Asian Fusion Café

Chimichuri – Chatswood NSW Brunch Review

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new mole on my left palm. This worried me for a number of reasons. The first of these is that you’re not really meant to have moles in areas of skin that are not exposed to the sun. The second of which was that this was new and therefore something potentially problematic. As someone with the baseline anxiety grade of 7 out of 10 I decided that I needed to have this checked and hopefully biopsied as we know that tissue is king. And thus we made it to the Upper North Shore for a two minute skin check, and took the golden opportunity to get some brunch as well.

We rarely have an excuse to cross the bridge and I had a number of restaurants lined up just waiting to be eaten at. Near the top of this list was Chimichuri, yet another Asian fusion brunch cafe.

My partner ordered the Earl Grey Latte (L -$5), also known as a “large fun milk please”. Unfortunately the fun milk was not as fun as expected as we found it to be too far too sweet. My soy latte (S/R – $4) was just a soy latte, pretty good, but no different to every other soy latte I have every other day. Drinks aside, I thought that the cups were particularly nice, as they had a large clear base that elevated the liquid holding portion and made the glasses seem bigger than they were.

Chimichuri – Black Benedict

The Black Benedict ($24) was basically a deep fried soft-shell crab together with a charcoal hamburger bun poached eggs and black dyed hollandaise sauce. There is also a very small amount of salmon roe which I found to have an odd taste and lacking in freshness. The Black Benedict is one of their signature dishes, however ultimately disappointing. My humble opinion is that the flavours were not very good or cohesive. I was also not a fan of the charcoal bun, and I believe the jury is still out as to whether or not this is good for your health or will actively cause cancer. Either way, I don’t think black bread really adds anything to the taste of food and I try to actively avoid it where possible.

Chimichuri – Scallop Shell

I enjoyed the Scallop Shell ($24) much more. I thought that the croissant had a great warmth and airy texture to it. It was so buttery and tasty and probably one of the best croissant I’ve had in recent memory. The scrambled egg on the croissant was also very light and warm on the inside and reminded me of the scrambled egg from Dopa. I thought that the scallop was not actually as special as I thought there would be. While the main advertised attraction, there were only three scallops for the entire dish and I didn’t feel like they had much flavour to them at all. My partner, if given the opportunity to speak, will tell you that scallop is normally quite a light-flavoured ingredient and that there is often a lot of potential for scallops flavours to be muddled up by for example croissant or egg. She said it was much better eaten on its own, however even in its own mouthful I found the scallop to be a bit lacking. We will have to beg to differ.

3.5/5 , hit and miss

1/6 Help St, Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 8084 5272

Chimichuri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Asian Fusion Café Italian Korean

Amuze – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

This is not a criticism of Amuze at all, but as I was driving to Amuze in one of Sydney CBD’s many 40 km/hr zones a man in a white Porsche Cayenne aggressively tailgated me, beeped his horn at me, then ultimately did an illegal U-turn through double lines. As I was looking for parking near Amuze I once again saw this man, still in his car, parked adjacent to one of the only free spots directly outside the restaurant. As I didn’t want to be assaulted by this bad man I had to keep driving and eventually park around the corner.

Amuze salmon steak

I had the salmon steak ($19.50) consisting of a piece of pan-fried salmon atop salad with spiralised zuchini, sun dried tomatoes and carrot and a side of potato. The salmon itself was delicious, with crispy skin and a partially cooked inside. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the spiralised zucchini salad – it was really tasty with its zesty flavours. The potatoes had a nice fried exterior however I felt the interior was too starchy.

While I ate outside, the interior of the restaurant looked really nice. There’s plenty more on the menu that I’d like to try – the cafe pride itself on a number of Korean inspired dishes, and has a few Korean chefs.

Will come back soon I hope.

UPDATE 15/11/2020

So I did come back, five days after my initial meal – this time with my partner and one of our emergency medicine friends.

Amuze cream cheese pancakes

The cream cheese pancakes ($17.50) were good. The pancakes themselves were soft with a complex slightly sourdough-like flavour, and not too sweet (yum). There was a huge serving of cream cheese topping (yum), compote (yum), and fresh strawberries and blueberries (standard).

Amuze spaghetti white truffle ragu

The spaghetti white truffle ragu ($19.50) was delicious! The sauce was creamy and flavourful. The sausage mince added additional bursts of flavour atop the sauce. The spaghetti was cooked a bit too al dente for me, but still yummy.

Coffee ($3.80 for a latte), was unfaultable – very good.

Closing comments – while Amuze bills itself as Korean-Italian fusion, my impression is that their menu consists of either Korean or Italian dishes. The three dishes that we’ve tried (and the chicken parma that my ED colleague tried – not pictured or reviewed) were all firmly in the Italian camp of things, with no real Korean touches. I wonder if the other half of the menu – which consists of kimchi ramen and bibimbap among other things – have more Western elements in them. Not a complaint – just an observation.


1 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0487 037 757

Amuze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Flour Drum – Newtown Brunch Review

I’ve wanted to eat at Flour Drum for some time, but had avoided it in view of the terrifying parking situation in Newtown. I was finally able to bundle up the spoons to brave the King St parking situation this weekend, only to find that parking isn’t so bad on a Sunday morning. We had a dish from their regular menu, and a dish from their Spring inspired menu. Allow me to discuss.

The handmade pappardelle with 8-hours slow braised South Australian Lamb Shank Ragu shallot and chili infused olive oil and Cyprian volcanic black sea salt ($26.50) is a very long name, but one which adequately describes the components of this dish. This was a safe choice, and a very delicious one. The pasta was cooked softer than al dentre, which was good for me, because I’m basic. I really enjoyed the flavours, and the fresh chopped chilli gave the ragu the perfect amount of spice. I couldn’t identify the volcanic black sea salt, but have no doubt it was present. I don’t know what this really added to the dish over and beyond what normal salt would have added.

I’m going to be honest, I was highly skeptical of the Handmade Pork and Prawns Dumplings with Egg Noodles in a Chicken Broth, Chinese Bok Choy, Japanese Roasted Seaweed and Parsley. I am often wary of Asian food in a predominantly Caucasian restaurant, as more often than not it is more expensive, and less good. Flour drum’s pork and prawn dumplings were the exception to the rule. The dumplings were bursting with umami flavour, and could compete with any other dumpling and wonton in wide circulation. They were really the star of the show, with the fresh bok choy a close second. I thought that the noodles and soup were a bit too plain and mild-flavoured, an opinion my partner originally held but subsequently changed her mind on. I would recommend this dish for the taste of dumplings alone, however the price ($22-25 from memory) is far too much, and a dish of similar quality and construction would not surpass $12 at your local Chinese restaurant (I’m aware one of the co-owners of Flour Drum (Victor Li) is of Asian descent)

This giant M&M cookie was like $7. It was fine. Its structural rigidity was poor but I don’t know how they could have done better with such a large surface area.

Overall I think Flour Drum is just fine. The food is good, and I’m impressed by how they are able to create both Eastern and Western dishes quite competently. My big criticism has to be the price however, especially for strictly Chinese dishes that have an obvious and equally high quality counterpart in your local Chinese restaurant for half the price.

3.5/5 (including price adjustment)

Flour Drum Newtown
531 King St, Newtown NSW
(02) 9565 2822

Flour Drum Newtown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ZIA Kitchen – Roselands NSW Restaurant Review

Let me first tell you that until last Saturday I didn’t know Roselands was a suburb. I just thought it was a shopping centre.

