Strings Premium Vietnamese Noodle Bar | Newtown

Strings Vietnamese Noodle Bar has brought authentic Vietnamese cuisine to the Inner West. No longer do you have to travel so far out west to Cabramatta to eat the real deal, just take a train to Newtown Station and a short walk away waits this restaurant that will make you think "What the phở-ck! how did I not know about this?!". We have recently moved out of the Cabramatta area and have been craving a good bowl of phở - we loved Strings Noodle Bar so much that we have been back since to taste their other noodle options.

Aside from the food, what made us really want to come back was Jen and Andrew, the owners of Strings Noodle Bar. They are such a lovely young couple and we literally spent hours talking with Jen. The atmosphere is really casual and we get the sense that they treat all their customers as family, making sure you are comfortable in their restaurant. We can say that this is something we don't often feel, even when invited to dine - so for us to mention this means the service is special!

Lychee shake
We started the night with some drinks, a coconut juice (which is standard for Matt) and a Lychee shake. The lychee shake was very sweet and didn't have that watery texture.

Bún Riêu
This traditional Vietnamese soup was delicious with strong tomato flavour, shrimp paste and OH the crab meat ball was out of this world. It was so soft and juicy! If you like something fresh with a sour kick, this soup would be the best option for you. If you ever visit Vietnam, you are able to find this dish on the streets of Saigon (though it originated from Hanoi). The depth of flavour and cooking technique to make the crab balls is AMAZING.

Phở Bò
Phở has got to be one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes. Simple ingredients which make up simple yet incredibly phở-nominal flavours (excuse the puns). While it is hard to make phở look good in a photo, you have to take our word for the flavour. The Strings Premium difference is the length of time it takes to create the broth. While most restaurants will cook their broth for 8 hours at most, String Premium took it one step further and cooks their phở for a solid 12 hours to make sure all the flavour and nutrients from the ingredients can be tasted. Normally we would be adding hoisin sauce for added flavour, but there was absolutely no need. What you can do however is ask for some fresh chilli. The chilli used is grown by Strings Vietnamese, but originally originated from Vietnamese. We can hold our own when it comes to chilli, but only 4 seeds and the whole bowl tasted like it was on fire!

Truffle Phở
Imagine everything we just described. The fresh, tasty flavours of a 12 hour phở sitting on the bench in front of you. Now imagine what it would taste like if there was truffle infused with the broth. Tasty? You bet! Their latest creation uses the truly expensive ingredient truffle and infuses it with one of their special dishes, the 12 hour Phở Bò. Because truffle is quite expensive, Strings Premium doesn't overdo it with the seasoning, but it gives it quite a unsubtle hint of flavour that slaps you in the face... and we LOVE it!

DIY Vietnamese Mixed Mead Vermicelli Rolls
 Vermicelli rolls are considered a quick go-to for most who are trying to be health conscious during their lunch break. Known to be light and full of salad, they are quite a good option. This dish is more hands on than walking down to the shop and ordering it in a plastic container, this method is how we make them at home. It's hand on and each vermicelli wrap is made to your personal taste. Don't want mint? well don't add it! Served with the platter is Nem nướng (char grilled sesame and garlic pork sausage - don't mind the colour as it is supposed to be pink!), beef and Vietnamese spring rolls. Served with it is pickled carrots, bean sprouts, fresh mint, salad and vermicelli (of course!). Dip the hard sheet of rice paper into warm water and let it soften on your plate, add your ingredients on top and wrap. This is a very simple task, but can be very entertaining for kids and even adults who act like kids! We try to stuff as much filling in as possible.. yes we are still kids! The rice paper rolls are also served with fish sauce for dipping - I suggest you order multiple dishes so you don't fight over the sauce!

Definitely give it a try and let us know what you think. We love this restaurant and have recommended it to friends and family already. We even recently celebrated a family birthday here - we loved it that much!

Strings Premium Vietnamese Noodle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yebisu Bar & Grill | Chinatown

Japanese Yakitori is nothing new to us, in fact it is one of our favourite treats that take us right back to the heart of Shinjuku. If you haven't already tasted yakitori then we encourage you to try it.

Yebisu Bar and Grill, located in Sydney's China Town has a wide range of Yakitori options to taste. There are well up to 50 different items on the menu, each item you might think is very simple... but the you will surprise yourself when you realise exactly how much flavour there is.

We started the night with some mocktails which were very, very sweet but not sickening sweet so if you have a massive sweet tooth like Matt does, then be sure to order these drinks.

Steamed Gyoza
Gyoza was on our mind, but we really wanted to watch what we were eating. We continued scrolling through the menu and came across steamed gyoza - quite literally a healthier gyoza and all our prayers had been answered! While they had the same great taste of your standard gyoza, it is really tough to not preference a proper pan fried gyoza over these. Just missing the beautiful crunchy base!
For the health conscious who want a little bit more out of their diet then this is a really good compromise!

