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Sunday, November 11, 2018

All-you-can-eat seafood buffet at Talay's Thai Seafood Restaurant, Duo Central Park, Sydney

Scampi sashimi at Talay's Thai Seafood Restaurant at Duo Central Park in Chippendale

All you can eat seafood including scampi sashimi? DREAMS CAN COME TRUE. Wear loose pants and get yourselves to Talay's Thai Restaurant, now open at the new Duo Central Park development on Broadway. Just $69 will net you as much seafood as you can eat in two hours, as well as unlimited Thai milk tea. Yeah boi. Want to know what's included? Read on...

All you can eat prawns, balmain bugs and oysters at Talay's Thai seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
All you can eat prawns, Balmain bugs and oysters

The all you can eat seafood buffet only runs at dinner, and includes a self-serve section plus dishes you can order via tablet. That means you can hook into prawns, Balmain bugs and oysters while you wait.

NB I've included the prices for a la carte for some dishes. The prices in brackets are what you'd pay if you ordered each dish individually off the menu. If you order and pay for the buffet, everything mentioned in this post is included.

All you can drink Thai milk tea, bael fruit tea and Thai iced milk green tea at Talay's Thai seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
All you can drink Thai milk tea, bael fruit tea and Thai iced milk green tea

And sure, plain water is provided, but you can also go nuts with all you can drink Thai milk tea, bael fruit tea and Thai iced milk green tea. As always, these tend to be on the sweet side, so I'd suggest you fill up your glass with ice to provide some much need chilled dilution. The choice - and tooth enamel - is yours!

Tom yum prawns at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Tom yum soup with prawns

Help yourself to tom yum soup, definitely on the fiery side but a touch too sweet for our Thai ex-pat, the G-Man. It is filled with plenty of prawns though.

Pipi clams with fresh chilli and garlic at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Pipi clams with fresh chilli and garlic (a la carte $13.90)

They also have pipi clams with fresh garlic and chilli in the bain marie...

Crab fried rice at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Crab fried rice 

plus plain and crab fried rice.

All you can eat scampi sashimi at Talay's Thai Seafood Restaurant at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Scampi sashimi (a la carte $6.90 per piece)

But don't fill up on the carbs because food orders tend to fly in thick and fast. Our scampi sashimi arrives on a massive wooden board, peeled for easy eating. The flesh is firm and deliciously sweet. I'm still amazed this is part of the buffet considering it retails for $90 per kilo at the Sydney Fish Market.

The tablet only permits us to order two raw scampi per diner (we're a group of four tonight) but when we ask if there is a limit, our waiter somehow sends through another order to the kitchen. I'd understand if there's a quota per diner, but it won't hurt to try your luck if you do hit a maximum order on the tablet.

Parboiled cockles at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Parboiled cockles (a la carte $14.90)

For most of us, eating parboiled cockles is a first. There's a stronger and chewier taste here, like a mussel crossed with a pipi, but it's a reminiscent flashback to childhood for the G-Man. Make sure you help yourself to a bowl of Thai seafood sauce for dipping too. You'll want to dip everything in this spicy, sour and garlicky dressing.

Raw salmon roll at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Raw salmon roll with Thai mint spicy sauce (a la carte $17.90)

The raw page on the tablet menu includes salmon sashimi (tasty) plus raw salmon rolls, doused in a vinaigrette pepped up with chilli, garlic and mint. Due to messy hands eating crab, I managed to take photos of most, but but not all, of the food we ate.

Raw peeled prawns at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Raw peeled prawns in hot sauce (a la carte $16.90)

If you love raw scampi, you'll probably also love raw prawns. Crust crustaceans have an incredibly lush sweetness that is lost upon cooking.

Prawns and squid on the grill at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Prawns and squid on the grill

Grilled prawns and squid are cooked to order. The grilled squid (sorry, no photo) was so awesome we finished the lot and then ordered another. The squid is tender with a slight char to the edges, especially on the tentacles.

Deep fried prawn cutlet with tamarind at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Prawn cutlet with tamarind (a la carte $21.90)

What the menu describes as prawn cutlets turn out to be semi-peeled prawns. We tried the prawns with garlic as well as tamarind. They're equally tasty, with firm and sweet flesh.

Thai style steamed blue swimmer crab at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Thai style steamed blue swimmer crab (a la carte $22.90)

We feast on steamed blue swimmer crab, served Thai-style in that it comes with a side of Thai seafood sauce. Ask for crab/nut crackers if you don't find any on your table.

Pounding fresh som tum papaya salad at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Making fresh som tum green papaya salad  in the kitchen

And it's not a Thai meal unless there's som tum, or papaya salad involved. Mercifully the som tum is pounded fresh to order in the kitchen, ensuring the papaya is well macerated in that tangy fish sauce dressing.

