Buddakan – Chelsea, New York

A taste of perfection…

The Bar at Buddakan

You know once in a while you go out to a restaurant and everything about it is perfect. The artistic decor, the exceptional service and unbelievable food – yes all this and more can be found at Buddakan!

A modern Chinese restaurant, Buddakan serves traditional dishes with a fusion fare. The menu is utterly elaborate with a dish for everyone, whether you are  a meat lover, a pescetarian or  a vegetarian you are in for a treat here. 

A piece of trivia, if you are an avid Sex and the City fan this is where Carrie and Big had their rehearsal dinner before the wedding. Of course when my husband made reservations he didn’t know that and the minute we stepped foot into the restaurant my excitement knew no bounds, little did I know it was going to be even better.

Main Dining Hall
Exceptionally Beautiful Main Dining Hall

We ordered the Bo Bo plate to start with, which had an assortment of appetizers – tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast, boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll. All absolutely delicious!

Bo Bo Plate: tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast, boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll
Bo Bo Plate: tuna spring rolls, sesame shrimp toast,
boneless spare ribs, carrot dumplings, cantonese spring roll

I really struggled to pick a main because there was so much to choose from. I knew I wanted fish and all the fish dishes looked great, but our waiter recommended the Black Cod. I was a bit apprehensive because I cannot eat ‘fishy fish’, funny I know but true! After much deliberation and convincing from our wonderful waiter I did order the Cod, so glad I did! I had not eaten anything like that before, the fish was meaty but so delicately flavoured and went perfectly with my Mushroom Chow Fun and side of Wok Charred Broccoli. My husband ordered Roast Pork which I could tell was finger licking good.

Glazed Alaskan Black Cod with chili eggplant, black bean relish
Glazed Alaskan Black Cod with
chili eggplant, black bean relish
Wild Mushroom Chow Fun with garlic chive
Wild Mushroom Chow Fun with garlic chives
Char Siu Roast Pork with spicy bamboo shoots, moo shu pancakes
Char Siu Roast Pork with spicy bamboo shoots, moo shu pancakes
Wok Charred Broccoli with garlic and black bean
Wok Charred Broccoli with garlic and black bean

Everything about Buddakan was perfection! The wait staff were extremely knowledgeable about the food, really friendly and took such good care of us, the food was faultless (trust me I don’t find faultless food very often) and the restaurant decor and ambience was exquisite. All this coupled together made this such a memorable experience. The only one regret I have is we were too full to order dessert and were running late for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at Broadway. I am sure my name is written on the dessert menu for the next time I am in New York.

My most memorable meal in New York City
My most memorable meal in New York City
Rating: 10/10
Price: $$$

Best Bagel and Coffee – Midtown West, New York

Bagel and Coffee is like living the New York dream…

Since arriving in New York all I wanted do was to sink my teeth into the best bagel. What better a place to go to than the self acclaimed Best Bagel and Coffee on 225 W, 35th street New York. This bagel shop is walking distance to the Empire State building, perfect spot for tourists like us to get a quick bite before the setting off on our sight seeing journey.

Usually I am highly suspicious of places that proclaim themselves as the best, but this bagel shop in my opinion can continue to call itself the ‘BEST’. 

We arrived at the Best Bagel and Coffee shop on a Monday afternoon and the place was packed with people from all walks of life. Tourists, office goers, mums with kids and the likes. Any place that can be packed in the middle of the afternoon on a work day is definitely doing something right. For the whole time we were there the crowd grew from strength to strength which is another sign of good food!

Assortment of Bagels to choose from
Assortment of Bagels to choose from

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Finally it was our turn to order, with all the available choice I was just so confused. As always my eyes were bigger than my stomach but thankfully my brain took over, preventing me from ordering everything. 

There is an assortment of bagels and spreads to choose from. The lox (brined salmon) and cream cheese with chives bagel is a classic combination. However my husband and I were in no mood of fish! 

I ordered the everything bagel which is a bagel baked with sesame seeds, garlic and herbs. The filling was a classic cream cheese filling and to make it slightly healthy I asked for some fresh lettuce too. My husband ordered the breakfast bagel, a plain sesame seed bagel with creamy scrambled eggs and lots of bacon as fillings. Watching him eat that, felt like I was watching the man vs food tv show.

Everything Bagel crusted with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic and herbs
Everything Bagel crusted with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic and herbs
Breakfast bagel with eggs and bacon
Breakfast bagel with eggs and bacon
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Everything Bagel with cream cheese and lettuce

Neither of us had any coffee, but if the bagels were anything to go by the coffee should be pretty good too. After our bagel craving was successfully satisfied we were off to see the beautiful views of New York city from the Empire State Building.

LSD recommends Best Bagel and Coffee if you are in New York or plan on visiting. 

Street view of the Empire State Building
Street view of the Empire State Building
Overall rating – 8/10
Price – $

Jack’s Wife Freda – Soho, New York

You can feel the magic in the air…

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Growing up I always heard people compare Bombay to New York. Then I didn’t know what they were talking about, but today I do. New York like Bombay is the city that never sleeps. Believe me it’s past 1:00 am here and we have just returned from Times Square, where I managed to score some great bargains alongside thousands of other people  at the H&M store

Shopping, busy streets and bright lights all at 1:00 am best describes this city’s 24/7 vibe, but there’s more to New York. This morning we jumped on the subway, trust me the best way of knowing any city is by travelling around like the locals do. We travelled from Wall Street to Spring Street and found ourselves in Soho, a recently renowned neighbourhood known for its eclectic vibe.

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The Brunch/Lunch menu at Jack’s wife Freda

As always for me it was about food!  I had been looking at a few different cafes online and one that caught my eye was – Jack’s wife Freda!  The cafe was packed with people waiting outside and soaking up some winter sunshine. When people are willing to wait for an hour in a place like New York where cafes are in abundance, that says a lot about the food and popularity of this place.

English Breakfast Tea

I ordered a cup of English breakfast tea to start with and it was a perfect companion for the cold sunny morning in New York. The food menu is not elaborate but the comprehensive selection of recipes caters for all palettes. 

Poached eggs with halloumi and roasted tomatoes
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Green Shashouka Eggs with Challah Bread

My husband ordered poached eggs with halloumi and roasted tomatoes, topped with a delicious parsley pesto. The eggs were poached to perfection, it was like a little burst of sunshine. The salty halloumi, the sweet roasted tomatoes and the delicately flavoured parsley pesto created a delicious flavour medley.

I ordered Green Shashouka eggs with chargrilled bread. Shashouka is said to have its origins in Tunisia and it is basically the same recipe as LSD’s Baked Eggs.  The  Green Shashouka had beautiful flavours  of coriander and lemon, this is definitely a recipe I will try and replicate for you all.

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Pimms Lemonade with Mint and Cucumber

To finish we ordered a glass of Pimms Lemonade, which was just a delicious palette cleanser and so refreshing! All in all Jack’s wife Freda was a great experience – great food, good service and reasonable prices. LSD definitely recommends this to all our New York readers and others those who plan on visiting this magical city.

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With love from The Big Apple
Overall rating – 9/10

Price – $$

The Eight – Haymarket, Sydney

 You can almost cha cha cha after yum cha…

Tequila is to partying as Yum cha is to hangover! Why am I telling you that? Well last weekend I was in Sydney for a friends hen’s night. What started off as a wild night only got wilder once Tequila made its presence felt.

We knew we were going to pay for it in the morning! After waking up at midday the next day,  boy did we pay in style with an Asian feast at The Eight! 

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Steamed Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

 

Prawn Tofu in a Sweet and Sour sauce
Prawn Tofu in a Sweet and Sour sauce

Right in the heart of Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket, The Eight is like any other big, bright and busy Asian restaurant serving both yum cha and ala carte menu. The food is reasonably priced and there is a great variety of dishes to choose from. From interesting dishes like tripe, chicken feet, etc to more standard dumplings, steamed buns and the likes. There is something for everyone.

Prawn and Mushroom Dumplings in a Lemon Grass, Ginger, Chilli and Soy Sauce dressing
Steamed Prawn and Mushroom Dumplings in a Lemon Grass, Ginger, Chilli and Soy Sauce dressing
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Steamed Cabbage and Prawn Dumplings

We ordered an assortment of dumplings, some greens to make up for guilty pleasures from last night, a few other savoury dishes and lastly some mango pancakes and mango sago pudding for dessert. My personal favourite were the mushroom and prawn dumplings with a lemongrass, ginger, chilli and soy sauce dressing!

At The Eight you definitely don’t pay for the service. The wait staff are probably not as attentive/responsive as you would like them to be, but the food makes up for it in some ways!

Coconut Cream and Mango Pancakes
Mango Pancakes with Coconut Cream
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Mango and Sago Pudding with Coconut Milk

LSD recommends The Eight in Haymarket Sydney, especially after a big night out! The location is great, the food is good and the service could be better.

Overall rating – 6/10

Price – $$

Hellenic Republic – Brunswick, Melbourne

As George Colambaris would say…I LOVE IT!

My brother and sister in law were visiting from Adelaide and each time they are here in Melbourne we make sure we visit celebrity chef restaurants. On their recent visit to Melbourne we went to George Colambaris’s Hellenic Republic in Brunswick.

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Elies Assorted local olives, Cretan olive oil, rosemary, garlic
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Tyri Saganaki Kefalograviera cheese, peppered figs
Melitzanosalata Smoked eggplant dip, aleppo pepper, pinenuts
Melitzanosalata Smoked eggplant dip, aleppo pepper, pinenuts

The restaurant has a quintessential Melbournian vibe, serving authentic Greek food with a contemporary twist. There are plenty of meat and vegetarians options, but personally the seafood dishes were our favourite.

The food is reasonably priced and the serving size is pretty generous too, which is always a plus.

We ordered a range of mezze and salads, which were all delicious. The boys ordered an assortment of meat dishes of which the charcoal chicken was a clear favourite. My personal favourite of the night was tiger prawns with ouzo salt, just delicious! Soft juicy grilled prawn and the tangy ouzo salt gave it the perfect kick. 

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Garithes Chargrilled tiger prawns, ouzo spiced salt
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Kalamari Chargrilled calamari, garlic, herbs
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Loytianos Whole Baby Snapper, stuffed with herbs, grilled lemon

We finished the meal with some light but tasty dessert. Risogalo (rice pudding) was a clear winner of the dessert round! 

The wine list was exhaustive and had a lot of delicious wines from Greece and others from the Australian wine regions. Definitely a plus if you love to match your food with wine!

Horiatiki Salata Traditional village salad
Horiatiki Salata Traditional village salad
Horta Pan - fried wild greens, lemon, olive oil
Horta Salata Pan – fried wild greens, lemon, olive oil
Lahanosalata Cabbage salad, balsamic, honey, Kefalograviera cheese
Lahano Salata Cabbage salad, balsamic, honey, Kefalograviera cheese

The customer service was slightly lacking in its finery, but the delicious food made up for it. Perhaps George needs to make a visit to the floor and pass on his contagious enthusiasm and passion for food to his floor staff.

With everything said all in all a great food experience and LSD definitely recommends this restaurant to all.

Loukoumathes (Top Centre) Hellenic doughnuts, honey, cinnamon, walnuts Risogalo Rice pudding, salted caramel, almond shortbread crumble, pistachio
Loukoumathes (Top Centre) Hellenic doughnuts, honey, cinnamon, walnuts Risogalo (Right) Rice pudding, salted caramel, almond shortbread crumble, pistachio Sikalaki Gliko (Left) Candied Figs Spoon sweets Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (Bottom Center)

Overall rating – 8/10

Price – $$$

Smokin’ Barrys Barbeque Food Truck – Melbourne

Of all the foodtrucks at the Yarraville Gardens, my husband gravitated to the foodtruck that made claims of the Smokin’ Barbeque. Smokin’ Barrys was all that a meat lover could dream of. Pulled pork, hickory smoked ribs and beef brisket. Apparently all absolutely desirable foods in a meat lovers guide.

Smokin’ Barrys Smokin’ BBQ

Being a vegetarian I don’t know what that flavours would be like, but if the line up in front of the foodtruck was anything to go by – it is safe to say Smokin’ Barrys is pretty Smokin’ Good!

Smokin’ Pulled Pork Nachos

My husband enjoyed pulled pork nachos and I must admit they looked pretty darn decadent. Again for $10 only this meal was a perfect combination of great flavours and value for money.

Happy Customers with the lovely owners

If you are a meat lover be sure to checkout Smokin’ Barrys at the Yarraville Gardens. The park is a dog friendly park and is offleash all year round except summer. So get your pooch out and about and be sure to try Smokin’ Barrys.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Price – $

The Little Mushroom Co Food Truck – Melbourne

Foodtrucks at the Yarraville Gardens
Melbourne never ceases to amaze me. The city’s appetite for good food is just like mine, large and insatiable.
 

My husband and I were at a dog park one day when someone mentioned to us about Yarraville gardens and how there is a street near the park full of food trucks serving tasty food perfect for a picnic. We decided to explore the park today and were so impressed to find an array of food trucks serving healthy fast food  with Italian, Korean, American, Indian, and other such inspiration.

 
The Mexican Mushroom Burger

In particular I felt like something healthy, flavour packed and easy to eat. I know too much to ask for right! I was a bit disappointed that there was not as much healthy vegetarian food and then I stumbled across this cute little foodtruck called The Little Mushroom Co (TLMC)

 

TLMC serves a delicious variety of vegetarian and vegan burgers and for the environmentalists you will be happy to know that the foodtruck is solar powered too.

 
I really enjoyed the Mexican Mushroom burger. The bun was light and tasty, the mushroom perfectly cooked, there was just the right amount of sauce and the rocket was fresh and crisp, just how its meant to be. Some may argue $10 for a burger alone is a bit much, but friends remember good health comes at a price and so does the healthy burger.
The lovely hosts at The Little Mushroom Co
Overall Rating – 6/10
Price – $