Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pho Bac Hai Duong

If anyone has been to Marrickville the first thing they will notice is the long stream of Vietnamese restaurants along Illawarra Road. I can't believe how many there are. Frankie said that he has been to them all so it was up to him to choose which one we went to. After going to both bottle shops in Marrickville and finding they were both closed we found a bottle shop in a pub and then headed to Pho Bac. I love the freshness of Vietnamese food and I also love how you get all the different condiments on your table so you flavour dishes to your liking.

Vietnamese Pancake - $9.50

We started off with a Vietnamese pancake which I hadn't had for ages. I never used to like this cause I wasn't a big fan of bean sprouts, but I have learnt to like them. The pancake was so crispy and fresh and the sauce was perfect. I couldn't eat this without the sauce though. Everything on the menu was so cheap that we decided to get 3 main items and share them.

Salt and Pepper Squid - $13

You can't really see but the salt and pepper mixture was chunky and had bits of chilli through it of which i ate a big bit of. The batter was probably a bit thicker than you'd expect, but it was still really good.

Combination Omellete - $11

This had pork and squid and vegetables in it and tasted so good with the hoisin sauce. I love hoisin sauce...yum.

Chicken in Anchovy Sauce - $11

I had never seen this dish before, so I was keen to try when Frankie suggested it. It didn't really taste anything like the anchovies that you usually get on pizzas. It was sweet and salty and really good. I would recommend this highly, although i didn't get to eat much of it cause I was stuffed from all of the other dishes.

If you are planning on opening a shop in Marrickville, I wouldn't suggest a Vietnamese restaurant, that's for sure. Maybe a bottle shop that is open past 8pm on a Monday night perhaps... One down twenty five to go!

Pho Bac Hai Duong
304 Illawarra Road
Ph: 9559 5078

Open Mon to Sun 10am - 9:30pm

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sydney Food and Wine Fair

I was quite worried the day before the food and wine fair as the weather was terrible, but luckily for me and everyone else heading to Hyde Park, it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Mum and Dad met me at my apartment and then we caught a taxi to Hyde Park. We got there about 11:15 (we weren't eager or anything...), but it was a good idea that we did cause it gave us a chance to look at all the stalls and see what they were offering without panicking that everything was going to sell out. We were also able to get a nice table in part shade part sun. So it came to 11:55 and mum urged me to get in the line for food before the queues started getting big. So I was in charge of food and Dad went off to get the wine. I had spotted a few things I would like to try, but when I saw Arun Thai's offering of crispy chicken with sticky rice and papaya salad I was sold.

4 coupons - $10

Luckily Mum told me to go when i did cause when i asked for 3 orders of this i turned around and there was already a big queue. This was so good! I hadn't had papaya salad since I had been in Thailand and i must say that this is one of the best that I have had. It was so spicy which was good, cause I hate it when they don't make food as spicy as it should be to try and accommodate non spicy liking people. It was well worth the $10 as well.

4 coupons - $10

Another thing that i saw while wandering around was the scallop and noodle salad with pork belly and you get a cocktail with it, from Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay. I thought that was a bargain until i saw it. Luckily Mum got it before I did! So I was on to find something else and felt like something light after the Arun Thai meal, so I thought Oysters!

4 coupons - $10

Now I am not sure if these were from Sailor's Thai or Salon Blanc, I thought Sailor's Thai, but they were both next to each other and I got a bit confused. There was nothing really to rave about this though. Oysters with just lemon would have been a lot nicer.

4 Coupons - $10

Dad finished with these rice paper roll type things from Prasits/Northside Thai. They were filled with pork and prawn and noodles, and they were absolutely delicious.

4 Coupons - $10

Mum finished her savoury items with this sampler plate. I am not too sure where she got it from, but as she doesn't like beetroot she gave me the item with beetroot. It tasted really good with the sweetness of the beetroot and apple and creaminess of the feta.

1 coupon each - $5

I had walked past the Bourke St Bakery stall a few times and saw the array of tarts they had on offer and knew what i was going to get for dessert. I heard someone else ordering and they told them the tarts were 1 coupon each, so I decided to get 2! The one on the left was a chocolate mousse and raspberry and the one on the right was lemon curd. These were delicious. They just melted in your mouth. Very light as well.

3 Coupons - $7.50

Mum got her dessert from either Milsons or Verandah (again with the confusing signage). It was a panacotta with mixed summer berries. The panacotta had a coconut milk flavour which was nice, but the blueberries were less than desirable.
That was it from the food side of things and we were still left with a lot of coupons, they were not put to waste though with all the different wine stalls!

