Category Archives: Fine Dining

Jackpot and Mr Muscles celebrate one year at Sokyo!

Hello dear readers!

I am finally back with a new post. It’s been a very long time and I am finding it more and more difficult to find time to blog whilst juggling work, basketball and baking. But I’m hoping that I can still maintain this blog and let you guys all know what I have been up to whether it’s baking in the kitchen making new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients or visiting new cafes and restaurants when I can.

Mr Muscles and I celebrated our one year a few weeks ago. Mr Muscles decided to take me to Sokyo to celebrate our anniversary as he had never been before and was eager to try the food. I have been a few times and always thought the food was really well executed so I was excited to come back and try other dishes which I hadn’t tried before. Japanese food is also our go to food when we don’t know what we are in the mood to eat so we know that we will always enjoy our meal regardless as we both have a love for Japanese food more so now than we ever did before.

We booked dinner for a saturday night and the restaurant became quite full quite quickly despite us having a very early dinner booking. There were birthdays celebrated that night, a hen’ s night dinner and lots of families with their little children.

Mr Muscles and I decided to order various dishes that both of us had never tried before and we were really happy with the selection of dishes we chose as each dish did not disappoint.

Scallop Sashimi

Scallop Sashimi served with assorted tomatoes and herbs

This was a really nice dish and usually I don’t eat a lot of raw food but the scallop sashimi was cut very finely and the tomatoes paired wonderfully with the scallops.

Tamago

Tamago

Mr Muscles knows how much I love eating tamago (egg omelette) whenever we go to Japanese restaurants so he ordered this for me. This was unlike anything I had eaten before mainly because it reminded me of a soft fluffy cake almost and not the firm texture in the omelette that I am used to eating. It was soft and melted in your mouth with each bite and I ended up eating most of this as Mr Muscles gave me his share.

Sashimi Salad

Sashimi Salad

Mr Muscles wanted to order a salad so we ended up getting the sashimi salad. I don’t really eat raw food so Mr Muscles ended up eating most of this. The salad itself was quite spicy from the chilli paste but I enjoyed the cherry tomatoes in this dish nonetheless.

Beef Short Rib

Robata – beef short rib, caramelised eschalots served with teriyaki sauce

I don’t usually eat much meat but this dish was really good. The beef melted in your mouth with each bite and it was so tender that Mr Muscles and I ended up eating this dish really quickly. It was rich in flavour but so wonderfully moreish.

Miso Cod

Caramelised Miso Cod served with Japanese Salsa and Cucumber Salad

I had heard that the Miso Cod was one of their stand out dishes so I knew I wanted to order this dish. We were not disappointed as the Miso cod was rich in flavour and also melted in your mouth with each bite as each piece fell apart easily. The cucumber salad cut through all the richness which paired really well with the fish. It was a really well executed dish which Mr Muscles and I enjoyed thoroughly.

Queensland Roll

Queensland Roll

We ordered the Queensland Roll which came out last for the savoury dishes and we were not disappointed by this choice. The sushi rolls were covered in rice paper instead of the normal seaweed which I thought was a really nice change and topped with avocado. It was such a wonderful dish that I really probably could have eaten two plates of this. Definitely something I will order again when I visit the restaurant again next time.

Tasting Plate at Sokyo

The Dessert Sampler: Yamazaki Caramel Macchiato (coffee ice cream, cocoa nibs and whisky foam), Sokyo’s Mochi Ice Cream (Yatsuhashi Kyoto mocha with frozen strawberry milkshake), Goma Street (black sesame ice-cream, caramelised white chocolate mousse sandwiched between 2 pieces of chocolate and nutty brittle pieces and a panacotta with tapioca sago pudding layered on top with tropical fruit served in a glass jar.

Mr Muscles decided to order the dessert sampler as if I had the choice I’m pretty sure I would have ordered 5 plates of dessert but by this time we were both getting quite full and I couldn’t decide between some of the desserts so the sampler was picked in the end.

