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Hothis Indian Cuisine, Epping

Reviews December 3, 2012

Plain naan bread

I don’t usually do reviews on my weekday lunches. I tend to save my blog posts for nicer dinners out and my fave dessert recipes. However, I do actually eat out quite a lot during the week while at work, usually due to my lack of organisation to pre-plan my lunches, but also when friends visit me at the office.

Admittedly Epping (where I work) is not exactly a restaurant hub like closer suburbs (Eastwood, for example). It’s certainly got nothing on the wonderful restaurants in the city, but it does have a few worthwhile options that I frequent every now and again!

I thought I’d start out with what is quickly becoming one of my favourites – Hothis Indian Cuisine: conveniently located a few spots down from the famed Beschico. I honestly don’t eat Indian food very often. I find that it is difficult to find a good enough place to visit regularly unless you have a recommendation from a friend. Hothis was recommended to me by an ex-colleague who used to visit there every now and again. I tried it once and was hooked from the get-go! Not only is the food great but it’s also ridiculously cheap, which is a plus factor.

Selection of curries at Hothis

Unfortunately, Hothis has very limited lunch hours and only opens for lunch twice during the week, on Thursdays and Fridays (11.30am-2.00pm), so is more targeted towards the dinner crowds (being open from Monday to Saturday, 4.30-8.30pm). However, since I only visit occasionally, I save my Thursdays for Hothis. Whenever I visit, it tends to be very quiet on the inside but this is not a reflection of how good the food is! Takeaways seem to be more popular than eat-ins and I quite like eating in for a quieter atmosphere.

Inside Hothis

As a food blogger I must admit my shameful truth – I only ever order the same thing when I visit Hothis. I do personally tend to pick food favourites when revisiting my fave restaurants (whereas I imagine most other food bloggers are far more adventurous and experimental when it comes to choosing different meals when eating out) – but let me just say that, at Hothis, the dishes I pick really are that good. I look over the rest of the available curries whenever I visit and they all look so tempting but I know how good my faves are and, well… I just can’t go past them. Do you, dear readers, do the same? I’d love to know what your fave dishes for eating out are, so I can give them a try too!

Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi, $2.90 (plain lassis are slightly cheaper at $2.70)

Vegetable samosa
Vegetable samosa (spiced peas and potatoes in pastry, deep fried), served with raita, (a cucumber and yoghurt sauce), $2.00

Two curries with rice and naan
Garlic naan with rice, Vegetable Korma and Eggplant and Potato Curry (Two curries plus naan and rice for $7.90)

Two different curries with rice and naan
Plain naan with rice, Lamb Rogan Josh (mild) and Mango Chicken (mild) ($7.90)

Dhal and curry on rice
Dhal, potato and eggplant curry piled lovingly on rice – medium size. $7.70

Here it is – my favourite combination of all time to order at Hothis! The dhal is perfectly spiced and richly flavoured. I often forget how amazing lentils are until I have a big spoonful of this… and then I remember – they can be very, very good.

Out of the two though, I have to say my ultimate favourite is the potato and eggplant curry for sure. I love eggplant so, so much and this does it justice. It is cooked so well that it is tender and silky and pairs well with the soft potatoes that are unbelievably flavoursome. It just melts in your mouth – if curry is even capable of such a thing. I know it looks rather messy and not too pretty – but then, so me of the best foods really are like that, aren’t they?

Hothis menu
Hothis extras menu
Hotis lunch specials
Lunch specials.

Hothis is a cheap and cheerful place that is great to visit for a weekday lunch (on Thursdays and Fridays) and, I’m sure, dinner takeaways. I absolutely love the dhal and potato/eggplant curry and also am a sucker for the crispy, flaky samosas with their flavoursome insides which go well with the tart raita sauce to balance the rich flavours of the samosa.

Since their vegetarian food is such high quality, this place is definitely suitable for veggie lovers! Despite my love of their dhal and potato/eggplant curry, I must admit that the lamb rogan josh, mango chicken, butter chicken and chicken tikka all have me very tempted! It is also an incredibly cheap place to eat for lunch – and the prices are still very good for dinner takeaways or eat ins – much cheaper than a lot of other Indian restaurants I have visited.

Those looking for parking, I would advise parking in the Coles Epping carpark which is located on Rawson Street and has free parking for two hours. You can then walk through the arcade that links Rawson Street to Beecroft Road and walk up to Hothis from there. If you’re feeling like something sweet afterwards, then good news! A YogurBerry has very recently opened up just a shop or two next to Hothis for those looking for their next froyo fix! I’m so addicted – I think I need to check into froyo rehab…

Some extra trivia:
Hothis cooks all their dishes in pure polyunsaturated vegetable oil using no animal fats with natural herbs and spices. Their food does not contain any artificial preservatives or MSG.

