By day Gaku Robata Grill in Darlinghurst serves soul warming bowls of ramen but by night their Japanese menu with French techniques shines. The silky chawanmushi with spanner crab meat and truffle sauce is perfection.
While Haru Inukai’s ramen is known to all the ramenheads in Sydney (please bring back the clam chowder!), for a truly spectacular meal you guys have got to go to Gaku Robata Grill in Darlinghurst for dinner! It’s a cosy space, with the best seats in the house up front at the counter. While Gaku’s name implies they have a robata grill unfortch the council hasn’t given them approval just yet so skewers are grilled on a gas grill but don’t let that deter you because the sashimi is fresh, the service is attentive and the food is bloody brilliant.
We start with the Tasmanian Sea Urchin Hand Roll ($15), a textural delight with a crisp sheet of seaweed holding plump grains of sushi rice and briny Australian short spine sea urchin.
Then the Classic selection of sashimi ($36) which comes with plump scallops, buttery salmon, tuna and kingfish.
When the lid of the Chawanmushi ($12) was removed, the incredibly heady scent of truffle enveloped us. The steamed egg was so unbelievably silky smooth and I loved the buried spanner crab treasure hunt and my oh my that truffle flavour was just sublime.
The Treasure Rice Bowl ($18) is a feast for the eyes, I mean just look at it! It’s so beautiful, a tasty work of art! This bowl was super comforting with warm sushi rice, a generous amount of soy marinated tuna, petals of glorious sea urchin and spoonfuls of salmon roe.
The Saikyo Miso Foie Gras ($45) was available as a special and has me just about swooning with happiness. It’s a pretty spectacular looking lobe of foie gras that’s marinated in a Saikyo miso paste which has a gentle sweetness to it. The edges are caramelised and crisp, giving way to an unctuously soft inside.
And last but certainly not the least, the Japanese full blood A5 (marbling score 12) Wagyu beef from Kagoshima ($43/100g). How much is 100g we ask ourselves and should we just order double? The answer is yes, yes you should because HOMG THIS WAS SO FRICKEN GOOD I DIE. The meat just MELTS in the mouth, it’s ridiculously tender and fatty and HNNNNNNG so flavourful like the most intensely steaky flavour ARGH ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS this was out of this world! There was an accompanying trio of condiments with Gaku’s special pepper sauce, smoked soy sauce and salt but I s2g it just didn’t need anything because it was so damn PERFECT.
Gaku Robata Grill
132 Darlinghurst Rd,
Trading Hours: (Ramen at lunch only)
Monday: 12 – 2pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 12 – 2pm, 6 – 10pm
Sunday: 12 – 2pm
Champeaux Restaurant is part of the Alan Ducasse empire in the Les Halles area with a contemporary French menu and the lightest lobster souffle in all the lands
One incredibly warm day while out exploring Paris, the boy and I stumbled into Champeaux Restaurant, part of the Alan Ducasse empire. We’d been checking out the Les Halles area and required sustenance and I just happened to recognise this restaurant from one of LTL’s IG posts from a while back. The feature wall of the restaurant has the menu displayed on those old school train schedule boards, fitting as the restaurant is right above the Chalet Les Halles metro station.
We couldn’t resist ordering the French onion soup ($12) after spying it at a neighbouring table. It was a deliciously soul warming soup packed with a truckload of sweet translucent onion. A slice of cheesy bread came on the side instead of floating in the soup and getting all soggy but ah how I wished there was a layer of melty cheese in the soup!
I had my heart set on a souffle, there was the option of a cheese souffle ($10) but the flavour of the week was the Lobster souffle ($12) which swayed me.
The waiter poked a small hole into the souffle before quickly pouring in the lobster bisque. The aroma of the bisque was just so incredibly heady and fragrant. The souffle is tall and impossibly light, I gleefully dig into the ethereal cloudlike innards with spoonfuls of the intense lobster bisque before all too soon it is demolished.
The 180g Charolais beef tartare ($21) was a good sized portion compared to other restaurants we had been where it’s normally a whole mountain of raw meat. It was nicely seasoned and we appreciated the side salad and hot chips but wished we had some bread to eat it with.
The Duck leg Parmentier ($18) wasn’t quite what I had in mind, I guess I just saw the word duck leg and assumed I’d be getting the duck whole but instead the dish was served more like a shepherd’s pie with morsels of shredded duck. It was fine but it was so incredibly rich and I was struggling to make a dent in this and had to admit defeat which meant not being able to try the chocolate souffle -_- woe is me.
Forum des Halles
7 days: 12pm – 12am
Bistro Guillaume Sydney serves French classics like the incredible twice baked souffle with roquefort sauce and the silkiest Paris mash known to mankind
Have you ever chosen to dine at a restaurant solely because of one item you’ve seen on the menu? That’s what happened when we spotted the Twice baked souffle with roquefort sauce ($21) and decided to visit Bistro Guillaume. I friggen love cheese souffles and this a must order. The souffle was the very definition of a cloud. One deliciously cheesy cloud! The souffle was so light and fluffy with a base hit of salty roquefort sauce. The souffle does come in different sizes and I definitely recommend getting the larger one especially if you’re sharing 😛
I’m not sure why but there was just something I couldn’t quite put a finger on why I didn’t like the Chicken liver parfait with pear chutney ($20). I think partly because of the texture as it wasn’t firm enough and felt a like it was on the verge of dissolving into a puddle of liver liquid. And maybe I was crazy but it tasted super metallic and bitter to me hmm moving along now
Our waiter knew we were sharing all the food so while it was nice of them to split the Grainge Signature 300 Day Grain Fed Steak Frites ($48) for us (and we’re pretty sure we got more fries than normal), I kinda wished the steak arrived whole because um FOR THE PICS but also lol when the tiny piece of steak arrived I was like Oh… It’s so smol. But the steak was great! It’s been ages since I’ve had a good steak and Bistro Guillaume nails it! Nicely seared on the outside but with a tender and juicy medium rare. While I love eggs, for some reason I have issues with bearnaise (and also hollandaise) sauce and for once it’s not a texture thing. But scraping the sauce to the side is an easy enough fix so I could enjoy the steak in all it’s true steaky form.
