July 15, 2008

Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay

We've started to explore the nicer (called "flash" here) restaurants in Sydney. Previously we'd been to Tetsuya's, Bird Cow Fish, Danks Street Depot, and Atelier. This time we decided to visit The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay.

This is supposed to be one of Sydney's best seafood restaurants, so we concentrated on ... seafood! We started in the bar while we waited for our table with half a dozen local oysters and a split of Bollinger. The Pacific oysters were quite tasty, but the local bay surface oyster was huge and strong. Not a bad thing, but you have to love oysters to like them (which we do, and did.)

We were then shown to our table, harbor side with a great view of the Anzac bridge. We had a roasted beet, cress and goat cheese salad while Debbie had a NZ bluefish and I had local Spanish Mackerel. My Mackerel was very nicely done, moist (possibly poached) then finshed over high heat to crisp it (possibly with a torch?) Debbie's was probably just poached and not as spectactular.

The dinner was great and the view is superb, but the prices are comparable to some of the best restaurants in the world and the food is good but not in that league. We probably won't go back for dinner unless there's some special reason to go there. On the other hand, we may well go back just for the oysters.

Saigon Saigon

We've been trying out the restaurants near us, mostly on Glebe Point Road. Most recently it was "Saigon Saigon" a Vietnamese (no really) restaurant. It's slightly upscale, we started with the crispy pancake appetizer that was quite deliciously crispy and filled with bean sprouts, chicken, and other sauteed vegetables. On the side was a nice big pile of lettuce leaves, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, julienned carrots and sliced hot chili peppers to stuff it with. The contrasts of hot and cool, crispy and soft, sweet, tart, and spicy reminded me why I love good vietnamese food.

The second dish was a spicy beef salad, with nicely cooked shreds of lean beef on a bed of butter lettuce and piled with mint, cilantro, and more julienned vegetables. The description may sound similar to the pancake, but that's only because the condiments are similar. The dishes themselves are quite distinct, one being a hot crispy eggy crepe, the other a cold spicy shredded beef.

Finally we had a special salt and pepper soft shell crab. The crab was deep fried in a delicately flavored batter fragrant with pepper and nicely salty, sauteed with chilis and garlic, and served with the requisite garnishes. The crab itself was sweet and flavorful, though the oil was maybe just a little too hot - the crab was not overcooked but the batter was slightly overbrowned.

Accompanied by two traditional soda lemonades with mint, though you can BYO.

Din Tai Fung

There's a branch of the noodle/dumpling chain "Din Tai Fung" here in Sydney. Debbie and I went, and were very pleased. We had Dan Dan Mein, Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings (Jiao Tze), and shanghai soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). All of the dishes were excellent, though I prefer my Dan Dan Mein a little spicier, and my Xiao Long Bao a little soupier. Nevertheless we'll be back!