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Al Aseel – Alexandria NSW Lebanese Restaurant Review

Our favourite Lebanese restaurant in Sydney has to be Jasmin1, but living in South East Sydney it’s quite rare for us to make it out to Auburn. Al Aseel is a surprisingly upscale Lebanese restaurant in Alexandria, and while it is more expensive, is a fitting substitute.

We went for a late lunch, and did not have to wait. I am told that there is a long queue for dinner and it’s best to try and book ahead.

Special mention needs to be made of the decor and layout of the restaurant. Al Aseel is located in the same complex as South Dowling Sandwiches and Pholosphy, and there is adequate guest parking. It is a far more upscale establishment than Jasmin1, featuring a very extensive bar and a large dining area. The dining tables themselves are huge for just two people, which is a mark of the restaurant’s commitment to a slightly finer dining experience.

Al Aseel Mansaf Rice

The Mansaf Rice ($9) was very nutty! It was good value for a reasonably sized bowl of rice, nuts, and a small amount of mince. It had a mild, nutty flavour, but more than the flavour I felt the nuts really helped to make the texture interesting. Went great with the excess garlic and lemon sauce from the garlic and lemon chicken.

The Meat and Onion Samobusek (4 for $14) was pretty standard. The pastry was good but not great, the filling was quite good but a bit salty.

Al Aseel Lemon & Garlic Chicken

If online reviews are to believed, Al Aseel’s Lemon & Garlic Chicken ($26) are their “unmissable” “flagship” dish. I had expected something truly extraodinary and out of the box, but what I found for $26 was actually a bit pedestrian. Their lemon and garlic chicken is simply tawouk absolutely drowned in a lake’s worth of garlic sauce and lemon juice. That’s not to say that it’s bad – it’s actually very good – just not what I was expecting. The chicken is in particular cooked very well, tender, and the sauces very flavourful.

It is the curse of all Lebanese restaurants in Sydney to be compared with Jasmin1. While I enjoyed the food at Al Aseel, I definitely felt that it was more of an upscale establishment, in terms of decor, the fitout, but also in terms of the price. While $49 at Jasmin1 can feed a small army, the same is not true of Al Aseel. Having said that, I do see myself coming back to Al Aseel more, just based on the proximity alone.

4/5 yums

Al Aseel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Chinese

Like Noodle (多来面) – Hurstville NSW Chinese Restaurant Review

We had a really busy Wednesday recently. We kept trying to get lunch but unfortunately factors outside of our control meant that we weren’t able to, and our first meal of the day was at 5PM.

I had previously had Like Noodle at Wolli Creek, and enjoyed it. There’s a post somewhere on Zomato (which may get transferred here) where I made specific note of the gymnasium style interior design.

The Spicy Diced Pork Noodles ($13.80) was well priced and well portioned. The taste was good, but I put too much of the chilli in the noodle and wasn’t able to drink the soup. We also had this around the time when the break room was full of nursing colleagues and I felt pressured to eat quickly.

The pan fried pork buns (sheng jian bao – $11.80 for 6) were an abject disappointment. Not crispy at all, and the dough was not the right consistency. I only ate 2 of the 3 allocated to me. We didn’t finish this dish.

I think overall Like Noodle Hurstville is well priced, and a safe option for a cheap noodle lunch. I wouldn’t stray too far from the noodles however.

Don’t get the buns. 4/5

Like Noodle Hurstville (多来面)
251 Forest Rd, Hurstville NSW 2220
(02) 8068 6618

Like Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Japanese

Izakaya Goma – Maroubra NSW Restaurant Review

Izakaya Goma in Maroubra is one of my go-to restaurants for delivered sushi and Japanese food before a night shift. They have a good price to product ratio, and have yet to fail to hit the spot.

Kaisen Chirashi Don

The Kaisen Chirashi Don ($19.80) was excellent. A good serving of all our favourite sea animals on top of top notch sushi rice. The salmon roe was yum.

The Wafu Mentaiko Cream Pasta ($14.80) tasted as you would expect and was priced well for what it was. I know I’ve definitely paid more for mentaiko pasta in the past.

Abura Soba

The Abura Soba $14.80 was delicious and made my colleagues jealous when reheated in the tea room microwave. Don’t be fooled like I was though, it already comes with more than enough Chashu – no need to add more!

Sushi Moriawase Shiro Goma

I rarely get assorted sushi packs but took a leap with the Sushi Moriawase Shiro Goma ($13.20) and was rewarded. The serves of fish were thick and generous, and even though I don’t normally like tamago I enjoyed this one.

Pork Katsu Curry

The Pork Katsu Curry ($17.80) was not memorable for me. My girlfriend enjoyed the potatoes.

I enjoy Izakaya Goma and can recommend for some quick and well priced Japanese food. It’s down the road from and perhaps overshadowed by Kokoroya, but ends up being a better value proposition., while making no sacrifices.

Izakaya Goma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
Japanese

Sushi Rio – Haymarket NSW Restaurant Review

We went to Ho Jiak in Haymarket last night, and happened to see Sushi Rio next to it. The promise of $3.50 sushi drew us in and made us unfaithful to Sushi Hotaru.

Overall Sushi Rio was great. I’m not going to do a detailed review of 14 different items so I will instead review the vibe. It was a very cosy restaurant with a small train around a central sushi preparation area. There was only one sushi chef, who was very responsive to us and the 3 other parties who were dining at the same time. It felt very intimate, like in Japan, to have the one sushi chef catering to us individually.

The fish was fresh and the servings were generous. There was definitely more fish per piece of nigiri than at Sushi Hotaru and at numerous other similarly priced restaurants, and the price was very good for what you get. The two hand rolls we got were both great, and of good size and value too.

All of the nigiri and sushi we had we enjoyed. We also had the kingfish and salmon mixed sashimi (not pictured) which was good too. While the quality of fish was good, the range was slightly limited. It was odd to have kingfish, scallop and oyster and not have tuna, so I suspect that they may have just run out for the day.

The ikura gunkan was saltier and less creamy than I would have hoped. Still, there was a very generous quantity of roe for the $3.50 price for a plate of 2. The taste was probably a function of their supplier rather than a fault with the restaurant themselves.

Sushi Rio did not have uni (sea urchin), however this is commonly missed on Sydney sushi menus.

The green tea is a must have, and if you’re in the mood for alcohol BYO is only $2 per person. This is a sharp contrast to Ho Jiak next door, where BYO is $10 per bottle.

Overall comment: I really like Sushi Rio. It feels like the staff really care about their restaurant, and it comes across in their service and their food. The food is well priced and high quality, and there are a number of other lunch options (for example aburi salmon don, chirashi don) for under $ 10 which would be great if you work in the CBD. I would strongly recommend Sushi Rio to anyone looking for a sushi train in the Sydney CBD.

Sushi Rio
90 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
0411 047 996

Sushi Rio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Café Japanese

Meet Mica – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

I think I have a type. Meet Mica is another Asian-fusion cafe in Surry Hills.

Meet Mica Breakie Rice Bowl

The Breakie. Rice. Bowl ($18) was extra good. Don’t let the name fool you though, it’s more of a congee than a normal bowl of rice. The wetness was very welcome, and in fact I think it could have done with a bit more soup. The Chashu melted easily in the mouth. The onsen egg was perfect, and the mushrooms added an extra dimension to the dish. Overall a legitimate 10/10 dish which I would recommend to everyone.

Meet Mica Teriyaki Dog Roll

The Teriyaki Dog Roll ($12) was not bad. A lot of okonomyaki-style toppings and an egg omlette over an Arabiki hot dog sausage. The bread to filling ratio was reasonably good, however still weighted a bit heavily on the bread side. The excess bread was used to mop up the matcha from the dessert dish.

Meet Mica Matcha Lava Toast

The Matcha. Lava. Toast ($20) is perhaps iconic to this cafe, and indeed iconic to the brunch section of Zomato where it holds the lofty position of thumbnail of a number of recommendation lists. The wet matcha lava is certainly aesthetically dramatic (you can probably find a video online), however in our opinion falls short on the taste component. The bread and matcha itself was somewhat bitter, not at all sweet. I can only describe the texture of the matcha sauce as dry, despite it being reasonably wet. The dish was saved by the condensed milk, gelato and especially fruit, which added a crisp wetness to an otherwise arid dessert.

Meet Mica Hot Chocolate
Meet Mica Sunrise drink

The sunrise ($8) was yum but not much fluid with a lot of ice for the price. The Hojicha soy latte and hot chocolate were also good.

I would come back to Meet Mica and eat the Breakie Rice Bowl again. The other two I would skip.

Thanks for listening to my TED talk.

Meet Mica
Shop 5/492-500 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 8018 7370

Meet Mica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato