Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

El Jannah, Blacktown

September 14, 2014
44 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown

I live on the northern beaches. It’s mostly white middle class families. As a result if you want interesting or authentic you have to venture out.

A forty minute drive for charcoal chicken is a little excessive, but it’s good charcoal chicken, especially with garlic sauce. It’s even better when combined with a trip to Wet ‘n’ Wild (for me, not the kids).

I also love this picture. Proof that eating pita bread can make the most photogenic people (I’m biased) look demented.



Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney

December 4, 2009

66 Hunter St

We had dinner here a few weeks ago and it was a very enjoyable (if expensive) night out. It started with deluxe manhattan, the only alternative to a martini and was followed by a couple of great steaks, with the standout actually being a cabbage & potato gratin. It was worth the trip alone. That and the salted caramels.

However, what everyone talks about is the burger.

We were on our way to the Opera House and couldn’t bear the idea of a mediocre bite to eat along the Quay and so Rockpool again presented itself.

Again we kicked things off with a Deluxe Manhattan. I’m loving these….

It seemed like the entire bar was ordering burgers, so we got our order in quickly for fear of missing out.Though I don’t think this is the kind of place which is going to run out of beef.

It was good. Very good. All fine individual components which stood out and created a burger which was better than the sum of its parts. The bun had a crusty density, a million miles from what you would find at Bakers Delight.

You actually had to hunt for the bacon. It wasn’t in large supply, but it’s served its role admirably in providing some saltiness to the main attraction of the unctuous Wagyu beef pattie, which was a fine as hoped for – intense savoriness with a good enough balance of mince that didn’t make it too rich or fatty. A light touch of gruyere provided that. It was all brought together with an excellent sweet pickle that prevented the decadence getting too out of control. (Incidentally I’m always suspicious of people who don’t eat pickles…they’re invariable anally retentive….)

All this came with a side-order of fries ($12..) which were OK, but not in the same league as the burger. In the UK triple-cooked chips (thanks to Heston Blummenthal) have set the bar for tuber perfection. No other preparation method has yet come close. So if you’re going to strive to serve the best burger, you’ve got to serve the best chips…

It was a fine casual bite-to-eat and the burger did not disappoint. I now work within crawling distance of this place and I do not deny that my decision to accept that job was influenced in some small way by the proximity of Rockpool to it.

So if I’ve had a brutal day at work and need a ‘culinary shoulder’ to cry on, you’ll know where I’ll be.

Plan B – bargain burger

July 14, 2009

204 Clarence Street

More interviews in Sydney today and I couldn’t justify taking myself to Sephia for lunch without my wife being there.  Then I remembered Becasse had a cafe and a reputable wagyu burger for $10, so gave it go.

Plan B is tiny and is essentially a hole-in-the-wall for office workers to grab a sandwich.  Three small tables are crammed outside which must be the scene of many a territorial battle come the summer.

The burger:

Sydney Week1 July09 017

What no chips?! Indeed, the closest you can get to accompaniment here is a soup… and relax……It’s a tall burger, but not particular large in size. You could eat this and not feel too guilty afterwards about not getting a salad. Also being stuck outside on a semi busy street raises the question of whether you should use a knife & fork to save strangers from the messy hand-to-hand combat.

Probably not. Just compress the burger, let the juices flow and start munching.

For a $10 burger it’s pretty good. the standout element is the bun itself. A lovely briochey, airy, sesame crunch. It’s brilliant. Then you get the onions, mayo, beetroot and meat combination. The first few bites are really good. You can taste the char of the burger and it all combines for a lovely savoury taste. Then you think about the meat – the supposedly 600 day grass fed wagyu beef. It’s  OK, but it lacks any real beefiness. Being in the US for a few months I had one or two burgers and this one just lacked the big beef hit.

Sydney Week1 July09 018

In addition, the burger itself didn’t have a hint of pink. Just a greying mass which didn’t quite hold together. I was a little disappointed. I expected better. However the rest of the burger was excellent. I think beetroot is not a bad ingredient. The sweetness & the juices left behind make it look like a crime of passion…

This burger is certainly the sum of its parts and as a whole it made a good quick lunch. I’ve had far worse gourmet burgers, but this can’t be the best burger in Sydney as others have raved about. I guess I’ll just have to try a few more.