Monday, March 18, 2013

N2 Extreme Gelato, Chinatown

With the abundance of gelato vendors and ice-creameries, as well as the sudden fro-yo boom in Sydney, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to frozen sweets. My favourite place though, hands down, no contest is N2 Extreme Gelato. And yes, I have tried Messina, Rivareno, Cow & the Moon, and any other place you can throw at me.

You may go purely for the science-lab chic concept and spooky nitrogen SFX novelty, but the gelato is legit, real legit. If you haven't heard about it by now, N2 is an ice-cream parlour with a difference - all gelato is made to order, mixtures of fresh ingredients are churned with liquid nitrogen until frozen. The set-up is laboratory-like, with stainless stell counter tops and perspex shields, the ice-cream mixtures stored single-serve in dozens of conical flasks. The staff are dressed in kitschy lab coats and nerd glasses, surrounded by a constantly streaming mists of nitrogen vapour.

Lab counter, N2 Extreme Gelato

Liquid nitrogen churning, N2 Extreme Gelato

The idea is that since liquid nitrogen freezes things ten times faster than a conventional ice-cream maker, using it to make gelato reduces the formation of large ice particles and results in a smoother texture. Although the wait is a little longer than the old scoop and scoot, the wonderful fresh flavours and beautiful consistency is completely worth the extra couple of minutes. The gelato is served straight from the mixer, and made with real ingredients such as fresh fruit, cookies, chocolate... the list goes on. Best thing is, they're open every day until 11PM which makes for the perfect late-night snack or a cheap and sneaky post-dinner dessert. All scoops are $6, and the richness renders a single serving more than enough for one person.

Ice-cream cone, N2 Extreme Gelato

The weekly rotating menu showcases new flavour concoctions and occasionally an old favourite. The combinations include popular classics such as peppermint choc chip as well as unique and exotic inventions with cheeky names such as the Mardi Gras special, Golden Showers (lime sorbet with mixed pepper, salted rim, tequila spray).

Some of my most memorable flavours incude: creme brulĂ©e (my personal favourite flavour, with a torched sugar crust), refreshing avocado & mint, smooth and decadent sour cream chocolategrey soybet (soy milk sorbet infused with earl grey tea), buttered popcornRosemary's Baby (rosemary & honey gelato), cigar-smoked Hainanese coffee, and the savoury salt & pepper calamari (milk gelato with Szechuan pepper and sea salt, topped with dehydrated calamari).

Conical flasks, N2 Extreme Gelato

43/1 Dixon St , Sydney 2000

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cara&Co Restaurant, Westfield Sydney

If you don't know about it by now, let me inform you. Cara&Co is one of Joseph and I's favourite stores in Sydney. It's a unique concept store, filled with beautiful items of luxury garments missing their brand labels, eccentric artwork and antique furniture. In the belly of the store is the Cara&Co RestaurantLast time we visited, we were astounded by the equally beautiful standard of food and lucky us, owner Rosa Alpert was lovely enough to invite us back to try their new menu.

Amuse bouche

We started our evening with a cocktail each and two types of amuse bouche. The one on the right was an absolute standout, a black olive cake topped with a capsicum jelly, cream of bonito and lemon and a crumble of fresh olives. Sounds like a strange combination but it was beautiful of flavours and textures, even Joseph, who lists capsicum and olive at the top of his most-hated foods list, loved it.

Behind the Iron Curtain Almond Soup $14

With pleasant memories of the green apple soup we had as an amuse bouche last time we were here, we decided to try the new selection of cold soups before entree. I go for the Behind the Iron Curtain Almond Soup, it's impossibly smooth, with creamy flavours of potato and cucumber, decorated with with rings of onion, miniature mounds of salty Avruga caviar and little tips of dill.

Ten Peas in a Soup $12

Joseph's choice is completely different in nature, the Ten Peas in a Soup is light and refreshing in a lovely bright green colour. The asparagus and peas taste fresh and crisp, there's also the saltiness of capers and crumbled Wagyu bacon, rounded out by the milk foam.

Scampi Grapefruit Rhapsody No. 1 $40

The Scampi Grapefruit Rhapsody No.1 as his starter is absolutely stunning, like a melody of fresh flavours and bright colours and excuse me for my poetic license. The scampi is gorgeous, plump and fresh, seared on the outside. The cherry tomato and pink grapefruit lend a tangy sweetness, with the warm aroma of cardamom. There are also small blobs of savoury parmesan parfait, the creme fraiche adding a lovely creaminess to the dish.

