February 13th, 2009

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Ravesi's

With summer days so scarce, it’s best not to waste them. So a return to Ravesi’s was on the cards, this time for lunch. I last dined in June 2008 (see HERE) on their winter menu, so I was off to try the new summer selections. It's best to start with a cocktail, so  I ordered a Summer Smash ($15.50) which added the vivid red of fresh raspberries to our table overlooking the perfect horseshoe of Bondi Beach. The photo above is however of the less exciting cocktail whose name escapes me... but you get the point.

An elegant plate of Hiramasa King Fish Sashimi ($18) flavoured with orange, soy and pickled ginger was beautifully plated, and very enjoyable.

One of the waiters is a Hellfire regular, and he sends us out a complimentary plate of Garlic Pizza and Dips ($12) which is a nice surprise. The garlicky Tzatziki on the is the best thing on the plate, and the pizza bread is quite compelling.

A generous serve of plump Spring Bay Mussels ($18) in a flavoursome coconut lime curry broth impresses - they're nicely cooked, and the bowl is full!

Fancying a swim later, we choose from their great selection of salad mains. The most harmonious and imaginative was the Dolce Latte Gorgonzola and Rocket Salad ($25) with nectarines, sun dried cranberries, caramelised chestnuts and twenty year aged balsamic.

Slightly less impressive was the Barbequed Chicken and Avocado Salad ($25) with mango, crispy noodles and a coconut curry dressing that showed evidence of Keen’s Curry Powder. I was not convinced the avocado belonged on the plate with the other ingredients, but I was impressed by the crunchy oil-free noodles.

These options come from an all-day menu which is supplemented by a nice wine list with plenty of warm weather favourites. We opted for a bottle of the Three Miners Pinot Gris ($60) which suited the cuisine with flinty mineral notes softened by a sweet palate.

118 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach
Ph: (02) 9365 4422

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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Two Good Eggs

Leave it to a French expatriate to buy into a Philipe Starck building and fill the airy, light space with a cutting-edge cool cafe serving excellent Campos Coffee and wonderful food. This is really a stylish space - I found it quite pleasurable to dine in.

The Campos Coffee is very well made in both a Flat White ($3.50) and a Latte ($3.50).

Employing his grandmother’s recipe in conjunction with excellent organic eggs leads to a sterling French Provincial Spinach Tart ($12). The house-made Frittata ($12) with perfectly cooked, flavoursome potatoes is one of the best versions of this dish that I have tried. My plate is a smaller than usual portion of each, so I could try both!

A refreshing Watermelon, Pineapple and Mint Juice ($4) pleases in warmer weather; while the Carrot and Ginger Juice ($4) shows a subtlety that is often lacking in this particular combination. The view out the windows is also pleasant.

If you’re in a brunch mood, chef Matt Blair dresses up the AC Butchery Wagyu Beef Burger ($16.50) with a clever Raspberry and Chilli Jam; and the rich, fat-basted beef is all the better for it.

If the reclaimed recycled materials, floor to ceiling windows and minimalist colour scheme of black, white and red make you want to hang around, indulge in another well-made coffee and a home-made Chocolate Brownie ($3.50).

All the usual breakfast favourites are also on the menu, along with enough specials to keep it fresh for the lucky few who can call this their local breakfast spot.

Two Good Eggs

148 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9283 9694

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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Centennial Parklands Cafe

Recently I got to visit one of a trio of excellent new dining options in the luscious green surrounds of Centennial Park twice - it was the new Centennial Parklands Cafe. The cafe is a bright, modern space with clean lines and a great view of the park on three sides. The glass surrounds open up when the weather warrants it, so enjoy your well made Vittoria Rainforest Blend Organic Coffee ($3.50) in the fresh air.

But the highlight of my trip was the delicate lemony Hollandaise sauce and vivid yellow eggs characterise that the memorable Eggs Benedict ($15.50), served (I was delighted) with butter on the side (instead of missing, as is so often the case of late). Eggs Benedict is one of my favourite breakfasts, and it is rarely done this well.

My dining companion had a Three Cheese Soufflé Tart ($13.50) which was eye-catching with a vividly coloured roast tomato salad perched on top. Sadly I neglected to photograph it.

Freshness is paramount on this constantly updating menu, serving all day breakfast (and a relaxed bistro lunch) between the hours of 7.30am and sundown. If you’re accompanied by small folk there are high chairs and a neighbouring fully canopied playground within view if they’re campaigning to play while you finish your meal. If your companions are four-legged, there are shady spots nearby to secure them (if you’re not fortunate enough to score a table on the wooden terrace).

Parking is delightfully untimed and free; it was plentiful on the day I dined, which admittedly was midweek. I also returned to this venue on the 04th February, 2009 for the media launch of Taste of Sydney. This is a festival of eating, which will be held in the park for four days between the 12th and the 15th March, 2009. That launch was extremely well documented on Grab Your Fork, so I bow to Helen's excellent photography and words - see them HERE. Suffice to say I was impressed with the offering from the Centennial Parklands Dining kitchen - Beetroot Macaroons with Foie Gras. I am all about the humble (and in this case, not so humble) macaroon these days.

Centennial Parklands Cafe
Grand Drive, Centennial Park
Ph: (02) 9380 9350

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