Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recipe: World's easiest roast chicken meal

I owe this recipe to Donna Hay and her "Fast Simple Fresh" show on the Lifestyle Channel.  When I saw it on TV I couldn't believe how easy it was, so I just had to try it.  
The flavours in this recipe are even more sensational than the lack of prep time involved.  I think this is known as a WIN!!  The chorizo infuses all of the other ingredients and makes it incredibly swoon-worthy, so much so that I have been telling everyone about this recipe, including my hair dresser.  He recently served it for a Sunday lunch with friends and apparently it was a big hit. I think that means I will get an extended head massage at my next appointment ;-)

1 whole chicken but into pieces.  Or if you're lazy like me, use 6 drumsticks, 6-8 chicken wings, maryland pieces (skin on) and chicken thighs
2 chorizo sliced lengthwise
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Sicilian olives
1 lemon, cut into 4 pieces, lengthwise
1 head of garlic, cloves removed into pieces but skin on
Thyme or oregano
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to season

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
(You will love this): throw everything in the tray. Drizzle a little olive oil over the contents. Season. 

Put in oven for 45 minutes.  Remove, eat and I dare you not to swoon!  Serves 4, always try and make more to have some leftovers.  We never do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Summery black bean salad

I love this recipe because it combines some of my favourite things in the world: avocado, mango, haloumi & coriander.  And just check out those colours!  This served 2 hungry adults as a main meal.  The avocado and haloumi will satisfy hunger pangs, so don't worry about there not being enough food.  


A can of black beans, if you can find them, or a cup of cooked beans (you can substitute other beans like kidney or cannellini) 1 medium avocado, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 mango, cut into 2cm cubes

1/2 red capsicum
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
I cup chopped fresh coriander

180g haloumi (1 packet), sliced
1 or 2 shallots, finely sliced (I didn't use them coz I'm not a fan of the onion family)


Sear the haloumi in a frying pan or on the bbq for a couple of minutes each side until golden.  If you cook the beans you will need to allow cooking time. Black beans take about 50 mins but  I had some left over from my  Enchilada Bake recipe which I had in the freezer.  Alternatively, canned beans are much quicker but make sure you rinse and drain them well. 

Toss all ingredients together and voile!  You and a friend are the proud owners of one healthy, colourful, more-ish meal.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Crunchy Vietnamese salad with noodles

I saw this recipe in the Taste liftout of the Australian a couple of weeks back and it reminded me how much I love a Vietnamese salad with all its crunchy raw ingredients and fresh flavours, enhanced by the mint and coriander.  I must confess however, the fried noodles, whilst crunchy AND delicious, kind of tipped me over the edge, so next time I think I will omit them.  I'm trying to consciously eat a lot more raw food so bolstering the veggies and taking out the noodles results in a healthy, crunch-filled salad with bite. My favourite kind.


  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage (wombok), finely shredded (the recipe recommended a mandolin but I found it was more difficult & messy than just shredding with a knife)
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, picked
  • 100g fried egg noodles (optional)

Combine chilli, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes to slightly reduce. Set aside to cool completely.  If you're time poor and you want an Asian style dressing, you can cheat with (organic) sweet chilli sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.

Toss all the remaining ingredients together, then add the chilli dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately as the fried noodles will eventually soften.

To add protein for a more filling meal, add sliced tofu, or if you're not a Meatless Monday fan, sliced barbequed chicken breast.  2 hungry adults ate about 2/3 of the salad (dressed separately in individual bowls, noodles added last; and I added chicken to the leftover salad ingredients the following day for lunch, sans noodles, with the cheats dressing.  Needless to say, it was just as crunchy and tasty.  This could be my new favourite salad!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Apple berry crumble

Berries, berries, berries. I'm a bit loopy for strawberries at the moment and super-excited that they will be in season until Christmas. Hoorah!

One of our favourite desserts is an Apple Berry Crumble. It’s a cinch to make but watch out, it is quite filling and could tip you over the edge if you don't pace yourself before hand.  Otherwise you'll be pushing through the pain barrier ;-)

Filling Ingredients
6 Pink Lady apples, peeled & cut into 1 cm wedges
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon water
400g fresh strawberries 
(can be substituted for frozen berries when not in season; I added a handful of mixed berries for interest)

Crumble ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup hazelnut or almond  meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan forced. Lightly grease 4 small ramekins.

Place apples, sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the apple starts softening a little.  Add berries and cook for a a further 5 minutes. 

With a slotted spoon remove the berries and place in ramekins and continue cooking the liquid for a further 10 minutes until thicker.  Pour the liquid equally into the ramekins and set aside for about 20 minutes to cool.

Combine flour, sugar, hazelnut/almond meal and cinnamon in a large bowl. With clean, dry hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture or process in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Being lazy, I used my lovely Kitchenaide food processor ;-)

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the crumble is crunchy and golden.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream.

Strawberries, apples, almond meal & lemon all available from our Gold Coast and Bondi Junction markets.

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Black bean enchilada bake

I haven't really cooked Mexican since I started reading labels in the supermarket aisles and recoiled with horror at the list of numbers, preservatives & unpronouncables on the back of Taco seasoning mix.  As I'd never really given it much thought I assumed I couldn't recreate Mexican flavouring with natural ingredients.  Not only was I wrong, but I realised I've been missing out all this time, dang!  However, now is as good a time as any to get back on the Mexican horse and ride it into the kitchen.

I'd also go out on a limb & suggest the basic flavours could be adapted for tacos & burritos. Arriba!


2 cups chopped onion (I used only one small cocktail onion & the flavour was fine)
1 1/2 cups chopped red capsicum
2 zucchini, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup salsa or good quality tomato passata
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup black beans or a 400g tin if you can find them
3 square corn wraps (the recipe called for 12 6-inch corn tortillas but I preferred to use wraps without numbers & preservatives, alternative you could use those flat round corn chips)
2 cups grated cheese
fresh coriander leaves to garnish (optional)
3 tomatoes chopped (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream or natural yogurt (optional)
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)


Preheat oven to 180/350 degrees.

Measure 1 cup black beans & cook in boiling water for around 50 minutes, until they are soft.  Combine onion pepper, garlic, salsa, cumin, zucchini and black beans in large skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

Place one corn wrap in the bottom of a 23cm (9 in) square baking dish. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layering process with remaining wrap, bean mixture and cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with tomatoes, sour cream and olives if you're not watching your weight. Vegans can leave out the cheese & yogurt and use a vegan cheese with nutritonal yeast or just leave it out entirely.  I served the bake with yogurt, coriander and a big green salad.  Served 2 hungry adults with 1 serving leftover to freeze. Adapted from the recipe found on

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Veggie pizza

Pizza doesn't have to be fattening or unhealthy, especially if you make it at home using fresh vegetables and not too much cheese.  I love Monday night pizza night, because its something to look forward to on a Monday night and is a cinch to make.  And we usually have all the ingredients in the fridge.  If you have kids, they can help make their own. And we all know how much they love to get messy in the kitchen and make their own food ;-)

This is another recipe with a "use what ever you want" instruction.  It's not a cop-out, its just that seasonal fresh produce from your local area is best.  And go crazy with the herbs at the end, they rock the flavour factor!

We also have an electric pizza oven (a random, yet awesome gift that is used on a regular basis) and it has a stone base and heating element on top.  It is fantastic because it give the pizza added crispness underneath as well as on top.  If you find that you love Monday night pizza night as much as us, then it's worth investing in a home pizza oven.

Wholemeal lebanese or flat bread. Aim for 1 round per person. Try to be a label nazi and buy bread without preservatives. You'll be amazed how difficult it is to find plain bread. Ergh.
Good quality passata, bottled tomato salsa/pasta sauce or pesto
Vegetables in season: try zucchini cut length-wise, cherry tomatoes, roasted kumera, roasted capsicum, eggplant, mushrooms etc.
Yoghurt, goats curd or cheese
Herbs: basil, coriander, mint, oregano, thyme etc

I like to crisp up the base first, but that is a personal preference.  Top the base with tomato salsa (or you could use pesto sauce for a little basil and garlic kick, then add your veggies of choice.  Try not to overload the pizza as it will become too moist.  Less is more on a pizza, including cheese IMHO.  Top with yoghurt or cheese or both. Pop in the pizza oven for several minutes, until the cheese has melted or until the ingredients are bubbling away nicely, but not burning.

