Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kabul Restaurant

All right. This one is a soecial post. All these years in Sydney and I have had Indian food and avoided Indian food at most places, simply because they are  far outcry from authentic Indian food.Excessive colours, too much spice, too much cream. its just ridiculous. I sometime wonder how people just love going out and eating almost anything anywhere. There are times when the food is too customised to suit the palate of the aussie follks. Anyways, lets get to the point.

There is this little eatery wat Auburn which is called Kabul Restaurant. Now the thing is that this is one of those gems which Id highly recommend It all started when one of my friends and myself while talking iver the phone, he suggested. Located in Auburn and next to Jasmine 1. So it all started one Saturday morning, when me and my partner woke up and we decided to go for our morning brekkie to this place. There is a big kitchen which is just baking bread. Fresh breads and the aroma of the bake is just intoxicating on a cold and sunny morning as you walk by. In our first visit, we ended up ordering the lamb Paya or the trotters and the Nihari. The paya was oh my god aout of the world. perfectly spiced and freshly made early in the morning, this was just the perfect start on a cold morning.  Freshly made, perfectly spiced and a watery soupy curry with all the marrow , coupled with freshly baked naan bread which you dunk into the soup for a purely divine feeling. so this is how it all began. I have come over a few times after that and realised that the paya was one of the best I have had inSydney. Now the thing is that during Ramzaan, I tried the Haleem, biryani and paya at a number of places. Now when I ended up at Kabul restaurant to try the food during Ramzaan, there was a surprise. They do this buffet.The buffet costed $16 and this was a crazy price. As I started the food, there was fried chicken, lamb paya, beef nihari, Chicken Handi curry, Lamb curry, Chicken Biryani,. For the vegr=tarians, there was a palak curry and chana daal. stacks of fresh bread and plain rice, along with pakodas, fresh fruits and kheer.  All this for an unbeleivable $16. Now lets start with the food. The food is unbeleivable and sesnsational.It is undoubtedly one of the best Indiaan food I have had. When you listen to Kabul, you think it is Afghan food, but then when you chat with the owner, it is actually a specific area in Pakistani. The flavours are so amaing. Usually when we have so many curries, we tend to not make out differeence between the curries.Not here. Its so remarkable. For isntace, the Nihari has verydifferent flavour and texture in the curry. The Lamb curry is again heavenly, but the chicken Handi is probably the best. The  fried chciekn is hot and scculent and juicy. The kheer is unbeleivable.

Now post Ramzaan, when I made it here, it seems, this is now a permannet feature in the restaurant. A buffet dinner every Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

All in all, The paya I beleive is the best inSydney I have had, the food is fresh and delicious and the price even more insane.

All in all, Id say, this one comes with  a Highly recommended from Me. This one is for True Foodies- its a cheap Eat and not a fine dine, so remember that. The other thing is that sometime the crowd goes high and in the buffet, the food may get cold. I usually request them to get it warmed or get a fresh reload and they usually oblige.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ume Burger, Barangaroo

A normal day at work and a last minute invite for burgers and who could say no. We head down to Ume Burgers, next to the work at Barangaroo and also next to Belle’s fried chicken. Being a Tuesday, I was trying to be a vegetarian and to my surprise, there was a vegetarian burger available.

I ordered the vegetarian burger- the Kakiage , which came over with a beautiful sesame crusted bun, with a deep fried fritter in the center. Reminded me of the vegetable tempura in the sushi’s available at Hero Sushi. There was a mayo which was slightly different and I have a hunch it had sea weed in it. The slaw and the cheese all, combined together was a great vegetarian burger. I went in thinking it would be a vegetarian patty with potato, and the regular drill of lettuce, mayo and tomato. But being a Japanese burger place, I loved the difference in style, the fritter and the burger overall.
The hot chips with umami seasoning was yum and I’d say its very different and Id love to try that again as well.
My friends did order the cheese burger as well as the fish burger, and to be honest, I would love to go there another day and try the fried chicken burger or the ume burger another time. Until then, a positive review from and I’d say yes why not- let’s give it a try again.

Wulugul Walk,  Barangaroo NSW 2000

Hours Monday — Saturday11:45am — 10:30pmSunday11:45am — 9:30pm

Ume Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info -

Gumnut Patisserie, Bowral

All right another one at Bowral. After our café lunch, we had a bit of a sweet craving and ended up going to the gumnut patisserie, located the main intersection of the town.  The array of cakes and pies look just great. We tried the chocolate tart with salted caramel and the brownie. Both these had a tag of having been presented in some NSW competition. Well, the brownie and the chocolate tart were both just too awesome. Unbelievable and So Awesome! I want to go there again and can’t wait. 
Highly recommended.

Shop 7 Grand Arcade
Bong Bong Street

Telephone: 48622 819

Opening hours Monday – Sunday 7.30am – 5 pm

Gumnut Patisserie Menu,
Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raw & Wild Market Café, Bowral

All right this one is at Bowral. We were driving by and we stopped over at this cute  and small little village/ town which is famous for  Sir Bradman's museum.  Now today was an exceptionally sunny and yet chilly and windy day. We ended up in the raw & wild market café, which is placed at the starting of the town.  As we enter into the store, there is all kind of beautiful fresh produce – all organic. As you go further into the store, there is the café, comfortable seating both indoors and outdoors. Of course today for lunch, with the winds and chill outside, the seating had to be inside.

As we settled in, to begin with, we started with a cup of hot chocolate and skim latte. The coffee and the hot chocolate were both really good and much needed to warm us up. Looked into the menu and there were a number of vegetarian and vegan options. We were tempted between a number of options- the lasagne, the croquet madam, the burgers. We decided to order the organic lamb burger and the Wild Croquet Madam.

The service is a bit slow. The Lamb burger comes up and it looks wow. It came with this great salad, fries and garlic aioli. The chips were good, with skins and delicious. The fresh wild rocket and the salad had a great crunch and somehow, the veggies and the salad tasted much better, making me think that perhaps organic food is great. The burger on the whole was descent and the lamb was fresh. There was a bit of a strong lamb taste and smell but nonetheless, it was good. Overall, I only hoped that there was a bit more of flavouring. The fresh organic produce undoubtedly was great and the chilli jam and fresh baby tomatos was great as well. But being hard core comfort food junkie who loves and lives to eat his burgers, I only wished that there flavour combination could have been a bit better. Its good to have everything fresh, but if the burger is not greasy and sloppy and cheesy- then not sure what it is. For me, it was just a bit bland.

My partner in crime ordered the croquet madam, which came up with a great salad with beetroot chips which were crunchy and delicious. There was organic sourdough, along with roasted pumpkin, grilled chicken and a sunny side up eggs. Again, very fresh produce, but my partner and I only wished that there was a bit more of flavour to tie the ingredients together.  It was a bit bland to our taste.
Most of the mains were in the range of 16 to 20 dollars and the portion sizes were quite good, so felt a bit stuffed as we left.
Would we come here again? Most definitely if I am in Bowral, I’d like to visit this place and try a few other things next time. Overall, the fresh organic produce interested me. The taste was probably a 6 on 10 this time.

250 Bong Bong St, Bowral NSW 2576
(02) 4861 3129

Raw & Wild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and
Info - Zomato

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Nepalese Chef, Homebush

All right, this one is about The Nepalese Chef, situated at Paramatta road, Homebush, right opposite Horse & Jockey Pub. When we came over today evening, we came looking for Annapurna Nepalese Restaurant but were surprised to see the Nepalese Chef. Firstly, parking is a bit difficult to find as the restaurant is bang on the main Parramatta road. We went into one off the streets next to the restaurant and then went on a round. Only after we parked on the street, did we see the boards saying that the parking for the restaurant is behind in the alley. Perhaps a need for better signage and lights near the parking entrance. 
Interiors have been re done, and quite cozy. As you enter, there is a huge wall painted with a scenery. The bar is as it was before, and there is a cute little cozy area which has different lighting etc. May be it’s for functions. The young lady who served us was quite pleasant and charming. We settled in and ordered the chicken Momo’s along with a goat curry, garlic naan, potato pickles and a pulao.
The chicken momo’s were descent. Not the most juiciest but descent and flavoursome. The sauce was okay as well but I have had better momo chutneys. Next we were served the goat curry and rice along with the potato pickle. We were served the food but no plates. As we called the the young man to get us the plates, he asked if we needed the big plates and looked surprised and I found that quite surprising. The food – we the goat curry was okay but I found the quality o goat a bit too chewy and the pieces cut were confusing. The curry in itself was okay- with a prominent flavour of coriander powder, but the meat was just too chewy and the way the meat was cut, it was least enjoyable. The rice was a bit undercooked. The potato pickle was okay again, but the peas in the pickle were a just hard and raw. They should have probably used baby peas.
All in all, a disappointment and I am likely not to come here again, or if I do, I would try something else. Opens every day from 5:00 P.M. to 10:30 P.M.
The Nepalese Chef
53 Parramatta Road Homebush NSW
The Nepalese Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and
Info - Zomato

Friday, March 17, 2017

Siam by the Sea, Port Douglas

All right, a few days into Port Douglas, and we had tried, Aussie brekkie’s, Mexican, Irish pubs, modern Australian, Italian. Last night, tired after a day long drive up to Cape Tribulation and further into the dirt track towards Cooktown, we returned in the evening, settled for a few pints at the local Irish Pub, followed by a long discussion and  a soul searching journey to think what we wanted to eat tonight. No to a lot of things, and it finally settled down to Thai food. Something flavorsome, spicy, and bold flavors, which would hopefully open the chakras of taste on the tongue on this cool, windy, drizzly evening. The best nights in life are when you have the best company, best weather, a few drinks and an amazing food followed by desserts, a drive of the SUV with the windows open alongside the road lined with palm trees on one end and beach on the other.

Well, the plans were perfect and we head into Siam by the Sea, at approx. 8:30 P.M. and looked like a descent place. Casual, seating outside on the pavement as well in the store. Now, we look at the menu and are quite used to ordering the regular fare of chicken satays and money bag. So we order the seared scallops in tamarind sauce. The other starter we order is the prawns crumbed with coconut and  deep fried. For mains, we ordered a stir fry.

When the seared scallops arrived, the presentation was wow. Pretty spectacular and posh. Served in single soup spoons, with a tamarind sauce and seared scallop, it looked pretty amazing.  Taste wise, interesting. A bit sweet, but worth the try.

The fried prawns crumbed with coconut is something I have had a number of places and this one here was no different. Basic shredded coconut, fresh prawns but no flavors. Only a simple sweet chilli sauce by the side. The prawn was fresh, but somewhere, the batter had nothing in it. Just too basic and bland.

The next came our main course. We had decided to go for a stir fry and  not for curry and had asked even for the recommendation from the person serving us as well. The stir fry with basic veggies and prawns, was the biggest disappointment. There was simply no flavor. Just very basic and no taste. We usually get into Thai joints expecting, strong and bold flavors, but to me this place missed the mark. Be it the scallops, or the crumbed prawns and same with the stir fry, all in all, just lacking flavors.  If I could say this is one place I would not like to visit again.

Shop 2 28 Wharf St | 07 4099 4384, Port Douglas, Queensland 4877, Australia
+61 7 4099 4384

Siam by the Sea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Cafe FresQ, Port Douglas

All right, the third day of our visit at Port Douglas and I continue the search for the best breakfast. Something different, something flavoursome. Something different from the regular stuff. And here we were at Café FresQ. Early in the morning, again, regular café and seems quite popular. It was so full to my surprise.
We settled in on a cool cloudy morning, to start off with a cup of coffee and looked into the menu.

Well, to begin with, the coffee was great. A good start! The menu, while it had its share of the regular stuff like eggs benedicts, toasts, museli, pancakes, what caught me was the Bills Full Irish. It had the black and white pudding, scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms, pork chipolatas. It was quite a lot of breakfast to be honest. I mean, all this much food, along with a potato rosti, grilled tomato. Just too much food. 

Well, again, to be honest, the food was descent, regular brekkie fare. Herb mushrooms, grilled tomato, scrambled eggs. All freshly made. A part of me always wishes for something new and something piping hot, even if it’s the eggs. A normal issue I face in most Aussie breakfast places- the scrambled is cold and pre made. Anyways for the part  of me craving something new, it was the black and white pudding.  Now I didn’t know what it was initially, but turns out to be blood sausages with pork blood in the black pudding. Well, hearing about it did make it weird for me, and then I did taste it. To be honest, it was herby, flavored and a bit gritty. All in all, it was okay, nice to have tried something new, but probably something I didn’t relish too much. The potato rosti was good, crispy, fried. Along with the whole brekkie deal was the mug barry’s tea. A whole big cup of tea.

The other thing we tried out over here, was the corn and zucchini fritters. Good, fresh fitters and quite delicious. Liked the presentation, they had a grey plate with green spinach leaves as the bed, corn fritter on top stacked up and topped with a beautiful, colorful and vibrant tomato salsa and a green fresh pesto. They had avocado and whipped feta as these cute little circular snail shell like drops.  Along side came a fresh tomato and chilli relish, which just completed the circle of taste. All in all, I loved this one, it had great flavors, colors and the kind of thing I want in my brekkie.
All in all, this is quite a good and favorite spot amongst the tourists.  Diagonally opposite is the Port Douglas visitor center. It’s a good spot to sit down and relax over the day or early in the morning, as you have relaxed breakfast reading you local newspaper.


27 Macrossan St, Port Douglas QLD 4877

Cafe Fresq Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Little Larder, Port Douglas

The Little Larder, Port Douglas
All right, this one is about a breakfast place we ventured into at Port Douglas. Again, over all these years, breakfast is a big fascination whenever we are at holiday.  A perfect start to a day is with a great breakfast. We ended up at the little larder, looking at great reviews online. A regular café at Macrossan St, Port Douglas. Quite busy as expected. We go in and wait for 5-10 minutes before getting a seat outside on the street. The ambience is relaxed and casual. People can sit inside in the café or outside, at the porch and surrounds or at the street. A look at the menu and its qute the typical breakfast menu. Initially when I was new in Australia, about 10 years back, I always had this feeling of wpow – so many new things to try. But perhaps now, after all these years, the brekkie menu is all about toasts, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, or a granola bowl, muselli or vegetable fritters. Well, over here, a similar menu. There were toasts, poached ocean trout, mushrooms on toasts, buttermilk waffles. White beans shukshuka and then the regular eggs and bacon.
Well, we ordered one was a brekkie which was the onesie with extra mushroom ragu. So the onesie had a wood fired toasted ciabatta, topped with a strip of smoked bacon and poached egg. This came along with the extra of one mushroom ragu, which was basically, wild mushrooms in truffle oil. To accompany this what caught my attention was the Punjabi chai. I did ask if it was with milk and yes it was.
My friend ordered another similar one- this was the vegetable onesie. This one again had a toasted ciabatta bread, topped with Haloumi, scrambled eggs, slow roasted tomato and loads of bacon. This one was beautifully decorated plate with a green herby sauce spread all around the plate. The drink which was ordered with this one was a house made lemonade with fresh turmeric and ginger.
Well, the food was descent and okay. Did it wow me? Perhaps no! But did I like the food.Yes. Descent quality food, nice spot to sit around and relax. The eggs, I wish were a bit warmer, which is usually my complain with most places. Similarly here, the poached eggs was too cold for my liking. The Punjabi chai, to be honest had got me excited, thinking this might be a good masala tea, but unfortunately, this was a regular tea with spices, kind of reminded me of Chai Latte to be honest. Likewise for my friend, the house made lemonade with fresh ginger and turmeric, turned out to be a disappointment.  The overall quality of food is good, the produce is descent, the double smoked bacon and all. Presentation is descent as well. May be its me, that has got used to the regular brekkie fare, but you know what, I might come here again, to try something else.

2/40 Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD
Phone number
(07) 4099 6450

Little Larder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Salsa Bar & Grill, Port Douglas

All right this one is about Salsa Bar and Grill. Now when you hear the name, you’d probably be thinking if this is a Mexican joint. One of the top rated restaurant in Port Douglas, this one specializes into sea food and modern Australian cuisine. Now on our first night at Port Douglas, we walked and walked and confuse what to have. There are probably the highest density of high end restaurants and that too into Italian, Seafood and Modern Australian cuisine- more than any other tourist place in Australia.

Eventually, with all the confusion and the walking, we decided to check out the popular one Salsa. Now, initially there were no seats available as we didn’t have a reservation- so a must for tourists- please do make reservations as this place can get really busy. Décor wise, very good. Light colored and open front makes it a very nice comfortable relaxing place. The staff is great. Very cordial friendly and informative. We looked through the menu and started with direct mains. Now mind you, this is a pricy restaurant, about $$$ out of $$$$. Most of the entrees are about $20. Now while we had to wait and come back again for getting a table, we had ended up at the nearby pub for a few pints and cheesy garlic bread. So we opted directly into the mains. We ordered two dishes- one which was a fish- a local catch. I opted for the chicken dish. For sides we ordered the Szechwan peppered chat potatoes.

Now to begin with the chicken dish- it was called the Ballotine of chicken – with ricoota gnudi, speck, Brussel sprounts bonne femme. It had crispy skinned chicken breast, finely cut into two pieces, layered with diced chat potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a branch of green peppercorn. Well to begin with, the presentation was fantastic and what you’d expect from top end restaurant.Next, the chicken was cooked immaculately, not too much to make it too dry and not too little to make it raw. It was juicy. The skin was crisp and great at well. There was a bit of a sauce on the plate- which was slightly sweet. Now to be honest, while it was cooked perfectly, I wondered if it could have been more flavorsome. You know what I mean- it checks all the boxes of quality, presentation etc. but it make you wish for something more. And that was when I had a few of the green peppercorns and realized, this completed the dish. The green peppercorn spring, as you plucked off a few, they were moderate hot and it balanced the chicken, potatoes and slightly sweet sauce that came with it. So all in all a good dish. Would I have it again? May be, or may be try something new.

The fish which was on the specials was also pretty good. Served on a white plate with snow peas and asparagus steamed on the base. The two pieces of fresh local fish, pan fried and placed on top of the asparagus, topped with a sort of red tomato sauce. Again, presentation was amazing. The fish was fresh and my friend loved it. There were a few baby tomatoes, some tomato relish on the top and a few snow peas. Overall, the dish looked great, fresh local fish which tasted awesome as well.

For sides, we ordered the Szechuan peppered chat potatoes. Now this was a bit of a disappointment. Purely because of what I expected vs what I got. For me I thought it would be spicy, more with a Szechaun sauce or something. This turned out to be okayish types. Didn’t really impress me.

Along side we had a Mango Nut Cockatail. Malibu, Frangelico and Mango, belnded with coconut cream. Looked wow. My Take, I wish it was a bit sweeter and a bit stronger. 

Like seriously, a cocktail, which makes you wonder if there is any alcohol!

Overall, it’s a good place to be in Port Douglas. The food is fresh. Sea food is the speciality, really fresh. The presentation of dishes is spectacular.  Service is great. All in all, it’s a good bar and grill, if you are after some classy fare of grilled modern Australian cuisine.

Personally, I am a more of a person who loves more pronounced flavors in my eating, and this place for me was about an average. Sometimes even with the best presentation and fine dine you still wish for a little bit more, and that was me. I liked the food, I’d definitely recommend this place to try out once. 

Salsa Bar & Grill
26 Wharf Street,
Port Douglas QLD 4877

+61 7 4099 4922

Salsa Bar & Grill Menu,
Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato