Fish at the Rocks, Wednesday 5 August 2015

This was the first lunch under the concept adopted at the AGM of 2 members electing themselves to organise the monthly lunches rather than have a food mistress and wine mistress appointed for the whole year. The president and secretary arranged the August lunch at The Rocks on what was one of the coldest days of the winter. We were fortunate to have a private room upstairs which allowed for privacy, although the room was a little draughty.

Members perusing the menu

Members perusing the menu


On arrival we were handed a Cattier NV Champagne, which was gratefully received.
The menu :
Entrée
Mixed seafood platter to share
Mixed Seafood platter

Mixed Seafood platter

Mains :
Spaghettini, mussels, scallops, king prawns, salmon, garlic basil
Whiting fillets in beer batter, potato chips, lemon and tartare sauce
Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon fillet, grilled tiger prawns, saffron shellfish veloute, tomato, dill, spring onions, parisienne potato
Blue Eye Cod fillet, grilled, potato gnocchi, red wine and mushroom ragout
Eye Fillet Steak with red win jus, potato chips
Accompanied by green salad and chips

Spaghettini with seafood

Spaghettini with seafood

Blue Eye Cod Fillet

Blue Eye Cod Fillet


Tasmanian Salmon

Tasmanian Salmon


Whiting Fillets

Whiting Fillets

The mixed seadfood platter was a good cross section of shellfish, oysters and calamari and the presentation was well done. Due to the fact the kitchen was downstairs the food was not as hot as it should have been and the food suffered from the logistics of carrying the food upstairs on such a cold day.
The most popular choice for the main dish was the Blue Eye Cod and enjoyed by most with some comments that the ‘sauce was too strong’ and the seafood a ‘little overcooked’.
The overcooked comment applied to the salmon as well – we are now used to salmon being a slightly darker colour in the middle.
The overall feeling was the restaurant served generous portions, excellent presentation but no innovation in the cooking style.
The white wine was : 2008 Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling – Riesling divides the society as some enjoy a Riesling with age, whereas others perceive the age as ‘kerosene’ on the nose.
The red wine was : 2014 Nanny Goat Pinot Noir – a good example of a Pinot Noir from the Otago region in NZ. This wine was well matched with the seafood – especially the blue eye cod.

Generally, a good choice of restaurant. The private room added to the convivial ambience on the day.
Perhaps not enough service staff and wine service in the beginning was far too slow.

It was noted there were no comments from the organisers of the lunch nor from the floor – we are a Wine & Food Society !

Green Salad

Green Salad

This entry was posted on August 12, 2015.

The Persian Room, Pyrmont, Wednesday 1 July

The AGM of the society was held prior to the July lunch.
A new committee was formed at the AGM and then 28 members enjoyed the Persian food cooked by Maryam and her team at the friendly and delightful Persian Room restaurant.

On arrival we sipped on a pomegranate, sour cherry and sparkling chardonnay aperitif.
Entrees :
Kashkebademjan – 4 hour cooked Eggplant with garlic and walnuts, served with toasted pita style bread
Kufteh – 8 hour slow cooked meatball made of minced lamb shoulder, saffron rice, split peas with a Persian plum in the middle

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Mains :
Fish Fillet marinated in aromatic Persian spices and lemons with herb saffron rice
Mixed Kebab Platter consisting of
1 Kubideh – ground lamb shoulder blended with saffron and onion
1 Bargue – lamb back strap marinated in one juice and saffron
1 Jujeh – Chicken thighs marinated in onion juice and saffron

Geyneh – 5 hour slow cooked lamb with saffron, fresh tomatoes, split peas and potatoes

Mixed Kebab Platter

Mixed Kebab Platter


Geyneh and Saffron rice

Geyneh and Saffron rice

Fresh garden salad

Fresh garden salad

Mains were accompanied with a fresh garden salad

For Dessert :
Persian Pastry – saffron, marshmallow pistachio and honey
Pash Mac – Persian fairy floss

Persian Pastry

Persian Pastry

The wines on the day were from the Mudgee wine district :
White wine – Farmer’s Daughter Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc
Red wine – Farmer’s Daughter Cabernet Sauvignon

Both wines were well matched with the flavoursome food.
The ladies appreciated the introduction of each course of the food by Maryam and the explanation on the ingredients and the fact they were all gluten free.
The eggplant was exceptional and enjoyed by all with one comment “the best I have ever eaten”.
The fish fillet was rated excellent but the Jujeh chicken kebab was a little dry and did not rate as highly as the other kebabs.
The general feeling was the restaurant was unpretentious, all about the generous servings of the delicious food presented by enthusiastic hosts.
The ambience was delightful, all loved the Persian glassware and the atmosphere felt like eating in someone’s home.

Persian Glassware

Persian Glassware

This entry was posted on July 12, 2015.

The Spice Room, Wednesday 3 June, 2015

The June lunch was a shared Indian feast at the popular ‘Spice Room’ restaurant at Circular Quay. 18 members and 7 guests enjoyed the lunch where we were able to sit together on one large table which incorporated the antique table originally from a grand mansion in the town of Chittor Aquila.
On arrival the ladies were greeted with a mocktail containing Coconut water, lime juice and coriander sprigs which had been muddled together and served with a slice of fresh lime.

The menu consisted of :
Entrees :
Punjabi Paneer Pakora – Green Chutney sandwiched between slices of Indian Paneer (curd cheese)dipped in chick pea batter and deep fried. Served with date and tamarind chutney.
Cauliflower Pakora Pops – Cauliflower florets served as fritters with sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Spiced Masala Okra – Okra stir fried with onion, ginger, garlic and masala spices.

Punjabi Paneer Pakora

Punjabi Paneer Pakora


Masala Okra

Masala Okra

Mains :

House Black Dhaal – This is the restaurant’s signature dish of slow cooked lentils (24 hrs) resulting in a rich creamy dish with deep flavours.

Black Dhaal

Black Dhaal

Lamb Seekh Kebab Peshawari – Minced lamb flavoured with exotic spices, cooked in the tandoor oven.
Kerala Prawns – Prawns marinated with mustard seeds and curry leaf simmered in a coconut broth with spices, ginger and green chilli.
Butter Chicken – Tender pieces of boneless chicken marinated and cooked in the tandoori oven and smothered in a creamy, tomato flavoured sauce.

Naan Bread and Rice to accompany the main course dishes.

For dessert there was an individual Paan Kulfi on a stick – a sweet creamy treat with pistachio nuts.

Except for the Punjabi Paneer Pakora, all the dishes were consistently rated 8 -10 which is a high rating for a restaurant.
The comments were excellent flavours, enjoyed the experience and a large number of comments of “will return again”.
The ambience was enhanced by being able to sit at one long table and certainly enjoyed by the ladies.

The wines for the day were :

White – 2013 Stumpy Gully Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula Victoria
Red – 2010 Scarpantoni ‘School Block’ blend, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Both wines matched the food well.

Indian Spices

Indian Spices

This entry was posted on June 16, 2015.

Biota Dining, Bowral – Southern Highlands, Wednesday 6 May 2015

The SLWFS annual trip to a NSW regional restaurant was held on Wednesday, 6 May where 27 members and 17 guests had an enjoyable day commencing with a 9.00 am bus departure from Central Railway and then we headed off to Centennial Vineyards (near Bowral in the Southern Highlands) for a taste of their current wines.  We were greeted with a Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay and moved onto a Blanc de Blancs.  After the two sparkling wines we were able to choose a taste from Centennial’s extensive list of wines.

From Centennial Vineyards we travelled a short distance to Biota Dining.  This restaurant has won many awards over the last 4 years, and as well as maintaining 2 chefs hats, were awarded ‘Best Regional Restaurant in NSW’ in 2014.  The philosophy of the restaurant is to take literally the word bio-ta “animals and plant life of a particular region” and cook only local produce and to ensure the food tells the story of the region.  The wines are almost 100% sourced from the local area.

The restaurant is very spacious and had a quiet, calming Japanese influence with plenty of room between seating enabling easy conversation to take place.

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On arrival we were greeted with an Elderflower and Prosecco cocktail with a dash of fresh guava :
Here are the staff adding the Prosecco

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The menu was a choice of 3 dishes for each course from the restaurant’s menu “:
Entrée
Asparagus-spanner crab-almond-buckwheat
Cauliflower gnocchi-sheep’s cheese-pickled onion-sage
House cured trout-chiogga beets-avocado-white radish

Asparagus spanner crab

Asparagus spanner crab

Cauliflower Gnocchi

Cauliflower Gnocchi


House cured trout

House cured trout

Mains
Kingfish-shellfish broth-saffron-Hawkesbury squid
Lamb breast-artichoke-legumes-creamed curds-rye
Organic hen-carrot-sprouts

Kingfish & Shellfish broth

Kingfish & Shellfish broth


Lamb breast, artichoke

Lamb breast, artichoke


Organic hen, carrot

Organic hen, carrot

Desserts
Honey-mead-almond-malted barley ice cream’
Chocolate-pear-buttermilk-brioche
Bergamot-gingerbread-cultured crème-thyme

Honey, mead, almond

Honey, mead, almond


Chocolate and pear

Chocolate and pear


Bergamot & Gingerbread

Bergamot & Gingerbread


The asparagus and spanner crab entrée was chosen by most at the lunch and enjoyed by all. The cured trout was cut a little too thick but went well with the beets.
The Cauliflower Gnocchi was also enjoyed.
Comments on the mains centred around the lamb breast and how there was too much fat on the lamb and it was overcooked – not showing any pink in the middle of the meat.
The organic hen dish was enjoyed especially the corn crème.
Most agreed the desserts had amazing bursts of flavours and textures. The chocolate and pear had confusing flavours and was a little disappointing.
On the plus side, “the journey that Biota takes you on with their food – bursts of flavour contrasting with layers of textures, colours – superb”.
The local wines served were :
2012 Centennial winery block chardonnay
2014 Tertini Riesling
2012 Tertini merlot cabernet
One interstate wine :
2012 Gomersal Shiraz Barossa Valley

The Tertini Riesling, whilst still young, was matched well with the food and drinking well now.
The Gomersal Shiraz was the pick of the red wines.

The feedback for the day was an excellent outing.

This entry was posted on May 12, 2015.

Danjee Korean Restaurant, Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Our April lunch was held in a Korean restaurant who pride themselves on being a step above Korean BBQ and want to be considered more fine dining with emphasis on the quality of the food.
24 members and 2 guests sat down on two tables to enjoy the fresh food offered by Danjee. All dishes were to be shared.

On arrival we had as our aperitif a glass of 2014 Keith Tulloch Rose from the Hunter Valley.
This wine was not to everyone’s taste and was considered a little too sweet.

The menu being :
Mo deum jeon – Prawn and Vegetable Platter with a fermented soy bean side dish
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Nu rung ji salad – Crispy rice, pumpkin, greens with Perilla seed dressing (wild sesame seeds)
This salad was the dish of the day for some of the ladies as they appreciated the fresh ingredients and combination of flavours as well as the crunchiness of the crispy rice.
Jap Chae – Potato starch noodles, seasoned with beef
Bul go gi – soy marinated beef and BBQ’d

Marinated Beef

Marinated Beef


Dol sot bi bim bap – Chicken, rice and vegetables served in a hot stone bowl
Ingredients for bi bim bap

Ingredients for bi bim bap


Dessert was an Iced Red Bean Smoothie

The white wine was a 2013 Amberley WA Chenin Blanc presented as a mystery wine
The red wine was a 2013 Wirra Wirra Church Block Blend also presented as a mystery wine

The ladies all enjoyed the experience of eating Korean food and some thought the food was more bland than expected and could have done with more spice.
The Chenin Blanc was considered the better match for the food and the red wine a little too heavy.

I think the opening remarks by the Danjee staff, when the food and wine mistresses walked into the restaurant carrying 21 bottles of wine between them, of ” A table for two” set the tone of service we experienced. The service was very limited and there were not enough wine glasses for the 3 wines resulting in rinsing with water at the table.

All considered the day was a nice change and a different experience to try Korean food.

This entry was posted on April 8, 2015.

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.