I ended up eating most of this dessert sampler as Mr Muscles knows how much of  sweet tooth I have. I didn’t eat any of the Macchiato dessert as I am not a fan of coffee so Mr Muscles ended up eating all of this. Goma Street is the best dessert in my opinion at Sokyo – it never disappoints and all the flavours of black sesame and white chocolate pair wonderfully together that it leaves you wanting more each time. I devoured this whole that Mr Muscles didn’t end up tasting this except for a few left over scraps that I didn’t end up eating. The mochi ice cream is always a nice choice for dessert however I find the strawberry milkshake filling to be quite overpowering and sweet.  I was disappointed with the pannacotta that was not really reminiscent of a pannacotta. The texture was quite different than usual and more reminscent of liquid rather than being firm as if it were missing some gelatine. I felt that this dessert was a bit of a hit and a miss as the tapioca pudding layer also didn’t seem to really suit the dish.

All in all we had a wonderful dinner celebrating our anniversary. Good food and even better company – what more can you ask for?

Happy 1 Mr Muscles! Here’s to many more to come ;P

Sokyo

Level G, The Darling, The Star,

80 Pyrmont Street

Pyrmont, 2009

Until next time dear readers!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Dessert, Dinner, Fine Dining, Japanese, Restaurant, Sydney

Happy Birthday Mr Muscles!

Hello Readers!

Sorry for the delays in posting lately but it’s been another exhausting week! My mixed basketball team won the grand finals this week so I was super excited and lacking sleep over the joy of winning my first grand final and the fact that it came with a cool little trophy which I have not stopped looking at since we won ;P

But back to what this post is really all about…Mr Muscles birthday! Mr Muscles birthday was a few days ago but due to my basketball final coincidentally falling on the same day of Mr Muscle’s birthday, we decided to do a belated birthday dinner the next day to celebrate. Mr Muscles and I had never dined at Quay before so we decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate his birthday dinner there. I really couldn’t wait as I had seen so many people visit this restaurant and obviously hearing about the infamous snow egg, I knew I had to try this to see what the hype was all about.

We arrived at Quay on time and we were seated in a lovely isolated area over looking the Rocks area. We had been seated here due to a massive cruise ship blocking most of the view that you usually get when you dine at Quay. We were seated next to another couple who were celebrating their anniversary so there were definitely celebrations all around.

I thought the service at Quay was really impressive. We had a wonderful waitress who was very attentive and informative about certain dishes. She really made the night that much more enjoyable and even offered to take our photo a few times with our desserts. We were given a complimentary box of chocolates for Mr Muscle’s birthday which I thought was very nice and thoughtful.

Quay Restaurant Outside

View

View 2

Quay Menu

Back to the food…

Mr Muscles and I decided that we wouldn’t go for the tasting menu of 8 courses and instead we opted for the 4 courses at $175/person.

Cocktail 2

Cocktail

Our cocktails we ordered before the night – they were quite strong so Mr Muscles finished most of it off for me

Butter

Butter & Salt for the bread

There was a large selection of sourdough bread to choose from but since I didn’t want to end up being too full once the food started coming out, I just settled for the one piece.

Wholemeal Sourdough Bread

Wholemeal Sourdough Bread

Grain Sourdough Bread

Grain Sourdough Bread

Complimentary Starter

Complimentary Starter – forgot what this was but it had such lovely flavours and texture

Poached Chicken Entree

Mr Muscles’ First Course: Fragrant Poached Chicken, White Radish, Sea Scallops, Pea Blossoms, Smoked White Eggplant Cream & Virgin Black Sesame Oil

Mr Muscles chose the poached chicken for his first course. He really loved the dish as it reminded him of a modern take on Hainanese chicken. The chicken was wonderfully poached and soft that melted in your mouth with each bite. The scallops worked wonderfully with the chicken. I tried a little bit of Mr Muscle’s dish and agreed that this was really a lovely dish. The ingredients just all seemed to work well together and each component provided a different taste and texture with each bite.

Congee

My First Course: Congee of Northern Australian Mud Crab, Fresh Palm Heart and Egg Yolk Emulsion

I really loved this dish and definitely thought that this was the stand out of the savoury dishes I ordered for the night. It really reminded me of congee from childhood but with a bit of a modern twist to it. The crab was lovely and soft against the firmer and crunchier palm heart. The egg yolk emulsion just brought the whole dish to another level. I only wish that there had been more of this congee for me to eat. In a matter of minutes, the congee disappeared right in front of my eyes and I only wished I had eaten it at a much slower pace. The waitress mentioned after she was clearing the plates that this has been a signature dish on the menu at Quay for more than 10 years and I can understand why. Definitely a must order when dining here.

Abalone

Mr Muscles’ Second Course: Squab and Abalone, Rare Cultivated Greens, Young Garlic Cream with an Anchovy and Seaweed Broth

Mr Muscles ordered the abalone for his second course and what looked really interesting on paper somehow translated into something he wasn’t really expecting. Mr Muscles probably enjoyed this dish the least out of all his dishes. Though I didn’t try this, he told me that the flavours were all very unique but somehow didn’t really go together. What I did love was the way the dishes were presented for our second courses where a tea-pot was filled with each of our broths and consommes and it was poured onto our dishes at the table. I thought that was a really nice touch in terms of presentation of the dishes.

Mushrooms

My Second Course: Eight Mushrooms, Truffle Custard with a Chestnut Mushroom Consomme

I really enjoyed my second course. The waitress poured the consomme onto the picturesque layers of mushrooms. Everything worked so well together and I loved that each mushroom provided a different taste and a different texture in contrast to the smooth silky custard that was found at the bottom of the dish. The Mushroom Consomme was light but really flavourful and you could really taste the mushrooms throughout the whole dish.

Beef

Mr Muscles’ Third Course: Poached Rangers Valley Beef, Bitter Chocolate Black Pudding, Morel, Ezekiel Crumbs and Shaved Mushrooms

When Mr Muscles’ dish came out we thought it almost resembled some sort of chocolate dessert. Mr Muscles cut open the beef and inside you could see the very pink innards of the beef. It was really amazing how the various flavours worked together to create such a clever dish. The chocolate, the crumbs and the mushroom all paired so well with the beef. Mr Muscles gave me a piece to try and I was so surprised at how tender and soft the beef was and how the crumbs on the outside of the beef gave it a really nice crunch.

Inside of the Beef

An inside shot of Mr Muscles’ beef dish

Snapper

My Third Course: Roasted Snapper, Japanese White Turnips, Barletta Onions topped with Sauce made from the Roe

I really loved my third course as well. I usually love ordering fish for my main as I like eating a less heavy main and it provides me with more room for dessert naturally ;P The snapper was wonderfully cooked and it really melted in your mouth with each bite. The top of the fish was crunchy and the sauce added some lovely flavours to the dish. I liked that there was the crunch from the white turnips and the softness you got each time you bit into onions. All in all, I thought this was a really wonderful dish.

But now to the most important meal of the night: DESSERT!!!

Mr Muscles ended up choosing the eight texture chocolate cake as he thought he should order something different to me. The snow egg had my name written all over it from the minute we sat down! ;P I think Mr Muscles had serious food envy when my snow egg came out and realised he probably should have also just ordered a snow egg.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake 3

Chocolate Cake 4

Mr Muscles’ Dessert: Quay’s Eight Texture Chocolate Cake

I loved the presentation of the chocolate cake where we watched the waiter pour in more chocolate to add to this already rich and indulgent cake. Mr Muscles dug into his dessert but stated that this dessert was very very rich and that it was hard to finish due to the richness of the cake and all the various layers of chocolate. I tried a bit of the cake and agreed that it was very rich and quite bitter from the dark chocolate.

But drum roll please…..THE INFAMOUS SNOW EGG!!!

I had read about the snow egg on so many various blogs and seen pictures of it from people who had visited Quay and had major food envy every time I saw a picture of this snow egg. I really couldn’t wait to try it! I know that each time the fruit flavour changes so it’s never the same. I’ve heard people eat snow eggs with peaches, nectarines and cherries so I was curious to see what plum would taste like.

