Showing posts from October 4, 2009

Bistro Ortolan

Bistro Ortolan is one of Sydney's well known "flash" restaurants. A fancy place you go when you want an upscale french dinner. We had heard mixed reviews. One friend whose opinion we respect a lot had completely panned it, but when our favorite server at Tastevin called it "the best degustation in Sydney" we decided we had to try it.
It's a single bus ride for us out to Leichardt, which is best known as one of Sydney's oldest estabished Italian neighborhoods. Leichardt is where we go for ricotta cake, wood fired pizza, and great Italian cheeses. I called early in the afternoon to get a booking, asking "could I get a booking for this evening?" "Certainly, when would you like to come in?" "When do you have open? I'm free all evening." "So are we." "In that case, I'll just wander in. See you in a bit." "Thank you, sir."
So wander in we did. After perusing the wine list, menu, and degustation…

Phở Bắc Hải Dương

Pho bac hai duong is a Vietnamese restaurant in Marrickville serving northern style beef noodle soup, which is obvious from the name - if you speak Vietnamese. "Pho" is Vietnamese beef noodle soup, "bac" means northern, and "Hai Duong" is a province in northern Vietnam. [I realize that by omitting the diacritical marks I'm mangling the Vietnamese, and I apologize for that.]
We'd ridden by this restaurant on the bus to other places, we'd heard it was one of the best pho places in the Sydney area, and we were in the mood for pho - so off we went. There are various theories about the origin of the name, and the origins of the dish. One popular version is that the name and soup come from the French "pot au feu." Others think the soup was of Chinese origin. In any case, there's general agreement that the dish started in the north in the early 1900s, and moved southward in the 1950s. There are definite regional variations, in the flavo…

Egg & Soldier

The other new place that's opened recently on Glebe Point Rd is a "milk bar" called "The Egg and Soldier." I had been under the impression that a milk bar was a kind of local store for picking up milk and eggs and newspapers. Reading up a bit more, milk bars are that but they also used to be a place where people especially young people could come and socialize, drink coffee or soft drinks and generally socialize with their friends.
The Egg and Soldier is definitely more a place to socialize than a place to pick up a newspaper. It's a cafe where you can also get coffee, desserts, or light meals. The name (and logo) refers to the childhood dish of boiled egg with toast "soldiers" and "The Egg and Soldier" recreates some of that feeling of happy nostalgia.
We visited the first day they were open and things were still a little chaotic, but the staff is very friendly and obviously anxious to make a good impression. The place was warm and full o…

Glebe Noodle House

There are two new restaurants on Glebe Point Road that just opened in the past few days. Glebe Noodle House is down at the Broadway end of Glebe Point Road, and serves western Chinese style hand pulled noodles.
I'm a huge fan of hand pulled noodles, and Chinese noodle dishes in general. Hand pulled noodles are thick and chunky wheat noodles that are either fried or put into stews or soups. They're hearty, filling and delicious.
The process of making hand pulled noodles is both time consuming and labor intensive, requiring making dough, cutting it, rolling it into fat cigar shapes, letting it rest, rolling it again into long thumb width snakes, coiling it and letting it rest, pulling it into pencil thick lengths, piling them and letting it rest, and finally making skeins of noodles between your hands and stretching them into their final shape and size then boiling them.

The same dough can be rolled out into thin rounds as wrappers for the ubiquitous dumplings, that are filled with…