Three Blue Ducks @ Rosebery

The Three Blue Ducks concept began in Bronte and they’ve since expanded with stores now in Byron Bay, Rosebery and Brisbane. They also host weddings and functions and you often see them at other events off site. With a big team of staff, you will note one of them is an ex-Masterchef contestant.

Stores vary in look and menu, however their approach is the same. We went to the Rosebery store which could be described as an open kitchen, large dining space and rustic decor. The store also sells some homely products like chopping boards, keep cups and cookbooks.

The restaurant group likes to use ethically sourced and organic produce and generally from local suppliers, ensuring the menu has fresh food, and as such the menu continues to evolve.

We were pleasantly greeted, taken to our table and perused the menu. Entrees, larger plates as well as the weekly sandwich special (this day was a smoked lamb) and even a bottomless brunch are on the menu. We were visiting mid week so unfortunately a bottomless brunch wasn’t on the cards for us, perhaps another time.

We ordered the oysters, which were beautiful. served with a shallot and red wine mignonette, the flavour was very refreshing. The lamb kofta was incredibly tasty, served on a spread of romesco, parsley and accompanied with a flatbread. This was a very good dish, but probably a little pricy at $19 for the size.

The other dining partners chose the poke bowl, with the addition of kingfish. A good serving, quite fishy with all the seafood and kingfish too, topped with a poached egg. Again, a lovely meal, but well above your typical price range for a poke bowl ($27).

We also had the wood roasted kingfish. Perfectly cooked, with a crispy skin and served with charred broccoli and a macadamia cream, pickled chilli and anchovy vinaigrette ($35). Flavours worked really well and the wood roasting enabled the natural fish flavour to be retained.

Other menu options include BBQ prawns, porchetta, sticky chicken, pumpkin salad and a buttermilk chicken burger (to name a few).

The bar has a range of boutique beers and ciders, cocktails and a wine list, as well as tea and coffee.

It is a lovely place to dine, staff are warm and welcoming and service was prompt. The food was extremely delicious, but it’s probably a little overpriced. We would recommend this for a special lunch. There’s a brunch menu too which we’d be keen to try at some point.

Three Blue Ducks

1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018, Australia

Three Blue Ducks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bodega 1904 – NYE Dinner

As of the past couple of years, we have booked to go to a nice restaurant on New Year’s Eve, rather than face the multitudes of crowds in Sydney Harbour. We did a little research and found a dinner menu at an amazing price at Bodega 1094, in the Tramsheds facility in Glebe.

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Tramsheds is a large dining facility in an industrial building, the former Rozelle tram building. One of the numerous restaurants is Bodega, 1904. This restaurant and wine store has been brought to us by the team at Porteno and Bodega.

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For $65, we received a glass of bubbly and 5 courses including dessert. For an extra $50 we could do the matching wines. The menu is predominately Latin American and Spanish inspired tapas and the menu arranged for New Years was pretty much everything we love to eat. Food is made using fresh produce from local suppliers and prepared in tapas style dishes. On New Year’s Eve, you were aslo able to do Ala Carte.

We received a glass of NV Cruzat Premier Extra Brut champagne on arrival. The staff were kind enough to top us up with another as the previous dining timeslot was still being served. We appreciated this.

The first dish were 2 Sydney rock oysters each with a Yuzu mignonette as well as a Crudo of scallop and finger lime. This went perfectly with the champagne.

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We very much enjoyed the butterflied wood grilled king prawn and smoky capsicum butter, served with NV Alma Negra Sparkling wine.

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We then tried a super soft steamed bun, with soft pork belly and a super crispy crackling, served with a tasty flavour of roasted sesame, wombok and salted peanut, served with the 2017 Amalaya Torrontes Riesling.

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The standout of the dinner was the incredibly delicious. It was the ricotta gnocchi, with zucchini flowers, chervil and a buttery sauce. We could have had a few dishes of this. This dish was paired with 2016 Alpamanta ‘Estate’ Chardonnay.

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The final main meal was a lovely Hanger steak with kohlrabi, xo. This meat was like a brisket and nice and smokey. Accompanied with a 2015 Tikal ‘Natural’ Malbec Syrah.

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To end of the meal was a refreshing strawberry granita atop a coconut sorbet. This was lovely. This came with the NV Cumbres Andinas Moscato, a very sweet drink to end on.

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We very much enjoyed all the food here and look forward to returning, especially for that gnocchi!

We sat at the bar, just beside the little wine store for our dinner, but the restaurant does fit larger groups. The wine menu is predominately Spanish based and the Sommelier can assist you to match your dishes. You can also purchase a bottle or two to take home.

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Bodega 1904 also does a great lunch menu and brunch on the weekend. We thoroughly recommend a visit, whether it be brunch, lunch or dinner.

Bodega 1904

http://bodega1904.com/

1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge NSW 2037

Bodega 1904 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aqua Dining – waterfront views

Aqua dining is located on Milsons Point, next to Luna Park. Not the easiest place to find – but make your way towards the stairs leading down to Luna Park and you’ll find the entrance to the restaurant above the pool. The restaurant leads downstairs, but there is a lift if you need it.

The waterfront restaurant is long and has dual rows of tables, one against the wall with couch style seats, which is where we sat, and the other near the windows. Both have incredible unrivalled views of the harbour and it is really pleasant to simply sit and admire the beautiful location. You can see the ferries travelling by, as well as the stunning harbour bridge. It simply is a marvellous location.

The day we were there, it was freezing cold, and they had the heat pumped up (slightly too much), but it felt very comforting.

We had a party of 9 and they took us to our table, presented us with menus and shortly took a drink order. The service here is A class. They were extremely attentive, filling up glasses, removing plates quickly and presenting the food promptly and it was completely unobtrusive. We were extremely grateful for this, and they didn’t seem to mind us handing around presents and staying there for about 4 hours. We also note the venue suits all crowds. A family had a small child there, there were business workers and a large group like ours.

We went on a Sunday which is thoroughly recommended as they offer three courses for $75 (normally 2 courses for that price) and you can also BYO your own bottle of wine at $15 corkage which is a big saving for us as the diner.

We like fine dining and so does my father, but our other family members such as my sister and mother are quite traditional eaters, and a vegetarian in the group and we found the menu here suits a range of eaters. It is fine dining food that isn’t too outrageous for the diner who doesn’t take a lot of risks. The food here was absolutely incredible, both in taste and presentation. They describe themselves as contemporary Italian, though to the unknown, you’d probably think it was modern Australian.

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Given we had a party of 9, we tried a range of different dishes. Plenty of the options are gluten and/or dairy free and some are also vegan. We sampled the outstanding sashimi version of Moreton Bay bug with chickpea and mint as well as the chilled oysters with freeze dried raspberry, white balsamic. Both beautiful seafood options.

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We also shared the impressively presented baked onion with tomato and smoked cheddar (gf/v) as well as the salt baked beetroot, pomegranate, goat’s milk, Szechuan pepper (gf/v). Absolutely lovely.

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Given it’s an Italian restaurant, there’s a number of pasta dishes on offer. We tried the Risotto, with nettle, pine nuts (gf/v) and it was thoroughly enjoyed. You can select a pasta as either one of your entrée or main dish selections.

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For mains, we enjoyed the amazingly tender dry-aged duck breast, red witlof with pickled blackberries as well as the ever popular, melt-in your mouth beef cheek with roast pumpkin, sage, port. We had a few bowls of the crunchy roast potatoes with rosemary as well.

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All meal options were delicious and we could not fault anything.

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Desserts were also of a high standard and we sampled most including the salted caramel vacherin, chocolate sorbet (gf), the White chocolate & ginger panna cotta, lime & coconut, miso sablé and my favourite, the Pearl barley ice cream, coffee crumble, caramel. So delicate and creamy.

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We also loved the cheese platters. Just when you think you’re finished, they bring out some sweet petit fours!

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We loved our visit to Aqua Dining and certainly will be back!

www.aquadining.com.au

Corner of Paul Street and Northcliff Streets, Milsons Point New South Wales 2061

02 9964 9998

Aqua Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sydney Seaplanes Empire Lounge

Sydney Seaplanes is not just a place for a plane ride over the harbour, it also has a bar and restaurant and you can visit the empire lounge simply for a meal and enjoy the beautiful harbour scenery.

Outdoor seating on the verandah or inside near the bar, come here for a relaxing setting.

Although the outdoor temperature was a bit cold on the day we visited, they have outdoor heating and blankets to keep us warm.

