Sunday, September 30, 2012

The best lunch I've ever had (at PIER RESTAURANT)

Pier was a premier fine-dining destination in Sydney, well known for its wonderful seafood and equally beautiful view over Rosebay water. 
Sadly, on July 31 2012, Greg Doyle closed Pier for good, after almost 21 years running it and along the way awarded some of Australia's top restaurant award, including the most prized 3 hat in Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the year. He wanted a break and travel and Pier under someone else is not an option. The Sailors Club then opened at the same location on August 11, managed by his daughter, Jacqui Lewis and some of Pier's key staffs, including executive chef Steve Skelly and pastry chef Nic Waring.

Pier is such a beautiful restaurant, it is elegantly furnished and the huge glass windows overlooks the marina view which is magical, whether it is day or night. I had a lunch here just a week before they closed their door for good. This is my second time dining at Pier, having had a degustation on my first visit ages ago (before starting my blog) and this time around having a 3 course lunch special meal ($90 including a glass of French Champagne). My dining partner doesn't drink so I drank 2 glasses ^^

Entree John Dory carpaccio. Pretty, delicate and I dare say, is the best carpaccio I've ever had in my life. This dish in its own right worth a visit!

Main And this is the best tuna dish I've ever had too! I love tuna as it is light, yet also quite meaty and when the quality is this fresh, and is done perfectly, uniformly medium rare, just with a touch of salt, the tuna really shines (and sings) and it is just so gorgeous.
I read in that it was during a week working at 2 two-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris in 1994 that Grey Doyle learnt the technique of undercooking fish, so it would be perfectly cooked by the time it hit the diner's mouth.

(My friend's) Dessert Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux. This has jelly, puree, date, dark chocolate mousse, ice cream, salted caramel, crushed macadamia, biscuit crumbs and some other awesome stuffs. Wow. This dessert is fun, brilliant and tasted amazing. I love dessert which has a lot of different stuffs in it (textures, tastes, colour, technique) it makes me all inspired and excited ^^

(My) Dessert Apple and kiwi Valcherin. This dessert is lovely, like a tropical freshness in a plate. It is quietly confident and so different from the decadent chocolate dessert, yet still draws you in and perfect all the same.

Overall my dining experience is exceptional. Pier's food excels and excites and the service is very professional and smooth. It is sad that the restaurant is no longer opens now. This truly is the best lunch I've ever had :)

"Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements."  --Marcel Boulestin
"I visited every three-star restaurant in Australia this year, and as good as each of them was, the meals at Pier, our Restaurant of the Year award-winner, were the ones that really stood out. They were just flawless." --Gourmet Traveller 2008

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekly diary - What I love

I love this picture :)

"Young couple snuggling behind the wheel of his convertible as they watch large screen action behind rows of cars at a drive-in movie theater. Los Angeles, 1949."
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I love these band-aids.

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I love this tattoo.

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I love this rug (trap rug).

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I love this tea bag.

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I love these 'art of eyebrows'.
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I love Ellen.

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I love these quotes from

"A false smile usually only engages the lips. A genuine smile usually involves the lips as well as also the eyes."

"Studies show that if people adjust their facial expression to reflect an emotion, they actually begin to feel that emotion."

And these quotes from

"No matter how badly people treat you, never drop down to their level it will only excite them more."

"If someone doesn’t appreciate your presence, make them appreciate your absence."

"Try not to complain about your life because someone out there is fighting to survive."

I love this funny picture : >

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I love this writing.

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I love finding/ learning new things.

Lastly, I love these beautiful quotes.

"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."
—Coco Chanel

“[The] average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and [we] have about two thousand of them per day. In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours — one-third of our lives on earth — spinning fantasies.”
— The Storytelling Animal – the science of how we came to live and breathe stories.

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."
—Pablo Picasso

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."
—Mark Twain

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”
—Neil Armstrong

“But if you knew you might not be able to see it again tomorrow, everything would suddenly become special and precious, wouldn’t it?”
—Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Picture :

More restaurants starting with B (BALLA and BISTRODE)


Balla is described as 'a little piece of Milan with Sydney's best view.' I was having lunch there one afternoon and the beautiful view over the Jones Bay Wharf combined with the buzzing lunchtime service create a ambiance that is lovely, yet exciting. The waitstaffs are all very attentive and charming, one of the best dining service I've had recently. One petite lady waitress in particular has a smile on her face all day long and is so lovely I almost want to ask for her number and be her best friend :)

YuM, Bread basket. I love it when they give me a whole basket instead of just one piece :) I normally love butter with my bread as I am a butter-girl but when I am served two different types of amazing breads with some beautiful olive oil, I am not a butter-girl anymore, I am just a happy-girl.

Entree : Slow braised calamari with spinach, chilli and garlic. 
This dish might not look pretty but a perfect example of how you can't judge food by how it looks. It smelled amazing and tasted even more so! The calamari is so tender and the spinach has such a beautiful almost creamy texture. The dish is tasty from the chilli but light enough to be an entree dish (I'm Indonesian so I don't mind at all eating tons of chilli for entree or breakfast) But sometimes by having less chilli you can really taste all the other good-quality ingredients and beautiful seasonings. While dipping the bread to the garlic-y sauce along with the little remaining olive oil left (yes I almost finish them all ^^) while sipping my cocktail, and looking at the gorgeous water on a bright sunny day, the day and my lunch felt so perfect. 
My cocktail is Bella Donna Daiquiri : Havana 7 Anejo rum, Disaronno liquor, fresh lime and a little sugar, shaken vigorously and poured into a cinnamon rimmed glass for a deluxe Las Vegas favourite.
I ordered this for the 'cinnamon rimmed glass'. Lol

Main : Curly pappardelle pasta with snapper sauce.
And I ordered this really because of the word 'curly' ^^ haha but this dish is such a delicious comforting food. I love carbs and pasta to death and this pasta is perfectly cooked all dente and the 'snapper sauce' is rich yet really balanced. I had a glass of white to go with that (not sure what my wine is, I asked the waiter to just bring me a glass of white). I was not patient enough to read the wine list and while busy eating, forgot to ask ^^

Cheese : Pecorino al Tartufo -- aged sheep's milk with black truffle. 
The reason why I was ordering cheese instead of dessert is because I was planning to have gelato messina after (which is just next door) ^^. I was very happy with my choice of cheese, the cheese is quite strong on its own so at the beginning I just ate it with the crisp bread to get my cheese kick of the day and towards the end I ate it with the sweet paste, which make it lovely in a different way (almost in a dessert way). I eat the grapes to occasionally balance off the sweetness of the sweet paste and I also eat the walnuts just because it's there ^_^

I have to say I adore Balla ^_^. The menu is more rusty than sophisticated, and more traditional than experimental, but what do I care if the food is that satisfying! I love traditional food as much as contemporary food (or any type of food), as long as they are all done greatly :)

"Balla could have gone upmarket and fancy but that's not the Manfredi (chef) way. Instead, it brings to Sydney relatively simple, recognisably Italian food built on quality prime ingredients and  a bustle, big-time, business-like dining experience. And, of course, those wonderful floor-to-ceiling windows, open to the view we never knew we had." 
--Terry Durack, Sydney Morning Herald
"Balla is all Manfredi. Manfredi has never lacked vision, and Balla is his vision, splendid, bold, beautiful and fun"
--Gourmet Traveller 


I dined at Bistrode CBD for the Jeremy Strode '20 years' September menu. In September, Bistrode pays homage to Jeremy Strode's Australian years with a special menu featuring 20 of his renowned dishes, plated and priced as they were.

I love dining at Bistrode CBD. The fine-dining restaurant is so elegant with its crisp white walls, white tablecloths and its lush dining chairs. The menu is of modern British and the foods are equally refined. They make gutsy pub food (such as offals, pig trotters) sophisticated :) The service is that good old-fashioned charm and attentive, knowledgeable and very professional.

Entree : Duck 5 ways (consommé, duck liver pate, duck neck & pistachio sausage, duck breast and duck leg salad). From Pomme, Melbourne, 1998.
Wow, sometimes when you have a 2-way dish, one is surely better than the other but this dish is so impressive because all of them are so superb that it is almost impossible to pick a favourite. But if I have to choose one, I'll say the duck consommé as it has a lot of depth in that tiny little cup and I also seldom have a duck consommé while I more often have a great duck liver pate. But all the others are really good too, the picture really don't show how delicious this whole thing is. I hope the chef bring this dish back as a regular menu. Oh man this dish is a must for any duck-meat-lover out there!

Main : Pork chop, black sausage, black vinegar. From Langtons, Melbourne, 2001.
The pork chop is succulent, I am not big on black sausage but I must say this is the best black sausage I've ever eaten. Maybe because it is also small in portion and it match perfectly with the pork and the vegetable and the sauce. How brilliant when everything compliment one another?!

