Thursday, July 24, 2014

Maranellos, Maroubra Junction.

If you live in Maroubra Junction, or at least visited Maroubra Junction, you will not want to miss out on this amazing Italian restaurant, Maranellos. Located at the very front of Pacific Square shopping mall (where I live, yay!!), it is surrounded with glass windows, showcasing the yummiest food on people's table. Surely to make your stomach begging to be filled with Maranellos' delicious Italian cuisine.
Speaking from personal experience, every time I walk pass Maranellos, I couldn't help myself but peek (and sometimes stare) at people's food, just to know what that was, and remind myself to try that on my next visit. I've been here several times, and so thankful that it is only located few steps away from where I live.

All the staffs were very, very friendly and attentive, making sure that you have everything that you need. One other thing that I love is that they give a bowl of grated parmesan cheese and chilli in olive oil, on every table. I'm a sucker for parmesan cheese. I can put it on any food, be it Italian, or even Chinese food.
Oh, and ps, their portion is hyuuuge. I love it.


Risotto Genovese - Italian arboria rice simmered with king prawns in a basil pesto pink cream sauce (AUD 20.90)

The first thing you can smell once this risotto comes is the pesto in the pink cream sauce. It was so fragrant and the flavour was actually really good. Nothing like I've ever had before. Generous serving of the king prawns on top, and you can tell that the prawns are so fresh, and cooked to crunchy perfection. 

Spaghetti, Prawn and Scallop aglio - olive oil, cherry tomato, baby spinach and lots of garlic (AUD 23.90)

If you love your aglio olio and seafood, this is a go-to dish for you. Again, generous serving of perfectly cooked prawns and scallops folded through the al dente spaghetti, tossed in the very garlic-y olive oil. The cherry tomato adds freshness to the whole thing, which is much needed, considering there's a lot of olive oil involved.
Very perfect with the addition of grated parmesan cheese on the table.

 Pizza Margherita - mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and drizzle of virgin olive oil (AUD 15.90 for medium)

Simplicity at its best. You can definitely tell that they use a very high quality mozzarella, because you can't get such a scrumptious margherita pizza without one. The fresh basil leaves under the melted cheese adds a really nice aroma. The crust were very thin and crispy on the edges. Perfect for my liking.
Oh, and for a medium, this is quite large. <- that's a weird sentence right there.

Pollo Boscaiola - chicken breast fillet cooked in mushroom, ham, bacon & shallots in cream sauce (AUD 24.90)

Sometimes I hesitate on ordering a chicken breast fillet dish. Like, I will always consider it as a last option. Don't know why, says Norah Jones.
 But, when one of my friends ordered this to share... I didn't expect it to be that good. Seriously, not exaggerating. The cream sauce was actually the star here, it was so gooooood. I could taste the sweetness from the shallots and I think the bacon contributed to the flavour as well. There was chunks of roasted potatoes and perfectly cooked chunky carrot.
But, really I love the cream sauce so much. And the portion <3

Chicken Mushroom Risotto - Italian arborio rice simmered with chicken breast, button mushroon and shallots in cream sauce (AUD 22.90)

It was a veeery creamy risotto. As if the starchy rice didn't give enough creaminess, the cream sauce added an even richer consistency. The risotto as a whole was great, although I prefer it to be a bit more salty. But, with the grated parmesan cheese on the table, the flavour will be just right.
I recommend that you share this, cause it's really huge and rich. 

Spaghetti Marinara - tiger king prawns, calamari, local black mussels, fresh cuttle fish, baby octopus, garlic, chilli, parsley in a napoletana sauce (AUD 24.90)

This might be the signature dish of Maranellos, because I can see this pasta dish ordered on almost every table, every time I visit Maranellos. What's not to like? The, again, super generous serving of seafood, perfectly cooked and super fresh. The napoletana sauce binds the whole thing together. It's all well worth it for 25 bucks, even I think 25 bucks is a great value for all the fresh seafood you get on this dish. Super recommended for seafood lover.

Nutella Dessert Pizza - served with gelato and strawberries (AUD 15.90 for medium)

Maranellos doesn't only do great savoury pizzas, they also conquered the dessert pizza with this decadent nutella pizza. The crust was so thin and crispy, slightly sweet, topped with a generous spread of nutella. The vanilla ice cream is essential to complete that chocolate-ice cream combo, and also the strawberry that adds the tangy freshness. Perfect ending for a perfect meal.


 Will be back for sure to try their other dishes, especially the one I saw people eating from the window.

Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Price: $$

Maranello's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

La Renaissance, The Rocks

Got time to chill out on weekdays for some afternoon tea, or just going to The Rocks market on the weekend, spend some of your time to visit this petite little cafe that is managed by the person who run Baroque Bistro & Patisserie in the same area.
Always crowded and having people line up for their delicious macarons and cakes selection. They got dining area, mostly outdoor, at the back of their shop and there's like three chairs outside the front area.


Goya - Raspberry mousse encasing a passionfruit cremeux with almond nougatine topped with fresh berries.

I honestly couldn't find anything wrong about this cake... Raspberry mousse? Awesomely light and has that sweet tangy flavour. Passionfruit cremeux? So smooth and refreshing. Almond nougatine? Adds the crunch and nuttiness to this summery cake.
There was also macaron shells, I'm guessing it was raspberry? Anyway, it was a nice addition to this smooth mousse-y cake. This, I must say, is my absolute favourite from La Renaissance.


Vivaldi - Hazelnut milk chocolate and mandarin mousse.

A fan of chocolate and orange combo, like those Jaffa cakes flavour? This cake kind of reminds me of it. The hazelnut milk chocolate mousse has a contrasting flavour with the fresh mandarin mousse, but somehow they did taste good together. You can see below how both the mousse were so light and airy.. although I would've loved some base that could give another texture... 


Larme de Gaugin - Light creamy mixed berry mousse, encased in a decorative almond sponge (jaconde) and topped with glazed mixed berries.

First of all, look at how beautiful this cake is! The multicolour almond sponge was so pretty! They were light and moist too! Slightly sweet to contrast the tangy mixed berry mousse and glaze. Just like Goya, this is also a very summery cake, and it's my second favourite from La Renaissance.

Each cakes have different price for Dine in or Takeaway, but they are usually around AUD 8.00-9.00 per cake. 


Would be back for more cakes, and more of the Goya. One thing I realised from La Renaissance's cakes, they really know their mousse. All the mousses were so light and airy, but brings out the flavour once they hit your mouth. Oh, and very nice place for afternoon tea. They serve sandwiches and rolls too!

Food: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7/10
Price: $

La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bar Indigo, Double Bay.

Fitted in the Transvaal Avenue in Double Bay, Bar Indigo has that European cafe feel having 2 indoor areas separated by the entrance to Chapel court, and outdoor on the pedestrian island.
You know those kinds of cafe that has food selections that you can't choose from? Bar Indigo is one of them... it took me a good few minutes to decide what to order because everything sounds super good.
And also, they have HUGE portion. I was fooled by the pictures in Instagram... the dish was in fact very big. And I love it.

Hello Mr. Beard



Great coffee perfect to accompany all the delicious food we're about to discuss below...

Breakfast Bruschetta - with bacon, poached egg, avocado and tomato salsa, balsamic reduction (AUD 21.00)

I hesitated on ordering this because it sounded so simple. But hey, most of the time simplicity is perfection. There's absolute beauty in the avocado and tomato salsa, matching well with the savoury bacon. The sourdough itself was a bit soggy though because of the tomato juices, but still good because it was toasted until very crispy. The balsamic reduction adds a tangy flavour, completing the whole dish.

Don't worry, I won't forget an eggporn shot.

Argentine Salmon Omelette - with beetroot, spinach, ricotta, walnut and watercress (AUD 19.90)

Nothing complex about this omelette, but all the components complement each other very well. There's no question that Bar Indigo knows their omelette. Generous portion of salmon folded in the omelette and the perfectly toasted sourdough will accompany this omelette very well. 
Best omelette I've ever had in Sydney.

Fresh Tasmanian Smoked Salmon Benedict - with poached eggs, hollandaise, roasted tomato and brioche (AUD 18.00)

Despite all the other dishes, the Benedict here was regular portioned, not as big as the other dishes, but still filling. The brioche was so nice and moist, although I have no idea why the brioche is yellow, maybe it's very buttery. The hollandaise was very creamy and has a nice tangy flavour from the lemon. So good with the brioche. Nom nom.

Thyme roasted forest mushroom rolled Omellete - with parmesan & rocket baby salad (AUD 19.90)

If you love mushroom and egg, this is the right dish for you. Super generous amount of mushroom folded in the omelette, really has a nice aroma of thyme in every bite. The parmesan and rocket salad is just in case you need something refreshing, and also served with sourdough. The sourdough is killing-me-softly good.

Mushrooms peeking...


Before the whole meal (haha, wholemeal), the waitress warned us that the portion will be huge and she told us that it's better for us (there were 4 of us) to just have our meal first and then decide if we still need dessert. At the end of the meal, we were all so full, but still really wanna have a bite of the pancake. And so...

Salted Peanut Butter Pancakes - with raspberry compote and vanilla milkshake (AUD 18.90)

The stripey straw was so cute, and that vanilla milkshake bottle! The milkshake was very, very thick, it reminded me of melted vanilla ice cream's consistency. You can't see the peanut butter from the picture and only when you take a bite to the pancake can you bite into the peanut butter, so good with the raspberry compote. Peanut butter and jelly flavour combo never fails me. The maple syrup is necessary because the pancake itself wasn't sweet enough.

Look how fluffy!


Will DEFINITELY be back to try other food on the menu. I think Bar Indigo serves the best breakfast I've ever had in Sydney so far...
So highly recommended indeed! :)

Food: 9/10 
Ambience: 8/10
Price: $$

Bar Indigo on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Orto Trading Co., Surry Hills

When asked where to go for brunch with a nice atmosphere and good food, Orto Trading Co. will always be on one of my list of recommendation. I got friends coming to Sydney asking me for brunch place recommendation and most of them agreed that Orto Trading Co has got what they asked for. Not only do they have good selections of food with good price, the cafe itself has a very nice ambience being surrounded by glass doors, bringing in natural sunlight. The wooden tables and chairs give the feel of eating in a garden, while really people are sitting in a cafe on Waterloo St, Surry Hills. For those opting for outdoor seating, Orto has it too.

Me and my friends were so hungry when we arrived and the selections of pastry on display (although there wasn't too much left cause we were there too late in the afternoon) caught our eyes.

Who am I kidding, muffins will always catch my attention no matter if I'm hungry or not. So we decided to get one of the muffin for "starter".

Left: Orange Juice (AUD 7.00). Right: Small Cappuccino (AUD 3.50).

Orange juice were cutely presented with stripe straw, very refreshing to wash down all the delish foods, and healthy too! The cappuccino was okay, nothing really special about it, although the cup was cutely small that I can finish the whole thing in two gulps, but I won't.

Pear and Chocolate Chip Muffin (AUD 4.50) 

I've never had or seen a pear with chocolate chip combination before and I must say I quite like it. Especially combined in this muffin with crispy muffin top and moist inside, there's nothing I love more from a muffin than its crispy top. The pear inside has a poached pear texture and the chocolate chip has melted adding sweetness to the muffin. Oh, and the size is huuuge! Which I love, hehe.

They looked so yellow like the sun!

Southern Fried Chicken Benni - with Orto's english muffin and hollandaise sauce (AUD 18.00)

I've seen Eggs Benedict with ham, smoked salmon, prosciutto or bacon. But I've never seen or tasted Eggs Benedict with fried chicken before and Orto has definitely wowed me with this dish. Not only is the fried chicken very crispy and has nice Southern spice in the batter, the hollandaise sauce was really nicely done. All served on a nicely toasted english muffin, I was one happy kid finishing it. Yum!

Scotch Egg - with salt cod and piccalilli (AUD 12.00) 

I've said in one of my posts that I don't like giving bad review about food, although I will say it if it's average or there's nothing special. So, I won't say anything about this scotch egg because I really am not a fan of the salt cod and piccalilli. But hey, I'm not the world's best food critic, and some people seem to love this dish.
Oh, kudos to whoever cut the scotch egg and maintain to keep the runny yolk in place.

Truffled Polenta Chips - with buttermilk and blue cheese sauce (AUD 9.00)

I must say they they have the BEST polenta chips I've tasted so far. Super crispy exterior and very fluffy inside, I don't know how they did it. And the buttermilk and blue cheese sauce is to die for! I wasn't sure how a blue cheese sauce would taste like, but man they were so good. Do get this as a side to share between 3-4 people.

Baked Eggs - with sobrasada, charred capsicum, fior de latte, tomato, toast (AUD 18.00)

Here's a wikipedia translation to those who doesn't know some of the term above (including me)...
Sobrasada: sausage of ground pork and fior de latte: mozzarella. 
First thing I noticed was the cute little cup used to serve the butter, hehe.
This I gotta say, is once of my most favorite baked eggs of all time! They have the perfect balance of flavour and although I prefer sourdough as the toast, the turkish bread (I think) that they used worked well too.

Scrambled Eggs (AUD 11.00) with sides of - birkshire bacon (AUD 5.00) and pork belly (AUD 6.50).

Wise men say go big or go home. So why not have a big breakfast and instead of spinach, mushroom or roasted tomato, have a pork belly as a side! Better yet, Orto will give you crrrrrrrispy pork belly. Talk about a hearty breakfast. 

Bacon and Egg Roll (AUD 9.00) with potato rosti.

For those opting for a lighter meal, Orto has bacon and egg roll, which looks more like bacon and egg burger. The bacon was crispy contrasting the fluffiest scrambled egg. The potato rosti on the side was perfect.

Wagyu Burger - with brioche, pickles, mozzarella, beetroot, tomato and polenta chips (AUD 18.00)

Feeling hungry and ready to go big? Have this scrumptious wagyu burger with a very juicy patty and the best polenta chips on the side. May not be the best patty I have ever tasted, but it was great. The portion was huge so it will be perfect for lunch. 

Hotdog - chorizo, mozzarella, chimmichurri, fried egg (AUD 14.00)

I gotta say that this is a very smart idea for a breakfast hotdog by using chorizo in the hotdog roll instead of sausages. The mozzarella cuts through the tanginess of the chorizo itself and the chopped tomato on top adds freshness to the whole thing. The portion, again, was huge.
I personally love the chorizo they used as it was thinner than the usual chorizo you can find in local grocery stores and it also has a milder flavour. So it was a top notch hotdog.


So overall.... I love everything about Orto Trading Co. (well, except for the scotch egg). Would be back for... everything, really. I always had a hard time choosing what to order, because they were all so good. 

Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 8.5/10
Price: $$

Orto Trading Co. on Urbanspoon