Sinma Laksa House, Ashfield, Sydney

>> November 18, 2014

Guest blogger edition

One of the best crab dishes I've ever had was at Simna laksa house in Kingsford during my uni days. The crab was huge, meaty and delicious. I remember licking the crab shell and sucking my fingers to get every last bit of those tasty morsels of crab meat and sauce.

When my friend mentioned that they had just opened a branch in Ashfield, I was definitely keen on arranging for a visit. And so, it was on this balmy Saturday that we gathered a bunch of our friends and headed to Ashfield to try the new Simna. Located on the main road in Ashfield (Liverpool road), slightly further down the road from the swath of Shanghainese restaurants, it is only a 5 min walk from the mall and there is plenty of parking around the side streets there.

It wasn't too busy but filled up as the night wore on. We had eleven people and were the largest tables there in a relatively smallish restaurant, so it'll be best to book in advance if you have a big group. We placed our orders for crabs and other Singaporean/Malaysian food favourites as well as a tray of icey cold teh tariks to wash it all down.

Singapore Chili crab - $133 - this giant mud crab was totally submerged in a thick, rich Singaporean chili sauce. Although the sauce does have chili in it, it's more of a sweet chili sauce than a hot spicy chili and even the least tolerant of us could handle the heat. The crab itself of packed full of juicy meat and the sauce mopped up with a variety of mantou, roti and rice.


Deep fried mantou buns x 11- $17.60 - deep fried carbohydrate goodness. These bad boys are usually steamed but can also be deep fried to a golden shine below. Under the thin layer of crispiness reveals the pillowy softness of the bun itself - perfect for use in conjunction with the chili sauce.


Stir fry mixed vegetables- $13.80 -  when we order so many deep-fried and 'heaty' items, we just have to have an obligatory vegetable dish.


Whole Hainanese chicken - $35 - a huge whole hainanese chicken. Deboned. Soy sauce. Bean sprouts. Nuff said. Yum.


Oatmeal prawn - $29.50 - A crunchy coating of sweet oatmeals on a bed of deep fried prawns. The prawn shell was fried to the point of being edible. An interesting combination as the oatmeal did have a certain sweetness to it.


Roti canai x 8 - $20 - You can't let all those delicious sauces go to waste. This is when roti comes in handy. Out of the two, mantou is my preference as the roti was a bit thick for my liking.


Curry chicken - $17 - giant hunks of real chicken pieces marinated for hours in the curry sauce until it was literally falling off the bone. My only gripe was the lack of sauce in this dish!


Sambal squid - $23.50 - The classic Malaysian spicy sambal sauce with tender squids.


Salt and pepper flounder - $16.50 - probably not the best dish to order here. Whilst the flavour was there, there was very little meat on the fish as it seemed like the fish was overcooked.


Butter egg crab - $104.50 - probably the best dish of the night in my opinion. The eggy, buttery strands covering the egg were just so freaking amazingly moreish it's not funny. Despite how unhealthy it is to eat something so oily and artery clogging, they were pure strands of goodness. Oh and the crab meat wasn't too bad either, hehe.




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Bondi Pizza, Brighton le sands, Sydney

>> November 13, 2014

Guest blogger edition

Originating from Bondi is Bondi Pizza, the pizza and pasta chain which now has a sprawl of restaurants across Sydney. On this occasion, we visited the Brighton Le Sands branch. Located on the corner of the main road, right opposite the beach, it is not hard to find. On Friday nights it may be difficult to find parking but if you dine at Bondi Pizza, you can have your parking ticket for validated for free parking in the carpark downstairs - winning!

The restaurant was quite packed so we had to wait 5-10 minutes for our table. But once seated the service was quick.




Sizzling chili prawns - $12.95 - served with flat bread and chili mayo - For starters,we had the sizzling chili prawns. Drowned in a small cast iron bowl of oil, sat a decent number of chunky juicy prawns. On the side was some fresh flat bread which was perfect to wrap up the prawns and soak up the yummy (but unhealthy) oil. There wasn't much heat to the prawns so it would be suitable for people who can't eat spicy.



Chicken puttanesca - $23.95 - grilled chicken breast, kalamata olives, baby capers - one of the pastas on the dish. Thick oodles of pasta covered with a thick, rich tomato sauce, topped up with chunks of chicken, this pasta was definitely a filling dish.


Sicilian - $25.95 - Pepperoni, chorizo, wagyu meatballs, onion, bacon, olives, bocconcini and rocket. Of course we also had to get a pizza dish from here and we chose the Sicilian. Of the the two dishes, the pizza was definitely the highlight. A thin crust, flavoursome toppings garnished with fresh rocket - yummmm.




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AV8, Mascot, Sydney

>> November 1, 2014

Guest blogger edition

I had previously attended a friend's wedding at the Stamford hotel in Mascot (near the airport) and thought the food was pretty decent. So when browsing the entertainment book, the AV8 restaurant came up and I noticed it was part of the Stamford and thought - why not try it out!

We rocked up on a Friday night, at around 645pm. It was a bit hard to find as it was towards the back of the hotel but there were some helpful signs leading the way. Not sure if it's because its newish but the place was pretty dead. Apart from us, there was only maybe 10 other people. I suspect they were probably hotel guests looking for a quick feed.

Nonetheless, we had high hopes, having eaten in the hotel and also because there are a number of high quality gastro pubs around these days.

We made our orders at the bar, got our number and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. We seriously waited for around 45mins to 1 hour for our first entree. Given that there were only 10 people in the whole place (and I could see that they were waiting as well), it was pretty unreasonable. Now I know what the contestants on my restaurant rules feel when they waiting forever in the instant kitchens!

Tempura baby squid with togarashi mayo - $12 - A crunchy batter with a light spicy mayo. An average entree, passable but not worth the wait.



Certified Angus Beef Rib on the bone with mushroom, beans and cafe de paris butter (300g) - $36  -I love my meat so cannot say anything bad about this piece, especially since by the time this came, I probably could have eaten a horse. The steak was juicy and flavoursome, but there was too little mushrooms and the beans were cold. Maybe a $10-$15 steak but probably not worth 36 bucks.


Crisp lamb shank with roasted garlic mash and mushy peas -$34 - Lamb shanks at the pub can be soooo good if done well (like at PJ Gallaghers). However this one didn't quite hit the mark. The flavours were packed in the lamb, but it just wasn't tender enough, the peas on top were cold and there was almost no sauce. A bit disappointing especially given the wait and the price =(


Overall, the wait times and the pricing really need to be resolved before I'd consider eating here again - even with an entertainment book voucher. Hopefully they can still turn things around!

Av8 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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