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.

Mr. Chow’s Peking Restaurant Wednesday 5 February 2014

The year of the Horse got off to a great start with a Peking Cuisine feast.
25 members and 6 guests attended the restaurant.

Entrees :
Shallot Pancake
Tea Smoked Duck with Steamed Buns
San Choy Bow

Mains :
Crispy Skin Chicken
Prawn Omelette
Snake Beans with Minced Pork
Snow Peas and Broccoli
Satay Beef with Onion
Fried Rice

Dessert :
Apple and Banana Fritters
Red Bean Pancake

Mr Chow’s is famous for Peking Duck which is also served as Tea Smoked Ducks and this dish
was certainly the winner for the favoured dish. The Shallot pancake coming a close second followed
by Snake Beans with Minced Pork.
The Apple fritters were rated the best dessert.
The Crispy Skin Chicken was a little dry and could have been overcooked.

All comments were very favourable for Mr Chow’s ranging from the best Chinese food I
have had for years to a happy atmosphere, excellent food and nice wines.
The ladies enjoyed the ambience that a shared table provides.

The committee wanted to use up left over wines so there was a bit of a mixture on the
day ranging from the favourite sparkling – Madame Coco to the 2011 Joseph Drouhin Saint Veran Chardonnay.
There were two Tempranillo’s and one Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy.

This entry was posted on February 8, 2014.

Tastevin bistro and wine bar Wednesday 4 December 2013

There was a large gathering of ladies for our Christmas lunch – 24 members and 12 guests enjoyed the very festive atmosphere of Tastevin.  Alex and his staff looked after us with attentive service and good food.

The three course menu consisted of  :

Entrée    Cold pressed terrine of white rabbit and consommé jelly with frisee salad and sauce gribiche

Or            Gnocchi a la parisienne with sauted mushrooms and white truffle mornay

Main         Seared Ocean Trout with Octopus and grilled provencal vegetables

Or            Roasted Pork Loin with confit pork shoulder salad, black pudding and caramelised apple

Fries and salad

Dessert     Eton Mess

Wines on the day were :     Madame Coco Blanc de Blanc sparkling

2011 Joseph Drouhin Saint Veran – Chardonnay, Burgundy

2010 Artadi Estate Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain

The terrine of white rabbit was the most favoured choice of entrée and outdid the Gnocchi on ratings. The style of Gnocchi was different as it was made out of choux pastry, not potato as expected.

The seared Ocean Trout was well received but a few ladies felt the provencal vegetables were too much and perhaps should not have included tomato with trout.

There was a variation in the quality of the pork presented on the day as it was served dry and overcooked on some plates whereas others found the pork cooked the way it should have been.  The accompanying salad was found to be too salty.

The light French style of black pudding and caramelised apple accompanying the pork dish were enjoyed.

The outstanding dish of the day was the French style Eton Mess – comments were amazing, light and full of flavour.

The general feeling was that the wines were well matched with the food.  The Madame Coco sparkling was again enjoyed by all.

Congratulations and thanks should go to the ladies that contributed to a large amount of Christmas gifts for the disadvantaged children.  These presents will be enjoyed by all the children on Christmas day.

Also a big thanks for the Christmas food donated.

This entry was posted on December 7, 2013.