Hothis Indian Cuisine
Address: 46 Beecroft Road, Epping
Phone: 9869 0997
Website: hothis.com.au Website Coming Soon
Email: info@hothis.com.au

Hothi's Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Another week is gone! Only 3-4 more weeks until Christmas, woohoo!!

xoxo
C

20 Comments

Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2012

Reviews November 26, 2012


It had finally come time for the annual Sydney Food Bloggers’ Christmas Picnic, (as organised by the lovely Chocolatesuze and Helen from Grab Your Fork) and boy was I excited! What could be more fun that a big bunch of Sydney food bloggers meeting up, seeing new and familiar faces from twitter pages and eating plenty of delicious food? Not many things, I’ll wager!

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling too well on the day of the picnic so I wasn’t able to indulge in too many goodies, but I could still eat with my eyes! And there were a lot of drool-worthy dishes brought to share πŸ™‚

Here are a few of my fave pics from the day:





Lovely lunching ladies!


JJ from 84th&3rd‘s Vegan Pumpkin Pie


Coconut & Sweet Tamarind Bread by VegeTARAian


Muppys rhubarb tarts with meringue


Ramen Raff‘s macarons disappeared with lightning speed!


More beautiful salted caramel macarons from Flick Your Food


Avocado and Bacon devilled eggs


Yummy rice paper rolls by Angie Lives to Eat


Love the pretty chocolate curls on this cake. Not sure who brought this, sorry!


Home. Made. Cheese!!! by the lovely Nic from Nic Cooks


Pretty jasmine tea creme brulee tarts from Excuse Me, Waiter!


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cath @ Confessions of a Glutton

The Sticky and Sweet


Simon Food Favourites‘s popular pop up bar serving cocktails


Oh and can’t forget my contribution – Vegan Cookie Dough Dip (will defs be posting the recipe for this soon!)

Following the epic feasting was a very fun Kris Kringle where we got to steal pressies from each other – it got brutal, I tell you! If you want to check out the pics, take a gander at my FB page – plenty more pics from the day are all up there πŸ™‚

I had an absolutely lovely time at the picnic and can’t wait for the next one! Picnic fun times ahead!!

Hope you’re having a fun week πŸ™‚
xoxo
C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here πŸ™‚

42 Comments

EatDrinkBlog 2012

Reviews November 24, 2012

WARNING: This is a pic-heavy post!

I was recently lucky enough to be a delegate to this year’s EatDrinkBlog conference – the only Aussie Food Bloggers’ annual conference currently in existence. This year was the third one and my first to attend anything like it, and boy did I love it! It was a full-on weekend in Adelaide of eating, meeting and greeting fellow food bloggers, eating, photographing, drinking, learning and, oh, did I mention eating?

Since there are so many other well-written posts and pics from many other talented bloggers who attended the conference, I thought I would just make this a quickie and share my favourite photos/experiences from the weekend in a quick (I say quick, but there are a heap of pics in here still!) post. I have posted the rest of my many photos from the weekend on my Facebook page – so if you’re interested in checking them out, please do! I have provided links at the bottom of this post for your clickage πŸ™‚

Astonish Patisserie's Chocolate Magma
This photo was taken of a Chocolate Magma ($14) lava cake from Astonish Patisserie, Adelaide in a desserty afternoon with some fellow food bloggers the day before EDB. (Psst. I’ve uploaded the rest of my desserty shots from this cafe on my FB page which you can check in the links at the bottom of this post.)

Chocolate Honeycomb Yoghurt
Chocolate Honeycomb Yoghurt from the Yoghurt Shop in Adelaide Central Markets. Umm… WHY DOES THIS NOT EXIST IN SYDNEY, PLS? That is a question I’d very much like the answer to..

Wine blending with dry ice
Playing with dry ice at wine blending in the McLaren Vale winery

Rock oysters on a barrel
Rock oysters at the McLaren Vale Winery

Pumpkin tortellini served in Asian spoons
Pumpkin tortellini with pepitas at the McLaren Vale Winery

Crumbed slow-cooked beef in a napkin
Slow-cooked beef, crumbed and topped with pork crackling

Various vegetarian finger-foods on a barrel
Vegetarian plate of goodies at the McLaren Vale Winery

Orange chocolate on a plate sitting on grass
Aerated orange chocolate at the McLaren Vale Winery

Mclaren Vale vineyards through trees
Mclaren Vale vineyards and horizon
The view was simply breathtaking at McLaren Vale. Perfect for weddings!

Now moving onto one of my favourite parts of the weekend – dinner at the Hilton by Chef Dennis Leslie. An absolutely fabulous meal was enjoyed by all!

Chairs and tables
Stunning setup at the Hilton, Adelaide

People seated
More people seated

Corn and bean salad
Vibrant corn and bean salad

Juke
Juka with lime, mayo and coriander

Grilled corn on the cob
Dennis’s mindblowingly good Grilled Corn with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Parmesan and Coriander. Click here to see his recipe which he kindly shared online– can’t wait to give this one a try myself!!

