30 September 2010

MUMU Grill: All-You-Can-Eat Ribfest, Crows Nest (22 Sept 2010)

70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Ribfest Jenga

I arrive for my 8 pm booking with an entourage of 7 carnivores to MUMU Grill's fully booked Ribfest night. After a short wait we're seated outside with a menu list of 3 courses including lamb, pork and beef ribs with chips and salad all for $40. A nice tasting hand crafted 4 Pines Kolsch ($8) wets my appetite for the protein overload ahead. Course 1 is my favourite of the night with smokey tasting Lamb Ribs with Black Pepper full of flavour, and the sweeter Lamb Ribs cooked in honey and soy. For me there's the right balance of meat, grizzle, char factor and flavour I've been hoping to find. Course 2 is a higher stack of Pork Spare Ribs Cajun spiced with orange cola marinade which don't really have any bones and is more a large cut of pork with a considerable amount of fat attached while the long USA Pork Baby Back Ribs in MUMU BBQ Sauce could have been more smokey char for my liking but the flavour was quite nice.

The final Course 3 of Beef Short Ribs with coriander garlic and chilli was the most disappointing because it was more like a large chunk of meat with no bone and we couldn't really taste the coriander, garlic and chilli. The Beef Short Ribs with MUMU BBQ Sauce didn't have enough smokey char factor and unfortunately had a fair amount of fat and grizzle compared to meat on the large bone. The chips and salad were good but it was all about the ribs tonight. Wanting to end on a good note we order another plate of the course 1 lamb ribs which hit the spot once again. Our final height of bone jenga was close between the 2 teams of 4 people and thankfully no one left home hungry that's for sure.

Other visits to MUMU Grill:
29 Mar 2011 - Porkestra The Encore
22 Sept 2010 - Ribfest (Lamb, Pork and Beef ribs)
31 Aug 2010 - Lambageddon Dinner
3 Feb 2010 - Beer Tasting Dinner
15 Aug 2009 - Lunch Express Menu, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Eye Fillet, Zucchini Flowers
30 April 2009 - Take It Slow Wine Dinner, Mr Riggs Wines, Jamon, Saltbush lamb, Double roasted duck, Brown sugar pavlova

PROS: All you can eat so you won't leave hungry, Nice decor and seating, Hand crafted beers available
CONS: Event books out quickly, Can get very noisy inside
MUST TRY: Lamb Ribs with Black Pepper

Ribfest menu of ribs, salad and chips ($40)

Course 1: Lamb Ribs with Black Pepper, Lamb Ribs cooked in honey and soy

Lamb Ribs with Black Pepper

Lamb Ribs cooked in honey and soy

Course 2: Pork Spare Ribs Cajun spiced with orange cola marinade, USA Pork Baby Back Ribs in MUMU BBQ Sauce

USA Pork Baby Back Ribs in MUMU BBQ Sauce

Pork Spare Ribs Cajun spiced with orange cola marinade

Course 3: Beef Short Ribs with coriander garlic and chilli, Beef Short Ribs with MUMU BBQ Sauce

Beef Short Ribs with MUMU BBQ Sauce

Beef Short Ribs with coriander garlic and chilli



Rib carnage left over bones by 8 rib lovers

4 Pines Kolsch ($8)

Chef Craig Macindoe

Ribs cooking in the kitchen

Inside dining

Outside dining

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Mumu Grill on Urbanspoon

29 September 2010

Singapore Shiok!*: Chicken Rice, Haymarket (29 Sept 2010)

Eating World Harbour Plaza food court
Shop 213, 25-29 Dixon Street, Haymarket NSW 2000

My NEW favourite Chicken Rice

If shiok means 'an expression of satisfaction' then Singapore Shiok is a gem waiting to be discovered by all Singaporean and Malaysian food lovers in Sydney.

One of the joys of having a food blog is you sometimes get recommendations from readers which lead to great finds. Thanks to Eve who commented on my Malacca Straits post in recommending Singapore Shiok!*. Tucked away in the same food court that brings you one of Sydney's most blogged ramens from Gumshara is the basic and unassuming looking Singapore Shiok!* which looks like it might be closed but it's not. It's been open since April 2010 and takes up the position of where KL Kopitiam used to be. Currently they serve only 9 classic dishes which are cooked to order and that's why the bain-marie is all empty and not used. Less is more as they say and in this case it seems to be true. I'm hoping they might introduce some entrees like Chicken Satay or the elusive Popiah.

The Chicken Rice ($8.80) decorated with cucumber and tomato slices is wonderfully silky and moist as one would hope to find in Sydney, but rarely does. I order the thigh which is thankfully boneless — a rare treat to find from city eateries which usually leave the bones and more often than not will be splintered. The accompanying rice is flavoursome enough with chicken stock and ginger notes to my liking — better than many places which serve plain rice or less flavoursome versions. The thick sweet kecap manis is quite strong in flavour so I use it sparingly and the chill sauce with fresh ginger goes well with the dish. The cloudy looking side soup is the only let down for me which is overly spiced with white pepper and I wish it was more a clear style soup with chinese vegetable like
Jaya Malaysian — one can only hope. The best chicken rice in the city I've had to date is at
Sayong Curry & Laksa Malaysian Cuisine but Singapore Shiok!* is now my preferred leader. I look forward to trying their other dishes — the hor fun I spotted looked generous and very promising.

Other visits to Singapore Shiok!*:
6 Oct 2010 - Har Mee
30 Sept 2010 - Hor Fun with Seafood
29 Sept 2010 - Chicken Rice

Other places tried for Chicken Rice:
Singapore Shiok!* - 29 Sept 2010
Malacca Straits - 23 Jan 2010
Yummy Chinese - 20 Jan 2010
Laksa House - 24 Sept 2009
Laksa King - 16 Sept 2009
Malaysian Food House - 18 Aug 2009
Malay-Chinese Takeaway - 6 Aug 2009
Mc Lucksa - 5 Aug 2009
Jaya Malaysian - 29 July 2009

PROS: Silky and moist chicken, No bones, Decent flavoured rice, Reasonable prices
CONS: Side soup has too much white pepper taste for my liking, Need to wait for orders to be cooked, Food court tables aren't cleaned as regularly as hoped when busy
MUST TRY: Chicken rice and all other dishes on the menu to compare especially the Hor Fun, Laksa, Char Kway Teow and Har Mee.

Hainanese Chicken Rice ($8.80)

Sweet kecap manis and chill sauce with fresh ginger

Side soup

Moist chicken with no bones — thigh ordered.

Bone factor — only a small knuckle grizzle found

Menu — 9 dishes

Service counter

Food court seating

Entrance to Eating World food court

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Singapore Shiok!* on Urbanspoon

meet fresh: Taiwanese Dessert House, Haymarket (29 Sept 2010)

13 Goulburn Street, Haymarket NSW 2000

Fresh place in Chinatown

What should I try?

I don't think I've ever tried Taiwanese dessert before and with all the people waiting for their orders it might be a while longer before I do. I've hear the lines for this place have been as long as Mamak's. Firstly, I notice all the people waiting around the entrance where the service counter is which makes it very difficult if not impossible to view the menu — this place is so badly designed in terms of customer traffic. I caught a glimpse of the menu items over peoples head but it's all Taiwanese to me so I've got no idea what I would order. After perusing the menu online I've still got no idea what I would order so I need recommendations — there's so many choices. Perhaps I'll just need to start with menu item 1 of Taro Balls Dessert 1? The name of the place is very odd to me, reminds me of Fresh Meat aka Meat Market as in bars where you meet people. Also I'm not sure if it's 'meet fresh', 'Meetfresh' or 'Meet Fresh' which doesn't seem to be consistent on their website — I've gone for 'fresh meet' as per their store signage. I wonder if this place will be competition for LNC Dessert House.

Other visits to Meet Fresh:
15 July 2011 - Introduction to Taiwanese desserts
29 Sept 2010 – Just passing by

PROS: Something different to try, Seating available
CONS: Chaotic service counter area when busy
MUST TRY: Working out what to order and if it's worth trying

Helm Bar: Drinks with a water view, Darling Harbour, Sydney (16 April 2010)

Aquarium Wharf, Wheat Road, Darling Harbour NSW 2000

Water views ahoy

A casual drink stop brings me to the extensive sized Helm Bar with plenty of seating. With a Gin & Tonic in hand and a balcony spot with water views it fills the spot for an end of week breather. Currently there's weekly specials from the bistro including 'Get Schnit Faced' Chicken schnitzel with fries and salad for $13 on Mondays, 'All You Can Eat Mussels' on Wednesday and Thursday for $19.95, and 'Prawntastic' on Saturday and Sunday for a kilo of prawns at $25. I've noticed mixed reviews on Eatability giving it a very low score of 4.7 after 21 reviews with most negative comments about the service — hopefully things are getting better. A comprehensive Vanity bar is available in the toilet for those in need of supplies.

PROS: Water views, Bistro weekly specials, Plenty of seating
CONS: Noisy when crowded, Questionable service on Eatability
MUST TRY: The bistro food to compare with other places

Helm ahoy

Water views from balcony deck

Inside bar and seating

Deck setting

Downstairs seating

Vanity bar in the men's toilet

28 September 2010

Courthouse Hotel: Beer Garden and Pub Bistro, Newtown (26 Sept 2010)

202 Australia Street, Newtown NSW 2042

It's all about the beer garden

On a sunny day this locals pub is bound to be buzzing in the beer garden. All walks of life come to this watering hole which has a fairly reasonably priced bistro. Jugs of your favourite tap beer will fill 3 schooners and during the week there's special for only $10 of Coopers and Bulmers — check out the What's On board. I love the fun hand cut posters located around the beer garden of how to behave. Fairly standard wedges and nachos were OK as a stomach filler but nothing particularly special. Pick a nice day, head there early and grab a spot and soak up the very local Newtown atmosphere.

PROS: Extensive outdoor seating, Reasonably priced meal specials, Funny signage, Pinball machines
CONS: Hard to find a spot to sit when busy, Limited street parking, Can get very noisy
MUST TRY: Crowd watching, $15 Long Island Iced Tea jugs on Thursdays sounds like a winner

Lemon, lime and bitters

Carlton Draught jug fills 3 glasses (approx $12)



Outside seating and beer garden

Funny signage

AFL games on TV

On tap Carlton Dry $5 schooner, $14 Jug

What's on specials

Monday - Friday lunch specials $10

Pinball room

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