Thursday, 24 September 2015

NomNom: Belly Bao; Sydney NSW

Tucked away around the corner of Liverpool St and Sussex St close to Chinatown in Sydney, Belly Bao could easily be missed as just another dark underground pub/bar. But if you went inside (and perhaps ignore the funny fake plants and fairy lights hung around almost everywhere in sight) and take a leap of faith for trying it, you are bound for a good time and delicious meal.

Towards end of nights, it tends to get crowded, so if you have a larger group, best to book a table. And always bring your id as the club it's at is an 18+ venue (it's a bar)

We started with Sweet Potato Fries (A$7). The portion was quite generous and came with drizzle of chilli aioli.


Papaya Salad (A$12) was very refreshing, especially to accompany all the other deep fried food we ordered. The dressing was tangy vinaigrette.


We all loved the Fried Chicken (Half $15 or Whole chicken for $25) - massive cut portions fried perfectly but still moist inside.
You know how you opt to grab the chicken breast because you want to be kinda health-conscious (less fat than chicken thigh, yo. Although it really beats the point because you order fried chicken of all things!), but mostly hate it because they are usually very dry? Nuh uh. Gladly had my chicken breasts here thank you!.


And we did not know which to choose from their awesome sounding signature Baos, so we did the most logical thing to do:

Ordered them all.


All the Baos were good, and all of us had our own favorites. Mine was the Crackling Roast Pork Belly and the Crispy Tofu.

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Dessert was a much easier fair. There were only two kind of dessert Baos, and there were four of us. So we ordered one each and shared. All their baos served for dessert are fried and served with vanilla ice cream.

Strawbelly Bao (A$6.50) came drizzled with Matcha condensed milk. Mmmm... matcha... .

Baonana Split (A6.50) was equally as good, drizzled with Nutella.

I was so torn. Maybe next time I'll have one of each for myself.


55 Liverpool St, Sydney

Saturday, 5 September 2015

NomNom: One Tea Lounge Bar & Grill; Sydney CBD

I am a tea mania - more specifically green tea mania. Precisely why I had been trying to get my hands on some beautiful gastronomical grubs at One Tea Lounge.

I had been checking out their online menu for some time (check it out online, or refer to the menu below which I have taken picture of :D. There are two additional dish which haven't been reflected online yet) and I realized that there are too many things I want to try (all of them!), Being the greedy person that I am - oh-how-I-want-to-try-them-all-at-once - I tried to gather a couple of friends who are as green tea/matcha nuts as I am, made a booking for it (important, yo! We did a walk in a few weeks ago and were swiftly denied entry as they were very fully booked. Haha...), and off we went.

Le Menu. Some new additions with somewhat flaming theatrical experience - the Flaming Wagyu & Matcha Lava Bomb
1/2heart and I were the firsts to arrive, and while waiting for our friends, we decided to try one of their signature cocktails (hey, put matcha in any of drinks/alcoholic drinks - I'm sold). We decided on The One Tea Experience (A$37). What came was a refreshing citrusy matcha (which still came across as the most prominent element/taste) drink with a hint of Gin in one massive-ass teapot! Way more than enough for two people, but we gladly gulped savored cups after cups.


Before long, our two friends arrived to join us and we went nuts with our orders. We ordered two sets of their signature sliders (One Tea Sliders (A$20 for a set of 3)). 1/2heart and I had a set to share and opted for Ramen Burger with Wagyu Beef, Matcha Baoger with Miso Tofu, and Matcha baoger with Braised Pork Rib.

They were all incredibly yummy, however taste wise, my favourite would be the Matcha baoger with the Miso Tofu. As the Miso Tofu is quite subtle, I could still taste the slight matcha of the bao. Where for the other meat fillings, the bao just tasted as normal bao.
Ramen Burger is burger/sandwich which 'bun' is made of ramen noodles pressed and lightly seared. It gave a sweet aftertaste.

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Popcorn Curry Chicken (A$10) was served with mayonnaise infused with green tea & lime. Couldn't really taste the curry, but the batter was light & crunchy and the chicken bits were so juicy. The mayonnaise was a hit between the four of us. By the end of the dish, there was none left of the sauce.


We wanted to try their takoyaki (they named it Takocini, as their take is basically arancini balls stuffed with bits of octopus), however the menu only listed it as a set of 3. The waitress gladly offered to arrange an extra ball (at $3 additional).
One Takocini (A$9 for a set of 3)

The arancini balls were also very juicy, the rice inside were soft, fluff, and bound all flavors together perfectly; the octopus pieces were bouncy but not overcooked.


Matcha Fries (A$7). Fries, but made to taste better because it was sprinkled with Matcha salt. Nuff said.


Now I didn't get the chance to take a picture of this dish when it came to the table (the waitress quickly took off the glass lid) :( But this dish was brought out while still 'smoked' inside a glass lid.
Gyokuro Smoked Octopus Avocado (A$15) - this was easily one of my favourites. The subtle smoky flavour gave off sweet and earth smoked tea that infused perfectly into the octopus and avocado.


Green Tea Miso Cod (A$37) was so-so. I couldn't really taste the tea element of it. The fish, skin crackling, and octopus were all perfectly cooked, but nothing special about it.


After stuffing ourselves with savoury dishes, we moved on to desserts. Because why would you go to a restaurant specialized in green tea dishes if you were not going to try green tea desserts!

Matcha Fondue for 2 (A$22). Oh Ma Ma Mia. We were all so impressed on how green the fondue looked and the bitter matcha taste perfectly combined with creamy white chocolate. One Tea Lounge definitely doesn't hold back on their matcha powders.
The dish came in a beautiful resin bento box, had some fruits and marshmallows, green tea castella (my fave), green tea biscuits, and green tea macarons.
It took all of our willpower to not lick the fondue bowl after we finished all the morsels.



Ice Cream Baoger (A$13 for a set of 2). The dessert baoger has a few choices of ice cream on the menu - green tea, black sesame, lychee, or red bean.
You know what we ordered?
They did perfect bao, which had been fried but still fluffy, and combined with the green tea ice cream and red bean inside.... . Heaven.


Not too many places in Sydney does it, and so far my favourite of matcha lava cake would be Devon's in waterloo.Well, with this very welcomed new addition to dessert menu at One Tea Lounge, I might have a new favourite. Matcha Lava Bomb (A$20) arrived with a flaming theatrical experience (literally). The waitress poured some orange liquor which had been set alight from a metal jug. The cake was fiery with blue flame for a few seconds.

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And then when we hesitantly broke the cake to start digging in, the four of us gave a collective cooing sigh.

Perfect dark green matcha melted centre oozing out.
The burnt liquor gave kinda bitter taste on the tongue and could easily overpowered the matcha taste, so make sure you don't take too much of the liquor soaked cake top all at once.


We are already making plans to come back.

Upper Ground Floor, 73 York St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9279 3311
(booking recommended)