The Confit duck leg ($42) is a beauty with juicy and incredibly tender meat and a tile of perfectly crisp skin. I sneakily dug around for the roasted brussel sprouts buried under the duck and loved the fresh pops of pomegranate.
The Cauliflower gratin ($15) was a pretty generous serving, and oh so cheesy with a deliciously tasty breadcrumb crust.
But the Paris mash ($12)! My god please bury me in that mash! Ridiculously smooth and buttery and just so delicious I could eat this forever.
There’s just something about a dessert trolley displaying perfectly arranged treats that speaks to me. Everything on the Petit fours trolley was $2 each and a definite must order is their salted caramels! Perfect balance of sweet and salty, it’s chewy but it won’t stick to a molar and remove a filling.
Try this super easy Sizzler cheese toast recipe with only 3 ingredients to relieve the good ol days
I have extremely detailed memories of eating with my family growing up. Summers of eating KFC in the sweltering heat, dunking each scrap of chicken skin into the gravy and clutching steaming hot corn cobs. Weekends at Istana, freezing in their arctic restaurant, shovelling down piping hot plates of hokkien mee or Hainanese chicken rice. School arvo’s were spent at the corner store staring hopefully at the jars of 2c lollies but inevitably getting a bundle of hot chips showered with chicken salt and wrapped in butchers paper to share with my brother.
But one of my favourite memories was during school holidays and we’d trek to the Sizzlers for the all you can eat buffet and I’d get the cheapest meal possible just so I would have access to the baskets of cheese toast. Never mind the dessert bar with the allure of building a giant soft serve sundae topped with all the sprinkles, nope, it was those golden triangles of happiness that seared it’s way into my heart.
250g parmesan cheese (I happened to be at Costco and the grana padano cheese was on special)
250g salted butter, room temperature (do NOT use spreadable butter as this is way too oily and the cheese crust will melt)
White bread (about half a loaf)
Step 1. In a food processor dump in your parmesan and butter and blitz until smooth.
Step 2. Slather about a tablespoon worth of mixture onto your bread and spread evenly on one side only.
Layer a square of baking/parchment paper in between each slice or they will stick together.
Step 3. Important: FREEZE! If you skip this step the mixture won’t stick to the bread and will melt when you go to fry it!
Step 4. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and place the toast with cheesy butter side down into the pan.
Step 5. Cook until the bread on the top side is defrosted (about 2-3 mins) and check to see if the cheesy side is golden brown. Be warned a lot of oil will ooze out and you will question your life choices. Also if you lift the bread too soon there’s a chance your cheese mixture will slide off.
Step 6. Cut into triangles and immediately serve and reminisce about the good ol days.
FIRE! Lennox Hastie is at the helm of Firedoor where all cooking is done over fire.
I love fire. There’s something hypnotic watching flames, twisting and dancing to their own tune. Growing up out west where bushfires was the norm, I grew to love the smoky scent in the air, the headiness of the slightly burnt char scent on satay sticks grilled in the backyard or the gooey sweetness of marshmallows roasted at school camps. No this is not an admission to my slightly pyro ways but the reason I couldn’t wait to eat at Firedoor and celebrate Helen’s birthday.
We start with deliciously warm slices of woodfired bread ($8) with cultured butter and crunchy nubs of sprouted rye. I friggen love cultured butter oh man MOAR PLS! It’s creamy and rich, slightly tangy and oh so silky and perfect to be slathered inch thick onto the nutty, smoky bread.
I was blown away by the Swordfish, sugar snaps, buttermilk ($28). The swordfish was briefly kissed by flames before slicing and setting on top of the sweetest sugar snaps I have ever had. But the swordfish was beyond incredible, I believe the belly is used and it just melted in the mouth and was buttery and incredible. The buttermilk dressing (the liquid left behind after churning their house made butter) is nice and light, adding a touch of creaminess but without overpowering the fish.
And if you guys follow me on Instagram you’ll know about my recent obsession and the reason we were dining at Firedoor: The Scarlet prawn ($24)! This beautiful prawn tastes like a cross between a lobster and a scampi, with delicately sweet tasting flesh. But the prawn head is what it’s all about, use your hands and suck out all the prawny juices- it will be the most intensely prawn experience you’ve ever had!
Sadly since it was just Helen and I, we decided there was no way we could finish the 203 day dry-aged rib of beef ($176) so instead ordered the Wagyu flank, smoked eggplant, horseradish ($54) which was absolutely perfect. The steak is thickly sliced with a perfect caramelised crust and a juicy center. I was surprised the steak didn’t have more of a smoky flavour but the smoked eggplant sauce provided all the incredible sweet smokiness I needed so I could control the amount I wanted with each mouthful.
We ordered the Smoked white chocolate, cherry and coconut bombe ($20) for dessert, not really expecting too much but oh boy how I love the theatrics of the alcohol poured over the dessert and set on fire! It had the perfect balance of creamy richness from the chocolate and sweet tartness of the buried cherries with a nice crunch contrast of the coconut biscuit on the base.
22-33 Mary Street
Sunday – Wednesday: Closed
Thursday – Friday: 12 – 3pm, 5:30 – 10:30pm
Saturday: 5:30 – 10:30pm