Tuesday, 27 January 2015

PappaRich, Chatswood, Sydney


PappaRich, a Malaysian restaurant franchise, is burning a path across Australia with 15 branches across 4 states and counting. Their very enthusiastic ambassador is Poh Ling-Yeow, Masterchef Season 1 runner-up (and whom I believe, along with many other viewers, should have been the winner). I'm a staunch believer that any success for a Malaysian restaurant is a success for Malaysian cuisine, but then again, as a typical Malaysian, we are the harshest critic when it comes to the delivery.

PappaRich has also hit the news for the wrong reasons. The Broadway branch in Sydney has been accused of student exploitation, paying former Malaysian student staff under the legal entitlement and withholding penalty rates and superannuation. The matter is with the courts.

I have never had PappaRich back in Malaysia, as they are a West Malaysian franchise. This was my first experience of their menu. I had read several reviews which waxed lyrical about the taste of their dishes, and was keen to check them out.


Friday, 23 January 2015

Gumshara Ramen, Haymarket, Sydney


Gumshara Ramen is the star of Eating World Harbour Plaza Foodcourt in Chinatown. In this somewhat ordinary foodcourt, the red banners, massive signage, and a queue direct you to this small stall, famous for tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu is an uber rich pork broth; the bones are boiled for so long that the marrow and pork fat emulsifies into the stock. Gumshara does not serve tonkotsu ramen between 3-5pm when they replenish the bones and prepare the soup for the dinner service.


I like fat, who doesn’t? The very best flavours are carried in fat. But this is so fatty that tonkotsu has to be eaten hot otherwise the fat starts to congeal, and can be unpleasant.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Dos Senoritas, Crows Nest, Sydney


My expectations of Mexican food is pretty low at this, the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean. Auckland goes for the hip and trendy Tex-Mex or fusion versions, which is fun and tasty, if somewhat manufactured and more focused on getting imbibed than the food. I haven’t really acquainted myself with the Mexican food scene here in Sydney, as the ones named on the ‘best of’ lists seem to be in the parts of town where the cool people hang out and parking is a mission in itself.

Dos Senoritas, by sheer luck, is a 10-minute walk from our apartment. You don’t need a booking even though it is a popular eatery, service is quick and friendly. The original branch is in Gladesville. Servings are massive (even by BL’s standards). Dos Senoritas claim to bring authentic Mexican cuisine from the streets of Guadalajara. The walls are decorated with depictions of Mexican images, expect Mayan temples, Day of the Dead art, ponchos and sombreros.


The menu is divided into starters, burritos, salads and sandwiches, combo plates and specialties. Most of their dishes come with guacamole (the real stuff, just avocado, lime, coriander, onions and jalapenos), pico (fresh salad made with diced tomato and onions), sour cream, beans and rice. They provide complementary corn chips with a spicy salsa.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Hunter Valley food hunt, New South Wales, Australia


What better way to follow up a trip to the South Australia wine regions than an encore weekend to Hunter Valley? The two regions are a stark contrast. While SA had a laid back vibe with its myriad of heritage towns and artisan producers, Hunter Valley was more commercial, with over a 150(!) wineries packed into the small region. It is busy with coach-loads of tourists, resorts and to my surprise, chain ‘artisan’ shops. Okay, my disappointment is showing.


The region of Hunter Valley covers the villages of Lovedale, Mount View, Broke Fordwich, Cessnock and at its epicentre, Pokolbin, where some of the original pioneering wineries are located.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar, Adelaide, South Australia


Adelaide is becoming quite the dining mecca with its great local produce, and is attracting both emerging and established culinary talents to set up fresh, innovative eateries.

BL and I wanted somewhere casual-ish but modern, and Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar (by Masterchef finalist Andre Ursini for those who watch the show) fit the bill perfectly. The eatery focuses on Northern Italian cuisine. Another winning feature was its menu fisso ($59 per person), a feast of 5 selected dishes to share.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Wine country food, South Australia


What better way for a teetotaller to spend the festive season than a trip to the wine regions of South Australia? I may not drink wine, but I enjoy the fabulous restaurants that seem to accompany great cellar doors. Add to that the beguiling sceneries and often-striking architectures, the artisanal food producers who situate themselves in these environs, there’s a great many things an alcohol-intolerant can love about wine regions.

The husband planned a 5-day trip to South Australia, and we spent most of it meandering around the wine regions of Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills.



Friday, 26 December 2014

And then there was a wedding….


I’ve been reflecting on what a tremendous year this has been. I could not have imagined at this time last year where I would be typing this post. A year ago, I was happily settled in Auckland, New Zealand, organising to have Sam, the lovable rascal of a beagle to be looked after by my wonderfully accommodating neighbours and planning to head over to Brisbane to see my best friend Bren and her family.

In 2014, I sold the house, said goodbye to the neighbours, rehomed Sam, flew the ditch to Sydney and started a new job in a different industry, which are all made for a head-scratcher of a year. On top of it, the reason for it all, BL, convinced me it was a good, no, actually brilliant idea to get married. Seriously.


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