Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bangkok Snap

Bangkok Snap

All right. This one is about Bangkok Snap at Strathfield. My school friend and his expecting wife, and us three. We all get together on a Friday evening and head out aimlessly wondering where to go out to. Options range from North Sydney, which is struck off as it’s too far. Indian ruled out, because we as Indians usually keep eating Indian.  Sri Lankan, ruled out.  Initial talks to go to Newtown but then we decide to explore Strathfield.

Final short listing between Maenam Lao, Beauty and the Beast Korean and Bangkok Snap.

Eventually we decide to go to Bangkok Snap on my recommendation. More open and spacious and the food looked quite tempting the last time I went there.

As we settled in, there were 5 of us- 3 of my family which were Indians with beef pork and 2 of my friends who were relatively more modern and didn’t have these rules. The menu looked quite interesting and we ordered for the starters the Gai (Chicken) Satay, Ka Nom Jeeb (chicken and prawn dumplings). There was one more starter- the Fresh spring roll which had pork and crab meat.

The main course consisted of red curry in chicken, Fried Rice and the garlic and pepper king prawns.

The starters did take a bit of time. The satays were good. The dumplings were also descent, although to be honest, I am not too much of a fan of dishes where two meats are mixed. But nonetheless, all ok so far.  With the spring rolls- Cant comment as I didn’t go for it as I had pork.

Next comes the Fried Rice. This was with minced chicken, chilli, onions, beans and thai hot basil. The rice was served in two big lettuce leaves. In terms of taste. Well, this I suppose was the best one I had. Really hot and tasty. Good presentations as well.

The red curry well looked a bit more yellow than red or orange.  The red curry when I stirred had more than a few vegetables- apple egg plants, green pepper corn, sliced bamboo shoots. Overall, Id be honest that I have had much better red curry’s. well with the choice of veggies, it definitely looked quite authentic. Its just that I didn't have an affinity for the veggies and that’s what made me think may be no, remove them. The chicken was also not too my liking. It was big pieces and boiled and I didn’t like as well. Probably I wouldn't have it again.

The stir fried king prawns with garlic and pepper, onions topped with coriander looked amazing when served. It consisted of king prawns with the entire head, beans, baby corn, bak choy. The taste to be honest, was disappointing. In all the dishes, I had maximum expectation from this dish and this is the one which turned out to be disappointing. A bit too bland. I expected well cooked prawns in arch sauce and a bit spicy. This one just missed the mark.

The jug of lemon lime bitter was also a waste. I didn’t quite like it. Eventually by the end of all this, I was feeling hungry and yet not feeling hungry as well. That state when you are dissatisfied and it doesn’t hit the spot, and you are still craving, but you have already had food. Finally I decide to order Pad Gra Paw Gai. This was the minced chicken cooked with chilli, onion, green beans, and thai hot basil. This dish was awesome. Spicy to the core. The way I expected it to be.  Just awesome.

Overall serving time is ok, not too fast and not too slow. Serving size is descent.
Overall experience – Not too good.
Would I visit there again- May be not.

Bangkok Snap
41, The Boulevarde, Strathfield
02 97466817

a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/70/1725416/restaurant/Sydney/Bangkok-Snap-Strathfield">Bangkok Snap on Urbanspoon

Bangkok Snap on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 26, 2013

La Rustica

La Rustica 
2 True Italians with a Turkish In-Law

Well, the first day in Gold Coast and after a long day- taking a morning flight from Sydney to GC and a bus to Surfers Paradise. A long walk on the beach until we got our hotel only to crash for a few hours. In the evening, as we head down to walk, I am in a dilemma- where to start my gastronomical journey. As we walk on Surfers Paradise Boulevard, we walk past Hard Rock Cafe and then a section of the road where a number of restaurants come. Initially as I check on various forums on the internet, there are many options. I walk past this place called La Rustica. A small cosy entrance and a man standing outside with menu cards. As I walk past, I stop for a moment and take the menu card before moving on. We walk past the Prague restaurant, Sher-e-Punjab. Not sure what I want to have and walking aimlessly. Perhaps its a bit too early as well. I bump into a few office friends who are driving past. As I take a long walk and then turn towards the beach, I keep doing searches on my phone until I decide, La Rustica it is. This time when I walk back, the whole place is full. Its got seating out on the street which is full. As I enter the restaurant, there is the kitchen on the left side. a small aisle and leads into a very cosy restaurant with wooden interiors. Lots of interesting tid bits of artifacts that are on the wall.

The beautiful lady who seems to be one of the owners sees us and greets us politely. I inquire if there can be seating mad available and they mention it may take 30 minutes. Not willing to wait that long, I am ina dillemma. My mother and brother are still standing outside. The lady comes talks to my mother and appreciates my mothers saree. Seeing my brother, who is special child, she loves him. I go in and order food.  The menu is an interesting mix of breads, salads, Italian and Turkish. Italian includes pasta, risotto, pizza's and dishes in chicken such as chicken Cacciatore, Parmiagna etc., dishes in veal and seafood. The Turkish influence includes Shish Kebabs and Kofte.

The best part about this restaurant is that everything is cooked fresh. The pizza's right from dough is all done in front of us and cooked and served hot. 

I order the Chicken Supreme pizza and the Spaghetti Marinara. While we are waiting, the lady is kind enough to send us a serving of the herb bread for my brother as complimentary. The next day, I actually return to order the Chicken Shish.

Lets come to the food. The Herb Bread is very tasty. Crispy buttery and with sprinkled parsley, its really yum. The Chicken supreme pizza is just about ok. To be honest, may be I over expected the pizza to be out of the world. The good part of the pizza was that it was fresh and the toppings were really generous. capsicum, mushrooms, onions, olives and pineapple. Well, I have tasted better pizza's to be hinest, but this was also good.

The spaghetti marinara pasta. Well, I usually dont have fishy pasta's but I decided this time, with a bit of apprehensions. Let me tell you. It was awesome. The spaghetti with the napoli  sauce and a generous serving of prawns, calamari, scallops was really really tasty. Must have.

The Chicken Shish is what I would shout to the world and say this is a must have. Perfectly char grilled Mediterranean styles chicken chunks served with rice and salad. This is what i just simply loved.

All in all- really really good food. Very Fresh. The decor and interiors are also very nice. The whole place coupled with the friendly  owners, gives a very homely feel. 

Serving time may vary in view of the rush, but Id be rest assured that even if it takes more time, the food is so fresh. Would I come here, most definitely.

A meal  for two $50 approx.

La Rustica 
3118 Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Open 7 nights 5 p.m. till late BYO
Dine In, Express Pick Up or Deliveries

La Rustica Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chiang Mai Thai

Another review of a Gold Coast restaurant review. On the night before we head back to Sydney, all tired and wondering what do we do. Tired from the walking, travelling and random eating out. Confused over what I want to eat. Options range from Italian, Indian, Chinese, etc. A careful strategy of eliminating what we have already had leads us to shortlisting Thai. As we head from our hotel and walking in Surfers Paradise Boulevard, I finally take a call. Chiangmai Thai it is. Its a bit if walk, away from the Boulevard away from the Hard Rock Cafe. Its close to 8:30 and being a weekday, a bit quiet. The Chiangmai Thai is located in the Mantra hotel. There is an amusement park next to it with neon lights and crazy rides. As we enter the hotel and walk towards the restaurant we pass the gym and the pool till we reach the reception. At this moment I got to tell you what I saw. Dim lighting, open air seating with authentic Thai huts and a small walkway towards the covered area of the restaurant with a reception. The reception again has a big Buddha golden picture and focus lighting. The walls are purple and the women draped in silken Thai dresses. The whole first look feel is so exotic and overwhelming. Its as if we are in Thailand and not in Australia. You normally go to a place you read about with a preconceived image in your mind. Upon reaching either you are disappointed or overwhelmed. In this case, I was overwhelmed big time  Thai. May be it was too stereotyped image of Thailand. But awesome ambience.

We got an option to sit inside, but I chose outside. The outside open air seating had lush garden and green surroundings with either Thai huts in the form of carriages or simple round table seating. The chairs in the round tables were heavy with elephant faces made. The place looked too exotic and hence expensive. But if I tell you it wasn't, would you believe it.

The food. We ordered two dishes, the red curry chicken and the pring kat phat or something which was basically the king prawns in a chilli relish and rice. The food was served quite quickly initially. To be honest I was quite pleasantly surprised. Too fast a service.

They served the king prawns first followed by the red curry. The garnishing and presentation was exquisite. Just too good. The taste. The king prawns had little bit of a paste or gravy. Quite tasty- tangy and spicy. The prawns cooked about OK. I'm not sure if you are aware but if you cook prawns, the time to cook makes a difference to the texture of the prawns. Too much cooking renders it hard and chewy. Too light leaves it gooey. For me if I were to have prawns, the perfect cooking would be a little creamy and not fully cooked. It goes well with curries. Well, after that course into prawns and their cooking, coming back to this dish, the prawns were a bit more than the optimal level of cooking but I loved it. The lemon grass, tamarind and chilli. We started with the sticky rice. Next came the red curry in chicken. About perfect and amazing. Good consistency, perfect blend,amazing taste again. The serving size was quite good and substantial. I tell you, both the dishes hit the spot.

The only issue was the service. If you sit outside, they don't come too frequent to look out for your requirements. At times, you keep looking at waiters if they will make eye contact but they don't. At one instance I had to get up and go to the counter to ask for rice and water. It did put me off a bit but what the hell. The food and ambience was amazing.

Let me tell you by means of comparison how good this place was. At one point of time, I regretted why I was in Sydney and not in Gold Coast. I wished I was in Gold Coast so that I could eat here. In comparison to Sydney, the two best Thai restaurants are Chat Thai and Thai Pothong. This was better any day- Chiangmai Thai. So much to the extent, that the next day I wanted to come for lunch.

Food was not at all expensive. Two dishes and rice cost me AUD 58. The P/Fring Prawns was $26 nd the red curry for $21.90.

Accepts EFTPOS.
Crown Towers Resort
(Opposite Bungie Jump)
5-19 Palm Avenue
Surfers PAradise QLD 4217

Ph: 07 55268891

Chiangmai Thai also has branches at 

Broadbeach, 2779 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach QLD 4218 Ph: 07 55382144
Sierra Grand Resort, Opposite Pacific Fair, Shop 1-2/2643 Gold Coast Hwy,Broadbeach QLD 4218 Ph: 07 5527 5511 

Chiangmai Thai on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jasmine 1, Punchbowl

Jasmine 1,  Punchbowl

Phew! In a weekend that hardly was, never thought how awesome one day could turn out to be. While Saturday was dark and gloomy, raining since the morning, and after waking I had no intention of going to work. At one moment , even after waking up and having my tea, I still went back to bed, to snuggle next to my brother. Alas, it was short lived and I head back to work on a Saturday to support a release. While drama unfolded and eventually, I came back home, and the bomb on the code was uncovered only after I left. What a wasted Saturday.

Sunday morning, I put the past away, and started with a quick breakfast, an hour with my personal trainer and then head over to the Sydney Opera House for a viewing of the Pirates of the Caribbean with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.  Well it all finished eventually at 5: and as I head back to Circular Quay. I made up my mind./ The celebration would continue at Jasmine 1, Punchbowl.  Despite the track work, which meant taking a bus to Central, and then a train to Sydenham and then a change to get to Punchbowl.
Eventually I reached and the just across the station was Jasmine 1. As I entered,  it was the same décor which I had seen two years back. Fully abuzz and the restaurant seemed to be full with people. Unlike the quite outside of punchbowl, the restaurant was a different matter.
Décor, - tables and chairs, very basic and simplistic, but with walls having hand paintings of the desert, which gave it a very middle eastern feel. A friendly waiter, greeted us and to our surprise in Hindi. They quickly cleaned the table and got us the menu.

Ordered a plate of falafel, grilled chicken, and another of the lamb. I asked him to mix the two lamb varieties in one plate- two skewers of lambs chunks and two of lamb mince. After our order, we waited and waited and waited. Close to 30 minutes went by and eventually, I started getting impatient and reminded them a few times. Finally the order arrived. I was famished. At that moment I could have had anything. The food came quickly, all at once.  Where should I begin.

There was plate of falafels. Crumb fried balls which seemed perfectly crunchy outside.  Another two plates with two thin roti’s  each. In each of the plates, between the roti’s was the chicken and in the other there was the lamb. A basket with a packet containing simple Lebanese breads I triangular pieces. Another plate with pickles- florescent pink radish, gherkins, cucumber, chilli and olives. Another small servings of hummous, garlic dip and chilli.
Let us begin with the food. The falafel's are undoubtedly the best I have ever had in Sydney. Crunchy on the outside, and soft in the center.  Amazing! The chicken – perfectly grilled.  Lightly spiced, well cooked, juicy. The distinct taste which is amazing- not bland like the usual chickens in Australia, and not over spiced like the Indian ones. There is this distinct taste, which is unparalleled.  The lamb skewers- the minced ones were juicy, with onions and parsley and coriander in the lamb mince. The other lams skewers, with the lamb chunks were equally awesome. All in all I’d say it just hit the spot. Imagine the feeling, when you get exactly what you were craving for.  When you forget everything, the past, present and future. All you think about is your food- the breads with alternative dashes of hummous and chili, and a chunk of chicken and lamb.  For the ending there was fridge with a milk sweet dish, which looked like firni, but when you took a spoon, it was more like a custard. Light sweet .
The quantity was quite enormous. Let me tell you, three mains and three people couldn't finish it.
When I tell you the price, you’ll faint. AUD 34 only. Can you beat it!!!

Jasmine 1 Lebanese Restaurant
224, The Boulevarde
Punchbowl, NSW 2196

Ph: 02-97407866

Jasmin One Lebanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Montmart By The Sea Cafe

All right. So again, another breakfast review.

Now breakfasts is one of those meals, which lays the foundation for the entire day ahead. Unfortunately due to the fast paced life in the 21st century, it is also most ignored by us, specially during the weekdays. Weekdays- quickly getting ready for the office, a quick toast, or banana bread etc. But the real craving for breakfast still remains and magnifies. For me, if it were an ideal world, I'd like to have some more time to enjoy my breakfast. A sumptuous and lavish breakfast. Irrespective on weekdays or weekend.  

Its like those quotations that we used to have in School by Rabindranath Tagore- Where the mind is without fear and head is held high..Into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake. A foodie like me would probably say, where there satisfaction of hunger is held high, where the breakfast is sumptuous, hot and tasty, where the view is that of an unparalleled never ending ocean- into that heaven of freedom, let my country awake.

Usually, breakfasts have now become a luxury only for weekends or on holidays. Despite being in Sydney for so many years, there have been very few instances. Most notably, Melbourne in my previoous post had reawakened my senses. This Time it was Gold Coast. As I walked down the Surfers Paradise Bouolevarde on my 3rd day here, I didnt want to go to Black Coffee Lyrics, as I had already tried it out. Searching on the  internet showed, me just a few options. One of them was Bumbles- on Rivers Drive, which had a good rating. however, when I saw it on my maps, it was a 1.5 km from the Hotel Vibe. So we walked again into the Surfers Paradise Beach. On the main road, which goes past the beach, is Montmart By the Sea, Licensed Cafe. Quite a busy Cafe. I had passed this a day before as well, but I probably thought, this not one of those special must visit cafes. I probably thought that this would be another run of the mill regular cafe. But only for me to be surprised the next day.

As we settled in and found a table on the outside, with a view of the road and the endless ocean beyond, we waited for some time, before I realized, there was no one coming to my table. Orders had to be given at the counter.We ordered for Beach brekky- eggs, bacon, has brown, tomato toast, 100% orange juice and coffee. I ordered it without the bacon of course. The other thing I ordered was Vegetarian omelette- cheese onion tomato mushroom, spinach and capsicum. A ice coffee and a chocolate shake.

Lets start with the drinks
- The hot coffee was good. Pretty normal, but descent. The chocolate shake was heavenly. Milk, chocolate and ice cream blended together. Amazing. The ice coffee, as expected, was was less sweet, a bitter, topped with ice cream and cream. The orange juice to my surprise was freshly squeezed juice.  

The food was really tasty. The omelette to be true, hit the spot. It was quite substantial, perfectly cooked. it was as if it had been baked. Cheesy, with mushrooms, served with toasts and  butter. Id say this was heavenly. 

The beach brekkie with the fried eggs, sunny side up, with hash brown, grilled tomato was good- basic and nice. 

Its was simply perfect- the sunny day, vast expanses of never ending blue ocean, a gentle breeze, open air seating and no constraints of time. Just easy time, reading a news paper, chatting with my mom, seeing my brother devour  the chocolate shake. Perfect. In fact , I came in the next day again. The apple Juice.. again fresh and perfect. 


Accepts EFTPOS.
Doesn't open in the evening or night.
Montmartre Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Black Coffee Lyrics

All right. This one is about Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise. One sunny morning, craving for a relaxed and sumptuous brekkie makes me go searching on the internet at trip advisor, urban spoon and other sites. Narrow down this strange named cafe with great reviews- Black Coffee Lyrics. I walk down from Vibe into the Surfers Paradise boulevards, turn on Google maps and am trying to locate this joint. Walk down into the street with Hilton, and the map says less than 50 m ahead. Go further and cross the point where the map says BCL should be here, but its not. Decide to walk further, but not to find it anywhere. Just freaks me out when you have a craving, you read great reviews, you are looking forward to it, but its just not there. Almost searching as if I have lost my car keys except that its a whole bloody building which the map says should be there but its not. I go to a 7-11 kind of a store and ask the Asian girl there if she knows where Black Coffee Lyrics is, but she chose to hear only black coffee and says dollar 2.50 only and I say bloody hell. Walk over to the only cafe in front and ask them if they know. The only one blonde waitress running the show seems busy and the  tells me first that she doesn't know and then helpfully says may be its that side- the side where I came from. Yes with temper running high and agitated and irritated and sarcasm begging to break free, I realize there is no point.

My mum offers to have breakfast at any other place like the one with the blonde girl. It is a moment of truth, much like Kumar and Harold go to Whitecastle. I make a silent pledge that I will not have breakfast if don't find BCL. Walk back towards Hilton until I say one more try and this time I start scanning the road at every location. I find out the number from the website and give it a  call but no one picks the phone.Suddenly I find  a small triangle board with an imaginary golden ring on the top like a halo which says BLACK COFFEE LYRICS. It has a shiny arrow that points me inside a shopping arcade on the first floor, much like the direction towards the ring in the Lord if the ring movie.

As I climb up, I am not too sure if its there, but as the view starts coming I can see a rush and crowd and people sitting outside on the corridor. This must be it then, I tell myself.

Outside there are different types of chairs- sofas, wooden chairs, benches. All mixed up. People sitting and chatting away with their coffee or loners with newspapers nd coffee. Walk inside and I tell you, it got an awesome and unique decor. Old rustic decor of a house that has probably been in the swamps for 100 years and now reopened, except that there ia no smell. It takes a while to realize that its been carefully made that way and boy it looks quite real. Right side is a bar and kitchen. Center is a few high rise tables and bar stools. Left is the sitting, again a mixed array. One corner has a tree made out of copper wires and bulbs hanging. The other corner has stacks of books piled from the floor to the ceiling and almost bending out as if it will fall. After settling in you realize the rustic and old look and the books and wire tree gives a very interesting mix of rustic feel, yet makes it cosy as well.

Coming to the food. Interesting menu. Coffee is great. Strong and good blend which gives you the kick. Being the Indian with no pork and beef rules out a few options. Fish - Salmon in the morning is not my cup of tea. I stick to options for eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes etc.

I order the Field mushroom Stack- Served with 2 poached eggs, smothered in Basil Cream sauce served on top of a house made crispy potato rosti on spinach with a garlic oven roasted field mushroom , oven roasted tomato and a sliced avocado fan. Looks awesome when served, and tastes equally good. Amazing.  Its a sin. Gluttony. Its simply put of the world. The service is amazingly quick. In no time I get the coffee and the brekkie.

Next, I realise my mom likes the brekkie so much that I decide to order something else. I order the Penny Lane - A poached egg smothered in Basil Cream sauce served on top of spinach Cherry tomatoes. marinated feta cheese and a garlic oven roasted field mushroom on toasted sourdough. Pretty good again Id say.

The serving time is amazingly quick. The serving portion is a bit less if you are expecting to have a sumptuous breakfast.

Overall the place had me mesmerized to the extent that I just wanted to keep sitting and perhaps take ideas for the cafe that Ill open at one point of time. Its got this very different look- you wouldn't expect it, but its difficult to describe.

Accepts EFTPOS.

Brekkie- 2 brekkie dishes and a coffee- Approx AUD 35.


3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevarde,
41 Center Arcade,Queensland 4217

Would I visit again? Most definitely yes.

Black Coffee Lyrics on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gold Coast, Queensland

All right, another trip, another destination and state and a chance for exploring culinary delights. This was the second time I was heading off to Gold Coast after 4 years. This time with the family and thanks to the internet and reviews of fellow travelers that assisted me in identifying the eateries and restaurants I have been looking for. Of course I didn't want to be randomly trying places to eat until I stumbled upon the good diner.
This trip is probably marked and distinguished by the accuracy of a sniper. Not one miss. Not one bad restaurant covered.

This write up is more like a synopsis into where to eat when at GC. Individual reviews would follow. To start with for breakfast, two places I tried and boy it was amazing.

1. Black Coffee Lyrics
2. Monetmarte by the sea

1. Chiang Mai Thai
2. La Rustica
3. Sher-E-Punjab
4. Govinda's Veg O Rama

All in all very satisfied I am. The breakfast places were just amazing. I usually crave for the awesome breakfast and after Melbourne, Gold Coast has a few good places worth mentioning. Of course in this regards Sydney is not up to the mark.

The most impressive place for dining was Chiang Mai Thai. So awesome it was that I had a regret why I am not staying in Gold Coast and that I have to come here again the next time I am in GC. Superb. The ambiance and decor was out if the world. The food and value for money was unbelievable.

A few places I tried to try but didn't would be
1. Flaming Grill- Indian Sri Lankan. The places has a notice and shut down.
2. Shiraz Authentic Persian Food Center- Didn't capture my interest and seemed a bit pricey for what they were offering. 3 skewers and rice for 30 AUD in a cheap eat take away and poor service. I just walked away when I stood there for 5-8 minutes and no one bothered asking me what Id want.
3. Bumbles- had good reviews but quite a walk from my hotel.
4. Koo Koo Teppenyaki - had quite a crowd and we were just outside on the street watching the chef cook in front of us. However, yet to try Japanese and the fact beef and pork were cooked on the same cook top with Chicken made us not go ahead.

All in all, the whole culture of GC is so different.  and different from Sydney and Melbourne. The place where I stayed was Surfers Paradise. Very touristy and I have read that locals don't prefer that area. But I was a tourist and loved the buzz, central location etc.  the other parts of GC are usually a bit too quite for my taste. But coming to culture, swimming surfing sands, bikini clad hot women on the roller skates or board, cafes to see the sea, read a news paper etc. Palm trees, white sands, blue ocean and tall sky scrapers. Don't know if its true but it just made me think that GC is  Mix of what Florida and Dubai would be.

People are nice and helpful. Good place to relax for a few days.