Swine & Co, Sydney

10 March 2014, 02:56

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There’s been rumblings that newly opened Swine & Co (16 O’Connell St, Sydney) serves up an awesome suckling pig and whenever suckling pig is mentioned my ears just automatically perk up for there is nothing more glorious than a slow roasted pig with tender innards and golden crackle. I’ve rolled my 3 visits into this one post so don’t freak out about the amount of foods I consumed!

Swine & Co opened up on the site of the old Bavarian Bier Café and kept the massive bar which pumps out the most incredible cocktails. For takeaway orders of sandwiches and baked goods you can order at the deli counter from 11am-3pm, but Raff and I had a bit of time so we sat on the comfy couches and the worlds friendliest waiter took our order. Seriously the service is here is pretty bang on, knowledgeable, friendly and not at all pretentious.

We couldn’t help but order the Swine Smash ($14), a fruity mojito-like cocktail with CANDIED PANCETTA!!! That pancetta was so damn tasty! I really wanted to order it by itself. Like, 10 strips of it. For a snack y’know?

The Reuben ($14) was a monster. The amount of sauerkraut was like woah, how do I wrap my jaws around this sauerkraut mountain? I would much rather have the same ratio for the 5 day cured Wagyu brisket which was meltingly tender and happily hugging its Swiss cheese soul mate. Oh and there was paper thin slices of pickles in there but you all know how I feel about pickles that aren’t whole.. The innards do make the soft rye bread soggy so eat quickly!

We had to get the Pork Belly Roll ($12) because well, pork belly! The slices of tender pork belly with golden crackle edges are stuffed into a soft brioche roll with slaw and refreshing slices of Granny Smith apple.

For dessert we shared the Nutella Cronut ($3.50) and it was a perfectly delicious donut just not so much a cronut… Apparently they do use the same dough as their croissants but it just didn’t have the many layers that a cronut is supposed to have. But it was tasty and the Nutella filling was a winner with my sweet tooth.

For dinner head down the stairs to the black tiled dining room with charcoal seats, marble tabletops and this:

A rotating piggy on the spit! He was just so captivating we couldn’t help but stare at him all night!

I’m nicking this photo from my mums IG @alwayseating because I somehow forgot to take a photo of the bread on my camera but woo! I love places that give free bread and such a generous portion! There was white, rye, flatbread and breadsticks in case you couldn’t decide what you wanted. Which is kinda bad for me because I’m super indecisive and ended up eating 1 of everything… Oh and there were complimentary appetisers! Which uh, I’m ashamed to admit that I have nfi what it was because I may have shoved the whole thing in my mouth. I vaguely remember there was smokey tomato and acidic vinegar pearls on a thin crisp and that it was tasty. Yep.

We start with the Tuna Crudo ($17), gorgeously presented on a slab of pink salt. The cubes of tuna are fresh and the saltiness of the white anchovies, fried capers and white balsamic dressing is cut through with the refreshingly juicy watermelon cubes.

Noods had to get the Steak Tartare ($19), it’s his weakness and the one item on a menu that will guarantee him going to a restaurant. The meat was hand cut, topped with a gooey softly poached quail egg and had the perfect balance of seasoning with just the faintest scent of truffle oil.

Noods was also curious about the Spiced Fried Lamb’s Brains ($15) which were golden nuggets flecked with cumin (and I believe fennel and cardamom but don’t hold me to that) and with innards that were creamy and thankfully didn’t have a squishy or bouncy texture. The pickled carrots provided a welcome crunch and ended up being addictive that we scissor, paper, rock’d for the last bite.

Our waiter recommended the Crisp Pig’s Tail ($19), saying it was just like crackle and well, crackle is the magical word! The tail had been deboned, flattened and fried to a crisp and omg it was awesome! Yes, just like crackle! There was a pinenut purée hiding underneath with shiitake and oyster mushrooms that had been pickled and smoked, a couple of red grapes for some sweetness, a swirl of red wine and mustard vinaigrette with dandelion and red oak leaf.

While I loved the richness of the Chicken Liver Pâté ($16) I found the layer of port jelly a tad overpowering so I just ate around it and slathered the pate inch thick on the super cute buttery brioche. And teehee I heart cornichons!

But now the moment you/we/I have been waiting for: the Suckling Pig ($40)! The milk fed suckling pig is sourced from Macleay Valley and it is freaking incredible! There was a whole sheet of glorious crackle and oh my stars! The meat! Ridiculously tender and unctuous! But that crackle? It’s where the party is at yo! Absolutely mind blowing! The serving size for the suckling pig was pretty generous so I’d recommend ordering an entree, getting some sides and sharing this.

When I went for dinner with my parents we had ordered the suckling pig and hesitated for a split second on what to get for another main. Of course how could we resist the Pork Belly ($34)? That’s right why resist? Resistance is futile! The pork belly had the perfect striated fat to juicy meat ratio and I loved swiping the pumpkin puree and wished for a bucket more. There was also a pile of sautéed Tuscan cabbage and a cute nugget of Suckling Pig Croquette that’s available on the bar menu after 3pm.

I’m a sucker for Brussel Sprouts ($12), I’m not entirely sure why. I was never forced to eat them (or spinach for that matter) when I was growing up which is probably why I like them? And especially if it comes with speck heh

The Potato Puree ($10) is also pretty damn good, ethereally light and smooth.

For dessert there’s an incredibly silky creme brulee with toffee shards, a decadant chocolate mousse with home made earl grey marshmallows and honeycomb and a lime cheesecake but it is the Donuts ($14) that I have my heart set on. Three fat, sugar dusted donuts are filled with a creamy custard filling and plump raisins are scattered throughout. The scoop of apple sorbet oddly reminds me of the Hi Chew apple candy which I love but probably could have done without but the apple crisp is awesome and I would love a bag of them to munch on while watching teevee.

It looks like Swine & Co is a hit with all the suits in the area so make a booking (hooray a restaurant that takes bookings!) or try your luck and come super early. And get the suckling pig. You won’t regret it.

Swine & Co. on Urbanspoon

Comment [28]



Marukame Udon, Chatswood

2 March 2014, 16:45

Comment [26]

While I am very much a die hard lover of ramen, I do occasionally crave the bouncy texture of udon. When Penguin Says Feed Me blawged about Marukame Udon (332 Victoria Ave, Chatswood) opening at the beginning of the year I was super keen to get my udon fix and convinced Spoon Fork and Chopsticks to bring her mini human along for an overdue catchup.

So it’s pretty much the same self-serve cafeteria style as Mappen so line up and check out the menu while you wait. The udon comes in medium and large and there’s also Rice Bowls available if you don’t feel like udon. But you’re at an udon place soooo get udon.

They make the dough from scratch and it’s just so fascinating watching the dough being fed through the machine in one end and perfect strands out the other.

The noodles go for a swim in a hot spa and then dunked into cold water before being weighed and portioned.

Order at the beginning of the queue, grab a tray and shuffle along.

Your order will be handed to you and then it’s off to deep fried heaven!

Each item is fried in batches so that nothing gets cold or soggy. There was everything under the deep fried rainbow from golden prawns, squid, chicken, tofu, pork cutlets and even sausages.

Over on the cold side there was inari sushi (sushi rice in a sweet tofu pocket) and kimchi.

Do yourself a favour and get an iced green tea ($1.50) from the dispenser! It is the bomb yo, one side is unsweetened but the sweetened side? So refreshing and SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS!

Pay at the end of the counter and then make your way to the toppings station and load up on scallions, tempura flakes, sesame seeds and dipping sauces.

I admit I may have ordered the Kamaage Udon (med: $4.90) mainly because the bowl reminded me of an old school bathtub… haha cmon! It’s not just me surely… The table next to us had the large size and we totally thought Rita’s mini human could fit in it! ANYWAYS. You’re meant to dip the udon in the side of warm dashi soup with ginger and shallots and it was just deeeelicious. I felt so virtuous and healthy eating it!

I also ordered the Bukkake Udon with slow cooked egg and beef (med: $7.90) because well, tender beef nubbins and gooey, oozy egg ftw! The udon had the perfect springy, bouncy texture perfect for slurping and my sides of white fish tempura ($2.40) and tofu tempura ($2.40) have the perfect crunch.

Oh and the basket of pork cutlets ($2.90) were da bomb too.

While the lines can be a bit daunting, usually everyone eats pretty fast so there wasn’t too much of a wait. There’s heaps of seating spanning over two floors and don’t forget to return your trays!

Marukame Udon on Urbanspoon

Comment [26]



Sandwich power

25 February 2014, 01:07

Comment [25]

Sponsored by Nuffnang

So like, I love a good sandwich. I mean, what’s not to love? Piled sky high with whatever’s in the fridge or carefully assembled so each bite is packed with awesome, the sandwich is one of my favourite snacks in the world.

Normally I’m always in a rush at lunch and grab something fast from whatever’s nearby. Subway® has just opened down the street and I’ve been taking advantage of their current $5.95 value deal that comes with a 6-Inch® sub (ham, meatball, turkey, seafood sensation, pizza or veggie delight), a cookie and a drink which is perfect for me cos the 6-Inch® sub is the right size for lunch and I always need a drink and dessert with my meal. I’ve been systematically eating my way through their offerings and like switching up what breads or sauces to have. The value deal is pretty awesome because everything else around me is in the > $10 range.

Lately I’ve found myself with a bit of time on my hands so I’ve been able to make and pack sandwiches for the boy to take to work and the good people at Subway® have asked me what my fave sandwich combos are so hold onto your stomachs I’m gonna take you on a sandwich journey!

Crazy warm weather means I opt for cold fillings in my sandwiches. I don’t normally make triple decker sandwiches unless I’m really hungry. Which uh, is quite often… But yeah! I prefer bread that’s seeded and stuffed full of grains and then fill em up with deli meats like shaved ham, salami, pepperoni and slices of rare roast beef. Then pile on the lettuce, tomato, capsicum and a dollop of mayo, a slice of Swiss cheese and away you go!

When the weather gets cooler I’ll pick hot fillings and toast it so the cheese becomes nice and melty and hugs the fillings with all the love in the world. My all time fave hot filling sandwiches are roast chicken with capsicum, lettuce and Swiss cheese and a generous amount of garlic aioli (I hear there’s a garlic sauce that’s just hit Subway® which I’ve yet to try) . There’s just something about chicken and garlic sauce that makes the world go round. And then of course there’s meatballs with cheddar cheese and yes normally I go crazy with the amount of cheese :P Aaaand a BLT means super crispy bacon, lettuce, a couple of slices of tomato and cheddar cheese.

I’m not a big fan of canned tuna so I splurge a bit on smoked salmon, baby spinach leaves and a mega generous slathering of cream cheese. Normally I’d add red onion but I’ve been having throat closing up issues whenever I eat onion lately and I rather like breathing so had to give em a break.

Of course my all time favourite sandwich is the humble toasted cheese! Look at that oozy cheese try and escape! Buttered on both sides and hugging whatever cheese I have in the fridge oh baby! Ok so that amount of cheese is a bit insane but whatevs, my cholesterol is fiiiiiine!

Aite I know this looks super trashy but it’s the best snack when you’ve had a big night out and stumble home in the wee hours of the morning… Leftover spaghetti in white bread. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Ok there’s no denying that this sandwich is not for the faint hearted! Sometimes I’ll have extra fries leftover that I stick in the fridge and usually I get hungry a couple of hours later… whack them between some white bread, drizzle of tomato sauce and we’re good to go!

Last but not least, an ice cream sandwich! Super soft and sweet taro bread from Breadtop, cut out a slab of your fav ice cream and boom! Instant dessert snackage! You could totes do it with cookies too, normally I buy heaps of Subway® cookies if I cbf baking and make a whole load of ice cream cookie sandwiches and keep em in the freezer for instant access to tastyness.

So yeah! Those are my fav sandwich combinations! Of course, when I’m short on time and/or ingredients I just hit the local Subway®for a wide range of subs at a tops price :P

So what dya guys think? What else do you like having in your sandwich? Would winning up to $20k help in creating awesome sandwiches? You can be part of Subway® Australia’s Guess The Secret Sub competition, where entrants have to guess a sub combination with $5,000 up for grabs each week! If no one wins then the prize jackpots up to a max of $20,000! A series of clues will be announced on Facebook over the next few weeks, hinting at the secret ingredients making up the winning sub.

I get to launch the first clue for you guys – so here it is: I’m a weapon of choice in an annual Spanish festival. Click here to enter and for T&C’s. Good luck!

Comment [25]



Super Easy Malt Milk Chocolate Pretzel Tart

17 February 2014, 00:41

Comment [22]

I had a mega craving for a malt milkshake this past week so I went out and bought a tin of malt powder and while sculling my gloriously malty milkshake I decided some kind of dessert with malt was needed in my life. Side note: I made Noods a malt milkshake and he said it was too malty. TOO MALTY?! No such thing!!

Anywhos a quick search on the interwebs brought me to a recipe by Dessert Girl which looked pretty damn easy and we all know how much I heart easy recipes! I’ve tweaked it a bit because I didn’t want to use dark chocolate and had to make do with what I had at home. Ready? Let’s go!

For the crust:
135g pretzels
65g salted butter, melted
2Tb caster sugar

For the ganache:
200g milk chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup malt powder

Preheat (fan forced) oven to 160C. Blitz pretzels and sugar into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until mixture is combined. If mixture is too crumbly add more melted butter.

Press pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 20cm diameter tart tin. Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until golden and crust feels firm. Leave to cool while making the ganache.

Combine cream and malted milk powder in a small saucepan. Stir continuously and bring just to a boil over medium-high, then remove from heat. Add in the chocolate and stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into tart shell and refrigerate for about an hour until set.

When you are ready to serve, take the tart out about 15-20 minutes in advance to let it warm up slightly. Carefully cut up a whole bunch of Maltesers. Only cut the Maltesers as you are about to serve otherwise the insides goes soft.

Whack the halves on top and tadah!

The ganache is a bit on the sweet side but the pretzels balances this with a hit of salt and oh the malt-y goodness!

Comment [22]



Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks, Central Park

9 February 2014, 20:32

Comment [19]

MEGA CRISPY CHICKEN THE SIZE OF MAH FACE!!! So like, I was reading a post by Street Food on Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks and found myself staring at all the food pics and strangely the logo just looked so familiar. It took a while but I realised I’d eaten at this chain quite a few times when I was in Malaysia with my brother when we couldn’t decide what to eat when we were wee younger tykes who at the time didn’t appreciate eating at roadside food stalls (oh the shame).

So I grabbed Helen and set off to their Central Park location (Kiosk 207, Level 2 Food Court, 28 Broadway, Chippendale) – they also have outlets in the Devonshire St Tunnel near UTS and one in Kingsford opposite Manpuku Ramen. Also, side note: I freaking love the pixel designs by Eboy at Central Park! I’m a nerd so I’ve got 3 jigsaw puzzles framed :P

So this is the XXL Crispy Chicken ($7.50) and while they offered to cut it into pieces I really wanted to eat it whole. The super thin piece of chicken was crumb coated and then freshly fried and doused with a liberal sprinkle of chilli powder. While it did taste a little floury in some parts I still loved it because hey deep fried chicken is my friend.

Considering my brother has issues with oysters I’m not sure why he kept ordering the Handmade Oyster Mee Sua ($7.50) over the years! Obviously I can’t compare this Mee Sua to the taste of Taiwanese Mee Sua because I’ve never been to Taiwan but if I compare this Sydney version to the Malaysia version it tastes pretty much identical to my slowly deteriorating memory.

The soup is thick and is sweet, spicy and slightly sour at the same time. There was signage advising the Mee Sua to be eaten with just a spoon and the noodles are easily spooned up along with 3 plump oysters lurking under a pile of what I think is shredded chicken floss. The coriander brightens up the soup but I would’ve liked about 10 x more coriander because I heart coriander.

I was devastated when they told me that their Central Park location didn’t have the Crispy Salt Pepper Mushrooms ($5) because it was a seasonal item. No deep fried mushrooms for me. WEEPS. So I got the Sweet Plum Potato Fries ($5) instead because well, I wanted something else fried for my arteries. And they were tasty for 5 smackerooneys, burningly hot from the fryer, surprisingly crispy edges and soft sweet insides dusted with a sour plum salt that was lip smackingly tangy.

I’d go back again for the XXL chicken because I like all things novelty and really, nothing beats the taste of childhood.

Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks on Urbanspoon

Comment [19]