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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P1000439

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.

Zahli Lebanese restaurant, Wednesday 6 April 2016

The April lunch was organised by Annie Straiton where 24 members and 1 guest were treated to a middle eastern feast of the best dishes from the history of Lebanese cooking.
The traditional dishes we tried were given a new lease of life in the fresh, contemporary environment of Zahli.
The food was presented on a shared basis, and although shared plates are not to everyone’s liking, all who attended were able to sample the fresh middle eastern food offered to us.

We started the day off with a Moh’s Cocktail – a mix of lemon, lime and soda water. A refreshing start to the day.

Starters consisted of 3 traditional dips :

Hommos, baba ghannouj and labneh. Served with Pita crisps that had been deep fried and sprinkled with spices.
These dips were very fresh and the baba ghannouj rated excellent.

Hommus

Hommus

The next course was hot mezza :
Spinach pastry filled with spinach, onion and sumac
Fried Kibbeh – a shell of ground meat and crushed wheat filled with finely minced meat, onions, pinenuts, and spices
Ladies fingers – filo pastry filled with feta cheese and parsley
Everyone enjoyed the hot mezza but the only adverse comment being that the ladies fingers were too salty, which would have been the type of feta used.

Spinach pastry

Spinach pastry

Fried Kibbeh

Fried Kibbeh

Ladies fingers

Ladies fingers

Next came the Tabbouli salad – parsley, mint, tomato, shallots, crushed wheat and
Fattoush salad – lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mint, parsley, crisp bread, sumac and pomegranate molasses

Comments on the salads were that the Fattoush was very good but the Tabbouli did not have enough cracked wheat.

Fattoush salad with breads

Fattoush salad with breads

The main course was a mixture of grilled skewers :
Kafta – grilled minced Lamb with parsley and onion
Lahem mishwee – grilled tender Lamb marinated in mixed spices
Shish tawook – chargrilled chicken breast marinated in garlic, lemon juice and mixed spices

The grills were all different, the meat was moist and the marinades and spices added to the flavour. The skewers were served with a strong garlic flavoured dip.

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The dessert was a platter of middle eastern delights :
Turkish delight
Baklavas
Namoura – semolina coconut slice with orange blossom syrup

These sweets were very fresh and the turkish delight was a little chewy due to the type of gelatine used.

Platter of sweets

Platter of sweets

Wines on the day :
2014 Krinklewood Wild White Semillon & Verdelho Hunter Valley – Certified Organic
2014 Robert Oatley (signature series) Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 60/30/10 blend

The white wine matched well with the dips and pastries and the red wine, whilst a little closed in the glass initially, opened up in time and became very presentable.

There were comments on the rationing of the food but it is hard not to ration items when the food is presented piecemeal, which is typical of middle eastern food where the table is shared.
There were favourable comments on the subtle and distinctive flavours of all the spices and herbs used in the cooking.

Not all food items had descriptions noted on the menu as members were encouraged to guess ingredients. The red wine was masked as well.

A good lunch in a convivial atmosphere in a modern restaurant.

Decor of Zahli

Decor of Zahli

Zahli

Zahli

This entry was posted on April 12, 2016.

‘one ford street’, Balmain, Wednesday 2 March 2016

The March lunch was organised by Jen Dowling and Christine Witter in the Italian restaurant on the corner of Ford and Darling Streets, Balmain.
17 members and 5 guests attended the lunch which commenced with a refreshing Val Piana Prosecco on arrival.
All of the dishes were served as shared plates.
The menu for the day was :
Starters :
Tomato salad, farinata, goats cheese, cipollini, balsamic
Kingfish carpaccio
Dad’s smoked trout pate on toast

Tomato salad

Tomato salad

The tomato dish was outstanding as the tomatoes had the freshness of being just picked and bursting with flavour – which can only be found in home grown tomatoes.

Kingfish Carpaccio

Kingfish Carpaccio

Market fish carpaccio has been on a lot of menus this summer and this Kingfish Carpaccio was a fresh, tasty example.
The smoked trout was a little salty but went well with the tomatoes.
Pasta :
Cheese mezzelune, nettles, kale, zucchini
Tagliatelle, clams, acqua pazza, bottarga

Cheese mezzelune

Cheese mezzelune


This dish had a tempting aroma of mint and nettles as well as a verdant green colour. The mezzeluna was stuffed with three cheeses – fresh mozzarella, smoked parmesan and ricotta.
Along with the fresh zucchini this was a well balanced dish of garden fresh vegetables and cheeses.
Tagliatelle, clams

Tagliatelle, clams

Unfortunately, this dish was served a little too cold and the clams had been overcooked, but the overall flavour of the seafood and acqua pazza was tasty.

Mains :
Snapper, chicory, mussels, tarragon
Bbq Spatchcock, eggplant, baby leeks, gravy

Snapper, chicory, mussels, tarragon

Snapper, chicory, mussels, tarragon


The snapper had been cooked perfectly and was surrounded by the great herb flavours. Some felt the chickpeas spread around the mussels were surplus to the dish, whereas others liked the way the chickpeas absorbed the beautiful flavours and added texture to the dish.

BBQ Spatchcock

BBQ Spatchcock


This dish had smoky bbq flavours but should have had more vegetables, especially the well loved vegetable – eggplant.
Desserts :
Neapolitano
Dropped chessecake, cinnamon, chocolate, berry

Neapolitano ice cream

Neapolitano ice cream


The neapolitano was freshly made but comments were that “I could have made the same at home”.
Dropped Cheesecake

Dropped Cheesecake


Not a lot of flavour in this dish – tasted more like cream than cheeesecake.

Wines on the day :
Val Piana Prosecco
2014 La Tanella Pinot Grigio
2013 Piazzano Chianti

The Pinot Grigio was a crisp aromatic wine well matched with the starters and seafood.
The chianti was well balanced and matched well with both the fish and the spatchcock dish.

This meal was full of all the great Italian flavours and will receive return visits from our ladies.
A great venue, with friendly and attentive staff.

Chef in the open kitchen

Chef in the open kitchen

This entry was posted on March 18, 2016.

Public Dining Room, Balmoral Beach, Wednesday 3 February 2016

The first lunch for the year could not have been held in a restaurant with a better view than Public Dining at Balmoral Beach.
On a sunny summer day 32 members and 1 guest attended the February lunch.
The menu consisted of a choice of 4 entrees and 4 mains with a side of Darling Mills salad
Entrees :
Fried Zucchini flowers, parmesan, Irish blue, ricotta, pink pepper, celeriac, savoy cabbage salad
Hiramasa Kingfish carpaccio, macadamia milk, smoked bread, ponzu, radish, finger lime
Seared scallops, cauliflower textures, semi-dried grapes, vadouvan
Crispy Pork Belly, jowl croquette, carrot & orange puree, black garlic, bronze fennel

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops


Hiramasa Kingfish

Hiramasa Kingfish

The entree of the day was the Seared Scallops and chosen by 50% of the ladies.
The plump scallops were perfectly cooked to the right texture and retained their moisture.
One comment – ‘Scallops were like velvet sitting on a bed of lovely surprises’. The wonderful surprises being the spices and curry leaves.
The next favourite entree was the Zucchini flowers and rated highly – even some 10’s.

Mains :
Cornfed Chicken, roast corn, pancetta and farro fricassee, baby spinach and truffle jus
Tasmanian pasture fed eye fillet, king brown mushrooms, caramelised onion puree, cavolo nero, potato crisp
Pan fried Barramundi, alaskan king crab, kohlrabi remoulade, spring asparagus, lemon pangrattato, horseradish, wild nettle puree
Strozzapetri, Queensland king prawns, clams, chilli, peas, baby zucchini, cavalo nero, sardinian bottarga

Seared Barramundi

Seared Barramundi

Pasture Fed Eye Fillet

Pasture Fed Eye Fillet

Strozzapetri, Qld King Prawns

Strozzapetri, Qld King Prawns

The outstanding main dish was the Barramundi, which was perfectly cooked (still moist). The accompanying crab was very good and nettle puree was a perfect bed for the fish.
The Tasmanian pasture fed eye fillet was cooked to order on each plate and contained wonderful contrasting sweet, sour, salty flavours on the palate.
A generous serve of good meat with a rich sauce.

The wines on the day were :
NV Croser, Adelaide Hills SA
2014 Isabel Chardonnay, Marlborough, NZ
2015 Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir TAS

The Croser was a nice start to the day and the Chardonnay was pleasant, and not over – wooded.
The comments on the Pinot Noir ranged from matched well with the steak, to a quaffing wine !
The overall comments were that the restaurant served fantastic fresh produce, delicious sauces in a beautiful Sydney setting – one of the best venues.
The staff were attentive with a pleasant manner.

View of a table

View of a table

This entry was posted on February 28, 2016.