Friday, 24 June 2011

Indian curry banquet @ Zaaffran, Darling Harbour

The cold Winter days are good for flavoursome and filling hotpot, the warm glow of a Korean BBQ and also spicy Indian curry!

It was my friend's 25th birthday and she wanted to try out the Indian curry and BBQ restaurant Zaaffran (a.k.a Fine Indian Cuisine) located in Harbourside, Darling Harbour. I entered from the wharf side from the sign post outside but there was some confusion as the writing on the staircase only indicated the Japanese restaurant Kamikaze. It was quite warm inside after the walk to the restaurant, even though the door to the balcony was open!

Chicken tenderloins (Dakhni Kebab)
Crisp beetroot patty with sesame-crust (Chookundar Kay Gilavaat)

The starters arrived on the same plate with a few fresh cut vegetables and a double layered sauce. Both options were quite delicious, especially the sesame coating on the patty and I ended up having another piece from the spare plate we had. (Yum ^^) The chicken was tender and had a nice tangy flavour albeit being a bit spicy.

During the starters, we commented to the waitress that they were quite spicy so she went to the kitchen to ask the dishes to be cooked mild for us (so there may be slight differences to the menu).


Chicken in roasted coconut, clove, cinnamon, tomato, onion (Kundapuri Koli Saaru)
Chicken simmered cardamom-bayleaf flavoured tomato sauce (Murgh Makhani)
Diced lamb braised 'rada masala' (Rada Maans)
Lentils cooked with chilli, turmeric and curry leaf (Daal Tadkewali)
Beef Vindaloo

Butter Chicken
My favourites were the butter chicken and lamb curries!

There are also vegetarian options available :)

+ Assorted rice, raita, pappadam & naans

Dessert!!! ^^

Pyramid of Rose, Lychee and Pistachio Ice Cream; Caramelised Orange Reduction
The ice cream tasted great, the rose was like a creamy and softer flavoured version of turkish delight, the lychee was tangy and refreshing (my favourite one) and the pistachio was good too, not much to comment on it but it had a nice nutty flavour without the weird salty and bland bits. My friend S found the caramelised reduction a bit too much as it didn't match the ice cream... indeed the three people sitting opposite me hardly touched the fruit. More ice cream photos in the slideshow at the bottom ^^

We were also surprised with some chocolatey cupcakes baked by Tiff and her brother. The recipe they used is from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook :)

Full recipe names can be found here ^^

  • When having the banquet meal, ask for the mild menu if needed, vegetarian options also available
  • For large bookings, a $20pp fee is charged for no-shows which is a common occurence in many restaurants
  • The weekend is a great time to book a dinner at a Darling Harbour restaurant with the fireworks shows, at Zaaffran they even reel in the balcony cover for a better view
  • FYI, the banquet cost around $50pp per person, I think it was a little less but everyone paid that much to contribute to the extra setting we had and it's hard to get change anyway!
Big thanks to Tiff, Iman and Sodalis who made this post possible :)

Zaaffran on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Dinner @ Longrain, Surry Hills

Hi all! A little while back I hung out with some of Penguin's crew for some Modern Asian dining, or more specifically a "delicate blend of Thai and Southern Chinese influences". I also met omggimmenow, a fellow food blogger and super foodspotter who is a friend of Penguin's!

I headed over to the restaurant and asked for a table of eight, I had to wait for them to set up the table and for the whole group to arrive so I downstairs in the bar. The staff there were very attentive and poilite even though I was just waiting for the upstairs table.

Around 7, we headed up to a large round table, just enough to fit us comfortably and proceeded to order off the menu. With eight of us, we ordered all the mains minus the lamb curry (we had a few non-lamb fans on the table!), to be replaced with the papaya salad.

The Ping Pong Cocktail and Virgin Ping Pong, a concoction of passionfruit and lychee with lemon (vodka) was a unanimous favourite with most of the table ordering it.

As we finished our meal, a waiter came to wipe our table and suddenly we realised there was a built in lazy susan!!! That would have been extremely helpful to us if we had known, though I suspect we'd end up with a few drink and phone mix-ups!

Dish-up time!
Char grilled octopus & crisp pork belly with watermelon, roast chilli & black vinegar
Eggnet with pork, prawn, peanuts, bean sprouts & sweet vinegar
Caramelised pork hock with five spice & chilli vinegar
Ocean trout, green papaya & chilli salad with lemongrass & chilli jam
Red curry of duck with apple eggplant, lime leaf & holy basil   
Jungle curry of kingfish with baby corn, pea eggplants & wild ginger
Green papaya salad with dried shrimp & peanuts
Mussaman curry of Mandagery Creek beef with potatoes & baby onions
Drunken organic chicken breast with ginger, shallots & a sesame dressing

We were quite amazed by the delicate egg net! Want to see how it's made?

Location: 85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, NSW Australia 2010
Phone: + 61 2 9280 2888

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

P.S. Turns out that Martin Boetz was on the judging panel for that night's Master Chef! (from episode #17)


Big thanks also goes to AC who lent us her camera for some of the photos :) and Penguin for supplying the lighting.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sushi train @ sushi hotaru, Sydney

As Penguin is out of town at the moment, I dragged our friend (Walrus) out for some Japanese. We headed to Galeries Victoria as there were heaps of restaurants closed on the public holiday. With a choice between the sushi train (Sushi Hotaru); noodles (Ichiban) and a typical Japanese restaurant (Wagamama), it was the iPad ordering screens at Sushi Hotaru which drew Walrus' attention.

It wasn't a busy night so we were seated straightaway and requested the table seats. The screen was not as responsive as we hoped but we guided ourselves through and ordered some yummy plates.

Walrus is happily playing with the screen!

Green tea latte with red bean ice cream - sweet and delicious! ^^

The back wall of the restaurant, it's a pretty cool mosaic!

Hand rolled sushi - they're warm, freshly made and taste great!

Menya potato salad - right amount of flavour and yum!
Incidentally I've also been here with Penguin as well! :)

sashimi ^^

soft shell crab & renkon chips!

...but were part of a group of 4!
I'd definitely recommend the handrolls as they are freshly made and you get a whole lot of seaweed with it! As well as being a reasonable price as they come out on the plates the waitress counts, which is around $3 or so.

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon

Sushi Hotaru
Level 1 in Galeries Victoria
Shop RP1/ 500 George Street

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Japanese ramen and desserts ♥ @ Ton Ton Regent & Azuma Patisserie, Sydney

Gummi's Saturday night ramen

It was a cold and rainy day but I managed to make it to Cargo Bar/Lounge for lunch without taking my umbrella out! Afterwards, I took a quick walk with the girls to Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour but upon seeing the queue it was decided to head to the Azuma Patisserie.

There was a nice $6.90 deal for chiffon cake and coffee (normally $8.90) which we didn't take advantage of. (My sister says the earl grey chiffon cake is delicious, coincidentally she only tried it because that was all that was left when she went!)

After a bit of staring at the cake counter, going back and forth to the table and looking at the menu... LOOK at this cute 多啦A夢 bread!!! (well fake bread)

...we decided on some cakes!

chocolate mousse
strawberry layer
Now joined by some of the boys, we sat down to have a chat about Iron Chef, Heston Blumenthal, Master Chef and various other topics relating to reality tv (with our green tea lattes).

Green tea latte and cappuccino
White hot chocolate
I found the green tea latte more bitter than expected, quite unlike the matcha drinks you would get elsewhere (Starbucks!!). The chocolate mousse cake was nice, with a hint of sourness (also a lot smaller on the engulfing plate!)

After a few rounds of karaoke, we took a detour past Sushi Hotaru (queues again) and went back to square one with some ramen and curry dishes at Ton Ton.

Huge thanks to everyone for letting me barge in and take photos! :)


Ground Floor Regent Place Shopping
501 Greorge Street Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9267 1313

Ground Floor Regent Place Shopping
501 Greorge Street Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9267 7701 
(Not much on the site when I checked)


P.S. I also made these M&M cookies the day before as a birthday gift ^_^

Hint: If using crispy M&Ms, they will stick to your teeth if you eat the cookies warm!
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