Scopri – Carlton VIC Restaurant Review

Full disclosure, I’ve had these photos sitting on my computer for the past six months because I’ve been a bit burnt out from Pegfeeding about my Melbourne trip, especially as out-of-Sydney experiences aren’t really why anyone reads this blog anyway. Keen noticers will have noticed that Melbourne reviews have been going up outside of the regular schedule, as they do not form the core content of this blog. I think ultimately the delay is OK though because this is going to be a positive review.

The prelude to our meal at Scopri was us calling an unnamed popular CBD Italian restaurant, confirming that they were still open in the early afternoon, then arriving there about 15 minutes later only for them to gaslight us and tell us they were closed until their dinner service. It is only thanks to them that we were able to have quite a nice meal in a suburban neighbourhood restaurant a little bit out of the way.

The house made bread was pretty good, and complimentary, which made it even better. It was rusty on the outside and gooey and glutinous on the outside, served with some olive oil for dipping.

This Quail Risotto was excellent. It was a daily special so I don’t know how much it was, but whatever it was it was worth it. The sauce was incredibly rich, with a combination of the earthy umami of the mushrooms and the funk of the gorgonzola. The mushrooms were plentiful, and their texture interspersed within the al dente grains made for a good mouth-experience. It’s rare that the protein isn’t a highlight of the dish, and whilst the quail was juicy and also good, ultimately it was the risotto itself that did it for me.

This Agnolotti del Plin ($35) with roasted rabbit, pork, and veal finished in butter and sage was also delicious. The combination of different animals was not weird at all, and only resulted in a very meaty and satisfying filling to each angolotto. The sagey, buttery sauce was divine, and excellent to be mopped up with the aforementioned house baked bread.

The Pappardelle Ragu D’anatra ($35) was a more standard approach to a duck ragu pappardelle, which was tasty and good but not a highlight in view of the high level of excellence achieved by the risotto and agnolotti. But won’t disappoint if ragu is what your craving. This photo is of half a serving of the full size.

This is a good and gigantic tiramisu ($10) that is off menu and asked for specifically.

OVERALL The dining experience was pleasurable. As introverts we appreciated not being interacted with, just as we are sure that the other diners probably enjoyed being looked after more closely by the host. We also liked that each of the mains were split into two servings for ease of sharing, even though we had absolutely just planned to pass our plates around like uncultured animals. A nod from me.

191 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 8252


Osteria di Russo & Russo – Enmore NSW Restaurant Review

I am becoming increasingly convinced that Jowoon Oh is incapable of cooking a bad meal. As silent followers of his career ever since we first ate at Casoni back in 2020, my partner and I have been salivating over the perfectly framed overhead shots of pasta and other goodies on his Instagram all year, finally finding the opportunity to consummate things last night.

We started with this free bread and cultured butter. I don’t always have a lot to say about free bread, but this bread was actually different. It had a nice sweetness and fruitiness, reminiscent of a mild raisin toast without the raisins. I think it was delicious on its own, and actually better without the slightly herbed cultured butter. This bread inspired us to buy some raisin toast at the local supermarket on the way home. It was that good. I wonder if we could’ve had more bread. I guess we could’ve asked.

The photos in this review aren’t really good, and as I told our dining partners EH and EC they’re really just here to provide proof that we actually attended, lest anyone complain that I’m slandering them for no good reason (not that that’s going to be a concern here – this is going to be a generally positive review). Despite the poor photo quality, I’m pretty sure this shade of pink was the actual colour of the wagyu tartare ($6 each, 4 pictured). This snack of wagyu and corn on bread was really quite good, with a good synergy between the charred corn, a little bit of fermented chilli, and the wagyu beef. It was served on a tiny quarter of grilled focaccia, which was served warm and oily – a delicious contrast to the cooler meat topping.

I didn’t love the bone marrow on garlic bread with ciauscolo and salsa macha ($26), which I didn’t feel was a particularly cohesive dish. I enjoyed the nice and toasty garlic bread, which had slight hint of the memory of Casoni’s black garlic bread, but didn’t really know how the bone marrow went with or added to the rest of the dish.

I also did not love the chargrilled kingfish collar with blood lime salsa ($26). I find that kingfish collar is often quite fishy, even as someone who does enjoy both fish and kingfish specifically. I didn’t have much of this, but I did enjoy the 11chargrilled lemon as a juice on top of the fish.

