Sugarcane, Surry Hills, Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Milan Strbac and his team treated the members to a fusion of flavours from many dishes on Sugarcane’s current menu of South East Asian cuisine.
The menu on the day being :
Salt and Pepper Squid with Yellow Bean and Soy Dressing

Salt & pepper Squid with sauce

Salt & pepper Squid with sauce

Fried Eggs tossed in sauce of Dark Palm Sugar, Turmeric

Pork Dumplings with Bean & Soy Dressing

Eggplant braised and served in the house Master-Stock
Crispy Chicken served with Blood Plum Sauce
Tofu, Snake Beans and baby corn served in a Malaysian curry sauce

Sweet Coconut Sorbet

On arrival the ladies were given a glass of something different and complementary to the food – a 2010 Sparkling Riesling, Pyramid Valley, “The Body Electric” from Marlborough NZ.
This wine underwent secondary fermentation in the bottle resulting in a light fizz.

Whole fried eggs in a wonderful sauce

Whole fried eggs in a wonderful sauce

The other two wines were :
2012 Riesling/Gerwurztraminer, Jamsheed, “Le Blanc Plonk” a blend from Victoria
2011 Cinsault, Domaine Ribert, Cousin Oscar, St. Chinian, France – a light wine usually used as a blending agent but complemented the Asian food.

All the ladies thought the food was tasty, enjoyed the mix of different flavours and the Fried Egg with Dark Palm Sugar was a hit.
All enjoyed the crust on the Crispy Chicken dish and some were not Tofu lovers !

Most agreed the wines matched well with the interesting flavours of the food and a negative from some was perhaps too much fried food.

The ambience was noisy, but typical of a Surry Hills trendy restaurant and many ladies will return again.
Sitting on stools for a length of time was not the most comfortable but the seating was designed for a quick local business lunch as opposed to our more lengthy lunches with lots of chatting.
All agreed Sugarcane’s staff coped well with our large group ( 31 ) as well as the other lunch regulars who turned up at the restaurant.

Pork Dumplings

Pork Dumplings

Braised Eggplant

Braised Eggplant

This entry was posted on September 17, 2014.

Kafenes Greek Restaurant, Enmore, Wednesday 6 August 2014

The new committee got off to a good start with a fun, relaxed and vibrant afternoon at a good ethnic restaurant in Enmore.
We were treated to pleasant authentic Greek food by our wonderful hosts Maria and Filip.
The lunch started with a glass of Ouzo over ice which was either seen as memories of Greece or nasty medicine and admittedly is not to everyone’s taste.

Menu being :
Three dips of Melitzana, Tzatiki and Taramosalata served with Pita Bread
Greek Cabbage salad
Saganaki Prawns

Chicken Souviaki
Exohiko – Lamb wrapped with Halmoumi cheese and oven baked with vegetables

For dessert a platter of Loukoumades – half with Honey and half with Chocolate sauce and Walnuts
The wines served were :
2012 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier
2011 Brands Laira ‘The Clipper’ Cabernet Sauvignon

The 3 dips were freshly made, had great flavours and were a generous size along with the very tasty Cabbage Salad, and although the sauce of the Saganaki Prawns was flavoursome and spicy, the prawns were a little overcooked.
It was considered the Chicken Souviaki was a little dry and could have been cooked too long. The Exohiko lamb was very tender and a popular dish.
The Loukoumades were outstanding and both sauces were delicious.
The Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier was a good wine made by an excellent winemaker.
The Brands Laira Cabernet Sauvignon went well with the food.
Everyone felt we had a great day in a friendly restaurant with enjoyable food, good company.
The Zorba dance perfected by Maria and the ladies capped the day off wonderfully.

This entry was posted on August 9, 2014.

The Royal Exchange of Sydney Club, Wednesday, 2 July 2014

This venue was chosen for our July AGM and lunch as the Club was able to offer privacy for the AGM and seat all 33 of us for the lunch afterwards.
The venue was chosen more for the ability to hold the AGM as apposed to their culinary skills.
As is normal, a new committee was formed at the AGM and then we moved onto the lunch.
We started with a 2012 Marius Peyol Cote de Provence Rose.
This is a reasonably dry Rose from southern France near St Tropez. This Rose did not show a lot of character but was reasonably enjoyed.
We had two courses this time – a main and cheese platter.
Choice of Mains :

Beef Bourguignon with pastry lid

Beef Bourguignon with pastry lid

Beef Bourguignon served with a pastry lid.
Lamb Backstrap with sweet potato and fetta mash, English spinach, plum red wine jus
Wild Barramundi – pan fried with celeriac puree, steamed green beans and orange and fennel salad.
On the table : Steamed vegetables, salads and chips
Cheese Platters consisted of a blue, cheddar and a brie d’Affinois
The white wine was a 2012 Simon Febrve Petit Chablis
The red wine a 2010 Crozes Hermitages from Charpoutier
A 5 year old and 10 year old Blandys Portuguese Madiera were served with the cheese.
The lamb back strap was the favoured meal and was cooked to perfection.
The Beef Bourguignon should have had a richer, red wine sauce as it was more of a beef stew.
Wild Barramundi

Wild Barramundi

Whilst the cheese was served at room temperature, the quantity was not sufficient for the number of people at each table. It was felt the blue cheese was sharp and salty and this could indicate it was past it’s eating date. The d’Affinois was delicious and perfectly ripe for eating.
There was also not enough bowls of the sides on the tables to satisfy all participants.
The wines were matched well with the food and the Crozes Hermitage being well received.
The difference in the extra 5 years of aging of the Madiera was evident with the 10 year being smoother and fruity on the back palate.
Most felt the Club was a very appropriate venue for the occasion, enjoyed the clubby feel and served well for the AGM.
The chef and staff dealt well with the challenge of a considerable time delay before they could serve the food.
10 year Madeira

10 year Madeira

Members enjoying themselves

Members enjoying themselves

This entry was posted on July 5, 2014.

Manfredi at Bells, Killcare, Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Stefano Mandredi’s restaurant at Bells, Killcare, was chosen for our annual lunch to be held away from Sydney.
We left Sydney in the bus around 10.00 am and travelled north to the central coast to the Bell’s resort at Killcare. Husbands and partners had been invited so it was nice to be a mixed group.
We arrived in brilliant sunshine to a welcome drink on the lovely lawn in front of the main building.
19 members and 13 guests chatted in the sunshine drinking an Aperol Spritzer and nibbling on Sicilian and Ligurian olives and parmesan and caper biscottini.
We moved inside to the main dining room to three tables laid beautifully in Bell’s signature blue and white.
The first course was Antipasto to share :
Parmesan and rocket frittata, Sweet and Sour roasted peppers, pickled vegetables, grilled Prawn and caponata, Vitello tonnato, Potato gnocchi with sage burnt butter, Freshly shucked rock oysters.
Secondi :
Grilled blue eye trevalla with fennel in citrus and white whine, chickpea puree, rosemary
Roast duck with braised red lentils, grilled radicchio, Di Coppi chestnuts and 7 year aged balsamic
Grilled Cape Grim grass fed beef fillet with wholegrain faro, Jerusalem artichokes, grated horseradish and red wine jus
All served with green beans, garlic and parsley as well as roast rosemary potatoes. The vegetables had been freshly picked from the restaurant’s gardens.
Dolci :
Raspberry, pistachio and vanilla cassata
Tartufo di amedei chocolate
Wines to accompany the meal :
2012 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Caselli di Jesi
2012 Umani Ronchi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
2012 Bollini Merlot
2010 Marcarini Moscato d’Asti
The antipasto was considered to be a well balanced selection with the vitello tonnato seen as the best ever and the prawns were delicately cooked. It was felt the frittata was served too cold.
Comments for the secondi rated the beef fillet highly as the beef was cooked to request on each plate and the freshly grated horseradish on top was a great frontal flavour in the mouth.
The duck was very delicate and, therefore, did not have a lot of flavour.
Fabulous presentation for the cassata but a large sized dessert and the tartufo was a rich flavour bomb in the mouth with the mixture of chocolate and dried orange.
The four wines were enjoyed and the Montepulciano went well with both the duck and beef dish.
The Moscato d’Asti was able to accompany both desserts and it was also felt the Merlot was a good match with the rich chocolate dessert.
All present felt this was a great day out in a tasteful, elegant venue with good food, wine and a convivial happy atmosphere. A few photos follow here :
A quiet trip back to Sydney !

Making of the Aperol Spritzer

Making of the Aperol Spritzer

Display of Aperol Spritzer ingredients

Display of Aperol Spritzer ingredients

Table set in Bell's signature blue and white

Table set in Bell’s signature blue and white

Another photo of the lovely dining room

Another photo of the lovely dining room

This entry was posted on June 8, 2014.

Garfish, Manly, Wednesday 7 May 2014

May’s lunch was a fresh seafood experience before we move onto the delights of warmer Winter food.
28 ladies, which included 8 guests, enjoyed arriving in the sunshine (most arrived by ferry)
to wonderful Manly Cove. We had the private dining room and although a little noisy we were able to
speak and voice our opinions without being overheard from other patrons of Garfish.
The menu of the day was :
Oyster – Sydney Rock with mignonette dressing on arrival served with Geoff Hardy Hand Crafted Sparkling Salmon
Sour dough bread with olive oil and balsamic
Entrée :
Salt and Pepper Squid with chilli, garlic, coriander and lime
Atlantic Salmon and Prawn ravioli with shaved radish, walnut salad and shellfish vinaigrette
Mains :
Aromatic Sri Lankan Fish Curry with raita and pilaf rice
Wood roasted Blue Eye Trevalla with sautéed kipfler potatoes, brussel sprouts, bacon and forest mushroom cream
Green Salad to share
Tea and Coffee served with Raspberry Macarons
The ladies enjoyed the Oyster canapé and the unique sweet dipping sauce.
The Salt and Pepper Squid was considered a little chewy and not crisp enough on some plates, others found the dish crisp enough.
The Salmon and Prawn Ravioli was a good size for an entrée and the salmon and prawn flavours were distinguishable. A nice touch was the shaved fresh radish.
The Blue Eye Trevalla could have done with a little less cooking as it was dry on a few plates but the accompanying vegetables were great, ie the shaved
brussel sprouts with the bacon and kipfler potatoes.
The fish curry was found to be delicate with a mixture of aromatic flavours coming through the sauce.
The Sparkling Salmon was considered something different with a good fruit balance flavour but the finish was definitely sweet unlike the tasting notes which mentioned crisp.
The 2013 Tyrell’s Moon Mount Chardonnay Hunter Valley was a good match to the fish but a little young and the oak was coming through.
The 2011 Domaine du Prieure St Romain Moulin a Vent – Cru Beaujolais was a winner and thought to be a subtle wine to have with fish but, unfortunately, we did not serve enough of it.
Overall, although a noisy venue, the view from the windows made up for any discomfort and all ladies had a convivial time.
A downside was the wait between the taking of orders and before the entrees were served, apart from that the restaurant looked after us very well.

This entry was posted on May 7, 2014.

Nithik’s Kitchen, Rozelle, Wednesday 2 April 2014

April’s lunch was a taste of authentic Southern Indian cooking and what a treat Nithik’s Kitchen provided to the ladies.
All comments for this restaurant were very favourable and the food received outstanding reviews.

Menu being :
On arrival refreshing Cranberry, Ginger & Mint drink
Entrée :
Tree of Taste – an introduction to six ‘rasas’ (tastes).
A creative dish of sweet, salt, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent tastes.
Mains :
Urulai Patani Kozhi Kuruma – chicken stewed in cashew, poppy and green chilli gravy with potato and peas.
Kola Urunadai Kolumbu
Lamb kofta simmered in coconut and cashew gravy served with authentic Burmese rice ‘Vella kaurini arisi” and pickle.
Tai Pongal Kara Kolumbu
A pongal festival dish prepared at harvesting time. A melange of nine country vegetables simmered in spicy, sweet and tangy gravy
To accompany :
Steamed rice, pulav, chapathi, assorted chutneys
Dessert :
“Orange” – a Kulfi Indian ice cream treat
Wines :
2013 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling
2011 Gramps Shiraz
Coffee or Masala Chai
All of the food rated either good or excellent and it was felt the menu was a wonderful mix of flavours,
especially the Tree of Taste where it was interesting to recognise all the ingredients involved.
Also great to work out the nine vegetables in the Tai Pongal Kara Kolumbu
Nithik’s was a good return to the original concept of learning about the origin of ingredients and tradition of food.
It was recognised the wines were hard to match with Indian food.
The service of the restaurant was friendly and helpful.

The next lunch will the at Garfish, Manly on Wednesday 7 May

This entry was posted on April 13, 2014.

Public Dining Room Restaurant, Balmoral Beach, Wednesday 5 March 2014

Sydney weather turned on a wonderful sunny day for the ladies to have the March lunch in a restaurant right on the beach. This set the vibe for the day of great happy conversation and robust discussion on the food and wine presented. We were able to sit in the private dining area of the restaurant which gave some privacy.
There was a wide choice of food offered – 4 entrees and 4 mains :
Entrees :
Fried Zucchini flowers filled with four spiced gruyere and ricotta cheese, mustard seed royale, pinenut pangrattato, lemon verbena
Hiramasa Kingfish Carpaccio, chilli, capers, lemon, micro coriander, Campari salt.
Pork Belly, sweet carrot puree, pickled sultanas, roast macadamia crumble
Seared Scallops, sweetcorn puree, chorizo, piquillo pepper, sherry vinegar, chilli threads

Mains :
Glenloth Chicken Breast, white bean, chorizo ragout, onion, smoked paprika, coriander
O’Connor pasture fed Eye Fillet, roast carrot puree, caramelised baby shallots, dauphinoise potatoes, bordelaise sauce
Barramundi, roast fennel, pink grapefruit, Rockefeller sauce, crispy kale
Risotto of fresh mushrooms, truffle and parmesan
Sides : Darling Mills salad, radishes, walnut oil vinaigrette, French Fries
Wines :
NV Amadio’bijana’ Adelaide Hills, SA
2012 Mount Macleod Chardonnay, Gippsland Victoria
2010 Chateau Recougne, Bordeaux Superieur, France
2010 Chateau Haut-Madrac Rouge, Bordeaux, France
Campos coffee, Tea Corporation tea.
The outstanding entrée of the day was by far the Kingfish Carpaccio which was enjoyed by all who ordered this dish. Zucchini flowers received the comment of “the best zucchini flowers I have tasted”. The scallops were either overcooked or cool so not a tick here. The Pork Belly still retained too much of the fat and not been rendered down enough.
The best voted main was the Eye Fillet and most agreed that the meat had been cooked to desired time but needed more sauce.
The SA sparkling was enjoyed and whilst the Chardonnay was young, it went well with the Carpaccio.
The Chateau Recougne was recognised as being “burnt” but other members felt it went well with the eye fillet.

It was felt the healthy discussion on the food and wine was a sign of committed members and good to see and we are at last back to what we are about.
The service was good under the circumstances, efficient and unobtrusive.

Ladies next lunch on Wednesday, 2 April will be at Nithik’s Kitchen a look at Southern Indian food. This will be a fun lunch.

This entry was posted on March 6, 2014.