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In Dining, Italian on
January 11, 2019

Toki Italian Inspired, Woolloomooloo

Toki Italian Inspired, Woolloomooloo, Sydney Eats

I think I might have found my new favourite Italian place. I don’t really play favourites, but we were so impressed with Toki Italian Inspired that we came back for a second visit shortly after (shortly after) even if it meant an hours drive.

Toki Italian Inspired, Woolloomooloo, Sydney Eats

It’s named ‘Italian Inspired’ as it’s not run by Italians (some customers can get offended over thees finer details it seems). But regardless, it’s a delicious menu featuring many of your Italian classics, with some Asian influences which really make it standout.

Toki Italian Inspired, Woolloomooloo, Sydney Eats

Salt & Pepper Calamari ($12)

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In Asian, Dining, Restaurant, Sydney on
April 4, 2017

An Evening in The Rocks Tour

I had my fair share of odd jobs back in the good old uni days, but one of the most fun and memorable jobs was when I guided tours of international students through The Rocks- an area I wasn’t particularly familiar with myself, but a little bit of reading up helped me sound like an expert in front of groups of students most of whom probably had only been in Sydney for no more than a couple of weeks.

So when I was invited to an evening tour of The Rocks, it certainly brought back many good memories. Quite unlike the tours I ran however, this one was certainly much more professional and well planned, guided by a group of very staff who were much more knowledgeable in the area than me.

Tuxedo Bar

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We started at Tuxedo bar, Sydney’s first bar completely dedicated to Espresso Martini’s. It’s not exactly an easy find- you won’t see any large bright signs guiding you in- but once you do eventually make it into the entrance, you’ll find yourself into a warm, inviting space, located within the former Cadbury chocolate factory.

Any type of cocktail is the perfect way to start the night, but Tuxedo’s Espresso Martini is especially delicious. There’s about 6 different variants of the espresso martini on the menu- it never gets boring!

We’re given a short introduction from the owner, Benny Sweeten, the man also behind the well-known Kansas City Shuffle as well as 6 other businesses! A barista by trade, it’s no wonder the expresso martinis are so amazing!

It’s not just about the drinks- they also do an excellent food/snacks menu, including a sinfully delectable maple bacon donut. which I might have had a few of!

Paniq Room

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Our next stop takes us through some the small, cobblestone-lined alleyways and stairs eventually leading us to the very discreet entrance Paniq Room, hidden from the main roads. Paniq Room, is one of Sydney’s first Escape Room facilities, brought over from Budapest where the concept first started. It may look small, but the facility houses three different rooms, each themed and presenting different challenges.

Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have enough time to actually experience the game first-hand, but we did manage to get a quick sneak peak of the Abandoned Milatary Bunker Room which was fascinating indeed!

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Wild Ginger Dining + Bar

I’m quite excited to try out Wild Ginger, housed in the former Sailor’s home building, in the exact location of the probably better known ex-occupant, Sailor’s Thai. It is a shame I never managed to visit Sailor’s Thai before it’s closure last year, but I am glad we had a chance to try out Wild Ginger because it does not disappoint!

Mango Spice Cocktail  ($19)

We’re taken through the narrow stairwell, past the kitchen and into the downstairs restaurant, which offers a more modern dining experience than it’s casual counterpart upstairs. The menu is quite sophisticated, starting with the deliciously sounding and unique Thai inspired cocktails.

It’s difficult to choose between the many flavours and I’m torn between the lemongrass mojito and tom yum mojito, but ultimately  opt for the mango spice cocktail, a delectable concoction of  tequila, mango puree, fresh lime, ginger. Its flavour combination is as refreshing as it sounds, the hint of ginger is the perfect accompaniment without being to overpowering.


Chor Muang- Thai steamed dumplings ($24)

If there’s one dish with a ‘wow factor, it would definitely be the Thai steamed dumplings, which are beautifully handcrafted into flower shapes with ‘petals’ and half dyed in what we initially thought was food colouring, which we later learn to be made of natural colour. These dumplings are made fresh daily, and you can certainly taste the freshness in the soft delicate wrapper enveloping the light chicken filling.


Miang Kham – Betel leaf Entree ($14)

I’m also in love with the presentation of the betel leaves, and the winning combination of peanuts, coconut relish, smoked snowy mountain trout and flying fish roe. The betel leaf is edible- it is designed to encase the filling much like San Choi Bao- although I find the texture of the leaf to be quite different, and surprising just as I had imagined leaf to taste like!

Hoi Jor – Deep Fried Crispy rolls ($20)

These deep fried crispy rolls were an easy favourite. The rolls are made with tofu sheets rather than pastry, making for a very light and crispy shatter around the sweet and moreish chicken and crab filling. What’s not to love?

Banana blossom salad

Banana blossom has got to be one of the prettiest ingredients in Thai cuisine, and I love the way it is presented in Wild Ginger’s Banana Blossom Salad. It’s not just all appearance though- the combination of grilled scallops, tiger prawns in chilli jam, coconut cream, roasted coconut and fried shallots makes for an amazing salad like no other!

Choo Chee whole trout 

I’m a sucker for deep fried whole fish and this cripsy whole trout drizzled with red curry sauce, coconut cream, thai basil, kaffir lime and red chillies tasted every bit as good as it looked. The creamy red curry sauce was just the right consistency to pair with the succulent fish meat, keeping the crispy skin flavoured without making it soggy.

Prawn Pad thai

And for your more typical type of Thai fare, there’s always their ‘light’ menu which consists of your usualy suspects, including the very standard Prawn Pad Thai. Not quite as exciting as their other options, but delicious all the same.

Green papaya salad (foreground) and Pad cha seafood (background)

The Pad Cha Seafood is saucy and packed full of flavour, without being too heavy on the spice as I have found in other restaurants. The addition of Thai eggplant was certainly welcome amongst the mixture of seafood. In contrast, the green papaya salad is light (although by no means bland) and a complements the stronger flavours of the Pad Cha and Pad Thai beautifully.

Endeavour Tap Rooms

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After a couple of delicious cocktails, our last stop at Endeavour Tap Rooms was definitely one for the blokes. I’m not into beer myself so no comment on that, but it’s quite an amazing set up, with beers made on-site and multiple vats squeezed into this tiny space. Certainly not something you would expect in place like The Rocks!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stay and enjoy the food and drinks but it certainly was an experience!

Wild Ginger + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Von attended as a guest of Cardinal Spin and The Rocks

In Asian, Dining, Restaurant on
March 24, 2017

Tawandang, Chatswood

I thought I had posted about Tawandang a couple of years ago but looking through my posts apparently not, so here we go!

If you’ve ever been to Chinatown, chances are you’ve probably walked past Tawandang although you might not have noticed it. It was pretty hard to miss for myself, as my bus stop was right across from the restaurant when it opened, but otherwise you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just your average Thai restaurant. It’s not until you read their menu and realise that it’s so typical afterall- offering not only some more traditional Thai dishes, but also their almost signature dish of German Pork Knuckle. How’s that for something different?

According to their own description, the German component of the restaurant comes from the fact that they are no only a restaurant, but also the first Thai – German micro-brewery in Thailand. I’m not too big on beers so no comment on the drinks, but the food alone is well worth the visit.

We walked past their newly opened Chatswood branch a week ago and would almost have missed it were it not for their big 3rd anniversary banner with their 50% off their pork knuckle dish offer. I was immediately sold and we wasted no time in making a booking…..two consecutive days in a row!

Going by the restaurant’s history, which makes up the first spread of their menu, the restaurant has been quite successful not only in Thailand, but also with its branches in Singapore and now two in Sydney. Whilst the Chatswood branch is not nearly as large as their Thailand branches (which apparently seat 2000+ diners!), but it does span across two levels and is much larger than it first appears. Make sure you ask for a seat upstairs, as it’s a lot more spacious and comfy!

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In Asian, Dining on
April 21, 2014

Thanon Khaosan, Haymarket

We’re a bit wary after we buying coupon deal for Thanon Khaosan and then reading reviews online which were pretty terrible. Lesson learnt: read reviews before buying vouchers!

Nevertheless, we’re quite excited once we arrive, as there is a big spread of desserts for take away outside, (most of which I had no idea what they were), a fancy tuk-tuk in the restaurant and quite a quirky fit out too!

Watermelon Blend $3.90

Luckily for us, we didn’t encounter any mishaps during booking or through the meal, and we quite enjoyed it too- perhaps because our expectations aren’t high, or maybe we’re just so used to using these group buy vouchers!

The meal comes with wine, but we’re not big fans so we don’t take advantage of it. Instead, we’re quite interested in the selection of drinks available, with several fruit blends which sound quite exciting. We end up going for the watermelon blend, for some nice cooling down on a warm day. The blended watermelon is nice and refreshing, though it tastes a tad dilute, perhaps because of the hint of lemon which we’re not too fond of.

Tod Man Goong (Thai Prawn Cakes) $8.90

For entrees, we start off with the prawn cakes- cute little cakes of bouncy prawn paste, coated with a light crumbed exterior which gives a satisfying crunch when you bite through. The go well with the light plum sauce, though we find the sauce to be a bit more like a sweet sugar syrup than a plum sauce.

Tod Man Pla (Thai Fish Cakes) $8.90

The fish cakes are as expected- spicy (a little too much for me) and very tasty. The sweet chilli sauce didn’t help with the spiciness either- it was just as spicy!

Tao Hoo Tod (Fried Tofu) $7.90

And for something a little more different than the usual Thai entrees, we also order the fried tofu. Chunky triangles of tofu are deep fried beautifully, with (again) a satisfying crunch, accompanied by a soft, smooth interior.

Choo Chee Pla (Fried Fish with Red Curry) $22.90
And because we love our fried foods so much, we order fried fish for mains. It is fried beautifully, the row of pointy bones lined up neatly and curved until they’re pointing back towards its head. It’s so beautiful and mesmerising, we almost don’t want to dig in- luckily, the meat has already been removed from the bone, so the it remains largely intact until the end of the meal (:

As with most Thai fried fishes we’ve had in the past, the crunch is a little too intense for us, we prefer a lighter batter, but that’s just our personal preference. The combination of crunchy fish pieces with red curry sauce is new and interesting for us too- we can’t say we’re huge fans of the two together, but the red curry is done beautifully we can’t stop ourselves from spooning sauce onto our rice!

Ped Nam Buoy (Roast Duck with Shitake Mushrooms) $25.90
We’re big fans of roast duck so we knew we had to order the Ped Nam Buoy when we saw it on the menu. A generous serve of succulent roasted duck in a sweet plum sauce with big plump mushrooms- what’s not to love? The roast duck is quite similar to the version we’d had previously at Thai Lemongrass, and is equally as delicious. 
Ka Prao Moo Krob (Pork Belly with Chilli Basil) $14.90
We’re also fans of chilli basil, and to spice things up a bit we decided to have it stir fried with pork belly instead of the usual chicken, beef or seafood. It’s quite an interesting combination, as the crackling on the roasted pork belly is still slightly crispy, adding an extra crunch, though we prefer the usual meats in this stir fry. 
Desserts are quite exciting as we haven’t a clue as to what they are. Unfortunately, eating them doesn’t get us much closer to figuring out either (time to work on those tasting skills eh?)!
The green ones are a little easier to identify, the darker one being a chewy glutinous rice pudding/cake-like dessert. The other one is a pandan sago pudding with a soft coconut jelly on the top which is easily our favourite for the night!

Thanon Khao San on Urbanspoon

In Asian, Dining on
July 29, 2013

Thai Lemongrass, Darlinghurst

Fish Cakes

Our latest group buy voucher lands us at Thai Lemongrass, a cozy little Thai restaurant on a quiet street in Darlinghurst. The restaurant is anything but quiet on a normal weekday night, though we notice most customers are coming with vouchers too, which makes us wonder (as we often do with these deals) how on earth they make a profit by selling so many vouchers.

We’ve got a bigger problem ourselves, that is of choosing one entree and main each from the menu- there’s just too many things we’d love to try! We start with a serving of fish cakes which are rather spicy for me, though i don’t really take spice too well! I must say, they are rather tasty though.

Duck larb

The Duck larb sounds interesting and different so we order that also and find out that it’s rather much like sang choi bow, only with a much tinnier lettuce leaf and (arguably) tastier meat filling flavoured with plenty of aromatic herbs. We love its presentation, though the size of the lettuce leaf means that it is quite difficult to eat.

Mixed Entree

We’d originally ordered their prawn cakes, but as they’d run out, we ordered a mixed entree instead which although not as interesting as our original choice, turned out pretty good. The satay chicken skewer was quite tasty and though we couldn’t quite figure what sauce the chicken wing was cooked in (the menu says it’s thai herbs and sweet chilli sauce- though it didn’t taste anything like sweet chilli to us), we quite enjoyed that one too.  You can’t really go wrong with fried entrees, and the spring roll and curry puff were both crispy and delicious.

Tom Yum Soup

The flavours in the Tom Yum Soup probably defines what we would describe ‘Westernised’ Thai food- overly sweetened and all the wrong flavours. It tastes rather much like a sweet Thai curry sauce than the usual spicy and sour soup we’re used to.

Deep Fried Fish with Papaya Salad

Unlike a lot of other vouchers, this one entitles us to anything on the menu, so we’re excited that we can order the whole fish dishes. We go for the fish with papaya salad, which is beautifully deep fried (though it’s not as crispy as it looks) which is covered in a light sweet chilli-like sauce. The fish meat is already cut up into chunks which makes it a lot simpler to eat, though we do enjoy picking at the crispy bones (tails and fins!) and we find quite a lot of meat still attached to the bones.

Pad Thai King Prawns

We ordered the Pad Thai King Prawns, one of the pricier options on the menu, to see why it is so special it made it to the chef’s special menu over the other variations of pad thai they had on their menu. The grilled BBQ king prawns come separate to the noodles, and have a nice smokey flavour, although the three prawns weren’t too great for sharing between four!

The pad thai noodles aren’t too special, and their noodles a tad chewier than I’d like, but they’re enjoyable and tasty like any other classic Pad Thai dish.

Ped nam buoy- Roast Duck

On the menu, the roast duck seems a little out of place for a Thai restaurant and even more so when the dish finally arrives as it’s really similar to the Chinese roast duck we’re used to, especially with the light dressing of plum sauce. That said, it’s amazingly delicious, with a great duck flavour, and not at all dry like some roasted ducks we’ve had in the past. I don’t usually eat much of the skin of roast duck, but this one was so incredibly very crispy and tasty I couldn’t resist eating it all!

Lime Leaves Peppercorn Seafood

The lime leaves and peppercorn seafood looked like a pretty boring stir fry of seafood and veggies, but we did get a bit of a surprise amongst tasting as it has a great breath of wok and is very tasty.

Khanom Tako

We finish off with the dessert of the day, a light coconut jelly/pudding which we enjoy as we’re all coconut lovers. We’re surprised, as we dig in, to find that there’s a second layer on the bottom, which is less coconutty and more jelly like, with pieces of water chestnut. It’s a shame it’s such a small serving as we really enjoyed it!

Thai Lemongrass on Urbanspoon