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restaurant review

Wok on Inn, The Rocks

Reviews January 6, 2014

I was recently invited along to Wok On Inn at the Rocks to sample some of their dishes.

Funnily enough I actually spent several months working at a friend’s company a few minutes’ walk away, so it was a good opportunity to visit one of my old haunts.

Please note that I was served ‘half size’ dishes, so expect a larger size for yourself when you visit. Given this in mind I would expect that double sizes of the dishes I sampled would be quite massive and filling!

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Criniti’s, Parramatta

Reviews August 14, 2013

Criniti’s has been around for a while now. I’d heard good and bad reports about them, and finally got the chance to see what it was like for myself at a recent friend’s birthday party.


Nutella Smoothie (Nutella with milk and vanilla gelato) $8

We saw this on the menu and immediately insisted the birthday girl (who is a Nutella fan) get herself a glass. I had a sipful and it was pretty sublime – intensely creamy with a strong taste of Nutella. I really loved the presentation in the cute jar with the stripey paper straw as well.


Zucchini flowers (Lightly battered zucchini flowers with goats cheese and mascarpone) $24.90

Always a classic entree, this dish had a crispy batter and was filled with ooey gooey cheeses and did not disappoint. However I did think $6+ per zucchini was a bit of a premium price to pay, considering I have seen them cheaper at finer dining establishments.


Mozzarella & Haloumi (Wood fired D.O.P mozzarella di bufala & haloumi with chilli and semi-dried tomato) $15.90

This was a nice and cheesy start to the evening with a good hit of chilli, but I must admit it was really lacking something. I think this dish would have been much better with a note of sweetness. A splash of balsamic or runny honey would have really finished it off beautifully.


Bruschetta Caprese (Roma tomatoes, red onion, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and D.O.P mozzarella di bufala) $10.90

Our fellow diner for the evening ordered this bruschetta on a gluten-free base and commented at the end of the evening that the base was very disappointing, had a cardboard-like texture and was burned at the edges. Not terribly impressive.


Caesar Piadini (Wood fired wrap with grilled chicken, cos lettuce, pancetta, crostini, shaved D.O.P parmigiano & caesar dressing) $16.90

This wrap was impressively large when it was delivered to the table and the diner who chose it remarked that it was great value for the size.


Tortellini alla Boscaiola (Homemade beef tortellini with cream, mushrooms, red onion, pancetta, D.O.P parmiagiano & parsley) $23.90

I tried a little of this and found it very flavoursome with a very creamy mushroom sauce, although it was a tad over-salted.


Spaghetti Pachino (homemade spaghetti, garlic, chilli, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and basil) $23.90


Spaghetti Aglio e Olio con Peperoncino (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, chilli and parsley) $24.90

This particular dish I hadn’t tried prior to visiting Italy last year. I had my first taste of spaghetti aglio e olio in Venice and was blown away at how all the unbelievably simple flavours melded together to make an incredibly flavoursome dish. I hadn’t had a chance to sample any in Australia since then and so thought I’d give it a go at Criniti’s. I took a few bites and was surprised at how salty it was and how much it lacked a strong garlicky or chilli flavour. In fact, it tasted exclusively like oily, salty pasta and really lacked the flavour I fell in love with in Italy. It was actually so salty I could only tolerate a few bites before I started to feel queasy from the amount of salt in the dish. I sent my dish back to the kitchen (which, by the way, I have never done before). The staff were happy to remake me a different meal on the menu but I didn’t really feel like eating again after that particular dish. I declined and they gave me a full refund, which I greatly appreciated.

To sum up, I think Criniti’s is a little overpriced for what it is. Sadly my pasta dish was incredibly over-salted and I found it inedible. However everyone else seemed mostly satisfied with their choices, if not finding them to also be a tad salty. I have heard excellent things about Criniti’s pizzas however (which we did not order) so it seems that it might be best to order pizza over pasta.

The service wasn’t too bad – we asked for things like parmesan cheese, which was forgotten and never brought to the table. Aside from that, they were quite friendly in trying to replace my meal with a second one, giving me a full refund and were very polite about it.

Another thing I will note is that when I booked the restaurant for a birthday and enquired about bringing a cake, the staff advised me via email that Criniti’s has a strict “no BYO” policy, which means you cannot bring birthday cakes to the premises. Instead, you choose one from their pasticceria, which you can view online here. I found this a little disappointing as their choices were again a little overpriced. Fortunately Parramatta is stuffed with plenty of nice places to visit for dessert afterwards, should that strike your fancy.

Criniti’s Parramatta on Urbanspoon

Hope you are all having a lovely week. Apologies again for being a bit sketchy in the blogosphere – only eight more weeks until the wedding and I’ve been trying hard to finish all the little last-minute details as well as trying to eat healthily and exercise like crazy (stupid corset dress *cough*).

xo

C

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The Fat Buddha

Reviews August 4, 2013

One of my favourite childhood memories are the many yum chas I grew up eating with my family. My parents met and I was born in Hong Kong, and were pretty big into finding authentic and good quality yum cha in Sydney, similar to the kind they were used to in HK. Sometimes we would end up eating out at yum cha as frequently as once a week!

Now that I’m a big ole grown-up now, we do it far less often (especially with my mum now vegan) and my dad who now has a two year old, we find it tough to get the time to go out and indulge in a big plate of freshly steamed dumplings.

However, it was my dad’s birthday the other day and with my grandmother having the day off work, we headed into the city to relive some of my childhood memories for the first time in years with a Groupon my dad had purchased for the Fat Buddha (a yum cha banquet for 2 people, cost was $39). It basically was a pre-set menu for two (and I ordered a few vegetarian items off the banquet menu for myself).

I’d never heard of the Fat Buddha before but upon checking out their website, I was pleased to notice they were very centrally located to Town Hall station (as it was on the second level of the Queen Victoria Building). You can’t get much more central to Town Hall Station and it’s particularly useful for me as its just one train ride with no transfers from my work place with no searching for expensive and elusive parking, hurray!

It was fairly easy to locate in the QVB which was another plus.


Interior was quite pretty. I really liked the lighting and inner layout of the restaurant.


Pork spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce.
These were the first dish we were served, but they unfortunately arrived at the table cold.


Sesame noodles.
These were served hot (step up from the previous dish), but they didn’t have much flavour and weren’t anything particularly special.


Salt and Pepper Calamari.
I didn’t eat these but apparently they were not very nice – overcooked and chewy/rubbery.


Char siu bao barbecue pork buns.


Siu mai dumplings.


Steamed vegetable dumplings.
These were served nice and piping hot although I think they may have been a tad over steamed – the wrappers were extremely sticky and fell apart quite easily buy aside from that the filling was quite tasty.


Xiao long bao. (an unusual choice for yum cha? I must admit I’ve never seen these on yum cha trolleys before, they seem more like a dinner appetiser – but I could be wrong about this!) I didn’t try these ones out but everyone else at the table seemed quite happy with them.


Steamed gai lum.
Another big favourite of mine – I always order a big plate of gai lum at yum cha! These were freshly steamed and cooked well. It was a fairly massive serving too which is another plus.


Mango pancakes stuffed with cream and mango for dessert.


Plastic spoon for dipping sauces ???

The verdict? It seems that the Fat Buddha is a bit of a hit and miss. Some of their dishes really weren’t too bad but the cold spring rolls and chewy calamari were a bit off-putting. With so many fantastic yum cha places just around the corner in China Town, competition is pretty stiff in the city! The service also was not super impressive. It was often difficult to get the attention of waiters to get things like soy sauce/chilli sauce and Chinese tea (can’t have yum cha without the tea!).

Fat Buddha Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A shame, since I assume that whenever companies/restaurants enlist the services of online coupons such as Groupon, it’s because their business could do with a bit of a boost and it’s an attempt to get rid of any bad ratings they may have — but often they don’t seem to follow through! The location is definitely their top drawcard but I think there are a few things they could do to improve their restaurant experience. Next time I’ll be getting my yum cha fix in China Town, or at Green Gourmet in Newtown! (mmm vegan yum cha!)

xox
C

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Muse Restaurant, Hunter Valley

Reviews July 10, 2013

A recent girly weekend away to the Hunter Valley with some food blogger pals resulted in a hunt for somewhere special to dine. Chanel from Cats Love Cooking suggested Muse Restaurant (where she held her wedding reception no less!) and off we went to share a truly memorably dinner.

