Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chanoma Cafe

We first noticed the beautiful vine hanging down the window, and the light green chairs that appeared gently in the eye sights. So here we are, at this small but crowded Chanoma Café.

We heard this café had a lot of Matcha (green tea) related food, so we decided on this visit to try out their beverage and dessert. The café itself make you feel like you are outdoors, and somewhere near a secret garden.

Matcha Latte $4.50

I couldn't resist the sound of Matcha Latte, the craving for a combination of green tea and milk allowed me to make the decision in less than a second. I enjoyed that vegetal taste initially, with that freshness from the natural green colour. Then the bitterness hits in, with that milky mixture and tiny bit of sweetness. The taste lasted about 10 seconds or so, and I quickly took another sip without much hesitation. If there was something to be noted about, it had to be the amount of bubbles appeared on the surface of the Latte...

Matcha Anmitsu $6.50 (Agar jelly, Matcha soft ice cream, sweet red bean paste, rice cake and brown sugar syrup)

This was a bowl of dessert that Bun had ordered, and he was anticipating the soft ice cream. I loved how chewy the mini rice cake was, and the adorable taste after soaking it in the brown sugar syrup. Bun didn't like the Agar jelly as they had absolutely no taste except for its coldness, so we added those into the syrup as well. The soft ice cream remained a little bitter than the green tea ice creams we have tried elsewhere, but it mixed well with the sweetness of the red bean paste. There were also some small pieces of fruits inside, which compensated the lack of sweetness for Bun.

We felt it was a nice café with quite a fair range of Matcha related desserts and beverage. We actually quite regret that we didn't try the parfait, after seeing the next table ordered a huge one with fancy toppings. If you are not so much of a sugar fan, their soft ice cream can be a quite pleasant afternoon treat.

501 George St, Sydney (Regent place)

Phone number:
02 9767 5465

Opening time:
7 days  9am - late

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Zenya Noodle Bar

On one of those not-so-exciting weekdays, we wandered around the streets of Eastwood together. After going through a few Asian restaurants, we paused in front of Zenya.

It was a quite typical setting inside, with rectangular wooden chairs and tables sitting neatly across the restaurant. We saw a lot of students and business men having their dinner there at the time, and it was quite full too. We looked through the menus briefly until something caught my eyes, and it was the "Mini Ramen & Mini Curry" set at $17.80. You get the mini curry, mini Ramen (with choice of chicken or pork soup), a drink (choices of coke, diet coke, lemonade etc) and a Vanilla ice cream with a choice of topping.
Mini Curry
Curry has always been one of my favourite dishes, especially Japanese curry. When this dish arrived, I immediately inhaled the nostalgic scent. This was a cute little dish, although not too much meat and vegetable pieces can be found. Regardless, I loved mixing it with rice, as it totally evokes your appetite.

Mini Ramen
The bowl was tall but relatively small, and the soup was about half way of the bowl. I noticed the usual sheet of seaweed, egg, spring onions, pork, bean sprout etc swimming comfortably in the pool of pork base soup. The bowl was generally acceptable except for the which I could not understand why it was so salty!! Oh well, there goes the yolk again.

It was probably not the best Japanese restaurants we have been to, but the idea of the combination dishes was brilliant! It gave people (like me!) who usually want to eat a variety of foods a chance to do so. There were also other combinations of 2 dishes and the usual Japanese dishes to select from.

217 Rowe St, Eastwood NSW

Phone number:
02 9874 2122

Opening time:
Lunch: 11.30am - 3pm
Sun - Thu 5.30pm - 9pm
Fri and Sat 5.30pm - 9.30pm

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ramen Ikkyu

On this raining weekday, we decided to visit the Ramen place that we have been hearing over and over again recently. We have gone to some places such as Gumshara and Ippudo, but we were still searching for more Ramen. So when we heard about the irresistible Paitan soup (signature soup) and the unbelievable Cha-Shu (soy braised pork), we knew that this visit will be memorable.

It was located at the end corner inside Sussex centre food court, along with loads of other food stalls and large amount of people. The orders can be taken from these touch screens, unless they had special ones such as the ones we have seen below...

On the night they had 2 special Ramen, and Bun landed his eye on the Hokkaido Ramen with Miso flavour and Salmon topping. I was being indecisive of whether to try the signature Ramen or the Chilli Oil Ramen, but in the end I couldn't resist the sound of "Chilli Oil" and the imagination of the flavours in my mouth.

Hokkaido Ramen with miso flavour and Salmon topping $14.00 (Daily special)

Bun's eyes were locked on these 2 floating Salmon as soon as they arrived on the table, and it came with corns and egg etc. It was simpler comparing to the rest of the Ramen on the menu, and Bun said the bowl made him full and satisfied. I loved how soft the Salmon were cooked, as they seemed like they were going to fall off as soon as you picked them up with chopsticks.

Chilli Oil Ramen $11.50 + Extra 3 slices of Cha-Shu $3.00

As we heard the Cha-Shu here was SUPER good, I have decided to order 3 extras for us as side dish, and I am so glad that I did!!! I was staring at the Chilli Oil floating on top of the soup, and ready to drool from eyes, nose and mouth. The creamy broth actually made the chilliness more tolerable, and I totally enjoyed the tiny bit of sweat drops emerging from my forehead. The noodles were lively, like as if they were dancing around when you chew or break them off. I liked the addition of seaweeds and black fungus as they added more textures to the Ramen. Surprisingly I really loved the egg too (as I usually don't really eat the egg inside Ramen), the soft and flavoursome yolk reminded me of the feelings of "home" from my memory, and the only time I actually enjoyed yolk more than the egg white. But of course, nothing can beat the impression of Cha-Shu here, they were incredible. They truly melt in your mouth, and you will get so addicted to the juicy fat bit.

Free Kaedama
The initial serving of Ramen in the bowl can be a bit small for some people, so if you are still hungry, they allow additional order noodles per each Ramen as long as you present the receipt of your order at counter.

After the meal, I felt like this place was special. That feeling was like...when you walk on a road full of dry grass, and then come across that one little, sweet, and colourful flower standing there firmly as if it had lived a thousand years. Well, there goes another place to add to the favourite list.

PS. Chef Harunobu Inukai was there greeting and chatting with customers, he seemed like such a cheerful person :D ( I really should've got a photograph!!!!)

Shop F1A, 401 Sussex St Sydney NSW

Phone number:
02 9281 0998

Opening time:
7 days, noon-8pm until sold out (150 bowls a day)

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It was Bun's birthday, so we have decided to try Sepia for this special occasion. The restaurant was located near Darling Harbour, so it was nice that we could take a walk after dinner.

The initial impression that Sepia gave me was that the staffs had great manners, and the decorations somewhat combined the Japanese and Western styles. The seats and tables were in dark colours, with merely a small amount of dim lights above our heads and a candle light on our table. I spotted a tree near the back wall, it reminded me of cherry blossom. We were given the beverage menu, and slowly anticipated the upcoming degustation menu for a Saturday night.

(Menu as of Saturday 3rd August 2013)

House made chevre, rye, smoked roe, pickled seaweed

Here was our Amuse bouche, numerous of round roe sat comfortably on the chevre (goat cheese), along with the sprinkle of rye and pickled seaweed hanging around. There's something I love about goat cheese, the creaminess and the freshness of roe seemed to go well together in a funny way.

Sashimi of Southern Blue Fin tuna, steamed Japanese omelette, white soy jelly dashi onion cream, puffed buckwheat, green apple and wasabi

This was such a refreshing little dish, and I love it when sashimi combines with any kind of jelly textures. The slippery soy jelly dashi has gone down the throat with the cooling tuna, together with the spongy omelette, in which they have created such a fulfilling moment. This dish made me feel like I was at the bottom of a deep ocean, searching for that scene where fish and other sea creatures swimming wildly.

Sashimi of bonito, flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, upland cress, green tea, nori

This was quite an unique dish where crispy chicken skin was combined to the seafood flavours. I found the taste was a little complex, especially with the addition of green tea powder. But Bun seemed to love it as he crunch down the chicken like the sound of those Kettle chips.

Yabby, seaweed puree, ginger, shellfish and blood orange emulsion, sorrel

LOL I totally didn't expected this but here we are, a cute little yabby snuggling on the plate. That first bite was totally satisfying along with the great sensations of blood orange emulsion. Although...I personally don't like ginger very much, so when I tasted that subtle hint of ginger, it made me shiver a little.

Sea scallop, sudachi, grain mustard and ox cheek dashi mousse, potato and garlic crumb

This has got to be my 2nd favourite dish for the night, as I loved every single bit of it. It was mushy and creamy, with a beautiful aroma coming from the crumbs. The textures contrasted with each other, making that mouthful more exciting than usual.

Charcoal grilled wagyu rump, sea urchin and wasabi butter, garlic chive mustard leaves, ponzu

TA-DA! My favourite dish of the night, Wagyu beef!!!! Oh god, I can never resist the meat dishes can I? But what I want to say here was...I couldn't believe how perfect the wagyu was cooked. I usually eat median rare, and I found the meat were often not juicy enough. When my teeth sank into this one here, I was really about to cry in tears. Not to mention the sauce made it even better! I think I can just have this for the rest of the night...

Seared Mandagery Creek venison, boudin noir, chocolate crumb, macadamia nut yoghurt blackcurrant, shichimi pepper

Comparing to the Wagyu, the next dish definitely didn't seem as outstanding. I wonder if it was because of the type of meat itself, the venison seemed rather harder to chew off. In general, we didn't have too much memories of this dish, as I think it was because all our attentions have been absorbed with the previous one...

Frozen strawberry, sheep yoghurt sorbet, Champagne cream wild strawberry sherbet

When this dish arrived, we stared at each other and questioned how this was made. I found it very fascinating and I loved the bright colour it came in. When I cracked it open, we found the heaven of creaminess inside. This definitely created a little highlight of the meal, and it has put a smile on both of our faces.

Soft poached meringue, truffle ice cream, hazelnut praline, malt

For some weird reason, I always found the texture of meringue a bit odd. Not surprised that this pre-dessert gave me the same feeling. Although I liked the little pieces of hazelnut praline spread around the meringue, they were quite amusing to chew on.

Soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond, orange and thyme cream, sour cherry sorbet cocoa brandy jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs

So this was the legendary "Winter chocolate forest" that Sepia is famous for, as depicted to be one of the top 10 dessert in Sydney from Good Food Guide. We are not really sure what words and phrases to use here for its description, but it was "different" to what we had pictured. I loved the presentation of it, and they really did remind me of a forest. However, I found a million of different texture, taste and temperature pieces exploding simultaneously in my mouth, in which made me no longer understand what was I suppose to taste? On the other hand, it could be that we were so bloated by the time we reached this last dish, thus the flavours just didn't seem very appealing to us as expected.

PS. The waiter congratulated us for finishing the dishes (YEEEHAAA!)

201 Sussex St, Sydney NSW

Phone number:
02 9283 1990

Opening time:
Tue - Sat  Dinner from 6pm
Fri and Sat Lunch from 12pm
Note: For Fri dinner and Sat lunch and dinner, Sepia offer degustation menu only.

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