There is plenty of street parking in Roselands, and I was able to park right outside ZIA. This was both a blessing and a curse as I then felt the need to sit at an outside table so that I could keep my eye on my car and make sure no shenanigans happened to it. I’ve never felt the need to do this before but this time the need overwhelmed me. I would come to realise, while writing browsing their website for this review, that there is significant room inside, as well as a nice garden.

Service was pretty bad! It took a long time to be seated, and an even longer time still for a waitress to come and notice that we hadn’t been given any menus. Table water was a precious resource, with only small Duralex cups being offered, and no bottle or jug of water to pour from ourselves. We were only offered water twice during our lunch, and I also saw our fellow diners sit with empty glasses of water for significant periods of time. This was complicated by the fact that it was an extremely sunny day, and that we were directly under some outdoor heaters.

There were a few other service related problems that were too small to mention. I know I’ve spent a lot of words on the above, but I’m not normally a service-oriented guy so to be so put out by the service was a new experience.

The Braised Wagyu Beef Rib ($23) with zucchini smash, truffle, greens, hassleback potato, poached egg, beef jus was very good. The waitress asked me how I wanted my beef which I thought was odd because it’s really only a small amount of beef rib. The beef was tender and the zucchini and greens were a welcome addition to my mostly meat based diet. I could not identify any physical truffle, perhaps it was just oil, but I cannot confirm. The potato to other-food ratio was a bit high. My girlfriend asked me to bring her home a serving, which she didn’t enjoy. She said it was too truffly. I disagree.

My vegetarian friend/colleague had the Wild Mushroom ($18) with whipped goat’s cheese, truffle pumpkin puree, pine nuts, sourdough toast, served with a soft poached egg. I had some of the goat’s cheese and mushroom, which were both good. I can’t tell you if the cheese is whipped in house or if it comes like this. My friend was satisfied with her meal but also hypo-hydrated.

At the end of the day I thought that ZIA served a pretty good meal. I just wish that we they weren’t so stingy on the tap water. I think I’d go again, and I think that I’d recommend ZIA to a friend or colleague. Maybe ignore the concerns about the car and just sit inside though.

Z.I.A Kitchen
+61 2 9750 5122
62 Canarys Road, Roselands NSW

Z.I.A Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Café Modern Australian

A1 Canteen (Revisited) – Chippendale NSW Brunch Review

When we heard that A1 Canteen in Chippendale was closing down, we knew we had to visit again to try their famous curry eggs before they disappeared off the face of the planet. These were the same eggs that mesmerized me during my previous visit to A1 Canteen back in July.

Armed with months of insider parking knowledge, we booked ahead and found street parking early in the day. This was a much less awful process than last time.

Curried scrambled eggs

While visually arresting, the curried scrambled eggs ($19) were ultimately a bit of a disappointment. The dish basically consists of three elements – egg, sausage, and muffin. The egg is meant to be the star of the dish, but I found it the weakest component. Despite its orangey look, the eggs were in fact not that curried. The curry flavour was quite weak, and did not live up to the expectations set by the eyes. They were cooked just fine, but definitely were not as light and perfect as those at Dopa. The muffin component was superb. They were toasted to a crisp ideal of perfection, contrasting synergistically with the runniness of the eggs. The sausage, which is from local delicatessen LP’s, was complexly textured and enjoyable. My partner specifically remarked how nice it was to get a normal sausage as opposed to a chorizo which she feels is a bit overdone in the brunch scene.

Panna Cotta

A1 Canteen also served me my first ever Panna Cotta ($13) with stewed rhubarb ( I thought it was strawberry), long pepper, and olive oil. I thought it was fine. My partner was more enamoured with it than me, so I will let her explain in her own words: “The olive oil added a lot to it in a surprising way. It was creamy and yummy and I really liked the olive oil and it was not something I thought would go with it, but it really brought out the flavours. I never experienced such an olivey flavour before.”

Overall I was again a bit disappointed by A1 Canteen, but I would’ve been equally disappointed if they had closed down without me every trying the curried eggs. Go if you want.

A1 Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato