All posts by tutortales

The Highland Restaurant, Tasmania

Flashback to Tasmania: pine trees, endless 100km/hr roads and roaming wallabies. Let’s skip ahead to Day 5. We started with a vegan breakfast in Launceston then D2D drove us the long and winding 2 hrs 15 minutes to the infamous Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain is located in the north west center of Tasmania and is infamous for the very popular week long hike from Cradle Mt to Lake St Claire. Needless to say, we didn’t have that long in Tasmania, so we opted for a shorter walk doing the Dove Lake Circuit.

After that walk, we settled into our accommodation at the Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Here, we pre-booked the night feeding tour at Devils@Cradle as well as dinner at the Highland Restaurant:

Highland Restaurant:

First up, the service is impeccable. We arrive like half an hour earlier than planned (since Devils@Cradle is so close), but the staff are very welcoming and seat us immediately next to the roaring fireplace – yes! Nice and warm…

Our waiter introduces himself to us by name as well as his colleague. We are then offered the menus to choose from, which offers two or three courses  ($60 pp or $70 pp) with about five choices for each course. We decide to be indulgent and get the three course.

The menu is interesting and contains a page which actually outlines the chef, their philosophy and where all their produce comes from. Essentially everything here is sourced as locally as possible within Tasmania.

First up, they serve us some free lodge baked bread which I gobble up with butter.

Fish entree
Fish entree

This is D2D’s entree. Sadly I can’t remember the exact details, but as you can it was seared Tasmanian fish  with cucumber wrapped fish roe.

Soup entree
Soup entree

I get a chorizo, bean and tomato soup, which comes with olive bread. Lots of bread so far!

Notably, on their old menu (the one on the website), you could actually order wallaby on your entree. But we’d just seen Tasmanian devils ripping apart some wallaby meat, so it wasn’t too appetizing…

longford beef eye fillet, dutch cream mashed potato, broccolini, herb roasted mushrooms, red wine jus
longford beef eye fillet, dutch cream mashed potato, broccolini, herb roasted mushrooms, red wine jus

For once, I get a big meaty main. This is the Longford beef fillet, some nice green broccolini and piped mash potato topped with mushrooms.

It’s very tender, cooked at medium rare. Luckily there’s not mash overkill, as I’ve already eaten a lot of bread.

tasmanian lamb cutlet, spinach besan cake, asian salad, spiced pistachio, dark aged soy
tasmanian lamb cutlet, spinach besan cake, asian salad, spiced pistachio, dark aged soy

D2D gets the Tasmanian lamb cutlets. It doesn’t look like much, but was very tender as well and gave us enough room to fit in dessert.

Dessert!
Dessert!

The good thing about this menu is that it’s not just 3 courses, with no choice (and both of us eating the same thing). With about five choices for each course, we got to choose different things and share half half.

This was their lemon/lime tart dessert, if my memory serves me right. The tart comes in little square blocks, with strawberries, crumb “soil” and a big scoop of sorbet/gelato on top. Nice presentation.

Dessert 2
Dessert 2

Again my memory totally fails. But I remember being satisfied at the end and nic e and warm next to the fireplace – that’s all that really matters right?

That brings us to the end of Day 5 of Tasmania! How quickly it goes – because we’re soon on a flight back to Sydney…

Day 5 Itinerary:

Highland Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Galileo Restaurant, Sydney CBD

Hidden away in the Millers Point area of the Sydney CBD is the Langham Hotel and its restaurant, Galileo Restaurant. As we walked there from World Square, it turned out to be quite a walk and D2D soon thought we must have walked so far we’d be in North Sydney…

But not so. This is just the quiet residential area that’s metres away from Walsh Bay and the Rocks area. When we arrive (finally), the doormen open and greet us. Nice.

Galileo Restaurant

The Langham
The Langham

The decor of the Langham and Galileo is that of vintage Paris and grandeau. Next to the restaurant, they also have a more casual bar area, where people are having drinks and coffees while a man plays the piano.

