Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ju Ge Mu and Shimbashi, Neutray Bay

Many know that one of the places to go for authentic Japanese food is in the upper part of Sydney, Neutral Bay being one of those. Ju Ge Mu and Shimbashi are two restaurants combined together into one room, each restaurant having each of their own side. Ju Ge Mu has the teppanyaki and grill on their side while Shimbashi being in a more traditional atmosphere and surroundings specialises in soba noodles aka buckwheat noodles. Luckily, you still get the best of both worlds regardless of which side you choose to dine in!

Salty Boo - $10.00

The entree, Salty Boo, was not a disappointment in terms of taste. The best way I can describe the taste is basically it is like eating Chinese pork crackling with a thin layer of both meat and fat and a touch more salt. However I was quite dissapointed in terms of its servings for $10.00 and for a entre that was on the 'Specials page' but I guess such prices are expected for a restaurant in Neutral Bay.

Soba Noodles served in a chilled broth with tempurar eggplant - $18.00

One of the mains was the soba noodles served in a chilled broth with tempura eggplant; The soup was well balanced where it wasn't too sweet nor was it too packed full of flavours. The soba noodles must I say, was SO good! It didn't have that bitter after taste unlike some places such as Hiroba Japanese House and they were nice and smooth and you could definitely taste the freshness as you chewed through it.

Soba Noodles (Warm) Served with Pork - $19.00

The other noodle dish was the soba noodles served with pork (unfortunately, I forgot what the actual name was lol ...). It was an automatic unaminous agreement that this wasn't as good as the initial soba dish which we had. The flavours were too strong and slightly a bit oily which over powered the texture of the noodles.

Wagayu Beef Okonomiyaki - $19.00

Even though we had to wait 40 minutes for this dish, it was oh so worth it! Once you have tried their Okonomiyakis (Japanese Pizza) you can understand why Ju Ge Mu famous are so famous for it! There wasn't too much of an eggy base nor was there too much of that sweet Japanese sauce (It tastes some what like the Japanese version of a Chinese's hoisin sauce lol) and the Wagayu beef wasn't over cooked so it was still nice and chewy yet soft. The only criticisms which I would give would be that I have prefered a tad more sauce and probably a larger serving.

Country Mix Okonomiyaki - $18.00

This okonomiyaki was in my opinion one of the highlights of the night. There was a mix of ingredients such as more vegetables being involved and personally I also think that there was more sauce added than the last.

Even though it was an expensive meal because not only are their prices high however their servings are quite small, I would still come here again because the price you pay is for quality rather than for quantity. It is definately one of the most authentic Japanese restaurants I have been to in Sydney.

The only downside is that they could and should improve on service. There is only one receptionist filled with two waitors between the two restaurants. Yes there are another 1 or 2 people to take your order however they seem to be mainly the chef's assistances as opposed to waitors meaning they aren't that much help at the end of the day.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 6/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall Rating: 29/40

Ju Ge Mu and Shimbashi
- 246-248 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2089

Gotta go eat!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cador Cafe, Strathfield

I have never really been much of a fan of Cador from day one for besides cheap drinks, I can not really understand why many people still go there. I would not say it is one of the worst cafes - it is just a bit too average for me. Though in saying that, it is an okay place for people to hang out and socialise because they have comfy couches at all their tables.

Mint Kiss - $8.00 (Behind) Iced Mocha - $4.50 (Front)

Iced Mocha - $4.50

The Mint Kiss found by myself and others, was wayyy too sweet and it's not really the best thing to have if you have a full stomach. So unless you have a really sweet tooth I do not recommend ordering it because most people felt a tad sick half way through. The Iced Mocha however was surprisingly quite nice, it was well balanced between the cream, chocolate and the overall sweetness. Personally, I think it is one of their more well presented AND well priced drinks too! There wasn't too much cream to the point where you become sick of it nor was it filled with too much milk and I dare say, it tasted better than some other cafes!

Peachy Mango - $8.00

If you don't really feel like anything milky than I suggest you order some of their mocktails. The Peachy Mango is the perfect thing for a hot summer's night, particularly when it has the really refeshing fruity taste followed by a sweet mango after taste.

Iced Americano - $4.50

Another drink I would recommend is the Iced Americano, especially to those who dont mind a bit of a sweet yet bitter drink now and then. It comes with a small jar of sugar syrupt however the options is there for you to drink it being bitter. They only provide you with a small amount of syrupt so even if you do pour it in, you can still taste the bitterness which is how I personally like it! I'd say it is definately worth your $4.50!

