Tag Archives: degustation

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.

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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.

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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

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Marque, Surry Hills

I’ve been wanting to take a Friday off to have lunch at Marque for a while now, because on Fridays, they offer a 3 course market lunch for $45! As they say on their website #likemarquebutcheaper!

Marque

  • Web: https://marquerestaurant.com.au
  • Address: 4/5 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills
  • Booking: recommended – do it online.
  • Open for dinner:  M-F (from 6pm), Sat (from 6.30pm)
  • Open for lunch: Fri from 12pm
  • Chef/owner: Mark Best. His profile is on their website and talks about how he started as an electrician then became interested in French food…
Marque by Mark Best
Marque by Mark Best

Marque is a relatively small restaurant hidden along Crown Street with no obvious signage sticking out, other than this plaque on the wall. The address itself is a bit odd, but basically it’s adjacent (or near to) Bills, another well known brunch place you might have heard of.

We’ve booked for 12pm. I struggle a bit with the door (do I push? do I pull?). The service, as expected, is very good here: the waiter helps us open the door.

Nice mirrors
Nice mirrors

Inside, the decor is simple and well black. The walls are black with one side lined with a mirror. Part of what makes Marque easy to miss is that there’s no obvious signs of diners – this is because the windows are covered in a gauzy curtain so no randoms can peer in on you.

Water? This is the strange part with Marque. In support of environmental consciousness, they have ceased to offer bottled water. So instead they offer either sparkling or still (from a tap), charged at $5 per person. This seems a bit weird given that tap is usually free at most places… and this makes our $45 lunch actually $50 per person.

The hidden costs of water!

Oh well, the service is excellent and we view the $5 as a tip/service fee. But just to make sure we get our $5 value, I made sure to drink lots and lots of water!

The Food:

Okay, so it’s a three course lunch – but D2D is already expecting 5 courses really. This is our first ‘course’: free bread!

Sourdough and butter
Sourdough and butter – FREE

We are offered sourdough or rye and caraway. We get a little block of butter wrapped in paper and tied with string – cute.

I love free bread at restaurants! At this point, I make a note to myself to find out which restaurants have the best free bread…

Cherry tomato on dehydrated biscuit...
Cherry tomato on dehydrated biscuit…FREE

This is our second ‘course’ – also free. Just a little finger snack – I’m not sure what it is, but that is a cherry tomato on top of a wafer thin crisp, which is spread with some cream/butter and sprinkled over with a flavoursome powder. The mix of textures is nice – soft and crunchy!

Sea Urchin, Rice & Cauliflower
Sea Urchin, Rice & Cauliflower

Ok, here is our first REAL course! The Friday lunch is an ever-changing fixed menu. First up is sea urchin with rice bubbles and cauliflower. Again, there’s an interesting play of different textures – lots of crunch and smooth butter-like sea urchin. The flavour isn’t too strong, not like at Moon Park.

Roast Pork Neck, Eggplant & Wakame
Roast Pork Neck, Eggplant & Wakame

Next up, is roast pork neck with eggplant and wakame. This was a rather Asian-style course. The pork neck was quite tender and not too fatty. Wakame is basically seaweed and is hidden under the eggplant. On top of the egg plant, you can spot, two brown flakes.

We don’t know what it was. But it was very strong in flavour.

It tasted kind of like an Asian sauce – but crispy and flat. We were also a bit confused as to how to eat this: do we eat it by itself, break it up and mix it with the other components of the dish?

Radiance Plum, Blackberry, Caramelised Yoghurt & Liquorice Cake
Radiance Plum, Blackberry, Caramelised Yoghurt & Liquorice Cake

Then came dessert! We were a bit disappointed with this last course actually – perhaps we expected more, but this seemed a bit like just pieces of fruit arranged on a plate. Albeit, the fruit was very tasty and those berries were huge! That black thin layer you see on top is the liquorice, which you can kind of snap up and mix it in with everything.

The part I found interesting was the caramelised yoghurt (the golden brown stuff on the bottom). This was a nice sauce for the dish and I wondered: how does one caramelise yoghurt…

Wine shelf

Wine shelf

All in all, I think the Friday Lunch $45 (really $50) is a nice, relatively cheap way to experience what Marque has to offer. It’s a quiet and relaxing place to have lunch, and with the free bread and finger food, you end up feeling quite satisfied by the end. The service is excellent as well.

If you like what you get a sample of through the Friday Lunch, the menu is normally $165 per person (or $170 with water…). It’s a fixed degustation type menu, and they have no al carte dining option.

Their website also features recipes, which I think is pretty cool. I wonder if anyone has every tried to make their own Marque in the home kitchen… Maybe we will on our next cooking post!

Marque on Urbanspoon

Bishop Sessa Surry Hills

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Bishop Sessa 
527 Crown Street,Surry Hills
Modern european dining 
this place is amazing ->

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the somewhat indistinct exterior hides a welcoming and pleasant, neighbourhood gem of a restaurant

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their winelist looks fairly complete 
but they also have a range of classic 
and unique cocktails on offer

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Their menu gladly boasts of the use of locally available produce 
and not to mention, sustainable seafood 
and all presented in creative dishes

sustainability is important for Lamchop 
so that's a plus 

tuesdays they have a special $49 for any 
entree
main
dessert 
incredible value

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complimentary homemade bread 
with olive oil

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opted for old fashioned

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entree 
kingfish, pepper seared? 
on a bed of vegetables and a light sauce 
a refreshing start to the meal

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entree
corned pork, barbequed corn 
garnished with some green herbs

whats corned pork?
they use the fattiest part of the pig 
cut off the meat, 
and what's left over is just the fat 
thats what this dish is. 
AND IT IS SO FREAKING GOOD

Lamchop couldn't stop smiling 
while that fat melted in her mouth 

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main
Roasted duck breast
with beetroot that is honey spiced

the cut of duck is well picked 
relatively lean and more meaty
than what some restaurants offer
but cooked extremely well
and was very tender

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main
lamb cooked two ways
sauce is strong and has a kick of flavour to it
just how I like it 
meat was very tender and satisfying to eat
and the potato and veggies accompanying the dish were a treat

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dessert
dark chocolate tart, honeycomb,
and salted caramel ice cream
fruit slices
beautifully presented 
salted caramel ice cream

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dessert
banana in a pastry 
with popcorn and icecream 
and a side of more toffee/caramel 
15min preparation required 

again, very well presented 
a warm, sweet finish to my meal 
leaving me very satisfied 
and already in my mind 
I have every intention to revisit this place
to try their degustation

Bishop Sessa on Urbanspoon

Soffritto, Newtown

soffritto

Welcome to Soffritto, a contemporary European restaurant in Newtown!

We arrived at this place after buying a Groupon voucher for 5 courses with matching wines. Like with all Groupon vouchers, I quickly forgot how much it actually cost, but my vague memory is that it was $120 in total.

Soffritto

  • Website: http://www.soffritto.com.au/
  • Address: 367 King Street, Newtown (close to the train station)
  • Open: Tues to Sun from 6pm
  • Call: 02 9565 4660
Picture 698
6.30pm seating
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Lots of wine
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A shelf of wines

We book for 6.30pm on a Wednesday night and it’s pretty quiet. The place has the decor of the Victorian or Renaissance era. The counter behind me showcases lots of wines, as does a shelf right above our heads.

Our courses start pretty quickly:

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#1 Anchovie salad

The first course was an anchovie salad served with cherry tomatoes and spinach (?) leaves. Most anchovies I’ve eaten are quite small and dried and on pizza, so this was something different. Quite nice. We also got some warm bread and olive oil.

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Wine time

Each course came with matching wines, which was a decent size. There was a mix of Australian and international wines. I couldn’t drink too much so left it for D2D to drink up.

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#2 Pasta of some sort

This was the best course of the degustation! Unfortunately we weren’t listening very carefully to our waiter so I’m not sure what was inside – some of meat – but it was delicious! Very soft handmade and wrapped pasta topped with shaved cheese slices.

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#3 Seafood risotto

Next was the seafood risotto, which was so-so. Whilst tasty and with some good seafood (fish, pippis, prawns), I found it not that exciting in terms of flavour as say the previous course.

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#4 Pancetta wrapped beef with mashed potato and spinach

By this point, I was definitely struggling! Quite filling despite everything being degustation course size. This was full of flavour and I enjoyed each part from the beef, spinach to mash. The juice/sauce it sat in meant I could dip and soak the meat in it too.

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Almond tart

We had a dessert each: this is the almond tart which had a bit blob of cream on top! I’m not too much of a fan of cream so I kind of ate around it.

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Expresso pannacotta

This came in a cute little cup! Which was not little at all, because I quickly became too full! The slight bitterness of the expresso (under another dollop of cream) went well with the sweet biscuit.

What else is in Newtown?

Check out the Newtown category for food options. There’s also a host of quirky shops along the entire King Street, so keep exploring!

