For another well-written post from a fellow blogger on this topic, click here.
A few weeks ago, the New York Times ran an article on the topic of food photography. It highlighted the fact that there is a increasingly growing crowd of food bloggers (yours truly included), who have begun to chafe with diners who are simply at restaurants to enjoy the food and company. Another article proffers the opinions of Tim Ross who speaks out against food photography, making several salient points. As a food blogger, I have my own opinions to proffer. I’m going to be biased, but that’s what an opinion is after all.
By the way, do read the two articles and perhaps their comments before actually reading this post, it contextualises everything.
Food Photography sullies restaurant ambience, and thus the dining experience.
This generally applies more to fine dining restaurants, but really any eatery is game. So here are my thoughts and guidelines on how not to be an annoying food photographer.
A restaurant that has gained a modicum of repute and fanfare in 2013 is Ananas Bar & Brasserie. It underwent a re-brand and relaunch in 2013 under executive chef Paul McGrath (of The Ortolan on Bayswater) that aims to bring back classic, but bold French flavours.
As it turned out, these improvements to Ananas won it a chef’s hat for the 2013-2014 Good Food Guide.
As I work only 2 minutes from The Rocks (which is where Ananas is situated), visiting the restaurant was going to be inevitable. As it stands, Argyle Xchange (the complex that houses Ananas, Sake and The Cut Bar & Grill) was running an offer that month which featured $25 lunches. I was keen, so leggo.
Date Last Visited: 24/7/13
Address: 18 Argyle St The Rocks, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): Ravioli, pork belly
At this rate, my blog will become next to useless if I keep posting about time-sensitive events after they are already over, or close to it. Case in point: Good Food Month’s Night Noodle Markets. But hey, I have a decent excuse (reason?). Not being in the country until after half of October had passed is kind of a big contributor, and couple that with exam study (yes, I actually do care about my academia) and you have a recipe for many delayed posts.
But even if you mised out on this year’s range of let’s do dessert, there’ll always be more opportunities to go next year – as was the case for this year, from last year. That was a confusing sentence.
Anyways, you’re all here to look at pretty pictures of deliciously guilty sugar hits. So let’s all take the jump.
Recommended Let’s Do Dessert Destinations: Flying Fish, Shangri-La, Azuma Chifley
Does anyone here know what “mastic ice cream is”? I didn’t know until Booza kindly sent over some samples for me to try out.
Mastic ice cream or “Dondurma” describes a type of ice cream that incorporates salep (ground meal made from a certain species of orchid tubers) and mastic gum (from a type of tree). What’s the point of all this you ask? Turkey as many can imagine can get REAL HOT in the summer periods. Regular ice cream would melt in a minute so something more was needed. As thickening agents, mastic and salep come to the rescue and make for an ice cream that melts much slower, at the expense of a more gummy and thicker texture.
But is that actually an expense? Let’s find out.
Available from: check here (but not your local super)
3 Lamborghinis Murcielagos, a club’s worth of tall, pretty models, a $10 million+ fitting, a $50,000 bottle of Hennessy – the only one of its kind in Australia, a master chef specialising in Peking duck flown in from Beijing and head chef John Rankin (pedigree Quay | Astral | Sean’s Kitchen), Australia’s largest dining table, and a $10,000 membership.
These are the key phrases that describe the restaurant opening of Waitan. In their own words “Waitan promises truly authentic Asian flavours influenced by cuisines from around the world, with an appropriately luxe dining experience to match”
No more words shall be wasted in this introduction. Curiosity piqued? Read on.
Date Last Visited: 30/10/13
Address: Level 1 & 2, 405 Sussex St, Sydney NSW
Recommended Dish(es): N/A
As I came back from China on the 15th of October, I didn’t have much time to be very active in 2013′s good food month. This includes the flagship event – the Night Noodle Markets. That said, I still managed to go twice just three and two days before it closed on the 27th. The side effect of that however, is that my post on it inevitably only comes out after the markets have ended.
Still solid progress, especially after my coverage of the 2012 markets.
Oh well, honestly, I never really thought of my blog as a guide for dining – it does serve that purpose, but only as an externality to its true purpose – simply great, mouth-watering pictures with what I hope is a writing style that is ever improving. Besides, NNM doesn’t need my marketing, that’s for sure.
Read on for the deliciousness – and may it entice you to attend NNM 2014!
