Fish Face, Double Bay, Wednesday 4 March 2015

The March lunch was held in Double Bay and this suburb is showing signs of being a vibrant place to visit again.
23 members and 3 guests attended the lunch. The restaurant was painted white inside and with skylights in the roof, was bright from the sunshine filtering through, and fitted out in a modern nautical theme. Just what a seafood restaurant should be like.
We were seated in the large area at the back of the restaurant which gave us all ample room between chairs and the privacy enabled us to talk freely about the Society’s news and to present and discuss 2 of the wines which were served as mystery wines and talk from the tasting notes.
The two course menu of the day was :

Entrée : Sydney Rock Oysters, Mignonette Sauce, Lemon
Prawn Ravioli, grilled green onion, ginger and shellfish sauce.

Prawn Ravioli

Prawn Ravioli

Mains :
Blue Eye Trevalla, Potato Scales, Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Beetroot
Ocean Trout in Filo Pastry, Mushrooms, Leeks, Sorrel Sauce
Dusky Flathead in Batter, hand cut chips, pickles, tartare sauce
Crisp skin Snapper, Jerusalem artichokes, roast garlic, yoghurt, crumbs
Crisp skin Wild Kingfish, confit fennel rainbow chard, salted chilli

Side of Hand cut chips

Blue Eye Trevalla

Blue Eye Trevalla

Dusky Flathead in batter and hand cut chips

Dusky Flathead in batter and hand cut chips

Wines : 2014 Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough NZ
2013 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling – Margaret River
2013 Bress Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley

It was felt by a considerable number of the ladies that the Prawn Ravioli tasted bland, needed more flavour and was not served with enough accompanying sauce.
The oysters, whilst we observed them being freshly shucked (and were delicious) the Mignonette sauce contained black peppercorns that had not been ground up enough.

The Crisp Skin Snapper with the Jerusalem Artichokes and Blue Eye Trevalla with Roasted Beetroot were the two stand out main dishes with the other three dishes coming a close second as the fresh food was enjoyed by all, with one comment “the best tartare and pickled vegetables to accompany excellent battered Fish and Chips”.

The comments on the wines :
The 2014 Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc – We get it ladies – no more Sauvignon Blanc!!
The Leeuwin Estate Riesling, unfortunately, the 2013 was showing no character and the 2014 was the opposite and showing some bottle age. It was disappointing that the wait staff topped up glasses with the two different years – not good. This made it impossible to judge the wine.
The Bress Pinot Noir was a typical Yarra Valley wine, showing sweetness and had favourable ratings.

We were fortunate that Steven Hodges, chef and co-owner, talked to us about fresh seafood and how to purchase fresh fish and the sustainability of this food item.
Steven also explained the reason for the Salted Chilli (served with the Wild Kingfish) i.e. taste of chilli without the bite ! The method is to chop up fresh red chillis, put in an airtight jar, cover with salt and leave for 2 months.

The restaurant was considered to have good atmosphere and nice fresh food with good service. The temperature inside was a little hot and could have done with an air conditioner in the main restaurant.

This entry was posted on March 8, 2015.

“The Palace” Chinese Restaurant, Wednesday 4 February 2015

The first lunch for 2015 was held at The Palace and was a forerunner to many Chinese New Year dinners in 2 week’s time to celebrate the year of the Sheep. The Palace is known for it’s wonderful Yum Cha lunches but they really excelled themselves with a delicious and varied range of Cantonese food for our lunch. We were fortunate to have an elevated separate area away from the noisy service of Yum Cha. 21 members and 6 guests had an enjoyable meal.
The staff, hand picked by two of our members, provided excellent attentive service by presenting the food on platters as it came out of the kitchen and then plating the portions individually.
It was a joy to not have to serve oneself food as the lazy susan is spun around.
The menu was :
Entrees :
Steamed Sliced Fish with braised Snow Peas
Sang Choy Bau

San Choy Bau - seafood in lettuce leaves

San Choy Bau – seafood in lettuce leaves


Boned Duck with Guitar sauce – have no explanation on the Guitar sauce
Spicey Snake Beans with Minced Pork
Mains :
Egg Plant Hot Pot with minced Pork
Special Fried Rice
Maggi Sliced Beef with Snow Peas
Braised Green Vegetables

Rockmelon Segments and Fortune Cookies

Duck with Guitar sauce

Duck with Guitar sauce

Spicey Snake Beans with Minced Pork

Spicey Snake Beans with Minced Pork

Wines – on arrival NV Domaine Chandon Sparkling from Yarra Valley

White wine – 2013 Voyager Estate Margaret River blend (60/40) of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon – presented as a mystery wine

Red wine – 2008 Cape Mentelle Trinders Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River

The white wine was more palatable after leaving in the glass and allowing to breathe for a while.
The red wine was considered a good choice with the food.
We all appreciate it is hard to match Chinese food with wine.

All of the dishes were rated highly and the pick of the food was the Steamed sliced fish, Egg Plant Hot Pot and Braised Green Vegetables.
Some of the comments on the restaurant were – “best Cantonese lunch ever” and “good flavours, variety of dishes and will return to The Palace”.

This entry was posted on February 8, 2015.

Nomad, Surry Hills, Wednesday 3 December, 2014

ladies enjoying their lunch

ladies enjoying their lunch

Our Christmas lunch was held at the popular restaurant ‘Nomad’ in Surry Hills where the chefs have a commitment to getting the best out of their produce with classic techniques like smoking, cheese making, charcuterie, curing, wood firing and pickled treats. As in previous years, at this time of the year the ladies bring along a Christmas gift each for an underprivileged child and also donate to a large food hamper. These gifts are presented by one of our members to the Salvation Army who distribute them to families in need. Thanks from the committee for your generous donations this year.

The food at Nomad is all shared plates and we had the following selection :

Goats cheese Churros with truffle honey which were served on arrival with the 2014 Bird in Hand Pinot Noir Rose sparkling.
Gilda/Ortiz Anchovy, Guindillas peppers and an olive
Scallops Tartare
Jersey Milk Haloumi BBQ Zucchini, pinenuts

Empty Ortiz Anchovy tin the dish was served in

Empty Ortiz Anchovy tin the dish was served in

Jersey Milk Haloumi

Jersey Milk Haloumi


Empty Scallop Shells

Empty Scallop Shells


The Churros, whilst delicious, were a little large to handle with a glass in hand as well. The anchovy with olive and peppers was refreshing and the Haloumi delicious as well. The scallops were overpowered by the amount of chilli on top.

Sand Whiting, tahini dressing

Sand Whiting, tahini dressing

Caulilflower, pinenuts, goats curd

Caulilflower, pinenuts, goats curd


BBQ Chicken with sauce

BBQ Chicken with sauce

The Chicken dish was considered better than the Sand Whiting but all felt the way the fresh food was cooked and presented was very interesting with the different flavours coming through.

The chocolate dessert was delicious with the layer of juicy Iranian apricots.

Daintree Estate Chocolate Cake, Iranian apricots Nomad crème fraiche

Daintree Estate Chocolate Cake, Iranian apricots Nomad crème fraiche

The white wine was a 2013 JE Ngringa Assemblage – Viognier/Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills and the red wine on the day was a 2013 Journey Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, Victoria.
Both wines matched the food reasonably well.

As we were quite a large number (36) the air conditioning in the restored warehouse was not powerful enough to cope with the heat outside, especially as we had to wait outside for the restaurant to officially open at 12.00 noon! The staff were not particularly warm, nor friendly, but the service was ok for a group of people.
In spite of the above comments, a few ladies commented that they will visit the restaurant again.

birthday girl

birthday girl

This entry was posted on December 7, 2014.

The Devonshire, Surry Hills, Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Even though our November lunch was the day after many Melbourne Cup lunches, the 22 members and 3 guests had a wonderful lunch at The Devonshire.
Several ladies commented that this was the best restaurant so far this year and looked forward to returning to the restaurant. Restaurants love to hear comments like this and welcome returning diners.

The meal consisted of two courses.
Entrees
Semi dried Corella pears, celeriac mousse, Meredith goats curd, pickled walnuts and broad beans
Chopped crackle crusted pork belly, Rodriguez Bros black pudding, marinated fennel, cauliflower and baby basil
Belvedere cured Black Kingfish loin and smoked belly, blood orange, witlof, red onion and crisp shallot salsa, taramsalata

Corella pears

Corella pears

Crusted Pork Belly

Crusted Pork Belly

Cured Black Kingfish

Cured Black Kingfish

The main courses were :
Slow cooked Rangers Valley Wagyu rump cap, corned brisket croustillant, roast carrots, celery and roast garlic bread sauce
Seared fillet of Ora King Salmon, fried buckwheat and pea risotto, squid ink mussel beignets and pea tendrils
Parmesan gnocchi, new season asparagus, poached enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms and field mushroom crumb

Rangers Valley Wagyu rump cap

Rangers Valley Wagyu rump cap

Ora King Salmon

Ora King Salmon

Parmesan gnocchi

Parmesan gnocchi

Sides offered were Iceberg lettuce, pickled red onions and champagne mayonnaise
Triple cooked Sebago potatoes with confit garlic oil

The food was rated as having wonderful contrasting textures, a symphony of flavours and superb presentation.
The corned beef croustillant was considered not necessary as it complicated the dish and the dish was a little salty.
The contrast between the pork belly crunch and the velvety texture of the black pudding restored one of our ladies faith in pork belly.

The Spanish wines on the day were :
Freixenet Elyssia gran cuvee on arrival
2012 Martin Codax Rias Biaxas Albarino
2008 Marques de Murrieta Red Reserva

The wines were well matched with the food and the Albarino was felt better to have with food rather than on it’s own.

The staff were informative, efficient and pleasant without being intrusive.

This entry was posted on November 10, 2014.

President’s Dinner – Cucinetta, Woolwich, Wednesday 1 October 2014

happy members

happy members

The annual dinner of the SLWFS was in an Italian restaurant with a lovely setting of a lawn out the front of the terrace with a wonderful view back to the harbour bridge and the city skyline.
There was a fireworks display in the sky later in the night which added to the cheerful atmosphere of the evening.
Prosecco (Asolo Extra Dry from Veneto region) was to be served with olives and buffalo ricotta on the terrace in front of the view but the evening was a little chilly to accomplish this.
We all sat down to a selection of antipasto to share :
Carasau – Olives and buffalo ricotta
Calamari – Herb filled York Peninsula calamari
Fregola – Sardinian pebble pasta served with mixed seafood sauce
Salumi – Prosciutto San Daniele
Tonnato – 100 day grain fed beef carpaccio- Italian tuna dressing.109 Beef Carpaccio
Secondi choice being :
Vincenzo's signature potato gnocchi with spanner crab meat, tomato sugo, chilli, garlic.
Veal Osso Buco slow cooked with herbs, wine and vegetables.
Red wine and salt slow cooked lamb shoulder, lentil jus, parsnip puree, organic heirloom carrots.
Atlantic salmon fillet cooked sous vide and served with roasted cauliflower, eggplant puree, lemon oil, goats cheese.

Desserts
Gianduia Rustico – Vincenzo’s signature hazelnut fondant served with vanilla gelato.
Cheese Plate – selection of Italian cheeses, Testun di Barolo, Asiago, truffle pecorino served with fresh grapes, dried figs and truffle honey.

Italian cheeses

Italian cheeses


Tea and coffee followed.
The wines :
2012 Kris Pinot Grigio from Veneto region
2011 Speri La Roverina Valpolicella Classico- 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinello and 10% other grape varieties
2012 Matane Negroamaro IGT from Puglia – 100% Negroamaro grapes

All the antipasto dishes were enjoyed and a particular favourite was the Sardinian pebble pasta.
The two meat dishes were also enjoyed but the Signature Gnocchi was considered very ordinary and disappointing in so far as diners could not find the crab and the sugo was not only gelatinous but too strong a tomato flavour for the crab.
The sous vide Salmon was considered bland and not enough seasoning with the accompaniments.
The wines were considered reasonable, with the Matane Negroamaro being the most favoured.
All thought the room was lovely and that the stunning view helped to create a warm atmosphere.
The service was pleasant but mainly slow.
The attendance was 26 members and 17 guests.

Veal Osso Buco

Veal Osso Buco

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder


Hazelnut fondant

Hazelnut fondant


Speech time

Speech time

This entry was posted on October 5, 2014.

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.