As we entered I was immediately impressed. There was a crackling fireplace keeping everyone toasty warm, a beautifully romantic looking interior and professional waiters gliding around looking after the diners of the evening. It was the perfect mix of elegance but with a lovely homey feel as well that made you just want to rug up in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa, some marshmallows and a good book.

Anyway enough about me blabbing about the fireplace (seriously though, I love fireplaces!) and onto the good stuff – the food!


Amuse bouche for the evening, parmesan custard with mushroom duxelles, thyme and porcini dust.


My amuse bouche (dairy free version) minus the custard.


Red Gate Farm Quail with Pumpkin Risotto, pure maple, bleu de basque and a soft boiled quail egg.

There were some pretty good things on my entree plate on this evening! The stand-out element was definitely the quail’s breast. It was seasoned really well and was cooked to perfection. Each bite of tender quail was to die for! My accompanying quail’s egg had a perfect runny yolk which made a lovely rich sauce to dip the breast in. Definitely a good start to the meal and was surprisingly large for an entree size, not that I was complaining ;).


Beetroot with binnorie goats cheese, coppersfolly wasabi, buttered king brown mushrooms.


Cured Ocean Trout with congo potato, olive, bacon aioli, grapefruit and dill.


Palate cleanser, ruby grapefruit sorbet with fresh apple and baby coriander.

This palate cleanser was a lovely little freshener between courses. The ruby grapefruit flavours went really well with the crrrunch of the freshly diced apple. I especially loved the addition of the baby coriander which gave it a lovely kick.


Blue Eye Trevalla with buttered mushrooms, pencil leek, miso dressing, mizuna.

This was my main for the evening and I absolutely loved it. Two tender, perfectly cooked fish fillets (honestly is there anything better than a piece of damn well-cooked fish??) that were sooo silky and just melted in your mouth. The fish was accompanied with a good handful of incredibly flavoursome mixed mushrooms and finished with a sweet miso sauce which matched everything on the plate so beautifully. An incredibly memorable dish that I would order again and again. Don’t be deceived by the photo – this was actually an incredibly large main, even though it looks small in the photo. This is because of the way it spread out on the plate – which was incredibly massive. Biggest plate I’ve eaten off, haha. It was actually so filling I very sadly failed to completely finish my second fish fillet – but this should just let you know how large the entree and mains I had were! We also added side dishes, which I really enjoyed, but I don’t think were necessary as my meal was so big!


Mandagery Creek Venison smoked in Barrel Shavings with white, red and black cabbage, blackberry, juniper and pedro ximenez.


Slow cooked Milly Hill lamb with celeriac, charred apple, mint, horseradish and jus.


Side dish of roasted butternut pumpkin, $8.00.


Pre-dessert for the night: Coconut cloud (coconut cream with a simple sugar syrup, aerated and then frozen) with crushed candied violets and lime.

OH MY GOODNESS I wish this was on the dessert menu! It was crazy good. Every food blogger around the table was practically licking her plate clean after we were delivered this incredibly airy light coconut icecreamy dessert. It would have been amazing just on its own, but it was taken to another level with the gorgeous pops of flavour from the lime and crushed candied violet. There is only one word for this dessert and that is ‘spectacular’! Fortunately it was also quite a light finish after that huge meal and I was easily able to finish this one despite being quite stuffed!


Deconstructed Vanilla Crème Brûlée with caramelised white chocolate, salted date, hazelnut, coffee and brown butter.

I just loved the gorgeous presentation of this dish, especially the lovely glass plate it was plated on, which had such a pretty border.


Chai and Matcha tea doughnuts with apple, binnorie quark custard and vanilla.


Nitro White Chocolate Ice Cream and Raspberries, whipped, fresh, dehydrated.

This was a popular dessert of the evening and I loved how prettily plated it was. I didn’t go for dessert on this evening but if I went back a second time I think this would have been my choice. White chocolate and raspberries are such a gorgeous combination!


Warm dark chocolate mousse, minted cream, gingerbread, torte and shiso.

I had a spoonful of this chocolate mousse and minty cream and oh, my… rich, rich, rich! The mint cream was a good balance for it but I think it also would have been nice with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to balance it more. This would be a good dessert to share between two people because it’s so rich. The gingerbread also gave this dessert a nice textural balance.


Petit fours, chocolate macarons and salted caramel chocolates.

I didn’t try any of these as I’ve still been having a few dairy issues but Muse were kind enough to prepare dairy free petit fours for me (see below).


My dairy free petit four (so lovely of them to provide me with this!) honeycomb and fresh raspberries. A great finish to the meal!


A lovely group of dining companions. 🙂

It had been awhile since I’ve had a meal this fancy and this really reminded me how much I enjoy fine dining. There’s something about the ambience, the great service and of course the sublime food that is such an enjoyable and special experience.

I really loved my experience at Muse Restaurant and would love to return the next time I’m in the Hunter Valley! I highly recommend a visit here if you’re looking for a special dinner to share with friends or to spoil a special someone!

Our meal was $75.00 for two courses or three for $95.00 (not including side dishes/drinks/etc). The vegetarian menu is $60 for two courses or $80 for three. They also offer a tasting menu of 5 courses for $110 (more for wine and cheeses).

Muse Restaurant & Café
Hungerford Hill Wines
Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
musedining.com.au

Opening Hours
Wednesday-Saturday for dinner 6.00-10.00pm
Café open 7 days 10.00am-5.00pm

If you’re looking for convenient nearby accommodation to Muse Restaurant and Café, we stayed at the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza. It was only a couple minutes drive away and close to plenty of other great Hunter Valley attractions (i.e. chocolate & cheese shops and wineries!)

Special thanks goes to Chanel from Cats Love Cooking for introducing me to such a wonderful restaurant and JJ from 84th and 3rd for helping light food photos in the swanky romantic lighting of Muse Restaurant with the aid of an iPhone!

Muse Restaurant and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Brickworks Brasserie, Hunter Valley

Reviews June 30, 2013

This weekend I was lucky enough to spend time away some with lovely food bloggers for my first trip to the Hunter Valley.

On one night we decided to go looking for a pub dinner and the Brickworks Brasserie nicely fit the bill. They had a large menu with a wide variety of choices for everyone, from light meals and salads, pizza and full-on large main meals for those who were a bit hungrier. I’ll just say now that I chose one of the light meals and was very satisfied with my choice as my salad was huge! Brickworks Brasserie also had a tempting array of desserts for a pretty sweet price of $9 each. The food was churned out pretty quickly and seemed to be quite good quality and at decent prices for fairly upscale pub fare.


My choice for dinner from the light meals and salads menu – the Santa Fe Salad, $18.00.
Chicken, corn, black beans, cheese (I asked for mine without cheese), tortilla strips, tomato, lettuce all tossed in a spicy peanut coriander dressing

This was a truly wonderful salad and definitely the best one I’ve had in a long time! I was tossing up between different things on the menu and was very happy with what I got. I particularly liked that they had pre-tossed the salad with the dressing instead of just pouring it over, which gave every bite of salad a good coat of the incredibly moreish peanut dressing with a lovely kick from the coriander. I especially loved the addition of corn, black beans and those amazing tortilla strips, which gave it a great crunchiness. I wish I knew where to get a salad like this in Sydney – I’d be ordering it all the time!


Vegetarian pizza, $19.00.
Pumpkin, gorgonzola, sage and pine nut pizza.
This was a popular choice of the evening and I nearly went with this one as well. Those who had it said that it did not disappoint! It’s hard to go wrong with those flavours!


Mushroom filo, $19.00.
Fetta and pine nut stuffed mushroom, baked in filo pastry with zucchini and chickpea salad with capsicum dressing.
This was a great vegetarian choice for dinner and I heard was very cheesy. Mushrooms and cheese in pastry is a pretty fail safe combo.


Chicken Parm, $24.00.
Chicken breast fillet, ham, napoli sauce, parmesan and herb crumbs with a garden salad and razorback potatoes.


Mac and Four cheese, $21.00.
Comes with garden salad, garlic bread and oregano sauce.


Mac and four-cheese with bacon $21.00.
Comes with garden salad, garlic bread and oregano sauce, $21.00.
I heard this was decadently cheesy, but got a little oily towards the end.


Chicken schnitzel, $18.00
Freshly crumbed chicken breast, served with chips and salad. (Also available with veggies for $20.00).


Great sounding desserts, all $9 each. Unfortunately most of us were too full for a full-on dessert at this stage but I would definitely love to try them out next time!

In conclusion? I really enjoyed our dinner at the Brickworks Brasserie and all the diners were happy with their choices. I would definitely love to visit again the next time I’m in the Hunter Valley – it’s definitely worth checking out! I would especially love to try their delicious-sounding desserts! There was plenty of parking available (handy for travelling in groups) and it’s a great place for a drink before or after dinner as well.

Brickworks Brasserie at Potters Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Reviews June 3, 2013

On planning my recent trip away to Singapore and Japan, I was happy to see a post on ChopinandmySaucepan’s food blog detailing a recent experience at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore. Having only visited there once on a layover as a child, I was happy to put something so delicious-looking on my must-eat list. Plus, with Anthony Bourdain touting Tian Tian as his favourite spot to eat Hainanese chicken, I didn’t really need much more convincing.

(vid above) Anthony Bourdain enjoying Hainanese chicken rice at Tian Tian.

Admittedly I had very little experience with Hainanese chicken rice in Sydney. I remember first ordering it in Chatswood at an Asian food court and was somewhat disappointed. The rice was bland and flavourless, the chicken dried out and nothing special at all. I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about and so did not ever bother to order a second time. However, upon glancing upon Chopinand’s blog post about Tian Tian – I was immediately entranced by the glossy, gorgeously moist looking photos of luscious looking chicken and from that I was convinced that I had to give Hainanese chicken a second try.

One of the reasons I was so excited to visit Singapore is because of its insane cleanliness. As a kid, my mum put the fear of God into me about street food (which everyone knows is the best stuff!) and so I was never allowed to sample any on our family trips to the Philippines (much to my disappointment). Even now as an adult, I hear my mum’s voice echoing every time I have the opportunity to sample some tasty but potentially dodgy-looking street food while travelling. Fortunately Singapore solves this issue by displaying mandated signs pretty much everywhere food is served, which lets you know what sort of grade (A, B, C or D) their establishment has received from their National Environment Agency. You can’t really get much more reassuring than that. Plus the fact that everywhere in Singapore is so unbelievably spick and span makes me think that their kitchens have just as high a standard of cleanliness. So given this, Singapore is pretty much my dream destination – my one opportunity to safely gorge myself on as much cheap and delicious street food as possible!


Hainanese Chicken Rice, $3.50 SGD. Comes with their famous chilli sauce and dark soy sauce and a bowl of chicken broth (not pictured).


Why not grab a frosty glass of sugar cane juice?


Or a melon-soy smoothie?

So the verdict?

Tian Tian’s Hainanese chicken was without a doubt the best chicken rice I have ever had (including several other restaurants we sampled whilst in Singapore). Of course, my limited experience with this particular dish may not give much weight to this statement so I’ll go one step further and say that it is also without a doubt the best chicken dish I have ever eaten. Mike, who came on this Hainanese chicken adventure with me (and is a bit of a Hainanese chicken aficionado himself), claimed it was “Easily the best Hainanese chicken I have ever had.” The chicken was so unbelievably packed with moist, juicy flavour and the chicken rice was incredibly good. There were plenty of sauces and condiments to add to the dish, but it was SO good that I ate about 3/4 of it before I even remembered they came with it – and to be honest it didn’t really need it. It just tasted so damned good by itself.

With a price of $3.50 SGD per plate, it’s almost embarrassingly cheap (especially for Sydney-siders!). For chicken this good, I would expect to pay three to five times the amount in Sydney, should anyone ever master Hainanese chicken the way they have at Tian Tian.

It’s a shame that we only visited Singapore for three days. Had we stayed for more, or come to the Maxwell Food Centre earlier, I definitely would have visited Tian Tian on more than one occasion! I definitely will be looking for my Hainanese chicken fix in Sydney. Here begins the quest to find something that’s nearly as good as Tian Tian’s!

xox
C

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Earth Hour at Altitude Restaurant

Reviews May 13, 2013

Hello! I’m finally back from my trip to Japan and settling back into Sydney life. I am glad to be back but I must admit I do miss Japan (and all the convenience stores) already! I definitely have a few Japanese posts coming your way but, before that, here’s a post on the Earth Hour dinner I attended as a guest of Altitude Restaurant (you may recall my interview with Altitude chef Matthew McCool, which you can check out here).

I was invited along to the Earth Hour degustation at Altitude restaurant. With their million-dollar view, I was quite keen to check it out and was not disappointed!

Earth Hour has steadily been increasing in popularity in recent years. It’s so great to see people at home as well as businesses and restaurants switching off their lights for an hour on Earth Hour day, and it was good to see Altitude restaurant joining in. In fact, with all the lights switched off with dinner by candlelight it was quite romantic, especially with the view of the city right in front of you!

Check out this awesome view! You’d be hard pressed finding a better view than this in Sydney restaurants!




Super cute pear-shaped candles made especially for Earth Hour.

Candle centrepiece for Earth Hour.

With such a romantic backdrop, it’s no wonder that Altitude sees up to several proposals per WEEK!


Absolute Mockery (strawberries, passionfruit, cranberry juice, fresh lime and mint) $16.

A super refreshing berry mocktail – loved the addition of the passionfruit and lime. They have a great range of mocktails that I’d love to try more of.


Freshly baked bread and butter (house made). All Altitude restaurant’s butter and ricotta is freshly made in house – pretty impressive!


Burrawong Gaian duck — smoked duck with walnuts and compressed apple.

This duck was cooked three ways – smoked, then sous vide, then seared – which gave the meat a fabulously smoky flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth soft texture. I really loved the contrast of the smoky duck with the sweetness of the apple and the crunch of the walnuts which gave it a great texture. Definitely one of my favourite courses of the night!


Brown’s mountain yellow fin tuna (with radish, blood orange and fennel jelly).

I really enjoyed the contrast between the freshness of the sashimi with the sweetness of the fennel jelly – a very interesting combination!


Trout with caramelized yoghurt, anise, bottarga (mine came without the caramelized yoghurt due to my dairy-free request).

This trout fillet was cooked sous vide which made the fish incredibly moist and it matched nicely with the sweetness of the carrot puree, helping to even out the richness of the fish.


Riverina Free Range Lamb with cumin spiced dates. (This lamb comes from Cowra, at the head of the Lachlan Valley which is classed by some as the best fertile valley in the world.)

I really enjoyed this (lamb is a big fave of mine!). The lamb was cooked to perfection and I love the cumin spiced dates which gave the dish a slightly Moroccan feel.


Blue mountains berries with meringue and berry sorbet and a blackcurrent berry anglaise foam.

I really loved this light finish to the meal. Many times I’ve been to a degustation and battle to the last course only to struggle through a heavy final dessert – but this was a pleasant change. I really enjoyed the lovely light textures of the crisp meringue paired with the extra sweet and juicy fresh berries an sorbet – the perfect finish to the meal!

I was on a dairy-free diet at the time, along with my usual dietary requirements (I don’t eat shellfish or pork, or drink alcohol) and so they were happy to arrange a special meal for me quite easily, which is good news for people who require special meals for allergies, etc.

If you’re looking for a romantic restaurant for an anniversary, birthday or any other special occasion that warrants good food and an even better view, I would recommend Altitude restaurant!

Altitude Restaurant, Shangri-la Hotel on Urbanspoon

Christine (cookingcrusade.com) dined at Altitude Restaurant as a guest of Altitude Restaurant.

Altitude Restaurant, Shangri-la Hotel on Urbanspoon

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

Hope you all had a wonderful relaxing weekend and a fabulous Mother’s day!

xox
C

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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

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