Ruby’s Mount Kembla, Wednesday 2 November 2016

The annual bus trip away to a regional restaurant for 2016 was held at Ruby’s in Kembla Heights, south of Sydney. The November lunch was organised by Margaret Teh and Penny Still.
Ruby’s is situated in a restored wooden building on the main street of a historic mining village and the restaurant is owned and run by Scott Woods who has an impressive cv of working in well known restaurants in Sydney, London and Whistler, Canada.

Ruby's restaurant

Ruby’s restaurant

After departing by coach from Central Station we first headed to Hazelhurst Cafe and Art Gallery to view an exhibition of artworks entitled Nganampa Kililpil – Our Stars – curated from art centres in the Central and Western deserts. The art and ceramaics were very impressive and enjoyed after a tea or coffee at the cafe.

The lunch was to be a 5 course degustation with matching wines.

On arrival at Ruby’s leafy courtyard we were served a glass of Chevalier Blanc de Blancs.
This was a refreshing pick-me-up after a lengthy drive to Kembla Heights.

We were seated in the main room with the atmosphere of olde worlde charm with plenty of memorabilia on the walls.

The meal started with :
Butternut Pumpkin Veloute
House made bread

Butternut Pumpkin Veloute

Butternut Pumpkin Veloute

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Followed by :

Confit Rabbit Terrine, Proscuitto, Pistachio, Piccalilli

Served with 2016 Wooing Tree Rose from Central Otago NZ

The Veloute was considered to be too salty and the pumpkin flavour not strong enough. The Rabbit Terrine had a great meld of flavours and some considered the Piccalilli, whilst unusual, was too strong a match with the other subtle flavours of a well constructed dish.

The Rose paired well with the Terrine.

Confit Ocean Trout, Kohlrabi, Fennel, Celeriac Puree
Served with 2015 Kilikanoon Morts Block Riesling from the Clare Valley, SA

Confit Ocean Trout

Confit Ocean Trout

This was a well constructed visually pleasing dish that had been cooked to perfection with great textures and the contrasting flavours married well.
The Clare Valley Riesling was a perfect match.

Next was the Smoked Duck Breast, Braised Leg, White Turnip, Golden Beetroot, Corn Puree
Served with 2015 Artemis Pinot Noir – Southern Highlands, NSW

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This dish was a taste bomb with the smoky emphasis of the rare pink duck breast and the clever cylindrical construction of the braised leg. The glaze atop the braised leg was perfect.
The pinot noir was a very disappointing wine pairing as it had no depth of flavour and consequently not enjoyed.

Dessert :

Chocolate Fondant, White Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Sorbet, Walnut Soil
Served with 2013 Mitchelton Blackwood Park Botrytis Riesling, Victoria

Chocolate Fondant

Chocolate Fondant


Chocolate and Strawberries in a dessert dish are always a big winner and this dessert did not disappoint.
This dessert was enjoyed immensely by all at the lunch. The chocolate fondant had been cooked perfectly.
The Botrytis was a good match.

The food lived up to the award from Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hat Winner awarded for the 4th year in a row to Scott Woods.
There were numerous 9’s and 10’s on the rating forms – the sign of a well designed menu providing great food.
The comments on the wine were that the the pours of wine were too small and apart from the Pinot Noir, were enjoyable.
The service was slow at times which was evident from the inexperienced floor staff.

A quiet return trip to Sydney.

This entry was posted on November 20, 2016.

Nithik’s Kitchen, Darling Street Rozelle, Wednesday 5 October 2016

The decision was made for a touch of spice for the October lunch which was organised by Siew Clough and Tomoko Bennett with Annie Straiton taking over closer to the date of the lunch.
It is 2 and a half years from when the ladies attended a lunch at Nithik’s Kitchen and returned to enjoy another feast of southern Indian food.

On arrival the greeting drink was a Vasantha Neer – Coconut water infused with lime, honey and mint.
This drink received mixed reviews and a comment was ‘a bit sweet’ but on the whole an interesting drink.

Entrees :

Holi Chat – mung beans potato and corn chatpati mix, crispy wheat shells, lentil dumplings
Kotaiyur kozhi varuval from Chetinad – crispy chicken masala thigh fillets with lemon aval

Holi Chat

Holi Chat

Crispy Chicken Masala

Crispy Chicken Masala

Both these entree dishes received high ratings – a few 10’s which is encouraging for restaurants.

Mains :
Meen manga charu – Barramundi fillets in green mango and tamarind seeds
Kathirikai chops – baby eggplant in masala of coconut, peppercorn, cumin, fennel & curry leaves
Lamb Chukka – blend of peppercorn, aniseed, red chilli and fresh curry leaves

Barramundi fillets

Barramundi fillets

Baby Eggplant

Baby Eggplant

Lamb Chukka

Lamb Chukka

Dahl of the day – lentils cooked with chef’s choice on the day

The barramundi fillets and eggplant dish were more favourable with their subtle flavours. The dahl did not rate as highly as the other 3 dishes but Nithik’s dahl is lighter in texture and flavour than what people are used to.

The accompaniments for the main courses were Kashmiri pulav – mild rice with nuts and raisins as well as Veechu parota – a flaky fluffy bread made with plain flour.

The dessert on the day was the famous Nithik’s Orange Indian ice cream

Orange Ice cream

Orange Ice cream


This dessert of a halved orange filled with a citrusy delicately spiced kulfi was a winner again.

Wines on the day :

Yalumba “Y” Pinot Grigio
D’Arenberg Stump Jump 2012 blend

Both wines were noted as an excellent match with the food.

All agreed it was a delicious lunch with the wonderful use of fresh herbs and good textures in the food plus the colours of the ingredients all balanced out.

The restaurant has recently moved down the street to larger premises and the subtle authentic flavours of the food remain. The new restaurant has a touch of a colonial atmosphere and it was great to have the main room to ourselves.
This restaurant keeps on improving.

This entry was posted on November 13, 2016.

Baccomato Osteria, Riley Street, Surry Hills, Wednesday 7 September 2016

The September lunch, with an Italian theme, was organised by Kathy Turbott and Patricia Davis.
The ladies were greeted with an Aperol Spritz to start the lunch.
The entrees were :

Selection of Antipasti – salumi and cheese
Cod croquettes

The accompanying wine was a 2014 Inama Suave Classico

The antipasti dish was a great selection with a lot of flavours on the plate.
The cod croquettes were considered salty as too much salt had been added in the cooking process.
The Suave was a good wine match with the food.

Pasta dish :
Casoncelli – a stuffed pasta typically from Lombardy.

The accompanying wine was 2014 De Forville Arneis

This dish, whilst having a good texture, also had the comment of too much salt in the stuffing.

Main :
Lamb Cutlets with cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper)
Potatoes and greens

Accompanying wine was a 2013 Maretti Barbera e Nebbiolo

The lamb cutlets were tender and beautifully cooked to perfection but this dish could have done without the cheese sauce and the comment was, again, that there was too much salt in the sauce.
The Barbera was a good match.

Dessert :
Tiramisu – this traditional dessert rated highly and was considered ‘best ever’ by a few of the ladies.

The overall feeling was that the restaurant served generous servings of authentic Italian food and it was a shame some dishes contained too much salt.
The restaurant was very clean and modern and service attentive and professional.

Unfortunately, no photos as the scribe was on leave.

This entry was posted on November 7, 2016.

Ivan & Lissie’s, McMahons Point, Wednesday 3 August 2016

The August lunch was organised by Suzi Shaw and Janelle Fisher in a local family run restaurant in McMahons Point that has been operating for 30 years on the Lower North Shore.
The lunch was attended by 27 members and 3 guests and we were in for a treat of a 6 course degustation menu of an Asian / Australian fusion of flavours. Ivan and Lissie make their own chilli jams, marinades and sauces using family recipes that have been handed down.

Colourful restaurant

Colourful restaurant

On arrival the ladies were greeted with a glass of Lillet – Blanc French aperitif. This aperitif is made in Bordeaux from mainly Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes with citrus liquers from orange peel and bitter green apple. Served in a glass with ice, and a slice of blood orange.

Aperitif

Aperitif


This aperitif was well regarded as was considered different and a nice change.

The 6 course menu consisted of :
Japanese style braised Shiitake mushrooms served with ‘snow ear’ fungi.
Grilled King Prawn with homemade chilli jam
Spicy Curried Lentils with sour cream and roasted almonds, served in a paper thin steamed rice pastry

Lentils in a paper thin rice pastry

Lentils in a paper thin rice pastry

Fish of the day in a broth
Choice of :
Slow cooked Shin of Beef cooked in spices OR
Grilled Nigerian Chicken cooked in spices and served in a chilli, onion and tomato sauce

Fish in Asian flavoured broth

Fish in Asian flavoured broth

Choice of :
Sticky Date Pudding served with butterscotch sauce and ice cream
Flourless Orange Almond cake and ice cream

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding


Flourless Orange Almond Cake

Flourless Orange Almond Cake

This restaurant would have the highest scores on the rating forms for many years – certainly a lot of 10’s. The only negative comment being that the Fish of the day had been slightly over-cooked and was a little dry, but then this was compensated by the broth.

The food was considered a lovely journey of fresh flavours gained from fresh produce that had been well balanced with a mix of spices and fresh herbs.
The presentation of the food was superb and each course was served on fresh white plates, although we used the same cutlery!
One comment on the desserts “the best sticky date pudding ever”.
The wines were :
2014 Dapff Riesling from Alsace which complemented the asian style of food very well
2014 Celliers Les Dauphins, Cotes du Rhone – a lighter style wine that suited the two meat dishes.

Many ladies commented that they will return. The best compliment a restaurant can get.

Lissie talking to some of the tables

Lissie talking to some of the tables

This entry was posted on August 7, 2016.

Royal Exchange Club, Gresham Street, Sydney, Wednesday 6 July 2016

The July lunch was preceded by the 51st AGM of the Society and was held in the Royal Exchange Club (REX). This lunch was organised by Siew Clough and 24 members and 1 guest attended.
As usual at the AGM a new committee was formed and members were asked to elect to organise the 11 monthly lunches for the coming year. One of our members talked on her recent trip to Europe with the International Wine & Food Society and, in particular, a wonderful meal in a Michelin star restaurant in Budapest.

The lunch commenced with a glass of NV Charles Pelletier Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay from the Loire Valley, France and two canapes :
Caramelised pumpkin and goat’s cheese tart with roasted red capsicum pesto
Thai salad of prawns, pineapple and coriander served in a spoon

The main dishes were :
Wild Barramundi with cauliflower puree, grilled asparagus and lemon thyme, heirloom tomatoes
Lamb backstrap with sweet potato and feta mash, baby English spinach, french beans, honey roasted carrots
Chicken supreme breast with creamy mash, baby spinach, green beans and harissa sauce
All accompanied with bowls of green salad and chips

Wild Barramundi

Wild Barramundi

Lamb Backstrap with vegetables

Lamb Backstrap with vegetables


The Barramundi was moist with a crisp skin on the outside and enjoyed.
The lamb backstrap had been cooked rare and for those that do not like rare meat, was not to their taste.
The chicken was very tender and tasty and it was considered could have been organically grown.

The mains were served with the following wines :
2014 Moppity Vineyard 12 Signs Pinot Grigio
2014 Gibson “Dirtman” Barossa Valley Shiraz

The Gibson ‘Dirtman’ was a good wine to pair with the lamb.

The meal finished with a cheese plate consisting of a variety of three cheeses – a French Brie, English Cheddar and a Roquefort Blue.
The cheese was paired with a mystery wine where all present participated in a wine options game to guess the red wine. The winner took home a bottle of Pirramimma Petit Verdot from Mclaren Vale.
The chef, Peter, came out to speak to the ladies and talked specifically on where he sourced his produce from, especially the chicken.

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2016.

Rosan Japanese Cuisine, Wednesday 1 June 2016

The June lunch was organised by Tomoko at her favourite Japanese restaurant in Darlinghurst. Annie and Jennifer assisted with the 3 wines consumed on the day.
25 ladies (including 2 guests) were treated to a medley of fresh, authentic Japanese food with a few twists.
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The comments received all centred around the outstanding fresh flavours of the food, superb intricate presentation, and the different textures of the food.
The lunch menu consisted of:
Chef’s selection Sashimi
3 Way Spinach with sweet sesame sauce
Crunchy Shrimp Salad

Sashimi

Sashimi

3 Way Spinach, Sesame sauce

3 Way Spinach, Sesame sauce

Crunchy Shrimp salad

Crunchy Shrimp salad

The Sashimi had just been cut from the market fresh fish and was matched well with the Rose.
Presentation was the theme for the spinach dish with two little pyramids of spinach as well as the two versions of steamed spinach.
The crunchy Shrimp salad was small prawns cooked in a light tempura batter and served on top of a salad with a sesame dressing.
This dish matched well with the Petaluma Riesling.

The food continued with :

Whiting Tempura
Agedashi Tofu
Nasu Dengaku (Eggplant with Miso sauce)
Lotus Roots with Minced Prawn
Wagyu steak

Whiting Tempura

Whiting Tempura

Eggplant with Miso sauce

Eggplant with Miso sauce

Lotus Roots with Minced Prawn

Lotus Roots with Minced Prawn

The fish used in the Whiting Tempura dish was fresh and lightly battered. The whiting was served with the carcass (including head) for us to eat. The fish was crisp and delicate to taste and the carcass and head were crunchy and full of flavour.
The tofu was silky with a delicate sauce.
The Eggplant was grilled to a silky texture and served with a salty miso sauce.
The Lotus Roots and minced prawn was a dish with a contrast of textures. The crunch of the steamed lotus roots contrasted with the soft minced prawn inside the roots.

The wagyu was served pink in the middle with brown rice and a bowl of steamed vegetables.

Wagyu steak

Wagyu steak

To finish we had a small serve of black sesame ice cream, which was a refreshing palate cleanser.

This Japanese restaurant scored a large amount of 10’s on the rating forms, a sure sign everyone enjoyed the food.
Comments centered around the variety of tastes (delicate with great depth) textures, and presentation.
One comment ” one of the best restaurants SLW&FS have been to for a long time”.
A cosy ambience and a good vibe of happy people around the room.

The wines :
Rose Roquesante Provence – France (a great bottle shape)

Rose

Rose

2015 Petaluma Riesling
2011 Kay Bros. Cabernet Merlot

Chef /Owner

Chef /Owner

Tomoko with Hiroshi Miura-san the chef who had previously worked with the ANA hotel chain.

This entry was posted on June 4, 2016.

Aqua Dining – 50th Anniversary Celebration, Wednesday, 4 May 2016

What a superb restaurant and view to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Ladies Wine & Food Society. The weather could not have been any better than the warm, early autumn day Sydney turned on. It was a great pleasure for 27 members and 24 guests to stand on the balcony of the restaurant and look at the wonderful view of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the swimmers below in the North Sydney pool, whilst sipping on NV Charles Pelletier Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs and enjoying canapes.

View from Balcony

View from Balcony

On the balcony

On the balcony

Flowers on each table

Flowers on each table

The occasion of the 50th anniversary was taken to award a certificate to 5 members of the society for their contribution to the service of the society and for the huge task of organising the Victor Gibson weekend in Sydney a few years ago. One of the 5 members was awarded Honorary Life Membership for her 27 years dedication to the society.

Members receiving awards

Members receiving awards


The entrees, served alternately, were :
Moreton Bay Bug, turnip, buckwheat, apple
Spatchcock, daikon, black garlic, eggplant
Moreton Bay Bug

Moreton Bay Bug

Spatchcock

Spatchcock

The Moreton Bay Bug was the more favourite of the entrees, even scoring some 10’s ! This entree was rated as perfect, with a delicate flavour and a charcoal finish.
The deboned breasts of spatchcock had a great meld of flavours but was considered too salty.

The main course was a choice of 3 :
Spanish Mackerel, beetroot jus, fennel pollen
Wagyu beef, porcini puree, salt baked leek
Lamb rump, goat curd, bok choy, orange

Spanish mackerel

Spanish mackerel

Wagyu Beef, porcini puree

Wagyu Beef, porcini puree


Lamb Rump

Lamb Rump


The Wagyu dish was the most favoured with great flavours on the plate. The spanish mackerel had been soaked in milk to take away the strong oily flavour and the resulting delicate taste of the fish was elevated by the beetroot jus. Unfortunately, the fish had been overcooked. The lamb dish was not selected by too many at this lunch.
The accompanying sides were – Cos lettuce, walnut, pane carasau, buttermilk dressing, and a favourite, Royal Blue roast potatoes, rosemary.

The desserts were served alternate as well :
Banana mousse, salted caramel, caffe latte gel
Warm chocolate cake, mixed berries

Banana mousse

Banana mousse

Warm Chocolate cake

Warm Chocolate cake


The desserts were evenly rated. The banana mousse had delicate flavours of caramel and banana with a hint of coffee. The warm chocolate cake was considered more of a fondant and was a strong chocolate dessert.

The wines on the day were :
2015 Aramis Chardonnay – Adelaide Hills, SA
2012 Aramis Shiraz – McLaren Vale, SA
2013 Cielo ‘Kasaura’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Italy

The wines were enjoyed and it was felt they matched well with the food. The Shiraz was appreciated much more than the Italian Montepulciano as the Italian wine was considered to be more acidic and did not present a great depth of taste.

An enjoyable day to celebrate a milestone occasion.

Restaurant view

Restaurant view

This entry was posted on May 11, 2016.