31 August 2009

Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen: Dinner before Avenue Q, Sydney (15 August 2009)

367 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

No Alcohol, No MSG.

It's good to know a place doesn't include MSG but also being no alcohol is a bit unfortunate, especially when it's before going to watch a very funny (and naughty) Broadway musical called Avenue Q. I've heard of this place for many years but have never been before. They have a very large choice of vegetarian dishes to choose from in both text and pictorial menus. Service was friendly enough although at times I felt we were a little neglected. A few of the dishes came out while still waiting for the steamed rice to arrive. I'm used to chinese tea being served complimentary in Chinese restaurants but they charge per person and it actually was a bit bitter and wasn't frequently filled up which was disappointing. The vegetables were fresh enough although I found the dishes a little bland on the taste buds — perhaps because it didn't have MSG? I probably liked Crispy Tofu with Pepper Salt dish the most out of all dishes tried for it's contrast of outer crispy shell and soft tofu inside.

You gotta love the spelling mistakes you find in Chinese menus, always good for a laugh. During the whole night there was an elderly lady sitting in the corner watching over the restaurant customers — we thought this might be Mother Chu herself? It was a little intimidating and mysterious but when we were leaving she gave us a little honorable bow to kindly thank us for visiting. I have a feeling they might have accidently overcharged us on our bill as it didn't seem to add up to my menu prices noted so always check your bill — ours was all written in chinese with no actual figures listed so was hard to confirm if correctly added up. The only other Chinese vegetarian place I know of is Green Gourmet in Newtown which I think has a better reputation.

Crispy Tofu with Pepper Salt: Spicy deep fried chunks of tofu, stir-fried with salt, black pepper, chilli and fresh coriander $14.80

Choy Sum vegetables

Lo Han Chai: Chinese cabbage stir-fried with moss (algae), special white nuts, shiitake mushrooms, and white and black fungus $14.80

Tempeh Stir Fried with walnuts, cashew nuts, snow peas and broccoli $16.80

Sze Chuan Spicy Hot Eggplant: Stir-fried eggplant with a chilli miso sauce $14.80

Jasmine Tea $1.60/person

Menu spelling mistakes

The restaurant rules

The restaurant

Mother Chu watching over us?

Avenue Q
Who's on

The stage

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Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

30 August 2009

MUMU Grill: Lunch Express Menu using my $35 discount voucher, Crows Nest (15 August 2009)

70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Yummy tapas

The first time I visited MuMu Grill was for their Take It Slow Wine Dinner and today I'm fortunate to revisit using a $35 discount voucher I received for signing up to their newsletter as promoted by Not Quite Nigella ie If you join Mumu Grill’s mailing list, Craig will treat you to a free lunch up to the value of $35! On the MuMu Lunch Express Menu I spotted the MuMu Grass Fed Lunch Special which looked reasonably priced and you could choose between a) Eye fillet with pontiac mash and green beans wine and coffee OR b) 3 courses of tapas glass of wine and coffee, both for $30 each.

The great thing about the tapas menu choice is you could pick any 3 tapas on the menu (I've included the price if you ordered it separately). My 3 tapas choices were deliciously impressive and the eye fillet was very good as well as the house wines. We were so full from the food that we actually forgot a coffee was included with our lunch special. With the discount all this came to only $25 which is a bargain for such quality. I would be keen to try other tapas items on the menu which seem quite reasonably priced compared to other places around town.

Other visits to MUMU Grill:
29 Mar 2011 - Porkestra The Encore
22 Sept 2010 - Ribfest (Lamb, Pork and Beef ribs)
31 Aug 2010 - Lambageddon Dinner
3 Feb 2010 - Beer Tasting Dinner
15 Aug 2009 - Lunch Express Menu, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Eye Fillet, Zucchini Flowers
30 April 2009 - Take It Slow Wine Dinner, Mr Riggs Wines, Jamon, Saltbush lamb, Double roasted duck, Brown sugar pavlova

PROS: Reasonably priced and freshly cooked tapas
CONS: Forgot about the coffee included
MUST TRY: Zucchini Flowers, Fried Baby Squid

MuMu Lunch Special – 3 courses of tapas
Zucchini Flowers stuffed with herbed ricotta, cabra and served with tomato salsa $7.90

Fried baby squid $12.90

Pumpkin gnocchi with pancetta, nettle and goat cheese sauce $12

MuMu Lunch Special – Eye fillet
Eye Fillet with pontiac mash (ordered without) and green beans wine and coffee $30

House white and red included with coffee (which I forgot about)

The bill

Lunch and happy hour specials

25 August 2009

Pinocchio's Restaurant: Italian Seafood & Steakhouse, Randwick (14 August 2009)

35 Perouse Road, Randwick NSW 2031
Phone (02) 9326 7775

Pinocchio's has grown!

I remember when Pinocchio's came to 'The Spot' in Randwick many years ago (possibly over 10 years now?) and was one of the first restaurants in the area to have those modern looking wooden framed concertina doors at the front — back then it was considered very fancy. I see they are still very popular and have expanded their premises in the last year to take over the neighboring shop to cater for up to 180 guests now. The food is down-to-earth comfort food which I think is reasonably priced for the area. Mushrooms with seafood were a nice starter although a bit more seafood on top would have been welcomed. The lamb rump was very tasty and the generous chicken breast dish was moist and tender and tastier than it looked. I couldn't fit in any dessert but hope to try them next time. The service was friendly and efficient.

Mushrooms filled with fresh seafood: Prawns, scallops and smoked salmon topped with shaved Parmesan and baked $15.90

Lamb Rump marinated with fresh herbs and char grilled served with baked potatoes and roasted vegetables$23.90

Valdostana: Chicken breast with ham, tomato melted cheese served with baked potatoes (ordered without) and roasted vegetables $21.50

Dessert menu

Dining area

Dinner bill

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SumBar: Wine Bar and Tapas, Randwick (14 August 2009)

50 Frenchmans Road, Randwick NSW 2031

Small, Cosy & Intimate

A good glass of wine is a great way to start any night and this cosy and intimate bar delivers tonight. Their website describes SumBar as a funky front bar in a classic Spanish style with a lounge area upstairs that oozes character and comfort with a touch of Melbourne and a splash of 1930's bordello. If that's too hard to imagine then join the many locals that seem to visit and give it a buzzing atmosphere. Wine prices aren't especially cheap but the glass of Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc ($11) and Robert Stein Shiraz Viognier ($9) went down very well. I've yet to try the tapas but spotting the $8 Tapas Tuesday night special looks like a tempting option. The arched windows and doorway certainly reminds me of the times I went tapas bar hopping around the beautiful San Sebastián in Spain where tapas are called pintxos.

Other visits to SumBar:
1 Sept 2009 - Tapas and Wine
14 August 2009 - Wine

View from window

Bar and service counter

Tuesdays $8 tapas till 8 pm

Drinks bill

Outside seating

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