The Two Taste Buds

A Food Blog

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Blackbird Cafe, Sydney CBD

By Net Geek

The Blackbird Cafe at Darling Harbour always has a buzzing crowd and good vibes. Never has there been a night we walk by and it isn’t bustling with patrons for both dinners and larger gatherings. It also sports a nice view of the harbour which is great for a prime Saturday night fireworks viewing.

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The glowing bar area

They were kind enough to invite us to try a few cocktails of their brand spanking new cocktail menu. The new menu was created by their mixologist named Mirko Cacciola who touts worldly experience behind the bar.

The Two Taste Buds are suckers for a sweet and fruity drink, so naturally our selections swayed one way. The Apple Lychee Martini was the first up for me; and the smoothest of sugar rushes was more than welcomed. Could barely taste the alcohol in many of these drinks, making them especially easy to throw back! It was topped off with a plump lychee. The “Sweet Emotion” cocktail had a soft peach schnapps backing the fruity sweetness. Another easy one to throw back.

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Fruity Goodness: round 1

Next up were the Mojitos Pear and Pina Coladas. The presentation of these were amazing, with the Mojitos served in a charming jar and bursting with greenery, while the Pina Colada was donned with a creamy head and giant slices of fruit. These were also an absolute pleasure to drink; especially the super sweet and tangy Mojito with a twist of pear juice.

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Fruity Goodness: round 2 (With lighting help from the iPhone of the Greedy Financier!)

To finish, The Greedy Financier went for something a bit lighter on the palette; the Japanese Green Tea cocktail. This was a much sharper cocktail in which you can actually taste the alcohol. After all the sweetness the bitter edge of the green tea provided a much needed break. 

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To top it off! Getting a little tipsy by this point!

Sipping on cocktails while nibbling on wedges in the vibrant Blackbird Cafe was a great way to spend a Friday night. We totally recommend trying out their cocktail menu as a fun way to kick off a big night out, or even just to wind down with mates after work. Thanks again, Blackbird Cafe!

Blackbird Cafe

http://blackbirdcafe.com.au/

Open everyday till late

Ph: +61 2 9283 7384

Balcony level, Cocklebay Wharf, Harbour Street

Sydney 2000

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Filed under blackbirdcafe cocktails mojito darlingharbour cocklebaywharf

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The Wedge Espresso, Glebe

By Greedy Financier

I recently moved back to the inner city area and have only just started to explore my locality. I am excited about all these cafés in my neighbourhood, and the great coffee and food that is literally just around the corner. One such café that brews up an awesome coffee and not too shabby food is The Wedge Espresso in Glebe.

Inside The Wedge Espresso

The Wedge is located just off busy Glebe Point Road and is seriously the narrowest café I have ever come across in Sydney. Smart use of space is definitely required with several small tables and stools being put to good use. Fortunately on this sunny Saturday morning, we didn’t have to wait too long to nab a table.

Table Décor

The menu is not extensive (which is good for indecisive people like me) and is predominantly made up of sandwiches and coffee – both of which are done very well. All menu items are also reasonably priced.

The Menu

Had the weather been warmer (it was a chilly Winter morning), I would have ordered an Iced Milo – one of their signature drinks. However, I was more than pleased with my cappuccino which warmed me up and was exceptionally smooth.

Cappuccinos

Despite the limited menu, I still “ummed and ahhed” over my selection. In the end, I decided to go with the “Cheeseburgwich” – a cross between a cheeseburger and a sandwich – which did not disappoint.

“Cheeseburgwich”

Toasted crunchy Turkish bread held melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, cheese, pickles, mustard, onion and plenty of rocket. It was reminiscent of a Big Mac and Cheeseburger, but oh so much better.

“Cheeseburgwich” dissection

My friend went with The Henry sandwich. A hearty sandwich consisting of smashed egg, ham, avocado, cheese, chipotle mayonnaise, basil and rocket – it was super creamy and delightful, and as my friend put it, you will find yourself craving this sandwich again and again.

The Henry dissection

To finish off, we ordered some banana bread for dessert. But this was no ordinary banana bread! A thick cut slice of bread was accompanied with a generous dollop of the most amazing dulce de leche peanut butter. Yes, you read that right – two of the best sweet spreads in this world were combined together with sea salt to form the most scrumptious banana bread “butter” you will ever encounter.

Banana Bread with Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Flakes

You’ve probably gauged from my post that I am a fan, and now will be a regular at The Wedge Espresso. Good coffee, fantastic sandwiches and dulce de leche peanut butter will keep me coming back for more. Not to mention the other menu items sound just as divine. If you haven’t discovered this small gem in Glebe yet, you are certainly missing out.

The Wedge Espresso

http://thewedgeespresso.com/

Monday to Saturday 8.00am – 4.00pm

Sunday 9.00am – 3.00pm

Ph: +61 2 9969 4088

53/55 Glebe Point Road

(entrance on Cowper Street)

Glebe

NSW 2037

The Wedge Espresso on Urbanspoon

Filed under TheWedgeEspresso Coffee Brunch Lunch Sandwiches Glebe GlebePointRoad IcedMilo BananaBread Dulcedeleche PeanutButter

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Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman

By Greedy Financier

Ever since Ormeggio at the Spit featured on Masterchef, I have wanted to go eat at this Two Chef’s Hatted Italian restaurant. Having not fine dined for a while, I thought it was about time I pay a visit to this restaurant up north.

Ormeggio at the Spit from the Outside

Ormeggio has a picture perfect location setting, being positioned at The Spit Road bridge. It sits right on the edge of the water with stunning views across the Marina. When you make a reservation, be sure to request a table by the window.

Views of the Marina

We decided to go with the 8-course degustation menu. To start us off, we were presented with some cute little snacks from the chef. A play on the traditional fish and chips – these snacks were a tantalising way to kick start our degustation.

Snacks from the Chefs

The first course of the night was an extremely pretty looking dish. The combination of sweet mud crab with fresh salmon roe and crunchy almonds resulted in a refreshingly beautiful starter.

Hand Picked Mud Crab Meat, Salmon Roe, Burnt Butter, Almond, Tapioca

The next course was a well-known Italian dish, veal tonnato. Essentially not dissimilar to a beef carpaccio, raw diced veal was served with capers, pine nuts and a very delicious tuna flavoured mayonnaise.

Biodynamic Veal Tonnato, Capers, Toasted Pine Nuts

The only pasta dish of the night was next, and it was definitely not a disappointment. Cooked perfectly al dente, the agnolotti was filled with an Italian pork sausage. The tangy sheep’s ricotta and crumbed olives were a superb complement to the dish.

Agnolotti with Asparagus, Aged Sheep Ricotta, Black Olives, ‘Nduja, Watercress

I’m not usually a fan of bonito tuna as I find it can be a little too fishy. However, the confit bonito in this course was exceptional. Melt-in-your-mouth and with no overpowering fishiness, it went scrumptiously with the green peas and herbs.

Confit Bonito, Charcoal Tuna Consomme, Green Peas

Deceptive in appearance, the next course looked like a simple fried egg. Upon delving into it, we discovered a super gooey egg yolk surrounded by a rich creamy pecorino sauce, sitting atop puffed grains.

Free Range Egg Yolk, Puffed Grains, Pecorino Sauce

The last savoury course for the night was a lovely duck dish. Strands of duck meat were pressed together to form what could almost be described as duck loaf but fancier, and was perfectly accompanied by a smoked potato puree.

Pressed Free Range Duck, Turnip, Red Cabbage, Smoked Potato

As a precursor to dessert, we were served yet another aesthetically pleasing dish. This was an impeccable palate cleanser consisting of a combination of fresh cucumber and citrus fruits, with subtle liquorice undertones.

Cucumber, Orange, Lemon, Buttermilk, Liquorice

Dessert was a relatively light dish that reminded me of a lemon tart. Smooth lemon curd and crunchy macadamia shards united effortlessly with the refreshing lemon myrtle sorbet.

Macadamia, Lemon Myrtle

As is customary in fine dining, we concluded a wonderful meal with tea and petit fours. The menu and execution of the dishes at Ormeggio are certainly worthy of their Hats. The degustation was superbly balanced with a range of courses that definitely emphasised freshness. With its stunning location and impeccable food, you couldn’t ask for more from a restaurant.

Ormeggio at the Spit

http://www.ormeggio.com.au/

Lunch: Thursday to Sunday 12.00pm – 3.00pm

Dinner: Wednesday to Sunday 6.00pm – 10.00pm

Ph: +61 2 9969 4088

D’Albora Marinas The Spit

Mosman

NSW 2088

Ormeggio at the Spit on Urbanspoon

Filed under Ormeggio Atthespit Mosman Alessandro Pavoni TheSpit Views Marina NorthSydney Italian Finedining TwoChefsHats ChefsHatted

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Shisha Bar & Restaurant, Croydon Park

By Net Geek

One of my best friends invited me to her birthday in Croydon Park at a restaurant named Shisha. I’m not really one to venture much out of the city, so it was great to see what was going on outside of town. This Middle Eastern cuisine is out of this world, and has opened my eyes to a whole new gamut of flavours! Not to mention, they’re amazing birthday hosts and have a wonderful function room with a generous capacity.

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A fresh and beautiful cheese board

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Watermelon and Feta alongside the KettleTown sampler packs! Tea for afterwards.

To open there were cheeseboards galore and a delicious watermelon and feta salad. The mix of savoury cheese and the juicy watermelon blew my mind; a combo I’ve been craving since! We were also lucky enough to have our lovely friends over at KettleTown give out tea samples! Be sureto click through and check out their blended tea range.

