The Little Snail, Pyrmont, Sydney

The Little Snail is a pretty well-known restaurant in Sydney serving French cuisine. I remember when I was studying French way back in high school there was an excursion organised to eat here -especially to try those famous French snails. It's changed location a few times but still remains popular.

The menu consists of 3 courses for ~$65 but they do also do the occasional groupon deal as well which includes a drink. The menu is simple but tasty.

Salt and pepper calamari with homemade aioli -lighly crumbed rings of calamari with a nice aioli. The calamari was fresh and not rubbery at all.

French bouillabaisse with garlic bread, mussels, salmon, prawns. A very flavoursome seafood soup. The bread was best used to mop up the soup.

Crispy duck with spinach and currant sauce. YUM - this dish was my favourite. Simple, beautifully cooked duck breast.

Prawn and basil chili pasta - was OK but the sauce was a bit more tomato-ey than it was chili - not enough heat and I normally can't take much heat. Prawns were fat and juicy.

Creme caramel - the best dessert and the perfect end to the meal. Super sweet but so freaking delicious. I normally am not a big dessert person but the caramel in this dish and the texture of the pudding was just amazing.

Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce - pudding was moist and soft and warm, butterscotch was decadent. Almost as good as the creme caramel.

The Little Snail Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Temasek, Parramatta, Sydney West

In my opinion, Temasek has one of THE BEST Hainanese chicken rices around. Located in Parramatta, it is a well-known Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant famous for chili crab and chicken rice. It has been around for years and still remains super popular attesting for the quality of its dishes.

Best to book a table here, but can also walk in and see if you get lucky. We got lucky and managed to walk in for a feed at 630pm but had to vacate by 730pm - good thing we are fast eaters!

We already knew what we wanted to wasted no time in ordering.

Laksa with Prawn and Chicken - $19.80 - yes this is slightly on the pricey side but just look at the toppings! The chicken used in this laksa is actualy the same chicken that is in the Hainanese chicken rice and the prawns are fresh prawns - not those tasteless frozen ones. Combined with the delicious laksa soup based, it means this is well worth the price tag.

Hainanese chicken rice - $14 - What everyone must come and eat here. You can also order the chicken by itself without the rice. The chicken - super juicy, slightly warm, skin on, not too fatty but so so suculent and last bu tot least, de-boned to perfection. No loose tendons or bits of bone here. The rice - cooked with real chicken stock, you can really taste the difference. Accompany chicken stock, chili sauce and dark soy sauce are just bonuses. 

Temasek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pilu, Freshwater, Sydney Northern Beaches

2017 and another year has passed, which also coincidentally marks another year to commemorate the day of my birth. Yes it is my birthday again and to my regular readers you may know this means that I can break into the piggy bank and try a nice fancy restaurant! This year it is a two hatted restaurant on the Northern Beaches which I have never been to but always want to try - Pilu, at Freshwater. 

Right next to the lovely Freshwater beach in a historical cottage house is where this restaurant is located. Given the summertime a booking was made at 630pm but we rocked up a bit earlier to enjoy a bit of the beach and it was absolutely packed with swimmers and surfers. Although 630pm is relatively early, you definitely do have to make a reservation - especially for a weekend as almost all tables are reserved. However be mindful that you will lose a deposit if you cancel your reservation too close to your reservation date. Ask for a window table if you can as then you can enjoy sweeping views of the beach, though these are the first to go.

Service was fairly good although it was a little bit slow to start. The menu is straight forward, either a set degustation with matching wines or without, or a 3 course ala carte menu where you can pick and choose your dishes from an extensive menu. Sides cost extra as do drinks. We opted for the ala carte as we wanted to try a few things not on the degustation.

Cheese Gougere - To kick us off, we had these complimentary appetizers which are basically creamy cheezy profiteroles. Light and tasty.

Being on the Northern Beaches I thought I'd try one of the local breweries. $14 for this IPA which was full of hops with citrus notes. A nice summer bear.

Ravioli of potato and mint with burnt butter, truffle Pecorino and sage - 4 immaculate parcels of pasta with just the right amount of bite. The potato and burnt butter went perfectly together melting in your mouth as you bit into the ravioli.

Cuttlefish ink tonnarelli, cuttlefish, garlic chives and Nduja - this dish could have been a main at some restaurants given its portion size. A mound of al dente black ink pasta loaded with strips of fresh cuttlefish flesh. A slightly spicy dish coming from the 'Nduja' which is a sort of spice mix apparently. My favourite dish of the night.

We really wanted to order different mains, but the Melanda free range suckling roast pig had the words 'limited availability' and came recommended by the waitress so we had to order it. Unfortunately it only comes as a dish for 2, which meant we couldn't order anything else. It does also come with a side of potatoes.

Served on a rustic cork board there are the pieces of the suckling pig, complete with crispy crackling, picked cherry tomatoes, picked cabbage, a olive paste spread and a 4 cubes of a pork and pistachio terrine. The tartness of the picked vegies and the flavour of the olives provided a nice contrast to the heavy pork.

Close up of one of the pork pieces. Succulent and crispy rolled into one.

A huge bowl of golden roast potatoes - super crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. I normally never leave a potato bowl unfinished but this bowl was just so huge and along with all the pork, I sadly had to leave some uneaten.

Side of tomato salad - additional $14 but worth it to provide a bit of greenery to our selections.

Sardinian pastry with ricotta, sultanas and local honey, garnished with a candied orange slice - the pastry is a bit lit a mini-pancake or crepe with the ricotta and honey combining to creaminess and sweetness to the dish.

Domori chocolate torta with mascarpone, cherry sorbet and cocoa nibs - A decadent chocolate dish with the cherry sorbet providing the perfect amount of tartness to cut through the richness of the chocolate.

Last but not least, my birthday wish and complimentary sea salt truffles!

Pilu at Freshwater Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golden Lotus Chinese restaurant, Hurstville, Sydney South

Golden Lotus Chinese restaurant has got to be one of the best value Chinese restaurants in Hurstville at the moment. You really need to be a local to know about it though as I'm pretty sure its not heavily advertised nor does it have any major signage. In fact, it is hidden inside the Hurstville RSL club away from the main shopping areas of Hurstville, across the trian tracks. For reference, it is located here: website.

If you want to have a dinner here you must go early in order to get a table. My oldies love having early dinner so this was perfect for them. We arrived just before 6pm and got a table quickly however within 30 minutes the past was packed with lines snaking out the door. For a mere $60 bucks you get to select a number of dishes from the menu + unlimited steamed rice and Chinese tea. Note of caution - I'm not sure if they have changed this price already given the huge demand.

Below were the dishes we got, however you can also get others.

XO pippies 

Chinese cabbage 

Hot pot of bitter melon, tofu and pork

Pork ribs/chops in sweet vinegar sauce

Beef ribs stir fried with green beans


Lilong (Taste of Shanghai), Hurstville Westfields, Sydney South

On top of Westfields Hurstville, with new places like Burger Co. by Kingston  and now also an offshoot of the popular Shanghainese chain of restaurants - Lilong.

From what I recall, the menu is very much similar to the other Taste of Shanghais. The setting is more relaxed with some indoor and some outdoor seating but it is all undercover. It was also reasonably busy on a Saturday night, so best to avoid peak times or book early if you have a big group.

Xiao Long Bao - $10.80 - The must order for any Taste of Shanghai meal for me is the dumplings. Here the skin is thin allowing the juices to easily flow out - unfortunately as you can see in the photo, it meant one of the dumplings had burst and already released its lovely juices :(

Pan fried pork bun - $10.80 - Another crowd pleaser here. Crispy based buns with the same pork mince filling as the dumplings but in a bun version.

Spicy Dan Dan noodles - $11.80 - The last dish we ordered was something a bit different. Spicy mince pork and preserved vegetables as well as fresh choy sum vegies in a pork based broth with thick rice noodles. We literally ate and drank everything in this bowl. Nuff said.

Lilong by Taste of Shanghai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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