Snow Egg

My Dessert: Plum & Vanilla Snow Egg

I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert from the lovely cold hard texture of the granita outside of the egg to the crunch of the outside layer of the egg to the inside of the egg which had a light meringue and some really seriously addictive ice cream. I really could have eaten two of these snow eggs in one sitting. Mr Muscles had a taste of my dessert and really regretted not ordering this for his dessert. As Mr Muscles excused himself to go to the bathroom, I continued to eat my dessert in silence in awe at how wonderful all the flavours were. I couldn’t really taste the plum but I didn’t really care as I was busy demolishing my dessert bit by bit and soon enough as Mr Muscles returned to the table I had literally licked the bowl clean. He was laughing at me at this stage because I had finished the dessert so quickly but YES it was THAT good! ;P I would seriously go back to Quay just to eat their snow egg again but hey that’s just me ;P

Inside of the Snow Egg

An inside shot of the snow egg once I had cracked the top of the egg…dreaming of this right now as I type this!

It was a really wonderful dinner with great food and even better company! I hope you had a wonderful birthday Mr Muscles and that all your wishes came true on your birthday! Let’s go eat a snow egg on my birthday ok? ;P

Quay Restaurant

Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal

5 Hickson Rd  The Rocks NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9251 5600

Website: http://www.quay.com.au/

Trading Hours: Lunch: Tues-Fri 12 Noon-2:30pm & Dinner Mon-Sun 6pm-10pm

Until next time all!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Birthday, Dessert, Dinner, Fine Dining, Restaurant, Sydney, Western

Jackpot Celebrates 28 Part 2…

Hello All!

Following my previous post, the birthday celebrations continued with a lunch at Taxi Dining Room to celebrate Ms G’s birthday and my own birthday along with Ms G and Mr D’s engagement. Mr H and Ms K joined us for the festivities as a surprise. It was great catching up with everyone to celebrate together.

We all chose to have the special Bento set which consisted of 4 courses for $48.50. We all thought this was a good deal and the food looked quite appealing so we all decided to go with this. The only option that we needed to pick was the main course. We all decided to share each main with each other so that we could taste both options. The food whilst being small in portion was really lovely and the presentation of each dish was impeccable. My only complaint about the lunch would be that I did not indulge in enough dessert as the dessert portion was small and having a massive sweet tooth I was craving more dessert after the meal…but I couldn’t be too greedy as I knew I’d be indulging in much more dessert at dinner. The white wine was flowing throughout the lunch and everyone at the table started sharing funny stories they remembered about each other or friends we knew. The laughter was endless and the stories were plentiful. We were all eager to find out how Mr D proposed to Ms G and as they told us their story, it was very romantic – involving a hand made story book about the couple. Congratulations Ms G and Mr D…I’m looking forward to when Ms G becomes Mrs GDRZ ;P

Photos from the lunch:

The Bento Menu

Seeded Wholemeal Bread Roll

Butter

1st and 2nd course: Market fresh salmon sashimi with Taxi dressing and Shinshu miso soup with shimeji mushrooms and spring onion

3rd Course: Confit chicken raviolo with parmesan, asparagus and macadamia – this was a really nice dish!

3rd Course: Roasted John Dory with Spring vegetables, sage and crab tortellini

4th Course: Dessert – Yarra Valley berries with goat’s curd sorbet and strawberry consomme

After resting up before dinner, I got ready to go out again for another food adventure. This time it was to Ezard for a degustation in which I went into a food coma. I think dessert pushed me over the edge and I was slightly cursing my sweet tooth for indulging so much into dessert. I have been to Black by Ezard in Sydney twice and have always enjoyed my meal there. They do great steaks and have really nice desserts. I celebrated my birthday last year with my family at Black and they all enjoyed their meals. I have also been to Gingerboy twice in Melbourne and have enjoyed their hawker style Asian street food. I remember eating this fabulous white chocolate tofu cheesecake there one time and it was really amazing that I wished I could go back to just order that one dessert dish. Unfortunately it’s no longer on the menu but it will be forever reminisced as one of my favourite restaurant dessert dishes. I have never been to Ezard before so I was keen to try this restaurant and it recently was awarded “The Age Good Food Guide 2013 Diner’s Choice Award” so it made me even more curious to see what the food was like. I opted for a vegetarian degustation as I usually do while Mr Muscles opted for the normal degustation.

Each degustation is an 8 course tasting menu with each course having a lot of Asian influence through each dish. I can say that I didn’t dislike any course and each one was very enjoyable. Mr Muscles seemed to also enjoy each course as well. My favourite dish of the night had to be the polenta dish. Polenta served with mushrooms, peas, a mini poached egg, parmesan crisp and truffle oil. While polenta can be quite heavy, as this was a small portion it was very enjoyable. Mr Muscle’s favourite dish of the night was the citrus and vodka cured salmon, black quinoa, olive oil jam, smoked yoghurt with tangerine vinaigrette dish. He couldn’t stop raving on about the flavours and the texture of the dish that it was consumed within minutes. And of course we decided to order the dessert tasting platter which was quite a large serving of desserts and when it was placed on our table, a huge smile swept across my face as I couldn’t wait to try each one. My favourite dessert dish was the pannacotta as I always choose pannacotta if it’s on the menu for dessert and also the honeycomb ice cream with toasted gingerbread. Even though they were small portions, I was getting very full at this point but it’s as if my stomach decided to open up even more space somewhere deep inside to allow me to eat these desserts. Some of these desserts were too good to share and you would often here me say to Mr Muscles “Oh but you don’t like pannacotta…Oh you don’t like honeycomb..” to which he would just stare at me in amazement and confusion but often letting me try most of the desserts anyway =)

Photos from dinner at Ezard:

Different Flavoured Salt and Pepper for the bread. This was really nice and I usually don’t like pepper but once the bread was dipped in the rosemary olive oil along with the different salts and peppers, the flavours worked well together.

VEGETARIAN: sweet corn and basil soup with red curry oil with a tofu shooter – I really loved the soup which was served warm. It appears to look heavy but was actaully very light. The tofu shooter however wasn’t as enjoyable as it looked as the flavours didn’t really go with the tofu and the strong sake flavour was probably more suited to the oyster which was the original dish.

japanese inspired oyster shooter 

VEGETARIAN: salad of baby beetroot, asparagus, parmesan custard, white truffle vinaigrette – I really enjoyed this dish as I love beetroot. Very fresh and light.

citrus and vodka cured salmon, black quinoa, olive oil jam, smoked yoghurt, tangerine vinaigrette – Mr Muscles couldn’t stop raving about this dish so I’ll have to take his word for it.

VEGETARIAN: steamed spiced tofu with chilli, fragrant oils and crispy sweet potato – I liked this dish as I really enjoy eating tofu. Tofu is a big staple for me in my diet and I loved how the crispy sweet potato strings contrasted the very smooth silken tofu. It was also surprisingly not too chilli as I have a very low tolerance to chilli in food but was glad that it was more mild than hot.

steamed blue swimmer crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, celery cress and tom kha – I tried a bit of this as I was curious to see what the flavours were like. I enjoyed this dish and wished there was a bigger portion. The crab dumpling was very flavoursome but when added with the tom kha soup, there was even more layers of flavour and added some spice and richness to the dish.

VEGETARIAN: soft white polenta with sauteed mushrooms, peas, poached egg, parmesan crisp, truffle oil – This was my most favourite dish of the night and not just because I love polenta but it was soft, rich and moreish that I wanted to have a main course size of this. The mushrooms worked well together with the mini poached egg that was placed on top of the polenta. The parmesan crisp gave it a nice crunch to contrast the soft and smooth flavour of the polenta. YUM ;P

salad of baby beetroot, asparagus and serrano jamon, parmesan custard and black truffle vinaigrette – similar to the vegetarian version I had but with serrano jamon.

VEGETARIAN: roasted jerusalem artichoke, celeriac cream, asparagus, soft herbs and chive oil – I’m not a big fan of artichoke so I didn’t really enjoy this dish as much. The flavours were nice but it felt a bit heavy for me. I started to regret loading up on the bread in the beginning of the meal at this stage.

pan roasted baby barramundi with caramelised eggplant, tomato and lime salad, yellow curry dressing

VEGETARIAN: sesame rice noodle roll with asian mushrooms, soy mirin broth, black bean crumbs – I was looking forward to this dish as I had seen photos from other people’s blogs about this dish and also because I love rice noodles, however this dish was way too rich for me. The broth whilst very fragant, was too rich and very salty for my liking so I left most of the broth in my bowl. I did enjoy the rice noodle rolls and the mushrooms but it would have been better with a less saltier broth.

slow cooked bangalow pork belly, apple pudding, fennel, celeriac and calvados jus – Mr Muscles only qualm about this dish is that pork belly should have crackling and the dish was lacking this crunch factor.

VEGETARIAN: handmade potato gnocchi, manchego, dried olive, cauliflower, raisins and toasted brioche crumble – I’m not really a fan of potato gnocchi and by this stage I was starting to get quite full. The dish was really heavy and the cheese and the toasted brioche made the dish feel even more heavier when eaten. I passed most of this off to Mr Muscles to finish off as I couldn’t finish the serving myself. He agreed that this dish was very heavy. This was probably my least favourite dish of the night.

eight score sher wagyu beef, potato terrine, garlic and red wine jam, mushroom soil, bordelaise jus

Palate Cleanser

AND now to the much anticipated dessert tasting platter:

Dessert Tasting Platter to Share consisting of:

  • espresso chocolate marquise, soft meringue, raspberry gel, blood orange sorbet – I did not really enjoy this as it was very rich and bitter and I am not a fan of anything with coffee in it
  • fromage frais pannacotta, poached rhubarb, strawberry water, saffron fairy floss – I really enjoyed this and the pannacotta paired well with the rhubarb and strawberry water
  • pistachio frangipane, caramelised strawberries, tonka bean ice cream – This was a dense type of cake but I didn’t mind it and the ice cream gave it another texture when eaten together.
  • honeycrunch ice cream, toasted gingerbread and sugar swirl – I loved this dish as the ice cream was really scrumptuous and you would get tiny pieces of honeycomb when you bit into the ice cream. Ice cream + gingerbread = success!
  • sable of apple and pear, earl grey tea creme brulee, lemongrass jelly, cider sorbet – I only tried a bit of this as I had gorged out on all the other desserts. I loved the earl grey tea creme brulee as I love earl grey in desserts. It reminded me of a time I ate at Arras in Walsh Bay in Sydney and they had an earl grey dessert that was so good I wanted more. The sable was very nice and had a good crunch to it in contrast to the smoothness of the creme brulee.
  • salted caramel parfait, chocolate peanut butter crunch, pressed paw paw and blackberry syrup – I didn’t try this as I’m not much of a fan of salted caramel or peanut butter in my desserts but Mr Muscles told me this was quite a good dessert after demolishing it.

 

I was super full after the dessert and was in a serious food coma but it was really worth it. I would definitely go back to Ezard especially for their desserts.

We ended up having a few drinks after dinner with friends to celebrate further. I was so full though at this point that I could not enjoy the cocktails as much. However it was a great way to cap off the birthday celebrations – lots of fun and laughter throughout the day, indulging in food and just enjoying the atmosphere of melbourne with great company.

Some Syringe Cocktails we had to celebrate 😉 What an awesome and creative gimmick!

Taxi Dining Room

Level 1, Transport Hotel, Federation Square

Cnr Flinders Street and Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone: (03)9654 8808

Ezard

187 Flinders Lane,
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Phone: (03) 9639 6811

Hours:

Lunch Mon-Fri 12:00pm-2:30pm

Dinner Mon-Sat 6:00pm-10:30pm

Website: http://www.ezard.com.au/

Till next time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Asian, Bento, Birthday, Degustation, Dessert, Dinner, Fine Dining, Japanese, Lunch, Melbourne, Vegetarian, Western