Tag Archives: merivale

@ ! Restaurant, Crows Nest

21 Nov

I have been quite addicted to Groupon vouchers lately, mainly because of the various restaurants being advertised. One of them was @ Restaurant. Located on Pacific Highway in Crows Nest, it joins a vast number of Japanese eateries already in the neighbourhood. I’ve walked past the shop many times before but noticed one day it was under renovation and wondered if it is operating under a new owner and yes it was! Ex-Merivale Chef Atsushi Saito of sushi e and Sushi Choo have moved into the premises bringing his famous sushi skills with him.

With my voucher in hand, thinking no booking is required on a Sunday night, the place was filled with a mixture of Japanese families, flatmates and couples. I didn’t read the fine print and needed to call ahead to book to use the voucher. Undeterred, we decided to try their normal menu offered as I was in the mood for some Japanese. Specials of the day are written on the window and on the back wall which consists of the freshest fish of the day, personally sourced by Chef Saito at the fish markets in that morning.

I was suffering from a hangover and for some reason beer is what I have been craving for afterwards. Noticed that there was a Sapporo bullet can and it was an immediate win!

Sapporo Silver – $12.50

The slices of snapper were sliced generously and were seasoned with white soy and lime dressing. Never had white soy before and it was slightly sweet with no strong saltines you would get out of regular soy.

Snapper with white soy – $12

Next up was the Wagyu thin skirt steak. This dish was very textural with tender tataki style pieces of Wagyu topped with crunchy potato shreds.

Wagyu Think Skirt

I took a risk in ordering the cheese gyoza as Mr Dough isn’t a big fan of cheese. Much to my surprise he really enjoyed it! The gyoza filled with bococcini style cheese and chopped chives, deep-fried so that the cheese was all molten inside.

Cheese Gyoza

I was also a bit sceptical about the prawn skewers on the menu as I thought it was very simple. The prawns were amazingly springy and had just the right amount of chilli sprinkled on top.

Grilled Prawn Skewers

We played Russian roulette with the hot peppers as we didn’t know which one would contain the most seeds. Chicken mince was stuffed in hot peppers, tempura style and the dish reminded me of Chinese style fish paste in capsicum but this had the heat to back it up.

Stuffed peppers

Another special of the day was tempura cuttle fish legs. I love cuttle fish legs purely on the basis that it is crunchy and meaty.

Tempura Cuttle Fish Legs – $12

We toyed with the idea of trying some sushi to finish and Mr Dough was adamant he could finish it. And of course since he is famous for his sushi!

The small sushi set arrived  and I was immediately impressed that the prawn sushi was a fresh prawn made in-house and not one of those frozen packets that most sushi train uses. The sushi rice was nice and warm with just the right amount of vinegar. Each sashimi slice was quite thick and fat and you could definitely taste the freshness of the fish.

Small sushi set

For my next arrival, I must sit on the sushi bar and befriend Atsushi so he can just whip up any type of sushi he feels like!

@ ! Restaurant (At Restaurant)

477  Pacfic Highway

Crows Nest NSW 2065

+612 9437 5285

Ms G’s, Potts Point

29 Sep

Hands down this is my favourite restaurant of 2011, it is what eating out should be: fun and kooky. Opened late last year, Ms G’s is cleverly named after the flavour enhancer, monosodium glutamate. As soon as you walk in there is a gleaming neon sign of the number 621 which is the food additive number. But you won’t find any artificial enhancements here, instead you a transported to a funky, modern version of South East Asian food court with Dan Hong and Jowett Yu’s take on some classic Asian street food.

I’ve been here a few times and each time it never ceases to amaze me. The place is constantly teeming with people and with a no reservation policy, people wait in the bar upstairs and order cute cocktails in bubble tea cups.

Self serve cutlery (just like the Asian foodcourts!)

The menu is divided into starters, raw, share plates and large. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

I am a sucker for oysters. Sydney rock is not my oyster of choice only because I usually don’t have much luck in having fresh ones. These still had the brine in them and they resembled more like Pacific.

Sydney rock oysters, lemongrass vinaigrette - $4ea

Arrived laden with delicate, shaven strands of parmesan cheese, the grilled corn looked like snowflakes had fallen on it. Grilled corn sounds simple but the combination of parmesan and lime enhances the sweetness of the corn.

Ms G’s grilled corn on the cob, parmesan, lime - $4ea

Prawn toast brings me back memories of my childhood. Growing up, my parents owned a local Chinese restaurant, the ones where they would have red table cloth and your napkin was folded into a swan, placed in the wine glass or as a crown and placed in the bowl. They would mainly cater to Westerners and serve up dishes like sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken, honey prawns, spring rolls, fried rice and of course prawn toast. When I had birthday parties, I never had fairy bread or sausage rolls served up, I had trays of spring rolls and prawn toast. I was so ashamed when I was little as I desperately wanted to eat normal “white” food instead of Asian food.

The prawn toast is served with yuzu aioli and plenty coriander and Thai basil. I would call this the grown up version of prawn toast with sourdough replacing regular white bread and the sesame crusted around the whole toast, rather than just on top of the prawn paste.

Prawn toast, yuzu aioli, herbs - $14

I can’t get enough of this dish. I order this every single time I come. Seasoned with crispy lemongrass and a hint of Thai basil, it provides a textural contrast to the soft, cubed raw meat. The egg binds all together and I spoon big servings onto the prawn crackers and immediately a crackle,pop sound is heard.

Vietnamese steak tartare, prawn crackers - $18

The next dish is like a mish mash of Japanese Chawanmushi and a Chinese dish of steamed tofu and egg topped with seafood. The dashi custard was smooth and silky and as I scooped up the crab meat, I could not get enough of the sweet vegetable broth. Mr Dough and I fought over this last dish and I broke my rule of not eating rice at dinner and poured the rest of the broth on to the rice.

QLD spanner crab meat, dashi custard, broccolini, vegetable nage - $24

I would bring lots of friends to Ms G’s as you can order everything off the menu and take your taste buds on an around the world trip to Asia. Word of warning, you tend to forget the bubble tea cocktails are not really bubble tea and have alcohol in them.

Ms G’s

155 Victoria Street

Potts Point

Mon – Thurs: 5pm – 11pm

Fri: 12pm – 3pm/5pm – 11pm

Sat: 5pm – 11pm

Sun: 1pm – 10pm