Categories
Asian Fusion Café Korean

SOUL Deli – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

The husband and wife magicians behind Surry Hills modern Korean restaurant SOUL Dining have done it again with SOUL Deli, a still-Korean but less formal café and deli space just blocks away from the mothership. Where SOUL Dining succeeds by delivering a variety of quite substantial dishes cooked with fusion principles and a view for sharing, SOUL Deli’s offerings are more café-oriented, with single person servings that still retain some of that fusion touch.

The SOUL Galbi Bowl ($28) was the highlight of our meal. The star ingredient, black angus short rib, was delightfully tender and fatty inside with a good char on the outside – the result of a prolonged sous-vide process and high temperature grill finishing. Each bite of this prized beef showcased both the meat quality as well as the soy-pear marinade, delivering distinctly Asian flavours and showing that often it’s more about cut and culinary technique than whether or not the cow was born in Japan. The soy egg had a great umami flavour, and the pickles, kimchi, and fresh broccolini added a freshness that balanced out the meat. Last but not least was the fresh tomato, which was not only fresh but also added an additional glutamate enriched hit of umami which synergised well with the meat. Very good.

The Omelette with Korean “Caviar” ($24) was quite a nice demonstration of SOUL’s intersecting Korean and French cooking techniques. The omelette itself was delicate and moist, though I felt that the salted pollack roe within didn’t quite pack the punch that was expected. The trout roe atop omelette was fine, though there could’ve been more – there’s a difficult balance to achieve here with a relatively expensive ingredient that adds only a fine and subtle flavour. The beurre blanc, a sauce that some but not all French mothers teach their children added a creaminess that complimented the egg with its mozarella stuffing. It was a great sauce to mop up with the surprisingly decent sourdough bread. This omelette was overall a lighter tasting dish than the galbi bowl, but still good.

This Korean Fried Chicken piece ($8) was expensive compared to your regular serving of fried chicken, but quite good. The exterior was crispy, well sauced but not overflavoured, while the inside was juicy and tender. Served with some pretty high brow kimchi.

I enjoyed this Korean donut ($4.50), which was a slightly oily, slightly sweet dough twist.

This oat cookie ($4.50) was also not bad.

This was a fresh and fizzy Omi ade – a kind of Korean bberry drink. It is available also with alcohol but we tried very hard to be adults about our breakfast.

VERDICT
We really enjoyed the fresh Korean-fusion flavours at Soul Deli. The dishes are on the expensive side, but well worth it. A fitting sequel to Soul Dining.

Categories
Asian Fusion Korean Latin American

Vecino – Canterbury NSW Restaurant Review

It’s far too common to find Asian fusion cafes, particularly in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, owned by people with no cultural ties to the food being served, and it really warms my heart to see a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant owned by Asians and run by both Korean and Spanish speaking waitresses, chefs, and carpenters.

Vecinos’s expansive menu features both classic breakfast favourites as well as their signature Korean-Mexican menu of Korean fried chicken, tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Set within a small space across the road from the neighbouring Woolworths (and free parking lot), Vecino features an unusual collection of steampunk or plumbing inspired furniture, apparently assembled in house by Vecino’s very multitalented crew.

We had a selection of tacos and Korean fried chicken for our midday meal.

My first delicious taco was the Baja Taco (2 for $14.50), filled with a battered fish fillet (of unknown species), cabbage, dill ranch sauce, pico de gallo, and lime juice with salsa and jalapeno. I had been craving a sashimi taco for some time, having been recently denied one at Osaka Trading Co by my friends who weren’t too fond on the idea, and while this was no sashimi taco it hit the spot perfectly. The fish was freshly fried and very crispy, with the mild sauces adding a creaminess and the salsa adding a freshness. This taco was simple to eat and a recommendable pleasure.

The Bulgogi Tacos (2 for $14.50) with marinated soy beef, cabbage slice, pico de gallo, teriyaki sauce, sour cream and guacamole with salsa and jalapeno sauce were a wet and delicious mess. After experiencing the sensible tastiness of the fish taco nothing could have prepared me for the deluge of sauces and delicious liquids that poured out of this taco as I bit into it. The beef was sweet but not overpoweringly so, with each bite a delicious fusion of familiar bulgogi flavours with the freshness of the salsa, guacamole, and lime juice. A really good fusion taco.

Unfortunately I think Vecino’s Honey Cream Prawn Tacos (2 for $14.80) didn’t quite meet the expectations by the previous two tacos. Each taco featured a number of small prawns in a very hard honey glaze-crust. Unfortunately this hard glaze made these particular tacos far more difficult to bite through, chew, and eat than the others. This, coupled with what I think is less interesting a flavour makes these tacos a pass from me.

We also had half a Salsa Picante Chicken, which is a fusion take on the usual Korean Fried Chicken, topped with salsa picante and salsa de mango. While I was initially a little hesitant, the sweet and spicy salsa flavours actually complimented the fried chicken very well. I also found the side cabbage to be better than most others, I think owing to the lighter flavours used in the dressing compared to most Korean restaurants. I thought the hot chips served with the chicken were quite good, likely triple-fried with an exterior batter, but ultimately completely unnecessary. I would’ve liked the opportunity to order the chicken without them rather than be locked into eating them and possibly missing out on other tasty menu items.

A perfectly adequate cappuccino was had in Grounds of Alexandria turquoise.

VERDICT
Vecino is Asian fusion done right in every sense. The combination of Mexican and Korean flavours provides an experience that can’t be had anywhere else in Sydney.

4.5/5 . About twice as good as Costas Arepa Bar.

Vecino
Shop 1/1-3 Charles St, Canterbury NSW 2193
0456 416 749

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Chinese Latin American

Three Williams – Redfern NSW Cafe Review

While the name of Paddington’s Ten William cafe indicates its address, Three Williams in Redfern is not so straightforward. Situated in a dimly-lit semi-basement space on Elizabeth St in Redfern, Three Williams is named not after something with any contemporary relevance, but rather after three dead white men who already have plenty of things named after them – including entire suburbs.

Ceviche

The ceviche ($25) was a tangy bowl of tiger prawns, sashimi kingfish, pickled red onions, roast tomato, coriander, charred corn, lime & avocado, baby cos served with blue corn tortillas. I first heard of the term ceviche back in 2009, during the season six premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. Ceviche was the nickname lovingly bestowed upon a trauma patient with multiple water-sport related traumatic amputations, and while I learned nothing of medicine from this show it gave me a step up in being able to pronounce the name of this dish when ordering it (something my partner could not). Having never had ceviche I didn’t really know what to expect from this dish. It was certainly quite tangy and citrusy, however I didn’t quite like how soupy it was – and I wasn’t sure if I was meant to drink the soup or just use it as sauce. The blue corn tortillas (though more visually brown) were actually quite nice, and maintained their structural integrity well despite being semi-soaked in this juice. It was probably a fine dish but not one I’d order again.

Peking Duck Pasta

I thought Three Williams’ Peking Duck Pasta ($28) with angel hair pasta, chilli, coriander, onion crumb and shallots was really special. Every strand of pasta was perfectly coated in delicious sauce, and every mouthful full of umami flavours. I was initially quite skeptical about ordering a peking duck based dish from a restaurant that’s not expressly Chinese, but my partner wanted to try it and we were handsomely rewarded. I can definitely recommend this. It was delicious.

Chicken Katsu

This piece of chicken katsu ($6.50) was quite bad. The chicken meat was very thin and dry. The product was more batter than chicken, and probably some of the worst chicken katsu I’ve had the displeasure of eating.

The coffee was from Single O. The strawberry mimosa was cheap at $11 but not great.

VERDICT
It’s not everywhere that you can get hearty, complex meals for breakfast, and I really appreciate a cafe with a substantial all-day menu. Ample parking outside the restaurant makes Three Williams a pain free dining experience.

Four Williams out of five

Three Williams
613A Elizabeth St, Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 9698 1111

Three Williams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Café Japanese

Cool Mac – Kirribilli NSW Cafe Review

As huge fans of Kurumac, my partner and I have been looking for an excuse to eat at Cool Mac for some time. We finally found ourselves on the fancy side of the bridge during our annual leave, and stopped at Cool Mac on the way to the zoo for a quick breakfast.

Service at Cool Mac was not as good or friendly as at its younger brother. Perhaps we didn’t fit in with the suited up business and government types that frequent Cool Mac, but we didn’t really feel like we were paid much attention. There was not really much table service. There was a menu printed outside the restaurant, and ordering was at the counter. This made it difficult as my working short term memory is apparently very poor. Payment was expected at time of ordering.

Crumbed whiting, miso salmon, egg, pickles, cod roe, rice

The Crumbed whiting, miso salmon, egg, pickles, cod roe, rice ($18) was the better dish of the two we had. I really enjoyed the crumbed whiting and egg, and thought that they went well with the preserved vegetables and rice. I did think, however, that the salmon was too overcooked and dry, and let the bowl down as a whole.

Pork belly, seaweed, coriander, soy broth, dry ramen

I had mixed but ultimately negative feelings about the pork belly, seaweed, coriander, soy broth, dry ramen ($17). While I enjoyed the flavour, the huge amount of coriander, and the noodles mixed in with the small quantity of soup, the headlining element – the pork belly – was a massive letdown. Similar to the salmon above, the pork was dry and tough.

The barley tea with huge ice cube ($4) was good, as was the large cappuccino ($4.80).

I’m ultimately quite disappointed by cool mac. We went in having high hopes after absolutely enjoying our time at Kurumac, but our none of the food we had at cool mac was very good.

3.5 eggs/5

Cool Mac
2/34 Burton St, Kirribilli NSW 2061
(02) 9955 3087

Cool Mac Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Café Italian Vietnamese

Mentmore and Morley – Rosebery NSW Cafe Review

Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? 

Memento Mori is one of the spookiest cafes in all of Rosebery. The constant reminder of our impending deaths is something I usually only experience while hanging out with one of my senior intensive care colleagues. I never thought that such a feeling could be distilled into a cafe, but the wizards behind Mentmore and Morley named their restaurant just so.

Wow. Let me tell you about these textured plates. They’re from IKEA, but I couldn’t identify them on IKEA’s online store. Again wow.

While I cannot quite tell you the name of this veal scaloppine style dish with assorted vegetables, I can tell you that it was quite good. I especially enjoyed the tomatoes.

The seasonal special, pork knuckle with Vietnamese slaw was around $30. It was a whole pork knuckle, slow roasted with skin on. The skin was quite crispy and delicious, and the meat tender. I was initially skeptical of the Vietnamese slaw, but the acidic flavours helped cut through the fat perfectly. A good pairing.

Coffee was no better or worse than standard.

While the name of Memento Mori was spooky, this did not extend to the food, which was a mixture of Italian and Vietnamese cuisines. I can recommend going to get spooked.

4 out of 5 Yoricks.

Mentmore & Morley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato