November 28th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Violent Urges

If you ever wonder why I have violent urges, here is my day thus far.

Awake. Try to connect to internet. Fail. Power-cycle equipment six times.

Ring Ozemail. Fail. They will call back in 26 minutes. Rock.

Speak to Ozemail for an hour. Complain about man who could not help last night (another hour) who told me to do helpful things like turn the cord between my router and computer around. Now turn it around again.

Man from Ozemail says the late night calls are outsourced to South Africa, and well... they don't have much experience with computers. Head desk. Raise head. Start to speak. Head desk again. Say to man in tone that is just holding it together, perhaps outsourcing your calls to people with NO FUCKING COMPUTER EXPERIENCE is not quite the level of customer service you should be providing.

Eventually get a connection. Then another twenty minutes, get a wireless connection. Incidentally, up to a month ago Ozemail would not help if you connected wirelessly.

So anyway, FIFTEEN MINUTES of access, then, fail. Again.

Call Ozemail. Fail. Eleven minutes of rocking until they call back. I suppose I should be grateful for smaller delays. Another thirty minutes of rotating computer to face Mecca, he decides it's the firmware on the Belkin, which we duly update. Oops can't, fail, lost internet connection again. Troubleshoot that again. Get updated software for modem, get wirelessly connected again. Hang up phone. Drops out.

Smashing head repeatedly into a wall seems to help.

Things achieved today thus far = 0
Damage to body = lots
Hatred of Ozemail = at an all-time high
Hatred of all other human beings = rising rapidly

And they wonder why people become terrorists.

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Sunflower Crepe Cafe

Recently I dined at Essen on Broadway, and on the way there we did a bit of menu reconnaissance and I was amazed at the variety of cheap and diverse eats in the area. I resolved to return, and one of the main reasons was the Sunflower Crepe Café.

Now firstly, I am a sucker for plastic food. One day I must buy myself some to enjoy at home. But the main reason I wanted to come here was crepes!

This little eatery on busy Broadway is decorated with quirky hot pink, custom pop art; and furnished with small tables and plastic block-stools. Drop in for a fast and wallet-friendly feed on reasonable Taiwanese food, including curries, soups, fried chicken and (most entertainingly), crepes.

All menu items from the colourful, photo-illustrated menu can be had for under fourteen bucks. Look for a sunflower symbol to ensure it's something extra good!

The other diners are uniformly Asian and most are dressed in cutting edge fashion. This makes me feel uncool but like I have stumbled onto something good. They attack their meals with relish, and I start to pine for my own... but then I am distracted with the fascinating drinks menu.

Don’t miss the refreshing Mojito ($5.50), a mix of fresh lime and peppermint leaves, topped with lemonade. Note the green dress girl is still tucking in with relish in  the background.

Their Green Milk Tea ($3.50) is a soothing, great tasting milky beverage that’s also a great antioxidant. You even get foam-art with a caramel syrup.

The slightly tangy deep fried chicken is good; enjoy it as Crispy Chicken Fillet with Rice ($8.50) or in the substantial Crispy Chicken Rolls ($13.95), wrapped in a crepe with lettuce, tomato, avocado and a homemade mustard sauce.

Now I admit they might look similar, but even better still were their Asian Crepe Rolls ($13.95) filled with a sweet peanut mix, roast chicken, fried eggs and vegetables.

Both came to life with additional chilli from the excellent selection of self-serve sauces. Both these were so large we only managed to eat one crepe each. Luckily they were quickly forthcoming with a cardboard take-away container.

If you can squeeze in dessert, there are pancakes using their fabulous range of ice-creams; or perhaps just a Three Scoop Sundae ($8.50), choosing from exotic flavours like Green Tea, Black Sesame, Durian and Taro.

This was a fun place to try out, for very little money, a large feed, and a quirky, upbeat environment.

Sunflower Crepe Café
147 Broadway, Ultimo
Ph: (02) 9211 5298

Sunflower Cafe on Urbanspoon
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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Chophouse

David Clarke (previously Executive Sous Chef at Quay) is doing an excellent job in this new theatre of meat. I’d call the sanded stucco walls, distressed mirrors and bare naked bulbs the sexiest refit in town. I think it is romantic in a post-industrial kind of way, however the abattoir-like atmosphere may not appeal to vegetarians (though the menu offers them choices). The abattoir motif is reflected in the logo of axes and saws, so it's not just me.

My dining companion said it was like "dining in a whale skeleton" but he may have been going too far?

Whatever it looks like, the eye for detail on everything including the recycled timbers and wooden wash boards, lit by soft, naked bulbs is amazing. Looking up, here is a better look at the distressed mirrors, and the light fittings.

We were impressed enough with the wine list - it was wide ranging with lots of familiar labels we had tried before with enough unfamiliar labels. It's largely Australian wines with a fair amount of New Zealand, Italian and French wines. We asked for some assistance and were recommended the 2006 Josef Chromy Pinot Noir ($13/glass, $60/bottle) from Reilba, Tasmania. It was a lovely fruit driven pinot, with a nice savoury component, and it fulfilled the brief we gave perfectly.

In the bar snack menu, the humble risotto ball (destroyed for me by too many poor ones from Opera Point Events at Sydney Opera House functions) is totally redeemed with a bar snack of moist Taleggio Risotto Balls ($11.50) with Australian morels.

Freshly shucked Moreton Bay Oysters ($31.90/dozen) are nicely set off by an excellent apple and verjuice jelly. The jelly had a beautiful soft texture, and was so tasty I ate the remaining bits spoonful by spoonful. I was also impressed to see liquor left on the oysters, and slurped it up with relish. We enjoyed the oysters with a glass of Charles de Fere ($10/glass, $45/bottle) champagne which was lovely and dry with a crisp apple note.

Diners favouring lighter choices have an interesting range of chopped salads including the hand shelled Alaskan King Crab ($19.50/$27) with yam beans, roe, asparagus and crème fraiche. Having developed a near obsession for Alaskan King Crab legs after watching too many episodes of The Deadliest Catch then finally trying them in Las Vegas and then finding them again in a recent trip to Wellington, New Zealand, I found ordering them too hard to resist. Sadly they didn't quite live up to the flavoursome representations I have had thus far.

Of course though, the emphasis here is the beef. There is lots of grain fed beef, and a few pasture fed option for those, like myself, who prefer them. A special of 650g Collie Creek Pasture Fed Rib on the Bone ($44) is tasty and extremely substantial, served with an excellent green tomato chutney.

A lady-sized 180g Wagyu Minute Steak with Café de Paris Butter ($19.50) is quite simply the best minute steak I’ve ever eaten – made of Grade 9+ wagyu topside from a Japanese bloodline!

Now as you can see, the prices only reflect the meat on the plate, so you are likely to need sides. The best side I tried was the Heirloom Tomatoes ($9.90) nearly has me weeping from actually receiving flavoursome tomatoes at long last.

A side of Walfdorf Salad ($6.90) with apple, walnuts, celery, grapefruit, lemon jam, cos and cider mayonnaise was made more interesting by the addition of grilled dates. It looked good, but turned out to be a little bland as we progressed.

David Clarke's ice-cream experience from Quay shows in the house-churned ice-cream selection. The wonderful crème fraiche flavour was my favourite. If you get Three Scoops ($12.90) you can also include the heavenly young coconut sorbet, and perhaps our waitress's favourite Franjelico which had unfortunately sold out before we got to it. It was devoured too quickly for a photo, but rest assured it looked as good as it tasted (presented with a piece of honeycomb and a jug of unnecessary but delicious Belgian chocolate sauce).

Add to the package a lovely (if a shade windy) courtyard with al fresco dining possibilities with a great view of the lovely lozenge shaped Renzo Piano designed building; or a sexy cow-print private dining room; and it's a damn attractive place to consume well-cooked, tasty meat.


25 Bligh Street, Sydney
Ph: (1300) 246 748
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