Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYC) Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, Wednesday 6 December 2017

Our end of year lunch was held in a room on the ground floor of the club with plenty of activity going on in the background in preparation for the Sydney to Hobart sailing race to take place later on in the month.
There was also a king tide which explained the water lapping up onto the decking.
There were 28 ladies at the lunch, which included 3 guests who have previously attended lunches.
As it was the Christmas lunch, members donated gifts to children and food parcels to families which were to be distributed by the Manly branch of the Salvation Army. One of our members kindly co-ordinates and forwards the gifts to the charity.

We were served a 3 course meal and 4 wines to match.

The aperitif wine was a Taltarni NV and started the afternoon off well.

Entree :
An individual seafood plate with Sydney Rock Oysters (mignonette sauce) Tiger Prawns (cocktail sauce) Smoked Tasmanian Salmon,
Balmain Bug (tartare sauce) and lemon and Japanese seaweed salad.

This seafood plate was a very generous serving of fresh local seafood and presented on the plates beautifully.

Seafood Platter

The choice of main dishes were :
Seared fillet of Huon River Salmon with shaved fennel, coriander and sesame
Herb roasted Chicken Breast with pumpkin puree and green beans
Grass fed 300 gr Northern Rivers Sirloin on the bone, with chips and sauce Diane

Sirloin on the bone

The main courses were large sized portions and the salmon was the most favoured dish and went well with the fennel, coriander and sesame salad.
Some of the steak dishes did not arrive as to the length of cooking required. The steak was superb but needed more sauce.

The accompanying wines were :

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc
Mt Adam Chardonnay
Mr Riggs, Gaffer Shiraz

The desserts were plates of canapes.
Lemon curd tartlets
Strawberry cheesecake pots with white chocolate crumb
Chocolate mousse with popping candy and beetroot cress
Pistachio macarons

Portion of the dessert canapes

We had bottles of wine to give away which required answers to food and wine related questions.
Some thought a casual atmosphere, good position and a fun relaxing day with ok food.
The servings were generous, the service was adequate and there was something for everyone.
One expression was that the food was ‘club food’ and not a good choice for a wine and food society.

Some of the gifts

View of the marina

This entry was posted on February 14, 2018.

Mr Chow’s Peking Restaurant, Kent Street, The Rocks, Sydney, Wednesday 1 November 2017

We had a good attendance for a return visit to this long standing Chinese restaurant. It was interesting in that the society had a lunch at the same restaurant 25 years ago, a good reason for a celebration for those few members who were at the restaurant 25 years ago and who also came to the lunch today. 27 members and 5 guests attended and were greeted with a glass of 2015 Ca’Bolani Friuli Pinot Grigio on arrival.

The menu was shared plates and we started with Vegetarian Egg Roll and Shallot Pancakes.

Vegetarian Egg Roll

Shallot Pancakes

The slices of Egg Roll were rated highly, the shallot pancakes, whilst enjoyable, were considered a little dry.

The 2nd course was the perennial favourite of Tea Smoked Duck

Tea Smoked Duck

The duck was cooked to retain moisture and was served with dumpling style pockets. This dish rated highly by all of the ladies.

The main courses were :
Sizzling Beef Fillets with Black Pepper Sauce
Stir fried King Prawns with scrambled eggs
Pan fried Beans with Minced Pork and chilli
Salt and Pepper Eggplant
Sweet and Sour Pork
Snow Peas with mixed vegetables
Shanghai style noodles

Sizzling Beef Fillets

King Prawns Scrambled Eggs

Beans with Minced Pork and Chilli

Salt and Pepper Eggplant

The comments were variable but the Beef Fillets with Black Pepper was a disappointing dish as it could have had more flavour. The eggs were not blended through the King Prawns and was considered a weak dish. A few comments were that the Sweet and Sour Pork was too fatty and too sweet and had MSG added to the dish, a disappointment. The eggplant was light and well cooked and one of the favourite dishes.

The dessert was a battered toffee apple and banana

The wines were :
2016 Amelia Park Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, WA
2016 Les Soeurs de Bonpas Cotes de Rhone, France
2014 Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon Bila Haut, France

There was a discussion between the style of the two red wines and the Cotes de Rhone was the favoured red.
It was considered the restaurant servings were generous and most dishes were well cooked.
The service was adequate given there were only two staff on the floor.
Unfortunately, the order of delivery did not flow to match the order on the menu.

This entry was posted on November 26, 2017.

Tullochs Wines and Bistro Molines, Mount View, Hunter Valley – Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The annual trip this year to a regional restaurant was to the Hunter Valley. We departed early from Artarmon and travelled to Tulloch Wines for a cross section of mainly their current range of white wines and a couple of reds. Back onto the bus and a short drive to Mount View to the French Bistro Molines situated on a hill with outstanding views of vine planted rolling hills.
We were greeted in the courtyard to three delicious canapes and a white blend of local wine generously supplied by Robert Molines, our host.

Flowers dotted throughout the restaurant

Wine and flowers

We sat down in the charming, quirky country styled restaurant to a three course meal.

Entrees :
New season Leek and Gruyere Tarte with Baby Leeks
Crumbed Zucchini flowers filled with goats cheese

Leek and Gruyere tart

The entree was rated highly, with no adverse comments, and enjoyed by all.

The selected wine was a 2016 Tinkler Poppy Chardonnay that matched well with the cheese and rich zucchini.
Mains :
Bouillabaisse with fish of the day, king prawns, mussels and shellfish bisque
Twice roasted Hunter Duckling on braised cabbage, sauteed speck and peas, orange glaze
Fillet Mignon, confit garlic croquette, sauteed spinach, red wine jus, bernaise sauce


Twice roasted duck

Fillet Mignon

It was unusual to see spring vegetables in the bouillabaisse – squash and green beans – although they were very tasty.
The duckling was the favoured main meal. Mostly served tender, but with one comment that the duck was somewhat dry and ordinary.
Fillet Mignon was not chosen by many who attended the lunch.

The wines offered were a 2015 Frogmore Pinot Noir which suited the duck very well and a 2014 Keith Tulloch Kester Shiraz, being a more full bodied wine, matched the fillet mignon and the chocolate fondant dessert.

Desserts :
Dark Chocolate Fondant with Stracciatella Ice Cream
Fig Brulee with marinated berries and langue de chat
Selection of 3 cheeses with fruits, nuts and crackers

Chocolate fondant

Fig Brulee

Selection of cheeses

The fig brulee was chosen by most and rated highly.
The chocolate fondant was very rich and the ice cream with the flecks of chocolate matched well.
The cheese plate was a generous serve.

Following the meal tea/coffee and petit fours were served.

Macaroon Petit Fours

The service was seamless, friendly and attentive. We were well looked after.
All agreed a restaurant in a beautiful setting with food of outstanding quality.

Tasting wines at Tullochs

This entry was posted on October 14, 2017.

Brasserie l’Entrecote, Pymble, Wednesday 6 September 2017

The ladies travelled out to the upper North Shore suburb of Pymble for the September lunch held at a very French brasserie styled after the Le Relais de ‘lEntrecote in Paris, famous for their one dish of steak served with sauce. 29 ladies attended the lunch and were greeted with a glass of 2014 Seppelts Original 2014 Sparkling Shiraz. Whilst not to everyone’s taste for an aperitif, the majority found the change to a sparkling shiraz to start a lunch refreshing.

In keeping with the style of the French restaurant there was no menu and two courses and a salad were offered by the restaurant.

The entree was a Souffle au fromage

le souffle fromage

The overall opinion on the souffle was that whilst cooked well, the cheese flavour was not strong enough and some were presented with the crust too crisp.

The matching wine was a Amadio 2016 Adelaide Hils Grand Royale Chardonnay. This chardonnay was a good match for the souffle.