Remove from oven, top with loads of fresh herbs & serve with a big salad (of course).

For non-meatless nights, add prosciutto, prawns or whatever you like, but remember to keep the ingredient list to around 2 or 3 items.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Roast/BBQed vegetable, pesto & goats cheese salad

Roasted or barbequed seasonal vegetables are delicious and appear in a number of my Meatless Monday dishes.   I normally roast or barbeque much more than I need so that I can throw them in salads through the week to ramp up the flavour factor (for I am the unofficial salad queen).

Tonight we're having barbequed veggie, pesto & goats cheese salad.  Frankly, I couldn't be bothered listing quantities here (it is Monday, after all), so just use your judgment for how many people you'll be cooking for and whether you want leftovers. I assure you all will be good!


Big salad bowl of washed and cut seasonal vegetables: my faves include corn on the cob, zucchini, red capsicum, fennel, kumera, beetroot.  Get creative!
1/2 to 1 whole jar of good quality pesto, although I prefer to make it myself (whole bunch of basil, 2 cloves garlic, 125g parmesan cheese, good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, blended)
100g goats cheese
Few handfuls of wild baby rocket and grated raw vegetables (or rainbow salad mix: julienned carrots, beetroot & broccoli stalks)
2 handfuls roasted pine nuts


Roast or barbeque the veggies and let them cool.  Stir pesto in with the roasted veggies. Assemble with rocket, rainbow salad, crumbled goats cheese & top with roasted pine nuts. Voile!  Excuse the photo below: my food stylist was on holidays ;-)

Serves 4.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, caperberries & rocket

Want a quick pasta recipe that takes about 15 minutes to prepare and cook?  Well you've come to the right place.  And if you're anti-anchovy, I beg you to give these little guys another go in your pasta dishes.  Most of the time you can't taste them and they add a body and depth to tomato sauces that you can't get just by using salt.  If you're not sure, just use one anchovy and see how you go.  I tend to lean heavily on the anchovy side of things, so adjust as necessary.

Serves 2

250g spaghetti
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
2 cups wild rocket
2 anchovies, chopped
2 tablespoons caperberries, halved
zest of 1 lemon (alter to taste but I lerrrrve lemon zest)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Boil pasta according to the instructions on the packet.  While it is boiling, sautee anchovies, garlic and caperberries using some of the oil from the anchovy jar.

Drain pasta when cooked.  Mix through sauteed ingredients and rocket. Top with lemon zest and parmesan cheese.  If you wish you could also add olives.  Dead easy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe: Osso Bucco

This recipe is such a comfort-food classic and its richness just can't be beaten on a cold winter's night.  As I was searching online for the right recipe to cook, this one really jumped out due to its inclusion of a garlic, anchovy & parsley puree at the end.  And let me tell you, it absolutely makes the dish. So thank you to SBS food for its inspired Osso Bucco recipe.
4 x 350-400g, centre bone cut pieces of veal osso buco
100mL extra virgin olive oil  
2 medium to large onions, finely diced  
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced 
2 anchovy fillets  
1 cup dry white wine 
1kg fresh tomato, crushed with skins and seeds removed (you can use tins of tomatoes)
1 cup veal stock (or just use beef if you can't find veal)
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme 
2 large sprigs of fresh sage 
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary  
1 fresh bay leaf  (I used dried)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper  

 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped good quality anchovy 

Preheat oven to 170°C.  Season the veal with the sea salt and pepper. Heat half the olive oil in a large pot and brown the veal osso buco pieces evenly on all sides. The veal should be well coloured but be careful not to burn the meat. This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the browned veal shanks from the pot and set aside. Add remaining olive oil to the same pot and then add the onion, garlic, anchovy and herbs and sauté slowly for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Turn up the heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced before adding the tomato and stock.
Bring to the boil before lowering heat slightly and placing the veal pieces back into the pot. Slowly bring to the boil again before allowing to simmer slowly. Check for seasoning and adjust, and add a little sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic.  
And this was the tricky part of the recipe: it didn't actually say when to put the pot in the oven, but I guessed at around 15 minutes after simmering the veal on the stove, but who knows..... Cooking time in the oven will vary depending on the thickness of the cut of veal but will take somewhere between 2.5 and 4 hours.
The veal should just start to separate from the bone when you move them from the oven. Do not remove until meat is falling off the bone, otherwise it will taste like dog meat - and you don't want that!

To make the purée, combine the garlic, anchovy and parsley.
  Easy peasy.
After you have removed the veal from the sauce, stir in the puree.  Serve veal pieces with mashed potato, parmesan polenta or something similar to soak up the sauce. And don't forget some green veggies too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Roast vegetable & Persian fetta frittatas

I especially enjoy the challenge of Meatless Monday and although I often feel I don't have time searching for inspiration, there are plenty of recipes around of the meat-free variety that it's really not that hard to do.  I'm constantly amazed by all the new recipes I'm pulling out of my hat and how much my partner enjoys them.  So much so I need to revisit them often. This is one of the ones he asks for again and again.  Which is awesome because it's dead easy and impressive.

My version was adapted from a recipe in a Grazia Magazine, which is even better because I can now indulge my passion of reading trashy mags ;-)


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic, skin on
Half a kumera or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
15g butter
6 large eggs
1 capsicum, roasted and skin removed
2 zucchini
60g Persian Fetta (or more if you wish)
100ml single cream
Fresh dill for garnish
Baking paper


Heat oven to 200 degrees C and spray muffin tins with olive oil.  Pop red capsicum, kumera pieces and garlic clove on baking paper on tray. Spray with olive oil, season with salt and bake until cooked, around 1 hour.  While the veggies are baking, peel zucchini into ribbons with a potato peeler.

Remove roasting veggies from oven and place capsicum in a plastic bag with some air and seal it, so that the steam helps to lift the skin from the capsicum.  Once capsicum has cooled, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the skin, this should fall off quite easily.

Squeeze the garlic from the clove, it should be like a paste and add one egg to it and mix it up.  Add the rest of the eggs, cream and dill together, whisk together and season well.   Cut baking paper into squares that will fit into your muffin pan but leave enough for the paper to stick out.  Insert paper, one at a time, followed by some roasted veggies.

Add the egg mixture and top with a couple of scoops of Persian fetta and a sprig of dill.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden. Leave to stand a few minutes before removing from tray.

You can do what I did and substitute vegetables in season, like zucchini flowers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant or potato and play around with herbs like basil, thyme or oregano.  Trust me, most variations are delicious. Happy Meatless Monday!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Moroccan carrot & chick pea hot pot

This baby is still simmering on the stove, but I thought I'd blog the recipe in the event that anyone was searching for a yummy looking autumn dish.  The proof of course, will be in the eating, which I can't wait to do in a couple of hours.

This recipe comes from it by the Delicious Magazine's Faking It by Valli Little. I've substituted parsnip for half a kumera and a small eggplant because that's what I had in the fridge.


2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced (I accidentally chopped)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp each ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and paprika
2 bunches baby carrots, scrubbed, trimmed with some stem left intact
1 parsnip (or substitute like me)
400g can tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup vegetable stock or water (I used stock, more flavour)
400g can chick peas, drained & rinsed
1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp chopped mint leaves
Couscous, to serve


Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat & add onion, stirring for 2 mins or until starting to soften.  Add the garlic and spices and stir for a few seconds until fragrant.  Add carrots and your other veggies and stir to coat in the spice and onion mix. 

Stir in the tomato, lemon juice, stock/water and cover for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the chick peas and heat through for 2-3 minutes.  

Remove from the heat, then stir through the coriander and mint.  Serve with couscous.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recipe - Roasted vegetable and red quinoa salad

I couldn't face another veggie pizza on Meatless Monday (not sure why, they're very tasty), so I improvised and made this quinoa salad instead.  Another bloody delicious quinoa meal, it comes up trumps again as my new favourite grain.


1.5 cups uncooked red quinoa (but you can substitute white or black quinoa)
4.5 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin seeds, ground turmeric, ground coriander seeds
2 small kumera, cut into small pieces and roasted
1 small eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, roasted
3 zucchini, cut into thin slices, lengthways
1 red capsicum, roasted, skin on
Half a punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped


Roast veggies and once done, put the red capsicum in a plastic bag and seal, to enable steam to help lift the skin off.  Once cooled peel off the skin.  Peel the skin off the eggplant and cut into 2cm cubes. Fry zucchini on a griddle fry pan or similar. A normal fry pan will do the trick, I just happen to like the charred stripes.

