Goobne – Darling Square

Sydney

Where: Goobne, Darling Square Shop, 16e Tumbalong Bvd, Haymarket NSW 2000

When: May 2020

Meal: Pre-Dinner Drink & Snack

Cost: $100 for two including a bottle of wine

My visit to Goobne was just as Covid-19 isolation restrictions were starting to lift. Restaurants could have up to 10 people dining in, which was a very strange experience! Because of the low capacity available, restaurants were only taking 90min seatings, so I decided I’d book two places for dinner whilst catching up with a friend.

First stop was Goobne for our entree and some drinks. I had seen the UFO Fondue Chicken ($38) on Instagram which looked good, but I had low expectations as it was oven roasted chicken, not the Korean Fried Chicken that I love. I also wasn’t sure about cheese on chicken, but as we all know, cheese makes EVERYTHING infinitely better, and especially when fondue style it seems! 

You get a choice of two seasonings on the chicken and we picked the Volcano (hot) and Galbi (soy) and both worked really well with the cheese. The chicken was tender and delicious and the cheese was plentiful, which was good as at $38 the UFO Fondue was a little pricey. It is a really good dish to share with your (well sanitised) friends though.

We were offered the Sharknado Cocktail ($18) for free as a bonus for booking during Covid-19 restrictions, but we both found it too sweet. It is visually spectacular and described as ‘a tornado of tropical flavours with a tequila bite and a hidden surprise (spoiler alert, its a thick red syrupy mixture designed to look like blood). I would have been very disappointed with it had I paid for it.

We preferred the bottle of St Huberts The Stage Rosé, which at $56 was also up there in price for the style of restaurant as it has more of a cheap funky bar vibe. Overall I loved our visit, but I think prices are a tad too high for a 5 star review.

Would I go back? Yes, I think I’d do the same type of thing with a pre-dinner snack and drinks. I didn’t get the feel from the menu that it would make for a complete meal, but perfect for share snacking.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, the chicken was surprisingly good and the cheese fondue was a fun way to eat with a bit of theatre at the table.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 4/5

Alder Inn Wentworth Point

Alder Inn – Wentworth Point

Sydney

Where: Alder Inn, Shop 6/9 Waterways St, Wentworth Point NSW 2127

When: March 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $50 each, including cocktails

I love trying lots of different dishes when I eat out, so dining with someone that is happy to share is great, but it’s even better when a menu has small dishes that are designed for sharing. Alder Inn’s Asian Fusion menu has Bites, Bao, Salads, Mains, Rice and Desserts with a wide variety of flavours.

My favourite dish of the meal was the American Style Fried Chicken Bao ($7) which was super crispy, with good flavour in the batter and came doused in maple sriracha mayo. We also tried the Sweet & Sour Pulled Pork Bao ($7) which was nice to eat, but didn’t have any particularly strong flavours, despite coming with a wasabi lime mayo. The bao buns were light and fluffy and thankfully didn’t have the sticky texture that I’ve often encountered with bao.

We also tried the Popcorn Prawns ($12) which had a tasty crispy crumb topped with a honey glaze & sesame seeds. I liked that they were served on a little lettuce and red onion salad that cut the sweetness of the honey on the prawns.

The main dish we tried was the Wok Fried Wagyu Beef ($22) which came with tender beef cubes, capsicums, fried shallots, sesame seeds and an amazing black pepper sauce that was quite addictive. The sauce helped to jazz up the Spicy Chicken Fried Rice ($11) which we couldn’t detect any spice in at all. We also ordered the Fries ($5) which came with a spicy Szechwan Pepper Mayo, but we struggled to eat many chips as we already had so much food between two people!

Dessert was the Deep Fried Vanilla Ice Cream ($14). The coating was crispy and tasty and it was covered in salted caramel sauce with butterscotch popcorn. After a big meal it was nice to share this and it would likely be too big a serve for one person anyway.

For drinks we tried the Mojito ($12) with vodka, mint, lavender & lemon. The mint was really refreshing, however we struggled to detect the fresh lavender, but that may be a blessing that it wasn’t overpowering with having such a strong scent. The Tequila Rocks ($15) was tequila and strawberry juice on ice and was definitely sweet, but not too intense.

All dishes were generously sized and incredibly good value to share. Service was really friendly and quick and the restaurant was nicely decorated, just a little hard to find as the doorway is slightly hidden from the road.

Would I go back? Yes, I loved the food and thought it was really well priced for the amount of food we received. Alder Inn is a recent rebrand moving from traditional Chinese food to Asian Fusion, so I’d be keen to see how the menu develops.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, you can’t beat the value and variety on the menu.

Show me the food…

Zomato Review: 4/5

Corbette & Claude Rhodes

Corbett & Claude – Rhodes

Sydney

Where: Corbett & Claude, 83/1 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: $10 each due to $10 lunch special

Oh how I love a good deal on dining out, but I can be quite cynical that a cheap meal will actually be good. With that in mind, I approached Corbette & Claude’s new $10 lunch deals (Mon-Thur) with some trepidation, but my concerns disappeared as soon as the dishes landed on the table.

Of the three options, the Goddess Salad ($10) was my absolute favourite! It had the creamiest Persian feta with lots of dried cranberries and crunchy pepitas on top of mixed greens and quinoa with a tangy lemon, lime and olive oil dressing. It was fresh and delicious, the perfect healthy lunch option.

The Mushroom Linguine ($10) came packed with plenty of mushrooms, which if they are your thing (yes please), you’ll love it. I was expecting a rich and creamy mushroom sauce but the sauce was fairly light and initially a little bland. However after mentioning this to the waiter, he brought over the salt & pepper grinders and with a little seasoning the flavours lifted and I really enjoyed the dish.

The Margherita Pizza ($10) is an old school classic that also feels sort of healthy for pizza. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’m happy to live my life with that lie. It’s huge for a $10 pizza and had an amazingly light and crisp crust. I was told the dough is imported from Italy as they have not been able to perfect the recipe locally and it is authentically hand stretched.

The normal price for these dishes is around $16-$17, so our lunch was extremely good value for good quality food.

Service was fast with the pizza coming out of the wood fired oven within 10 minutes after ordering. There was seating inside the restaurant which was away from the hustle and bustle of Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre, but they also had overflow seating outside which is made easier with the addition of Me&u app ordering.

Would I go back? Yes, there were a number of things that caught my eye on the menu such as the Mozzarella Sticks, the spicy Fireman pizza and the rolled cigar pizzas which seems similar to a calzone.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, the food was good quality and they have a big menu of starters, pizzas, pastas and salads that I think would appeal to all. Oh and the dessert and cocktail menu also looks pretty enticing!

Show me the food…

Georgies Paper Mill Liverpool

The Paper Mill – Liverpool

Sydney

Where: The Paper Mill, 20 Shepherd St, Liverpool NSW 2170

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $40 each with a glass of wine

I was quite excited about visiting the Paper Mill in Liverpool as the décor looked amazing on Instagram and it looked like a beautiful place for a meal. I also thought it seemed like an interesting concept to have various cuisines available in the one place with the Fire Pit restaurant serving flame grilled meats, Georgie’s Pizzeria & Bar serving pizza of course, Charcoal Joe’s with Lebanese charcoal chicken and the cafe Shepherd’s Lane. It’s quite rare that I’m disappointed with a dining experience these days as I do so much research on the places I decide to visit, but on this occasion the food and service didn’t seem to match the beautiful environment and I was left disappointed.

I decided on ordering from Georgie’s Pizzeria & Bar for the Espanol Pizza ($24) with a glass of Italian Pinot Noir ($9). The pizza was a generous size and looked good when it arrived, however upon trying to lift a slice from the plate I realised the base was super soggy, but the crust was really hard. I had to eat the pizza with a knife and fork and although the flavour combination of the Espanol with tomato, for di latte, chorizo, roast capsicum, avocado, lime and coriander was good, the pizza overall was very disappointing. I’ve also just noticed that my pizza was missing the jalapeños mentioned on the menu! The wine was also very bland, so I was 0 for 2 by this stage.

I finished my meal at the Paper Mill with gelato from the Shepherd’s Lane cafe. After trying a few flavours, I settled on a scoop of Peanut Brittle and a scoop of Caramel ($6.50). It was an enormous serve for the price, but impossible to finish so it was a bit of a waste really. The gelato was really creamy, but the flavours were quite mild.

The other frustrating part of the dining experience was that there were a lot of flies hanging around the tables. Sure, the space has a grand open doorway so flies are bound to get in, but despite it being a weekday and very quiet with staff just standing around, our dirty lunch plates remained where we had moved them over to the table next to us for an hour for the flies to enjoy, which was very off putting.

Would I go back? No, the only thing I liked about my visit was the décor.

Would I recommend it to you? No, perhaps I visited on a bad day for them, but I can only base my review on my experience on the day, which was terrible.

Show me the food…

Darlings Bistro – Rozelle

Sydney

Where: Darlings Bistro, 612 Darling St Rozelle NSW 2039

When: October 2019

Meal: Dinner

Cost: Approx $90 each, with wine

As soon as I read the Darlings Bistro menu I knew it would be an amazing experience. It is full of dishes that you know and love, but with unique twists such as hummus made with butter bean, barbecued scallops with preserved radish and salted chilli and chicken skewers topped with garlic emulsion and black sesame.

The dishes are designed to be shared so you can enjoy lots of different flavours in one meal and I enjoyed every single dish that we tried.

The restaurant is on bustling Darling St, but has a nice relaxed vibe. Being open all day from Breakfast through to a late night night-cap, the seating is a mix of table and bar seating and it even has a big comfy couch reminiscent of the Friends tv show couch.

The cocktails and wine list are great. We ended the night with a cheese and wine flight which had been thoughtfully paired for us to complement each other perfectly.

Would I go back? I already have! I’ve since popped in for a drink and enjoyed the Potato & Gruyere Churros as a bar snack. You must try these when you go, they are served with the most amazing Black Garlic Aioli dip.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, I’m sure anyone could find something they love on the menu and the place just has a really great vibe.

Show me the food…

We started the night with a beautiful Turkish Delight flavoured cocktail and the Hummus which was made with butterbean which made it so much smoother than a traditional chickpea hummus and it was topped with roasted cashew dukkah ($14).

The BBQ Scallops were clearly super fresh and came served with preserved radish and salted chilli ($6 each). Some of the best scallops I’ve ever had! The BBQ Wagyu Skirt ($29) was also really tender and we enjoyed them with a side of crispy sweet potato fries ($9).

The Kombu marinated chicken and leek skewers ($24) came with smoked garlic emulsion and black sesame and we had thee with the BBQ cauliflower with kale pesto ($17).

The Wine & Cheese flight rounded out the meal.

darlings-bistro-wine-cheese-flight

Union Place Hotel – Jannali

Sydney

Where: Union Place Hotel, 34 Railway Cres, Jannali NSW 2226

When: September 2019

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $35 each, with wine

I was away in Melbourne for a wedding on the weekend of Father’s Day, so when I returned I knew I had some making up to do with Dad. The best way to make up usually involves food and wine, so I took him to lunch at the recently opened Union Place Hotel in Jannali.

Investigating the website and Instagram before we went, I knew I was in for a treat. The setting is beautiful and the menu looked well designed with a mix of pub staples and some more gourmet grub.

Being a Monday afternoon, the place was fairly quiet when we arrived and we took a booth in the bistro area. After perusing the menu we made our selections and ordered at the bar with some really friendly staff.

Our food was delivered to the table and we were eager to dig in as it looked great, it was very well presented. First up we tried the House Baked Foccacia with cherry tomatoes, black olives and vincotto ($12). The bread is dense as foccacia tends to be and the salty savoury flavour is great, but the vincotto that has seeped to the bottom had made it a little soggy and a bit too sweet for me.

Next up we tried the King Prawn Linguine ($24) which came in a chilli garlic white wine and olive oil sauce. It was fresh and delicate and had five good sized prawns.

Continuing with the pasta theme we also tried the Gnocchi Romaine ($19) which was a baked semolina gnocchi. This dish confused me as I was expecting the usual little pillows of gnocchi, but instead it came in long strips. The flavours were great, but I probably would have preferred a traditional gnocchi.

We of course also had to try their pub classics with the Steak Sandwich ($22), which was huge and piled high with crispy onions. The steak was thin and on the cusp of being over cooked, but the flavours worked.

Finally, what is a pub visit without a chicken schnitzel ($19) right? This came with buttered potatoes and beans and was super crunchy, a great example of what a schnitz should be.

We finished up with a wine in the sun in the beautifully renovated courtyard. A super long freight train went past interrupting the serenity for a few minutes, but I could certainly imagine spending a lazy summer afternoon there.

Would I go back? Absolutely. The food was well priced, of good quality and I’m keen to try their pizza and cocktails!

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. The place has a great vibe and I’m sure it will become a popular local hotspot.

The W Padstow RSL – Padstow

Sydney

Where: The W, Padstow RSL, 24-28 Howard Rd, Padstow NSW 2211

When: September 2019 (NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

Meal: Dinner

Cost: $25 each

I grew up in Padstow and although I don’t live local now, I was lured back to the area by Drag Bingo at the Padstow RSL Club. Currently they are running Drag Bingo once a month in the auditorium and you get a bingo book with every $5 spent at the bar and can purchase a bingo dauber for $3.

I must say, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Padstow RSL, nor the W, if it wasn’t for the bingo. But we thought we’d make a night of it and have dinner and drinks before the bingo.

The menu is quite big and includes all the usual ‘pub food’ staples such as steak, schnitzels, pizzas and burgers. We were in the mood to try a few things, so ordered from the starters, main and sides options.

From the starters we had the Salt + Pepper Squid ($14) and the Fried Pork + Prawn Gyoza ($16).

The squid was tender, but coated in a very thick crumb which is my not my preferred option and a fairly solid indicator it was just frozen food, deep fried. The gyoza were nice and crispy, tasty and well dressed with spring onion, sesame mayo and sesame seeds.

The Chilli Prawn Linguine ($24) was served in a tomato sauce and included 5 prawns, which seems to be the established standard in prawn pasta dishes. It had a great flavour, but was heavy in the tomato sauce.

Finally, the Steakhouse Chips ($6) were what you expect of a bowl of good pub chips.

Would I go back? I would go back again in the same scenario, alongside some entertainment, but I wouldn’t go just for the bistro food.

Would I recommend it to you? I absolutely would recommend going to Drag Bingo and whilst you’re there, yes, stop in to the W. Their specials often look really great on Instagram.

Grilled Cornbread with Summer Salsa

NOLA Smokehouse – Sydney

Sydney

Where: NOLA Smokehouse, Barangaroo Sydney City

When: February 2019

Meal: Dinner

Cost: $90 each

Following some afternoon wine time at Barangaroo House, a friend and I were feeling hungry and looking for somewhere nearby to eat. I had heard good things about NOLA Smokehouse, so we thought we’d try our luck there.

We arrived about 5:45pm and asked for a table for two. After much debate by the two staff at the front, they decided we could have a table if we were out by 7:15pm as they were fully booked then. That will work we say and head on in.

The menu is typical smokehouse with a variety of meat that you can purchase in 200gm servings with sides, or there are traditional mains like Gumbo, Grits and Jambalaya to pick from.

We started with the Grilled Cornbread with Summer Salsa ($8) as an entree to share. For main we chose the Pit-Master’s Pick with 100gms of each of the meat for $49pp. This also came with a side per person and we chose the Mac ‘n’ Cheese and the Southern Slaw, as well as a trio of sauces.

Overall I found the meat a little underwhelming. It was good, but I expected it be great. There was nothing special to say about it. The brisket was the most flavoursome and tender, the lamb also good, but if I had ordered the others individually I would have been disappointed.

The Southern Slaw was also a real let down. There was something in there that gave it quite a bitter taste, not the slightly sweet traditional slaw flavour I’m used to.

The Mac ‘n’ Cheese was hands down my favourite dish of the night as it was served with maple bacon and topped with pretzels. You just can’t go wrong with that combo.

The trio of sauces were BBQ, a tomato relish and chimichurri and I must say the chimichurri was fabulous.

If you’re into your meat being extra large, NOLA also does huge Tomahawk steaks to share as a special. This one was 1.7kgs!

We had a bottle of Rosè with our meal which was approx $65.

The setting of the restaurant is gorgeous with a beautiful view over Jones Bay, but overall the visit was underwhelming.

Would I go back? I can’t say this will be going on my ‘go back’ list. Too many other places in Barangaroo to try.

Would I recommend it to you? Although this restaurant came highly recommended to me by others, I’m going to say no to recommending this as it was just ok in my opinion.

The Om Nom Choc Nut Bomb, Peanut Butter Parfair at Om Nom Kitchen, Melbourne

Om Nom – Melbourne

Melbourne

Where: Om Nom Restaurant, Adelphi Hotel, 187 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000

When: August 2018

Meal: Dessert

Cost: $51 (including alcohol)

I had already eaten a big dinner when I arrived at Om Nom for dessert, but there was no way a reasonably full tummy would stop me from trying their desserts. The fact the Adelphi Hotel has a dessert restaurant was one of the key drivers of me booking my accomodation in the quirky hotel.

I ordered a glass of the Besserat de Bellefon Brut Champagne ($23) whilst I tried to decide what to order by evaluating the dishes being served to my fellow diners.

Eventually I settled on the Om Nom Choc Nut Bomb ($28). Described on the menu as “peanut butter parfait, peanut butter powder, chocolate coated rice bubbles, raspberry fluid gel, dehydrated chocolate mousse” I knew I was in for some decadence!

And it did not disappoint. It took me a good while to finish it as it was quite a large dessert which would be easy to share, but it was also very rich and sweet as expected. However I eventually completed it and almost rolled back to my room!

Would I go back? In a heartbeat. The hotel foyer and restaurant has a really cool vibe and the desserts are spectacular.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, pop in for a dessert or cocktail. The restaurant also serves ‘normal’ meals, but why would you not go there to experience their specialties?

Main meal of Linguine at Saltshaker Restaurant in Swansea, Tasmania

Saltshaker Swansea – Tasmania

Elsewhere

Where: Saltshaker Restaurant, Swansea, Tasmania.

When: September 2018

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $50 for one (including alcohol)

On my journey up the East Coast of Tasmania I stopped in the cute little town of Swansea for lunch. There looked to be a few old school pubs in the area, but Saltshaker looked out over the water and it was a beautiful sunny day, so I headed inside.

Being still pretty much the off season, there were very few people inside and I was able to take my pic of tables with water views. The waitress was very attentive and when I selected the Prawn & Scallop Linguini – pan fried scallops and prawns with lemon chilli garlic butter ($29.90) as my main, she said it was their most popular dish. I understand why. It was plentiful and the garlic butter was decadent, but not too heavy, especially considering it was only lunchtime.

I also had the Shaker Bread – ciabatta bread with garlic butter and caramelised balsamic oil ($6.50) for entree (4 pieces) which was good, but not a must have, and enjoyed a Pagan’s Pear Cider on ice (approx $10).

Would I go back? Definitely. That pasta was beautiful.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, the view is spectacular and the pasta worth stopping in for.

Show me the food…