The main course was the famous Steak and Frites with a secret sauce
Accompanied with a green salad

Steak and secret sauce

The steak dish rated highly and the sauce was delicious. Although some of the attendees would have liked the recipe for the secret sauce, this will not be divulged.

The salad was simple and very tasty.

The wines to match the steak were Peter Lehman 2011 BVC Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a Burton 2003 McLaren Vale Shiraz.
Both red wines received the same rating and there was a comment that the Shiraz was a better match for the steak.

There was a good discussion on the food and wine matching and the view was that it was excellent to have one choice and wines to match as opposed to numerous dishes of food and the wine not matching.

The restaurant was viewed as relaxed, friendly atmosphere and very welcoming and attentive staff.

2 x red wines

This entry was posted on September 27, 2017.

Le Bouchon, Crows Nest, Wednesday 2 August, 2017

We had a good attendance for the French food served at Le Bouchon for the August lunch. 24 members and 5 guests attended and we were treated to a 3 course meal of typical French cooking with matching French wines.

On arrival we consumed a Monmousseau Brut Etoile from Loire Valley. This sparkling was light, plenty of clean fruit and considered a refreshing start to the lunch.
Les Entrees – a choice of four :
Twice Baked Blue Cheese & Spinach Souffle with confit cherry tomatoes
Escargots with Persillade and warm baquette
French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons
House Terrine, Pork & Black Pudding Rillettes with onion jam and toasted baquette

House Terrine

French Onion Soup

The favourite entree chosen by over a third of the ladies was the Twice Baked Souffle. This entree scored highly with a number of 10’s and was considered light and with a tasty blue cheese flavour.

Twice Baked Souffle

The French Onion soup was considered excellent. The escargots disappointing as there was grit in the dish.

Les Mains were :
Pan Roasted Barramundi Fillet, truffled cauliflower veloute and diamond clams
Braised Beef Cheeks a la Bourguignonne with parmentier potatoes
Pan Roasted Duck Breast and confit duck leg with brussels sprout and lentils jus

The ladies certainly like duck as over 30 percent chose the duck main dish. Could be because duck is not cooked at home too often. The breast was cooked just enough to retain moisture in the meat but the confit was not considered to be cooked to traditional methods.

Duck Breast & Confit Duck Leg

The Beef Cheeks were succulent after hours of slow cooking and the Barramundi was inconsistent on plates as perfectly cooked on some plates but mush on one other.

Braised Beef Cheeks

Barramundi fillet Pan Roasted

Les desserts :
Ile Flottante – light meringue with creme anglaise and sticky sweet caramel
Rhubarb Creme Brulee
Opera Cake with white chocolate crumble, ganache and chocolate sorbet

Ile Flottante

The light meringue dessert was by far the favourite choice and did not disappoint. The meringue was light, no hint of sugar grains and the sticky caramel sauce was refined.
A visually pleasing dessert as well with the toffee grid on top.

Opera Cake with white chocolate crumble

This was a well constructed dessert and was favoured by the chocoholics.

The white wine was a Picpoul Blanc 2015 Autanel, Languedoc
The red wine was Chateau St. Maurice 2015, Rhone Valley

Both wines were considered well matched with the food and the red wine rated more favourably than the white.

Wines at the lunch

The chef, who is cordon bleu trained, talked on how he had cooked the beef cheeks and the way to double cook a souffle.

The wait staff were courteous and experienced, although the service from the kitchen was a little slow.

A thoroughly enjoyable lunch, delicious food, great wines.

This entry was posted on August 16, 2017.

Union, University & Schools Club (known as Union Club) Sydney, Wednesday 5 July, 2017

The 51st AGM for the Society preceded the July lunch. We were very fortunate to have a separate room for the AGM and our lunch in the elegant, refined surroundings of the club.

The present committee were re-elected to stand for another year.

The lunch opened with a glass (or two) of NV House of Arras Sparkling, Bay of Fires, Tasmania served with a zucchini, herb and haloumi fritter.

The Arras sparkling was fresh, with a toasty flavour and lived up to it’s reputation of a superb Tasmanian sparkling. The fritter was tasty but considered on the small size.

The main course was a Chicken breast filled with semi dried tomato and basil served with soft polenta.

The chicken was not over cooked, still retaining moisture, and considered succulent. The filling was tasty and not overwhelming in flavour to overtake the chicken.

The highlight of the meal was the Pear Frangipani Tart with Hazelnut Cream. The pastry for the tart was light and with a texture that was not too dry. The filling was not too sweet thereby making for an excellent dessert.

Assorted cheese plates and tea/coffee and petit fours followed the main meal.

The two wines served were :

UUSC labelled Pinot Gris from King Valley, Victoria
UUSC labelled Shiraz from the Hunter Valley, NSW

The Shiraz was the favourite wine as not all members enjoy white wine, especially in the winter.

The staff were well trained and offered unobtrusive service.

The ladies enjoyed the atmosphere of the club and walking around viewing the extension art collection of mainly Australian art.

This entry was posted on July 25, 2017.

Nilgiri’s Feast of India, Cremorne, Wednesday 7 June 2017

The June lunch was held at Nilgiri’s which has been a long standing lower North Shore Indian restaurant and has recently opened in Cremorne.
The lunch started off with a glass of NV Chandon Brut Sparkling Rose before we sat down to a medley of wonderful spicy flavours of shared plates from an extensive menu.
To start small plates of Pappadums with lemon pickles, raita of the day, sweet mango & nigella marmalade. These were a good tantalising taste to start the meal.

Ajwaini Jhinga – Paprika & carom-scented Prawns, chickpea flour batter, curry leaf mayonnaise.
Pulled Chicken with Rotli – hand pulled oven-cooked Chicken Breast, spanish onions, mint & coriander chatni & roti
Saunf Ka Bund Gosht – Diced leg of lamb fennel coated, tandoor-cooked, fennel raita
Moong Dal Samosa – pepper flavoured pastry, spiced mung lentils, mashed potatoes, tamarind chutney

Ajwaini Jhinga – Prawns

These prawns were rated from delicious to overcooked but one comment was that the excellent nigella marmalade dip went better with the prawns than the curry leaf mayonnaise.

Pulled Chicken with Rotli

Close up photo of the flavours stacked on the rotli

The presentation of the Pulled Chicken dish was excellent and the meld of flavours of spices and coriander and mint were all detected.

Moong Dal Samosa

The slices were a generous taste of the Samosa and flavours were well balanced.
The lamb entree – Saunf Ka Bund Gosht was considered a little dry but good flavour.

Quilon Fish – Fillet of Ling fillet, mustard, star anise, fresh curry leaf and coconut sauce
Murgh Tikka Makhni – Chicken thigh tandoor cooked, honey & fenugreek flavoured tomato sauce
Boti Zaaffraani Korma – Diced leg of lamb, saffron, ground cashew nuts & yoghurt sauce
Achari Gobhi – Cauliflower florettes, pickling spices, nigella & cumin, mustard oil & fresh ginger
Chat potatoes, cumin & green chillies
All served with steamed basmati rice & selection of breads

Murgh Tikka Makhni
Chicken Tandoor

Quilon Fishwith cauliflower and potato dishes

All of the main dishes rated highly with a good number of 10’s on the rating forms.

Coconut Kulfi

The dessert at the lunch was a Coconut Kulfi – a refreshing end to the meal.

The wines on the day were :

Paulett Reisling 2015 Clare Valley SA
Xanadu Fusion Chardonnay 2015 Margaret River
Leasingham Bin 61 2015 Shiraz Clare Valley SA – served as a mystery wine

The Society had the restaurant to themselves which is always a bonus and the staff coped well but were unsure of opening and pouring wines at the correct time.
A well balanced flavoursome lunch and many will return.

This entry was posted on June 12, 2017.