Indulge at Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie, Paris with super juicy duck, rich foie gras and garlic butter snails
I’ve always thought food in France would be super rich, full of butter and utterly indulgent. It was our first time to Paris and in need of sustenance after a day at the Lourve (much art, daaaaarling), we googled best duck in Paris and managed to snare a table without a booking at Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie.
I have got to mention the absolutely lovely service we received, I’d been warned about the brusque nature of basically the entire population of France but wherever we went everyone was so nice and polite! We had zero problems with communication and were smilingly handed an English menu with no problems. We absolutely loved our first meal here that we ended up visiting again on our last day so don’t @ me with the amount of food in this post!
Noods had his heart set on the Bourgogne snails (6 for €13.80/AUD$22.43) which were tender meaty morsels absolutely drenched in garlic butter. He did almost have a Pretty Woman moment using the escargot tool but luckily no slippery little suckers were flung across the room 😛
The onion soup (€9.50/AUD$15.45) was like drinking a bowl of happiness, it was laden with what felt like the lives of hundreds of onions cooked till tender and then layered with bread and then there’s the magic that is melted cheese.
The roasted duck with balsamic sauce (€17/AUD$27.60) was a beauty, ridiculously juicy and fork tender with a perfect baby pink center. The skin was gloriously crisp and I carefully set it aside to savour slowly. Oh and not forgetting the oh so buttery mash!
The menu had listed a range of foie gras dishes and not wanting to miss out I end up ordering 3 of the 4. When the foie gras carpaccio with honey balsamic sauce and sea salt (€19/AUD$30.90) arrived at our table we were thinking oh crap this serve is friggen massive! I mean we finished it but it was definitely a struggle with all the rich food we’d ordered and consumed the past couple of days! The ribbons of creamy foie gras was served cold and while it did come with a serve of bread I instead relished placing a piece on my tongue and letting it slowly dissolve… be still my heart.
Oh boy. The pan seared foie gras with gingerbread (€17/AUD$27.60) made my heart skip a beat or two and not just because of my rapidly increasing cholesterol! The lobe of foie gras had a great sear to it so there was a great textural contrast of crisp to creamy. I wasn’t too keen on the gingerbread because that’s always a dessert to me but I loved the pineapple which I think was roasted/grilled and provided a relief from the richness.
Foie gras ravioli with a truffle sauce (€19/AUD$30.90) was just mind blowing, the truffle cream sauce though! My god is this what heaven tastes like? Incredibly rich and and oh so creamy the truffle flavour was just amazing and you bet I mopped up each last drop of the sauce with bread! The pasta itself was just so silky and tender and beneath their folds held nuggets of foie gras. Technically the foie gras wasn’t really the star of this dish but to me it felt like a perfect marriage. Of rich and more rich hahaha
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie
34 Rue Montmartre,
75001 Paris, France
Mon–Thu: 6:00 AM–11:00 PM
Fri–Sat: 6:00 AM–Midnight
Rollers Bakehouse in Manly is Sydney’s newest croissanterie and specialising in golden, flaky croissants
Ever since eating my weight in buttery croissants in Paris last year (I’ma blog it soon I swear), I’d resigned myself to a life of average croissants in Oz. But earlier this year after visiting Lune in Melbourne and proclaiming my undying love for their flaky croissants, I’ve been lamenting how Sydney is sorely in need of a croissanterie and BEHOLD! Rollers Bakehouse has opened in Manly just a hop, skip and a jump away from the beachfront (and also hidden down a slightly dodgy alleyway).
Raff and I had planned our sick days in advance to coincide for a day of epic eats. After a breakfast of champions of cream puffs (Tamborino ftw!) we made the trek past the horror that is the Spit Bridge and arrived to the hallowed sight of baby pink walls of Rollers. Croissant flavours rotate weekly which meant we missed out on the famed sushi croissant and the garlic bread croissant (!!!) but not to fear for there were plenty on offer that morning (PSA: they get wiped out on the weekends so go early).
The special of the day was the spanakopita ($8.50). The golden croissant was filled with a creamy layer of bechamel, spinach, ricotta and feta cheese but it was just a touch heavy on the pine nuts so beware the dreaded pine mouth. The croissant itself was pretty darn good- light, buttery and flaky with a perfect crumb.
I was much more in love with the ham and cheese ($8) which is beyond adorable topped with a teensy cornichon and pickled onion.
Inside the croissant is gruyere cheese, slices of ham and wholegrain mustard. Oh how I wished this was piping hot! I couldn’t help but compare to Lune’s version where theirs is lightly toasted so that the cheese is that amazing balance of ooze on the inside with crisp edges! But this was still very tasty and one I’ll definitely get again. To toast at home 😛
I couldn’t resist the maple bacon snail ($6) because, BACON! The smoked maple bacon pieces were crispalicious and delicious against the maple custard embedded within the swirls of pastry.
And of course we couldn’t go past the kouign amann ($6), a beautiful golden swirl of a pastry with bagaillion thin, shatteringly crisp layers and glorious sugary, golden edges and the inevitable shower of pastry flakes everywhere.
19 Rialto Ln,
Mon – Sat: 7am–3pm
Amsterdam! Land of delicious stroopwafels, insanely beautiful canals and frites!
Amsterdam! Land of delicious stroopwafels, insanely beautiful canals and frites!
We stayed at an airbnb in the De Pijp area of the Oud-Zuid district which was pretty great with a bunch of restaurants and wine bars nearby and was walking distance to the tram stops which have pretty regular services from 6.30am to about midnight. We didn’t dare hire a bike and ride around like the locals because my god their speeds!
But also I picked this area to be around the corner from Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam’s largest and busiest street market with about 300 stalls selling everything from clothes, electronics, flowers but most importantly food 😀 Trying a fresh stroopwafel was high on my agenda and Goudse Original Stroopwafels (€1,50/AUD$2.40) drew me in, the sweet perfume of the molasses-y syrup being pressed into wafer thin waffles calling my name. Definitely a sugar rush after consuming one but it was just irresistible especially piping hot in the middle of winter (ok fine it was end of Autumn then but my god was I cold).
The stroopwafels also come in mega ginormous Superstrooper size (€3,50/$AUD5.65) bigger than my face! You can also choose to get them dipped in chocolate (extra €0.50/AUD$0.80) but I preferred them plain without the chocolate. Yes I know my blog is called ChocolateSuze but shh…
Dutch herring (nieuw herring) is another specialty that we ordered from Vlaardingse Haringhande (€2.50/AUD$4.05). It’s a salted fish that’s served raw and cold, with onion and pickled cucumbers that I actually quite liked- the flesh is buttery soft and not at all ‘fishy’ for such an oily fish. You can also get the herring served in a sandwich (broodje haring) but eh do it like the locals!
We took a self guided 1.5 hour Heineken tour (Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam) at the original brewery (€18/AUD$29.20, €3 discount if you book online) which was actually pretty interesting as there was a lot of interactive displays and of course free beer to be drunk. Oh and at the end of the tour you end up downstairs in a warehouse type of space where you’re able to take a crash course on how to pour a beer from a tap with the perfect amount of foamy head.
So beautiful <3
When the munchies hit, get yourself a paper cone of Patat Frites aka the most perfect fries from Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx (Voetboogstraat 33, 1012 XK Amsterdam), a tiny hole in the wall joint. There’s frites stores everywhere, usually with a fries sign glowing enticingly out front but Vleminckx has a cult-like following and it just happened to be conveniently across the road from the coffee shop we were at. Join the queue and shuffle your way to the front, don’t worry it’ll move fast! The piping hot fries is smothered in the sauce of your choice- I’d chosen the special mix of curry ketchup and mayonnaise with a handful of chopped raw onion which makes for the most ridiculously tasty combo and all for the low low price of €3,60/AUD$5.80.
Pancakes were another highlight of my eats, in Amsterdam the traditional Dutch pancakes are of the super thin crepe variety and just so delicious with the barest of toppings. I was taking care of a certain someone who was having a bad reaction to a brownie he ate and needed a place to hang so into Pancakes Amsterdam (Prins Hendrikkade 48, 1012 AC Amsterdam) we went, which had such a great view of the canals. I ordered the traditional bacon and cheese (€9,50/AUD$15.40) which was utterly delightful, the pancake was light as a feather with gloriously crispy cheesy edges and embedded with the most deliciously perfect bacon strips.
De Carousel Pannenkoeken (H.M. van Randwijkplantsoen 1, 1017 ZW Amsterdam) was highly recommended to me for their dessert pancakes, specifically the poffertjes- small fluffy pancakes. The restaurant is built around a small carousel which borders on the slightly gaudy but hey we’re here for the pancakes! There’s just something about eating miniature versions of food that really hooks me haha the menu had poffertjes with every kind of topping under the rainbow but I stick with the classic icing sugar and whipped cream (€6,50/AUD$10.50). The serve is deceptively large and by the midway point I was struggling with the sugar overload.
We did the Amsterdam More Beer (self guided) pub crawl as a way to walk and see more of the city and I was v determined to drink 5 beers and get the free tshirt. Most bars serve snacks but the one that held my sway every time I spotted it was my beloved bitterballen- deep fried, bite sized beef and gravy croquettes.
If, after a late night out on the town and you’re ravenous but nothing’s open, it’s time to hit up a FEBO automat aka vending machine from a hole in the wall. The Dutch chain of snack bars sell deep fried croquettes and burgers which are then placed immediately into the vending machines waiting for the inevitable fumble for coins to insert. Don’t want to interact with humans? This is the place for you! I choose the neon hued cheese filled croquette (€1,80/AUD$2.90) which satisfied those snack cravings.
Aaaand special mention to all the cute tiny cars everywhere!
Rara, Redfern makes their Hakata style noodles in house and is pumping out steaming hot bowls of ramen with a carefully curated wine list
It’s all happening in the ‘fern! RaRa is the latest ramen ddition to the neighbourhood sitting just across from Arcadia and next door to Huxtaburger. Rara makes their Hakata style noodles in house and is pumping out steaming hot bowls of ramen with a carefully curated wine list. The menu is short and sweet with 3 different ramens- tonkotsu, shio and a vegan ramen.
The RaRa tonkotsu ($16.90) is made with a creamy and rich house pork tonkotsu shio base, topped with a slice of free range char siu that’s been grilled on their robata grill, a handful of seasoned bamboo, a free range Ajitsuke tamago (seasoned egg) with a perfect yolk, shallots and shredded black fungus.
I spring 90c more to get the black garlic, there’s also the house made chilli or miso paste but black garlic is the bomb yo and just what the doctor ordered for this wave of rainy weather that’s hitting Sydney.
While I loved the broth of the Pork shoyu ($16.90), you guys know my mad issues with bean sprouts haha but scoopsies to the side and it’s all better 😛 Like the tonkotsu ramen, there’s also black pepper, shallots, half an egg and a slice of grilled char siu. I need to add a special shout out to the noodles, they are pleasingly firm but bouncy, with a good bite to them.
On another visit, out of curiosity I ordered the Vegan soy shio ramen ($16.90), a soy based broth served with grilled tomato, black pepper, seasoned bamboo, shallots and a not so vegan egg. There’s a lil dab of a chilli, sesame (and I think ginger?) paste which gave the broth a nice oomf though I did add more chilli oil and grind more sesame seeds towards the end of the bowl when the taste of the soy milk got a bit much for me.
66b Regent St,
Tues – Fri: 12 – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 9:30pm
Sat – Sun: 12 – 2:30pm, 5 – 8:30pm
8 years ago Rise Restaurant closed but Hideki Okazaki is back with his new restaurant Eiju, a Japanese and Italian fusion restaurant in Pyrmont
It’s been 8 long years since Rise Restaurant closed! Rise was one of my favourite restaurants, a tiny Japanese restaurant hidden in Darlinghurst that my family celebrated all our birthdays and milestones at and we were devastated when they closed. But surprise! Hideki Okazaki is back with his new restaurant Eiju, a Japanese and Italian fusion restaurant in Pyrmont. They currently have a special of $59 for the 5 course set menu which is pretty damn good for Sydney prices!
We begin with the salmon confit and if you know me at all you’ll know I can happily eat salmon every meal for a month and Eiju’s salmon just blew me away. Fat slices of incredibly tender salmon snuggle oh so demurely against curls of zucchini, paper thin slices of radish, seaweed salad, pops of briny salmon roe and dressed with a tangy yuzu vinaigrette. Definitely a last supper type of dish for me!
The spiced soft shell crab fritter was a great contrast to the salmon, the batter on the crab was beautifully golden, light and crisp, and surprisingly went well with the creamy guacamole and tangy yoghurt sauce layered throughout the jenga pile.
Next up was the spaghetti with barramundi ragu and scallops, saffron and artichoke. How cute is the presentation? Make your way past the foam, twirl up some spaghetti and dig for nubbins of salmon and scallop like your own personal treasure hunt where you are the lucky winner!
Gah can this photo be any more blurry… my bad! Our last savoury is the roasted quail lovingly wrapped in prosciutto with a yuzu milk foam. The quail is deliciously juicy and tender but it’s the cauliflower puree which has me frantically scraping the plate clean- it’s rich and creamy and just absolutely perfect.
Dessert is a green tea fondant with black sesame ice cream. The fondant itself is surprisingly fluffy and light with a rich dark chocolate centre and I absolutely loved the intense black sesame flavour of the ice cream!
Eiju Fusion Japanese Dining
196 Harris St,
Fri – Sun: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6 – 10pm
Tues – Thurs: 6 – 10pm