice’s

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It’s been 7 years, 180000 kms, 4 sets of tyres and now you’re going away, I’ll miss you so much and I don’t know what to say, I should get over you, I’m getting something better but right now that’s not the case…

I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, just sitting there in a crowded room minding your own business; even then I knew you were the one for me. You weren’t what people would call typically stunning, but to me you couldn’t have been any more perfect. I remember thinking to myself I had to have you, that at that moment nothing else mattered until I could feel you in my arms, caress you in only a way that two beings so intertwined with each other can.

Since then we’ve shared so many experiences together. You’ve helped me grow as a man, but I feel that over time you’re putting up with my behaviour has been detrimental to your health. I’ve noticed lately you’ve been looking a little more tired, and it pains me that I can’t afford to spoil you in ways that you deserve. Perhaps this is why we’ve grown apart. Perhaps this is why I found myself getting my head turned by others. Perhaps this is why I’ve found someone else.

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, to look you in the eye and tell you I still love you…

I can’t do this to you anymore. You’ve been far too good to me, you deserve to be with someone who can treat you better, so today I’m letting you go.

Did I disappoint you or let you down ? Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown? Because I saw the end before we’d begun, yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won…

alices - tinoThere’s always be a spot in my heart reserved for you

So here I am at Makan at Alice’s in Thornleigh on a cold and dreary Thursday evening to say goodbye and enjoy one last moment together.

I’d been meaning to go to Alice’s for awhile now after hearing so many good things about it but never really found the opportunity. Now I didn’t mean for my second Friday post in a row to be about Malaysian food but when you’re going through a traumatic experience, sometimes what you really need is something you know.

alices - rotiRoti Canai + Chicken Curry – $13.80

I’m a huge fan of the roti at Mamak. Judging by the lines and the fake disdain by some people who’ve had their indie favourite brought into the mainstream, who isn’t? I don’t think I’ve had a better roti on a consistent basis even when I was in Malaysia – although that’s not saying much as my travel companion was going through a major bout of food poisoning so we were sticking to ‘safer’ foods. The roti canai at at Alice’s however is incredible. It’s crispy and breaks off into shards and the generous serving of kari ayam is nice and rich without being overburdened by coconut milk. Best roti ever? Quite possibly (although it is abit pricey).

alices - rendangBeef Rendang – $16.80

On a cold and rainy night the Beef Rendang more than hits the spot. There’s a heady smell of beef, coconut milk, lemongrass and the meat is so succulent and tender. The sauce is rich and isn’t watered down at all. Best beef rending ever? Quite possibly.

alices - assamcurryAssam curry fish – $22

Our last order is the assam curry fish and instantly I’m taken to south east asia. I can see the hustle and bustle of the hawker centres and better yet I can see a cute nondescript south east asian girl handing over an ice cold glass of beer. Unfortunately Alice’s is BYO only and I hadn’t thought of bringing anything to make the fantasy a little closer to reality. The tamarind comes through along with the heat this dish packs a slightly zingy punch – although if you’re not a fan of strong mackerel type flavours I wouldn’t recommend this. Best Assam Fish Curry ever? I can’t judge that, first time I’ve tried it.

alices - tehtarikTeh Tarik + Kopi

I walk out of the restaurant, take away in hand and I see you there just standing in the rain. Just like a scene from The Notebook you’re looking so sweetly vulnerable. Am I making the right choice? It’s far too late for this. This isn’t goodbye, this is the end.

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Makan @ Alice’s
262 Pennant Hills Road, (Entry on Bellevue Road) Thornleigh
(02) 9484 8288

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Filed under Malaysian, Sydney, Thornleigh

A Party With Food

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Costume parties. Who doesn’t love them? Well for starters… Me. Yes that’s right I’m no fan. Call me a hater or whatever else but I dread the thought of having to think of something to wear, worried that if I dress like this does it then reveal some deep seeded desire to be a superhero in tights, or if I dress like that do people then think I have some strange perversions. It’s a tricky thing this dressing up biz, go a little too far left of centre and instead of being the ‘talk of the party’ (positive tone), you’ll instead be ‘the talk of the party’ (dun dun duuun tone). Above all else I hate that by being in costume, this usually then gives people some licence to automatically act like a d*ckhead, like for example by roughing up your hair (and do you have any idea how long I spend on my hair? It’s a work of Elvis inspired art).

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But… If there’s one thing I hate more then a costume party (actually there’s many things but figure of speech… keep up with me here), it’s a party pooper. The person who dresses as they would normally and comes out with the default ‘I’m dressed like me – ‘cause I’m a hero’. You know what I mean, there’s one at every party. So during this past weekend when I had the chance to attend a costume party I decided to put some effort into it. I left my inhibitions at the door (or perhaps suppressed them with a few too many bottles of beer), went ballistic with the amount of product in my hair and worked the room like the charmer I am.

Costumes and inebriation aside I was also tasked with catering the party as best I could, so here my dear readers I’d like to share my endeavours with you (excuse the picture quality, my camera went AWOL and found itself in the hands of a drunk version of me).

rochellesparty - menu

I kept the menu fun and simple and I salad aside I tried to keep everything handheld.

rochellesparty - banhmi

I made the Banh Mi by poaching some chicken breasts in coconut milk with some lemongrass, ginger, garlic and onions. After allowing it to cool I shredded it all up and put inside the baguettes with some kewpie sriracha mayo, julienned pickles carrots (all done by me – impressed?), cucumber, coriander and a liberal dash of maggi seasoning.

rochellesparty - spammusubi

People tend to think of Spam as some gross concoction of pork by products, and it really is but in this age of trendy nose to tail eating you can’t get anymore nose to tail then Spam. You could say Spam is a little ahead of its time, the hipster of the meat world. Anyway slice it up and fry / grill it and you’ll wonder how you ever hated it. Here I did it Hawaiian style and simply put it with some sushi rice and tonkatsu sauce, all wrapped in seaweed to make a Spam Musubi.

rochellesparty - reuben

I love a good Reuben sandwich but I was too lazy to cook up a corned beef (also I didn’t want the whole place to smell of beef) so I just used some canned corned beef and turned it into an almost crispy hash. Luckily most of the people didn’t really seem to mind and these were a hit. To the corned beef I added swiss cheese, sauerkraut and some thousand island dressing.

rochellesparty - greeksalad

I was most proud of my greek salad. I simply took the best bits of what I found on the internet so it’s a simple mix of cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta, oregano, balsamic, a liberal coating of olive oil and best of all some pulled ciabatta pieces that I’d grilled off in the oven. The ciabatta just added a whole other dimension. I can thank George Calombaris for that one.

rochellesparty - antipasto

The Antipasto was a nice little filler. I just wacked on some pepperoni, mortadella, bocconcini, stuffed olives, baby roma tomatos and some chickpeas I marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and dried chilli flakes.

I also made some mini hot dogs and burgers which I didn’t manage to get any pictures of but by all accounts the burgers were pretty good (didn’t get any feedback on the hotdogs… maybe its best they don’t get a mention). I think it has something to do with my killer burger mince recipe which I’ll share with you all at a later date.

rochellesparty - cake

I didn’t do the cake, this was provided by the lovely appl3pie, but how cute does it look?

So I haven’t really changed my opinion on costume parties, I still feel all those things I said previously but I can’t say I didn’t have any fun and if you are going to act like a French shower then at least you have an alter ego to blame it on. As for who I went as? Well I’ll leave you with a pre-party teaser to figure that one out for yourself.

rochellesparty - quidditch

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Filed under Cooking