Rump Kissed by the Sea $28

The Rump Kissed by the Sea was my favourite dish of the night. The melty Wagyu beef was perfectly cooked with a lovely pink centre, and it was topped with rich drupelets of blanched egg yolk. I love a good runny egg yolk and rare meat so this was heaven for me. It was topped with caramelised fennel, on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with sea urchin folded in. The sea urchin was also simmered into a butter drizzled over the top of the dish, making entirety of this plate to die for.

A Lamb's Neck of the Woods $40

Onto mains now, and Joseph goes for A Lamb's Neck of the Woods. There's two lovely cuts of lamb cooked pink and soft, topped with a crumble of crunchy pistachio. There's fresh green broccoletti draped over what I believe is anchovy puree and shaved kohlrabi.

When Bull meets Goose $60

I am absolutely in love with my main, When Bull meets Goose. The beef tenderloin is once again perfectly link, the meat juicy and succulent. The foie gras lends a rich creaminess while the earthy mushrooms are a perfect complement. There's also artichoke puree (I think?) and onion rings and everything is tied off with a pour of a lovely jus.

Petit fours

With no room left for dessert, we finished our meals with a pot of soothing peppermint tea and a selection of petit fours. It's a delightful finish to what was a hedonistically decadent dinner.

Level 4, Westfield Sydney, 188 Pitt St
(02) 9226 9988

Cara&Co Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Figs & Brie dined as a guest of Cara&Co.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Din Tai Fung, World Square

When your traditional Chinese parents aren't so great at traditional Chinese cooking and tell you that this year you're too old for red money envelopes, the best thing to do is drown your sorrows with dumplings and comfort food. Thankfully, I was invited to down to World Square to celebrate the Chinese New Year with lion dancing festivities and lunch at Din Tai Fung.

Xiao long bao, Din Tai Fung
Xiao long bao (pork dumplings)

The crowning glory and pride of the restaurant is their xiao long bao, Shanghainese pork dumplings delicately steamed and bursting with soup. You can watch the hypnotic methodical work of the dumpling chefs in the open kitchen, folding and pleating like machine-people. Ding Tai Fung boasts the precision of their dumplings, with each having to meet the criteria of diameter and weight. They taste amazing too, perfect pleats in the soft pastry encasing pork filling with that magical burst of soup inside.

Pork Chop Noodle, Din Tai Fung
Pork chop noodles

The pork chop noodles are one of my ultimate comfort foods. I remember growing up in Shanghai being the pickiest of eaters as a little kid, and my aunties would always make me a simple bowl of noodles with fried pork chops on the side to shut me up. The noodles here are fantastic, in a clean, light broth with shallots, served with the most succulent pork in a crunchy crumbed coating on the side.

Vegetarian dumpling, Din Tai Fung
Vegetable dumplings

The vegetable dumplings are a thing of beauty, with perfect uniform pleats and slightly-translucent skin showing the lovely vegetarian filling. 

Wonton noodles, Din Tai Fung
Shrimp and pork wonton with tangy sauce and dry noodle

The shrimp and pork wonton with tangy sauce and dry noodle is fantasticly flavoursome with just the right amount of spiciness.

Truffle dumpling, Din Tai Fung
Pork and truffle dumplings

The newest introduction to the menu is the pork and truffle dumplings. The flavour combination was surprisingly fantastic, the earthy aroma of the truffle an interesting twist on the traditional xiao long bao.

Ice-cream, Din Tai Fung
Green tea, taro and black sesame ice-cream

We finished our lunch with some green tea, taro and black sesame ice-cream, served with strawberries and red bean. Yum.

Level 1, World Square
644 George St, Sydney 2000
(02) 9264 6010

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Figs & Brie dined as a guest of Niche Marketing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lately on Instagram V

So the reason I haven't been posting much/at all on this blog recently is that in the last three months a ludicrous amount of unnecessary financial shit has happened to me resulting in me suddenly finding myself in a pile of debt, which doesn't leave me with many opportunities to dine out of my own pocket. Some of the hilarious-but-not-for-me stories include a junkie breaking into our place in Collingwood, Melbourne and stealing my new iPhone; having my debit card stolen, the next one lost, and then next one skimmed (4th time lucky?); a motorbike accident in Bali resulting in 6 stitches and a fractured rib, with no travel insurance; being unwittingly violated by Virgin Mobile's excess data charges; and a whole bunch of other fun stuff.

But all that crap aside, I'm getting back onto my feet now and there will be many more posts to come this year! I didn't properly document my Indonesia eats as well as I did in Europe, but should you be interested there's a few holiday snaps up on my other photo blog. In the meantime, here are some instagram snaps of the awesome food I've managed to enjoy at the expense of others.


  • Nasi goreng at Bali Buddha, Kerobokan (Bali); gelato being made with liquid nitrogen at N2 Gelato, Chinatown; picnic snacks with truffle honey courtesy of Lowes Mount Truffiere
  • Tomato and avocado on rye toast at Sur Bourke Espresso Bar, Darlinghurst; special beef pho at Pasteur, George St; smoked trout and poached egg salad at The Commons, Darlinghurst
  • Sashimi don at Kaya, Darlinghurst; steamed snapper, dashi broth, seaweed, and dessert tasting platter on the new seasonal menu at Toko/Tokonoma, Surry Hills

Follow me on instagram! My username is lolalost.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Carrington, Surry Hills

Brunch is my ultimate favourite meal of the day, and I appreciate anywhere where alcohol and eggs go hand in hand. Meet The Carrington, my current favourite breakfast joint and Drink'n'Dine sibling of the The Abercrombie, The Forresters and The Norfolk. The Spanish-inspired menu has many unique gems and the best goddamn Bloody Mary I've had, ever (in my 1.5 years of legal drinking).

Bloody Mary, The Carrington
Bloody Mary $15

Served in a retro mackerel tin is the bloodiest Bloody Mary of them all, with vodka, tomato juice, pepper, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and a mysterious "+ more" according to the menu. Strong, fresh savoury with lashings of spice, forget coffee, I'll definitely get out of bed with a promise of this bizniz.

Also loved from the alcoholic breakfast drinks menu is the Pillow Talk, a deceptively refreshing concoction of fresh apple juice, camomile tea and boom, more vodka. It makes me feel healthy.

Cappuccino, The Carrington
Cappuccino $4

Morcilla & Potato Hash, The Carrington
Morcilla & Potato Hash $16

My favourite food groups are fat, carbs and salt, so naturally the morcilla and potato hash is my favourite thing on the menu. Salty Spanish blood sausage, crispy fried potatoes and green beans for balance, topped with a crumbed and fried duck egg with the gooiest orange yolk.

Spanish Baked Eggs, The Carrington
Spanish Baked Eggs $16

The Spanish baked eggs is a good choice for the more health-conscious diners out there, i.e. not me. Two eggs are baked in mini pan with a sofrito, piquillo peppers and spiced eggplant, and served with two slices of sourdough.

Empanada Rancheros, The Carrington
Empanada Rancheros $14

The empanada rancheros is another unusual but amazing dish on offer, there's an empanada pastry stuffed with ham hock and beans, served with creamed corn and a fried egg.

Tortilla, The Carrington
Tortilla $16

I totally thought the tortilla was going to be the South American flatbread but surprise, it turned out to be a Spanish omelette. This version consists of baked eggs with fried potato, grilled mushroom, goats cheese and slivers of capsicum.

Media Noche, The Carrington
Media Noche $14

The media noche is an amazing "midnight" sandwich, and possibly the ultimate drunk food. The Carrington version is double-deckered and toasted, soft white bread spliced with mustard, melty Swiss cheese and "triple" pork (roasted and ham I think). Yep yep yep yep.

Torrijas, The Carrington
Torrijas $16

And of course for our sweet-toothed friends, I've saved the best for last. Torrijas is a Spanish bread pudding, similar to what we commonly know as French toast. It's fried crisp on the ouside but pillowy soft inside, and is served with grilled banana, churros-flavoured ice-cream and a good dose of maple syrup. Thanks, Spanish bros.

On a related however tragic note, in light of the recent death of one-half of the founders of The Carrington, I feel obligated to pay my respects here to a man who gave our city fringe pub scene new life. RIP James Miller, and thank you for blessing us with these fine establishments. 

The Carrington
(02) 9360 4714
565 Bourke St, Surry Hills 2010

The Carrington Specialite: Beba y Cene on Urbanspoon