Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chat Thai - Westfield Sydney

If I could use 3 words to describe Chat Thai, it would be lively, delightful and approachable. Winning many awards for its sweets and being a popular stop for cheap eats, Chat Thai tables become more and more demanding as time goes on.
The restaurant was casual, welcoming, and full of energy all around the place. You can easily walk in and find something that captures your attention. Like the tints of yellow colours, the odd decorations on the wall or even the cup like below...
 I found this quite amusing to be honest, as usually you would expect a plain glass or plastic cup to contain water. Those patterns fascinate me, and they really made me felt like I'm in the middle of Bangkok with revolving sounds of friendly Thai locals.

You just can't help it but to stare at the yellow colours that stood out on the tables!

I can tell you this straight, this was probably one of the very few times where I had no clue of what am I going to pick from the menu. Why? Because I wanted to eat everything!!! As for sweets-lovers, I guarantee that when you land your eyes on the wide selection of desserts, your brain will become malfunctioned!

Watermelon Blend $5.00

This drink was very cool and refreshing. Perhaps you will need this if the table is going to be bombarded by spicy dishes.

Todt mun goong gaeng keaw $16.00
fried green curried prawn mousseline, drizzled with pickled plum sauce

The starter was a surprise, as we didn't expect the serving portion to be so generous. The prawns were quite big for a bite, and they were beautifully cooked. The crust was thin and crunchy with a moist core of prawn, and the addition of chilli sauce just fully brought out the flavours.

Curries & Soups:
Gaeng daeng bped $20.00
red curry of roasted duck with pineapple and holy basil

Beware, this dish is HOT! I found the initial taste wasn't too chilli, but it gradually builds up. Soon you will find the chilliness swirl up like hurricane in your mouth, and yes they do burn! I dare you to try those lychees hiding around the basils! They were like spicy bombs that explode instantly! The only thing was that there were only few small pieces of ducks which wasn't enough for 100% satisfaction.

Bangkok Wings $13.50
lightly battered and fried chicken wings

I can't let go of fried food, and fried chicken wings was irresistible. You get quite a big bowl full of chicken wings, and it was a decent amount to make you burp sooner than you think. Dip in that chilli sauce! You will love it!

Khao nieaw sangkaya $4.50
sweet coconut milk infused sticky rice and coconut custard

We had a hard time trying to decide what dessert to get, everything seemed good by their descriptions. So finally we came up with this one wasn't too bad. The sticky rice was as good as it could get, and the layer of coconut custard was gentle on the taste bud. But I will definitely come back here to try some other desserts in the future!!

What to conclude about Chat Thai? It suits people who like crowd, who love noise, who totally adore vibrant atmosphere! If that's you, this is the place to go for some good food at prices that make you smile. If not? There are plenty of other choices on the same level.

Level 6, Market Street
Westfield Sydney

Phone number:
(02) 9221 0600

Opening hours:
Open everyday
Lunch: 10am - 5pm
Dinner: 5pm - 10.30pm

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Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This restaurant had a really relaxing atmosphere, where you will hear classic music as soon as you walk in. The place was spacious and we were one of the first few customers to enter so it felt even bigger with the empty tables. We arrived about 6pm on a lazy Sunday night to try out the Early-bird special for 6-course menu, it was at $55pp where usually at $68pp (with wine for $90pp where usually at $113pp).

Oh don't we all love complimentary dish? The one from Waqu was actually quite cute, a small crunchy pastry with nuts inside to delight the night.

Jerusalem Artichoke soup, mushroom puree

When you see this soup served in a cocktail cup, it just makes you want to sip it down straight away. Although the use of a spoon will help to build up the indulgence of  flavours and allow you to become gradually addicted to the creamy taste. There was a hint of sweetness, and the warmth will circulate around your mouth within that spoonful of heavenly soup. 

Prawn + Asparagus + Yuzu
asparagus puree, yuzu sauce + powder, prawn + scallop shinjo, crispy prawn chips

This dish was full of different elements and textures, but it worked quite well together. I loved how refreshing the yuzu sauce and powder tasted, along with the plump prawn and scallop shinjo that fit perfectly into your bites. The only thing I found was a bit of fishy flavour with the prawn chips, although it was indeed very crispy.

Chicken + Duck Terrine
celeriac sauce, fig jam, sherry vinegar marinated grape

This fine looking French forcemeat was lying flat on the plate, together with the sauces and fruits looking like heavy rain drops. I wasn't a big fan of cold dishes but this one wasn't too bad, very faint taste with occasional peppery disruptions.

For course four, you will get a selection between the Pan fried Barramundi or the Poached Snapper:

Pan fried Barramundi
black sesame sauce, butter + bread sauce, smoked bacon foam, sauteed shimeji, 52°C cooked spinach 

What I found very exciting about this course was the foamy substance and the spinach. The foam created that curiosity to find out what's really hidden underneath them, and you wonder how tender would the first piece of Barramundi be. As for the spinach, just as what you can expect, it was so soft and almost melts instantly in your mouth.

Poached Snapper
white wine sauce, clam mirin cream, diamond shell clam, leek and potato mousseline

Funny how I found the supplementary food on the plates have actually stood out more than the main part for both of those dishes. I saw the Snapper as quite ordinary, but I totally loved the clam with the sprinkle of crab meats! It was so fresh and delicate which left you wanting more.

For course five, you get a selection between three dishes including Roasted Duck, Three times cooked pork loin, and the Tajima full-blood Wagyu sirloin.

Tajima Full-blood Wagyu Sirloin ($8 surcharge)
eggplant puree, white balsamic capcicum sauce, seasonal vegetables

This was definitely one of the highlights on the night, it totally deserves the extra surcharge. The meat was medium rare, and a mouthful of juice would squeeze out immediately after the chomp. I would highly recommend this luscious dish to everyone who loves Wagyu.

Roasted duck
red wine sauce, parsnip puree, beetroot crumble

I would say I loved the presentation of this dish. With the combination of vibrant colours and the dusty texture of beetroot crumbles, it was almost like a piece of abstract artwork. Although frankly speaking, I thought the duck itself could be better than this, perhaps more succulent?

Green Tea + White Chocolate Mousse
strawberry sorbet, cassis + ganache, coconut + tapioca sauce

For all the dessert-lovers out there, may I introduce you to the other highlight of the meal? This green tea and white chocolate mousse was unbeatable! The mousse itself was placed firmly and it reminded me of this Japanese dessert called "Yokan" (羊羹),  which is very smooth and rich. The strawberry sorbet and the scatter of fruit pieces were there to cool off and dilute the rich flavour of the mousse.

We enjoyed this dining experience alot, and we found the proportion was perfect. However, for those who have a big appetite, you could find yourself still hungry after all 6-courses. Thus you may like to order some tea or more desserts such as Macaroons after this, and they will have a separate menu ready for you.

*Please note that this special rate applies before 6.45pm on Tue, Wed, Thu and Sun only, it allows a maximum of 6 people per table and all food orders must be placed before 7pm. For further information regarding to other conditions and current menus, please check out Waqu's website.

*Menu changes according to season, the above is winter menu.

308 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest NSW

Phone number:
(02) 9906 7736

Opening hours:

Thu - Sun from 11am

Tue - Sun from 6pm

Closed on Monday

reservations can be made on

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Waqu on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Assiette (CLOSED 2013)

Assiette is a French/Modern Australian restaurant located at the mysterious suburb of Surry Hills in Sydney. The restaurant has won chef’s hat consecutively in the past 3 years and no doubt it lived up the reputation with high standard food at affordable cost. The restaurant’s appearance was rather secluded and its exterior seemed like a residential house. But people say you can’t judge a book by its cover, immediately after you open that entrance door, you’ll feel the elegance and warm welcome like sunshine on an amazing summer afternoon.

What our first impression about this restaurant was the immediate visual impact of its decorations on the wall, they are so unique and mischievous. Also the gentle surrounding was noticeable, where some couples were enjoying a romantic date, or groups of charming people laughing and celebrating their intimacy.

The tables were set in a classy manner, waiting to present one of the most memorable dining experience in town. We then settled on the choice of Degustation menu ($105 or $170 with wine match) with high anticipation.
The meal started with a round bread roll, crispy and just the right size to appease the empty stomach a little.

Sashimi of scampi with Yuzu vinaigrette and shiso

First dish was a quick one, where the sweetness and sourness of Yuzu combined with the coldness of scampi to leave the tongue tingling a bit afterward. It was almost like inhaling a smooth breeze while sitting at Fish market, where stimulating senses slowly kicks in.

Pyengana on toast with Jerusalem artichoke, mushrooms, asparagus and Pedro Ximenez

My favourite out of all! Such simple component of Pyengana cheese on toast has turned into a masterpiece by adding the Jerusalem artichoke to form a magical hint of saccharine taste. When you sink your teeth into the toast, the sound of its crunchiness just fully heightened your appetite.

Kombu cured Hiramasa kingfish with oyster beignet, black sesame and dashi jelly

The Hiramasa kingfish had a firm texture, and served with rich and clean tastes. One only thing to mention is, it has a higher fat content. The dish was arranged and presented beautifully with a clear and colourful look.

Seared mackerel with Avruga, cucumber, cauliflower puree and dill emulsion

When this dish arrived, it instantly reminded me of a peaceful garden with trees, grass and rocks. The Seared mackerel was tender and everything else has turned out well. Although some may find the dill emulsion can be a wild card and may or may not like it on your tongue.

Panfried mulloway fillet with octopus, chorizo, cous cous and saffron mayonnaise

I found this dish was quite interesting as I often don't get much opportunities to eat meat along with seafood, especially with the addition of Indian and North African flavour. With the moist chorizo, the chewy octopus, and the delicious mulloway fillet sat on top of the cous cous, there goes an instant flame on the plate.

Rangers' Valley Wagyu bavette with beef cheek, kohlrabi, broccolini and shitake caramel

This was a very fulfilling dish but can be abit greasy if you eat it continuously. I had a funny feeling toward this dish, where I found the initial bite was superb but gradually decrease its attractiveness. Although I have to say I did enjoy the tempura broccolini at the top.

Pre dessert - orange sorbet
It was nice and cool and gets rid of any unnecessary flavours that are left in your mouth.

Bitter Chocolate cake with chestnut puree, raspberries and vanilla ice cream

Not sure whether it was because we had too much expectations on dessert, or was it the idea didn’t burn into our minds that much. I thought it had a creative mixture of sweetness, sourness and bitterness, but there are definitely other desserts out there that can beat this one.

Banana flavoured Marshmallow (complimentary)

The marshmallow was very spongy, and the banana flavour was satisfactorily spread over the surface.

The staffs were polite and cheerful from beginning till the end, and we see everyone walked out of that door with smiles on their faces. So I would recommend this restaurant to others, perhaps not the best degustation, but certainly a top valued one.

*Menu changes according to season

48 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW

Phone number:
(02) 9212 7979


Opening hours:

Thu & Fri 12pm - 3pm

Wed - Sun from 6pm

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Assiette on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Din Tai Fung (World square - CBD)

If you love steam buns, you should visit Din Tai Fung. It’s a steam bun paradise, where they are made with perfect measurements and unforgettable tastes.

How many of you went inside on your first visit and started staring at those decorations on the wall? I know I did. You simply can’t ignore the steamers, in various sizes, facing the customer tables to form a unique pattern. As well as the multiple number of spoons stuck onto the wall and almost seemed like tadpoles swimming in the pond.

Hot and sour soup (small) $5.80 (regular) $9.80
We chose the small bowl of hot and sour soup to start the meal, it immediately aroused our appetite with its thickness and blast of flavour. One spoonful after another, the small bowl of soup was gone after 5 minutes. 

 Shanghai style drunken chicken $10.80

Now if you are a fan of the typical Chinese cold dishes as appetizers, you might enjoy the drunken chicken. But for me...I never understood the art inside the liquor-flavoured chicken, so my first bite was full of bitterness that froze onto my tongue.
Fried calamari with dipping sauce $9.80

Oh the fried calamari, how unusual to select this on the table inside Din Tai Fung? But it turned out quite tasty. The golden crust combined flawlessly with the sauce, and the calamari was very easy to chew and swallow.

Shrimp and pork Wonton with Tangy sauce and Dry noodle $13.80
At first we thought this was going to be chilli by the scent, but it ended up not as chilli as we thought and you can probably survive even after drinking the whole bowl of soup. What I discovered was a strong taste of Chinese prickly ash or something similar, it gradually burns onto your taste bud.

Steam Pork dumpling (6pcs/8pcs) $10.80/$12.80 – made to order
Finally, the legendary steam buns have arrived. We felt like the wait took a century, but good things always come last right? You have to becareful with the way you use your chopsticks on this one, the weight of the broth inside the buns cause it to wobble as you pick them up. When it lands safely onto your spoon, get ready for the ultimate pleasure. You can bite a small hole and drink up all the broth, and then gulp the whole bun when the broth is almost drained.

One thing we always notice are the waiters, they can carry so many layers of steamers in one go. You just want to hold your breath as they walk pass by you with the top layer sliding off the edge by 1cm!

The other thing about Din Tai Fung is that you can see the actions for making steam buns, every staff seems so dedicated to their work. Suddenly it makes you feel special, knowing the fact each of these buns are made thoroughly just for you.

In the end you may find Din Tai Fung is a little bit expensive comparing to other similar places, but I would still recommend you going there at least once, and just for the steam buns!

Address: Level 1, Shop 11.04
644 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone number: (02) 9264 6010

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 11.30am - 2.30pm
Sat-Sun 11am - 3pm

Mon-Wed 5.30pm - 9pm
Thu-Sat 5pm - 9.30pm
Sun 5pm - 9pm

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Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon