Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Monday, 30 January 2012

Homegrown Zucchini

Yeah, I know this doesn't even count as a post. Short post today. And an unconventional one which I hope will convince huliehulie to post her recipes up because she's an awesome cook. I woke up one morning to find this little monster sitting in the backyard. Quite literally, it double it's size in 2 days. And people said gardening was hard... Haha no, I won't take credit for this one. It's my brother who planted this. He's quite the horticulturalist. His school is a farm you see, which he never fails to remind me; "Is your school a farm, huh?", "Is your school a farm, huh?", "Is your uni a farm, huh?". It's currently sitting at 38 centremetres long with an approximate 9 centremetre diametre and it's presumably still growing. And nothing tastes like homegrown.

To me zucchinis (or courgettes as British like to call them) are quite flavourless, but it's got a lovely texture and it lends itself to being able to be cooked in a variety of ways: grilled, pan-fried, shallow fried, steamed, roasted and you can jazz it up with flavours like cheeses, tomatoes, a good olive oil, garlic and especially chilli. Their flowers are really nice stuffed with cheeses and then deep-fried. I hope this has inspired the little green thumb in you so give it a try.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bourke Street Bakery, Surry Hills

Widely agreed as one of Sydney's best bakeries and being an avid lover of good bread and pie, one morning I shot out of bed as early as I could in the excitement of getting to Bourke Street Bakery.

Judging from the queue, it seems like the bakery was one of Sydney's worst kept secrets. The line kept getting longer and longer and every time one person had ordered and left, 2 more took their place in the line. I was going with the family so that resulted in pictures of half eaten tarts and cut up pastries because by the time I came around to taking pictures of them, they had already dug in. Unusual because I'm always the one that eats everything before everyone takes pictures of food. I guess love of food and impatience does run in the family.

Chicken, Pea, Sweet Potato, Lime Pickle 5

Far from your usual cream based frozen chicken pies, this pie was packed with flavour. Chucks of chicken, peas and sweet potato are dressed in a wonderful tomato sauce and lime pickle which gave it a very... Indianish sort of flavour. Not much to go on, I know. I love the look of it, handmade with all the grooves and all. Perfection is overrated anyway.

Beef Brisket, Red Wine and Mushroom Pie 5.30

Beef pie here was dissappointing. Flavour was top notch and mushrooms gave it an earthy bite, however the beef was lacking and I think I only had one chunk out of the entire pie. What it had a lot of, however, was heaps of tendon which had a very gelatinous texture and would of went well with a bit more meat. 

Passionfruit Meringue Tart 5

Oh man this tart was goooood. You get the caramelised meringue on the outside, and a tart passionfruit custard on the inside, housed within a short pastry case. 

Ginger Creme Brulee Tart 4.80

Yeah it was like this when I got to taking a picture of it, I swear. And this tart was just as goooood.  Custard had the right amount of sweetness, full of spices and had a distinctively gingery flavour. The tart itself was wonderfully crisp and the brulee had a slight hint of bitterness that went well with the custard. I'm struggling to pick between which tart I like better. I'm looking at the recipe now and it's frighteningly difficult to make. Still won't stop me trying though...

Eggplant, Stracchino and Olive Pizza 6.50

Yeah... That's what happens when I turn my eyes away for a moment to order more. It gets eaten. It was undeniably good, melted down, freshly toasted and an incredibly awesome combo.

It's a bloody long walk from Central Station but definitely worth it. The food is surprisingly cheap, fresh and so damn tasty. Hipsters run the cornershop, highly efficient albeit slightly impatient. You've got to figure out what you want before you even enter. They ask you "how many hot items do you want?" before you even figure out exactly what. But inside, I really wanted to reply with the answer "Can I have a little of everything?". The tarts here are real winners and I am absolutely coming back for more because I know I'll fail recreating them. This is a great bakery no Sydney-sider shouldn't pay a visit.

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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Honeycomb, Darlinghurst

I'm a huge fan of Andy Bunn's cooking. It's brilliant and honest cooking and you really can't go wrong with Italian, well done with good ingredients. That's what his ex-venture, Sopra, achieved. Half produce store, half cafe, you get quality fresh ingredients, kitchen standbys to take home and delicious food all in the one place. With that, it's hard not to achieve a loyal customer base, one being Neil Perry who I spotted a couple of times eating there and me; where I was a regular there and even had one of his cookbooks. It was a sunny day when I came out to dine at Honeycomb and I had even brighter hopes about his new restaurant.

Admittedly, my parents weren't the most ecstatic when coming out to Kings Cross at night. I guess repeated sessions of Underbelly really does give it that undesirable vibe so fortunately, Honeycomb is located down a peaceful and much more quiet road. We started off with a sourdough on the house from Sonoma and fruity olive oil.

Cabbage Salad with Regianno and Aged Balsamic 18

You're thinking cabbage salad is bland and so was I, but this salad showed less is more. The aged balsamic is not as acidic as store bought ones and has a real depth in flavour but the real hero in my opinion was the generous shavings of reggiano which gave it a sharp, distinctive bite.

Oriecchiette with Yellow Fin Tuna, Chilli, Garlic, Lemon 26

Orecchiette was the most perfect pasta to use, sucking up all the beautiful flavours resulting from the chilli, tomato, garlic, lemon and parsley infused oil. Chilli is remarkably absent from a lot of Italian eateries which is quite sad because it gives any dish quite an enjoyable kick and warmth. A very simple dish with generous hunks of meaty tuna makes this a mouthwatering pasta favourite.

Lamb ragu, Chilli, Rosemary 26

Full of huge meaty, bold flavours made an incredibly hearty dish. Rosemary and lamb are best friends and you can't go wrong with them two, all covered up with a deeply intense tomato sauce. Scrumptious.

Banoffee Pie 15

I was a little disappointed when they said they didn't have honeycomb semifroddo they're quite known for but it's not exactly the worst thing choosing their banoffee pie instead! I have this everytime I go to Sopra and it's one of my favourite desserts of all time. A hard yet short biscuit pastry is topped with a thick condense milk caramel tempered out with sweet, ripe bananas and lashings of chantilly cream and shavings of chocolate. Nothing's overpowered and I'd go back there again and again just to have this.

You don't get anything new or different here at Honeycomb which isn't particularly a bad thing at all. A lot of my past favourites are on the menu and i'm definitely not complaining. The food was undeniably simple yet good however my qualm is with the setting. It's not as rushed and much more laid back then Sopra but there's something about me that misses that blackboard where daily selections come and go while being written and rubbed off and a shop where you can look for great produce. Service was friendly and efficient and food came out in a flash. It's not as packed as say, the multiple Sopra restaurants but it's still early days and Honeycomb has a bright future under the helm of a great chef.

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Honeycomb on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Felix Bistro and Bar, CBD

Ahhhh Bonjour mes amis! C'est la journée parfaite. And it really was. Rain threatened to kill the day but it never happened. And I can't help but get all excited anything french. I'm a self- admitted francophile, just the mere thought of french girls' exotic accents to getting lost in Paris's magical buildings or the language itself with all the sibilance and silences to waking up with a croissant in one hand and a macaron in the other sends me in french filled stupor. And it helps that french workers happen to have a 2 hour lunch break standard. Enough for a quick degustation. Can't possibly be a bad thing right? 

Forgive me for the shakiness of the pictures. That was due to the aforementioned excitement. That in conjunction with the lighting makes this a nightmare place to take pictures. 

Deviate off the main road and onto a little alleyway befitting of the Melbourne CBD, walk through the outside smoking dining area complete with the requisite awnings, past the legions of long-aproned, bow tied waiters and wine-walled dining area, plop yourself on at a table with your own frilly table lamp and you know you've stepped into Merivale's faithfully beautiful rendition of little France. 

A basket of assorted sourdough was placed in front of us before we even did anything, a sign of the homely generosity to come. Crust was chewy and nutty and the butter was cheesy and soft, a good way to start off. 

Munching on bread, you can't help but look around in awe of the world you've just stepped into. Opened kitchen on the left, oyster bar in the middle with stacks of unopened oysters ready to be shucked sitting on ice and a bar to the right all walled in with french wines. Browsing through the menu reveals a unmistakable collection of french classics like steak tartare, bouillabaisse and tripes a la lyonnaise but it's the duck confit and parfait that catches my eye, two quintessential dishes no French brasserie is complete without.

Chicken Liver Pate, Currant Relish, Cournichons 16

I'm starting to really really like liver parfait because this rustic dish was brilliant. You get hunks of torn sourdough, a little watercress, zingy gherkins and fruity currants and most importantly, a rich, smooth and spreadable parfait and that would quite possible be one of the best single bites I've ever had. Oh and cournichons are awesome, really awesome, just pierces through all that fattiness and has a lovely bite. I just abandoned all cutlery and went cave man because you have to be really meticulous while putting everything in a single bite. The sourdough was charred a little more than I preferred though.

Goats Cheese Soufflé 22

Bring a defibrillator because Oh man this souffle is heart-attack inducing. So cheesy and yummy, eggy and the caramelised crust gives it a real nice crisp texture. Probably not suitable eating this by yourself though, and a few nuts or a little salad or herbs on top wouldn't go amiss.

Oysters with Condiments 3.50 each

E kept telling me repeatedly how good these oysters were, small yet plump and achingly fresh. Man... I regret a little not getting some.

Garlic Mash 10

The garlic mash was as it should be: smooth and buttery. However the garlic flavour was lacking to the point of non-existent, something that would helped bring another dimension of flavour.

Duck confit, red grapes, walnut, frisee, radicchio 32

Duck was crispy and fall apart but it is really the salad of radicchio, frisee, grapes, cournichons and walnuts that makes it even better. Such a wickedly intelligent combination; tart, crispy, fall off the bone tender, bitter, crunchy, all types of sweet and the wonderfully sticky sweet sauce just lifts it and just makes it a real winning dish.

Pan fried fish with cabbage salad and cucumber creme fraiche 28

L had this and quite enjoyed it. I sampled a bit and the fish was perfectly cooked and moist, the salad, creamy and zingy yet not sickening, at least not to me. 

Lamb pie, sautéed mushrooms, and tarragon jus 32

My friend E had a look at the menu and exclaimed "what? 32 for a pie?". She then went ahead and ordered it. I too, however, share her opinion and am mixed about this pie. I love mushrooms, however it may have been a bit too much, admittedly they get sickening sucking up the sweet sauce. The filling was packed with meat but was a tad dry. However, spiking it with a little tarragon gives it a hearty aniseedy punch and the pastry had a satisfying crisp. A little extra greenery would have been nice.

Felix is charming bistro located in the heart of NSW CBD but it might as well have been teleported from Paris itself. And there's so much more to try: de plateau de fruits de mer (fun fact, fruit is pronounce "fweets" in french, I found that interesting...), the entire dessert menu, the wines, something from the rotisserie, the regular daily specials like bouillabaisse. Hospitality was light-hearted and friendly and the food was thoughtful despite being a little heavy-handed. But really, what is french food without that little extra portion of butter, or cheese, or a dollop of cream, an extra sprinkling of sugar? A touch of luxury. Oui, s'il vous plaît

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Felix - Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon

No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.