It’s not often that you have the opportunity to meet with a food blogger from another country. So it was with some excitement that I had the pleasure to meet Brad, the photographer/writer behind the award nominated food blog ladyironchef, one of the most popular food blogs in Singapore. With a name like ladyironchef, I was surprised to not see a woman sitting at the table when I arrived at the restaurant.
Considering it was his first time in Sydney, what better way to be introduced to the Sydney food scene than by having a marathon night out with prominent food bloggers from Grab Your Fork, chocolatesuze, A Table for Two, eatshow&tell, Citrus & Candy, & hungry.digital.elf.
How I managed an invite, I have no idea… :)
Leg 1 of 5 of our night out with ladyironchef (yes, 5!), commenced with dinner at Rowda Ya Habibi, a Lebanese restaurant located on the main strip of King St, Newtown (albeit on the fringe).
Rugs, hung up on the walls of the private room that we dined in, served as murals giving a sense of cultural context to the banquet to come. For $30 per person, we were in for quite a value-for-money, bang-for-buck sort of meal. Well, at least by inner city suburban standards.
We began with the usual starters of hommus & baba ganoush dips, tabouleh salad as well as a large basket of Lebanese bread.
It’s a common mistake to go out hard early, filling yourself up on bread at the beginning, leading to the inevitable struggle through the latter portions of the meal. It’s a mistake I make every time :)
Service is reasonably quick as soon afterwards, plates of falafel arrive. These falafel are not quite as nice as the ones at Jasmin (post to come) but they’re not bad either. Just wish the crust was more crunchy.
Along with the falafel, lady’s fingers containing lamb mince are served. These were a little heavy for me as I’m use to lady fingers that have some acid (usually in the form of lemon juice) incorporated within, helping cut through the grease.
The mains primarily consisted of grilled meats. In this case, a very typical lamb shish kebab, which was wonderfully smokey though the meat was somewhat dry.
The lamb kafta, spiced mince formed into a sausage-like form. Very lamby tasting, which I didn’t mind so much. However, I imagine some might have issues with it.
Every meat-based dish up until now was based on some form of lamb. So, it was with welcome relief when a plate of chili chicken kebabs were brought in.
Oh, were these ever good! Everything the lamb counterparts were not. In other words, very juicy and not at all lamby (as you would hope for chicken kebabs).There wasn’t any chili hit to speak of, though it did lend some colour and a little flavour to the meat.
Unfortunately, this was around the struggle period that I mentioned earlier. Oh, it didn’t stop me. Just meant that I had to work through them a lot slower than I would have otherwise :)
Towards the end of our meal, a belly dancer makes her entrance. The dancer glides lithely into the room, accompanied by an Arabian score, to grace our company with a solo performance.
One by one, the siren beckons her victims towards their ultimate demise of awkward dancing and general embarrassment, with the assistance of peer group pressure. Well, at least the ones she has ready access too. A small group of us escape relatively unscathed, aside from teary eyes, stiff jaws, hoarse throats and split sides due to continuous fits of laughter.
Sorry folks. No photos here. I value my life too much :)
We finish off dinner with some desserts, such as these baklava. These weren’t a part of the banquet special and thus were purchased separately.
I wasn’t a fan of these. Too dry for my liking as it lack a suitable amount of the wonderfully buttery sweet syrup. However, for some, this was the perfect balance for them.
This gingerbread house, photo taken from a pastry store in Darlinghurst, will have to service as an interlude as our group frequented three dessert stores, Gelatomassi in Newtown (Leg 2), Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst (Leg 3), as well as wowcow (Leg 4), likewise in Darlinghurst. Unfortunately, no photos were taken during this period of our evening.
Between the three stores, each of us indulged in a couple of desserts. I made a point to sample pistachio gelatos from both Gelatomassi & Gelato Messina. For me, Gelato Messina was the clear winner, its bold flavours winning out over what polite people might say is a subtle tasting gelato. It tasted more like vanilla gelato with a hint of pistachio flavour, at least by comparison.
Should I go one more? Ok, just one more.
After already having dinner, as well as a couple of desserts from one of the three dessert places we frequented, we felt that we couldn’t call it a night without having a late night supper out at Chat Thai (Leg 5).
With the majority of us well beyond full, a number of people stuck with ordering drinks, such as the blended ice drink pictured above. The blended ice comes in various flavours such as lemon, and lychee (my personal favourite), which comes with a piece of lychee fruit.
Two or three people of the group decide to order a couple of savoury, to be shared by the group.
Chat Thai makes a decent pad thai (pictured above), at least by Australian standards. Not the best I’ve had but it’s certainly up there among the better ones I’ve had in Sydney.
This is a late night snack if I ever saw one, preferably with a beer!
Pad Nahm Prik, which is only available on certain days, consists of (clockwise from the rear) pork crackling, deep fried pork belly (with more crackling), boil eggs and some boiled/steamed Asian greens. In the centre is a fiery salsa of sorts made up primarily of green chilis as its base. It may not seem like much at first but after a little while you’ll start to really notice the chili.
With our marathon dining session coming to a close, I bid farewell to a new friend with the promise of another food outing (and post to come) before his made his way back home to Singapore. The rest of us made our way home, which ended up being a rather interesting experience in and of itself. Perhaps a story for another time and another place :)
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