Thursday, 21 October 2010

New In Town, Newtown (Polish Restaurant) (28 August 2010)

New in town is 'New in Town' in Newtown.
I've been waiting to use that line ever since Mr FBC and I (along with our merry group of Fat Belly Clubbers) visited New In Town, a Polish restaurant located on King Street, Newtown. New in Town replaces the 'Chocolate Dog Cafe' - you may remember this as the 'cafe by day/mexican by night' place on the southern end of King Street.

It's been awhile since a Fat Belly Club outing has been arranged for our friends and it's always great to share the a new culinary adventure with our best buds. To make sure we tasted as much of the menu as possible, I make the executive decision to opt for the $50 set menu. I'm not 100% sure if the set menus are actually listed on the restaurant menu. I just found out about it after enquiring when making my booking and was kindly emailed a copy of the menu for my perusal. I think there is also a $40 menu, but for $10 more you get to have pork knuckle and duck. It's a no brainer really.

WARNING: the set menu contains copius amounts of food. If you dare to try it, make sure to come here on an EMPTY STOMACH. Don't worry... if you can't finish it, they will kindly 'doggy' bag it for you if you ask.
Wedliny - Smoked cold meats served with horseradish and Polish bread (top right)
Smalec - Spiced pork lard  with fried sausage, onion and marjoram served with bread and pickles  (bottom left), Kompot Fruit Drink (bottom Left)

Our first dishes to arrive are a couple of hearty polish starters, including Wedliny - smoked cold meats with horseradish and polish bread (which I think could be a type of rye bread), as well as Smalec - pork lard spiced with fried sausage. Both were delicious and a great. However, I think we filled up on the bread too quickly. Damn! The pork lard is also not for the faint hearted - it's 100% pure fat but is delectable in small quantities. I'm assuming it would be a great way to efficiently build up stocks of fat if you were heading into a cold Polish winter.  
Also brought to the table are jugs of Kompot - a Polish fruit drink which tastes a bit like watered down Ribena. It's refreshing and much need after the pork lard.

Pierogi - Dumplings galore
I wonder if dumplings are the 'spring roll' equivalent for Polish cuisine? Next up were platters of fried dumplings, called Pierogi, filled with an array of fillings including: meat, sauerkraut and mushroom, and white cheese and potato. The dumplings were accompanied by pots of sourcream which worked really well with the dumplings. 
 Placki ziemniaczane potato pancakes with mushroom sauce                 
The potato pancakes were beautifully crisp and went well with the mushroom sauce. There's more vibrantly pink sauerkraut and sour cream, if you need it.

Beef goulash with potatoes dumplings

More hearty food arrives for the table of fat belly clubbers. Next up is beef goulash and potato dumplings. The goulash is rich and filled with tender beef. It's wonderfully accompanied by plump potato dumplings.
Bigos - a hunter stew
A crowd favourite (ok... welll my favourite) is Bigos, a hunter stew made of smoked meats, sauerkraut, red wine and spices. It's hearty and flavoursome.
Golonka w piwie - Pork Knuckle baked in Polish beer
When it comes to pork knuckle (Golonka w Piwie), size does matter. This large chunk of meat is not for the faint hearted. We were given 3 pork knuckles to share between 10 people and we  struggled to get through the meat. Many of the Fat Belly Clubbers thought they could take on the pork knuckle and devour it... but alas it was not meant to be. It was just too much meat for of all us. Pork Knuckle -1 , Fat Belly Clubbers - 0.

We're all getting pretty full by now but the food keeps coming.  A platter of golabki arrives, which is soft baked cabbage rolls filled with spiced meat and rice and toped with a luscious tomato sauce.  
Golabki - soft baked cabbage 
The last main dish to arrive is Kaczka - roast duck stuffed with apples, cranberries and glazed with honey. There's plenty of moist delicious duck meat and the sweet glaze is delectable but we're all so full that it's hard to eat too much more.  I'm afraid we didn't do the dish justice.
Kaczka - Roast duck stuffed with apples, cranberries, topped with honey 
We make an executive decision to give our stomachs a bit of a break before moving onto dessert. The time gives us an opportunity to look around the restaurant. When we first arrived, the place was absolutely packed but our table seems to have out eaten everyone else and there is only one other couple left in the restaurant.
The service tonight is very friendly and accommodating. All the waitresses are kind enough to explain each dish to us. At one point, the chef comes out to ask us what we thought of the food and which dishes were our favourites. It's a lovely gesture. 
Pierogi z wisniami - Sour Cherry Dumplings (bottom left), Sernik and Szarlotka -Cheese Cake and Apple pie (top right)
After a rest, we venture onto the Polish desserts. The dessert in the set menu is meant to be a Poppyseed cake. However, we manage to swap this for mixed dessert platters for the table which included slices of Sernik- polish style cheesecake and Szarlotka - apple pie and a plate of Pierogi z wisniami - polish dumplings filled with sour cherries. The dessert dumplings were magical with the filling of juicy sour cherries.
Are you full yet just by looking at all that food. We certainly were and by the end of the night, true to our name, we felt every bit like the Fat Belly Club. Burp!

New In Town
549 King St

ph (02) 95652526
Tues-Sun 8am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.
BYO $3.50 corkage

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sydney Food Bloggers 'Mad Hatters' Picnic at Centennial Park

Fantastic 'Sydney Food Bloggers Cake' by Anna from Diary of a Lady Bird

I love food. I love taking photos of  food. I AM A FOOD BLOGGER.

Mr FBC and I are getting use to telling people that we're food bloggers. Our close friends know not to start their meals until we've had an opportunity to photograph it. We're also getting use to the unusual looks you get in restaurants when you start taking photos of our food.  But every so often, we just wished we knew more people who just understood our passion for food and our excessive need for taking photos of the food we eat. People who just get it.

Last weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet 40 or so likeminded Sydney based food bloggers who gathered at Centennial Park for the ‘Sydney Food Bloggers ‘Mad Hatters’ Spring Picnic’ (organised by the lovely Billy from A Table for Two  and Karen from Citrus and Candy).
It was so great to meet all the faces behind the food blogs that I’ve been reading for the past year or so. Even though we were mostly all strangers, everyone was so friendly and the conversation was really easy - food focussed obviously. Oddly enough, you just never know who you'll meet at these things. I even bumped into an old high school friend who I hadn't seen for years - a girl from the blogging crew at yayas yum yums.  Small world!

What would a food bloggers picnic be without ‘food’ for people to photograph. There was a beautiful array of delicous looking food to share.
Above is just a snap shot of the spread of food. I think there were two more picnic blankets
worth of food.  And, here are some close up shots....
Cute Tea-ramisu in Chocolate teacups (by Tammi from Insatiable Munchies)

 Lemon ricotta cheesecake  (by Table Nosh)
Smoky Bacon and Chilli Caramel Slice (by Helen from Grab Your Fork
I didn't try as many things as I would have liked. I think I had too much food to gawk at. I was just overwhelmed by it all and oddly lost my appetite. I did try a slice of the Smoky Bacon and Chilli Caramel Slice. The combination sounds so wrong, but it tastes so right. Yum.

The event was sponsored by a range of generous sponsors, including Nuffnang. There were lots of prizes to be won, including prizes for the best mad hat, the best sweet dish, the best savoury dish and the best 'blue' dish. You will notice a bit of the 'blue' theme in the next few photos. Someone even brought in a huge bucket of 'blue' sangria (sorry - don't have a photo of that one).
Cute 'mad hatter' themed cupcakes (from yayas yum yums) 
Cookie Monster Cupcakes by  nommy nom nom
Cutesy Pie Cake Popsicles by Sugarlace
Close up of the Cake Popsicle
Mr FBC and I were racking our brains all week trying to decide what to make. We finally chose two dishes (one sweet and savoury) which were cute and bite size - Mini Burgers and Shortbread Tartlets. Perfect picnic food. We'll post recipes soon - they are super easy to make.  I even managed to make little cardboard signs for us using the new 'alphabet' stamps I recently bought.
Mini Burgers (by Mr FBC)

Shortbread Tartlets (made by Mrs FBC)
It was great to just meet all the food bloggers and share their gorgeous food. However, our day was topped off by winning one of the prizes. Our Shortbread Tartlets won second prize in the Sweet dish category. Yay! It was a total shock as there were sooooo many beautiful and tasty sweet dishes. Our prize was fantastic - it was a $150 voucher to Chophouse at Bligh Street, Sydney. Mr FBC and I have already perused the menu and we're looking forward to our meaty extravaganza.
Lovely to meet you all and hope to see you soon - Mr and Mrs FBC xx
Second Prize - $150 voucher to Chophouse
Food, glorious food

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jimmy's Recipe Malaysia - Galleries Victoria Sydney CBD

MR FBC EATS: A quick lunch report from Sydney CBD lunch hotspots 

Murtabak ($6.50) topped with a Curry Puff ($1.80)
One of my favourite lunch spots is Jimmy's Recipe Malaysia located at the Galleries Victoria on George Street. For lunch the other day I had the Murtabak, essentially a filled roti canai with curry sauce. The curry puff was my own addition.

It looked small, but it turned out to be packed full of meat. In the end it was a real protein hit. I definitely didn't need the curry puff. You live and learn!

The Galeries Victoria
Ground Floor, Shop RC16, 500 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph (02) 9267 2288

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