Add chicken stock to quinoa and cook quinoa according to directions.  My packet of red quinoa said to boil for 15 minutes but that wasn't nearly enough, I found I cooked it for over 20 minutes.  It shouldn't be too crunchy or gluggy, so keep testing it.  [Don't worry, it will taste better than it smells, which is a bit like yellow split peas]

While quinoa is cooking, fry onions for a couple of minutes in 1 tablespoon of oil, then add remaining oil and spices.  Cook for several minutes more until fragrant.

Once quinoa has cooked, allow to cool.  Place cooked quinoa into a salad bowl and add onion & spice mix, then roasted veggies, cherry tomatoes and finally, chopped herbs.

The only thing missing in this salad was a bit of crunch, so you could add chopped fennel, or just do what I did and serve with a crunchy side salad.

Serves 4-6 if serving as a side dish, serves 2 as a meal (and you'll still have some leftovers for lunch the next day).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sydney Restaurant Review: Bronte Road Bistro 25 March 2011

When the local restaurant's chef boasts credentials such as Tetsuyas, Forbes and Burton, it is embarrassing to admit its taken me about 2 years to actually get there to eat.  I think its a bit like travelling overseas. So often we go further afield when a little piece of heaven is right on our door step.

Bronte Road Bistro is our little piece of heaven.

We sat in the airy annex over looking the courtyard with the yellow and white stripey awning in sight.  For me, there is something really appealing about looking at a yellow and white stripey awning. It is memories of The Ivy?  Surely not.  Maybe its a flashback to the Gold Coast in the 80's which to me, conjures feelings of summer, possibilities, fun and old age.

Back to the restaurant.

As soon as we sat down Miss 9 decided to have a tantrum about something inconsequential and Stu Parsons, the co-owner, handled it with style and grace.  Stu got some well-deserved points before we ordered.

Although light on kid-friendly options, we managed to choose some fish & chips for one child and deep fried prawns with lime aioli for the second.  We started with the charcuterie plate ($27) which offered a selection of wagyu bresaola, salami, jamon de trevelez, cornichons and chicken liver parfait, served with Iggy's bread.  The parfait, I might add, was particularly par-fait, spread liberally on the Iggy's bread, especially with a wee bit o' cornichon.....  The parfait was light and airy and delicious, full of livery goodness.

That was enough of a starter for me, but hubby, the one of the hollow legs, ordered half a dozen Sydney rock oysters ($3 each) which he assures me were amazing.

The kids meals were also very good.  Miss 9 thankfully assured us that the fish and chips ($15) was better than the standard beach side fish & chips. Phew.

Our mains then arrived.  I ordered an entree sized seared scallops with peas & spring onions ($18).  The scallops were incredibly tender and moist and were lovely with the pureed peas.  This sort of dish reminds me of spring.

Hubby ordered the mulloway with crispy polenta, swiss chard and agrodolce sauce ($31).  We forgot to even ask what the sauce was, but being adept at google searches, I later discovered (thanks to Wikipedia) that agrodolce sauce is is a traditional sweet and sour sauce in Italian. Its name comes from "agro" (sour) and "dolce" (sweet).  So basically its a fancy-schmancy way of saying "fish with sweet & sour sauce". Hubby said it tasted very fancy-schmancy too.

Apologies for the embarrassingly bad photography.  I really must take my digital camera out with me more often.  Shocker!

Our side had me swooning in green veggie heaven.  The 3 pea salad, marjoram & fetta salad ($10) was a crispy, crunchy delight and even though I was thoroughly peed with my scallops I wanted to pea some more. 

To go with the meal we ordered a 2009 Shaky Bridge "Pioneer" pinot gris from New Zealand ($45).  I loved it.  Not too fruity and very drinkable indeed, perfect with our seafood.

As we'd taken so long to visit Bronte Road Bistro we thought it would be rude not to sample a dessert and since I am a big fan of a lemon tart with vanilla icecream ($12), we ordered that with 2 spoons.  Except we tucked in so quickly that I forgot to take a photo of it when it hit the table.  Oh well.  The spoon action shot will give you an indication of what it was like ;-)

And the verdict?  Bronte Road Bistro is an excellent local bistro/restaurant.  The prices are a little steeper than other local restaurants, but I think the food is better and you really can't beat that beautiful courtyard for al fresco dining.  So good we've been back already and other family members have also made a return visit.  Approval dutifully stamped!

