Ramen Kan, Haymarket

Ramen Kan is a hidden restaurant that is a few doors down from Wagaya. You could walk past the lift entrance without even realising it!

Luckily I was introduced to this gem early on in my uni degree so have visited it numerous times for a bite to eat.

I don't have any photos of the decor (I feel a bit silly taking photos of a place that I visit frequently, as though it is not worth a blog post), but it is quite nice inside, with sofa seating along one wall and wooden floorboards.

Nine times out of ten, I will order the same thing,

Kaisen don ($10.90)




This used to cost $9.90 back in the day.



But despite the price increase, it is still value for money.

For those who don't know what a kaisen-don is, it's basically raw salmon and tuna on a bed of rice.



A lot of mayo is used and the pieces of fish here are usually quite mushy. The first time I tried it, I didn't like it but I have grown accustomed to the soft, mushy fish.

At Ramen-kan, it is served with a small miso soup and salad.

Small miso soup




Small salad




The whole combo is incredibly filling and most of the time, I can't finish it.

Sometimes I also like to order a green milk tea.

Green milk tea ($4.50?)



Check out the gradient of the drink!



It is heavy on the matcha flavour. The only thing that could make it more perfect is if it was served with a scoop of green tea ice cream (which I think they do at Wagaya?)

3

New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, Ashfield

Some of you may recall that I visited Chinese Fast Food and Shanghai Night to sample their xiao long baos. You may even remember that I wanted to complete the trifecta by tasting the wares at New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant which is located next to Shanghai Night, and a few doors down from Chinese Fast Food.

Well my dreams came true! I feel like this is a big accomplishment as I can now pick and choose which one I think is the best.


Entry


On the outside window




It is Sunday lunchtime and this place is buzzing. As soon as one table leaves, another set of diners come to take their place.

Busy dumpling makers behind a glass window at the back


Unfortunately the hectic pace of the restuarant means that the tables are not very clean, nor is the floor. The waitress frantically scrubbed at our table as the previous patrons left but one seat at our table had large fish bones and bits of noodles under the chair! Ew.

Menu


Sample menu page


Complimentary tea



We ordered three dishes to start off with and sat around waiting for it to come out. It took about ten to fifteen minutes before the xiao long baos came out.


Xiao long baos - ($6.80 for 8)
Listed on menu as Famous New Shanghai steamed mini pork



These were very good. Very good indeed. Each little parcel of dumpling was tight, with no leaks and a large amount of oily soup inside.

Look how much soup came out of just one dumpling!



Next up were the pan fried pork buns. These were my next favourite after the xiao long baos.

Famous New Shanghai pan fried pork bun - $8.80 for 10
(I think two were eaten before I took the photo)


In terms of presentation, I would give them a 1/10. Can you still get one mark if there is no effort put into presentation at all? I guess the one mark is for not having any bugs or random articles on the plate.

The buns had been tossed haphazardly on the plate and there was huge pools of oil.

Oil


Of course, oil wasn't going to stop me from devouring the buns.

The buns were quite good. Although they are smaller than at other Shanghai restaurants, I found that the proportion of bun to meat was better.

The level of pan-friedness


Inside the pan fried pork bun


There was a decent amount of soup inside the bun and I preferred to eat these over the fried dumplings.


Pan fried pork dumplings - $7.80 for 8


Once again, presentation was lacking. Sure, you could say that you don't come here for presentation but even the other Ashfield Shanghainese restaurants arranged the fried dumplings in two neat rows.

The dumplings had been left on for just a bit too long, which toughened the dumpling skin.

Bottom of the fried dumpling


After we finished these three dishes, I still had some room in my stomach so we ordered one more round of xiao long baos :)

The second round


These came out within five minutes so I presumed we managed to squeeze in our order while a fresh batch had already been started.

So I am a bit torn. I do like the xiao long baos here, very much so - but the uncleanliness of the floors was a bit off putting. I was going to take a photo for this blog but decided it was a bit gross (not to mention disinclination to incite the wrath of an angry proprietor). Perhaps I should visit at a time that is not so busy? But by all accounts, this place is very popular so when would a less-busy time be?

7

Sumac, Darling Harbour

Sydney International Food Festival Post!

I decided to move this post up 'in the queue' so to speak, because you have one last chance (I think) to visit Sumac this upcoming weekend for SIFF brunch before it finishes! The brunch costs $25pp and is designed as a share menu. It is on weekends and served from 8am-11am.

Then again, the brunch is exactly the same as what is served as Kazbah for group brunches so....I guess there isn't that much of a rush really, if you are able to pop to Rozelle instead of Darling Harbour.

The Vintage Queen, Sahara, the Almost-Bride and I met up at the ungodly hour of 9am on Saturday to enjoy the SIFF Morroccan brunch.

We were seated at the front of the restaurant in the open air, with a lovely view of Darling Harbour.

The view - those poles are just for the awning, we were sitting outside


In addition to the normal menu, there were small menu cards on each table promoting the SIFF brunch and also their banquet for Melbourne Cup.


Normal menu




We began by ordering some drinks (not included in brunch price).

Mango & Mandarin juice ($5.50)


I was pleased to discover that the Mango & Mandarin juice was served in a tall glass. As I recalled, it was served in a short glass at Kazbah. This glass lasted me throughout the whole brunch! The mandarin juice was fresh and sweet.

Mixed berry frappe ($6.50)


Ruby Grapefruit juice ($6.50)


Then the food started to arrive!

Left to right: Sweet Couscous with nuts and dried fruits; Warm Rice Pudding with Saffron Poached Pear, Cinnamon and Hazelnuts; Date and Banana Porridge




Served with condiments: Stewed Rhubarb, Cardamom Milk, Warm Milk and Brown Sugar


Having previously tried the couscous at Kazbah and finding that I didn't like it, I left it alone this time and went for the warm rice pudding. It was nice and comforting - I would like to have this at home for breakfast!


Merguez Sausage, Bacon, Roasted Tomato, Hash Brown,Halloumi


Mushrooms, Spinach, Baked Beans


Eggs - Poached, Scrambled and Fried on Turkish Toast


It was a rush of food and the server encouraged us to serve the eggs first in order to create enough room on the small table for the other plates.

A selection of items on my plate


The hash browns were cooked nicely and fell apart with a prod of the fork. My favourites however, were the mushrooms. More mushrooms please!Sometimes button mushrooms are disappointing at restaurants because they don't have any flavour to them. These ones were juicy and I would have happily traded all that bacon for some more of the mushrooms (there was lots of bacon left over, but no mushrooms).


Half 'n' half tagine
One half - Lamb Mince, Sucuk, Feta, Spinach, Roast Capsicum, Caramelised Onion, Roast Tomato, Eggs
The other half- Pumpkin, Feta, Spinach, Roast Capsicum, Caramelised Onion, Roast Tomato, Eggs


I didn't take a picture but the tagine was accompanied by a basket of turkish toast and lebanese bread. Too much bread! The basket mainly went untouched because we were feeling quite stuffed at this point.


Yet there were still the pancakes to go. And what an awesome sight they were.


Banana and Strawberry with Maple Syrup and Double Cream



Chocolate and Raspberry with Butterscotch Sauce and Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream



My photo titles are a bit misleading because they served both pancakes with chocolate ice cream and I think they sliced them up and then swapped slices around on the plates. So there was some Banana pancake and also some Chocolate Raspberry on each plate.

The pancakes were so sweet and yummy. The thickest slice looked like it would measure about 2.5cm tall!

Unfortunately we were so full that we only managed to eat about one pancake in total. Such a shame.

The service was fantastic and the staff were very friendly, even inquiring which dish was our favourite.

I think the view and atmosphere at Sumac is nicer than at Kazbah - not as noisy and you have that great Darling Harbour vibe!
4

Max Brenner (2), Wynyard

Max Brenner at Wynyard is so convenient, it is almost ridiculous (and dangerous).

After visiting the night noodle markets, the Chief and I wandered over to Max Brenner for our sweet fix.

I decided to branch out and try their White Chocolate Chai.

White Chocolate Chai ($6.00)


Are you wondering, like I did, what on earth is that?

Let me break it down for you. On the left is an empty glass. On the right is a plastic saucer like contraption.

Unfortunately when the waiter brought the drink over, he did not explain how to serve it. Maybe I look like a seasoned white chocolate chai drinker?

So I puzzled over the plastic thing - I could see liquid inside - but how to get it out??



And then the strangest thing happened. I lifted it up to look at the bottom. No clues there. As I put it back on the table, it acted as though a leak sprouted and spilled a quarter of the drink all over the table!

I flagged the waiter and asked how I was supposed to drink this! He smiled as he took in the messy table as though he had seen this happen many times before (and he probably has - instructions please!)

It turns out that you lift the plastic thing, and fit it over the top of the glass. When you fit it over the top, it places pressure on this ring at the bottom and the liquid comes out.

I am all for quirkiness but to be honest, this contraption isn't particularly attractive and it's sort of useless. I would rather the drink come out in a normal, small teapot!

Anyway, I successfully managed to serve myself a glass.

A glass of the white chocolate chai



It was very, very sweet. White chocolate is usually sweeter than milk chocolate and you could really taste it in this drink. The chai was very subtle.

After your tastebuds adjusted to the extreme sweetness, it was nice. But I probably wouldn't try it again.

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon
2

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

This is one of my favourites from the Pastry Chef. I am not sure what their proper name is, but they are readily available from various bakeries!


They make a great late night snack for someone with a sweet tooth like me.

What I like to do, is serve myself one cookie (it seems a bit strange to call something so big a cookie!) and also make a hot drink.

The hot drink could be tea, hot chocolate, anything!

Then I dip the chocolate end into the hot drink and the chocolate melts, becoming a hot liquid chocolate coating.......yum!!

Example of melted chocolate


After I have taken a bite or two, I redunk the cookie in the drink and this melts the chocolate on the inside so that it oozes out.

Chocolate oozing out


Those with eagle eyes may notice that there are study notes in the background. This is because one of these cookies just makes my late night study better! :)
3

Rising Sun Chinese Seafood Restaurant, Beverly Hills

Rising Sun is located on King Georges Road at the intersection with Stoney Creek Road. It looks impressive from the outside, but on the inside, it is your typical Chinese restaurant, leaning towards being a bit worn.

View of King Georges from the window



Seafood prices and specials on the walls


Menu



Sample menu page



Complimentary salted peanuts


I like little dishes of nibblies. They give you something to pick at while waiting for your meal.

Teapot and teacup



I also like drinking tea with dinner. I am a tea addict!

We started off with some small bowls of (fake) shark fin soup.



Closeup of the soup


The soup is very thick and gluggy. Most people like to pour some red vinegar into the soup to add extra flavour.

I know some people who love it but it is not to my taste and I offered my bowl to someone else.


Next up were some roasted pigeons.



Soy sauce and salt to season


The birds were quite small but still tasty.


Salt and pepper pork



Very yum. Lightly battered and served with shallots and chilli.



Tofu and egg whites with mushrooms, prawns, carrots and choy



Can you tell that I am just making up the description as I go along?

This was a very soothing dish, good to mix with your white rice. I was surprised to see that they didn't include peas or plentiful carrot cubes as is custom.

Shandong Chicken


This was one of the highlights of the meal. The chicken was tender and off the bone. I liberally used the sauce to drench the chicken and picked up a few of those cashews for good measure as well.

Oyster mushrooms, Enoki mushrooms served on baby bok choy



The mushrooms were nice but you could whip this up at home.

Phew. After eating my fair share of the above dishes, I was stuffed and ready for some complimentary fruit and sweet dessert!

Complimentary fruit


Sweet Red Bean Soup - one bowl per person


Alas I was disappointed because I don't like red bean soup. Once again, I passed it over.

The meal was satisfactory but not exemplary -perhaps because t. The service was quite good, although it was a weeknight and the crowd was small. As in most Chinese restaurants, there was a TV inside and I found it interesting that for once, the volume was turned up high enough to hear it over the low hum of customers.

Rising Sun on Urbanspoon
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