Soffritto on Urbanspoon

Waqu

Waqu is one of D2D’s favourite Japanese restaurants! His family comes here and has the seasonal degustation every time. Some distinctive things about this place are: they like foam and not really cooking their food. As you’ll soon notice, each course requires minimal cooking and maximum plating!

What’s also noticeable is that it was very difficult to take photos! This place is rather dark (our table had a candle – ambience, tick!), so it was a struggle but D2D managed to edit these very well.

Waqu

  • Website: http://www.waqu.com.au/
  • Address: 308 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, NSW 2065
  • Call: (02) 9906 7736
  • Book online: on Dimmi (and earn points towards $50 voucher)
  • Open: Tues-Wed (from 6pm), Thur-Sun (from 12pm)

Ok, so let’s start the six-course degustation!

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Complimentary cucumber wrapped around herbed rice

First up is the Soup of the Day. This is served cold and in a wine glass. I decided to drink it like wine, rather than use the spoon! It’s Japanese pumpkin soup. Tasty but nothing that special.

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Soup of the day

This next one looks just like the soup again. But it’s not. It’s actually their mocktail. Quite delicious and almost like sorbet! They have a drinks menu including cocktails, mocktails, beers and wines.

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Peach calpis mocktail – $8

The second course arrives. It’s sashimi with some interesting additions: mango sauce (the yellow part), the brown ‘rice bubbles’ and the green tea salt, which had a cool mix of bitter/saltiness.

Each course is explained to us by the staff.

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‘SU-JIME’ SALMON SASHIMI
mango sauce, myoga salad, lightly fried wild rice, green tea salt

Third course: I really liked this one! Scallops are so soft (because they are hardly cooked) and smooth. Again, there’s a whole array of random things on this plate. Various sauces, some salty prosciuotto…

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SCALLOPS + BEANS
confit of scallops, pea puree, pea+yoghourt mousse, basil splash, prosciutto crisp

For the Fourth course you can choose between the Kingfish or the Barramundi. We got one each.

The special thing about the Kingfish is the BACON FOAM! See, they like foam here.

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PAN FRIED KINGFISH
bacon foam, watercress purée, 60°c steamed white asparagus, roasted soba seeds

Our waiter also told us that the skin is apparently the best part of the fish, and yes it was pretty delicious. The barramundi was incredibly soft.

The eggplant nibitashi is a weird flavour. D2D ate all of mine.

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PAN FRIED BARRAMUNDI
grilled eggplant nibitashi, cucumber + zucchini purée, sautéed king oyster mushroom

Here comes the Fifth Course!
Again, you can choose between the lamb, chicken and steak. I chose the lamb, which was pretty nice. What I liked most was actually the vegetables on the side (the mung bean sprout salad!). As you’ll notice, there is a random little sprout on the plate…

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ROAST RACK OF LAMB
purple carrot + almond purée, mung bean sprout salad, potato confit, zucchini flower

D2D also had this random sprout on his plate! And you can see, they split the peas. Very decorative there. The steak was very rare (not much needs cooking in Waqu).

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TAJIMA WAGYU SIRLOIN STEAK
BMS 6+, Grain Fed ($8 surcharge)
celeriac puree, rocket puree, apple sauce, potato gratine, dried mustard seeds

Finally, we head for dessert. I’m quite satisfied and full. This is Strawberry X3! Basically, it’s deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. We were instructed to eat bits altogether and sure enough it tasted like strawberry cheesecake! The sorbet was also a good palate cleanser.

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STRAWBERRY STRAWBERRY STRAWBERRY
strawberry mousse, cake, crumble, meringue, red wine sorbet with cream cheese sauce

Food: Generally

This is actually the second time I’ve been to Waqu. The first time was for lunch. Their website has copies of their menu options, but basically for dinner, there is:

For lunch, there’s:

  • three course lunch set – $35
  • five course lunch set – $55
  • one plate quick lunch – $18

I had the one plate quick lunch (fish & chips) last time, which was pretty satisfying/filling. However, it doesn’t quite reflect what the restaurant normally serves (contemporary Japanese).

Price and Service

We used D2D’s $50 Dimmi voucher, so the meal was brought down to about $45 pp and we also went on Sunday night (so $58pp x 2 plus drinks). This was a very good deal for 6 courses with excellent service. The staff was very pleasant and explain each dish as it comes (even though sometimes we don’t quite understand).

What’s Around?

Maybe the food wasn’t filling enough, but D2D had a craving for kurtosh so we got a bit more food…

Waqu on Urbanspoon