Sad goodbye to Saigon Lane …

Hi Everyone,

Hiatus again yes … sorry for the tumbleweed – I recently became an Auntie so life has been super exciting! … been focusing on my pole goals … AND change of season means I’ve been hit with the flu + chest infection … you name it!

But it doesn’t mean I forget about where and what I have been eating. Inner West is always best … A few months back I had two back-to-back weddings (Friday and Saturday) … 2 joyous couples and one adjoined hangover in tow haha. By Sunday rolled around, I was ready to hibernate in my doona abyss … My Fiancé had other ideas by booking in dinner using a Groupon Voucher for Saigon Lane. These tend to be a hit or miss but this is a HIT in every way …

Formerly occupied by MissChu – the company was overtaken & rebranded with a refreshed menu end of last year – welcome to Saigon Lane.

** NOTE: please join me on this journey however it seems that Saigon Lane recently closed down & has gone into liquidation ** – sad face.The little restaurant is inside a little house – giving that welcoming homely vibe with the cute colourful decor, rustic tables, bamboo steamers hanging from the ceiling & colourful graphic posters/stamp artwork, the place is a splash of modern with the dabbles of tradition. There is a cool outdoor courtyard in Glebe Point Road or head on in and you can spot quaint bar at the end.The Groupon voucher was great value as it included:

  • 2 cocktails
  • 3 entrees
  • 2 mains

The menu was plentiful and has a nice selection to choose from! So let’s kick start with the cocktails (we had a choice from 2 on the menu and decided to try one of each) – both were very similar in taste & spices & had that refreshing zing! The pink grapefruit was actually sweeter (I wasn’t expecting that as I don’t like grapefruit bitterness) and the presentation was just so fun, eclectic & elegant.

• Saigon G&T – gin, spiced syrup, juniper syrup & spice bitters, tonic, lavender bitters & tonic syrup.

• Spice Pink Grapefruit G&T – grapefruit syrup, tonic syrup, gin, spiced syrup, tonic and strained pink grapefruit.For the entree/starters we were able to select from rice paper rolls and baos as well!

Most definitely my favourite entree dish was the Green Rice Fried Tiger Prawns with sriracha mayo, lettuce wraps & fragrant herbs. Just look at the puffs of rice coating the prawn! The trick is to grab a lettuce cup, some stems of fresh herbs and envelope the prawn inside. Carefully dip in the mayo & sauce – WOW – I love the freshness of the greens but then the crunch of the puffed rice & finish with the bite of the juicy prawn.Not to say that there aren’t amazing dishes because there truly are! We also enjoyed the “Roll up, Roll up” rice paper rolls – Slice raw Tuna, pickled vegetables, vermicelli, lettuce, sesame seeds, coriander, mint & soy wasabi dressing. First word: freshness … The flavour combo was simple & just worked … and really love the fact that the tuna was a nice generous chunk.Bow to the Bao! I love baos … For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a soft, fluffy steamed bun that looks like a butterfly shape – stuffed with all sorts of ingredient goodies! Vietnamese Pulled Duck with hoisin, pickled vegetables & herbs. Meanwhile look at this bao – overfilled & plentiful. The soft bun is not chewy & melts in your mouth so you can taste the delicate duck & zing of pickled vegetables.Must have mains – to share of course! … Hello Pork Hock! Crispy Pork Hock with sweet sour glaze, crispy shallots, coriander & red rice … Succulent pork? CHECK … Crispy Skin? CHECK … Melt in your mouth? CHECK … The red rice has a nice neutral balance with a nice bite (reminded me of brown rice) to the richness of the pork.I love a delicious curry and note that I am very fussy … It can’t be too spicy … Too heavy … Chicken Curry with vermicelli noodles, long beans, mushroom, chilli jam & herbs. Hands down was one of the best curries I’ve ever had & enjoyed. It gave me childhood memories of yellow curry flavours.. The chicken was cooked tender, the thin vermacelli noodles were light & delightful to slurp, the addition of vegetables were well balances (especially the mushrooms – had a burst of curry sauce with ewach bite). This was a perfect meal.FINALLY the best part of a meal & the menu … Dessert … When it comes to Asian-fused flavours, you will either love it or think it’s a little bit odd. At the time as I couldn’t decide what to have, in my usual style I ordered two for variation & options.
• Coconut Tapioca with Toasted Coconut & topped with seasonal fruits – I love tapioca & the texture of the little soft chewy bursts with the hint of coconut … topped with fresh pineapple and toasted crunch of coconut shreds.
• Lemongrass & Lime Leaf Pannacotta – this dessert is something you would be either love or hate. Pannacotta is one of fav desserts – this one was smooth & silly in texture with the dabbles of lemongrass & lime leaf.
It’s very sad to see one of my new favs leave so soon – after all the rebrand only took place late last year … however I am hoping that Saigon Lane will cross paths again soon!