Nachoes - $9.00

Their food on the other hand can be quite dissapointment because to me, it seems like even I or any 5 year old could do a better job. What do I mean? Their nachoes is an example of this where they have not taken much care nor effort into preparing their foods. They didn't use guacamoli nor did they even add cheese (the BASIC ingredient for Nachoes!!). Furthermore, they only used tomato sauce as the sauce for the nachoes and nothing more. Anyone could have done a better job! It felt like I paid $9.00 to eat oridinal nacho chips dipped in tomato sauce and sour cream. Rip off much?

My suggestion is that if you do go to Cador for whatever reason, just stick to drinks and drinks only! Their service isn't too bad though, even if the waitors can not see you then you can always press the bell and the wait for the food does out within a reasonable amount of time. Though, I guess it doesn't take too much time for a chef to chuck in chips into a bowl and slop on some tomato sauce and sour cream =P

Food: 4.5/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Service: 6/10
Value for money: 5/10

Overall Rating: 21.5/40

Cador Cafe
- 296 Chapel Rd, Bankstown NSW 2200

Gotta go eat!!

Dong Ba, Bankstown

Last time I checked the popular place for Pho' or something along the lines of Pho' in Bankstown was Pho' Ann ... perhaps I was wrong. Yes, Pho' Ann is popular and packed out however there seems to be competition arising from a little Vietnamese restaurant located only 2 minutes down the road ... Dong Ba!

The place is relatively average for a typical restaurant in Bankstown however the same can not be said to its line full of eager customers. Dong Ba's signature dish is their Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for only a measely $7.00! Who wouldn't be eager and for those who can't really take spicy foods, you may also order a non-spicy version.

Their food had came out relatively fast so that's an extra bonus for those whom wish grab a cheap and quick bite before heading elsewhere. Though, I guess that it is expected since most pho' places do pre-make their soup so all they have to really do is cook the noodles and chuck in the meat.

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup - $7.00

I found their soup base to be full of flavour while others found it to be quite salty. For $7.00 you can't really complain seeing, especially when it includes some Chinese sausages, beef and some pigs Jelly. The Chinese sausages however tasted a tad too salty and it had a weird taste which I personally was not that quite fond of.

For those who aren't a fan of such animal parts, you are probably better off ordering a different beef noodle soup, one which has ingredients that you are more familiar with =P All of course are all still $7.00!

Food: 7/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Service: 6.5/10
Value for money: 7.5/10

Overall Rating: 27/40

Dong Ba
- 296 Chapel Rd, Bankstown NSW 2200

Gotta go eat!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tan Viet Noodle House

Signature Dish - Crispy Chicken

Tan Viet Noodle House is the hot place to be when you are in Cabramatta! There is usually a queue of people waiting outside and the wait is on an average of 10 minutes which is considered quite a lot for a place such as Cabbra! Their most popular dish is their Crispy Chicken which gets sold out long before they close!

Their service was fairly fast considering at how packed it was when I went. The line outside seemed massive but it was only a 10 minutes wait and the food came out in 10 minutes as per the waiter's words.

Since this was my first time, I obviously had to order their signature dish. I actually came here on a week night once, arriving a bit past 6pm. They close at 7 each day however by then they had sold out of their crispy chickens and so we left. The second attempt was much more successful lol.

Three way bean drink - $3.50
The drink was really refreshing to have on a hot summer's day. The drink didn't have too strong of a bean flavour and nor was it drowned in coconut milk however I found that the peanuts were slightly unnecessary. That is an opinion statement however because I am not a fan of nuts.

Crispy Chicken meal accompanied with tomato rice - $11.00

First came out the crispy chicken accompanied with the tomato rice; tomato rice was a good choice to go with the crispy chicken because it provided it with an extra flavour to go with the chicken as opposed to just having plain rice. The tomato rice wasn't sticky; you could actually seperate the grains from each other which made it more enjoyable to eat.

The chicken I thought was slightly overrated based on its popularity and the expectation I had since it is rare to find a queue outside a restaurant in Cabbra (besides for yum cha). Yes, it did have that nice crispy skin however the meat was a bit dry which is let down the meal as a whole. In saying that though, the servings of the chicken was quite generous given for a meal it was only $11.00.

