Chinta ria, Westfield, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

Chinta Ria....mood for love.... is the enticing name given to the Chinta Ria restaurant conveniently located in the level 6 restaurant level of Westfields Sydney. It serves a classy version of some classic Malaysian cuisine, with impeccable service, and dim ambient lighting, and the decor of a mix between an Asian temple and a olden day Chinese restaurant, it actually is a pretty good place for a romantic date ;)

Rocking up early on a Friday night is always a decent decision as the restaurant itself isn't overly large, especially if you don't have a reservation. We managed to squeeze into a table for two at around 6pm and the place was already pretty full.

We perused the menu and picked out a couple of dishes that sounded tempting.

$3.50 - Chicken rice and Coconut rice - years and years ago I went to the Chinta Ria restaurant that used to be in Darling harbour. I remember back then their coconut rice was super fragrant and delicious. I tried it again this time along with the chicken rice. Surprisingly, whilst the coconut rice was still quite fragrant and light, I found myself preferring the more flavoursome chicken rice instead. My taste preferences must be changing as I get older.

Light crispy prawns cutlets tossed in blended egg butter  - $27 - Regular readers of this blog may have realised this dish is one of the dishes that is a must order for me whenever I get the chance. Pretty much anything with an egg butter sauce sends me to the drool factory as soon as I see on the menu. Although not a large number of prawns, this was compensated by the size and flavours of the prawns. Plump, juicy with a crispy and salty sauce, the prawns were seriously to die for. Having said that, the amount of cholesterol from this dish will probably cause you to die if you had too much of it :P A great version of this dish.

Ayam ria $23 - Chicken fillets, diced and wok-tossed in a blend of spices, fresh ginger root, dry red chilies and finished with crisp carrot slices and snow peas - This was on the specials menu and so we had to try it. The chicken was super tender and moist and the sauce a tad spicy but too much. It went very well with the coconut rice.

Chinta Ria... Mood for Love on Urbanspoon

Liana's Italian restaurant, Parramatta, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Parramatta has become quite a hip place to have dine out if you are in the west with an entire street of restaurants complete with al fresco seating on the footpaths and their very own gourmet KFC where you can choose your own ingredients and your meal is made to order.

Despite really really wanting to try this gourmet KFC, we had just stuffed our faces with maccers for lunch so decided against it. Not sure if our alternative choice was any healthier though as we opted for Italian.

Located right on the intersection of the main street is Liana's Italian restaurant, famous for their square pizzas and with the feel of an old bistro we chose this place to satisfy our dinner hunger. Service was quick and our waitress super cheerful and knowledgable.

Tuscan Marina - $27.90 - tiger prawns, calamari, octopus, mussels, clams in tomato and basil sauce.
You can choose either spaghetti or linguine, so we chose linguine for this one. The seafood was very fresh and I particularly liked the chunky pieces of octopus which were juicy and had a nice texture to them. We also asked for chili to be added but even so, it wasn't very spicy so we also asked for some dried chili flakes =)

Italian bakery style square pizza - La Cucina - $27.90 - chorizo, capsicum, olives, chili, mushrooms, bococcini and mozzarella. They definitely don't skimp on the pizza toppings here! Every slice of pizza had toppings on top of toppings which also went all the way to the crust. The chorizo on this pizzas was delicious and the highlight of the toppings. Beats the $5 pizza hut pizzas I'm use to having that's for sure!

Liana's on Urbanspoon

Mexican burrito cantina, Surry Hills, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

What use to be a California Burrito Company store has now turned into the Mexican burrito cantina. Located on the main drag that is Crown Street, once you step inside, you actually get the feel like you're in a Mexican cantina. There's a TV showing old Mexican TV shows, paintings of Mexican wrestlers and the owner's are also Mexicans.

This place is fully licensed so we ordered a couple of Coronas to go with our meal (as you do).

Nachos with pico de gallo and guacamole ~$15- super crunchy homemade tortilla chips with a tangy pico de gallo salsa (the tomoto salsa) and fresch mash avocdao. A great start to the meal.

For mains we ordered a burrito each - one with steak and the other with prawns. I hadn't had a prawn burrito before so I thought I'd try it out (after which I wish I had gotten the steak >_<).

Both of the burritos look the same on the outside, came with guacamole and a bit of side salad and cost $20.95.

Inside the prawn burrito was unfortunately not that many prawns. The usual fillings of rice, black beans, cheese, sour cream and tomato overpowered the subtle sweetness of the prawn. Not a bad burrito, but it could have definitely done with more prawns.

Inside the steak burrito was chunks of grilled steak as well as the fillings mentioned above. The better of the the two burritos, you could taste the grilled-ness of the steak chunks in the burrito. I think for both burritos the highlight was the tortilla wrap - soft and warm and thin. Really good.

Mexican Burrito Cantina on Urbanspoon

Bluefish, Harbourside Darling Harbour, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Despite most of the restaurants around Harbourside being notorious tourist traps, we  ventured down there this Friday to take advantage of one of the entertainment book vouchers we still have. Rocking up on a bright and sunny evening, we managed to score a table outside at around 630pm. The place quickly filled up afterwards with a mixture of voucher users, tourists and some general patrons.

Sitting outside in the fresh view and admiring the Sydney skyline wasn't half bad and I can see why tourists would like to come to this area. Our voucher allowed us buy one get one free so we got one main and one main for free. The mains are around 30-40 dollars each.

Seafood and chorizo paella - being a predominantly a seafood restaurant, we had to get a seafood dish. The paella had a nice smokiness to the rice and a decent amount of seafood and chorizo pieces. Sitting on top was a huge grilled prawn which was definitely the highlight of the dish - deliciously meaty

Sirloin steak and chips - the steak was a tad dry, but drizzled with the jus made up for it. The fat was rendered to perfection and chips, golden and crisp - the perfect accompaniment.

We took our time to enjoy our dishes, soaking up the harbourside atmosphere. Not a bad place to relax on a Friday night with a decent feed and a glass of wine or two, although you are paying a slight premium.

Blue Fish Cafe on Urbanspoon

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