This casarecce with spanner crab, sweet corn, caviar, and kombu ($34) was really good. So umami and creamy, and though the spanner crab itself was a little difficult to identify, this didn’t really detract from the experience.

The linguini with Moreton Bay bug, scallop XO, and salmon roe ($38) was also very good. We had this one first, thought it was great, and were blown away by how good the other pasta was as well. We thought that both pastas were on the top tier of pastas that we’ve had in Sydney.

The grilled duck breast with burnt mandarin and freekeh ($39) was probably some of the best duck we’ve ever had. We’ve been known to mostly enjoy Cantonese roast duck, and not enjoy any of the other more Westernised ducks that we eat, but this one was actually very good. The meat was tender, with a crispy and flavourful skin and nice citrus jus. I had actually forgotten that we had ordered this dish, and it was a pleasant surprise when it came.

We finished with the hazelnut semifreddo cremino, nutella, nougat and popcorn ($16), which combined coldness with sweet and salty flavours in a manner similar to salted caramel popcorn.

We had a really nice meal at Osteria di Russo & Russo, enjoying most of what we had, but in particular the pasta. The Korean chefs of Sydney are doing great things in the Italian and French domains, and we continue to follow their careers with interest.

Osteria di Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042
(02) 8068 5202


Restaurant Hubert – Sydney NSW Restaurant Review

My partner and I recently became engaged, and Restaurant Hubert, with its 15% public holiday surcharge, was where we chose to eat afterwards. Prices as mentioned in this post are as-paid inclusive of this surcharge, but even without this surcharge it looks from other places on the internet that prices at Hubert have risen a healthy 30% over the last few years.

I’ve been trying to stay away from alcohol recently, but from the single sip that I had I can confirm that this Campari Grapefruit ($17.25) was pretty fresh tasting.

We started our night with roe boats ($17.25 each) – expensive little pastry tarts topped with trout roe, sea urchin, and avruga. I enjoyed the thin, dual layered pastry as well as the oceanic flavours, with the sea urchin being particularly noteworthy with its unusual funky fungi like flavour. It was like tasting three different parts of the sea. Just a shame that it didn’t last.

The Pâté en Croûte ($31.05), a dense buttery but cold pastry baked around a similarly dense pork terrine, was up next. We battled our way through the interesting and varied textures of this dish, with no idea as to which part of the animal any particular mouthful or mouthfeel came from. Ultimately whilst the pastry flavour was just right, we felt that the terrine was too salty, and that while the dill pickle was nice and sour, its use was limited when paired with something that was already so flavourful. This is one dish that we just didn’t finish, and I would recommend avoiding this if you’re only dining as a party of two. There’s more variety to be experienced than to be so invested in the incredibly dense plate.

This Prime Beef Tartare ($33.35), made from wagyu topside, was just so fresh. The seasonings, including the included capers and pickles, reminded me of a raw cheeseburger, but not in a bad way. The mini French fries, fun as they were, made the dish a little bit difficult to eat, and furthered this cheeseburger (or should I say royale with cheese) motif. Though some past online reviewers have heaped criticism on this tartare, either it’s improved greatly in the intervening time or I just don’t have as refined a palate. Either way, it’s a recommendation from me.

My partner is known to enjoy a good potato, and though I wasn’t nuts for the Pommes Anna ($18.40), she loved it. These potato towers, cut with slices through them to maximise exposure to oil in the deep frying process, were cooked deliciously crispy on the outside with an appropriate remnant of moisture and softness on the inside. They came bathed in a beurre blanc sauce, and honestly what non cardiovascular related wrong has ever come from the combination of potato and butter?

This was my first time eating snail, and though I had some mild initial apprehension towards Hubert’s Escargot XO ($33.50) they turned out to be a reasonably soft introduction. The snails were a bit smaller, shrivelled up and tougher than I had imagined, with not a lot of inherent flavour, rather taking on the rather pleasant (though not very spicy at all) XO sauce. The XO sauce was particularly good with the bread.

The baugette and butter came with our order of escargot, but can also be purchased separately for $8. It may be that this was the first time that I had had bread in some time, but I absolutely loved it. It was just so good. The crust to middle-bread ratio was optimal due to its size. The bread was dense near its crust but also inside. The butter was salty, dense, heavy, and just right. We both enjoyed eating the bread with the sauce from the pommes anna as well as the escargot’s XO sauce.

The Mille-Feuille ($32.20) was alright, but represented pretty poor value considering it was essentially the same price as the tartare or escargot and was a mere dessert.

