Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bodega 1904 - Forest Lodge - Sydney, Australia

Happy Australia Day! For those in Australia, I hope you all had an amazing day celebrating this national day. I'm thankful for being able to live in this beautiful country. We managed to catch the fireworks at our local beach in Cronulla. 

Back to posting about Sydney's local dining scene.

As part of the restoration of the Rozelle Tramway Depot, Tramshed is the new food destination at Harold Park, bringing together a number of famous restaurants and newbie eateries in a European style setting.

The space is open, airy and industrial looking with a warehouse feel. There’s even an unused tramcar on display. 

Bodega 1904 is a joint collaboration between Bodega and Porteno.

They serve a range of Spanish and Latin American inspired tapas which you wouldn’t usually find at a typical restaurant, taking a spin on the classics with a modern interpretation.  The food here is meant for sharing, even the mains. That’s a positive as you get to try more right?

We started with the ‘smoked eggplant, caramelized baby onions and goats milk feta ($14.00)’. Rich, slightly smoky and creamy. This was divine and reminded me very much of the Lebanese baba ganoush. The eggplant was wonderfully smooth to the palate and really tasty. 

The ‘Polish salami and picked chilli ($12.00)’ complemented well with the other tapas dish. The thinly shaved salami was slightly salty with hints of spice from the cracked pepper. Be warned the pickled chilli is hot, very hot. 

The tapas were eaten with fluffy ‘1904 Sourdough Bread ($4.00)’, served with a side of creamy cultured butter which was absolutely delicious we ordered another serving. 

‘Smoked pigs head sausage, crispy potatoes and plum sauce ($24.00)’, is a popular dish on Instagram so we decided to order it. The plump pork sausage was juicy, moist and bursting with flavour. The pureed mash potato was velvety and the fried shreds of potato went well with it, adding a crunch factor.

Usually I’m not too keen on trying lamb when they’re on menus as I find that that the meat is too gamey if not cooked correctly. The ‘roast lamb neck, chickpea, pistachio, preserved lemon and sorrel ($38.00)’ here was pretty amazing.  Perfectly roasted, the meat fell off the bone and melted in the mouth. It was so soft and tender.

The dishes here are simple and homely, made using fresh ingredients but packed with loads of flavour. If you’re a wine enthusiast, they have a boutique wine store in house.  Delicious food with great company is always a winning combination. 

1 Dalgal Way
Forest Lodge NSW 2037

Phone no: 02 8624 3133

Opening Hours
Monday – Thursday: 12pm to 11pm
Friday: 12pm to 12am,
Saturday: 10am to 12am
Sunday: 10am to 10pm


Bodega 1904 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Siji Minfu Restaurant 四季民福 - Dongcheng - Beijing, China

Beijing is a beautiful city. These photos were taken at Beihai Park within the Imperial City. 

Browsing through Wangfujing Snack Street was an interesting experience.

There are all kinds of wonderful and exotic things such as fried bugs, insects and star fish. Anything take your fancy?

You can even buy a packet of pre-packed Peking Duck to take home if your country's custom permits.

A trip to Beijing is not complete until you try at least one Peking Duck and by that I mean the real thing. A short walk from the markets and we arrived at our next dining destination.

Siji Minfu Restaurant is located in Dengshikou and is rated by many as having the best Peking Duck in Beijing. 

It’s busy and crowded with locals, foreigners and tourists. There were people waiting inside and outside. One takes a ticket and then waits for a table.

We expected to wait an hour but time ticked by and it approached two hours, then we lost track of time afterwards. Our hungry bellies were no longer as hungry as we got sick of waiting. But how could one leave after waiting so long already. We were awfully tired from the day tour but one must persevere for good food or so we hoped. 

They have an extensive menu but their specialty is the traditional Peking Duck. The menu is in English and Chinese which makes ordering relatively simple even though the waiters speak minimal English. All items are affordable and won’t break your wallet.

A complimentary serving of ‘Jujubes (Chinese Dates)’ arrives at the table first as an appetizer on a bed of dry ice. The fruit is crunchy and sweet. 

This restaurant offers a half size or full size duck. We opted for the 'Half Size Peking Duck (RMB 108.00)'.

The skin is glossy, thinner and crispier than Quanjude. I much preferred the texture of the duck here as there was no greasy or oily aftertaste. 

The plate of duck is placed on top of a candle heating element so the meat doesn’t go cold.

Paper thin ‘Pancakes (RMB 6.00)’ are steamed in a basket.

There is a variety of ‘Condiments (RMB 5.00)’ on offer such as ginger, garlic paste and sugar. 

The duck is curved table side and then a demonstration is given by the waiter on the technique used to wrap a pancake. 

A light and milky 'Duck Soup' is a nice palate cleaner.

‘Kung Pao Chicken (RMB 39.00)’ was unfortunately disappointing. A Sichuan spicy stir fry dish consisting of chicken, onions and peppercorns.  I found the sauce used overpowering and it just didn't have that wow factor. 

We also ordered a plate of ‘Poached Kai-lan (RMB 36.00)' as we were craving some greens.

While the food was decent and the duck was delicious, we found that the waiting time outweighed this and made the experience not so enjoyable. I recommend going before 6pm to avoid the nasty long waits or be prepared to wait a long time.

32 Dengshikou W St,
Dongcheng Qu
Beijing Shi
China 100006

Phone no: +86 10 6513 5141 

Opening Hours
7 Days a Week
10:30am – 10:30pm


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant 全聚德 - Qianmen - Beijing, China

Continuing on with the China travel posts, we now move onto the city of Beijing. The city I have wanted to visit since I was a child.  Beijing is the capital city of China and a highly populated city behind Shanghai. It retains a lot of the old and ancient architecture whilst also combining the new and modern.

We stayed here for a total of five days.  Visiting the tourist sites was part of our agenda which included places such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and The Great Wall of China to name a few. 

A city so rich in culture it’s fascinating to be able to witness this in a span of a week. Seeing the Great Wall of China was beyond my imagination. The sheer size and scale of it cannot just be observed in pictures. It’s part of the Seven Wonders of the World for a reason and if you haven’t been, do attempt to make a visit to this historical site. 

When one asks what to eat in Beijing, the answer would usually be along the lines of Peking duck. It originates from Beijing and is the one thing that must be eaten when one is in town. There are an abundance of restaurants to choose from and choosing one might be quite a challenge. From my research, these three places including ‘Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant’, ‘Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant’ and ‘Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant’ have rated highly on a number of lists.  

The Chinese people and even tourists are willing to queue for good food. If there is a queue at the front of a restaurant, that says a lot.

So on a wet and miserable night, we braved the rain and lined up for Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant.

There is the restaurant on one side and there is an express restaurant on the other which serves only the Peking Duck and side dishes. We joined the line for the express and waited for about 15 minutes before getting a table.

It’s one of the oldest establishments, having opened since 1864.  There are multiple branches across China with the original branch being located in Qianmen. With a history of over 150 years, it’s sure to be awesome right? Each duck is roasted in ovens fired by fruit tree wood which gives it a unique fragrance and taste.

It’s bright, noisy, loud and crowded inside. A casual restaurant that is by no means formal which is what we like. You get the local dining experience.

We queued up for the express restaurant. The menu is in both English and Chinese. The waiter could not speak English but we managed to point at what we wanted and got what we wanted despite the language barrier.

The ‘Pickled Cucumber’ is a cold side dish with hints of vinegar. I didn’t really like this as the sourness was too much for me but it’s a nice balance to the duck to be consumed later on.

We ordered the ‘Whole Peking Duck’. Each duck is carved near the table and one can observe the technique used to slice the thing layers of that crispy skin and meat. The waiter points at the duck carver and I quickly rush to catch a photo opportunity. 

Four generous plates of meat with skin arrive at the table. 

The skin is glistening, slightly fatty and crispy. One bite and the skin melted in the mouth. The meat is juicy and flavoursome. Oh so good!

A stack of paper thin pancakes that's not too doughy and just the right thickness. 

Shallots and hoisin sauce.

This is wrapped together inside the pancakes. 

They also provide a constant flow of duck soup, a refreshing contrast to the otherwise heavy meal. We probably needed a serving of vegetables to balance out the meatiness.

We enjoyed our first Peking Duck experience in Beijing. It met our expectations of what an authentic Peking Duck constitutes. I do recommend this restaurant if you are looking to have decent Peking Duck at reasonable prices.

Peking Duck restaurant number 2 post to follow shortly! The longest time we have ever waited for a restaurant. Was it worth it?

No.32 Qianmen East Street
Dongcheng District

Opening Hours
7 Days a Week
11:00am – 1:30pm
4:30pm – 8:00pm