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Our noms were accompanied by fancy pants cocktails every step of the way

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Shredded halloumi: amaze!

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Oh so tender!

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Fatty goodness lathered in tangy sauce

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Deep fried, can’t go wrong!

Our starters ranged from bruschetta with shredded haloumi, some of the most tender deep fried calamari on the planet with fresh aioli, pork belly smothered in tangy basting, to deep fried chicken wings in the most glorious of spicy coatings.

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#datMushroomSauce

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Mmmm beef…

By the time the mains came out we were already pretty full; but it is hard to refuse some amazing chargrilled poultry and sliced beef! The offerings were refreshingly simple and boasted the freshest of ingredients. Nothing seemed over the top; and presentation was always charming and casual.

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#datKnafeh

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Half eaten… but check out that consistency!

The final hurdle was something I had never personally eaten before, so I was unsure what to expect when this humble looking dish came out. I read that the Knafeh is the dish which put this joint on the map; and I can completely understand why. The smooth consistency and subtle sweetness which resided beneath absolutely rocked my socks, and I couldn’t get enough! I ended up eating half of the serving allocated to those sitting at the other end of the table…

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Some fun at the end of the night blowing bubbles with shisha, or at least trying…

Every step of the way we were greeted with smiles and great service, the friendly banter of the staff adding to the great birthday vibes. There was such an emphasis on everyone just sharing food, getting together and making merry! I can’t recommend this place highly enough as a great venue for both sit down meals and events. Wonderful food, drinks and people! #datKnafeh!

Shisha Bar & Grill

https://www.facebook.com/shishabargrill

Tuesday - Friday 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Saturday 7:00am - 2:00pm, 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Sunday 8:00am - 2:00pm, 5:30pm - 11:30pm

Ph: +61 2 9705 7941

61 Georges River Road

Croydon Park

NSW 2133

Filed under Shisha shishabarandgrill bar grill knafeh croydon croydonpark casual dining cocktails innerwest greatservice kettletown

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The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom

By Greedy Financier

If you’ve been following the foodie news, you would have heard the recent announcement by Heston Blumenthal – the world renowned chef is bringing his three Michelin starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, to Melbourne next February! To mark this exciting news (and also because I promised several weeks ago), I am finally blogging about the extraordinary dining experience I had at The Fat Duck last September. From the moment my friends and I left our hotel in London for the restaurant, we knew we were in for a treat. The entire night can only be described as a surreal gastronomical journey.

The Fat Duck – Staff Waiting Outside to Greet You

After a nerve wrecking reservation process (it’s a 2 month rolling online reservation system and securing a booking can be quite difficult), 20 hours on a plane to London, and almost 2 hours of travel within London (using the London Tube, the overground and taxi), we finally arrived at The Fat Duck. Waiting outside the restaurant was a staff member who greeted us and took us to our table. Being a converted old English style house, the small restaurant was quite quaint and had a cosy home style feel.

Inside The Fat Duck

To celebrate (because it felt like a celebration!), we decided to start with a glass of Moët Rosé each. At the same time we were presented with an amuse bouche (which wasn’t on the menu so I can’t recall the name exactly) of a beetroot and goats cheese ice cream sphere.

Amuse Bouche

Next up were some aperitifs (formally defined as an alcoholic beverage that is served before a meal), however in true Heston style, these weren’t served as liquids in a glass, but rather foam was pumped out of a canister, mixed with some liquid nitrogen and extinguished by a candle – it was like watching a science experiment!

Nitro Poached Aperitifs – Vodka and Lime Sour, Campari Soda, Tequila and Grapefruit

The first real course of the night was a very pretty looking cabbage soup. The use of red cabbage gave this visually appealing deep purple colour. Sitting in the centre was a perfectly quenelled scoop of mustard ice cream – which surprisingly wasn’t overpowering and went superbly with the refreshing cabbage soup.

Red Cabbage Gazpacho – Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream

The next course was one of my favourite (of many!). I love parfait and I love truffle. So when you combine the two into one dish, you get a marriage made in heaven. There were three separate components to this dish – truffle toast (which was packed with truffle!), crayfish cream with chicken liver parfait (which was silky and divine!) and a thin film (over which a mist of oak moss scent was poured over).

Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream – Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast

Heston’s signature dish is his famous snail porridge. Although not a particularly attractive looking or sounding dish, especially with its bright green colour and use of snails, it was actually quite pleasant. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly slimy, and I found myself relishing the meal within a few spoonfuls.

Snail Porridge – Iberico Bellota Ham, Shaved Fennel

Just when I thought I had had enough of smooth processed offal, out came a pretty piece of foie gras. A side dollop of tart gooseberry coulis helped to cut through the luscious richness of the roast foie gras, and with each mouthful, I felt like I was sinking deeper into a bed full of soft pillows.

