Classic Modern Italian @Classico Moderno

Category: Italian

Food: $45-$65 tasting munu’s

Classico Moderno: the name says it all. Classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. We arrived at this pop up restaurant which is located on a corner block in the back streets of Darlinghurst. The restaurant has 2 rooms for dining with a number of tables. Dimly lit with cool hanging globes.

We were greeted by the very suave Italian waiter who showed us to our table. He was from Naples near Pompeii so knew exactly what Italian food should be like. The waiter also provided details on the cuisine and the region of Italy that inspired the food on the menu being Emelia Romagna. It is apparently resposible for producing some of Italy’s best cured meats and cheese. 

The service was great early on and the waiter had time to explain the menu in full detail. The restaurant then got quite busy and being newly opened it is still finding its feet, the waiters did manage to keep a decent standard despite the pressure.The chef Brian Gerlini has worked in Michellin restaurants in Italy as well as A Tavola, so you know he will work his magic producing delicious cuisine. 

There are a number of very reasonably priced tasting menus to choose from catering to different food preferences. 3 courses for $45 and 6 courses for $65. The matching wines are also reasonably priced too.

We chose the 6 courses with matching wines. The Antipasti(starter) was a very tasty; a savoury mortadela canoli and a piadina(flat bread) with delicous proscuitto, rocket and stracchino cheese. We also enjoyed the squid 2 ways. Cooked in a tomato base and squid ink seved in a pea puree a dish with great flavour combinations.

For Primi we sampled the delicous bolognaise served with fresh tagliatelle. A house made passatelli in porchini mushroom sauce topped with thinly sliced raw mushroom. A nice seafood risotto was also served the rice al dente in a tomato reduction with fresh seafood.

For secundo the melt in your mouth slow cooked beef cheeks with lambrusco, so good. 

A strawberry sorbet was used for a palate cleanser. To end the meal a light, fluffy cloud like dessert of sponge cake with vanilla chocolate custard, drenched in alchemers liquer. A great way to finish the meal, not too heavy.

A great value Italian restaurant serving quality food.We dined here as guests of ompty.

Classico Moderno Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sepia for a special occasion

Category: Fine dining

Food:$215 tasting menu

It has become a bit of a tradition for us to visit a Sydney fine dining restaurant for our Birthday dinner. This time we chose award winning Sepia, after reading rave reviews.
For your initiation you are greeted at the door which is a nice start.
As you go inside you first come across the bar which had a number of bottles on display in front of a mirror of a grand scale. The height of the ceilings are equally grand. The restaurant is dimly lit to set the mood, with jazz music playing, which I thought was a bit clichè for this type of restaurant.

I was here a little early and decided to order a drink while I waited for my wife to arrive. As expected, the drinks list is extensive and expensive. I ordered a Japanese pale ale, as I do enjoy a nice pale ale. It was my birthday so why not enjoy some of this golden elixer, at $20 a bottle. I was expecting something possibly sourced from the fountain of youth, but no; still another year older. A nice beer but not for that price.

We went with the 9 course blind tasting menu, my wife is a little picky with her food and the restaurant accomodated, which was nice. It is always nice to go on a bit of a food journey with a degustation. A degustation is always interesting as there is no choice involved, you are at the mercy of the chefs palate. Which may or may not be to everyones taste. In a restaurant of this calibre, it is alway great to experiece the skill and technique used to produce each dish.

As to be expected the service was very professional, the staff explained each dish, they were very attentive filling our glass and checking to see how our meal was going. The tableware also added to the experience with it being Japanese inspired to match the food they were serving. Also bringing back fond memories of our Japanese adventures and the craftmenship from Kyoto in particular.

The start of this dining experiece had an emphasis on seafood, showcasing Japanese flavours and using different culinary techniques. Each dish combining different textures and delicate flavours.

Next we move on to the land with the protein of choice being roast duck and wagyu beef. Both dishes presented nicely with amazing technique on display. The meat perfectly prepared with good flavour combinations.

The degustation adventure reaching the dessert phase. Already a fair amount of food served, almost time to loosen the top button. The desserts were amazing first up the palate cleanser of mandarin zest jelly, white chocolate frozen mandarin and yoghurt sherbert kinome the fresh acidic flavour used to prepare your tastebuds for the absolute gluttony ahead. This was followed by another fresh flavoured blueberry dessert.

The Spring chocolate forest was interesting; with dried leaves of the forest floor being represented in both look and texture. Chocolate twigs and blackberry sorbet. A crazy amount of dessert and wait there is more. We were given a bowl of stones, an amazing dessert called Japanese stones. With different flavours, a suprise each time you bit into one not knowing what you were going to get and all very delicious.

A great dining experience a full culinary spectacle, showcasing great skill and technique. A must, if you enjoy your fine dining.

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

Pigfish and more @ The Morrison

Category: Gastropub

Food: $1-$66

The Morrison is a great bar with really good dining options. We love their Wednesday night $1 oyster special. Their oyster library is an extensive list of fresh oysters from around Australia. We are here on a busy Thursday night, with many of the patrons enjoying after work drinks and having a good time. The DJ is pumping out tunes in the front bar.

We made our way to the restaurant dining room which is a large open space with plenty of seating. The dining room has a glass roof so you can appreciate the architecture of the surrounding buildings. There were number of work functions booked, which is understandable at this time of year with good value set menus offered at this restaurant. I recommend making a booking, just incase.

We were greeted by the waiter for the evening  Arnaud who provided us with amazing service, he was attentive, personable and informative. Being a bar, of course they had a grat drinks list, with their cocktails being a highlight. In particular we enjoyed the Grand Morrison and the Banana Old Fasioned.

Browsing the menu, their pigfish specials menu sparked our intrest. We ordered their version of oysters Kilpatrick with pork scratching mullet bottarga and Yorkshire relish. The oysters were presented nicely and tasted just as nice. We also ordered the crisp spiced pork and XO tacos a great starter fresh and very flavoursome. We shared the delicious Saltimbocca prawns. Prawns which were wrapped in proscuitto and came with a nice prawn reduction mayo. We also shared the wings and tails; The seasoned and crumbed tender meat of the pigs tail and southern fried king fish wings(fins) were melt in your mouth and were even better when combined with the green sauce(chimichurri).

For our main we ordered the bacon chop cooked over coals, served on the bone and a side of brussel sprouts. If you like bacon you will love the bacon pork chop, even better add crackling to the equation and and a creamy mushroom sauce. I remember as a kid comlaining about having to eat brussel sprouts. I have come a long way since then, the side of brussel sprouts cooked in balsamic were very tasty.

The Morrison is a top venue to for a meal and for a few beverages.
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Billy Kwong: Chinese with a touch of bush tucker by Kylie Kwong



Billy Kwong by Kylie Kwong one of Australia’s most famous chefs. We had been to the previous site on Crown St Surry Hills and were looking forward to visiting the new restaurant site in Potts point. We actually spotted Kylie sitting at the bar busily working away.

We stopped in on a Sunday afternoon for lunch. On first impression the restaurant seemed to be alot larger than their previous site. There is a large bar with seating where you can sample some of their bespoke beverages. There is a row of tables with bench seating around the perimeter and a number of smaller tables in the middle.
We visited as a threesome and were seated at one of the smaller tables. As we were sharing it made serving a little difficult, through out the meal we were continually shuffling glasses, bottles and plates to make space.

We started with the drinks list, which was interesting. With a number of bespoke beverages including wines beer and cider. We had a farmhouse ambigua from Tasmania, which is a refreshing sour beer that was a nice pairing for the food we ordered. We also had the farmhouse cider by Young Henry’s in collaboration with Billy Kwong, this cider was also a little sour and went well with the food.

The menu is a little pricey, it is Chinese inspired and is combined with Native Australian bush ingredients. I am always fascinated by Native ingredients, it is great to see them being used more these days. Even better knowing that the restaurant ethos is ethical and sustainable eating.
The dim sum was very tasty, we loved the mini pork buns with roof top honey and the steamed vegetable with warrigal green dumplings. The pork, ginger and mushroom sung choi bao was nice.

For our substantials we ordered the steamed snapper fillet with ginger, spring onions and shiro shoyu. It was ok, but I would probably go with something else next time. We shared the stir fried thick noodles with XO and Chinese cabbage, a very flavoursome dish. We also accompanied the meal with stirfried asparagus, zuccini flours and baby kale which was flavoured garlic and shiro shoyu.

Would recommend coming here for the dim sum and for the bespoke beverages.

Billy Kwong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Go APE(Artisan pasta espresso) for Pasta

Category: Italian/Pasta
Food: $8-$24

Drink: $3 BYO

My wife won a meal at this restaurant by posting a cheesy food photo on instagram relating to the bachelor TV show. This is a small, no fuss, hand made fresh pasta restaurant/takeaway in the back streets of Potts point. I took a bottle of red to enjoy with the meal as this place is BYO at $3pp. There seemed to be alot of regulars that frequent this restaurant.

We had a good chat with the chef Pietro and staff member Martina who are originally from Italy and know a thing or two about good Italian food and making fresh pasta. The staff here are super friendly and welcoming.

We started with some house made foccacia with a side dish of olive oil and balsamic to dip the bread in. We ordered a couple of delicious pasta dishes to share including the rigatoni with slow cooked lamb and asparagus, the pork ragu gnocchi and pumpkin ravioli. Even better: help yourself to some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, garlic or chilli infused olive oil. We also managed to fit in some tiramisu for dessert.

Go ape for some fresh pasta and bring a bottle of wine.

Get some pork on your fork with Mama’s pig out menu.

Caregory: Vietnamese

Food: $9-$28

We have been to Mama’s Buoi in Surry Hills and enjoyed the food and the experience. This time we visited their Crows nest location. Mama’s Buoi is Vietnamese restauatant doing traditional Viet home cooking with a modern twist. The service is fast and friendly and have a good drinks list with alot of nice cocktails. They are open for lunch and dinner. There is plenty of room with indoor and out door seating.

This restaurant has has a Banquet menu ay $49 to make it easy. They have also released a new specials menu called Mama’s Pigout, with each dish containg porcine inspiration. How good is pig as an ingredient!!! Be it bacon, porkbelly, pulled pork, braised or BBQ pork, bacon.

We were here with a group so the pigout menu worked. A great menu to share with plenty of delicious options.

All of the dishes were good including the crispy pork belly bao, the lemon grass pork spring rolls(a decent size), the crispy pancake with grilled pork(like viet tacos), crispy egg tofu in pork and mushroom XO sauce(fluffy tofu, with more of a Chinese flavour). With my favourites being the braised pork curry and the sticky Vietnamese pork ribs. Both super tender with delicious sauce.

For Dessert we had candied Bacon with fried peanut butter fig ice cream and cream cheese, a nice flavour combination well presented.

Check this place out for some nice cocktails and a flavoursome Vienamese feed with a modern touch. Better yet get some pork on your fork with the Mama’s Buoi pig out menu. #invited

Mama's Buoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Balcòn By Tapavino: What more could one want…?

Category: Spanish Restaurant/Tapas/Winebar

Food:$7-$35 per dish

Balcòn by Tapavino; Serving great Spanish food and wine. We loved Tapavino and were excited to visit Balcon by Tapavino and it did not disappoint. This restaurant group is creating some of our favourite restaurants and dining experiences. With a new restaurant called ‘Born’ soon to be openened in Barangaroo, which we have added to our list of restaurants yo visit.

Balcòn is situated in the corporate end of town. We were here on a Wednesday night and it was busy. The restaurant is a large space with bar seating, a number of tables inside and outdoor seating on the balcony; hence the name Balcòn. The restaurant has a modern design, the space is dimly lit with a plethora of spanish wine surrounding you in caged storage bays. These bays are lit showcasing the 5000+ Spanish wines available. So you know the drinks menu will have something to your liking. We sampled a lovely Brut and some reds including a pinot and a very nice syrah/shiraz that I will be looking out for.

The drink list is not just restricted to wine they have a nice cocktail list and some very nice beer to choose from including Er Boqueron an intersting Spanish Blonde Ale from Valencia brewed in part with seawater from the Medterreanean, which was refreshind and suprisingly very good.

We entertained by our waiter for the evening Alan who was a great host: formely of The Doyle restaurant group and Quay, soon to be Manager of the new venture ‘Born’. The service was impeccable, relaxed, yet very polished and providing us with food and beverage recommendations that did not disappoint. With so many great options on the menu it was difficult to decide, the guidance was greatly appreciated.

We were here for dinner allowing us to order from different parts of the menu which included tapas(individual portions), Prima(starters), amazing cured meats from the charcuterie and larger portions from land or sea, as well as desserts.

To start, we whet our appetite with some Jamon and cows milk cheese seved with crisp brwad. A great way to start the meal, simple with quality produce. We also shared the stuffed coca flat bread. A tasty crisp flatbread  filled with chorizo, egg and greens. We followed this with prawns a la plancha; A delectible Prawn dish perfecly grilled in the Spanish wood fired oven, seasoned with red pepper, lemon and herbs.

After much deliberation and some help from Alan we decided to share the delicious, melt in your mouth slow cooked beef cheek, jarusalem artichoke, beer mustard & smoked paprika. We also went with  the shaved cabbage salad with raisin, almond and manchego salad. A generous mountain of texture and flavour definitely recommended.

You can always manage room for desserts on this occasion we shared the balcon mess: a delicious concoction of white choclate and thyme cream, strawberry sauce, meringue and oat croquant. Combing this with a lovely glass of PX.

This was a great dining experience with great food service and wineWhat more could one want…?

Balcon by Tapavino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bare in mind: Bare Grill opens in Surry Hills!

Bare Grill make awesome burgers, loaded fries and freak shakes. They have a loyal following that travel to La Perouse to sample their goods. It is a testament to the quality food they produce, that they have now opened a second store in Surry Hills across from the Beresford Hotel (The Berro). This central location making their food more accessible to the masses. 

The restaurant has a modern fit out with a bar and open kitchen allowing you to watch the chefs at work and the nacho cheese machine in action. There is a large street art mural featurng past icons of cool; Jimmy Hendrix, Maryln Monroe and James Dean.

They have even managed to step it foodwise. The mac and cheese with pulled pork was amazing. The custom mac and cheese burger as well as the OTT freak shakes based on the snickers and gaytime are crazy good.  Don’t fret, they still have their classic beef and chicken burgers. Being a bar and grill they also serve great steaks and delicious ribs and if you are after something heathy; there are salads too.

We loved this second location and fit out. The food is great and the reastaurant is in an easier location. Definitely winning.

Bare Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nelson Road Tuckshop back on our radar


Category: Cafe

Food: $5-$22
Coffee: Campos – $3.50-$4

We stopped into Nelson Road Tuckshop on International Coffee day and scored a free coffee thanks to Zomato. Located a short walk from Westfield Bondi. We have been here before, but it had disappeared from our radar. The cafe has a modern rustic feel, you can grab a seat inside or out or take away. We sussed out the menu and there were a number of items that tickled my fancy, so we decided to grab a table for breakfast.

The menu changes seasonally; On this occasion there were a range of interesting healthy breakfast and lunch options. Including  Sri Lankan eggs, green breakfast bowl, their version of a big breakdast. The breakfast menu also included bircher, granola with fresh fruit and yogurt as well as a gin and beetroot cured salmon.  The lunch menu lists a variety of sandwiches, burgers and salads. For smaller bites there are pastries baked in house like croissants, sausage rolls and range of cakes including cronuts, muffins and many more tasty delights.
The service was nice and friendly with the staff checking in on us through out the meal. We ordered our lattès which were nice and had lattè art, which my wife is obsessed with at the moment. They make a nice coffee using Campos. They also make cold press juices.

The price is on the higher side, but worth it for interesting and tasty breakfast. I was tempted by the truffle mushroom croissant with beshemel, but went with the Sri Lankan eggs. Scrambled curried eggs cooked with Ayurvedic spices, charred pumpkin, black bread, pickled kohlrabi with a chilli lime sambal. One of the better breakfasts I have had lately. A great balance of spice and great  flavour, also very nutricious. We also shared the green breaky bowl with soft boiled egg, kale, coconut curry, carrot, seed and nuts. Very healthy and tasty which you cannot always include in the same sentence.

Check this place out if you are after something with a little more spice than your usual breakfast. Delicious healthy food and good coffee.

Nelson Road Tuck Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato