Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sushi Samurai

A couple of weeks ago Frankie and I were going to go to Hamachi-Ya, which is a relatively small Japanese restaurant in Pyrmont, for dinner but it was packed, so a couple of Sundays ago we decided to try again, but I had a feeling that it was closed on Sundays (which it is) so I searched on the internet for another Japanese Restaurant and came across Sushi Samurai, which was practically in the same area.

We got there hoping that it would be open and there would be a table, and luckily it was and there was one table left! I had a look at the menu and noticed how varied it was and how cheap. We enjoyed the meal thouroughly so decided to go back again the following week. We pretty much ordered the same thing, but instead of getting the Chicken Karage we chose the beef tataki instead.

When you sit down they bring you out this salad straight away. I always like complimentary things at restaurants! This was sort of a pasta salad, tasted a bit like the ones you can get at coles with the macaroni type pasta. I prefer the other type of japanese salads you get which are usually all green with a tangy dressing.

I love takoyaki. I love the combination of the creamy mayo and the tangy tonkatsu sauce with the texture of the ball with squid. I could eat them every day. This was only $9.80 for the 6 or 8 (can't remember) of them which is pretty good.

We also got the sashimi entree at $11.80. I am not too good with my types of fish, as long as I get the salmon sashimi i am happy, but i wasn't sure what the other 2 were. Yellowtail tuna maybe? They were all fantastic though, with a nice big ball of wasabi too!

Dragon Roll Sushi was marked on the menu as their specialty. It was so good the first time we got it we had to get it again. After only trying eel for the first time last year at Yoshii, I was hooked. I have to get it every time i get japanese food (if it's available). This was soo good with the cream cheese also. I think this was about $12, which is excellent value i think.

Lastly was the Tataki...That's too thick don't you reckon? It was way chewy as well, i thought it was going to get stuck in my throat! I have had good tataki before and this was not, which was a shame cause everything else was soooooo good. Anyway we will be back, but i won't be ordering this again.

The menu is really good too cause there are lots of pictures which always makes deciding easier, but harder because you want everything!

They also have a Sushi Samurai in neutral bay which would be interesting to try.
Sushi Samurai
Shop 1/16 - 30
Bunn Street
Ph: 9518 8852
Open Every Day

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Poachers Pantry, Smokehouse Cafe

My mum and dad have recently moved away from Sydney into a place called Murrumbateman. You would think (well i thought) that it was near bateman's bay, but no it is near Canberra. So after finishing up at work for the year I headed down there to spend a week with them over Christmas.

On the day before i returned back to Sydney they took me around to all the wineries (there are so many there, part of the reason they decided to live there...) and lunch at this restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

It was a beautiful day and there were options to sit inside or out, but as walking in to retrieve our booking, we had to fight our way though a cloud of flies so chose to sit in. The pantry is attached to a winery and also produces it's own smoked goods which you can buy from their shop. As the cafe specialises in their smoked goods we decided to try one of the smokehouse platters to share as an entree. There were 2 different types, a meat and a seafood one (you can ask for a vegetarian one also). We chose the meat!

Smokehouse Meat Platter - $24

The platter doesn't look that big, but it seemed to go on forever with so many different things that were discovered as others were devoured. I am not sure what exactly was on there but there were about 4 different types of meats and about 5 dips which were all bursting with flavour and other antipasto type things. It says for 2 on the menu, but it was plenty for the 3 of us.

Accompanying bread

The platter also came with some bread which wasn't that much for the three of us, but i am glad they didn't give us any more cause then I definitely wouldn't have been able to even start my main course. Talking about mains there were ample choices to decide from with the menu also stating which dishes were gluten free, for all you gluten haters out there.

Potted Smoked Garlic Prawns - $22

With the prawns came barossa valley speck and goats cheese gnocchi which just melted in your mouth. After the platter i was quite full, but it tasted so good that i had to eat it all! There were so many huge prawns in there too which was fantastic.

Smoked Duck Salad - $24

Dad got the duck which Mum already picked that he was going to get it (which is something mum likes to do..). Didn't seem to have to much duck, but it was all hiding under the spinach, orange segments and walnuts. I love duck, but walnuts i do not. I am also still not a big fan of fruit in things. I like my fruit in desserts.

Smoked Lamb Cutlets - $29.50

Mum opted for the lamb cutlets with sweet potato mash, caramelised fig jam, and sweet potato chips (those are the shards that are hiding the lamb). Makes your mouth water doesn't it.

Next time we go there we have decided to get both the meat and seafood platter to share and then a couple of desserts like passion fruit curd and meringue tartlet, or Banana Tarte Tartin with hazelnut ice cream and butterscotch sauce!
Anyone in the Murrumbateman area doing a tour of the wineries must make this a destination not to miss. Make sure you make a booking though cause it is very popular!
They are open every Fri, Sat, Sun for Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon tea and every day for tastings of their smoked meats and wines.

Poachers Pantry, Smokehouse Cafe
431 Nanima Road
Hall ACT

Ph: 6230 2487

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant

I can't believe how long it has been since I have put up a post! I think I am still in holiday mode at the moment, which will soon be shot out of my system...

Way before Christmas, like a week, Frankie and I went to the movies to see Elizabeth cause he had free movie tickets, and then the next day some internet company stuffed up my order and so what do i get as compensation?? Two free tickets to see Elizabeth.... if only they had come a day earlier. Oh well. After the movie we decided to go eat somewhere in chinatown as it was a Sunday night at about 9:30 by the time the movie finished.

I remember reading about this sichuan restaurant of the the main strip in Chinatown but couldn't remember where it was, but had a look down an alley as we were walking and there it was! There were a few people in there, but not too many, so we got a table right next to the window. I felt like I was actually in China or something cause the window faced out onto this dark alley with only Chinese restaurants on it, and it was a rainy night too.

Anyway on to the food. We got the menu and if you are a picky eater you don't need to worry here cause the menu is huge! Mainly everything is sichuan and the menu tells you how spicy each dish is which is great.

We started off with a couple of entrees, a green onion pancake and some sichuan spring rolls. Let's just say the meal didn't start off too good. The green onion pancake i have never tried before and it didn't really have any flavour and was greasy and the spring rolls were nice, but didn't taste any different from regular ones, plus the prawn crackers on the plate were not crunchy at all :(

Green Onion Pancake

Spring Rolls

For mains we got a meat and a vegetable dish. I can't remember the exact names of the dishes, as it was so long ago and the menu on their website is very limited. For the meat dish we got braised pork belly on vegetables and we got a sichuan eggplant dish. Both mains were very nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. The pork was very tender and sat on a mound of sichuan flavoured vegetables i think? Nothing will beat the sichuan eggplant that we had at the Malaya though, that was the best eggplant dish i have ever had.

Pork Belly


This restaurant would be a good place to come with a lot of people as there are so many different things to try. The main meals (that aren't seafood) are around an average of $14 which is quite reasonable. The restaurant is BYO as well. Upstairs there is another part which on the back of the menu states that you can get hotpot up there. They also have lunch deals for $6.95 which is a bargain. Our meal came to about $47 and i thought it was strange that we gave a $50 note and they didn't even bring any change back. We were going to leave the change, but you would think you wouldn't assume that...

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
Cnr Little Hay and Dixon Streets
Ph: 9211 8122