I've only recently appreciated raw seafood. The fresh taste, texture and balanced flavoured of the kingfish was delicious. The seaweed added that extra crunchy element to the plate. I loved every single piece however some more lemon would be perfect! This would be a great entree for those trying to watch their diet.

Pan Fried Rice Cake
We see these snacks ALL the time when watching Japanese shows/anime (yes - Matt loves anime and is proud of it). But we had always wondered exactly how a ball of rice could taste good. We just had to try it though... surprisingly it wasn't as bland as we had thought. The rice cake has been pan fried which gives it an elegant golden crunch and adds a little bit of flavour. It definitely isn't a meal to run around boasting about, but it is a simple dish with nice and simple flavours.

We ordered a small plate of yakitori (how could we not!) - two separate flavours were chosen, the spring onion wrapped in pork and grilled chicken with a side boiled egg to dip. The spring onion and pork really brought back memories of piss alley in Shinjuku. Bold flavours from the spring onion along with the smokey flavours of the grilled pork just work hand in hand. Highly recommend that you try this skewer! The chicken and boiled egg is a new concept that we tried, with the concept being to dip the chicken into the egg yolk. It was definitely an interesting dish, but not entirely to our liking. The chicken was seasoned and tasted great on it's own and we found the egg didn't really add anything extra.

Miso Ramen
The last dish was shared between the both of us, but it is very much a single person dish. We encourage sharing a main and taking advantage of their various sides. The ramen broth was rich but not overpowering and cluggy. There are other places where the broth is way too thick for our stomach. A perfect way to warm the belly in this weather!

Yebisu Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smooth Festival of Chocolate Progressive Dinner

Smooth Festival of Chocolate in The Rocks is happening this weekend and this article is targeting the true chocaholics among us, those with the sweetest of teeth who would love to sink their molers into a block of chocolate... for those of you, this is literally your paradise in The Rocks. The Smooth Festival of Chocolate is nothing new, having started four years ago and is set in The Rocks with a beautiful backdrop of Sydney Harbour. 

We were invited to a blogger's preview and let us tell you, we are so excited to visit this weekend. You will see many stalls at the extravoganza as well as special features like the Callebaut Test Kitchen, The Baci Experience, A Taste of the Rocks, Sydney's Props Specialist, Cellarmasters Touring Cellar Door. Stalls include Gelato Messina, Black Star Pastry, N2 Gelato, Sweet Therapy, Puimp My Chimney and Zumbo Patisserie and that's only naming a few!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate Progressive Dinner

First Stop: Tuxedo Bar
Our Smooth Festival of Chocolate progressive dinner began at Tuxedo Bar where we sampled  a collection delicious chocolate mocktails and cocktails. Tuxedo Bar is opposite Kansas City Shuffle and has been built, designed and is run by the same owners, hence the relevance of the "You're not in Kansas anymore" sign. The secret behind the coffee martini is to let the coffee sit for a while before adding it in. This removes all the cream from the coffee and allows any sediment to drop to the bottom. There were also small white chocolate mud cakes, drizzled with white chocolate sauce were served towards the end as well.  Head over to The Mr Black Espresso Martini Bar to indulge this weekend.

Second Stop: La Renaissance 
The second stop on our indulgence experience was one of our favourites. Not only were we lucky enough to watch and learn from La Renaissance's head patissier Jean Michel Raynaud, but we were surprised by an interactive session where we could make our own truffles! Jean makes it all look so simple, but to make truffles of that consistency and that are to die for... it's damn hard! The best thing about these truffles is that there is no added sugar - so go nuts guys. Jean Michel Raynaud will be at The Callebaut Test Kitchen demonstrating his specialty.

Third Stop: Endeavor Tap House 
 When we found out that the next stop specialised in brewing their own craft beers, we couldn't help but think "a chocolate beer?" - yes exactly. We never even thought chocolate and beer would be suitable, let along being even being possible. The chocolate ale is only 3.4% so it's nothing to worry about, but it was such an interesting concept and I'm sure the beer afficiato's of the world would appreciate the brewing process. The chocolate beer was very light and easy to drink, it still left the bitter aftertaste. Also served up was spicy chicken tacos - while this may not be provided at the choc fest, it was most appreciated on the night. The amount of alcohol and chocolate we had eaten by this point was insane, so we definitely needed something to break up the sweets.... but then we were right back at it when they brought out the strawberry cake, drizzled with you guessed it.. chocolate of course and a side serving of strawberries. Be sure to give this beer a good sampling at the choc fest. It looks like a dark ale, but it is very light and refreshing.

Final stop: Sake 
We won't lie to you all. Sake was the most anticipated locations of the night and what a way to end the chocolate feast than with an elegant dessert presented in the most spectacular ways. At our last experience at Sake, we didn't even realise there was an upstairs private function area. It really gave off Game of Thrones vibes, and once the Dragon Egg was brought out.. we felt like the mother (and father) of dragons at long last. The famous Dragon Egg consisted of a thin layer of marbled chocolate to represent the egg shell, genmaicha tea, kalamansi yolk, poached apples and puffed rice crunch. What sets this dessert aside from the rest is the dramatics. The dish is served atop a plate of liquid nitrogen for a dramatic and mysterious entrance. Next, hot white chocolate is poured onto the egg to slowly break away at the shell, presenting a beautiful vibrant yellow yolk inside. I don't think any dragons will be hatching out of this egg that's for sure...

Make sure to drop by The Lindt Lounge where you can personalise your own Lindt Excellence Block. That concludes our progressive dinner for Smooth Festival of Chocolate. Don't forget to download the Festival Map so you can plan your day so you don't miss a thing! But most importantly, enjoy the view, food, smell and have a blast. 

Here's the website for more information. 
Till next time ... ~

Inferno Grill | Maroubra

Inferno Grill Maroubra doesn't just make burgers, they make sure to leave a mark on your arteries while they are at it. Just a warning for those feint of heart, this post may contain graphic content that overwhelms your taste buds and make you froth at the mouth.

If you have decided to come this far.. be warned!
The Fatty Burger
Imagine this... You are enjoying a nice stroll on Maroubra beach, the sun is shining and the fresh crisp air is blowing through your hair. You then suddenly collapse in pain on the floor.. grasping for air you think back to why this might be happening to you only to remember this bad boy. The "Fatty" burger - made only for those willing to take that risk! Stacked with double beef patties, 4 stacks of Aunt Jamima glazed bacon and American cheddar, onion rings, salsa and finally finished off with the special sauce. This thing is MASSIVE, so much so that even after compressing it all down, a form and knife was still needed. While the sauce really pulled everything together, it was the bacon that made me go back wanting more!

The Pig Kahuna
If you have been following us for a while, you will know now that we love when a restaurant takes that extra creative step with their names - adding a little complexity to the meal when you try to guess why or which pop culture reference the name is relating to. The Pig Kahuna is no different - Southern fried chicken, aunt jamima glazed bacon, coleslaw, chilli mayo, grilled pineapple and American cheddar.With a combination like that, a Hawaiian name seems fitting.
The massive pineapple on pizza debate is ridiculous for one, but its also got us thinking about how many times we have encountered pineapple on a burger in the last year.. very few which is quite a shame because it was the only reason why we decided to try this burger. The grilled pineapple was too hard to resist, and with that beautiful southern fried chicken - it was definitely worth it!

Southern Fried
What almost seems to look like either the offspring of the Pig Kahuna, or a long lost cousin at least. The Southern Fried burger isn't as spectacular as the previous two burgers, but it definitely serves its purpose. It offers great flavours with the combination of the fried chicken and aoili. Perfect for those who know what to expect and are less inclined to try a thrill seeker (as we like to call them). 

Inferno Grill was for us, surprisingly damn good. We are glad that we made the long journey to Maroubra JUST to taste these burgers and have been raving about them since. We were also very tempted to grab some of their home made gelato, but any more food would have been the next best horror movie in the making.

Inferno Grill & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eastside Grill Kensington Street | Chippendale

Eastside Grill is located in Chippendale on the Kensington Street; Sydney's new downtown. Eastside Grill is an America and Japanese influenced restaurant delivered by international Chef, Stanley Wong. We celebrated a special occasion here and had an intimate dining experience with the romantic atmosphere. We were seated right next to the bar so we could see all the magic (our aperol sour was delicious).

Pan Seared Grimaud Duck Breast
 When ordering duck, the waiter advised they cook their duck breast medium to medium-rare. We am slightly traditional when it comes to poultry and like our duck well done but thought to give it a try. The flavours brought through with the duck were very delicious - you could definitely taste the Japanese twist. The portioning however was definitely not a "main" as the menu suggested and we normally associate a main dish, with a filling meal. Needless to say if it wasn't for the mac n' cheese, I would have left hungry.

Slow-Braised Lamb Shank
The lamb shank was extremely tender, perfectly cooked and very moist. The lamb shank was sitting in it's own juices which had a very subtle sweetness. The lamb shank was served inside baking paper which after a while the juices started to breakdown, leaving your fork with the occasional piece of paper. This dish was also listed under larger plates but it definitely needed a fair bit more substance. We rarely ever comment on price but this dish alone was $32 and the sides were between $8 to $12. So a large plate would cost you around $40 to be satisfied.

 Truffled Mac n’ Cheese
We both decided to share a side dish which was funnily enough, quite the opposite to the last two meals - it was both big, filling and damn tasty. You can taste truffle with every bite and the best thing about truffle, is that you can never get too much truffle! All of this along with the crispy layer of grilled cheese on top makes this entree a must try!

Aperol Sour
Aperol is an incredible spirit, but we have had some pretty nasty cocktails in the past. This on the other hand was the best cocktail we have had with Aperol, we absolutely loved the egg-foam on top and the personal touch with the Eastside Grill stamp! It was a perfect way to end the night.

Disclaimer: Snapshots of Food received a $50 voucher to dine at Eastside Grill
East Side Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato