The Wine Library | Woollahra

Welcome to The Wine Library, a small restaurant/bar located on Oxford Street in Woollahra. This was a first for us, we never ventured out to this area previously let alone attempt to catch the bus in the city during peak hour... so it was definitely an experience. You will definitely not miss this place, their shopfront is completely glass and the luminous red lights from the bar shine straight through to the street. You might think (as we did) "It's so dark and red!".. admittedly we were more worried about how to capture pictures but luckily there is a a very romantic and intimate dining area at the back, perfect for first dates. We ordered the below tapas style dishes to share.

Sweet Potato Crisps
These potato crisps were super crunch and surprisingly light. We were expecting something to come out dripping in oil, but these were quite enjoyable to snack on while we waited for the real food!

Mushroom and Truffle Arancini with Proscuitto
We are used to the typical tomato based arancini but appreciate when a restaurant adds their very own unique spin on a much loved favourite. The Wine Library used a blend of mushroom and truffle to create an arancini ball so tasty, Matt couldn't even resist, even with his long history of neglecting mushroom. The mushroom and truffle was diced into small pieces, and the aroma of the truffle definitely took charge. There was no sauce with this, which we found odd. However there was enough flavour, including the saltiness from the parmesan and prosciutto.

Black Truffle and Stracchino Quesadilla
We have never tasted Stracchino cheese before so we were excited and it's always exciting to try out new food (especially CHEEEEEESE). This quesadilla, while it doesn't look like anything special, is apparently The Wine Library's most popular dish. The tortilla was mildly sweet and the cheese had a very mild, yet creamy texture so while it was full of cheese, it didn't take the spotlight away from the hero of the dish, the truffle. 

Braised Lamb Shoulder, Tomato, Chickpeas and Fresh Herbs
The winner by unanimous decision for best dish of the evening was the braised lamb shoulder. All the elements of this dish truly made for a memorable dish as they seem to each work so well in unity. When you ask for braised lamb, you expect something like this to be presented in front of you. Meat that literally falls apart, and yet is boasting with the flavours of the sauce that it has just been slowly cooking in for the preceding hours. 
You know what, I lie.. the elements would most likely not go well with this dish if it wasn't for the flavour impact f the sauce which was literally dripping off the lamb. 

Pasticciata, Braised Duck, Polenta and Parmesan
When Christie saw a dish containing polenta, she quickly jumped at the chance to enjoy polenta, and what a better way to do it then with braised duck and parmesan.. literally two of our favourite foods. Once again, this dish was packing with flavour. While this dish majorly consists of polenta (which can be quite bland if on it's own), the balance of duck, parmesan and polenta on each mouthful was perfect. That said, while the flavours were all on point, the duck was not evident at all - almost non existent. We can only speculate that the braising effect almost blended the duck with the sauce on top, and thus the reason for the amazing taste combination.

Thank you again Zomato for the voucher to dine at The Wine Library.

Wine Library Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hotel Bondi | Bondi Beach

The ever so popular Bondi Beach is the perfect weekend date. Bustling with locals and tourists, Bondi beach is a completely different type of "busy". While there is a lot of people, they are all very laid back and just enjoying the beautiful weather we have been experiencing this week in Sydney. Whether it is spending time with their family (pets included) watching the waves or even surfing. This is exactly what weekends are about. Relaxing, exploring and most importantly for us, discovering new cafes or restaurants.

Situated across from the beach is Hotel Bondi. The clean white furniture creates an interior which gives it a great "beachy" vide and immediately relaxes you.. We just wanted to stay until sunset. Imagine catching up with friends or family for brunch and heading over to  the beach to take a coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee? Perfect weekend out right?

Hotel Bondi recently relaunched with their fresh new look and feel. The iconic Hotel Bondi was built in 1919 and is a long time favourite for locals and travelers. With history also comes age.. recently Hotel Bondi has been re-building and renovating, finally finishing phase 1 of the activities to create a new airy and light atmosphere which blends in perfectly with the beach. The new relaunch showcases many things to do at Bondi including DJs Friday and Saturday nights, drink specials and a seasonal new menu. 

We began our feast with our all time favourite lemon lime and bitters and a strange combination that worked quite well, Captain Morgans Rum mixed with Green Apple! The drink was sweet and a perfect cocktail to be enjoyed year round, well Pirates drank Rum all year didn't they? You will see below a menu that has been skilfully crafted and you might be surprised with the twist from your usual pub fare. We were treated to an amazing selection of entrees, salad and mains.

Salt and Pepper Calamari with Chilli Aioli
The subtle flavour from the batter was enjoyable but when you dip it in the chilli aioli, it gave it a flavour kick! It was a nice little entree to start the meal with, and the portioning was quite large. The sauce was a great companio to this dish, but until actually writing this post we didn't know it was chilli aioli.. There was a lack of chilli kick with in this sauce. That said, we still did use it as a dipping sauce for our arancini balls below ;)

Arancini with Tomato and Mozzarella
What can we say about arancini balls hat has not yet already been said. We love them! Especially when they are full of flavour and don't need any sauce to make them taste good. That said, the sauce that this dish was served with a tomato sauce but not out of the bottle. It tasted almost like a napolitana sauce. Overall, we decided to experience (like always) and dip the arancini into the chilli aioli and it worked so much better. What is it with us and aoili? Perhaps every dish should just have a side serving of aoili sauce and we would be happy every time!

Pumpkin, Beetroot and Quinoa Salad
Whenever we order a salad, the Simpsons song comes to mind "You don't make friends with salad, you don't make friends with salad"... well in most cases anyway and this was not one of them! Whilst you can't see the pumpkin or beetroot in the beginning, you will discover the thinly sliced vegetables as you dig through the dish. The Bulgarian feta worked well with this salad by giving it an additional creamy texture and salty flavour. Walnuts have so many health benefits and every bite made us feel less guilty about the other four dishes we ordered. The light salad dressing consisted of honey and wholegrain mustard and we were ensuring that all of our cos lettuce was soaking in this dressing before consumption! It's healthy right?

Wagyu Beef Burger
With crispy bacon, tomato, lettuce, swiss cheese, caramelised onion and bbq sauce
What is it about a burger that just looks so damn appealing. It isn't only inviting but almost seductive, making you feel like you are about to cheat on your marriage! HA!
This burger really does present well on the board, when you see the cheese melting out the side of the burger into a pool of the jus and sauces, you are almost certain to be in for a good time. Unfortunately, while there was a lot of flavour and elements working for the burger, the patty was overdone and had left a burnt flavour throughout. It wasn't inedible at all, Matt still finished the burger but feels it could have been better. Especially when dealing with such a delicate piece of Wagyu meat. Perhaps this is the outcome of the new law taking effect, ensuring all beef patties are cooked well done? We sure hope not!

Pan Fried Tassie Salmon Fillet 
Holy cow, Christie was looking forward to this dish all week, and it didn't disappoint! She's very particular with her Salmon and the way it is cooked. If it's slightly overcooked, she would have a very difficult time enjoying her dish. Though as you can probably see, the Salmon was perfectly pink throughout and the dish was devoured gracefully. The salad was left untouched however, and if it was at all possible, she would've licked the cauliflower cream clean! The skin was also super crispy and the clear highlight of the day.

If you are looking traveling to Bondi and are looking at accommodation, think about Hotel Bondi as well. You can wake up to amazing food and enjoy dinner by the sunset before you return to your room. There are gorgeous views on Bondi Beach and complimentary Wi-Fi. 
Thank you again Martine from Maloney Hotel Group for the invitation and Ralph for taking great care of us throughout the afternoon.

Hotel Bondi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato