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.

IMG_8578
On arrival we were greeted with an Elderflower and Prosecco cocktail with a dash of fresh guava :
Here are the staff adding the Prosecco

IMG_8581

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
Jeon-Platter-150x150[1]

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.

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.