Stay tuned readers for more food adventures plus my creative carrot cake recipe that you will love!

J ❤️

Inside Isola D’Ischia Island

Ciao a tutti!

All weekend I was already thinking about my next blog post, how it’s cooling down and which “Gem in the Inner West” that deserved to be placed in the spotlight … Presenting Isola D’Ischia in Balmain.

Ischia is an Italian volcanic island located in the Bay if Naples sprawled with hot springs, wine, fresh seafood, gardens & ancient sites. A popular destination for local tourists and even internationals from abroad.Isola D’Ischia is an undiscovered gem in Balmain is located further down from the main shopping area (going towards the water) surrounded by a calm residential vibe – this is the place where you can go for a nice, relaxing & delicious meal – all reflected by Ischia’s island. As I enter the place, the “underwater/modern/eclectic” theme is scattered throughout the restaurant from the medusa ceramic head, sea blues, images of Ischia and plants foliage. The restaurant staff are friendly and mostly from the Ischia region – hence they are well armed to give the real authentic flavour experience. Both owners are fairly young – one of them is the chef – and have created an achievement.Now I am proud to say that this is another “Groupon” voucher and the service was absolutely beyond incredible – very attentive, friendly and loved to talk about their passion of this region & the food they offer.

Upon receiving the menu as are able to select a antipasti each, a main each & a dessert each (plus one beverage). We decided that we were both curious about many dishes and decided to share each course … Fresh seafood is something that I truly adore! Being half Sicilian I LOVE fresh seafood dishes. So simple in flavours that there is no need to overcomplicate it …

Upon arriving we received a complimentary bruschetta (crunchy lightly toasted/grilled bread rubbed with garlic, salt & olive oil) topped with freshly diced tomatoes & basil.ANTIPASTI 1 // La Frittura di calamari // salt & pepper calamari with fried zucchini & homemade tartare sauce … What a delectable dish to kick start the eating feast! The calamari was so airy, tasty and you could really tell with the texture, shape & taste that the seafood was fresh and not to mention the batter wasn’t overwhelming … the zucchini paired so well and that tartare sauce – it was homemade and next level delicious.ANTIPASTI 2 // Zuppa di cozze // mussels with chilli, garlic tomato sauce, parsley served with bread … The combination of homemade tomato sauce in its bread dipping goodness was just delicate exquisiteness … the crispy bread cubes added extra crunch texture and the muscles were nice, generously sized & fresh – not over cooked or rubbery … and finished off with a sprinkling of parsley. MAIN 1 // Risotto carneroli // risotto with mussels, clams, prawns, calamari, squid & olive oil. This dish was just so flavourful and risotto simplicity at it’s best!MAIN 2 // Cala Cala “where the mountains meets the sea” // seafood casserole. This was seafood heaven & was borderline soupy – more so of a thick rice casserole. Rich in flavour it was soooo incredibly tasty & a party of seafood bursts.DESSERT 1 // Panna cotta all vangilia with strawberry // vanilla pannacotta top with strawberry … I love pannacotta and this is just an Italian classic with the invigorating strawberry sauce on top – very pretty & satisfies the sweet tooth craving.DESSERT 2 // Creama Catalana … My fav dessert from the evening! So similar to a creme brûlée – except it had a thinner crust & tantalising hints of orange.Inner Westies & Sydneysiders – pls look up this gem in Balmain … For really authentic Italian & delightful food … and a trip down Isola D’Ischia …

Isola D’Ischia Ristorante
191 Darling St
Balmain NSW 2041
Ph: (02) 9818 8841
https://www.facebook.com/Ristorante-Isola-DIschia-429228110557902/
http://www.isoladischia.com.au/

J ❤

First Italian Wintery Xmas … Part 1 (the flight)

Here I am waiting to catch my flight on route to Ferrara, Italy … The last time I went over to Italy or any sort of holiday I promised myself that –
1) I would blog more
2) I would blog whilst on holidays

The name of my blog implies strictly what I am … “I am Very Busy.”
It makes me wonder now … Is this some pre-determined fate that I have forever instilled into my life? (possibly the lack of sleep is making me overthink) … Often I  wonder how many people read my blog posts and whether I would really care if this was just for me … I always had the thought that the moment that I made my blog a “chore” then it would be taking the fun out of it … This is the moment where it could possibly topple over & just cave OR I could just keep going and not be so worried about how many followers or readers I have. This is probably one of the most thought provoking and raw posts I’ve ever written … Today I remind myself that I am not a quitter & I should never give up … No matter how busy I am!

Moving away from my rant …

Yes, here I am – Dubai Airport, 6am, ordering McDonalds breakfast that provides oddly enough table service as I recall my tearful farewell to my glowing pregnant sis (I’m going to be an Auntie for the first time YEY) and to my strong & beautiful mother – my first Xmas away from my Sydney family …

Mrs Fields cookies in tow & whilst wearing my kids-sized Timberlands, I eagerly await to board … All in prep for the remaining long haul (I’ve lost count of many hours now) … plus the weather shock I will receive on the other side. I am more of a “chasing the Summer” type of gal … From Aussie Xmas Summer – stinking hot, cold beers, BBQ, Xmas ham, thongs (on your feet of course) to Italian Xmas Winter – freezing cold (like next level), mulled wine, salami, more salami, dessert, magical medieval city in lights.

I’ve been thorough with packing – down jacket, wool coat, many many sweaters, tights, snow boots, timberlands, beanies, gloves & scarves … GIFTS – lots of gifts (please let me not forget anything) AND I have mentally prepared myself for the fact that it’s gonna be really COLD. Excited for this and it will be an adventure … Not only I will be reunited with my boyfriend (he flew a week ahead of me) but eager to spend time with his family & friends. Ferrara is already one enchanted city that captured my heart … I know it’s about to do it again!

Wish me luck!!!

J ❤ xo

A delightful night at Norsk Dor

Hi All …

Happy Monday and hope everyone had a lovely weekend! 🙂
A lot of people tend to compare Sydney & Melbourne when it comes to the hidden bars & restaurants – it’s the fun of trying to figure out if you have gone to the right place and also the journey of finding the “hidden/secret entrance.”

Norsk Dor is Scandinavian themed with rustic table settings, fur draped chairs, folliage, cozy lighting … But what made the experience fun was the journey  you took as you find the narrow doorway between a small cafe & office building … then walk down the stairs with “creatures of the night” sounds … taking more stairs you see a picture of a deer … and a random doorway that you have to press a buzzer … then Norsk Dor presents itself to you …At Norsk Dor the food is a “daily set menu” instead of “a-la-carte” according to the local produce available … My boyfriend picked up on this offer as a Groupon – usually such vouchers means low-level service & you feel like some leftover peasant in the corner crappy table. I think what most bar/cafes/restaurants need to remember is that regardless of how much you pay, often Groupon-type vouchers are a doorway of awareness for such new, upcoming & hard to find gems! However I need to note that the service here was absolutely outstanding & we were treated so well – staff were so friendly & accommodating.

As the set menu begins, we start with a glass of sparkling wine (light & clean with a clean finish) and a glass of Pilsner Beer (light, a nice balance of bitterness) … Follow me on this journey …
Local Oyster // with cider sorbet.
Fresh oysters are such an acquired taste but I love them & these were of a large generous size. Chilled on ice, place a scoop of the cool cider sorbet … it’s slap in the mouth with its frosty & clean aftertaste …Smoked Cheddar // served with crackers, red grapes and apple chutney.
The smoked cheese was really an interesting spin on the classic mini cheese platter. I never really thought about trying smoked cheese – I would usually select creamy, fruity, salty or something truffley (yes I made up this word) … However this cheese was an curious choice as it had a hint of creamy bite with the smokiness that wasn’t overpowering … Take a cracker (wafer thin crackers tend to allow the topping to shine), a dollop of apple chutney, a grape and then bite. It’s a meshed party of flavours of sweet, smoked & fresh …Bone Marrow // house akvavit, soft herbs and rye bread.
I guess this is one of Norsk Dor’s signature dishes and what I have been been always looking forward to! I am half Filipino so the adventurous side of me is rarely turned off when it comes to trying something different & out of the ordinary. Bone marrow was soooo good in it’s greasy goodness on the dense yet delightful homemade rye bread – the oily creaminess of the marrow is such a “I-want-more-dish” … to the point I was using pieces of rye bread to scrape the last of it. The house akvavit (typical Nordic liquor that’s used as an aperitif or when having big meals) was the final shot, cutting through the palate & oil – making me ready to try the next dish.Swedish Meatballs // brown sauce, dill potatoes & cranberry.
This dish is a must at Norsk Dor (who doesn’t love these meatballs & no it’s not like IKEA). The meatballs were juicy with chunks of cranberries … the potatoes were cut to tender bite size pieces … all topped with fresh sprigs of dill & herbs. Goat’s Cheese // beetroot, honey and forest seeds.
The sweetest beetroot made this dish a little overpowering – I did love the combination of the goats cheese, honey & beetroot – it reminded me of a cheese platter actually. The homemade flatbread added some carb weight to this dish. The beetroot was cooked so well & as it was caramelised, it had a sticky sweet glazed texture. If you are not a fan of beetroot this might not be the dish for you. Gravalax // dill & brown mustard.
Presented in it’s beauty, this elegantly looking plate was a contrast to the colour explosion of the last. Fresh salmon with roe (tick) … plus horseradish type mustard (tick) … simplicity at it’s best – nothing more to say.Venison // celeriac puree, onion & artichoke.
Gamey meat is quite the acquired taste, either you love it, or you don’t. Venison steak was cooked perfectly and quite rare – this is deer if you had no idea. I guess it does make sense to have a gamey animal on the menu. The steak was cut and cooked with a rare centre, it was quite tasty and you could tell that although it reminded of beef, you could tell in the taste that it was actually a wild animal. Celeriac puree (celery root, onion & potato) was nice & creamy and danced alongside the caramelised onion, artichoke and richness of the venison – this is the classic combination of flavours.
Duck Confit // forest mushrooms, parsnip.
This duck dish is every bit beautiful, rustic and nom nom all the way  … the parsnip puree was delicate and didn’t detract from the star – that confit duck. It had the nice crisp skin with the juicy meat right down to the bone (not dry at all). And for me I really enjoyed the various forest mushrooms as they had a nice crunch.Swedish Chocolate Cake // blueberries ice-cream & fresh fruit. Of course there was dessert – what is a set menu without dessert with the accompaniment of a heavenly cocktail!

A refreshing cocktail was what was in want! I ordered the:
• Akavit / Tanqueray gin / mint / citrus – this was easy to drink, not too sweet or tart and light … not to mention it’s soooo pretty!

The cake – it was soooo bizarre as it was essentially like a “Torta Tenerina” Italian chocolate cake (as per my previous post). This Swedish cake called Kladdkaka typically has a crumbly crust and then a gooey centre very much similar to a brownie. Served with fresh strawberries, berries and a blueberry ice-cream this was of generous portion size (note – to share) and the most perfect way to end the Nordic dish journey.Anyway readers, thanks for tuning in again and hope you enjoyed this post! Coming up soon … Charlotte Olympia + a Barbie Doll … BIG meal in Bowral and more trips to Italian Food Heaven!

J  ❤

Norsk Dor
B2, 70 Pitt Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000
(Look for the silver door beside Batch coffee)
www.norskdor.com.au

Ombretta: Sail into Sardinia (wine degustation)

Ciao and Happy Tuesday!

I love to try different wines & food of various Italian regions. My “around the corner” trattoria Ombretta on Glebe Point Road is a favourite loved by locals in the Glebe and Inner west area. Every month this little hidden Italian diamond hosts a regional food & wine degustation night, presenting a spread of about 5 courses – including dessert (note that the menu changes regions each month as whole). Throughout October we are in the region of Sardinia. Located on the west of Italy, this island has developed it’s own dialect/language, culture and cuisine. On the coast of Sardinia the fresh seafood tends to be the main attraction, whereas inland the focus is more on goat, lamb and pork.

Now let me take you on the journey of scenic Sardinia’s cuisine …Salsicetta Sarda e Pecorino Fresco: cured Sardinian Salami with fresh Pecorino cheese served with a Mini Mirto Martini.
The Mirto Martini was a perfect aperitivo (before dinner drink) that had a slight bitter yet sweet aftertaste, pairing up with the crumbly pecorino cheese & authentic salami. Pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese has a very unique taste and a strong scent – this particular Sardinian variation was quite aged with bite. The typical Sardinian salami was a little oily with a firm texture. The pane carasau crackers (which is actually a really thin crispy bread that’s been flattened), mini cured meat & cheese platter was enough to salivate my mouth palate and made me ready for the delectable degustation …
Lasagne Pane Carasau: Sardinian flat bread lasagne with goat ragu served with Lava Falanghina white wine (2010, Beneventano – Campania).
Pane Carasau is a type of flat bread that’s like a cracker. The layers of the lasagne type “sheets” were first boiled so that it was nice and soft – this entire dish was really  a”melt in your mouth” experience. Now that goat ragu – we gotta talk about that … The meat is so tender and has a strong taste (similar to lamb but next level) and as you cut lasagne with your fork, the mouthfuls of everything is just a wave of wonderful … The paired wine with this dish was a delicate white with light acidity.
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Fregola con vongole e bottarga: Sardinian granular pasta with clams and sun dried mullet roe served with Valdifalco Vermentino white wine (2014, Maremma – Toscana).
Such a simplistic dish with the multi-colored pasta (reminded me of rice) had tiny infused bursts of seafood broth flavouring, alongside with the slight hints of the dried mullet roe. The clams were cooked to perfection and the dish as a whole meshed so well, rounding off with a fruity white fragrant wine.
Porceddu con il Mirto: Suckling pig roasted with Myrtle Jus w/red cabbage, pistachio and caramelised apple served with:
• Famille Quiot ‘Les Genarelles’ Ventoux Rouge red wine (2014, Rhone – France) AND
• Pirramima ‘Gilded Lilly’ red wine (2012, Grenache)

Crunchy Pork Crackling – have I got your attention?! … This suckling pig has been roasted so that it’s juicy on the inside whilst maintaining that golden brown crunchy skin … Using the back of my knife I can hear the light “tap-tap” followed by the sound of me biting into the crackly, slightly fatty goodness. The vegetable side was absolutely delicious – the cabbage had a nice fresh crunch and balanced well with the pistachios and the sweetness of the caramelised apple … Pork and apple are a classic match. Both of the matching red wines were just as incredible and had very different qualities – for those who like a more lighter/medium bodied wine (Ventoux Rouge) and more heavy bodied & rich (Grenache).
Sebadas: Pecorino sardo, ricotta and orange zest sweet fried ravioli served with Panorama wines Natasha’s Aromatic dessert wine (2008, Huon Valley – Tasmania).
Dessert … When I spotted this on the degustation menu, I can’t lie and must admit that it was the dish I was looking forward to the most. The ravioli had a beautiful, golden, buttery fried pastry – encased with a exquisite filling of dancing flavours from the melted pecorino, ricotta & orange zest – and a draping of icing sugar … My only complaint: I had to share this plate with my boyfriend! To complement, the dessert wine was not too tart & quite delicate – just enough sweetness to match the complex dish.Anyways readers – the next Ombretta blog post will be the region of Puglia … And keep your eyes out for Charlotte Olympia heaven … A cuisine visit to Ischia (Italy) … And a Swedish degustation at Norsk Dor in Sydney!

J ❤️

Ombretta
355 Glebe Point Rd
Glebe NSW 2037
http://www.ombretta.com.au/

 

 

Heavenly Haven tailors your needs …

Happy Long NSW Weekend readers … Another MONTH has been & gone (NOOOO) and let the new one roll in with daylight savings YEY!

What have I been up to?! … Shopping and eating no doubt … On the Instagram rummage for foodie finds … This place I recently tried out was spotted on Instagram but also a recommendation from my sister.

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously in Surry Hills is located at the back of Central Stn Sydney … The spacious, cool & nautical feel of the place alludes a hip and chilled mood. It’s the place where you turn up for an all day feed & coffee fix at your own leisure … No need to rush. This is every coffee lovers dream – unfortunately this is not for me however I can always try out other tasty delights …
img_2476I started my morning brunch with an iced tea – sweet & refreshing (sorry readers I couldn’t quite recall what the concoction was) and my boyfriend enjoy his morning coffee: a long black with extra aftertaste. The coffee here is apparently the standout served with dried currents.img_2479Next … Here arrives the food! …
Signature Pork Belly Kimcheese Burger: roasted pork belly, kimchi, cheedar cheese, apple, spinach, sesame omelette, radish on a milk bun and garnished with coriander. Milk bun burgers are the BEST – the bread is not too bready & soft … And this burger is packed with multi layered flavours. An asian fusion … from the tenderly cooked pork belly … the packed kimchi punch … freshly grated radish & sprigs of coriander … melted cheese … interesting sesame omelette. Such a WOW dish and the burger has to be split up because there is no way you can top this together without the filling spilling out! It just drips in flavours …img_2480img_2481Fried Chicken: deep fried chicken thigh & drumsticks, sweet potato & quinoa salad, avocado & spinach puree, spicy devil sauce and house baked corn chips. The fried chicken golden crust on the outside was very unique whilst leaving the chicken cooked well (not oily so it doesn’t feeling heavy) alongside with the crunch of the corn chips … The salad adds a freshness alongside with the smooth puree & sprigs of coriander. Only comment would be that the sauce could have been much spicier – you can never have enough heat!img_2482Lastly the signature foodie choice on the menu is the –
“Egg Waffle Series” (authentic Hong Kong recipe)  … “An egg waffle is a spherical egg-based waffle popular in Hong Kong and Macau and is an eggy leavened batter cooked between two plates of semi-spherical cells.” Incredibly tasty when it’s freshly cooked and in this case we tried:
Sexy Me: black sesame ice-cream mochi, black sesame sauce, sesame chips, vanilla bean ice-cream, lemon zest, mint & plain waffle.
This was soooo incredible and I want to try them all … The melting ice-cream on the hot waffle that’s so eggy & delicious … Black sesame everything (very delicate in taste) and I loved the mochi (Japanese type glutinous rice cake) and rounded off with the sesame sauce.
img_2483Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously is HEAVENLY experience and a MUST TRY. For the coffee lovers out there … For the curious eats … For the chilled & cool vibe … Note – best to book on the weekends otherwise there will be a wait especially around brunch time.
img_2486Stay tuned for the next blog post readers and have a fantastic evening!

J ❤ xo

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously
30-34 Chalmers St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 9281 9300
havenspecialtycoffee.com.au

Cat & Mouse Game with Kate Spade

Hello Readers and hope everyone has had a great weekend so far!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post about shopping & fashion … This is a not-so-secret obsession of mine and it brings me as much fulfilment as food.

Kate Spade has been my ultimate favourite for a long time – from wallets, to dresses to handbags & shoes – OH MY! In particular: shoes – if I could eat shoes I probably would, but more delightfully would love to place ever work of art on display … I love shoes for their interesting shapes … I love shoes for their fresh leather scent … I love shoes for the way they make me feel … Walking in style brings a zest of excitement – but to clarify, I am also more than happy to chill in my Kmart slippers at the end of the day.Cat Vs Mouse – who will win?! … I LOVE cats (aka. crazy cat lady) so for me this was a must have … When I saw that Kate Spade released “cat” & “mouse” flats, 2 things came to mind:

1. Which one do I choose?

2. Would it be terrible if I bought them both?

Shopbop has been my shopping app haven for as long as I can remember. I tend to ride shopping waves and it happen to be that day I couldn’t decide and bought both pairs … These shoes are rolled in with a splash of art! … All about the cute detailing – simple flats … Kate “Spade” animal noses, whiskers, suede faces, white cat paws & a gold toe-cap cheese! The best things about flat shoes is that they are simple, comfy and easy to match … Cuteness factor turned up! … Photos to satisfy the visual hunger!Anyways readers please stay tuned – more food to keep you freaking out for more!

www.shopbop.com
www.katespade.com

Jen ❤️ xo

The Tiny Giant’s Big Brunch

Hello to all my readers Australia-wide & beyond! Hope your bellies are filled with deliciousness treats & here we have finally arrived to the Sydney Spring Season! As the weather warms up we feel a little bit more motivated to pry ourselves out of bed for the most important weekend meal: brunch.

I love finding new places in Sydney to try and to the relief of my boyfriend I have been recruiting new “partners-in-foodie-crime” which includes my beautiful sister (and I admit that dragged my boyfriend here too haha). We have decided on a new mini tradition of trying a new place once a month … Trawling all over Instagram we came across Petersham’s The Tiny Giant.
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The little corner nook of heaven is simple, eclectic, rustic & cool. As I probably have mentioned in previous posts, I am allergic to coffee (sigh) but the aroma fills my senses as I walk in and take note of the cronuts in the far back window.
img_1809img_1802The menu is concise and I immediately am drawn to the “Something Sweet” option Famous Brioche Toast: served with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, maple syrup, figs, cinnamon ricotta & topped with fairy floss and a side of aged prosciutto … Now this pretty piece of heaven has the height and heart of a harmonious dish. The brioche is soft and airy & partners well with the lightly whipped cinnamon ricotta … Then you have dabble of various fruit pieces that add a boost of freshness … Finalise this amazement with a perfect pyramid of melt-in-your-mouth fairy floss. I really enjoyed taking small elements from the dish & pilling them on my fork for the “full favour hit” … I added the prosciutto as I am a sucker when it comes to Italian cured meat – the saltiness from this balanced out all the sweetness – however, I could have easily done without.
img_1817Savouring savoury dishes & keeping up with the prosciutto theme, I recently tried out … Pea Smash Parmesan: sourdough toast, burrata cheese, aged prosciutto, basil pesto, parmesan crisp & micro mint. This dish is so creative, complex & captivating! If you want “Something More” this is the dish for you … Building a foundation with toasted sourdough that’s laying on top of the fresh pesto … The big ball of burrata cheese oozing all over … The parmesan crisp as a standing ovation … A perfect pour of peas & the cascading prosciutto pieces. A lavish & generous portion of this dish is a fulfilling feast on the eyes and tummy. It’s an adapted Italian festival of flavours – with the classic match of burrata cheese & prosciutto … distinct taste of the delicate parmesan crisp & the freshness of peas, mint & basil pesto.img_1837Feeling like a burger bun?! Want “Something More” but of a decent, more manageable size portion? … Pulled Pork Bun: slow cooked pork on a brioche bun with fresh slaw, sweet chilli, aioli, confit onion jam & kumara crisps. This dish is of standard size & very amazing … Well balanced and delicate in flavour, all ingredients mesh well without any particular component yelling out … The pork was tender & juicy, the slaw had a nice crisp freshness, the onion jam contributed a slight hint of sweetness – all enveloped in a light brioche bun. The kumara crisps were delicious & crunchy and the aioli had a good hinting of heat.img_1812img_1814Lastly – after trawling on Instagram I realised that the 2 options of “Something Sweet” look delightfully decadent and a MUST try … Famous Belgium Waffles: served with fresh banana, strawberries, blueberries, figs, maple syrup & persian pink fairy floss … For me this was another OMG moment as I tasted a continuous wave of wonderful mouthfuls. This dish felt a little heavier with the waffles & it was exactly the right amount for sharing with my boyfriend … Once again the waffles bite size pieces were enjoyed with various fruit pieces, a zing of toothsome maple syrup & the beautiful rose tasting fairy floss.I cannot wait to go back again to try more of their unique eats – Petersham is really growing in terms of the small “gems” of cafes. Next time I will need to try some of the appetising cronuts hidden in the back window by the counter. Good food is a fabulous combination where the tastebuds meet the eyes – both visually & deliciously pleasing and The Tiny Giant Petersham ticks all boxes.
img_1803The Tiny Giant
110 Audley St
Petersham NSW 2049
Ph: (02) 8065 4684
http://thetinygiant.com.au/

Anyways readers, thanks for dropping by again and hope you enjoyed this eye-pleasing post … More food and fashion are coming your way soon!

Have fabulous week!

Jen ❤

Glebe Spanish Tapas tapped into my heart

Happy Wednesday everyone & hope my readers are well!

Now … I am channeling into my “foodie” mode and today I wanna mention a Tapas place in my local area of Glebe: Spanish Tapas. This place is rustic, chilled, casual & a local FAV in the area. For those suffering with Mondayitis, they have 1/2 price tapas with a Flamenco show in the evenings. This post is rich in photos and visuals so I will have my whimsical words but shall predominately let the foodie photos speak for themselves …What I really enjoy about tapas is that you can just try a lot of little bites that end up filling your tummy completely. They have recently added a woodfire oven for your Italian pizza fix! … Tapas is such an “easy fulfilling feeling” for a seafood, meat or vegetarian hunger.

No Tapas-fest feast isn’t one until you kick start with Sangria translated as “Bulls Blood.” This is a mixed drink containing a concoction of red wine, sparkling, fruit juice, chopped fruit such as orange & apple plus spices – and whatever else you want to thrown in! I always love Sangria as it’s refreshing & sweet with the dancing hint of red wine.Sashaying over to the food menu, after starting off with drinking Sangria for breakfast (it’s always a wise idea right?!) … I needed to order some carbs to weigh the floating morning vibes. Garlic Bread & Spicy Pizza Bread (white base, olive oil, chilli flakes and salt). Garlic bread is good but pretty standard – the shining star was indeed the mini-pizza! … Cooked in a woodfire oven, the dough was perfect in it’s Italian tradition: it was light, fluffy with a slight non-crunch. Simple ingredients is what my boyfriend always tells me … Because just a few can create a magical dance for your tastebuds.One of my foodie criteria is that the item of food to be eaten is breadcrumbed & deep fried … In this case, Croquetos de Champinon (mushroom croquettes) & Croquetos de Jamon
(ham croquettes). These little piping hot bites either contain flavourful mushroom filling or traditional Jamon Spanish Cured Ham. I always love to order these as the outside have a nice golden crunch (without being too oily) with have a heavenly creaminess inside.Huevos Rotos (poached egg built on thinly sliced fried potatoes and Spanish ham) … Meaning “broken eggs” this dish reminded me a lot of having breakfast with the freshness of the cherry tomatoes … Tastiness of the Spanish ham balanced out so perfectly and the crunch of those potatoes – they remind me of tiny fries & hash browns! … But one of the most important ‘must do’ with this dish is to break the egg so the yolk spill freely.CURED MEAT … I shall and never will be vegetarian sorry! … Jamon Serrano
(spanish curred ham) served with manchego cheese. I would never decline a board of cured meat & cheese … This is my ultimate choice – the saltiness & dry flavour of the ham co-mingle well with the creaminess of the soft cheese – it’s airy pockets, unique taste & subtle bite.Adding a dash of seafood to this mix … The Calamares Fritos (deep fried calamari) are light with a golden fried batter & some tangy side of aioli-mayonnaise sauce. Usually I am reluctant to order calamari as they are often chewy & stringy however this is soft, delicate & has a perfect bite.Alas de pollo al ajillo (chicken wings cooked in garlic and white wine sauce) – these golden glazed pollo have the juicy & tender chicken meat on the inside and the crunchy golden skin on the outside. Lastly on the savoury menu we finished with the Paella Valencia (a unique Spanish dish – rice, chicken & seafood). Paella is a rice dish originating from Valencia (Spain) & can have a mixture of different meats & veges. In this case very tasty seafood, some spices, peas & a squeeze on lemon. Cooked & served directly from the pan, the rice at the bottom has formed a rice crust with a slight crunch.img_1241-2DESSERT – yes please … Creme Brulee de Naranja (Orange Creme Brulee) and Flan
(Creme caramel) … Both desserts were very enjoyable & exactly as what you would expect. The Creme Brulee had a hinting of orange & the creme caramel had a smooth silky texture.img_1250img_1242Keep an eye out for the next blog post readers and hope you enjoyed this photo-filled imagery … Have a fab-end-of-week!

Spanish Tapas
26 Glebe Point Rd
Glebe NSW 2037
Phone: (02) 9571 9005
http://www.spanishtapas.com.au/

Jen ❤

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part I and II

Hello Readers!

I thought a Monday post would be what is in order … One thing you may not know about me is that I love to read! Who doesn’t love a good book – a blogger who reads – who would have known?! I guess for me I must admit that I am really time poor … When do I find the time to blog, work fulltime, cook, clean, trawl on Instagram, fiddle with Snapchat, spend time with my fam/friends/significant other, shop, think about exercising (intention is better than no thought right?!) – all whilst continuing my love affair with Netflix.

Now … Harry Potter -2  familiar  & ground breaking words that makes me giddy with excitement! Just when we thought the story is over, it’s far from! 7 books later an 8th one is released based on the play collaborated with Jack Thorne (play writer), John Tiffany (director) & under the supervision of J.K Rowling.

Let’s set the scene – especially for the the Potter Fans out there … Harry is working at the Ministry of Magic & is married to Ginny Weasley whom he has 3 kids with: Lily, James & Albus Severus Potter (the black sheep) … Hermoine is married to Ron Weasley with a daughter called Rose (who is very much a mini-Hermoine) … Draco Malfoy was married (bless his late wife) and is essentially a single parent to Scorpius (rumoured child of “he who shall not be named – Voldemort”). Throughout the book there is an ongoing storyline of forbidden friendship between Scorpius & Albus – they are like “best bros” as it seems but the tables have somewhat turned with Scorpius being the more responsible wizard & Albus taking on a rebellious streak … The story takes you along both young wizards “the new generation” & their journey, perils & angst growing up & attending Hogwarts for a few years – this is fast tracked to where the juicy life events take place.Overall there is everything you want in a story – suspense and intrigue, smidge of romance, history, action and fun … If I was to be honest I can mention a few points …
The book is lacking the flourish & detailed flair that J.K Rowling had injected in all Harry Potter books – all due to the fact that it’s because this is a play script. If any fan knew this from the get go, then you should know what to expect or possibly not expect & just slightly adjust your expectations. For any die-hard Potter fans, the idea of a story “post” Voldemort’s final battle is very exciting and obviously Voldemort (predictably) must make a reappearance – surprise!!! … No book would also be without additional cameo appearances such as the late departed Professor Snape & Dumbledore plus many more. The addition of the “time turner” throws the story into a tailspin adjusting past events – very much like the Homer Simpson episode with his time turner “the trusty toaster” – all centralising around the preventing the death of Cedric Diggory (Triwizard Tournament) & how the “best bros” could reverse the past. The consequences are dire from seeing a world where Ron & Hermoine are not married to a world where Voldemort won the war. As for the Curse Child – everyone has their own opinions and at first thought I thought it was Albus but part of me feels as though it’s actually still Harry. That years later his scar haunting hurts once again … He revisits people from his past in dream form and that he is still damaged and lashes out wishing that Albus wasn’t his son (brutal). Harry is not going to win “father of the year.”

I read this in less than 1 day – as a play it’s such an easy read so as dialogue only with minimal description. This is targeting fans as with the lack of any descriptive detail, you are relying on the previous books & movies for visual reference – hence this is not suitable for a newbie. I actually enjoyed the time travelling references “flashbacks” (took me back in the previous books). There has been a lot of negative reception around this release but for myself, although it can lack the depth of “Potter” that I am use to, I already had an inkling of this AND a story extension fast tracked decades area was already a treat for me. It can’t have been an easy task to condense & convey these characters in such a short amount of time and limited wording. I am very aware of the flaws in this book but it’s best to take it on for what it is … Enjoy it for what it is – I’m not here to tell you it’s perfect or horrible … It’s a play script adapted into a book & if you feel like you have a shitty imagination, then you should probably stick in graphic novels.