We had been meaning to eat at Hubert for some time, and our dinner did not disappoint. I did feel that overall the food was a little bit too salty for my taste (except for the bread), though this was more a problem for our waiter who had to be constantly back and forth with the water. Though some have complained, we had no problem with the 90 minute seating, as we were hungry enough to scoff down all of our dishes within the prescribed time limit. The presence of live jazzy music was definitely a point of difference, though I think the very fact that such a large and grand subterranean space could exist at all in the Sydney CBD, in a state of constant night, and with a single door as a point of ingress and egress is perhaps the most interesting part.

Would come back.

Restaurant Hubert
15 Bligh St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9232 0881

European Fine Dining

LP’s Quality Meats – Chippendale NSW Restaurant Review

It’s been about a year since I first tasted LP’s class-defining mortadella, and about a year that I’ve been dreaming about dining at their Chippendale smokehouse and restaurant. After a couple of setbacks and false starts we finally found the opportunity to go last night, taking advantage of the tables left free by those spending Good Friday at home with family.

We chose the $65 tasting menu with the addition of a serving of smoked chicken. Whilst the serving sizes are in general fine, certain fixed serving sizes, for example for the pork loin, are not adjusted for odd numbers of diners, meaning that it is better value to go in a group of four rather than the five that we had.

The first item on our menu was the malted sourdough & butter. There was nothing really special here. The bread was crusty on the outside and a bit gooey on the inside, possibly reflecting its malted nature. The ratio of butter to bread was adequate.

The oysters with mignonette dressing were fresh and delicious, though not differentiable from any other inner city oyster. When ordered a la carte, these oysters are $5 each, which is quite expensive.

While I can’t remember the name of this off-menu metal dish of vegetables, it is probably LP’s rendition of giardiniera, a classic Italian salad. It is essentially a vinegar-marinated combinastion of cauliflower, capsicum, carrot and onion. Quite the tangy palate cleanser, paired with the salumi.

LP’s salumi plate, featuring fully in-house smoked and prepared (though not husbanded) mortadella, salami cotto, and saucisson was a treat. You’ve heard me wax lyrical about LP’s mortadella more than once now – this soft, mild smoked pork sausage is the best I’ve ever tasted. The salami cotto and sauisson were also good, both ssavoiding being too salty or overflavoured, as salumi often is. Whilst LP’s cold and cured meats are also available for sale from their in-house deli, the price of their mortadella at $77/kg was no cheaper than when I had bought it from Woollahra luxury butcher Victor Churchill, and I chose not to further indulge.

LP’s grilled beef tongue with smoked beef fat vinaigrette is one of their signature dishes, and for good reason. Unlike most renditions of beef or ox tongue, LPs slices theirs longitudinally rather than transversely, the end result being a visually arresting, tongue shaped tongue meal. The tongue is extremely tender, falling apart with minimal fork-based instrumentation, which is actually fully different to the hard and chewy mess that I get every time I try and cook it at Korean BBQ. Each mouthful is an umami bomb, thanks to the smoked beef fat, though perfectly tempered and matched by the tanginess of the salsa verde and vinaigrette components. This is a truly next level dish that I can recommend as a must try.

I’m not normally the biggest fan of mussels, but these steamed mussels in nduja were actually very good. There was none of the feared grittiness present in most low-tier mussel dishes, and the sauce was both umami and lightly spicy. This dish would’ve been even better with some bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

The pickled beetroot salad was very tangy. Not the most enjoyed dish around the table, but then again it’s LP’s Quality Meats, not LP’s Quality Beets.

The 800 gram pork chop with mustard sauce and grilled onions was pretty good, but not something I’d necessarily mention in a letter home. The meat was cooked well, the sauce was inoffensive, but apart from the size and spectacle of an entire giant pork chop cut and rearranged into shape there was nothing truly special about it. It’s sad that with 5 people we did not get a 1000 gram pork chop.

This mesclun salad, mixed herbs, palm sugar vinaigrette was pretty unexciting, and definitely not as exciting as the name.

This smoked half chicken in sauce pearà ($31 supplement) was an add on from the a la carte menu. I had heard a lot about the chicken at LP’s, and this dish certainly did not disappoint. The skin of the chicken was crispy, whilst the meat of the chicken was soft. The smoked flavour, mixed with the creamy flavour of the sauce pearà made for a mouth-watering, umami-filled dish. This chicken was well received around the table, and would be my other must-have at LP’s.

This dish of ember roasted pumpkin, chard, and anchovy did nothing for me. I thought that the flavours were too strong, with the pumpkin being particularly oversalted.

The chocolate tart with chantilly cream was made of very dark, semi-sweet chocolate. I liked it, and I think my girlfriend would have enjoyed this too, but she didn’t go so we will never know. It was a divisive dish, as a few of our friends did not like the bitterness.

The savarin au rhum, essentially wet sponge cake, was also just fine. The cream in both of the desserts was quite good, described aptly by my colleague GL as tasting of a melted vanilla ice cream.

Thank you for reading my pegfeed. The chicken and beef tongue were truly standout dishes that I would recommend a visit to LP’s for, whilst some of the other dishes – salads, mostly – did nothing for me. I had a good time, but would’ve had just as good a time ordering the big hitters off the a la carte menu.


LP’s Quality Meats
16/12 Chippen St, Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 8399 0929

Diners: JW, HWJ, NT, GL, CJP

Asian Fusion Fine Dining Modern Australian

Odd Culture – Newtown NSW Restaurant Review

Fermented things have recently and unfortunately become my enemy, and so naturally one of my last dines of the year was had at one of Newtown’s newest wine bars with a focus on cultured and fermented foods.

The Beer Bread ($5 for 3 pieces) was your classic house-made sourdough with salted cultured butter. It wasn’t mindblowing, but it did actually have a bit of a beery flavour to it, which made it many times more interesting than yet another bread. And a soft, salted butter and bread is always a winning combination.

The delightfully small and expensive fish on toast ($10 each) was an interesting and probably South East Asian inspired mouthful of mango and fish. The toast base was extremely buttery, with a mouthfeel that reflected its many unseen layers. The scallop sashimi, as well as possibly some other white fish, was soft and sweet, and complimented by the soft ripe mango. The jalapeno advertised was not easily found. This was a really great snack, but I wish it were a bit larger or a bit less expensive.

The beef tartare ($20) was a bit different to the normal formed slab of raw meat, instead in this mixed in with puffed rice and seasonings. Herbs were used to great effect in this dish, imparting a unique flavour. It was however a little bit physically difficult to eat, and a bit of cracker would’ve gone a long way.

Recently burned by a $12 fermented tomato, I was a bit hesitant and wary about the tomato dish, ($22). It turned out however that I was foolish in my concern, as one taste of this tomato dish was able to justify their price. The tomato in this dish was fresh but umami, and delightfully sour but also tempered by the creamy soy milk yoghurt on top. It was an unexpected but wonderful fresh type dish, even suitable for vegan-types.

The chicken liver pate ($16) was really good. I particularly enjoyed the thick cut and lightly salted potato crisps, which had such an amazing crunch that is probably better than any other potato crisp I’ve ever had. They had the perfect size and structural integrity to scoop up (probably too many) gobs of rich, silky smooth chicken liver pate and deliver them to my mouth. The fish sauce caramel base was inventive and delicious, and while my girlfriend didn’t like this dish she was wrong. I only wish that these same chips could’ve been available to scoop up the beef tartare.

The blood pancake ($26) with pork jowl, fried egg, and maple syrup was much sweeter than I thought it would be. Looking at the photo and ingredients list you would likely imagine a savoury dish, but the truth of the matter was that even if the pancake had been savoury in and of itself, the swimming pool of maple syrup would’ve taken care of that. Despite the pork jowl and blood, the pancake was ultimately only a little bit savory, the majority of the flavour coming from the maple syrup which soaked through the entire cake. While I did enjoy the interesting texture, I think ultimately this leaned too much into the sickly sweet side of the flavour scale.

The koji roasted chicken ($42) was good but not a revelation. Juicy, succulent and tender, the chicken was well cooked, with a koji-miso flavour. I didn’t realise that there was congee in the dish, which I am only just seeing now looking at the photo. That might have added something to the experience, but really (and my girlfriend will attest to this) I can cook something similar and not spend $42 doing it.

This semifreddo ($16) with black sesame and white chocolate was very good. Specific details escape me but even the bed of crumbs was delicious.

The panna cotta ($14) with fig leaf and blueberry was visually interesting but orally mediocre. A good choice if you like juicy stewed berries, but a boring choice if you can choose the semifreddo instead.

Overall I quite enjoyed our meal at Odd Culture. Many of the dishes were very good, and even the least good dishes were at least OK. I’d probably not go again until their menu changes, but could recommend it to a colleague or friend. The chairs were sadly not comfortable.

Odd Culture Newtown
266 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8317 3057