Cafe Ananas | Circular Quay

Sydney Festival is underway and while there are so many restaurants we would love to try featuring in the Festival Feasts, we are only human and with the calendar closely creeping to January 27th it seems we are running out of time! What a better way to start the year with exciting activities! We were invited by Zomato to sample Cafe Ananas' Sydney Festival menu. For $55pp, you start with champagne and work your way through three courses. The menu available for the Sydney Festival appears to be their lunchtime set menu option, excluding the champagne which is $45pp. The Sydney Festival menu however can be enjoyed for dinner as well.

Starting the night right with champagne and great company as well as complimentary white or rye bread before jumping into the meal.

1st Course: Entree
The Entree's consisted of three different options to choose from, each presented elegantly in front of us. What we noticed was the serving portions were quite small which was a trend among the dishes. However the old saying quality over quantity definitely applies in this regard as there wasn't a dish that didn't deliver! Christie ordered the Tuna and it was quite bland. The texture was good and the quail egg gave the dish that creamy element. The tuna was flaky and served cold, she would've preferred sauce of some-sort to accompany the dish. Matt thinks the better choice of the three entree was the ravioli. It was cooked aldente and stuffed with a generous serving of ricotta filling.. and don't get us started on the tomato fondue. It was sweet yet complimented the ravioli quite nicely, we found our self cutting the ravioli into quarters to make it last longer.

Nicoise Tuna Pan Bagnat

Ricotta Ravioli

Beet Salad

2nd Course: Main
The same fashion could be said about the main courses. Elegant but quite petite. We both opted for the steak for our main course to be cooked medium. Two pieces of steak arrived, both cooked the same and had a very nice char grilled layer. Yet one was much more enjoyable than the other. Matt's steak (picture above) was perfect, you couldn't fault it if you tried! The meat was nicely pink, it was soft and tender on the inside and with a thick char grilled crust that is making my mouth water as we speak. The fat had been either cut or rendered off as there was none to be found - just perfect. Christie on the other hand managed to get a piece where there was a section full of fat and not the soft "soak up all the juices" kind either, but the awkward - "slowly chewing away in the corner while everyone talks" kind. When cut around the fat, the quality was the same as the first steak, but the piece was only quite small so cutting away at any of the meat meant a significant portion of the dinner was gone.

Grilled Wagyu Bavette Steak

Poisson Du Jour  (Fish of the Day)

Champagne Risotto

3rd Course: Dessert
Dessert is every French restaurant's forte. Well it should be at least. French love their sweets and we love the French making them for us to pay big money to indulge in. That's just how the world works, don't blame us, just enjoy the fantastic dessert that the waiter has just placed in front of you. Speaking of which, you probably want to get off your phone as well and start paying attention to your date. 4/5 of us ordered the Crème Brûlée at the table. The waiter himself even noted that you cannot go wrong with ordering a Crème Brûlée from a French restaurant, and he was right! The top was solid like tempered chocolate, and tasted as sweet as toffee (even got stuck i your teeth like it too which made a great after taste on the train home haha). The filling itself had a beautiful vanilla fragrance that radiated around the whole table. It was full of vanilla beans as well which made that flavour that much more intense. Surprisingly the raspberry sorbet gave this dish a fresh twist that we didn't even know we wanted until we tried it. Breaking up the gelato and spreading it along the top of the Crème Brûlée was the best decision we made all night!

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Selection of Sorbets

Remember that the Sydney Festival only lasts until the 29th of January, so be sure to book in advance at your restaurant as you can only expect them to be filling up in the remaining few weeks! 

Café Ananas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Malaya | Darling Harbour

The 2017 Sydney Festival is currently on and with so much to do and eat, you need to make sure to plan our January to fit them all in! This year the event organisers have brought something special to Sydney, the "Beach at the Cutaway" which we can't wait to visit this coming weekend. Think of a large plastic ball pit with over a million balls simulating a pool or a beach feel. With a festival so big and exciting, you bet there's going to be special menu's designed for the event.

Everyone we know has heard of The Malaya down in King Street. It's a beautiful southeast asian restaurant with waterfront views. You can see cruises docking or leaving the wharf on a long afternoon or watch the sunset in the evening... and with the privilege of daylight savings (sucks to be WA) we can't think of a better way to enjoy a warm summer's night. Add a little spice to the mix with the rich and aromatic curries from The Malaya to really make it a night worth remembering. 

We were invited by Zomato to sample The Malaya's Sydney Festival menu. I've been telling my colleagues and they have made reservations. The menu is great for value at $55 per person, it's the perfect excuse for a date night. This is what you get: 

Chicken San Choy Bow
The Malaya served up the mince on a separate plate to the lettuce and there was surplus mince as well! The lettuce was fresh and the mince was full of flavour and spice (and everything nice). However one is enough to satisfy you and they can be really messy to eat!

Salt and Pepper Prawns
 Lightly battered prawns, tossed in fresh chili, salt, cracked black pepper and shallots. The batter was heavily seasoned - this may sound like an off putting experience, it really is not. The prawns were cooked perfectly, so the crunch still remained and the batter had little to no oily residue, so no grasping for water required. This item alone is worth visiting the Malaya.

Kapitan Prawns
Funnily enough we had never tried Kapitan sauce until 2 weeks ago. So we had a very good understanding of what to expect. The previous encounter had us thinking it was similar to a red curry but having now tried what a real Kapitan sauce should taste like, far from it. The stand out in this dish was definitely the sauce, we were scooping up sauce and rice as we couldn't get enough of it. The paste used to make the sauce was for sale at the counter and we were very tempted to buy a jar!
Aside from the sauce, the dish was complimented well with the lightly battered king prawns. This was the best curry dish served on the night and our second favourite pick.

Coconut Beef Rendang
Served is the Indonesian style beef curry rendang with an aromatic dry coconut base. It was quite rich and bold flavours were evident. The beef was slow cooked to leave nothing but soft chunky pieces that fall apart by the slightest of touches, just begging to be eaten. It was probably one of the better beef rendang dishes we have tried, but it's never really been a favourite of ours.

Szechuan Eggplant 
The waiter came to the table and placed a serving of eggplant, then continued to tell us that this eggplant was so popular that it had people coming back just to re-order. This got our attention and raised our expectations! When the dish arrived at the table, we weren't too sure what it was exactly. I remember thinking "looks like something had been burnt and then soaked in oil". The pieces of eggplant were largely cut and coated with Szechuan sauce which closely resembled a meat dish!
The verdict however.. well looking around the table to see that many people's eyes were popping out of their faces was definitely a good sign. The first bite and wow it was unbelievable. Nothing like we have ever tasted before, it is amazing how eggplant can taste so good. The eggplant was cooked leaving only an extremely crunchy coating with a soft and delectable flesh on the inside.

Just wow.

The menu also comes with a glass of wine, so you can dine and wine the night away. Be sure to check out the cocktail menu for even more great choices. You may even see an Australian classic on the menu... no Katut!

If you don't get a chance to visit during Sydney Festival (7 January - 29 January) to taste their menu, make sure you visit just for their Szechuan eggplant!!!

The Malaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato