Categories
Bakery Café French

Croquembouche Patisserie – Botany NSW Café Review

Wow! This review has really been a long time coming.

When we moved to Botany in January 2020 one of the first things we did, before we even started unpacking, was load up Zomato and look for places to eat. Croquembouche Patisserie caught our eye, and since then we’ve eaten there at least ten to fifteen times over the course of a year.

Croquembouche bills itself as one of top French bakeries in Sydney, and as the only French (non-Vietnamese) bakery I’ve ever been to I’d have to agree. We’ve eaten so many things at Croquembouche that I will only review our favourites.

The Reuben Sandwich is huge and flavourful. It’s actually the first thing I ever got from Croquembouche and has become a regular favourite. I would recommend to get it toasted.

The Ham and cheese croissant with béchamel sauce is excellent. The croissant is fluffy, and the béchamel makes the whole thing very creamy. They do an alternate ham and cheese croissant with gruyere which is a bit more expensive but I don’t like as much – no béchamel.

The Citron tart is my partner’s favourite thing from Croquembouche. In her words, “it’s probably the best lemon curt tart [she’s] ever had. Its balance of tanginess and sweetness is pretty perfect, and I wonder if it has some other complex citruses in there as well. Lemon parts are one of [her] favourite desserts, and [she] thinks that Croquembouche has one of [her] favourite tarts [she’s] ever tasted. You can’t quote me word for word, because I refuse to have non edited words and thoughts on a public platform. You’d better not be continuing to write what I’m saying.”

There is a healthy assortment of crepes on offer, which are all delicious and packed with ingredients like cheese, meat, and mushrooms.

This salted caramel tart was quite good, and not too sweet. This is coming from someone who generally doesn’t like salted caramel.

Croquembouche also offers an assortment of hot meat pies and sausage rolls. They’re pretty standard, and not really at the level of perfection as their other stuff.

Through the course of the year we had an assortment of fruity dessert pastries, which were mostly good and not too sweet.

This was an expensive but elevated hot cross bun.

The level of glaze on this apricot tart is enough to reflect stars in distant galaxies.

$10 for a bacon and egg roll and a coffee is actually quite a good deal. Unfortunately I think not everyone in the café can make coffee, and the wait for coffee during the morning rush can end up being a bit long.

My girlfriend loves chocolate mousse.

Some kind of savory bread of which I have no recollection. Looks cheesy.

This was a really nice sandwich, maybe Cuban, maybe something else, packed with ingredients including a generous amount of pickle. I’d get it again.

Look at this slice of unnamed tart.

Tart of berry. Small but concentrated.

This is one that surprised me. You would never expect such a dish sitting in the counter to have such perfectly poached eggs. Indeed this an entire brunch dressed as a sandwich. Really good, but flies under the radar.

I had a couple of these truffle and salami sandwiches throughout the year. Very tasty, but very oily.

The Salmon and Dill and Chicken and Dill sandwiches are also quite yum. A very pleasant dill taste mixed into a mayonnaise-like sauce with either salmon or chicken rillettes. I’ve never had one uneaten for long enough to take a photo.

THOUGHTS OTHER THAN EFFUSIVE PRAISE

If there’s one somewhat negative component of Croquembouche Patisserie it may just be the exquisite amount of care and time they put in to make the coffee and toast the sandwiches. I’m often in a rush in the morning before work, so I know to get my sandwiches untoasted and without coffee. Their food is also quite rich and buttery, which may be a problem in terms of long-term cardiovascular risk.

Having gone so many times in 2020 and not at all since moving to Western Sydney in February 2021, I wonder if these guys think I’ve died.

Croquembouche Patisserie
1635 Botany Rd, Botany NSW 2019
(02) 9666 3069

Categories
French

Artistry Garden – Sydney CBD NSW Restaurant Review

This is a sad story.

Artistry Garden opened in early 2020 to critical acclaim for its Japanese-French fusion cuisine.

They came onto my radar several months ago, but I had put off dining at Artistry Garden until now as they open only for breakfast and lunch, and only during weekdays – any visitor from outside the CBD would therefore need to contend with driving and more importantly parking in the Sydney CBD.

My partner and I finally scrounged up the courage to venture into the CBD during our annual leave, on 11/11 of all days. We were able to find a 2 hour park 1.3km away in Woolloomooloo (near Contact Bar & Kitchen), and made the journey through the park to the restaurant.

Once we arrived it became apparent that the Japanese-French menu I had been salivating over for the past months had been recently replaced by something much less exciting and much more just plain French. It turns out Artistry Garden’s original Michelin starred chef Masahiko Yomoda had recently (in the past week) returned to Japan to be with his family during the coronavirus pandemic, and a new chef had started and brought his own, decidedly more average menu.

Jasper Grilled King Prawns (half serve pictured)

The Jasper Grilled King Prawns (4 for $23) were served butterflied, shell on. They had a strong prawn flavour, which my partner did not like but I did not mind. I found that the butterflied presentation of the prawns with their shell on did make them a bit more difficult to eat than they could have been. The light sauce of miso butter was quite nice, however the majority of it remained on the plate, as opposed to drizzled on the prawns. Not good, not bad.

Petuna ocean

I have mixed feelings about the Petuna ocean trout with spinach, brown butter, hazelnuts, and mandarin ($36). The trout had a nice and cripsy scored skin, and the meat of the fish was cooked well, not overcooked. The mandarin pieces were an absolute treat – warm on the inside with a burst of warm juice when bitten into. Apart from these two positive elements, however, there was a bit to complain about. We didn’t like that the meal was served in basically a puddle of brown butter sauce. It made every bite, especially of the spinach and nuts which were fully submerged in the sauce very oily.

Feather and bone rump steak

The Feather and bone rump steak in red wine sauce, parsley, garlic butter ($40) was the most expensive item on the menu, and replaces the wagyu from the previous menu. We had it cooked medium-rare, and thought that doneness aside the meat was quite lukewarm when we received it, and rapidly lost its warmth in the wind tunnel that is One Farrer Place. The fries were fresh and delicious with the red wine sauce. The steak was fine but nothing to write home about. The garlic butter and red wine sauce were good but again not a revelation. This dish lacked the X factor in that nothing was particularly special about it.

We had a glass of sangria ($9), a soy latte, and a cappuccino to go.

The sangria was nice and fresh, large, juicy.

The coffees were good! Though the small coffee really was small.

Ultimately I was quite disappointed by Artistry Garden. I had hyped up the place so much in my mind, and it was all shattered when they lost their original chef and the menu changed.

Give me a call when he’s back from Japan. Until then, I woudn’t come back

$120 for 2 including drinks
3 feathers/5 bones

Artistry Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
Asian Fusion French Japanese

Auvers Dining – Darling Square Haymarket NSW Restaurant Review

When my partner was a wee lass working in Concord she would always try and drag me to Auvers Cafe in Rhodes for brunch. “Why?” I ‘d ask her. “Why do you keep wanting me to go with you, even though you can go by yourself for breakfast after a night shift?” Her answer was always that she wanted to share this delicious food with me.

A few of nights ago we happened upon Auvers Dining in Darling Square. It was amazing for my partner to see her favourite local cafe all grown up into a legitimate French-Asian fusion restaurant in the big smoke. It also happened to be part of Auvers’ 1st birthday celebrations, and as such we got to have a free cocktail each.

Starry 75 – Good. Bubbly. Not too sweet

Death in the Afternoon – Quite sweet. Also good

Lobster on Souffle

I had the Lobster On Souffle ($38) with caviar, bonito creamy sauce, and black garlic. It was a dish of a few firsts for me – first caviar and first souffle. I enjoyed how light and bouncy the souffle was, and we both really liked the creamy sauce. The fact that it was bonito based was not immediately clear, as it didn’t taste fishy at all, just umami. There was a reasonable quantity of lobster for the price, as well as a sneaky serving of scallop which wasn’t listed in the menu. I don’t normally care much for black garlic, however my girlfriend liked it. I also enjoyed the kumquat – it was the first time in a very long time I had tasted it.

Piggy Roulade

My partner chose the Piggy Roulade ($28) with poached saffron pear, celeriac remoulade, apple yuzu puree, Tonkotsu sauce. You will see that the word “pork” is not listed in the menu, and my partner was kind enough to double check with our waiter to make sure there was some meat involved. The meat that was involved was juicy and well cooked, however felt a bit stagnant towards the end. There was probably just too much of it in the same style for one dish, something that was apparent even as each of us was eating only half of it. The apple puree and the poached pears stood strongly on their own, but I felt like they did not pear well with the flavour of the pork. My partner disagreed with me on this and she liked that they brought some acidity into the mix.

Overall I had a really good time at Auvers Dining. There are still quite a few items on the menu that I’d like to try, and I’d ideally like to try them this month to take advantage of their free drink offer.

UPDATE 28/9/2020 – We went back

Whiskey sour – enjoyed more

Spring special sour – enjoyed less. Bit too sweet.

Ox Tongue Soba Cabonara

The Ox Tongue Soba Cabonara ($22) was quite good, and well priced. I liked the creaminess of the cabonara, but thought that the ox tongue was a bit tough. My partner didn’t mind this however and happily ate the ox tongue pieces in one bite. I did like the addition of reticulum, which I thought provided a fun texture and taste. (My partner, though Chinese, does not like weird animal parts).

Wagyu Beef Skewers

I really enjoyed the Wagyu Beef Skewers (2 for $18), although I thought the price was a bit steep. The beef was tender and juicy, and I liked that shallots and mushrooms skewered between the pieces of meat. While it was quite a price to pay for merely two skewers the taste of these skewers really sets them apart from the competition. I’m still yet to find a nice, quality but cheap yakitori place in Sydney (let me know if you have a line on one!)

Szechuan Calamari with salted egg mayo

The Szechuan Calamari with salted egg mayo ($15) were a reasonably priced starter with good taste. I liked that they weren’t too salty, and I think that this is actually one of my favourite salted egg dishes I’ve had recently (and boy have I had a few – I think it must be in vogue.). I also liked the half lime that they gave us to drizzle over the calamari, although I can’t figure out why they decided to blacken it.

Dragon Well Tea Creme Brulee

The Dragon Well Tea Creme Brulee ($15) I could’ve lived without. I thought it was quite sweet, and I couldn’t really appreciate the green tea flavour. My partner liked it quite a bit. More power to her.

Auvers Dining – Darling Square
Shop 4/12 Nicolle Walk, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9188 2392

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