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Stress Relief: The Grace Hotel Seafood Buffet

Hello out there!  Sorry for the lack of updates- I’m still alive!!  The past few weeks have been quite hectic to say the least – second year uni has begun and my brain/body was/is still clinging on to the summer holidays for dear life! Full of lab hours and afternoon lectures, blogging time and foodie trips have been limited but I thought I would post a quick review as a break from all the scientific mumbo jumbo on nerves which have been sending me into a head spin.

The first weekend after resuming study had the family booked into ‘The Grace Hotel’s new ‘Seafood Buffet’ as a stress reliever.  What could be better than seafood to take my mind off the troubles of uni haha?! I was ‘slightly’ excited when I heard that the Brasserie would be providing my seafood loving tastebuds with an array of Sydney’s finest produce! After my fun and delicious experiences at The Grace Hotel for their ‘Flavours of…’ food festivals I felt reassured that my stomach would be in good hands!

As per usual the ‘salad station’ did not fail to impress, with a rather wide selection of cold salads, perfect for the awkward ‘it’s autumn but it feels like summer’ weather. My picks would have been the cabbage coleslaw, which was full of crunch and freshness, without being drowned out by a heavy dressing. If you’re looking for something slightly more ‘solid’ for your salads then the ‘Cous Cous with Pumpkin’ would be the way to go!
Oh and you surely won’t walk past this section of the lineage of food without picking up some mighty fine ‘King Prawns’ from a large bucket of ‘heaven’ (well in the eyes of any seafood lover). Combine the simple yet wonderfully fresh prawns with ‘Thousand Island’ sauce and I would have been quite content, but I didn’t want to miss out on the Mussels or Smoked Salmon which were both testament to Sydney’s fantastic seafood and the kitchen’s ability to bring out the best …from the best!

A tasty segue between salads and mains came in the form of a tomato seafood soup which was full of flavour and had me ready to tackle the next course!

When it came to the main course there were numerous options, even for those who want to opt for a non-seafood dish (…..no comment…….are you crazy?? Haha).
Lil’ Bro went for the ‘Roast Lamb’(which was unsurprising) and by his return for a second serving, I can safely say that he thoroughly enjoyed it!

My picks for the mains would be the ‘Steamed Ginger Barramundi with Chilli’ and ‘Pasta’ dish.
Normally, one would expect a steamed fish to be on the ‘no-go-zone’ of the buffet but having tried quite a few fish dishes at the Grace before, I knew that this was a must-try dish. The combination of ginger and chilli created a light yet flavoursome and appetising dish, that held no trace of ‘fishiness’; only the fresh taste of a well cooked, tender fish! Combining my two loves of chilli and fish, I was a happy seafood diner to say the least!

The Pasta is a fantastic option as a ‘break’ from seafood if need be. A few buffet experiences have led me to fear overcooked and lack lustre buffet pasta, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The creamy pesto and sundried tomato combination made for a simple yet effective ‘carb’ dish – I may have scraped the plate clean…shhh!

I had already spied the vast array of mouth watering desserts as I lined up for the salads! I loved how the desserts were ‘mini’ cakes and thus easy to serve with no messy cutting up involved!! It may have also aided in the process of trying a majority of the options.
In terms of ‘top picks’ for the desserts, I have to say that competition was steep! Each miniature serving of goodness was not too heavy (perfect if you want to sample a few options) but definitely not boring for the tastebuds! In the end I would recommend just choosing your dessert based on your favourite flavours, but my picks would have been the ‘Cheesecake’ and anything ‘Berry’!

Oh and if that’s not enough to satisfy your stomach, the cocktail menu is being developed and updated! I can’t quite remember the names of these creations but the fruitier watermelon option was perfectly refreshing, while the banana and chocolate flavoured option was definitely my kind of cocktail…..mmmm…such a great flavour combination!!

All in all, for $45 pp, The Grace Hotel’s Seafood Buffet is definitely value for money! The food is fresh and the kitchen has brought out the best from Sydney’s fine produce. Yeah yeah, I know there weren’t any oysters (a little heartbreaking) BUT for the price paid, I was perfectly content with my prawns and barramundi! For seafood lovers looking to kick their craving in a comfortable and welcoming environment, make a trip to The Grace Hotel before this introductory promotion ends!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter!!

Ming xx


Restarting and Rebuilding: Mero Mero, Kensington Peking and more

This week I was rather heartbroken.  No, there is no tragic love story to share.  In my mind it is something worse!  The recovery process of my external hard drive did not fair too well in the end and I ended up losing ALL and I mean ALL my photos, which I have taken over the last four years.  Yes, it’s seems obscenely petty to be whining and dwelling on this when there are so many bigger things in life, but in a way I feel like the memories of my graduation, 18th birthday, family holidays and so forth have partially been lost.

Funnily enough when I think about it, this would not have happened say around 10 years ago.  I would have developed my photos and have had hard copies of them.  Oh how the convenience of technology has backfired on me.

Perhaps, I should take this as a sign??

It may be time for me to honestly start afresh and create new memories.  Maybe, it is a metaphorical disaster that is urging me to pursue something completely different this year.  Yes, it is rather sad that HSC English analytical techniques will forever run in my veins.  In all seriousness however, it is quite possible.  Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my goals?  Much pondering must be done now – quite appropriate really as this has coincided with a conversation I had with Mumma last night about what other options there were for me to pursue in my studies.

No matter, I hope 2013 will be a year, which I look back upon fondly and this whole shenanigans and (momentary) heartbreak will only be a miniscule fraction of the painting.

Moral of the story: NEVER EVER trust an external hard drive!!

Note to self: develop my favourite/most important photographs!

I don’t think I could have ended without a quick foodie-graph section!  I may as well start sharing some of these new memories with you all.  Here are a few of my eats of the week.
(Excuse some of the photo quality – I took a fair few of these on the go with my iPhone.)

Trips back to Sussex Street’s “Yummy Thai” for their delicious Fried Fish Set have become a weekly event!  Mumma and I went slightly crazy and ordered three different variations – Sweet Chilli, Lemongrass and Chilli and Chilli Basil.  We may have eaten all three between the two of us but it was hard to resist when fish is fried to perfection and it was in fact not overly filling!  I assume that the frying process renders off a lot of the fats etc, making the fish super crispy and light!  Our favourite still remains the Lemongrass and Chilli variant but the abundance of vegetables with the Sweet Chilli makes me quite the happy eater!

After hearing the sad fate of my photographs, I pulled myself together and headed to the city on Friday to run some errands for Mumma.  It was indeed a productive day and I treated myself to one of my favourite salads from Mero Mero located in Westfield’s Food on Five and my undisputedly favourite Soy Vanilla Latte from a hole in the wall Vietnamese joint on Clarence Street.  “Why is this Ming’s favourite salad?” you may ask.  Well, it’s “make your own salad” at Mero Mero and their ingredients are always fresh and full of flavour.  My usual combination consists of Baby Spinach, Avocado, Feta, Chilli, Pumpkin, Mushroom, Cucumber and Sundried Tomatoes topped with a Chilli Mayo Dressing.  It also helps when they provide a piece of soy and linseed on the side ;)!

I am proud to say I returned home from the city with a brand new Phillips Juicer as well – a health kick for the family!  We’ve been on the juice wagon for the last month and it really does wonders when one is feeling a bit under the weather or stressed (and Lil’ Bro is certainly feeling that with the HSC ahead!)

After picking Lil’ Bro up from his very long English tutoring session after his first week of HSC assessments, a quick, simple, enjoyable and fulfilling Friday night dinner was in order!

Drunken Chicken

Crispy Duck

 photo IMG_4334_zps4ee81564.jpg

Shanghainese Nian Gao

Four Season Beans

Siew Mai

Kensington Peking is a deceptively great restaurant, which the family head to when in search of comforting Chinese fair, without having to face the chaos of Chinatown.  Must tries are their Drunken Chicken, which is so tender and wonderfully marinated, and their Crispy Duck, which can only be described as perfectly ‘crispy’ haha.  For the vegetable lovers, the Four Season Beans are what I think to be one of the best.  So don’t let the exterior of this restaurant fool you!

Stay tuned with my next post with photos from the last weekend of Chinese New Year!

P.S. I hope the new approach I’ve tried in this and the previous post of combining a few eats/events into one is being enjoyed.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to develop a style that doesn’t make everything seem too disjointed.
Kensington Peking on Urbanspoon

Ming xx