Sydney Food and Wine Fair
Hyde Park
Annually on the Last Saturday in October

Friday, October 19, 2007

Greek Islands Taverna

Frankie and I tried to go to this place one night before on a Monday or Tuesday night and found that it was closed, so it was a Thursday night and knew for sure that it would be open. As you enter the restaurant which is down a side alley off the main street, you feel like you are in restaurant somewhere in Greece. The place is very colourful and welcoming. The menu is varied which is good, but also bad as it makes the decision of what to order tougher! There are a lot of mixed plates which were appealing, but they were for 4 people, and although we were hungry, we weren't that hungry! So we decided on getting a few hot and cold mezes to share.

Medium Greek Salad - $9

First to come out was our greek salad. You can't go to a greek restaurant and not get it, it is of course the best salad ever. Look at all those different colours and flavours in there. Yum! How good is feta cheese, well how good is cheese in general, but feta is definitely my favourite. Has to be good feta though, not the plasticky feta that you sometimes get in take away salads.

Taramosalata - $6.50

Look at that colourful dish of fish roe. It's making me hungry now. This was nice and thick and creamy. It came with some fresh bread to spread on, but i was spreading it on everything!

BBQ Octopus - $13

Now this is where the photos get a bit blurry. It could have been the wine, it could have been that i ddn't set the camera up properly, who knows all I know is that the food was good. You could really taste the chargrilled flavour of the octopus. It was also served in bit sized pieces which was great, cause nothing is more attractive than having a octopus tentacle sticking out from your mouth. After a while these became a bit tough though, so best to eat them early.

Saganaki - $not sure

The description of this was melt in your mouth cheese and melt it certainly did. I have never had this dish before and i am so glad we ordered it. It was a gooey lemony tomatoey taste sensation. As with the octopus though it is good to eat this fairly quickly while it is still stringy.

Chicken Liver - $not sure either

This was the last of our dishes. Normally the form in which I eat chicken livers are in a pate, which is the best, but this way was very good too. I love all this type of food where you can just pick at things and drink wine and then have a break and then eat some more. We were wondering if this was going to be enough, but ended up leaving a lot behind as we were stuffed!

My gorgeous Frankie

Greek Islands Taverna
Shop 2, 360 Homer Street
Earlwood, NSW
Tel: 02 9558 3334

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mamma Maria

So i got these free tickets in the mail the other day for the Joe Strummer movie - The future is unwritten, so decided to use them last night at the Dendy in Newtown. I had never been to the Dendy there before, and was amazed that you were acutally allowed to buy alcohol and bring it into the movie! The chick behind the counter was not amused when Frankie asked for a bottle of champagne and she said you can only get glasses, we don't want people drinking out of the bottle in the we were going to do that! Anyway the movie was really good and by the time it was finished we were ready to eat!

I don't really know Newtown that well, although there are heaps of places that I would love to try out, so I told Frankie to pick a place and he chose Mamma Maria. He had been there the week before with his parents and said it was really good. Also the movie finished about 9pm and this place is open until midnight, so we didn't have to rush our dinner either.

Crumbed Brains

Frankie said that we had to get this for an entree which i was happy about, cause I hadn't eaten brains for ages. When I was little and living in Albury there used to be this sandwich shop called Yums which we used to get sandwiches from all the time and my favourite were the brains, avocado and bacon. So good, anyway these brains were delicious. They were in a creamy tomato sauce with red capsicum and onion and garlic. Can't remember how much they cost but the food here was very reasonably priced.

Chicken Samir - $15.90

For mains I got the Chicken stuffed with ricotta and something else. Can't really remember the particulars, but I remember that it was damn good. The sauce was tomatoey (is that a word?) and garlicky and really good. The vegetables were cooked to perfection also and seasoned just right. I always love a meal where I don't have to add any salt and pepper to, and i love my salt too.

Veal Dawn - $15.90

Frankie went for the Veal Dawn which was stuffed with mushrooms and artichokes and had a creamy mushroom sauce. I tried a bit of his and it was very nice, although i was glad i went for the choice that i did.

Greek Salad

We also ordered a greek salad (at an Italian restaurant i know) which was good, not the best i have ever had, but it was still good. This was a medium sized salad too, which was plenty for the two of us. We also got some garlic bread, which reminded me a bit of pizza hut garlic bread, but
better. It was BYO as well, which is always a selling point for me. Overall a very good restaurant, a very family feel to it also and cosy. I will be looking forward to going back!

Mamma Maria
239 King Street (Cnr Church St)

Ph: 9516 4428
Open Dinner Mon to Sat 6pm - Midnight