Archive for September 2014

Pink Salt, Double Bay

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Pink Salt is located on the corner of Cross Street and Bay Street in Double Bay, and is open and airy and pink. While I would go to it purely because of its name (inspired from the pink sunsets that set over the salt water of Sydney's beautiful beaches), the food is amazing, and we also had the best service.

We went for an early lunch, so it was very quiet and we had the waiter's attention all to ourselves. I'm usually an annoying patron and I love asking the waiter what their favorite dish is, because I'm super indecisive about my food. 
The table had fresh wildflowers in mason jars, which I always love, and of course, little dishes of pink Murray River Sun Salt. 

I had a great chat with the owner, Evan Hansimikali, who shared with me some of the secret tips that are used to create such delicious food. The calamari, for example, is soaked in kiwi to make it tender and not chewy before being battered and fried. And it was really, really good.

He also told me about the fried chicken that they do, which we didn't have, unfortunately, which they sous vide for ages before battering and deep frying. On top of that, they churn their own ice cream, and have home grown herbs, and house baked bread, so it is all very natural and organic, with fresh, quality produce. 

The best part is that Pink Salt has great lunch specials, and sometimes deals on Groupon or LivingSocial. A friend of mine recently asked me if I thought restaurant deals on sites such as these were good, or if you got different or smaller portions of food. I thought about it for a while and I think good food is good food, and discounted (or free!) food is always the best food ;) 

Anyway, that aside, the next time I see one for Pink Salt, I'll be snapping it up. But even if I don't, I'll be back.

My indecisiveness = tasting platter for our entrees. Yes? Yes. I wish you could get tasting platter everything. Tasting platter entree, tasting platter main, tasting platter dessert. For the indecisive souls in the world like me. 

Tasting Plate: $22/person

Three Cheese Zucchini Flowers with Romesco
These were absolutely heavenly. Crisp and crunchy on the outside and creamy and cheesy and just so good on the inside. And deep fried veggies are the best - like veggie chips, and they remind me of the deep fried kale or basil you get when you have Thai fish cakes in Thailand. Mmm.

Pink Salt & Pepper Squid with Chilli & Coriander
The special kiwi trick obviously worked (apparently the acid breaks down the tough/cheweiness of the squid) because these were just the right amount of chewiness but not squishy and powdery, and the seasoning and perfect were just (insert Emoji of thumb and forefinger touching for universal symbol of 'okay'). Can't describe it any better than that. Perfect kick of spiciness with the chilli.

Pan-fried Tiger Prawns with Virgin Mary Shot & Celery Salt
A Virgin Mary shot is like a little shot of gazpacho with a little bit of spice, and the lemon for extra tanginess. It was delicious. I wish there was more. The prawns were good, with the crispy fried noodle bits that come with Chinese food.

Goats Curd & Baby Beets Salad with Spinach, Sweet Potato, Candied Walnuts & Hazelnut Vinaigrette
I loved this so much that I went home and replicated it for my lunch for the next three days. Yes, I have obsessions. Goats cheese + beets + candied walnuts = the top three best salad ingredients in the world. I encourage you all to add caramelized walnuts into everything you ever eat.

And onto the mains.

Grass Fed Fillet of Beef (200g) $39
with paris mash, mushroom duxelle, wilted spinach & merlot jus

I really love mash. I used to say that potatoes were my favorite vegetable (so versatile! so easy! so delicious!) but it's now broccoli, which I eat almost every day. But anyway - the mash was good. Creamy, delicious, smooth, buttery. Super healthy.
And the beef - perfectly medium rare, succulent and juicy, and those grill lines. (insert above Emoji again) 

Confit Duck Leg $34
with paris mash and steamed greens 

I had a lot of trouble picking my main, and in the end I had to ask the waiter to tell me his favorite. He said the duck, and there was no duck on the menu for lunch! But the way he had described it made me really, really, really want it, so he went to ask the chef if she could make it... and she said yes!

The verdict: The waiter was correct, and it was every bit as delicious as it looks in the picture, maybe even better, and I loved it and want more. 

In summary, always ask your waiter for help because they know what's best. He recommended the dessert as well.

Chocolate Ganache Bar $14
with vanilla ice cream, vanilla sauce, berry compote and walnut powder

So deliciously rich, and the acidity of the berry compote balanced it perfectly. 

In (a final) summary, I loved eating here and would definitely go back again. It was lovely at lunch, with all the light streaming in from the giant glass windows, and Evan said that there's a lunch special at least once a week.


Discover Rome through Italian Cuisine

Monday, 8 September 2014

I'm so sorry about the very long delay between posts! Thanks to everyone who has messaged me privately to see what I've been up to - it's very much appreciated! I'm back and promise regular updates (:

I have for you today a guest post from Emily Jones, a freelance travel writer, who has kindly written about Italian food in Rome. 

I loved Rome, and Italy as a whole because the food was so, so, so good. The pasta. And the pizza. And the cheese. Anyway, I'll let Emily take it from here!

Rome is known for its ancient history, architectural beauty and most importantly, the Italian cuisine. Roman dishes are wonderfully unique as they are delicious, making it a culinary experience as much as it can be an artistic or historical journey. Traditional Roman food is rich and delicious, made from the freshest local ingredients that come from the Lazio region. Many people have yet to discover what Roman cuisine truly is, and just like you won’t find in Rome a truly authentic Bolognese sauce or Neapolitan pizza, it is definitely the right place to indulge in real Roman food. So take in the true flavors of the city and if you are traveling to Rome in the near future check this site for accommodation.

Roman food is delicious yet simple, and this mantra is perfectly embodied by the dish known as tonnarelli cacio e pepe. Made up of only Pecorino cheese, black pepper and leftover pasta water it is much more delectable than it should be. All of this comes together to create a cheesy creamy pasta dish without any oil added, truly an artistic balanced creation when cooked to perfection. Two of the best places to try this eternal dish are Felice on Via Mastro Giorgio and Antica Pesa on Via Garibaldi.

The most savory Roman dish is by far saltimbocca alla romana, made with veal medallions skewered together with prosciutto crudo and sage, covered with a white wine sauce. Try this at Ristorante Hostaria Romana on via del Boccaccio to get the best experience. Another savory dish is the ever-famous spaghetti alla carbonara, a rich pasta dish with a sauce made from eggs, pecorino cheese, pancetta and black pepper. Go to La Carbonara on via Panisperna for some truly authentic and delicious Roman carbonara.

Roman cuisine has also been defined by the Jewish population, which has inhabited the city since the age of antiquity. One of the most Jewish Roman dishes is carciofi alla giudea, a wonderful way of preparing artichokes. It is made by beating the artichoke against a hard surface until the pedals open, and then deep-fried to perfection. The Jewish ghetto in Rome has some of the best carciofi and site seeing, so be sure to find this Roman treat there. 

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