Recession Lobster: Sunny Harbour Seafood, Hurstville

Although I have been to yum cha at Sunny's many times before, I've actually never been there for dinner. Of course, there is a first time for everything and with lobster prices plummeting due to the GFC, what better time to go?

I didn't take a photo of the restaurant exterior but I was pleasantly surprised at the fluorescent bright lighting - it reminded me of restaurants in Hong Kong :)

Handwritten specials on the wall

Sunny's has its own BBQ going on

We really only came for one thing - lobster. However, we ordered some other dishes, fully aware that we probably wouldn't be able to eat them but just as extra padding.

The wet towels and bowl of lemon water were quickly delivered in preparation for gorging on lobster.

Unfortunately I didn't get to take a photo of the live lobster! My mother was very embarrassed at my food-photo taking, claiming that it looked as if I'd never been to a restaurant before. I tried to explain that food blogging is the hottest thing du jour but she just didn't get it....

Anyway, the lobster came out (there was no complimentary pre-dinner soup??!) and WOW! It was huge! The special (that is on from Mon-Fri only) is 29.80 per half kilo. This baby weighed in a 2.6kg, and there were four of us. You do the math. We are all piggy pigs in my family!

You can choose to have the lobster cooked in a variety of ways - tonight we chose shallot, ginger and garlic sauce.

Lobster ($155 for 2.6kg)

Yum yum YUM! The flesh was succulent and fresh, I don't know what more I can say except I don't want to eat any lobster for the next year because I'm done!

The plate pretty much took up the entire table...

I have had a craving for crispy skin chicken lately so requested that we order some. And yay, my demand was granted!

Crispy skin chicken (half) - $16.80

Unfortunately, it was just okay....not fantastic. A bit dry and the flavour just tasted like quail, especially since they served it with that salt on the side.

Some sort of beef cubes with mushrooms amd greens ($21.80)

Fried rice ($14.80)

Complimentary fruit

Complimentary red bean dessert soup

I saw that they had Baked Sago Pudding on the dessert menu, which had 'reservation essential' written next to it. Drool. I wish I could have ordered that, but I was so full after eating my share of the lobster. Everyone else was as well, and most of the other dishes went untouched. In fact, we had to take four doggie boxes home!


Surry Hills Festival

I love festivals! And thankfully, the Surry Hills Festival was bigger and better than last year. There were loads of food stalls, lined on either side of a path - with the Turkish Gozleme stall repeated three times! Lots of stages (dubious quality of music), rides, a petting zoo and plenty of stores with things to buy.

There were also pony rides, and at first I thought the ponies were super cute but then it got sad. They were standing in this pen, not 'talking' to each other, not moving. It was as though they were resigned to their fate of carrying around fat kids as slave labour.


There were a few who were released from the pen in preparation for giving a ride and they were munching away on the grass in the park as though their life depended on it. Notice the ponies in the pen above didn't have any grass to munch on. Couldn't they at least create the pen where there was grass for them to eat??

The 'lucky' ones who had the opportunity to eat some grass

Anyway, I was really looking forward to festival food (doesn't it just taste so much better than if you got it from a normal takeaway store?) and I wasn't disappointed!

A slurpee from the slurpee stall. Required minimum of two flavours and maximum of four per cup!

Seafood paella - was very yum!! The rice was a bit risotto-y and there was plenty of seafood, including a non-frozen prawn!

Looking forward to going again next year!


David Jones Food Hall

Food halls are the best. I don't know why Australia hasn't embraced the food hall like Japan has. Seriously, department store food halls in Tokyo are the bomb! They are huge and gleaming, with a cacophony of sound and the sound of fresh food cooking. Smiley assistants who offer you samples and everything from desserts to yakitori sticks.

Here is an article on Tokyo's food hall craze. For a visual, here is someone's flickr photostream of a depachika (basement food hall) in Tokyo. God bless the Japanese!

Anyway, all we have in Sydney is the DJ's food hall. Not that I'm complaining. It's good, considering that it's the only basement food hall that we have, but it's about the third of the size of the ones in Tokyo.

I had a huge craving for chocolate cake so picked up this baby from the Espresso Bar:

Triple chocolate cake ($6.25)

Cross-section of the cake

My friend picked up a salmon box from their sushi bar. It was okay. I think that the sushi always looks so much better in the DJs sushi bar fridge than it actually tastes.

I can't wait until I can go back to Tokyo and really appreciate their food halls!


First Taste, Hurstville

Lately there have been a lot of new restaurants popping up around Hurstville. First Taste is one of these new places, situated along the busy Forest Road near Hurstville Station.

My dad was very, very keen to try this place. He must have heard/read somewhere about their speciality rice hot pots because when anyone even mentioned eating at Hurstville, he would eagerly pipe up that we should go to First Taste.

Rice hot pots aren't really my thing but I figured that they would have some stock standard combination fried noodles that I could order. And so off we went to try First Taste.

It seems like they are actually a chain of restaurants with locations in Melbourne.

Unfortunately for me, it turned out that they didn't have fried noodles! Their menu was divided into three sections: hot soups, rice hot pots and noodle soups. Sigh.

Menu on the outside window

It was quite crowded inside, with all of the tables filled up and a constant flow of new customers. I guess people just love trying a new place.

The inside of the full restaurant

Some greenery on the inside

Complimentary thermos of hot tea

The menu says that rice hot pots take 15-20 minutes to cook. Being a true Asian, my dad ordered the Dried Scallop and Watercress stewed with Duck Kidney soup to have while we waited.

The small pot of soup ($4.20)

It was okay. I wouldn't have ordered any of the soups by myself. They are very traditional Chinese and reminds me of the soup that my mum makes at home. Of course, these are very popular in Hong Kong with people buying them from takeaway stores to drink.

It's a good thing that the menu pre-warns you about the wait because it felt like forever for the rice to arrive!

Chicken and mushroom rice in hot pot ($7.50?)

Seafood combination with rice in hot pot ($9.00)

The seafood combination wasn't what I expected. I thought the seafood would be the same as what you get in a food court, being some frozen prawns, one frozen scallop etc. Instead, there was three or four prawn balls, some hot seafood extender, some fish, two non-frozen scallops. Usually there are some snow peas and tinned mushrooms in the food court fare but there was no greenery in this one, except for shallots.

The chicken and mushroom was nice. The chicken was in small pieces on the bone and served with large chinese mushrooms and a few slices of chinese sausage. Once again, the shallots were there in full force.

The rice sticks to the edge of the hot pot and keeps on cooking while you eat, due to the heat of the bowl. It becomes crispy and hard. Some people like this. (I don't).

My tip is to mush all the topping and sauce around the bowl for extra flavour!

Would I come back to this place? Probably not. It was something different, but there are many other places in Hurstville to try!


St James Hotel, CBD

There are quite a few reasons why I call myself an 'amateur' food blogger. One reason being my poor quality camera - not really a camera at all, but just my phone. The other reason is that I am bad at remembering prices. There is really no excuse for this, because I dislike reading other food blogs that don't include prices of dishes.

Because this blog is a learning curve, I will endeavour to remember prices but make no promises.

And now we move onto the good stuff.

St James Hotel is the sister hotel to Sanctuary, which I have previously blogged about. The menu is very fact, I think that almost everything available at Sanctuary is on the menu at St James Hotel. I don't have a preference between the two. St James Hotel is a bit nicer on the inside, but both are in convenient locations.

Angus rump steak with mash and mushroom sauce - about $11?

Mediterranean veggie pizza with pesto- about $11?

The blur in the first photo is my friend's fork snatching a bite of the mash. Which is oh so very good. Two thumbs up.

Max Brenner, Wynyard

Yay! Another chocolate cafe!

I am loving these chocolate cafes that are springing up all over the CBD. They make the perfect place to go to for dessert, particularly now that the weather is getting cooler....

This new Max Brenner is very conveniently located on George Street and I am very pleased to report that the opening hours are till late!

Dark chocolate suckao.
There is a candle inside the mug, and you place the chocolate drops into the saucer on top of the mug. Then you pick up the spoon and voila, start sucking the hot chocolate up the metal handle! Careful, because it is hot hot hot!

Chocolate souffle - can you say YUM? My friend couldn't resist while I was fumbling with my camera and took a big bite

My only gripe is that the menu is a bit more limited than the other chocolate cafes . I think out of Lindt, Max Brenner and Guylian, I would pick Guylian first.You can't really fault their cake selection and the beautiful harbour views (and the complimentary Guylian chocolate!)

Japanese Hontou pancake

The Japanese Hontou pancake stall usually has a line of at least six people deep on Friday nights at the Chinatown markets.

Luckily I have a uni break in the afternoon when the stalls are just setting up and decided to bite the bullet and purchase one.

They come in custard, chocolate, green tea and I think cheese? They cost two dollars each or three for $5. I'm a big fan of green tea so decided to try that flavour:

The outside of the hontou

The inside of the hontou

I was actually  a bit disappointed. The filling wasn't very sweet and the green tea flavour was more bitter matcha than anything else. The outside was also a bit dry and reminded me of Emperor's puffs.
Rating: 2/5

On Ramen, Haymarket

I'm going to make a big call now.

On Ramen has the best katsu chicken. Ever.

It is light and moist. The batter isn't too thick but is just crispy enough to make you go mmmm.

I ordered a katsu chicken and ramen set ($12.90)

Small salad that comes with the set. Very nice.
The famed chicken katsu. The pieces are very thin so you can gobble this up in no time.

The large bowl of ramen that comes with the set. I didn't specify what soup base I wanted (I didn't know if you could?) but it was tonkotsu which was great because I LOVE tonkotsu soup!

My friend ordered the chicken yakitori and ramen set (I think it was 11.90? Can't remember...)

These skewers were pretty good. The chicken was interspersed with onion slices and tasted fresh.

(For some reason, the following picture makes me feel dizzy. I think this is because my friend insisted on taking the photo themselves and didn't proportion the ramen in the shot accurately.)

This ramen had a shoyu base.

I think On Ramen is underrated. The servings are generous and the price is right. The interior is small but I've never had to wait for a seat.

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On Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sweets for the Sweet

This is in response to a request by one of my readers:

Vanilla and strawberry crème brûlée tart ($4.40) from the Broadway Bourke St Bakery

I've poked a hole in the top so that you can see the filling. The custard was actually a bit more dense and gloopy then I would like my crème brûlée's but it was still quite nice.

Earlier this morning I was reading Two Thousand, a weekly newsletter about stuff that's delivered to your inbox every Thursday. They linked to this site which I am finding hilarious...

Just a taste of what I've been laughing at this morning:

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures

Too funny!! Okay really. I have to stop looking and get back to doing work now.

Revisiting an old friend: The Glebe Markets

I really like the Glebe markets. I prefer them over any other market in Sydney. This is because:

1. They're convenient to get to (walkable from Central!)
2. Lots of stalls
3. Stalls are close together, meaning less distance to walk
4. Lots of cafes on Glebe Point Road for a light lunch
5. Clear area of grass to sit down on if you buy some market food to eat.

Unfortunately, I don't go that often anymore. Namely because:

1. Most of the stalls stay the same
2. Other people don't like them as much as I do

But it was a sunny Saturday and I had a friend who was desperate to see what they were like. So we trekked to the markets to see what goods were on offer.

As it so happens, neither of us bought anything. In fact, the above Turkish Gozleme ($9) was the only purchase from the markets! Yum yum.

Ok, I know in the photo that it seems like I'm taking a photo of some random chick who's staring at me. But I'm actually taking a photo of the stall in the background - because guess who was performing there? Casey Donovan! Of Australian Idol 'fame'.....

Her music created a nice lunch-eating atmosphere. Props to Casey.

She really made our day. And then, after some more mindless browsing, we were like two tired little piggys who were ready to go wee wee wee all the way home.

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