The staff service is quite formal, which is to be expected at the Langham.

gull 022

Inside the Parisian decor continues with the walls decorated with different drawings and cartoons. The chairs are plush and filled with cushions.

Seriously.

They have an abundance of cushions to the point where I struggled to fit onto the “inside” seat of the table (the one backing the wall) because there was no room for me, until I shoved some of the cushions aside.

Anyway,  we’ve come here on a five course Groupon voucher. Normally, it costs $99 per person.

Amuse Bouche - potato with yoghurt
Amuse Bouche – potato with yoghurt

This is an interestingly little cubed potato with the center hollowed out to fit in some yogurt and a random leaf. Yummy. They also present this on a small plate, on top of a napkin, which is on top of a slightly bigger plate. That’s layered presentation for you!

Bacon and maple bread
Bacon and maple bread

We also get complimentary bread, which is one of my favourite features of fine dining. This is served with a block of truffle butter! I order the bacon maple bread, which was the last one so D2D is stuck with normal sourdough.

We later get a second round of bread AND butter. The service was a bit forgetful though and we had to ask twice for the bread.

gull 029
Woodside Goats Cheese Parfait with witlof, apple, fig, asparagus and jamon.

This is the goats cheese parfait. Delicious! And I liked the presentation and squiggly form. Jamon is the thinly slice meat which was nice and savoury, contrasting with the slight sourness of the apples and cheese.

Cone Bay Barramundi (pan fried) with calamari, sweet corn, fennel, squid ink quinoa
Cone Bay Barramundi (pan fried) with calamari, sweet corn, fennel, squid ink quinoa

 

D2D and I agreed that this was our favourite dish of the degustation! The fish is cooked really well and is super smooth. The squid ink quinoa is nicely done and there’s just a mixture of different thinks working together.

Plus it has corn – which is just the best.

But since it’s a degustation, the servings are small and the plates are big. Like really, the outer rim of this plate was like 10 cm wide! The same diameter of the inside…

Cucumber marshmallow, apple sorbet
Cucumber marshmallow, apple sorbet

This was the “intermediary” or palate cleanser. I thought it was interesting – housemade marshmallow! I can’t recall what the dark green puree was….and again, it comes with random little leaves (a favourite of the chef I suspect).

Cosy
Cosy

Here’s another look at the decor/ambience of Galileo.

Venison, dates, black pudding puree, spiced carrots, native violet
Venison, dates, black pudding puree, spiced carrots, native violet

Onto the main! A juicy block of venison served medium rare. Black pudding puree? Hmm interesting.

Fromage
Fromage

We also opt for the $15 per person fromage plate. We only get one serving and it’s enough because we’re actually quite full. We polished off most of it except for the walnuts and prunes.

Tea and coffee
Tea and coffee

We also get some complimentary tea and coffee which is nice – something to soothe away the day’s troubles (if any). Again, the cups and saucers follow the decor theme.

I get a super strong black English breakfast tea. No milk or sugar.

Salted caramel pannacotta, malt, olive, caramelised milk
Salted caramel pannacotta, malt, olive, caramelised milk

This was quite a nice dessert but very sweet/salty. Good thing we had the tea to balance it off.

Overall, I really liked the decor and ambience of Galileo and it was just…very relaxing to eat a long meal, leaning against plush cushions, then ending with cheese, dessert and a refreshing black tea.

I would recommend coming here on a Groupon voucher to try it out, as $99 per person is a bit steep for a 5 course meal (there are comparable restaurants serving more courses / offering cheaper prices in Sydney).

They also offer a la carte, eight course degustation ($120) and a vegetarian degustation ($105).

Galileo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining, Sydney CBD

Squirreled away like many underground bars, Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining is tucked away in Martin Place, Sydney CBD. I’ve wanted to try this place before, but like most grand ideas, it somehow slipped away. But I got a reminder recently listing the top desserts to try and the one at Rabbit was mentioned…

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining:

  • Website: http://www.rabbitholebar.com.au/
  • Address: Basement level, 82 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Getting there: closest train station is Martin Place or St James, but you can also easily walk from Wynyard
  • Book: suggested, we came on a Wednesday night and most of the tables were reserved already! Luckily a table for two is often easily accommodated. Book via enquiries@rabbitholebar.com.au or 02 8084 2505
  • Open: Mon to Fri (12pm – 2am), Sat (4pm – 2am). Closed Sun.

Head down the spiral stairway and you feel a bit like Alice going down the Rabbit Hole. I suppose that’s the feeling it’s supposed to create. This bar is quite low lit (mood lighting), so don’t expect pastel coloured walls and mushrooms reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

There’s some pictures of rabbits on the wall, which is cool, but otherwise it kind of looks like a normal bar.

Welcome to Rabbit Hole
Welcome to Rabbit Hole

What is a bit are the tea cups holding a candle on each table. water is served in a liquor bottle of gin. Nice touch. The teacup is pretty cool and quotes Charles Dickens around the edge:

Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort.

Currently, on Wednesday nights, they are running a 2 for 1 promotion on cocktails between 5-7pm. Unfortunately they don’t show tell you until later that this only applies to limited cocktails and none sound as cool as the ones we wanted!

So we just ordered off the normal cocktail menu.

Wood and Smoke $22
Wood and Smoke $22

D2D ordered the Wood & Smoke (GIN), which is described as:

First the aroma of smouldering cinnamon will greet you. Then be taken to a warm fireplace with this complex and bitter drink. Auchentoshan 3 Wood, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut and Laphroaig 10yo is mixed with Quassia and Barberry Bark syrup, Acid Phosphate, Fee Brother’s Whisky Barrel Aged bitters and Old Fashioned.
The drinks at RB are definitely different and there’s a scientific-experimental feel to what they are trying to do. D2D’s Wood and Smoke tasted like….wood and smoke, haha. It comes with piece of cinnamon (on fire/smoking), which you can later put out by putting into the little glass of water it comes with.
XO Zombie $19
XO Zombie $19

I got the XO Zombie (rhum), which is described as:

Our twist on the original. Mt Gay XO, Cointreau and Joseph Cartron Cocody are muddled with lime, mint and our house made passionfruit caramel. It is shaken with aromatic bitters, pineapple and orange. Served in a bitter, sugar rimmed glass with a flaming passionfruit.

Things on fire are just instantly cooler for some reason!

The drinks at RB are quite expensive ($20 mark) actually, but you actually get quite a lot because the glasses are big.  There are some other drinks on the menu which sounded quite interesting (including ones in a powder form!), but we have to save room for food…

RH has a lunch, dinner and bar menu. Their dinner menu is in the small vs large format, which seems popular for shared dining these days.

First up:

vivid 008
Crispy and gooey truffled eggs; liquid nitrogen yolk, frozen meringue, blue cheese foam & dark cocoa brioche $25

Let’s be blunt. This was weird.

And we definitely drew the gaze of all the other diners when this came out! Though we appreciated the experimental nature of this, we didn’t quite enjoy the flavours/textures of this dish. It was a bit confusing to have so many different elements, which, even when you ate it together, still tasted strange. Perhaps it’s the “cold” feeling of eating frozen meringue and nitrogen yolk… in the beginning of winter? It also felt rather unsubstantial (admittedly, it is a “Small” dish) for the price of $25.

Interesting stuff – but would we eat it again? Highly unlikely….

Glazed pork belly and tornadoes, vegetable risotto, bacon & garlic caramel $22
Glazed pork belly and tornadoes, vegetable risotto, bacon & garlic caramel $22

The second “Small” dish was a bit more “normal”. That yellow strip on top is a bacon/garlic caramel!! I really liked it – like salted caramel – but D2D complained he had garlic breath. We both liked the soft pork belly and risotto underneath.