Green papaya salad with fermented crab at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Green papaya salad with fermented crab (a la carte $11.90)

You can order the papaya salad Thai-style or Lao-style. The latter includes fermented crab that creates a darker fishier dressing. We tried both, although the fermented crab version always gets bonus flavour points from me.

Spicy pickled blue swimmer crab salad at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Spicy pickled crab salad (a la carte $16.90)

Highlight dish is this spicy pickled crab salad. That means raw blue swimmer crab with som tum papaya salad and pickled crab. As I've waxed lyrical before, raw crab is unbeatable. If you're worried about the crab not being fresh, as with all raw food, you should immediately know by smell, touch and taste.

The raw crab is firm but sweet. And it pairs so well with the spicy som tum papaya salad.

Crispy fried soft shell crab with garlic at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Crispy fried soft shell crab with garlic (a la carte $21.90)

If you're craving fried seafood, they have that too. We gorge ourselves on the fried soft shell crab with garlic, a crunchy tangle of batter and crab. We also munch our way through serves of the deep fried crispy salt and pepper squid (a la carte $14.90) as well as deep fried squid with garlic (a la carte $14.90). The latter is particularly good, with a knobbly crunchy batter.

Deep fried whole barramundi with garlic at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Deep fried whole barramundi with garlic (a la carte $24.90)

Still hungry. You can order whole barramundi steamed, grilled or fried. Nobody's going home hungry.

Sticky rice with fresh mango and ice cream at Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale
Sticky rice with fresh mango and ice cream

Dessert isn't listed on the tablet menu but it is promoted on each table. We definitely have room for sticky rice with fresh mango and ice cream, served in a martini glass. There's a distinct saltiness to the sticky rice and coconut, saltier than what you'd expect in a dessert, but it works brilliantly against the sweetness of the mango and the cold scoop of ice cream.

Talay's Thai all you can eat seafood buffet at Duo Central Park in Chippendale

Bookings are recommended for the all you can eat Thai seafood buffet, currently available for dinner at $69 per person (as at November 2018).

All you can eat seafood buffet by Talay's Thai at Duo Central Park in Chippendale


Talay's Thai Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Talay's Thai Seafood Restaurant
Duo Central Park
Shop 5, Ground Floor, 38 Broadway Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8067 0721

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 11am-10pm
Saturday and Sunday 5pm-10pm

All you can eat Thai seafood buffet dinner $69 per person (as at November 2018)
Bookings are strongly recommended


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3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/11/2018 04:41:00 pm


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Gogyo Ramen, Surry Hills

Making ramen at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney

Is it ever too hot for ramen? According to the bustling dining room at Gogyo, Sydneysiders say no. Gogyo, the younger wilder sister to international ramen juggernaut Ippudo, opened in Surry Hills in late December 2017. It's the first outlet to open in Australia, joining branches in Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Hong Kong.

Kogashi miso ramen at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Kogashi miso ramen $18

Gogyo's specialty is kogashi-style ramen, a buttery charred broth that requires lard to be heated in a wok to an eyebrow-singing 300 degrees Celsius. We order the kogashi miso ramen, but you can order the kogashi shoyu (soy sauce) variation too.

Kogashi charred miso ramen at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Kogashi miso with charred miso broth, chicken broth, half umami egg,
pork belly chashu and medium thin noodles

The slick of oil across the surface of the ramen is an indication of its richness. Its smokiness is more on the nutty side, like brown butter pushed to the edge than say, the smokiness you associate with woodfire. There's a mouth-filling buttery richness to the soup, coating each noodle strand with defiance.

Like any self-respecting ramen house, noodles are taken seriously here. Four types of noodle, of varying width and hydrolysis (water content), are matched to specific ramen bowls. That means flat medium-thin noodles with low hydrolysis for the kogashi miso, kogashi shoyu and gogyo tonkotsu; wavy medium noodles with medium hydrolysis for the tori (chicken) shoyu and chilli shoyu; thin soba noodles with medium hydrolysis for the shio (salt) soba and flat medium whole wheat noodles with medium hydrolysis for the veggie soba.

Tonkotsu classic ramen at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Tonkotsu classic ramen $17
Silky pork broth, half umami egg, bamboo shoots, pork belly chashu and
medium thin noodles

The tonkotsu classic ramen is not to be underestimated either. There's an umami heartiness to this broth, spiced up with a tingle of chilli. The accompaniments - fatty tender slices of pork belly chashu, a gooey boiled egg, pickled bamboo shoots and a generous huddle of chewy noodles - hold their own.

Freshly cooked ramen noodles at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Freshly cooked ramen noodles

It goes without saying that the best seats in this ramen house are at the kitchen counter. It's here that you score a front seat to all the ramen-prepping action, although I was secretly disappointed there was no shaking of ramen basket water all over the floor like they do in Japan. OH&S. Go figure.

Building ramen bowls at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Adding ramen fixings

What do you get is a non-stop performance of diligence and precision.

Adding pork belly chashu to ramen bowls at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Arranging the pork belly chashu

The kitchen functions like a well-oiled, and quiet, machine.

Marinated cucumber stick at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Cucumber stick $3.50

Before our ramen, we'd started with snacks in the main dining room, where the lighting was much more... romantic. Admittedly I'd scoffed at the idea of a $3.50 cucumber stick, but it turns out to be tastier than I expect. The whole cucumber has been quick pickled so it hasn't lost its crispness, then rolled in sesame seeds for added crunch.

Crackling piggy roll at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Crackling piggy roll $6

The crackling piggy roll is everything you'd want in a soft and yielding milk bun, with purple cabbage providing a cleansing foil to the sticky slab of pork belly.

Wagyu sukiyaki spring roll at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Wagyu sukiyaki spring roll $5.50

The wagyu sukiyaki spring roll is another surprise, eating more like a wagyu meat pie with its filling of tender and saucy sliced beef.

Fried rock potato at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Fried rock potato $11

When we finally score a seat at the coveted counter (patience comes to those who wait. And those who keep tabs on exactly which seats are being vacated and when), we continue our snackfest with a order of fried rock potato. Do you love crunchy roast potatoes? You'll love these.

If you can imagine a bowl full of golden potato bits, the kind where the crunch to innards ratio is almost equal, then this could be your dream come true. I know it was for me. And if you're the kind who rejoices in chips with mayo, then the generous puddle of garlic aioli has you sorted.

Codfish saikyo miso at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Codfish saikyo miso $28

We also order the codfish saikyo miso, marinated in sake, mirin and miso before being cooked on the robata grill. The result is a buttery and delicate fillet that flakes apart with the barest of nudges. The flavour is mild miso with a gently caramelised sweetness.

Red bean taiyaki with sobacha ice cream at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Red bean taiyaki with sobacha ice cream $11

We finish with red bean taiyaki, cute fish pancakes cooked to order in a special taiyaki machine. It's served piping hot in a paper bag just like you'd get at a traditional street stall in Tokyo. You can get a Nutella filling instead but the traditional red bean paste is smooth and not-too-sweet.

Sobacha ice cream at Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney
Sobacha ice cream

The taiyaki ice cream comes with a scoop of sobacha ice cream on the side. Sobacha means buckwheat tea, its flavour translating to a muted nutty tea flavour. I detect a floral backnote but others say it definitely reminds them of soba noodles.

In any case, Gogyo for the charred ramen. And the fried rock potatoes too. Try the sobacha ice cream for kicks.

Gogyo by Ippudo in Surry Hills Sydney


Gogyo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gogyo
52-54 Albion Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 0003

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm
Saturday 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm
Sunday 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-8.30pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/06/2018 01:07:00 am


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bella Brutta Pizza, Newtown

Cavolo nero pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown

Is pizza the new sourdough? There's much to like about long fermented pizza doughs, proofed for extra flavour and a springier texture, the star of Sydney's hottest new pizzeria, Bella Brutta. Don't expect supreme or ham and pineapple pizzas. Do stand by for puffy and blistered pizzas strewn with mortadella or pepperoni (both housemade), surf clams or cavolo nero.

Smoked lemonade mojito at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Smoked lemonade mojito $10
2017 Aller Trop Loin Nebbiolo, Heathcote, Victoria $14
2017 Ciello 'Rosso' Nero d'Avola, Sicily, Italy $14


Bella Brutta (translating to Beautiful Ugly) is the latest collaboration by the Porteno crew, partnering with Luke Powell to open in the former Ice & Slice by Mad Pizza site on King Street, Newtown. The space is long and narrow, flanked by banquette seating on one side and counter seats at the bar on the other.

The wine list runs close to 40 bottles - almost entirely Australian and Italian - with ten available by the glass. And while there's less of an emphasis on beer (just two available), interesting non-alcoholic drinks include a dark & stormy and a smoked lemonade mojito that is smouldering yet strangely refreshing at the same time.

Shaved fennel salad with burnt oranges and olives at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Shaved fennel, burnt oranges and olives $15

On the day we dined, all the antipasti and vegetable dishes are entirely vegetarian. That's 11 dishes running from a crisp shaved fennel salad with oranges and green olives to roasted carrots with hazelnuts and marjoram ($12).

White beans with green sauce at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
White beans, green sauce $12

From the antipasti menu, we pick the white beans with green sauce, a chunky white bean puree brightened with the zinginess of salsa verde, although we're tempted by the green tomatoes with straciatella ($14) and charred onions with romesco ($14) too.

Pepperoni pizza on the pass at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Pepperoni pizza on the pass

Our attention is all on the pizza though. Just five pizzas are available, although the plain marinara ($17) comes with optional cheese (+$4) and four anchovy choices ranging from $12 to $28 for the tin.