Dessert : Rhubarb pie and lavender ice cream. From Langtons, Melbourne, 2001.
I had a glass of Rose wine (2011 Spinifex Rose, Barossa Valley - South Australia) with my food  and had a teapot of earl gray tea with my dessert. I love having a cold ice cream with a hot pie. (I love both hot and cold together in dessert such as ice cram with chocolate fondant or soufflé). This slightly salty and quite tart pie goes really nicely with the sweet fragrant ice cream, however I just wish that the ice cream is bigger so I can have an equal portion of ice cream and equal portion of pie T T. But I understand that that is the normal ice cream serving size so I'll shut up now and just eat :)

"The room is as crisp as a new white shirt with the framed black-and-white portraits of great European chefs such as Gordon Ramsey and Fergus Henderson staring down at you"
--Time Out Sydney
"The daily changing menu is studded with all manner of strange animal parts often seen plated up in Britain's cosy gastro-pubs, but that rarely grace Australian tables. Calf's liver, black sausage and roast bone marrow all feature regularly alongside classic pub fare with modern twists, like the deluxe take on corned beef that uses wagyu meat."
--de Groots Best Restaurants of Australia 
Balla and Bistrode CBD are both awarded the coveted one hat in the most current Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2013.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lunch at BLACK and Dinner at BUZO


Black by Ezard is a glamourous and beautiful contemporary grill restaurant at the newly renovated The Star. The design and decor of the room is dazzling and drop dead gorgeous. I was having lunch with a girlfriend and I started with a glass of cocktail while waiting for her.

Leisure Suit : London dry gin, elderflower, apple, rosewater, cucumber.
With some delicious brioche and butter. The brioche loaf looked cute too :)

The cocktail list, served to you in an iPad :) I'll come back soon to try the Smoky Diamond and Velvet Martini :) I'm that type of person who choose cocktails based on their names more than what's in it :)

Entree Oysters with yuzu and wakame jelly.
Fresh and lovely. The textures of the jelly and the oysters are quite nice together :)

Main Flat iron Grain fed wagyu MBS 9+ 200 g, green beans, lemon butter, mushroom sauce. With a glass of Cabertnet Sauvignon.
I've read that the kitchen sous-vide the steaks, cooking them (individually vacuum-packed) in a water bath at 54 degrees for up to 1.5 hours before finishing them on a wood-fired grill (steak ordered blue go straight to the grill). The steak is really delicious, I've never actually had this cut of meat (flat iron) before so I don't know how the sous-vide affect the steak, but the steak is super tender and the mushroom sauce compliment the steak really well :) Yum!

Dessert Champagne ice cream, almond shortcake, vanilla custard, raspberry consommé.
This dessert is so pretty and delightful. Light enough for lunch and just perfect to close off a fantastic and fulfilling lunch on a sunny friday.

I love the restaurant and the food. The food come quickly too (don't you like that? I like that) and the service is very professional and excellent. I understand some people don't like the fact that the restaurant sous-vide the steak as they said the meat lose its meatiness (or something) but I appreciate restaurants who do things differently as that is what makes Black unique and the reason why I love eating at different restaurants all the time is because of the way their food is different from one another yet still amazing all the same.

What a breathtaking view (photo from

The glamorous interior (photo from


One Sunday evening, I went to Buzo for dinner. I love dining out on Sunday nights (as the restaurants are not too busy and everyone looks happy and chilled) yet not many places open on Sunday night so I'm glad that places, such as Buzo open. Cheers and thank you Buzo.

Entree Spanner crab, ocean trout and mascarpone fritata.
Oh Man, 3 of my favourite things together : crab, egg, and mascarpone. This must be one of the most amazing thing in the world. And the fact that it is so light too, wow, (my hat is off). I finish the whole lot and I wanted more (I'm just greedy I guess). The roe at the top add textures to the creamy dish and I loveeee those pop fishy saltiness. 

Main Vincisgrassi, porcini, mushroom, prosciutto, truffle & parmigiano lasagne.
Wow, while the entree is delicious but light, this lasagne is delicious but also rich, satisfying, sumptuous , indulging, gratifying, comforting. You name it all (and fattening). But I don't care.

Dessert Torta di Verona. Mascarpone, pandoro, raspberry & almond trifle. 
Creamy, super duper yummy. Hit the spot. My dining partner had the warm baked chocolate, almonds & vanilla gelato which is one of the best chocolate dessert I've ever tasted! But I was very happy with my own dessert. ^^

I love the ambiance of the room, it is not big, but very elegantly decorated and lovely. It was such an amazing night. I just gained 50 pounds. But I (still) don't care and I can diet tomorrow (or not). ^^

Black by Ezard and Buzo Trattoria are both awarded the coveted one hat in the most current Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2013.

Love the warm intimate vibe inside the restaurant. Such a perfect cozy bistro for a quiet Sunday night, this is fine dining at its laid-back best :) 
(photo from
"Man shall not live by bread alone." --The Bible 
 "A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart, who looks at her watch." -- James Beard

Friday, September 14, 2012


"A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it."  --Aldous Huxley


I absolutely love Cafe Sopra, the food is so amazing and yet reasonable priced, the place is nice but has that casual, cool and relaxing vibe, and their bannoffee pie is to die for. They have a few branches, at Waterloo, Potts Point, Walsh Bay and Bridge st City. Their Walsh Bay branch is just opposite to Sydney Dance studio which I go often, and their Bridge st branch is just less than 5 minutes walk from where I live. I actually like their Potts Point branch the most as it is a great place to unwind and Potts Point is really a wonderful area full of great restaurants, cafes, bars and little shops. When dining alone, I love sitting facing the street and people-watch while having my wine and pasta :)

Orecchiette scallop. Oh Yum pasta and scallop together. What was I thinking having sparkling water instead of wine tho? Silly girl!

Although I love their banoffee pie the most, I also love trying all their other desserts. This is the Eton Mess (hence the mess). Just like that song. "A beautiful mess". ^^


Mixed cured meat plate, grissini, bread & butter and a glass of Pommery. I love cured meat, I love champagne and I definitely love bread and butter. Everything is awesome and the Pommery is on special $10 a glass. ^^

What a gem. At first I wanted to have lunch at my other fav restaurant LL Wine and Dine, but I wasn't aware that it closed for lunch on Wednesday so I went to this place instead which is just next door. The food really blew me away and is so cheap considering the taste, freshness and quality. 

Suckling pig plate. For $15, it is such an unbelievable value and it tastes out of this world. I have since came back and had the chicken liver pate sandwich which is awesome too and even cheaper (the sandwiches are cheaper than the meat plates). The Bourke st Bakery delicious bread plus the fresh pickles and well-prepared well-seasoned pate (or meat) make their sandwiches so good. It is simple yet so awesome and perfect. This small place is a favourite among the locals.

The place serves one local artisan beer and one Australian red and white wine by the glass to enjoy with the meal. Outdoor, sunny day, wine, bread, meat. Imagine that.


Baroque Bistro is owned by the family who owned the amazing (my favourite) La Renaissance Patisserie at The Rocks. The casual yet chic restaurant itself is located at the historical The Rocks with the views of the beautiful Harbour Bridge, where the food is described as contemporary French. You can choose between a la carte, blackboard special or plats du jour which is $29 including a glass of wine and organic green salad (lunch only).

Duck liver and port parfait, pickled grapes, cornichon, baguette.
This is so good. Luscious, creamy, divine. This must be the best duck liver parfait I've ever tasted in my life! (and I've tasted quite a few ^^)

Mousles frites. Plat du Jour for Mondays.
Oh My Lord The portion is huge (look at the full bowl of fries) ! I couldn't finish all the fries (I went home crying after) But the mussels are so juicy and plump and I finished them all hehe :) ! I am so loving mussels when it is done as well as this.
Ps: Just to clarify I wasn't complaining about the huge portion ^^


I love bento boxes for lunches with all its different cute little side dishes and other than Miso at World Square, my other favourite Japanese restaurant would have to be Azuma Kushiyaki. The food is faultless and the place is quite close to where I used to live. Ah how I love those Japanese skewers with all its different seasonings and sauces. Adorable and mouthwatering :)

Assorted Kushiyaki : Zucchini seasoned with dried Shiso leaf flakes, Paradise prawn with Salt, Chicken thigh fillet with Kushiyaki sauce, Chicken breast with Pickled plum mayo, Wagyu beef tenderloin with Yuzu citrus pepper. 
My favourite is the beef. So tender and flavoursome, but of course I love all the rest too :)

Kushiyaki Bento set. Assorted kushiyaki (top), rice, miso soup, appetiser, assorted salads, assorted tempura.


Oysters with Yarra Valley roe, Tetsuya soft smoked ocean trout, free green salad, free bread and butter (^_~) and a glass of white wine (~_~)

I love having lunch and spending my spare time/ day off/ holiday/ holidays/ birthday/ sick day/ gloomy day/happy day/payday at David Jones Foodhall. It is like heaven to me and you can find just about almost anything here, it has the best local produces and also gourmet foods imported from around the world. It has a bakery, patisserie, gourmet butcher, seafood, delicatessen, cheese counter, rotisserie, fresh fruit & vegetable section, a liquor store, amazing selection of chocolates (including Godiva chocolates), pasta bar, oyster bar, wine bar, panini bar, cheese and antipasto bar, noodle bar, sushi bar, gelato & juice bar, steak & grill bar, espresso bar.
Man oh Man. Holy Crackamoli.

To be Continued to part 2 (I need to finish this now because I'm really hungry and need to eat) ^o^

"I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during the lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex."  --Erma Bombeck