What’s that red sauce? No idea! Maybe “tornadoes” is “tomatoes” and it’s some kind of tomato sauce…

We then moved onto dessert, which was the reason I had been reminded of this place:

Chocolate skull on FIRE!

Chocolate skull, rum, spiced black vanilla ice cream, flourless pineapple cake & fire $21

Chocolate skull, rum, spiced black vanilla ice cream, flourless pineapple cake & fire $21

Yeah, another fiery dish! Unfortunately I missed the fire part of the presentation, but basically the waiter pours alcohol over the dish, with a flame, so it’s basically like the Bombe Alaska dessert.

What makes it different is the chocolate skull mask that is the centerpiece of the dish. This melted quite a bit by the time the fire was out, so the photo doesn’t quite capture it but you get the idea. The pineapple cake really soaks up the alcohol so it’s a bit heady for the alcohol lightweights (like me). Theses also gold and blue flakes which was interesting.

All in all, Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining offers some interesting and experimental cocktails and food! However, it can be an expensive meal ($120 all up for the two of us) where the portions aren’t that substantial and the experiments can feel like they’ve gone…a bit awry.

Interestingly, most of the other diners that night didn’t choose the “off the beaten track” dishes and drinks that we got. Perhaps they are the regulars, who have realised and enjoy RH’s more mainstream dishes.

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Youeni Foodstore, Castle Hill

It’s not often that we eat local and, to be honest, the reason is that there’s limited good food or choice in the Hills area at times.

One of the good ones, however, is Youeni Foodstore, which is a cafe/restaurant aiming to make all their foods in-house. The feel is a bit like Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen in Alexandria, but a lot smaller and less…pink at the moment.

Youeni Foodstore

  • Website: http://youenifoodstore.com/
  • Address: 2 / 250 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154 (right next to the Dan Murphys)
  • Getting there: parking in Castle Towers can be a pain, so I’d recommend parking in the Dan Murphys car park which is right next door and underneath or in the Castle Mall carpark off Terminus Street.
  • Open: daily 7.30 – 5pm
  • Call: 02 9680 8885
You and I?
You and I?

Youeni. You…en…i? You and I? That’s my guess as to the reason for the name.

Anyway, Youeni is decked out in a modern wood and glass style. The exterior walls are floor to ceiling glass and inside features a super long bench that extends into the open kitchen. There’s actually not many tables, but there’s some seats at the bench/bar. There’s tables outside (alfresco), but it’s not exactly the prettiest view. Cars zooming past at the big intersection, and a petrol station across the road… So we sat at the bench.

Their breakfast menu runs til 11.30am, and their lunch menu runs from 12-3pm. Keep this in mind, as you may want to avoid that gap between breakfast/lunch and after 3pm, if you want to try the kitchen food. Note, their online menu is out of date and doesn’t list some of the things we ordered:

Chicken congee - brown rice congee with fried garlic, spring onion and topped with a fried egg
Chicken congee – brown rice congee with fried garlic, spring onion and topped with a fried egg

I also had a congee at Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen and this is just as good, PLUS it has a fried egg in the middle. Gosh and so much fried garlic! They were also generous with the chicken.

Our meals came in this BIG ceramic bowl, with chipped edges. Probably the design as both our bowls were randomly chipped.

Lamb fritters with the Village Salad
Lamb fritters with the Village Salad

D2D ordered Lamb Fritters which come the Village Salad. The salad was really tasty with lots of almonds, rocket, berries and yoghurt.

towers 001

All in all, the food at Youeni feel quite healthy, yet delicious and are served in big portions in big bowls! Our bill (two lunch items and one flat white) came to less than $40, which is pretty good value.

Youeni also sells their own baked bread and other baked goods like cupcakes, muffins, cakes and loafs. This seemed quite popular and apparently they have a regular stall at the Richmond Good Food Markets!

What else is around:

  • Castle Towers and Castle Mall shopping centres are just a walk away
  • The Baron cafe as well as its sister cafe The Tuckshop

Youeni Foodstore Castle Hill on Urbanspoon