Tag Archives: Risotto

A last minute discovery: Cook & Archies, Surry Hills

The best things always seem to be discovered at the end of a journey. As the saying goes; ‘save the best for last’ and Cook & Archies is certainly no exception to this.

During my last week in Sydney, I brought mother to this gem in Surry Hills on a break from packing for my adventure. Originally, I had a post-exam brunch date lined up at the venue but alas, a bout of food-poisoning had my dining partner out of action.


After a few disappointing coffees on returning to Sydney, mother loved her cup and I could not agree more. Their roast has definitely made it onto #mingsfavourites (:P)!

As per usual, mother and I avoided ‘meal-commitment’ and shared a mix of savoury and sweet dishes.

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A Boy to Man: Basic Military Training Graduation

For the last six months I have been travelling between Sydney and Singapore, visiting my Lil’ Bro who has undergone quite a dramatic life-change; moving to Singapore (post-HSC) for National Service.  Although there was initial worry for him, in terms of adapting to such change, Lil’ Bro took the challenge with a determined and positive attitude and recently graduated from his Basic Military Training.

The final challenge of this component of his service was a 24km route march from the Training Centre to the majestic location of the Floating Platform at Marina Bay, which is surrounded by the beautiful icons of the city.  Following this gruelling but what Lil’ Bro describes as an emotional and breathtaking march, symbolic of their 10 week intensive training, the ‘recruits’ take part in their ‘Passing Out Parade’ (shortened to POP) where they are met by their family and friends.

This event was highly anticipated by my family, however my suspicions are that I was the most eager of all.  The night before the POP, I set numerous alarms to ensure that we would be able to secure front row seats for the best photo opportunities – I was out of my bed at 4.00am.  My parents and aunt were amused by my eagerness, especially when we ended up being the first to arrive at Marina Bay although I insisted that we were already arriving very late!

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A snapshot of life @ Black by Ezard: Hello again, a Birthday and Family

With knowledge of the empty void of my WordPress has come waves of guilt and sadness I guess as a blogger of food I should say I’ve let my WordPress ‘feed’ ‘starve’??  On top of that there must also be an apology and some obligatory explaining for my prolonged absence from the blogging scene.

Once again university charged at me with a number of challenges this semester.  Every possible hurdle was presented, including an unexpected 2 day stint overseas!  Thus came about the limited time to post and well… engage in any food-filled activities.  Sadly and quite embarrassingly I embarked on an ‘eat to live’ rather than ‘live to eat’ mantra!

Now being the end of my first semester of second year I have somehow reached the half way mark in my degree without even realizing – apart from when I looked in the mirror after exams to see dark rings around my eyes!  It was a very stressful semester indeed, which ultimately led to a very rushed and crammed study period.  Nevertheless, I await my results in complete fear but take comfort in my time to begin renewing and refreshing the life of this blog while I do the same personally over this break.

I do have quite an overflow of photographs scattered between my phone and camera with a few eats that I had while slightly procrastinating and I can safely say that I have found some great places which I returned to numerous times and will continue to visit!  Posts to follow!

Time has certainly flown by as this blog has reached its 1 year mark, thus it is rather appropriate to bring it back to life with a Birthday post!

For as long as I can remember, my ‘Godfamily’ has been part of my life and many traditions have formed over the years, one of them being a meal that we share to celebrate my Godfather’s birthday.  As cliche as it sounds it honestly feels like it was just yesterday when we were celebrating last year and a familiar feeling of the crisp Sydney winter accompanies it!  This year there was a new addition to the family with my Godbrother’s little bundle of joy adding to the headcount as Lil’ Bro, Ip Girl (my godsister who is really just like my little sister J) and I are well and truly journeying away from the ‘children’ label!  It is quite scary yet awesome to think that my Godbrother, who I can still remember in his teens has now become a father, my Lil’ Bro is on the verge of finishing high school and Ip Girl who I used to feed in her high chair is about to become a ‘senior’ in high school……wow…


This year we made a trip to Black by Ezard at The Star – another tick on my ‘to try’ list!  The atmosphere there was rather special, as the floor to roof glass windows paneled across the restaurant to reveal a wonderful view of Pyrmont and the bright lights being channelled over from the CBD, which contrasted perfectly with the more intimate lighting of the restaurant itself.

Now onto the main attractions of the meal!  Funnily enough, all eleven of us ordered roughly the same dishes!

Appetite curbing devices in the form of brioche were presented and oh my they were divine!  Perfectly crisp on the outside coupled with sweet cloud like innards.   I still daydream about this brioche…mmmmmm…. brioche…..

OYSTERS freshly opened yuzu and wakame jelly

Out came a platter of oysters…how could I resist. Fresh and garnished with lemon and a great textural jelly component.

SASHIMI of hiramasa kingfish, sesame custard, edamame puree, chardonnay and shallot dressing

The sashimi entrée was absolutely delicious with the wonderful freshness of the king fish really shining.  My Godmother ordered hers without any lemon or lime (ah the joys of allergies!), which allowed us to make a comparison in flavours.  Mumma and I were in complete agreement that the king fish truly shone without the lime….interesting……

I was rather confused as to what those black crusted spheres were, so I decided they had to be taste tested.  The suspects were Bocconcini rolled in what I suspected to be the special Black Salt, which complemented the dish more texturally as to not overpower the sashimi feature.  The presentation was superb and such a genius idea!

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Unspoken Tradition: Signorelli Gastronomia

Hello Sydney!  I am now back on the Sydney foodie scene and blogosphere; however I come baring sad news for the blog.  My hard drive containing all my foodie photographs has succumbed to a horrible fate and is no longer working.  I have sent it off to the ‘doctors’ to see if anything can be recovered but that means a large proportion of my holiday snapshots are ‘lost in transit’.  I was hoping to share with you some of my favourite eats of all time, festive feasting and much loved memories from my trip, but I am not sure if such an event will occur.  Fingers crossed that the photos can be saved!!

In the interim, while I anxiously await the news of my hard drive’s fate, I thought I would share my first Friday night family dinner in Sydney for 2013.  Every Friday, my family picks up a tired and hungry Mumma from work and either head straight to our favourite/staple restaurant Golden Century or to a new destination, which I have scouted out according to everyone’s food craving.  It is a time which we end our busy week (and maybe celebrate ‘FRIDAY’) as a family with the company and sharing of good food – an unspoken tradition.

The first 2013 Friday in Sydney, led us towards Pyrmont in search of Italian cuisine, which Lil’ Bro had his heart set on.  A bowl of hearty pasta and a cheesy wood-fire oven pizza had been overlooked on our stay in Singapore, as 99% of the time we opted to filled our bellies with the local cuisine – no regrets!  We headed down Harris St, planning to dine at The Stars @ Pyrmont; a quaint Italian joint, however the sweltering heat had us make a double take when we stepped into its non-air conditioned premises.  The 45degree heat was too much to handle and we just needed somewhere cool and comfortable.

Mumma had recently attended a function at Signorelli Gastronomia, which was just a stone-throw away and after hearing rave reviews about it over the blogosphere I made a beeline for the car and gave instructions to Pappa to take us to the air-conditioned bliss!


We arrived around 6.30pm to find the restaurant rather quiet for a Friday night, although we were a little early.  The restaurant has seating within its own premises, which spills out into the bright and airy lobby of the office building in which it is situated.  We were seated at a comfortable bunker in the lobby and immediately began our search through the menu.

The hunger silencers of bread were brought to the table and I could not resist the crunchy crusts accompanied by the airy and soft innards.  I have serious regret for not snapping a photo of these delights!  Ah the simple things in life!  Sometimes their enjoyment is emphasised by the company of loved ones and cherished routine.

Our hunger drew our eyes straight to the main courses – we wanted a hearty meal and we wanted it straight away!  Being our first time dining at the restaurant, there were too many wonderful pastas to single out just one; from ‘Hand Made Ravioli’ to ‘Squid Ink Linguine with Alaskan Crab Meat’ and the mysterious ‘Risotto of the Day’.  “The result of this wide selection?” you may ask.  Mumma, Pappa and I decided upon three pasta dishes to share, ‘Potato Gnocchi’, ‘Risotto of the Day’ and ‘Spaghetti Chitarra’.


The ‘Potato Gnocchi’ was wonderfully flavoured!  It was definitely one of the best gnocchi’s I’ve had in a long while – retaining its chewiness, which was in perfect balance with the generic description of ‘fluffy goodness’.  It did not fall apart and crumble, nor did it melt into a gooey blob when popped into my mouth.  Instead, the perfectly cook pillow was texturally smooth and was surprisingly sweet, hinting at the pure freshness of the ingredients.  Ok, enough about the gnocchi itself.  The other stars of the dish were Calamari, Zucchini Flower and Buffalo Mozzerella.  My seafood yearning stomach was absolutely satisfied by the juicy, seared calamari.  The texture of the calamari was complemented wonderfully by the slight crunch of the zucchini flower and soft, subtle mozzerlla.  Mumma was in love with this dish!


My pick was the ‘Risotto of the Day’, a combination of Smoked Scamorza, Fresh Horseradish and Asparagus.  I was completely blown away by this dish and may have even preferred it to the “Potato Gnocchi” as the flavour had a real ‘kick’ to it.  ‘Scamorza’ is a type of Italian Cow Cheese and its smoked flavour was what I found to bring the components together, with the more subtly flavoured asparagus.  It wasn’t a texturally complicated cheese, thus providing the flavour and letting the texture of asparagus and horseradish shine, ringing true to the meaning of “Gastronomia”  – “the art and science of good eating”.  The beauty of sharing is the ability for each diner to experience the delight of the dish as well and who better to spread the foodie love with than the family at the end of the week?


Pappa thought the ‘Spaghetti Chitarra’ sounded interesting, however I think we were all a little disappointed with this dish as it paled in comparison to the wonderful flavours of the previous two.  Nevertheless, it is still worthy of praise – if I had not tried the other two dishes I would have been quite happy with this dish.  The spaghetti was cooked Al Dente and had a very different texture as it was handmade!  You could almost taste the effort that had been poured into creating such a simple base ingredient.  The ‘Chitarra’ was described as ‘pork cheek’ by the waiter and was scattered throughout the spaghetti, however I didn’t feel like it provided much flavour as the tomato base seemed to dominate.


Lil’ Bro was the odd one out as he chose to order ‘Stone Fired Oven Pizza’ with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms and Olive.  Taking ‘ownership’ over a majority of the pizza, we decided upon a trade – some pasta for some pizza.  Mumma had been raving about their pizza after her function and it definitely lived up to expectation.  We were in delight with wonderfully thin base and oozing cheese, which subtly complemented the stronger flavours of the sausage and olive.  Pizzas always remind me of relaxing nights in front of the television with the family, so it definitely brought something comforting and sentimental to the table.


As an accompanying snack, we couldn’t resist the bowl of fries, which were well cooked – not too oily and sprinkled with an interesting black salt.

After the clearing of his plate, Lil’ Bro looked at us with wide eyes and asked, “Dessert?”  The good thing about Friday dinners, is our stomachs’ default to ‘Indulgent Mode’.


I spied the words “Salted Caramel” on the menu and that was basically the end of it.  We ordered two “Salted Caramel Crème Brulee” as there would not be much sharing from the boys end of the table!  It was a well done dessert with the flavour of caramel taking on a perfect level of decadence, however I was quite disappointed with the missing ‘salty’ kick that I was holding out for.  I would have enjoyed the glaze to be slightly more ‘burnt’ as well, but the caramel flavour and crust had me quite happy.


Mumma suggested the “Baked Strawberry Cheesecake” and how glad I was that she did!  I found it to be even better than the “Crème Brulee”, with the subtle and light cheese playing well with the more acidic and sweet flavours of the strawberry.

Overall it was a casual and simple but delicious experience; however try to be seated within the restaurant itself as diners in the lobby are sometimes forgotten!  So if you’re in Pyrmont looking for a good eat, keep Signorelli Gastronomia in mind.

This is definitely a Friday dinner destination from now on, calling for visits to try their famous ‘Antipasti’ and other pasta dishes.  It is this unspoken tradition that has led to my experience of many different cuisines and the strong bond of the family – we are able to enjoy each others’ company within our busy schedules and uplift any negative tiredness or stressfulness with conversation and food!

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