Bronte Road Bistro
282 Bronte Rd
Charing Cross

Ph. 9389 3028

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sydney Restaurant Review: Sake Restaurant: 5 April 2011

For our [lucky] 13th wedding anniversary dinner I wanted to choose a special restaurant, preferably one that neither of us had been to.  Quay is definitely on the list, but after all the hoo-haa of the snow egg and Masterchef, the waiting list is a mile long and I just haven't been that organised.

Knowing @Chef_Ali was definitely a plus when it came to choosing the venue, however I'd independently heard great things about Sake Restaurant and knew it had recently won a chef's hat, so booked that and kept it a secret from Mr YourLocalMarkets.

And what a fab surprise it was.

From the moment we walked in, all the staff wished us Happy Anniversary.  Ahh, so nice to feel special.  The fit out of this restaurant screams fabulous, funky & delicious.  From the drums on the wall (above) to the art work, the exposed chunky wooden beams and wonderful open kitchen, I loved this restaurant from the word go.

We hadn't done any research on what to order so we just went with what sounded good and tried to steer away from anything that sounded like traditional sushi. So we ordered:

Wagyu new style (thin slices of wagyu beef lightly seared with hot oil and finished with ginger, chives and yuzu soy):

Tasty, incredibly tender and most definitely moreish.  The teeny tiny garnish of chives on top just added that extra ker-pow to the dish.  Perfect.

Then arrived some steamed prawn dumplings.  We didn't order these and sent them back, until they boomeranged and we discovered they were a little gift from the kitchen.  We had purposely not ordered anything traditional, but OMG!  Best prawn dumplings EVER! Pardon the dodgy iPhone photo.  Must learn: do not to move arm when taking photos!

These little guys were actually encased in a swirl of rice noodles rather than a sheet of rice noodle.  And the prawns were subtle and tender, much nicer than anything I've ever had at yum cha.

Next came the sashimi tacos (tuna and salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai "sake shots':

This was my favourite dish for the night.  Tender, soft, crunchy, flavoursome.  They were even topped with.... wait for it... raw spanish onion and you won't believe it, but the spanish onion actually tasted like a real spanish onion, with a very mild onion flavour.  Not like those monstrosities from the supermarket that just taste like a normal onion.  [Onion rant over now] 

I would go back just to have these alone.  And the sake was amazing, the top of the shot glass was encrusted with sugar.  Perfecto!

Then came the tonkatsu cups (4 pieces of panko-fried pork belly & spring onion bites, served in lettuce cups with mustard miso and Japanese barbeque sauce.

Yummy, but they were a little too deep fried and as a massive pork belly lover, weren't porky enough for me.  They were more like a (dutch fritter).

Next on the list was the sashimi plate.

All of the fish was amazingly fresh and firm, but melt-in-your-mouth soft. I must admit I'm a little over the sashimi at those conveyor belt sushi places being all washed/thawed out.  This sashimi was straight out of the ocean.  My favourite, which I have never eaten before as sashimi?  The scallop.  Incredible.

The next dish to arrive was ocean trout, which had been pan-seared served with edamame puree and Asian mushrooms tossed in butter soy. Delicious the edamame puree being a delightfully creamy counterpoint (in colour, texture and flavour) to the rest of the dish.  The seared edge of the salmon was slightly crunchy whilst the inside remained a soft medium-rare.  Mmmm.  Tummy starting to fill up now.

Our final savoury dish was the miso-cream scallops, pan seared with baby corn, asparagus, shitake mushrooms & yuzu miso cream.  Heavenly.  Ali made this dish.  What a talented young chef!

I'm not sure how I managed to find a secret pocket of my tummy to squeeze in dessert, but like with most things, I managed to do it with some effort.  Luckily the Russian Creme dessert was really light, kind of like eating nothing, but far sweeter and tastier!

I can't recommend Sake more highly.  The food, service & ambience was off the richter.  We've already pencilled-in our favourite sake-drinking friends for a night out in the near future and I can't wait to return to try some other dishes.

Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle St
The Rocks
Tel: +61 2 9259 5656