Categories
Café Thai

Boon Cafe – Haymarket NSW Thai Cafe Review

We walked past many enticing restaurants this morning to eat at Boon Cafe, a Thai cafe, restaurant and grocery store in the Sydney CBD.

Boon Cafe has minimal dining space, we counted a total of five tables and not much room for expansion. The tables were small, but somehow able to fit all of our food, condiments, and even some flowers snugly.

We started with a Pork Skewer ($3.50), which was pretty standard fare. I found the skewer a bit too tasty/salty to eat by itself, and think it would’ve been better with some rice (which luckily they offer as a meal) .

I really enjoyed the Chicken and Ginger Congee ($12), to which we added a Century Egg ($3). They got the flavours just right, with a generous serving of ginger. The century egg I would regard as essential for this dish, to add another dimension of umami flavour and texture. We found that the congee was very wholesome and warming, and can strongly recommend this. My girlfriend remarked that as a child she hated congee, but as an adult, getting to eat these wholesome and varied congees has really taught her to love it.

The chicken wings were nothing to really write home about but not bad either. They were a little on the dry side, but the flavours were good, as was the dipping sauce. They were split in half for ease of consumption, which was a nice touch.

The Khao Dtom Sen ($14) is a member of the Winter Special menu, and not to our taste. I thought that the soup had a bit of an undesirable coat-your-mouth feel, and my partner thought it was fishy however I suspect that’s just her brain’s explanation of something she doesn’t like.

I ended up quite liking Boon Cafe, in particular the congee. I would definitely consider going back and just getting more congee! I wouldn’t stray too far from that though (although I can’t speak for the lunch or dinner menus).

This is a handsome little street cat from around the area.

Boon Cafe
1/425 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9281 2114

Boon Cafe Eatery & Jarern Chai Grocer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Café Malaysian

Cafe Rumah – Surry Hills NSW Malaysian Restaurant Review

Rumour has it that Cafe Rumah is one of the top Malaysian-fusion cafes in all of Sydney. To be fair, there aren’t really that many. My partner and I ventured into the inner west one sunny Friday morning for a bit of Asian cuisine.

Mama Yang’s Pork Belly Rice Bowl

Mama Yang’s Pork Belly Rice Bowl ($18) was delicious. The pork belly was cooked well, with a great melt in your mouth feel to the fat and skin components. The fatty pork to lean pork ratio was just right, and neither components overpowered the other. The fresh herbs and pickles added an additional level of flavour to the soy-braised pork belly and rice, and gave it a new spin compared to the usual pork belly fare that we normally get from Chinese restaurants around the city. I can definitely recommend this dish.

Tom Yum Chicken Congee

While Mama Yang prevailed in her dish’s light deliciousness, the Tom Yum Chicken Congee ($16) faltered. I found the tom yum congee to be far too tasty. The tom yum and flavours were too strong, and took away from this congee’s ability to be a wholesome and warming meal. In their defense, the congee had all of the requisite ingredients, including what seemed like $5 of ginger alone, but it is perhaps this generosity that led to its defeat. Too tasty, not wholesome.

Milo Dino

The Milo Dino ($6.50) was a surprise hit. Six dollars is a lot to pay for a glass of milo, but the taste was nice and I didn’t choke on the powdery stuff on top.

Overall I think Cafe Rumah tends towards stronger flavours, and is perhaps a miss if you are someone who has a softer palate. Personally I would still like to come back and try their roti john, so I guess it’s a recommend with caveats.

Cafe Rumah
(02) 9280 2289
71-73 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Cafe Rumah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Italian Japanese

Casoni – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

Casoni is one of the nicest meals I’ve had in some time. The menu was described to us as “Modern Italian”, with a selection of Italian staples fused with some Japanese inspiration.

We started with the Wattle Seed Flatbread ($6). Originally our choice of topping was going to be the salmon roe, however as they were out of stock we had to improvise. After the reassurance of our host that the serving of bread would be “quite generous” and suited to having two sides/toppings, I chose the ortiz anchovies ($6) and green garlic burrata ($10). While the bread was warm, soft, fragrant and delicious, it turns out that “quite generous” was a straight out lie. I would not characterise the bread as being suited to having two toppings. One was more than enough, so much so that we weighed up whether or not we should order a second serving of flatbread to mop up voluminous sides.

The ortiz anchovies ($6) were salty. I think they always are. I’m yet to develop a taste for them. My partner straight up refused to try it (she’s a bit of a fish-o-phobe).

The garlic green burrata ($10) was quite delicious. The inside of the burrata was very wet. It was a great dish to spread on the bread.

Black garlic bread

The Black Garlic Bread ($8) is a must try. It is more of a dessert than a garlic bread, with a sweet glaze and sauce. The topping of miso butter was divine. It is a house specialty for a reason and I would recommend no one leave this restaurant without trying it (cats and other people who can’t have garlic aside).

Tuna Carpaccio

The yellowfin tuna carpaccio with wasabi cream and burnt mandarin dressing ($18) was quite good but straddled the line towards being too tasty. I thought that the wasabi cream and burnt mandarin dressing overpowered the fish to the extent where I couldn’t really taste the star ingredient. While the flavours were good I wonder if a bit of tweaking is in order to highlight the tuna a bit better. Wasabi-phobes need not worry, the wasabi itself isn’t too strong.

Sausage and pecorino pappardelle

The sausage and pecorino pappardelle ($?26) was delicious. The serving size was large enough to share between two. The pappardelle was fresh and soft and tasty – not too al dente for me. The serving of sausage was extremely and unexpectedly generous, there was enough for each bite, and the pecorino added a great sharp flavour to the dish. While I’ve read from other reviews that pasta isn’t Casoni’s strong point, my experience with this pasta would lead me to disagree. It was just fantastic.

Comfortable seats

VERDICT

As I’m sure you can tell by now we really enjoyed our meal at Casoni. We can’t wait to go back.

5 stars.

Casoni
371-373 Bourke St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0449 516 798

Casoni Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
Asian Fusion Vietnamese

Kinhboy – Redfern NSW Restaurant Review

We’ve been on a bit of a Vietnamese food journey recently, and when Kinhboy popped up on my radar last week with good preliminary reviews online we knew we had to try. Unfortunately they did not quite live up to their hype.

Banh Xeo Taco with crackling pork belly

The banh xeo tacos with crackling pork belly (2 for $16) were pretty unextraordinary. While the filling of crackling pork, vietnamese slaw and sauce was tasty, juicy and fresh, the “banh xeo” exterior shell was a letdown. Taking our experience at Banh Xeo Bar as a baseline we would characterise this banh xeo taco shell as too hard (but not crispy) and a bit stale tasting.

Short Rib Pho

Kinhboy’s beef short rib pho ($18) was actually very good. The meat was very juicy and tender, cut into bit sized pieces and rearranged on the bone. The broth was rich and tasty. My one complaint would be that this dish was served with the bean sprouts within the soup, meaning that we did not have the opportunity to add our own at our own pace. This meant that they got quite soft and cooked by the end of our meal, while we like them a bit more crunchy and less cooked.

Crispy Chicken Supreme ($21), Jasmine Rice ($4)

I had very high expectations for the Crispy Chicken Supreme ($21), cooked in the French style in nuoc cham buerre blanc. Unfortunately my expectations were not met. The chicken itself was dry, and the skin hard but not crispy – a significant downgrade from the chicken I recently had at Khoi’s in Surry Hills. The sauce, while tangy and creamy, didn’t really go well with the chicken. Even when dipped the chicken had difficulty holding onto the sauce, and my partner felt like the flavours did not match well ( I don’t feel as strongly about this.) While the Jasmine Rice ($4) was a good suggestion from our waitress (like at Banh Xeo Bar, all of Kinhboy’s waitresses were White while all the Asians were kept in the kitchen) to soak up the sauce, it ultimately just didn’t cross the line into P+ territory for us.

Cherry Bomb

My partner wanted me to leave some good vibes about this Cherry Bomb ($18) cocktail.

VERDICT

While the beef short rib pho was a hit, our other two dishes were a disappointment – sad because I really wanted to like it. Despite a pretty average time at Kinhboy we did dine at sister restaurant Tokki a couple of days later – keep your eyes and noses peeled for that review soon.

3.5/5 racially segregated staff pools

Kinhboy
Shop E/66 Regent St, Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 8399 0535

Kinhboy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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