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They have a top cocktail list and we began with one each. The flavours of these were lovely and refreshing and the presentation also fit the setting. Brunch always has to have a Bellini and this one was a nice mix of Champagne with white peach and vine peach liquor. The skyline swizzle was a mix of rum, açai berries, raspberries, fresh lime and bitters. Gin, pineapple, lime and bitters made up the Honolulu cocktail and it was awesome.

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Food wise, we left it in the hands of the waiter to order us an array of foods, beginning with some beautiful oysters and a vinaigrette.

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The menu is predominantly seafood, a natural choice given the proximity to the sea. From the sea menu, we tried the Balmain bug risotto, which was cooked just as risotto should be, and with the addition of nice small chunks of Balmain bug. Beautifully presented with edible flowers, Creme fraiche and edamame, this was a popular dish amongst our group.

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We also tried the yellow fin tuna tartare with avocado, black sesame and ponzu, accompanied by some rice waters.

957A556D-0D16-4205-A7F2-03A3C64B323DThe kale and avocado salad with quinoa, chickpeas, seeds, pine nuts and mint was so refreshing and nice and light to go with the meal.

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We also had the swordfish steak special with sugar snap peas and a romasco sauce, a seafood lasagne and a side of bread and butter.

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It’s a perfect location, lovely food and efficient service.

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Empire Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Art of Dining @Westfield Hornsby

Art of Dining, held at Westfield Hornsby, is an annual festival celebrating food, drink and entertainment.

This year’s Art of Dining was a wonderful community event where people of all ages gathered together for an enjoyable afternoon, with musical acts who performed on the main stage and engaged the crowd with dancing – one act even encouraged kids to get on stage to play the bongo drums!

There was also a jumping castle, which all the kids loved of course.

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Outside the Dining Precinct at Westfield Hornsby, there were a number of stalls set up, offering a range of different delicious cuisines.

We were lucky enough to have sampled what Joyful House had to offer at the Eat.Drink.Westfield event back in August and so we made a bee-line straight for their stall to get a yum cha fix. We had plenty of tasty morsels, such as salt and pepper chicken wings, spring rolls, mixed dumplings, fried won tons and pork buns.

We also couldn’t resist the bite sized mango pancakes being served up by Westfield Hornsby favourite, the House of Canton.

For the adultsShores were serving up the perfect combination of oysters and a glass of champagne. Craft beers and cocktails were also available from the bar. It was very enjoyable taking in the entertainment and performances on the main stage whist sipping on an Aperol Spritz.

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Food trucks are so in fashion these days and they were certainly popular with the crowds at this event.

Inbocca were selling pizzas, lasagne cubes and arancini, whilst The Wienery had a variety of mouth-watering bites, including bacon wrapped hot dogs – definitely a popular choice.

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We tried the Egyptian food from El Qahirah, which has introduced us to the wonders that this cuisine has to offer.

One of our favourite meals of the day was an Egyptian street food dish; a bowl of rice and lentils, topped with a middle eastern spiced tomato sauce, macaroni, chickpeas and fried onions with a magic ‘Dukkah’ flavouring of vinegar, spices and chilli. This dish, called Koshary (meaning Cairo), is the National dish of Egypt and we can certainly see why! Wow!

They also have flatbread pouches filled with the works for a healthy option!

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Alexander’s Bakery make a variety of Macedonian filled pastries. The Burek, with a range of sweet and savoury fillings (our pick being the spinach and ricotta and the smokey pulled pork) was delicious! These were selling out super-fast with the crowds and we highly recommend trying some.

One must finish their dining experience with dessert… and that we did with some beautiful little patisserie foods from Love One More Bite. Their tarts were not only visually appealing, but also extremely tasty. Our favourites were the unicorn and the special skull feature, perfect for Halloween.

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The food was on point and the entertainment provided ambiance whilst dining, with a range of acts including Malaika Green, Mi-kaisha, Phil Maxwell and The Modern Glitch.

The skill displayed by the face painters from Kozi and Pinky Entertainment was very impressive with children queueing up for face art. But, who said it only has to be for children? It was Halloween, so we decided to line up for some painted faces too! The line moved quickly and there was no cost involved for shoppers. Our “Day of the Dead” faces are testament to their amazing skills!

This annual event certainly brought people together – watch out for its return next year. We cannot wait to see what Westfield Hornsby puts together next year, this event is definitely not to be missed!