Love Swah and Saucy Redhead
Love Swah and the Saucy Redhead get their juka on

Quesadillas
Cheesy quesadillas

Porterhouse steaks
Incredibly juicy porterhouse steaks with chimmichurri sauce – look at that glisten

Smoky beef ribs
Smoky beef ribs with chipotle sauce – these were beautifully tender and the meat just fell apart

Spanish rice
Arroz Cubano (Spanish rice)

People seated in low light

Moving onto desserty things!

Tres leches cake
My first try of tres leches cake. It was a very moist, sweet sponge cake. Didn’t mind it!

Dulce du leche alfajores
Sorry for the poor quality of this image but it deserved a mention – alfajores sandwiched with dulce du leche. these buttery cookies were diiviine! And I may or may not have dipped them in some melted dark chocky…

Dulce du leche alfajores dipped in chocolate
teehee.

Chocolate fountain
Haighs Chocolate Fountain!

Cinnamon churros
Cinnamon churros, ready to be sexily dipped into melted chocolate

My plate of chocolate, strawberries and churros
love.

I’ll start wrapping up this post with a quick peek of the goodies we got on Sunday – a stunning selection of baked goodies from the folks at Red Door Bakery and some gorgeous cuppies provided by the very kind Natasha of Playing House.

Pastries

Cupcakes
Popcorn cupcakes
Cake pops
Cake pops and chocolate moustache

Jeremy
Jeremy from Taste Explorer

Me
Things got a little moustachey.

Dianne Jacob
Me and the lovely Dianne Jacob, author of “Will Write For Food” – she very kindly signed my copy πŸ™‚ Was so cool to meet her!!

Fig and Cherry speaking
Listening to the talented Christie from Fig and Cherry speak about ethics of blogging.

Chocolate fountain with dry ice
Final shot of an amazing chocolate fountain from the amazing pop up lunch at the Central Markets. Yes, TWO chocolate fountains in one weekend!

I had such a fantastic time during my first visit to Adelaide. It really opened my eyes to the fantastic food and wine available in the seriously epic Central Markets and absolutely stunning wineries of South Australia. Foodies who have not visited this wonderful part of Australia: I urge you to come and visit! I know I will be planning another visit sometime soon… to spend all my time at the Central Markets! South Australia also has much more to offer – the lovely beach and shopping at Glenelg, Adelaide Zoo (which boasts the only panda enclosure in the southern hemisphere), a whole heap of Haighs chocolate stores as well as the Haighs factory to indulge in (I may have gone slightly mad in one store… OH THE CHOCOLATE CARAMELS – you NEED to try them!!).

A massive thank you to the epic committee (see below) who put together the conference, and for all their hard work creating such a fantastic weekend. The opportunity to learn more about food blogging and to meet so many awesome bloggers all together… it really was a wonderful weekend to remember!

The A-Team, aka EatDrinkBlog3 Committee:

Interested in seeing more photos from my weekend at EatDrinkBlog2012? Click the links below for my full albums on the weekend.

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here πŸ™‚

34 Comments

A Very Spooky Halloween at N2 Extreme Gelato

Reviews October 30, 2012

N2 storefront

Ever since I first read Jenius’s and many more food bloggers’ posts on N2 Extreme Gelato, I couldn’t wait to visit! N2 takes gelato to the extreme by making all their ice-cream in front of you in Kitchen-Aid mixers using liquid nitrogen, which if you ask me is pretty cool (pun intended… Yes, I make lame dad-style jokes occasionally. Sorry about that.)

I first learned ice-cream could be made this way with liquid nitrogen from Heston Blumenthal’s cooking videos and was lucky enough to sample some at his restaurant in London at Dinner by Heston. The theory is, since the ice-cream freezes mega-quickly due to the super low temp of the nitrogen, the ice crystals formed in the ice cream custard are smaller, therefore making it intensely creamy. I was very impressed that N2 serves all its ice cream this way.

So I was happily surprised to accidentally pass N2 after lunch with a friend in the city. Jackpot!

N2 workbench
The staff had dressed up their shop ‘Halloween style’ with some awesome (fake, I hope — haha) blood dripping down the glass, mutilated barbie dolls, bloody looking brains and a severed hand amongst the beakers. The creepy decorations fit in perfectly with the staff dressed in lab coats and protective eye gear, churning ice-cream with puffy billowing vapours emerging from their mixers — the modern day witch’s cauldron!

Mutilated Barbie doll
Another mutilated Barbie doll
An N2 ice-creamist at work
In fact, the decorations were so creepy, one of the staff members cautioned me and my friend bringing my 4 year old god-daughter in as it ‘wasn’t appropriate for kids’, but it wasn’t too long before Talei was pointing and laughing at the brains and severed hand. She’s a tough kid.

Brains and severed hand in cling-wrap
Beaker of blood
Creepy-looking beaker full of blood.

Pentagram with doll
They had five new flavours to celebrate Halloween: choc grave (chocolate ice-cream with crushed Oreos – the dirt – mixed in, and a jelly worm to top it off), pumpkin & treacle pie, Grinch (avocado and mint), black apple sorbet and snow white beetroot & milk (I’m guessing this would look like blood on snow?) I was sharing with Talei so we picked the choc grave which was the most kid-friendly.

Choc Grave flavour ice-cream
Choc Grave ice-cream (chocolate ice-cream with Oreo crumbs topped with a jelly snake) $6.00 for one fairly massive serving.

N2 ice-creamist making more ice-cream
N2 ice-creamist serving ice-cream
It was very entertaining to watch the staff churn the ice-cream using liquid nitrogen!

Mix-ins stored in beakers
Mix-ins for the ice-cream.

Absolutely loved the chocolate creamy ice-cream with the crunchy chocolatey crumbs folded in. Definitely planning my next visit to try the regular flavours (I’m looking at you, salted caramel!) The single serving is pretty big so it’s suitable to share between two and really isn’t too expensive at $6 a serve. It was definitely a huge novelty watching the ice-cream churn in seconds with puffs of icy clouds. In terms of novelty ice-cream, this is my new Cold Rock!

N2 would be the perfect spot to impress a date or to visit with a bunch of friends. I loved all the cute Halloween decorations and the customised flavours. Can’t wait to see what else they come up with!

Talei enjoying ice-cream
I call this the ‘Talei seal of approval’.

N2 Extreme Gelato

Hope you all had a great start to a week. It’s okay, Monday is over. And Eat Drink Blog 2012 is soooooo close!!!

xoxoxo
Christine

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here πŸ™‚

35 Comments

High Tea at Boronia Tea Room

Reviews October 22, 2012

Outside shot of the Boronia Tea Room
I was really chuffed to hear that Boronia House (now re-named Boronia Tea Room) now serves high tea. Previously it was exclusively used for wedding receptions only, but the staff have cleverly come up with a new way to get some use out of the House during the day. I used to drive past it quite frequently, as it’s on the main road (Military Road) in Mosman and used to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ about how pretty it was. I even thought about having my wedding reception there for a time, but it was slightly too small for what I was after. Now that they serve high tea during the day however, I have another reason to visit and enjoy this gorgeous house and its surrounds.

Outside table set

Boronia Tea Room was also featured in this year’s Crave Sydney International Food Festival as the High Tea destination for October, which included a glass of Brown Brother’s bubbly with their usual high tea menu – so if you’re interested in a visit, I’d recommend booking yourself in for Oct!Β When I saw a Groupon for high tea here, it wasn’t long before I was tapping in my Paypal password and the voucher all was miiine!

We were lucky to have a lovely Sunday afternoon weather – perfect high tea weather to get all dressed up in girly outfits!

Flower setting

Tea set

Sweet and savoury food on a cake stand
Three tiers of high tea happiness.

Savoury plate
Savoury plate.

Mushroom balls
Mushrooms with labne cheese, crumbed topping – SO GOOD!! one of my faves of the day. The crispy crunchy topping went so well with the creamy cheese and the flavoursome mushroom. Mmm yum!

High tea-style sandwiches
More high tea-style sandwiches
Sandwiches – chicken and walnut/apple. Tasty fillings but the bread was a tad dry. The waiter called these little ‘pacmans’ – very cute name!

Salmon tartlettes
More salmon tartlettes
Salmon tartlettes with caviar.

Croissants
Super adorable mini ham and cheese croissants.

Lemonade scones
Moving up to the second tier to the traditional scones – here they had lemonade scones with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Loved the cute little jam jars!

Strawberry jam

Sweets plate

Green apple jelly
Now the final tier of treats! I loved the array of sweets they had here – and they were all very different to the usual sweets I was used to at high tea.
Cherry florentines with dark chocolate, almond biscotti with strawberry mousse, green apple jelly, brandy snaps & biscuits with mango slices. Yummo!

Floral arrangement

Table setting by a window

High Tea Menu @ $45 per person (12 bites per person)

  • A selection of ribbon sandwiches (on white and wholemeal bread)
  • Sophisticated savoury bites
  • Lemonade Scones with clotted cream and jam
  • Delightful desserts and cakes

This also includes a huge selection of delicious teas (I would list them here but there’s simply too many! Check out their website here for more info on this). I wanted to order ALL of them but I went with my fave, soy chai. Hehe. Can’t go past that cinnamon goodness! If you are so inclined, you can also order coffee instead of tea.

Boronia Tea Room also offer a Devonshire Tea @ $25 per person which includes:

  • Lemonade Scones with clotted cream and jam
  • Two delightful dessert bites
  • served with T2 tea or coffee

This is a great option for high tea lovers on a budget!

All in all, I really enjoyed the high tea at Boronia House. We had a lovely view of the gardens and the inside of the house was quite beautiful. As it was originally fitted out for wedding receptions, it really had the perfect classy vibe for high tea.

The high tea stand was filled with plenty of different and delicious treats that I don’t normally see at high tea, which was a nice change. The waiter also informed me that they change their menu quite frequently so you never really know what you’re going to get, except that it’s probably going to be quite good πŸ™‚

They also offer gluten-free options, which is a plus for coeliac high tea lovers! The day we attended, there were plenty of kids and families piling into the place so it was definitely family friendly – and a great idea, in my opinion, to catch up with your family with some scones and tea! I should really do that more often! Cake, tea and catching up with my grandma? Yes, please!

The high tea was excellent value with the Groupon voucher but I think $45 is well within the norm for high tea prices, so I wouldn’t mind returning the next time I get the high tea urge πŸ˜€ There was also plenty of nearby free street parking, so it was fairly easy to drive to – another bonus. Although this could be difficult depending on the day/time that you visit. My fave high tea place for parking will always be the Captain’s High Tea in North Ryde which boasts its own free carpark – can’t get better than that, sorry!

Props to Boronia Tea Room team for finding new ways to make some money during the day and in off-peak wedding season too! Great idea.

You can check out Boronia Tea Room’s website by clicking here. Good news for all you blushing brides out there – they still do weddings! Check out their packages and more info by clicking here.

Boronia Tea Room

They are also currently hosting a Melbourne Cup Lunch @ $135 per person which gets you a Gourmet Seafood and Dessert buffet (created by hatted chef Hayden Ellerton), a glass of Moet & Chandon bubbly, live jazz music and bar food / drinks. The day will also include sweep stakes, lucky door prizes and best dressed prizes. Sounds like a fun day filled with yummy food and a great opportunity to dress to the nines!

Outside photo

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here πŸ™‚

39 Comments

L’Accanto, Sorrento

Reviews October 8, 2012

Sunset at L'Accanto

When a friend of mine and I were picking the ins and outs of our Italian trip earlier this year, we both agreed that it was imperative that we find somewhere to have a fancy dinner. Since we’re both die-hard foodies, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make!

There were so many choices on Tripadvisor and online recommendations, but laziness (or exhaustion, post exploring the ruins of Pompeii) got the better of us and we decided to stay in and have dinner at our fancy hotel. L’Accanto was awarded a Michelin star in 2010, which made the decision all the easier as I had never had the opportunity to dine at a Michelin star restaurant before!

We had chosen the Grand Hotel Angiolieri in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast of Italy due its outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor as well as the extraordinarily reasonable room prices we found on lastminute.com.au. Plus it’s rated 5 stars! Turns out we made a good choice, as the hotel was so wonderful, we found ourselves extending our stay by an extra night on our tightly packed trip.

The setting for the dinner was worth a million bucks. Picture this – a warm and balmy Italian summer afternoon while the sun slowly sets over Mount Vesuvius and later watching the stars light up the sky. I’ve never had a meal with such an absolutely spectacular view before and I think I will be hard pressed finding somewhere that will beat it!

Now enough gushing and onto the important stuff – the food!

We start with the biggest amuse bouche I’ve possibly ever had.

Amuse bouche from L'Accanto
Cured fish, deep fried cheese stuffed zucchini flower (AMAZEBALLS) and marinated shrimp. You can’t go wrong with deep fried zucchini cheesy flowers in my books and this was no exception. The cured fish was tender to the bite and had a lovely silky texture. I don’t eat shrimp but my dining partner was more than happy to take this off my hands!

Whipped butter from L'Accanto
Whipped butter topped with nuts to accompany our starter breads.

Bread from L'Accanto
Various breads – all very moreish. Sourdough, tomato, some with olive and herb, breadsticks (seaweed and cheese – very good!) This was such a huge selection and it was hard not to plough through everything quickly and get too full before our entrees!


Shared entree between the two of us – the buffalo plate. Buffalo cheese and meats cooked different ways €20
Such pretty presentation! Each bite of these delectable morsels was a tantalizing beginner to the rest of the meal leaving us wanting more, more, more!

Now moving onto the mains!

Chicken from L'Accanto
Free range baby spring chicken with fried cheese and jus (€20).

I loved this combination of the tender chicken with the richness of the crisp fried cheesy goodness and the flavorsome sauce, and how cute is the presentation!? Just so beautifully plated!

Pork belly from L'Accanto
Another winning dish was this gorgeously plated crisp pork belly with jus and tomato chutney (€20).

Really loved photographing this pretty main. (Is it weird how pretty I find food? That could be slightly weird… lol.)

Vanilla ice ream from L'Accanto
(Pre-dessert) Vanilla ice cream rolled in mini meringues in a berry soup. Loved the contrast between the crunchy meringues with the creamy icecream and sweetness of the berry soup. We loved this!

Apologies for the pics – as the sun set, it became increasingly more difficult to get good photos without flash!

Raspberry macaron from L'Accanto
Raspberry macaron, white Ivoire chocolate soup, wild strawberries and champagne sorbet, walnut crumbs (€14).

The crisp and soft interior of the raspberry macaron was delectable combined with the tart sorbet and creamy sweet white chocolate soup (which was like a thin chocolate ganache).

Citrus fruits from L'Accanto
Citrus fruits: Sfusato lemon “Delizia”, grenadine orange, limoncello mousse, warm citrus pie, grapefruit sorbet (€12).

This dessert was a lovely cruise through Italian citrusy desserts – each with their own zesty twist. I think my favourite was the limoncello mousse (in the shot glass) which imparted a nice touch of warmth with that yummy mousse texture I just love!

We were quite full at this point, but we decided to be extra naughty and order a third dessert… Well, why not? πŸ˜‰

There wasn’t a proper description on the menu for this last dessert – it was only listed as ‘Selection of Valrhona chocolate’, so we got the impression that this item was a small selection of chocolates, something like tiny petit fours or a fancy version of Roses or similar. The first sign of its size probably should have come from the waiter’s mouth dropping open in surprise at our request for yet another dessert, but we brushed it off. Did this guy think we couldn’t hack it a couple more chocolates?? Haha.

Valrhona chocolate from L'Accanto
Selection of Valrhona chocolate (€16 See, the price probably should have given it away too. Whoops!)

This was an assortment of chocolate mousses, icecreams, sauces, a chocolate fondant and a decadent chocolate muesli bar. I’ll be honest it was hard to plow all the way through this but I think we did a fairly good job! Despite how full we were, we could still appreciate chocolatey goodness of each and every treat on our plate. I particularly liked the mousses, gooey chocolate pud and the icecream. I was too full to even try a bite of the muesli bar but my dining companion described it as the best muesli bar she had ever tried – a pretty good recommendation!

Molten pudding from L'Accanto
Total food porn shot of the chocolatey amazingness of the molten pud.

View from L'Accanto overlooking Mt Vesuvius
Our view with dinner – Mount Vesuvius in all its glory… Does it get any better than this?

Seagull at L'Accanto
Cheeky seagull who kept swooping the tables for noms. The waiters had to keep shooing them away… Guess that’s gonna happen when you’re up high with tasty food! Hehe.

View at L'Accanto
Love that view!

Christine at L'Accanto
I think this smile says it all.

Dinner at L’Accanto was definitely one of the most memorable parts of my Italy trip and is definitely one of the most unforgettable meals of my life. The food was stunning and that view was just simply breathtaking! I would love to return again one day to relive this spectacular evening – especially with a partner. This setting is perfect for a romantic night, or even a proposal!

I particularly loved the style of the dishes, from the bread starter to the buffalo plate and the citrus and chocolate desserts – it was a fun way to experience the dishes by sampling the main ingredients all cooked in a different manner. A very unique and enjoyable way to experience fine dining. I also really liked the plating of each dish – everything was so artfully put together and very fun to photograph, and it just added to the awesomeness of the evening.

Some more info…
L’Accanto also offer a degustation menu for those who are so inclined.

Check out:

Pastry chef: Christian Izzo
Executive chef: Vincenzo Guarino
Restaurant manager: Nando Papa
Sommelier: Nicoletta Gargiulo

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here. πŸ™‚

58 Comments

Captain’s High Tea at the Stamford Grand, North Ryde

Reviews September 17, 2012

I have high tea on the brain at the moment. Prior to this visit to the Stamford Grand, I had only been to high tea once before, at the QVB Tea Rooms and that was well over a year ago. But lately, for no particular reason at all; I can’t seem to get my mind off high tea. The gorgeous little pastries and cakes! The lovely setting! Getting a good chance to feel all fancy, girly and chat with some girlfriends – what could be more appealing to a lady? πŸ˜‰

Luckily for me, there are many choices out there for those wanting to attend a high tea – and thank goodness for Sydney food bloggers helping to make decisions so much easier by giving me a couple of reviews to choose from!

Since this visit to high tea, I have also purchased an online groupon to visit Boronia House in Mosman for High Tea and I’m rather excited to meet up with some Sydney food bloggers at the #RealTeaParty quite soon organised by LoveSwah. Thusly bringing my end total of high tea visits up to a grand total of 4! πŸ™‚

Since my work colleagues and I work in the North West of Sydney, the Stamford Grand at North Ryde was a great choice for us – very close, has free parking and as a bonus is a little cheaper ($30 per person Monday-Friday or $35 on the weekend) than some other high tea establishments at the city which normally start at around $40 a head.


A tray stacked with goodies to share between two lovely ladies (or gentlemen, or both!)


Two freshly baked scones each – one raisin and one plain.
Served with prettily piped whipped King Island double cream and traditional homemade strawberry jam
These were lovely and warm and yummy with the jam and cream – scones are always one of my favorite parts of high tea πŸ™‚


Second plate of sweets – with lemon curd tarts, chocolate strawberry cups, gateau opera (chocolate pastry with layers of almond biscuit, chocolate ganache and coffee butter cream) and passionfruit cheesecake (a light passionfruit fruit cream cheese with vanilla sponge)

Super cute lemon curd tart – sweet pastry filled with almond and lemon cream, topped with a toasted meringue

Loved this pretty little chocolate cup filled with diced strawberries and topped with vanilla whipped cream


Finger sandwiches shared between two. Smoked salmon and dill sour cream, cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken (with raisins and curried mayo), eggs and chives.


Spiced potato wedges served with sweet chilli and sour cream
(separately ordered side dish) $8.00

Tea selections available with Captain’s High Tea
The Original Earl Grey
Pure Chamomile Flowers
Ceylon Young Hyson Green Tea
Pure Peppermint Leaves
Brilliant Breakfast

Coffee selections available with Captain’s High Tea
if you’re not in a tea drinking mood!
Espresso
Cappuccino
Latte
Flat White
Long Black
Macchiato
Decaf Coffee
*please note the above espresso coffees are available at an additional charge of $2.50 per order

Stamford Grand offer a gluten free version of their Captain’s High Tea at no extra charge. They also offer a selection of sparkling wine and champagne if you’re interested in fancying your High Tea up that extra notch. There is also a small range of savoury options you can order on the side if you’re feeling a little bit peckish for some savoury treats (includes dishes such as wedges, duck spring rolls, satay sticks, curry puffs and calamari).

All in all I had a great time at the Captain’s High Tea and will definitely return some time in the future. Good value for money, with a good selection of sweet treats, decent service and big points for the free parking lot (which makes getting there a total breeze!) I communicated with one of the staff members in regards to my booking via email and they were very prompt and extremely helpful in their replies – another big plus.

The only thing I feel they could have improved on was probably the ambience/decor – we were served the high tea in more of a restaurant/cafe style setting – which was totally fine, but probably less high tea themed than I normally imagine. I do so love stepping into the QVB Tea Rooms and others where you’re served in just the most stunning rooms!

Hope you all had a lovely relaxing weekend filled with delicious things πŸ™‚

Here’s to another week ahead – the countdown to next weekend beginneth yet again!

xoxo
Christine

Captain Cook's Cove at The Stamford Grand on Urbanspoon

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here. πŸ™‚

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Seven Lanterns, Sylvania

Reviews September 11, 2012

After hearing rave reviews about 7 Lanterns on Not Quite Nigella’s blog and reading amazing reviews on Eatability (as well as being listed as number 2 of the best restaurant listing in Sydney), I couldn’t wait to go and give 7 Lanterns a try. How incredibly honored I felt when the lovely owner, David emailed me and asked me to come along and visit his restaurant.

7 Lanterns have two degustation options – the Royale ($55 per person) and Lanterns ($70 per person). You can also order A La Carte if you’re only hungry for a few course, although to be honest, I would highly recommend the degustation menu as it gives you a good sampler of all the deliciousness at 7 Lanterns, and I found that the serving sizes of all the dishes were absolutely perfect. Plus, priced at $55 and $70 per person, you can’t get more of a bargain for a degustation in this town!

Many the time I come away from degustation feeling overly stuffed and almost slightly ill which kind of wrecks the experience a tad; but it even says on the 7 Lanterns menu “All courses are portion controlled for comfortable eating for one” – and I found this to be very true! I came away feeling perfectly full but not too far over the edge – and it was a good feeling!


Beef Tataki
Seared and thinly sliced succulent Angus beef carpaccio with fresh vegetable strips, served with crushed nashi pear and soy ginger reduced garnish. (served as part of the Lanterns degustation, or ordered a la carte is 4 pcs for $18).
This was a great start to the meal. The crunchy thin strips of vegies were encased by perfectly cooked beef and dressed in a lovely soy/ginger sauce that just melted in your mouth – a great blend of textures and flavours which piqued our appetite!



Atlantic Salmon Roll
Grilled premium Atlantic salmon fillet layered on top of California roll made with cooked tuna in Japanese ‘Cheese Mayo’ with avocado and cucumber. (part of the Royale degustation or you can order 4 pcs for $18.00 off the a la carte menu).
This dish deserves two photos – it was definitely the star of the night! It was a hard act to follow that Beef Tataki, but this was absolutely fantastic. The salmon was lightly torched and had a magnificent flavour that went well with the tuna, avocado and sushi rice – but the best partof the dish was the “cheese mayo” which was so addictive and it had me scraping my plate for moremoremore! I kept wishing I had gotten more than two pieces! It was such a good combination of smoky/sweet/creamy. Total winner. It was without a doubt, the best sushi I have ever had! I could go back and eat a massive roll of this… and really, really want to. I know I’m gushing, but seriously – you need to try this sushi!


Peasant Chicken, or Dak Dori
Chicken breast and seasoned rissole medallions with Korean peasant style garlic, chilli, soy and onion reduction, served with a honey soy coated cocktail potato. (Served as part of the Royale degustation, or can be ordered a la carte for $28).
The owner, David told us a little about the history of this dish – it’s called “peasant” chicken because back in the days in Korea, the chicken breast (ironically now haha) was the cheapest part of the chicken – as it would dry out quickly in the cooking process. However, this was solved by home cooks rolling the chicken breast in juicier and more flavorsome chicken rissoles. Funny to think of chicken breast as being the cheaper cut of the meat as its now the most expensive part!

This dish was delicately spiced and was a nice contrast to the honey soy sauce and the inner part of the roulade infused the chicken breast with plenty of flavour.


Grilled Salmon served with Tom Yong Goon sauce
This was a special chef item off the menu. It was cooked so perfectly, it tasted almost buttery in that special way that only salmon can. The silky texture of the fish was further highlighted the creamy notes in the coconutty Thai inspired sauce in this very unique dish.

Teriyaki Chicken, or Dak Teriyaki
Chicken thigh fillet brine tenderised overnight, teppan grilled in 7 Lanterns Teriyaki sauce served with fresh & crispy green leaves with soy and ginger oriental dressing. ($22 ordered off the a la carte menu).
This was so melt in your mouth good. Probably some of the best chicken teriyaki I’ve ever had! You could definitely tell the chicken had been brined overnight – the meat was so unbelievably juicy! The chef grilled this to absolute perfection and I loved the smoky sweet flavours of the sauce with the meat. The salad leaves also provided a good balance to cut the richness of the meat – a perfectly lovely dish!

Imperial Beef Rib
Cross-cut beef rib marinated overnight in chunky garlic sesame and shallot, then slow cooked for hours in soy reduction & caramelised onion sweetened sauce served with steamed rice and ‘kim chi’. (Served as part of the Lanterns degustation or can be ordered a la carte for $32).
Picking between my faves of the night would definitely be a tough choice between the salmon sushi and this beef rib. Beef rib is one of my favorite dishes and the chef at 7 Lanterns definitely did this one justice. I love the smoky flavour that the Teppan grill imparted to all the dishes and this was no different – the meat fell away from the bone and was so juicy, tender and well paired with the soft rice and sweet caramelised sauce. I enjoyed every bite of this dish!



Chocolate Mousse Fondue drenched in warm white chocolate sauce served with chocolate curls.
(Served with Royale degustation or can be ordered a la carte).
Finally, moving onto the sweet part of the night and of course one of my personal faves – dessert!
This mousse was very much enjoyed by me and Mike which was a surprise – only because Mike is normally not a fan of mousse at all! (unlike me of course, heehee.) The pillowy soft chocolate mousse was encased in layers of chocolate and had some hidden raspberries snuggled away inside. The chocolatey factor was kicked up another notch with the white chocolate sauce and yummy chocolate curls – perfect for chocoholics like myself!


Sticky date pudding drenched in melting caramel sauce served with classic vanilla ice cream.
(Served with Lanterns degustation or can be ordered a la carte).
This was a lovely finish to the night and a great take on the classic sticky date pud. The pudding itself was lovely and soft to bite into and topped with a moreish sticky caramel sauce. The vanilla ice cream was a welcome addition to help cut through the sweetness of the caramel and there was a tiny disc of praline which added a lovely nuttiness to the dish.


Cute little sitting area near the bathroom


Clean and pretty bathrooms


Pretty flowers in the bathroom which adds a nice fresh touch


7 lanterns from the outside

Just loved this super cute little walkway into the restaurant

7 Lanterns is the perfect place for a romantic date night out but also suits family groups, birthdays and small to medium sized groups. We went on Father’s Day and there were plenty of kids enjoying the chefs awe-inspiring skills on the Teppan grill. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and David and his staff have done a fantastic job of creating a very relaxed and elegant style of fine dining.

I would also like to make a special mention of the service. David and all of the wait staff and even the chefs were so warm and friendly to each and every customer that walked through the door. You could tell each and every customer was well looked after and attended to and there was a very welcome vibe that just added a final touch of class to the restaurant.

The food as aforementioned through this post, was excellent quality and it was obvious that David and his team go to great care to select fresh produce of a very high standard to make their wonderful dishes. Our fave dishes of the night were the salmon sushi roll and the imperial beef rib – two must trys!

Parking is best on nearby streets – but the street right outside the restaurant and nearby fills up pretty quickly, so its best to park a few streets away (but you shouldn’t have to go too far.)

A big thank you to David and his staff for a wonderful night – I would love to visit again!

7 Lanterns
14 Princes Highway, Sylvania
9522 2422

Seven Lanterns on Urbanspoon

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here. πŸ™‚

Christine (cookingcrusade.com) dined as a guest of David, the owner of 7 Lanterns.
If you’re interested in inviting Cooking Crusade along to review your restaurant, please shoot us an email on christine@cookingcrusade.com

Thanks for reading and hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the week!

xoxo
Christine

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