Luke Powell making pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Luke Powell flipping pizza dough

Luke moves seamlessly throughout the open kitchen working where needed, but more often than not, is at the pizza station. It's a show in itself watching the dough being gently portioned, dusted in flour and then slowly flipped, stretched and teased into pliable submission.

Fior di latte on pizza dough for the mortadella pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Fior di latte on pizza dough for the mortadella pizza

Cooking pizzas in the Italian wood-fired oven at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Cooking pizzas in the Italian wood-fired oven

The wood-fired oven - imported direct from Italy - takes pride of place in the centre of the dining room. It's mesmerising to watch the wood burning ferociously in the back corner while the pizzas are rotated through at a rapid pace. They're cooked on the oven floor for only a minute or so before being lifted up by the paddle and held aloft for several seconds.

There's a ballet-like elegance about the entire process, from the initial cleaving of soft dough to the final slide of steaming hot pizza onto the pass.

Pizza cutter on the clam pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Cutting the clam pizza into quarters

We've serendipitously scored front row seats to all the pizza-making action. This also makes for sneaky photos of our pizza orders from start to finish. As soon as the pizzas are transferred to their metal serving trays, they're sliced into quarters and finished with garnishes and a slosh of extra virgin olive oil.

Adding extra virgin olive oil to the surf clam pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Surf clam pizza $26

Clam pizza might be a New Haven specialty but it's yet to be really seen in Sydney. Luke's take could become a summer favourite, brushed with a chowder-like clam reduction and daubed with fermented chilli. Pecorino, garlic oil and fresh parsley make it sing.

Making up the pepperoni pizza at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Making up the pepperoni pizza

We pick the pepperoni pizza over the mortadella (the latter covered in freshly shaved mortadella after the pizza is cooked).

Pepperoni pizza with fennel seeds at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Pepperoni pizza $26

The housemade pepperoni is thinly sliced and almost crisp at the edges, sweet and smoky without any sense of greasiness. And while I can see the intent in the generous scattering of fennel seeds, the dry seeds tend to provide more crunch than intensity of flavour.

Pockets of melting fior di latte accented with parmesan provide a oozing richness against the sweet tang of chunky pomodoro sauce (made from tinned San Marzano tomatoes).

Cavolo nero pizza ready for the oven at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Cavolo nero pizza ready for the oven

And while the pizzas have already gone up in price a dollar or two since they first opened two weeks ago, they've also managed to switch up the pizza toppings too. Gone is the cime di rapa I'd been keen to try, replaced by the equally enticing - and subsequently delicious - cavolo nero pizza.

Cavolo nero pizza with caramelised garlic cloves at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Cavolo nero pizza $24

A mountain of young cavolo nero leaves ends up as a much smaller pile, toasted to a caramelly brown around the edges, and dotted with fermented chilli.

It's worth smashing the confit garlic cloves on your plate and then spreading them across your pizza slice, before relishing your green veg uptake with a garlicky, cheesy and spicy grin.

Pizza upskirt shot at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Mandatory pizza upskirt shot

The dough itself? It's not quite as thin and floppy as a Neapolitan pizza but there's still a thinness to it that allows the toppings to take centre stage. Giant blisters across the surface of the dough provide a puffy lightness, and while some may consider its char to be more on the burnt side of cooked, I would have been happy with even more smokiness.

Scooping the fig leaf ice cream at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Scooping the fig leaf ice cream

All the desserts are made inhouse, including a commendably smooth and fragrant fig leaf ice cream.

Fig leaf ice cream with yellow box honey at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Fig leaf ice cream with yellow box honey $10

The fig leaf ice cream has all the flavour of fig, but pulled back on the jammy sweetness. It's so good on its own I don't think it even needs the drizzle of yellow box honey.  The texture of the ice cream is incredible too, creamy with an enviable silkiness.

Tiramisu at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Tiramisu $15

Of course we had the tiramisu. It's not until it arrives that we learn the traditional savoiardi fingers have been switched with an almond cake layer that tastes like an almond dacquoise. It makes for a more textural tiramisu, its signature softness interrupted by the crunch of almonds.

Bombolone with stewed apples and mascarpone at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown
Bombolone $9

For maximum fun. get the bombolone doughnuts, fried fresh to order and then stuffed with stewed apple and mascarpone. It's just like an apple turnover in doughnut form. The cinnamon sugar will go all over your lips and make a mess, but just like eating a bella brutta pizza, that's half the fun.

Pizza chef portrait at Bella Brutta Pizza in Newtown

Bella Brutta Pizza on King Street in Newtown


Bella Brutta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bella Brutta
135 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9922 5941

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 5pm-11pm
Saturday 12pm-11pm
Sunday 12pm-10pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/30/2018 01:57:00 am



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