Roast Foie Gras – Gooseberry, Confit Kombu and Crab Biscuit

The next course took us to an enchanted place – we felt like we were being entertained at a real Mad Hatter’s tea party! We were presented with a box containing edible gold ‘watch’ teabags which were to be soaked in hot water to create a broth to pour over the cutest looking egg with little mushrooms ‘growing’ out of it - resulting in a mock turtle soup. This was accompanied by delicious salmon sandwiches served on a ‘hat’ stand.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – Mock Turtle Soup, Pocket Watch and Toast Sandwich

The most highly anticipated dish of the night was up next. I had heard so much about this dish and was silently screaming in my seat when a large seashell containing an iPod was placed next to me. Listening to the sounds of waves and seagulls, we ate our beach lookalike dish which consisted of tapioca and sardine sand, seaweed and vegetable stock foam and raw kingfish belly and abalone. Believe it or not, the sounds of the sea enhanced the sea like flavour of the dish!

“Sound of the Sea” – Junmai Daiginjo Masumi Nanago, Miyasaka Brewery, Nagano Prefecture

The salmon course that followed wasn’t as theatrical as some of the previous dishes; however, it was just as scrumptious. I was worried that the inclusion of liquorice would overpower the fish, but the perfectly poached salmon tasted simply beautiful.

Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel – Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe

The final main course for the night was a robust lamb dish consisting of three complementary parts. The first was a plate of impeccably cooked lamb accompanied by some chunks of tasty warm cucumber. Sitting next to this on a sideboard was some pieces of delicious diced lamb with what tasted like deep fried lamb skin, and a bowl of a jelly-like substance. When combined together, this course was a flawless balance of flavours and textures.

Lamb with Cucumber – Green Pepper and Caviar Oil

To prepare us for the dessert courses, we were presented with some tea. However, this was no ordinary tea – the tea was both hot and cold, at the same time. I’m not a chemist, so don’t know how this works, however, when the tea was sipped, we experienced both hot and cold sensations!

Hot & Iced Tea

The first dessert course was in two parts. One component consisted of some mini tea flavoured ice cream cones. Supplementing this was a dessert that looked like vinyl or plastic! A plaid patterned piece of what turned out to be actually white chocolate, sat atop a wonderful mixture of clove caramelised blackberries and a crunchy assortment of nuts and pieces (I wasn’t sure what the pieces were!). It was like eating berries, cookies and cream!

Clove Caramelised Blackberries – Hojicha Tea Ice Cream Cornet

The next dessert was my favourite dish of the night. The name on the menu didn’t give much away and we weren’t sure what to expect. Then out came what looked like a hard-boiled egg sitting on top of a gold nest. At this point, we still weren’t sure what to expect. Then we cracked open the egg exposing the egg white and a runny yolk! Cautiously tasting the egg, I was completely and utterly blown away – this dessert was actually a lemon tart!! A white chocolate egg shell encompassing a cream egg white and lemon curd yolk sitting atop a gold pastry nest! It was pure genius.

Eggs in Verjus, Verjus in Egg

The next course was the start of our petit fours. A picture frame with five bottle shaped lollies adhered to the surface was placed in front of each of us. Unfortunately, the frames weren’t edible, but the little bottles were. We were instructed to taste the whiskey flavoured lollies in consecutive order, as they increased in strength as we went along. If you love whiskey, then you would adore this dish!

Whisk(e)y Wine Gums

And the final course for the night was a bag full of treats! True to the name on the menu – we literally felt like kids in a candy shop! Excitedly we opened our bags to discover four different types of lollies including aerated chocolate with mandarin jelly, coconut baccy (coconut infused with an aroma of black Cavendish tobacco), apple pie caramel with an edible wrapper and a strawberry tart in the form of a Queen of Hearts card.

“Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop”

Of the four lollies, the Queen of Hearts strawberry tart deserves a special mention. Opening our envelopes we found what appeared to be a Queen of Hearts card. Taking a bite into the card, we were pleasantly surprised – the innards contained a thin layer of pastry biscuit and jam, all coated in a film of white chocolate.

The Queen of Hearts – She Made Some Tarts…

The Fat Duck is unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been to. I was left feeling satisfied, bewildered and privileged. Every aspect, from the service to the food, was exceptional, and is truly a unique dining experience. The Fat Duck has been awarded three Michelin stars, defined as “worth a special journey” – and it certainly is worthy of a trip across the world.

The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom

http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/

Lunch: Tuesday to Saturday 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Ph: +44(0) 1628 580 333

High Street

Bray

Berkshire SL62AQ

United Kingdom


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The Fat Duck on Urbanspoon

Filed under the fat duck Heston Blumenthal Bray berkshire united kingdom molecular gastronomy unique Michelin Stars theatrical dining seashell fine dining