Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good times collective #10

We're in the 'racing towards the end of the year' portion of 2014 now, and already the diary is filling up with so many social and food events that before we know it, it'll be time for festive decorations with the jolly man in red.

But before then, there are birthdays (some 31sts, a 1st and an 80th!), hen's dos, weddings, festival season and some big ol' venue openings - better get ready for some good times.

Lamb ragu pasta at Cafe Sopra, Bridge Street, Sydney
When I stick to the tried and true favourites at Cafe Sopra, I'm never disappointed. The maccheroni with rich, tomato-ey lamb ragu - served as one of the set menu banquet items - is a winner; perhaps the closest to knocking off my favourite of the pasta with crushed peas, Italian sausage and pecorino cheese.

Grilled salmon brown rice bowl at Dragon Boy, World Square, Sydney
While the majority of cheap-eats-seekers at Dragon Boy in World Square are probably there for the udon noodles, which are cooked immediately in front of you and served canteen style with tempura and kakiage fried vegetable fritter options, I like exploring the non-udon options.

A donburi bowl of brown rice topped with several thin slices of aburi torched salmon, a few healthy-looking mixed leaves and a cherry tomato is about as guilt-free as it gets, disregarding the squiggles of obligatory mayonnaise and brown sauce.

Antipasti board at Le Pub, King Street, Sydney
In an underground space that was formerly a questionable Irish pub, Le Pub on King Street (also accessible from York Street) is now pretty bang-on for a city pub.

The Parisian-styled Aussie pub and bistro does mains sub-$30 and a great charcuterie board with rillettes, saucission sec and terrine - or whatever else the kitchen has whipped up in house - with remoulade, cornichons, pickled vegies and plenty enough bread which is such a rarity.

A variety of steamed dumplings at yum cha at Golden Unicorn Chinese Restaurant,
Maroubra Road, Maroubra
I rarely crave yum cha these days. Perhaps it's to do with the fact that I always overeat at yum cha and feel ick afterwards, or that I can't stand waiting for a table.

Golden Unicorn Chinese Restaurant sort of has the south Sydney yum cha market cornered (for now) with its weekend queues forming down a flight of stairs onto Maroubra Road.

For a suburban yum cha outlet, Golden Unicorn definitely delivers with some steamed dumpling options even the Chinatown restaurants don't have. The smaller room and waitress rounds also means the food tends to be hotter and fresher.

Fish burger from Rockpool Bar & Grill, Bridge Street, Sydney
Ahead of Neil Perry's Burger Project opening in World Square, I could almost lay claim to having had one of his takeaway burgers already.

This crumbed fish burger from Rockpool Bar & Grill was ordered with the intention of eating it at the bar - until work beckoned. So, with a bit of foil and a carry bag, this desk lunch of crumbed flathead fillets with an iceberg lettuce leaf in that classic Rockpool burger bun was, and still is, hard to beat.

Sambal sting ray from Sinma Laksa House, Anzac Parade, Kingsford
I think I had sambal stingray at almost every hawker centre we visited in Malaysia. It's not all that common back home here, but it is available at Sinma Laksa House.

Smothered in spicy sambal sauce, a ray wing is grilled to a brown burnish and served simply with more chilli sauce. The stingray texture is like that of most flat fish: soft and smooth with easily manageable bones, while the sambal and chilli provide all the flavour and heat that's needed.

Here's to this awesome end of the year and plenty more good times yet.

Café Sopra at Fratelli Fresh on Urbanspoon Dragon Boy Japanese Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Golden Unicorn on Urbanspoon Le Pub on Urbanspoon

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon Sinma Laksa House on Urbanspoon


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Aww stingray! Will have to visit and pretend I'm back in KL!

Tina said...

Hi Helen - Yeah, it's a bit like that but not as humid or cheap... :/


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