How's this for a NYE balcony view?! On New Years Eve I attended a party at my Sydney uncle's apartment in Milsons Point (which I've previously raved about here). The view of the fireworks was pretty goddamn spectacular, as you can see.
Oh, SYDNEY. More fireworks photos can be seen here.
And here are three quick reviews of the other culinary highlights from my brief stay in that beautiful, crazy city to the north.
Bird Cow Fish
500 Crown Street, Surry Hills (map)
(02) 9380 4090
On this visit to Sydney I stayed at the apartment of my charming friend Beatch, in Surry Hills. The two of us went out one morning for brunch (I was keen to check out the Bourke Street Bakery, but alas it had not yet opened for 2010). We decided instead to have a light lunch at Bird Cow Fish, a restaurant I like a lot but whose name I am destined to never remember correctly ("so it's Chicken and Cow... and Fish, right?").
Mains are around the $35 mark, but we just had an entree each. I couldn't go past the house made gravalax with celeriac remoulade and croutons ($18.50), gravalax and celeri rémoulade being two of my very favourite foods. Aye, it's delicious, but I wish the celeri rémoulade hadn't had so much parsley in it. But the gravalax was very, very good - I especially liked the dill still encrusted on the edge. An excellent light meal.
Beatch ordered the potato gnocchi with prawn meat sauteed in burnt butter, verjuice, capers and crispy sage ($19.50). He adored it, and vowed he'll be returning soon to try our their dinner menu. We also shared a serve of marinated Yarra Valley feta on the side.
Chinese Noodle Restaurant
Shop TG7, Prince Centre, 8 Quay Street, Haymarket (map)
(02) 9281 9051
On another day, Beatch took me to a Chinese noodle restaurant he wanted me to try, called (appropriately enough) Chinese Noodle Restaurant.
Essentially, Chinese Noodle Restaurant is to Sydneysiders what Camy Shanghai Dumpling is to Melburnians: a grimy, hidden away but wildly popular restaurant serving cheap cheap dumplings that everyone likes to think is their little secret. Both restaurants have pages dedicated to them on facebook with hundreds of devoted fans.
We ordered Beatch's favourite dish on the menu, the spicy chicken salad ($9), which was a revelation. The chicken had been shredded very finely and the salty spices and dried chilli were completely addictive.
Sadly we didn't order any of the signature Xinjiang handmade noodles, which are made and stretched on the premises, visible to restaurant patrons via a peep show window.
We did however order a perfectly cromulent serve of ma po tofu ($9.80), some excellent steamed pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings ($8.80 for 12) and some pan fried egg and chive dumplings ($8.50 for 12) for Miss A, Beatch's delightful and (mostly) vegetarian housemate. The vegetarian dumplings had been fried for a little too long but were otherwise very good.
The Chinese Noodle Restaurant ceiling is kitted out with a canopy of plastic grapevines, and the walls are adorned with thick tapestries depicting Northen Chinese pastoral scenes. Oddly enough, it works.
Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills (map)
(02) 9699 1011
Given the hijinks and mayhem that ensued on my final night in Sydney, I was feeling quite the happy but fragile panda the morning after. With Beatch at work, Miss A suggested that a coffee and bite to eat at the Bourke Street Bakery might go a long way towards restoring me to my usual self before my flight.
There is almost ALWAYS a queue stretched out the door of Bourke Street Bakery - and with good reason. If this Melbourne Gastronome ever ends up becoming Sydney Gastronome, I will live in Surry Hills in order to be near this bakery.
I ordered a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice (or, as I prefer to call it, Elixir of Life, $3). No matter how hungover I am, FSOJ never fails to revive me.
I knew I had to try one of their famous sausage rolls. Miss A ordered a vegetarian roll, but which would I choose? Would it be the lamb, harissa and almond? The beef, veal and olive?
No, it was the pork and fennel sausage roll ($4). Dee-licious. Just look at those fennel seeds! That pastry!
But if I thought the sausage roll was good, I was in for a treat when I ordered the famous strawberry and vanilla brulée tart ($4.40). The inspiration for an entire blog post of food erotica moaning its praises, the tart's combination of vanilla custard, strawberry, SUPERIOR pastry and a satisfyingly fork-crackable burnt sugar lid was sin personified. More please.
Miss A chose the other brulée tart, flavoured with ginger and topped with pistachio. Also $4.40, also delicious. Excellent coffees, too.
Thank you, Bourke Street Bakery, for bringing me back to life. I really hope we meet again soon. xox