Date Last Visited: 25/10/13 (two visits)
Address: Hyde Park North, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): everything in the post
For the past few weeks, I’ve been touring my home country of China. Sure, the mid-semester break was only a week long but I was very…liberal with my holiday plans. As such, the trip lasted two whole weeks! Followers of my instagram account would have seen snippets of my trip – whenever I had access to wifi.
Unfortunately, that did mean a rather long hiatus with my blog, not to mention uni and its vengeful ways of catching up with you.
But dear readers, to appease you, I have a big doozy of a post today. One that I’ve been meaning to do for some time, but only had the opportunity to put up today. Berowra Waters Inn (BWI) is truly one of the few restaurants in Sydney that can be considered a destination dining experience. Dining at BWI is the event, not as the snack to fuel some other trip. People come here to propose. It’s that kind of a place.
Date Last Visited: 21/9/13
Address: public wharves, Berowra Waters, NSW (how to get there)
Recommended Dish(es): you have to get the deg, but my faves are the chicken lemon thyme, the dessert, and the oysters w/squid ink jelly
For the past four years, I’ve had to deal with food that’s generally been of an inferior quality. Just my luck, when one semester away from graduation, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) gets a flurry of new openings that more or less have demolished the competition. We got excellent (albeit insanely oily) pasta from Stellini’s, we got some of the best falafels out there with vegetarian-oriented Yummba, we have some great upmarket cafe fare with Coco Cubano, we got a Subway, we got dessert options from the pedigrees Max Brenner and Moochi.
Now, UNSW’s Malaysian fix has arrived. Bring it on, even if I can only enjoy it for one last semester.
But as with most things, infinitely better late, than never.
Date Last Visited: 19/9/13
Address: High St, Gate 2 at UNSW (behind Coco Cubano), Kensington
Recommended Dish(es): char kway teow, mee goreng
Disclaimer: I’m Still Hungry dined as guests of Parlour Lane Roasters. Opinions are however, my own.
For those who are caught up in the hustle and bustle of CBD toils can while away their breakfast hours at Parlour Lane Roasters – a conveniently-situated cafe right next to the State Theatre, perfectly situated to tackle on the city work milieu.
Naturally, this leads to its second function – grab a bite before the big show? PLR would have that covered. It’s got the looks to match too.
Date Last Visited: 5/9/13
Address: 47 Market Street Sydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): ham & cheese croissant
For my half-year anniversary (bi-versary? Half-versary?) with The Lady, we decided to spare our wallets a bit of a chance to recoup, and chose to go to Bar H on a Groupon offer for a total of $79 between two people. Asian fine dining, why not? They’re pretty rare in Sydney, after all. I’ve been impressed with Sydney’s Asian fine dining offerings before, and as Bar H used to have a hat (it lost it for the 2013 Good Food Guide), quality was expected.
Oh, and I didn’t even realise that Bar H’s head chef – Hamish Ingham, once featured on Masterchef AU. That’s some trivia, for what it’s worth
Date Last Visited: 26/7/13
Address: 80 Campbell St Surry Hills, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): steamed pork & prawn wontons w/chilli dressing, caramelised beef rib, deep fried tofu
This is a live post – it will be constantly updated as I eat out at more hatted locations in Sydney.
Food of 2013
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide (henceforth GFG) shook things up once again this year.
While my opinions and the opinions of the GFG don’t always align (and indeed, it would be unusual if it did), I have to say that their statement on how Asian cuisine has begun to invade the palates of the masses seems on par with my personal observations.
In addition to this Asian trend, we see a continuation of the “dialing down” of fine dining – the closure/impending of Guillaume, Bentley, Claude’s & Universal (to name a few). A sign of the economic times? Perhaps, or maybe we’re simply funneling more value, and thus our time and money into the simpler stuff. Speaking of this simpler stuff, we’re talking simple, but superb – take Devon Cafe, with ex-Guillaume chefs at the helm, or Chur Burger, formerly Assiette (with a rather awkward Albion St Kitchen…rendered redundant by fire – literally). Strong talent serving food that won’t make you feel like your wallet needs shredding.
For me personally, what’s always been interesting, even from just a curiosity perspective, is the hatted system: three hats = near perfection, two hats = wow, pretty amazing, one hat = a great restaurant in its category. Yes, almost everyone finds fault in the hatted system, but I’ll bet that more often than not, one turns to the hatted restaurants as a guide for their next special occasion.
The listed of Sydney hatted restaurants this year can be found here. Alternatively, if you read the post, they’ll all be listed as you scroll.