Crispy Chicken with dried noodles - $11.00

We had also ordered the same meal but with the dried noodles. The noodles were a bit oily; with a bit less oil the dish would have been tastier because you then would have been able to taste the actual noodles without eating the excess oil. There was however the right portions of salad within the noodles to help counter act the amount of oil within the bowl.

If I had to choose between either the tomato rice or the dried noodles, I would definitely go with the dried noodles because the extra vegetables helps provide a bit of variety from all that chicken.

As aforementioned, I personally think it is slightly overrated however I can understand why it is so popular. The food isn't bad and who would ever say no to crispy chicken skin! It is also really good value for money not only are their servings quite generous but for $11.00 there are three components to the dish to help fill you up (including the soup)! For those who have not been, it is definitely worth a try!

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Value for money: 8/10

Overall Rating: 30/40

Tan Viet Noodle House
- 3/100 John St Cabramatta NSW 2166

Gotta go eat!!

Ceci, Strathfield

Okay I shall try to be as least biased as I can with this review on Ceci as this is one of my favourite restaurants in Strathfield. No, in fact it is one of my favourite restaurants! =D

Strathfield is known for its Korean food, Ceci is one of those restaurants that probably helps build this reputation despite the nationality of its local residents. Even though it is small restaurant, it is still just as popular to the point where there are always a line full of people for either take away or just wanting to dine in.

Kimchee Pancake

My favourite dish by Ceci is by far the Kimchee Pancake; not only is it cheap but it tastes so great. I admit, as much as I love my kimchee pancake, at times it can be slightly overcooked where you get a few burnt bits while other times the kimchee itself may be too sour. Most of the times though, not only are there huge servings but the pancake itself is slightly crispy on the outside and the inside is soft which goes really well with a bowl of plain rice. The flavours aren't excessively strong but are strong enough and it isn't too floury so you can actually taste all the kimchee, onion and etc.

Tapche Potato Noodles

My second favourite dish would have to be their Tapche aka Potato noodles - One of the dishes that are done very well here. Again, their servings are fairly generous. The noodles can be at times a bit too oily which may spoil the dish. The noodles are to be eaten with rice to help balance the flavour of the noodles itself.

Seafood Pancake

Another pancake they serve is the Seafood Pancake though in my opinion Madang makes it a lot better. I find that the pancake may be a bit too thick, lacks taste because it tastes too floury and doesn't have enough seafood however the outside is still crispy. Servings are just as large as the kimchee pancake though which is a bonus. I also found that there were too many large chunks of Shallots (in comparison to the Kimchee Pancake) to help minimise the number of seafood meat for them to mix in.

Omlet Wrap with Fried Rice

I forgot what the actualy name is however it is simply just an omplet wrap filled with fried rice. Many japanese resturants have this dish however I found that Ceci's version is a lot more tasteful, perhaps this could be a korean alternative to the japanese dish. I found that the tomato sauce was quite unnecssary but the fried rice well made really well. Full of flavour as any fried rice dish should be and the salad on the side balanced the whole dish quite well. It is also a dish which you could have on your own if you aren't sharing and should be filling enough.

Cheesy Risotto

I never really understood why they even had this dish on their menu in the place seeing as though it is a Korean and not an Italian Restaurant. I think this is one of the dishes where people either like or dislike it. I disliked it quite a bit mainly because of the excessive cheessy and buttery taste. It is a dish where it is packed full of cheesy taste so if you love your cheese you will love their Risotto's. I clearly dont appreciate cheese enough to enjoy such a dish.

It is also a very oily dish because of both the oil and the melted butter. Last time I checked, Risotto is more of an Italian thing, I personally think it should be kept that way so if you like your proper korean food and if you aren't a fan of cheese, do yourself a favour and avoid it.

Service is fairly fast however their waitors may be hard to catch sometimes in both serving and clearing out tables. The only disadvantage is that they only accept cash and cash only. No EFTPOS facilities are available however this isn't much of an issue since there are many ATM's closely located.

Food: 9/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Value for Money: 9.5/10

Overall Rating: 34/40

37 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135

Gotta go eat!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hiroba Japanese House, Sydney

As soon as I stepped into the doors of this little restuarant I realized that the place is bigger than it appears from the outside. I also noticed that there is a sashimi bar with a chef standing behind it at the front of the restaurant. This usually means that their sashimi would be some what fresh and would be made by a proper sashimi chef! Yumm~~

Even though the restaurant does say it is Japanese, it is actually a fusion restaurant with the other half being Korean. I have not yet had a chance to try out their korean food however it does look AND smells good!

We first ordered a smaller starter which was a small serving of fresh King fish. On their menu they had at least over 8 different types of sashimi starters however because we arrived for dinner most of their sashimi had been sold out. A disappointment it was however I guess that is the price for which you pay if you want fresh food!

King Fish on rice - $2.50 each
Even though it was more costly if you were to compare it to a sushi train platter, it did however taste fresh so I guess it was alright. It is definitely something worth paying for if you are starving your stomach off and you can't wait too long for your mains to come out lol!

The mains came out next; we had ordered the Soba Noodles Bento Box and the Salmon Terriyaki Bento Box.

California Rolls as part of the Soba Set.

Again, you could definately taste the freshness in these rolls and all the flavours were well balanced. (unlike most sushi places) Neither the seafood stick or avacado had a dmoniating taste which is good because most places fill it up with a MASSIVE seafood stick to the point where you can not taste most of the other ingredients.

Soba Noodles with its soup base placed behind. Together the whole set was priced at $18.50 (if I recall correctly)

This was my first time trying Soba noodles so with a lack of experience in taste I can not really judge. It was sweet however it had a very strong bitter after taste which slightly turned me off those noodles and this is even though I had drowned the noodles in their soup base =/.

Terriyaki Salmon and Tempura Bento Box - $19.50 (If I recall correctly)

I am personally not much of a fan of Terriyaki however the Salmon here was one of the best I have ever had. The salmon was grilled to perfection, the flavours weren't too strong and the Salmon was still nice and crispy in certain areas. I guess since the flavours were slightly more mild than most average places which it is probably why I became so fond of it.

The tempura however was a slight dissapointment because it tasted quite average which I thought had therefore let down the dish a bit.

Overall, their prices are a bit more towards the expensive side because you could probably find a similar Bento Box for around $15 to $17 in the city. Given that it is Strathfield, you would expect the prices to be a bit cheaper however I guess their fresh sashimi does make up for it.

Service can be a bit slow, especially when they are busy because since the resturant is so small they would need to quickly clear out the tables for the next customer to dine. Though, I guess service is like that at most places when they are busy and Hiroba isn't a spash hot classy restaurant. It certainly isn't a bad place for those whom may wish to dine themselves too because they have so many meals which helps caters for individuals as opposed to sharing.

Food: 7/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall Rating: 28/40

Hiroba Japanese House
- 1 Albert Road, Strathfield NSW 2135

Gotta go eat!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shanghai Night Restaurant, Ashfield

As you drive through Hume Highway you will eventually find yourself onto Liverpool Road, a road which can only be described as Chinatown. Shanghai Night located in the heart of Ashfield is like the new purple; everyone wants to eat there and as night goes on, the restaurant only gets more packed out. It is one of the cheapest restaurants on the strip!

We arrived at the restaurant a bit before 7pm for a table for 2 however we had to wait in line and even though the wait was only a few minutes it goes to show how popular the place really is, especially for an area such as Ashfield. Shanghai Night in particular is not only known for good food but also extreme value for money!

Red Bean Iced Drink - $3.50

Shredded Radish Pancake

The radish pancake made by Shanghai Night is actually a lot better than others. The pastry isn't made to be as thick as most other places and there is quite a bit of juice throughout the radish, to the point where it doesn't make the pancake itself too try. Definitely one set off the cravings!! *drools*

Siew Long Boa - aka Pork Steamed Dumplings - $6.50

If you were to ever come to a Shanghainese restaurant you can not leave without having their siew long boa. Firstly the skin isn't too thick and the 'flower' has many folds which both demonstrate the talents and skills of the chef! Second the filling bursts out with flavour and has a nice residue of juice which comes flowing out if the dumpling.

Pan-Fried Dumplings aka 'Wor Tip'

We had also ordered the pan fried dumplings which had taken quite a while to cook, mainly because they are main fresh and the kitchen was probably packed out with a zillion orders! As pretty as the picture looks, I thought it was slightly unnecessary to glaze the dumplings with another layer of oil seeing as though these things are not really the most healthiest dish of all.

The dumpling's skin wasn't too thick which was good because you were able to eat the pastry and the meat as opposed to spending 5 hrs trying to get past the pastry. However ....

Base of a pan-fried Dumpling - Black as!

As you can see, they were just a 'tad' burnt. Kind of gross actually especially because knowing that a typical Chinese restaurant in Ashfield is not really the cleanest and I would not be surprised if they were using oil which was probably a month old! Yuck much? Maybe that is why I had to wait 15 minutes for these black dumplings lol.

Another dish which we ordered was the shallot pancake; Shanghai Night makes it nice and thick while most other places make it as thin as paper. Personally I prefer the thin version however for those who want their value for money, thick base is the way to go!

Shallot Pancake - $4.50

Even though I am assuming it is probably deep fried, the pancake was not as oily nor doughy as most other places which I have been too and it had the nice crunchiness on the outside, particularly on the edges!

The only downside to this is that it usually comes last even though it on the entree's page =.=' and it usually comes out when your already stuffed from all the other food! But hey! you can always do take away - still just as good =P

And finally!! We had also ordered the pan-fried buns which are very similar to pan-fried dumplings.

Pan-Fried Dumplings - $8.50

This was the one where we had to wait more than 30 minutes for because it is THAT popular! It was nice in the sense that there was lots of juice inside the dumplings however I found that the skin was a tad too thick which made the dumpling taste slightly more dry than necessary which for me, had ruined the taste of the dumpling as a whole. Its even more disappointing considering the fact that we had waited so long for it - =(

Another disappointment was that it did not have the golden base to give it the crispy bottoms but I guess the bonus side to that is that it was not as black as some of the other dumplings.

Sweet and Sour Soup

Soup was also a slight disappointment as it was a tad too sweet and it was not sour enough to balance off the sweetness.

Beef Noodles Soup

Noodles and the beef itself were quite soft though I assumed that they may have added in some powder to soften the meat like most Asian restaurants so with the thought of that the meat was not as flattering.

Service was quite average, especially for a typical Asian restaurant with staff that were unable to speak English fluently. Besides their food, one downside is the queue itself and the wait for the food to slowly come out. Not the best place to go if you are after a quick and cheap dinner but if you can wait then it is definitely worth the efforts!

Food: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Value for money: 8.5/10

Overall Rating: 29/40

Shanghai Night
- 275 Liverpool Road, Ashfield NSW 2131

Gotta go eat!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Hand Made Noodles Resturant, Sydney

As much as the name speaks for itself, it really is NOT the best hand made noodles restaurant. Rather I would actually say it is one of the worst restaurants I've ever been to; once was way more than enough.

I had ordered a Beef Soup with Hand Made Noodles and prior to ordering I specifically asked if they do takeaway. I was then told it would take around 6- 8 minutes. So I am there thinking wow not too bad because it was faster than i had expected.

Minutes ticked by and I took an opportunity to glance around; it was a tiny restaurant decorated with a traditional Chinese design of calligraphy writing and ancient religious statues. The ceiling was nicely decorated with miniature spotlights, which gave a glowing feel to the room. However...

After 20 minutes, I thought to myself 'okay it should have be here by now' as any reasonable person would expect especially when i was the only customer at the restaurant. Another 15 minutes, which was unacceptable, i had my order coming out.

What had annoyed me was what their actions when while they packed my order. At most takeaway restaurant, care is taken to it prevent the noodles from expanding and ruining the meal itself by the means of separating the soup and the noodles into two separate containers. Whilst i had not expected a 5 star noodle meal, i certainly did not expect the taste of the meal.

Beef Soup with Hand Made Noodles - $8.80
(Word of Caution: Looks can be deceiving)

The soup could be comparable to kfc being placed in water with a dash of msg. The only upside to these noodles were that it was handmade as i could taste the freshness of the noodles.

Whilst the noodles may seem fresh, for those who have not been here, please do yourselves a favour and AVOID IT! You would be paying nearly 9 bucks to have noodles with oil and MSG. Even Maccas and KFC do a better job at that and at least KFC names their MSG '11 Secret Herbs and Spices'!!

Food: 3.5/10
Ambiance: 4/10
Service: 2.5/10

Value for money: 3/10

Overall Rating: 13/40

Best Hand Made Noodles Restaurant, Sydney
- Shop 95, 732 Harris Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Gotta go eat!!