Friday, May 30, 2014

The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

The ground of Alexandria. Who doesn't know this place. A lot of blog posts have been written, hundreds of pictures was posted up in urbanspoon and I have read pages of reviews about this place. The conclusion from most of the reviews said that the foods are average but the atmosphere and the environment are pretty. This review is a compilation of my 3 visits to The Grounds ;p

I decided to check this place out on a one beautiful Thursday at 2PM, I specially took a day off work just to go here cause I know that the queue on the weekends can be sooooo longgg!! That day, I only had a takeaway smoothie and a cup of flat white for Bebski and took some pictures while the place was not very crowded.
The entrance from The Potting Shed restaurant. So pretty! To the left is the restaurant and to the right is where Kevin Bacon Lives :) 

The place is so wide that they have some pointers to make sure you know where you're going. There is also an ATM machine inside the red phone booth.

Apart from the cafe, they have several carts of foods and drinks around the area. Freshly squeezed lemonade and orange? takeaway coffee or maybe some salad, nibbles on a light pastry or a sweet dessert, u name it.. they have everything here! A beautiful florist too! 
For those of you with kids, don't worry. Your kids will definitely like this place as they also provides Kids Area with slides and stuff.

Yep, that's the queue on Thursday 2PM!!! Amazing right.. I don't think this place has ever been quite at all!

Lucious looking fruit pastries on display!!! They can be a wallet rip off if you can't stand the temptation of those gorgeous delicious treats...

Inside the cafe, for takeaway customers, they provide the on-the-go water dispenser filled with lemons and herbs. So you can help yourself for the water ^^

So for my second visit, I went with my Siblings for Breakfast. The queue was not too bad and within 15minutes we were seated. My Brother got the Capuccino and I got the Chai latte. In my opinion, the chai latte is too milky that it lacks the strong spicy cinnamon and herbs in it. It's still good though but I quite like my Chai latte to have more spice in it :)

I ordered the The Grounds 'Soldier'. It is soft boiled eggs coated with quinoa and seeds crumb then deep fried, served with Crispy Polenta. The dish itself is quite interesting to me, the idea of using quinoa as a crumb to the eggs create a well match texture to the soft moist eggs. To be honest.. I do think that the price is quite expensive for the dish.
The Grounds 'Soldier' $18/$19
My sister got the egg on toast and she also ordered 2 sides, which is the spicy lamb sausage served with kipfler potatoes (Which I don't have a photo of it) and Croquettes filled with cheese and lemon.

Eggs on toast $12/$14 
Croquettes $4.50
My brother on the other hand, needs the bulk! So he got the Breakfast burger which consists of fried eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomato relish, cheese and spicy mayo served with Polenta Chips. The buns is moist and the polenta chip is crispy and fluffy.

Breakfast Burger $16
That is the end of our breakfast. We finished at around 11:45PM when they start preping for lunch and there we just remembered that they serve different menus from the breakfast! The lunch menu looks great! And so we decided to come back here again bringing our Mom cause we thought she'll love the place :)

Second visit was on a Monday and yes I took a day off again ;P When we arrived, it was around 1PM and the queue . ....... OMG.. so longggg :( We waited for almost 25mins? I saw the looked on my mom face signalling that she's not happy.. Apparently she hasn't had any breakfast that day and to wait just to have something to eat furious her....

This time I tried the iced coffee which is lovely and I got the Beef ragout Stracci which is a slow cooked beef ragout with handmade pasta, served with parsley and grated parmesan. The beef is so juicy and melt in the mouth.. The sauce of the pasta is great. The negative thing from it is just some of the pasta is undercooked. But overall, I like the dish and I would recommend it to everyone :)

Beef Ragout Stracci $19
My brother got the Beef short ribs on parsnip puree served with shaved brussels, garden peas, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. Unfortunately he is not a fan of truffle oil and so am I, so we found the dish not as great. But my sister loved it and she would come back for it again. Don't get me wrong though, the short ribs are flavourful and juicy! it's just a matter of liking the truffle oil or not :)

Beef Short Ribs $19
My mom as she is doesn't eat beef, ordered the Blue eye Trevalla which is a pan-fried fish served amongst kipfler potatoes, zhucchini flowers, speck and caper berries served with a sauce gribiche. Gribiche is a mayonnaise style cold eggs sauce in French Cuisine (looked it up in Wiki ;p). She said she liked the dish. Despite the queue, at least she got a delicious food.

Blue Eye Trevalla $19
My sister, she always wanted to try The Ground Burger and so she ordered it. There is nothing special to the burger I think, apart from the juicy beef and crispy chips. It's pretty ordinary :)

The Ground burger $19

For dessert, the strawberry tart.. pastry is crumbly and beautiful. The creamy custard is complemented by the tangy and fresh strawberry which is a match made in heaven :) 
Strawberry Tart $7

A Visit to Kevin in his House is a must if you visit this place hehehe...

Overall, it is a great place to eat and hang out. They change their menu every week so you won't 
be bored coming here.. :)

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

@ Bangkok, Haymarket

I'm so happy that my mom is here for almost a week now. That means home cooked meals and a clean house! But the unfortunate thing is that I can't have Korean food cause she only wants to eat Western and Thai foods. I brought her to Kao Pla last Sunday but apparently she was not impressed by the soft shell crab or the pork ribs but rather the Panang Curry. She went to @Bangkok before and she loves the foods there. And so as requested by her, we dined at Bangkok in haymarket AGAIN :)

Chicken Padthai is the first thing to come. My mom's friend particularly ordered this dish as he loves noodle! So he's keen to try the padthai here. Which in my opinion, is good but not great. The noodle is well cooked, still has that chewy texture and the dish is well seasoned too. It's just that the noodle is a bit dry and the chicken is not marinated as much :)
Chicken Padthai $13.90
I remembered the Pad Kra Pow in Bangkok used to be darker in colour but who cares as long as the flavour still delivers! I personally asked the dish to be spicy and the spiciness is up to my standard! I loved itt.... It has a balance flavour of the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. The basil is there but not too much. Just enough to give that herby note to it.
Pad Kra Pow Chicken $13.90
My mom's favourite, Panang curry. The sauce is creamy, smooth, full of flavour and mild. The curry flavour is not too overpowering and is really a perfect match to a warm Thai Jasmine Steam Rice..!!
Chicken Paenang Curry $13.90
They don't have my usual pork belly dish (Prik Khing Moo krob) but instead they have Pad Ped Moo krob. Maybe they are of the same dish? Basically it is crispy pork belly stir fried with red curry paste and veggies. The pork belly is more to the fatty side than dry and crispy which is not my sister favourite ;p I personally don't mind it. I think that the dish would be better if they can give more sauce in it.
Pad Ped Moo Krob $15.90
Another crispy pork based dish is this papaya salad called som tum moo krob. The salad is fresh, tangy and gives a good texture to our fatty and savoury meal. The pork belly is crispy and well seasoned.
Som Tum Moo Krob $16.90
Yum Pla Foo is a favourite dish of ours. Crispy mince fish topped with spicy and sour salad which consists of green apple, chilli, lemon juice, cashew nut, mint leaves, coriander and fish sauce. Another refreshing and tangy salad. As I wrote this review, I can't help it but realize that the salad dishes are more expensive than the meat dishes ;P Don't know why.. Maybe veggies and fruits are more expensive? ....
Yum Pla Foo $16.90

Overall, It was a great meal, the place is not too crowded which is perfect to chat more after dinner. The service is very good as all of the staffs were helpful and attentive. And importantly, My mom's Thai food's craving has been fulfilled. She's happy and so am I :)

Another VISIT to Bangkok with MOM ^^

Before my mom leaves Sydney, One request from her is to dine here again at Bangkok. This time besides the Paenang Curry and Pad Kra Pow, We ordered the Chicken Stir fry with Basil and Chilli jam. I always love Thai Stirfry with their choice vegetables. It's colourful, vibrant and fresh! I do think that a bit more sauce would make the dish even better ^^

I forgot how delicious and flavourful their Kana Moo Krob is. The pork is jucy and crispy while the veggie still has its crunch and the oyster/soy sauce is amazing! It has that smoky wok aroma in the sauce and I seriously can't describe how good it is. Please do try this dish when u visit this place :)
@ Bangkok on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Sparrow's Mill - The Incredible Chicken, Sydney

Another fried chicken shop opened recently in Liverpool st. The displayed menus at the front of the shop looks so appealing that I decided to try the place out with bebski and Mr.P. I tried to look up online to check on their menu and nothing came up as it is really new. Not even a facebook page.
After much digging, I found that the menu is similar to the Red Pepper Club Chicken in Strathfield RSL. I might be wrong though :)

So we went on a Thursday night and the place was not too busy when we arrived. Their eftpos machine is not working yet and so we had to take out cash before ordering.
The waiter hardly speaks english so it was quite a struggle for us to order as Mr.P requested for the soup to be mild in spiciness.

I also spotted a different manner of eating in this restaurant. Usually the banchan is serve prior to any of the meal. Here, the banchan is serve along with the rice after one of our chicken dish came out. So we waited quite awhile before we can enjoy the side dishes.

It is also my first experience to have boiled eggs as one of the side dishes and also dried seaweeds which is quite oily. The fish cake does not impress me either, it is tough and almost tasteless. The taste of the kimch is like they have been taken out from the kimchi packed you can get from Korean store. But I love the soy beansprout :)

For the fried chicken, I ordered soy chicken and Black sesame Chicken. The Soy chicken came out first and after a bite of the dokbukki, we were wondering soy chicken got chilli pieces in it. It turned out that the chicken get switched. Luckily, we just had the dokbukki. Not long after that, the soy chicken came out. The soy sauce tasted like chinese herb medicine. Not really to our liking.. The picture below is of the spicy one. I forgot to take the soy chicken ones ;P

Spicy chicken $17 (Medium)
 The black sesame chicken on the other hand, is so delicious! boneless, tasty, crispy, juicy and flavoursome!! The mustard sauce complement the chicken really well. I would highly recommend this dish!!

Black Sesame Chicken $17
We would like to order Bossam at first but for $42, it is so not worthed! usually bossam is priced at $30. So we go with the seafood hotpot that is served with chewy udon noodle. The soup of the hotpot, I must say, is great! It has a smoky taste probably from the capsicum in it. But it tasted different that other korean hotpot. But different in a good way though! I also recommend this one :)

Seafood Hotpot $45
 I know it probably a bit more expensive that regular korean hotpot, but the seafood servings is so generous! There are a lot of prawns, mussels and squids!

Will we be back? Probably. 

The Sparrow's Mill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reuben Hills, SurryHills

An unplanned visit to Reuben Hills with Bebski, Mr.P and Mr.M on a Sunday afternoon. Arrived there at around 1:30PM and the place was still swarming with people queuing for tables. We had to wait for 15 minutes before we were seated.

Reuben Hills has been one of the brunch spot that I would really like to visit for quite a long time now. So I kinda know what I want to order based on other food blogger's review and pictures from Instagram ;P

Flat White $4

Mocha $4
The dish comes with pickled chilli, lime and tortilla wrap underneath. The batter of the chicken is good and crispy but I think that the chicken lacks flavour. I would like it to be more salty and meaty... Another good thing is that they use chicken breast which is low in fat and the meat is juicy and succulent.
Really fucking great fried chicken w/ chilli in a basket $18
At first, I was hesitant to order the dish as the description of it is just a sandwich and it's called the NOT Reuben? But apparently this is the most ordered dish among food blogger and other diners from Urbanspoon. So I took the risk and ordered it. I did not regret any bits of my decision! The wagyu is perfectly cooked with some smokiness and sweetness to it. The crunch from the coleslaw complement the food really well.
The Not Reuben $18

Mr.P ordered the Broken Omelette Roll which comes in a soft brioche and filled with scrambled eggs with fried crispy shrimp and bacon jam. What a great combo in a bun! This was my first option to order but I thank Mr.P for ordering it instead so I can taste the amazing wagyu brisket! :)
Broken Omelette Roll $14
Mr.M on the other hand was tempted by the term 'Soft boiled egg' and 'Chorizo' and so he got the baked eggs which also comes with spinach, ranchero and rye breads. The ranchero sauce is mild and I think I would prefer it to be richer in tomato and garlic.
Soft Baked Eggs $18
Another amazing brunch in Surry hills area. I must admit, I am falling in love with brunch now. I was really adamant that brunch is basically just a toast, egg and bacon that I can prepare at home before but now I looked at it from a whole other light and I will continue this brunch journey until I tasted everything Surry Hills can offer :}
Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon