LuMi Bar & Dining

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Hello Munchkins!
I'm back and I must confess it was a little harder than usual to get back into the blogging groove. This year has been fast paced, hectic and jam-packed with foodie amazing-ness that I can't wait to share. And how is already May, pray tell?! First up is my peek at LuMi Bar & Dining, which has revived the obscure Pyrmont wharf where it can be found. P.S. get ready to feel zen at this incredible absolute waterfront that money can't buy (especially not in this town).

Veal tartare: a technicolour treat of veal, tarragon emulsion, roasted capsicums and buckwheat. Such a stunner, one of my favourite dishes of the night, brought to life with the textural buckwheat and astringent tarragon purée. You already had me at tartare...

Your first task is to locate this little restaurant, where few Sydneysiders have ventured before. It is tucked away with little signage from the main walkway along the water but the glow from dozens of light globes may be a clue (like a moth to a flame). The dining room clearly takes a leaf from the Scandinavians (devotees to minimalism), with a simple, modernist fit-out in hues of purple and green and looong open kitchen. The galaxy of bulbs that glow above you during your meal are more than perfect for the aptly named restaurant (which actually combines the names of Chef Zanellato's daughters Luna and Mia).

"You are confined only by the walls you create" - a window safety warning gets all philosophical on us. Now this is a room with a view

Chef Federico Zanellato had been honing his skills as head chef at top notch restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit before paddling out to have a crack himself. I think Italian-Japanese fusion is an interesting point of difference although Zanellato plays to his strengths with strictly Italian flavours (and I'm grateful for that). Although, the spin on chawanmushi was pushing the boundaries a little too far for me. With plenty of carbohydrates to keep myself happy, the eight course tasting menu flowed seamlessly and the service was outstanding.

Some snacks to accompany the first round of cocktails: cheese tartlet and corn, pistachio and horseradish on cos lettuce and potato and rosemary focaccia (left). Salt and vinegar rice chip (left). A few tasty morsels to get the tastebuds going - the rice crisp was by far the best

Chawanmushi: a Japanese inspired steamed custard, that brings together classic Italian flavours of tomato and basil. Mind-bending but I can't go past the original I'm afraid!

White cucumber with apple and sour cream. Someone has gone to town with a disc cutter here! A gorgeous dish that evokes Disney princesses and fairytales.  A lovely and light salad with sweet and sharp notes

Spelt ravioli with pumpkin, burnt butter, avruga (caviar, darling) and chives. Isn't this simply spectacular?! The pasta was definitely the star of the show, little translucent delicacies that explode their pumpkin filling in the mouth ¡Ay, caramba! 

Spaghetti alla Chitarra: scampi, bottarga (salted fish roe) and orange beurre blanc. A rich and creamy spaghetti that is not for the faint hearted. The scampi, scarcely cooked singing with notes from the sea (thanks to the bottarga). The pasta itself, silky and jet-black. So. Delicious.

Pork jowl with spinach, celeriac and quinoa. After those pasta dishes that took the cake, it's hard to keep up that level of excitement (for me anyway). The jowl, although cooked perfectly was a little lack lustre in terms of the completeness of the dish. It misses that imagination and creativity captured so well with other dishes. The portion size was also rather small

And then there was, DOLCE.

'Evergreen' - sorrel, lemon basil, mint shiso and parsley (left) and ginger ice cream, white chocolate, passionfruit and yoghurt crumble (right). The first dessert went a little stir-crazy with all the herbaceous inclusions. Although keeping to a theme, each element was competing on the plate and clashed. It needed another element to mellow everything out. The ginger ice cream was definitely a step up with a subtle, more muted flavour. Just a trace... 

LuMi Bar & Dining certainly sets its heights high with a bold fusion menu that intrigues. Chef Zanellato and team have ambition written all over this project and are to be commended on their efforts. The pasta dishes were easily a stand-out and show off the obvious talent in the kitchen. LuMi is an exciting addition onto the Sydney scene that is groaning with all the burger joints and barbecues cropping up everywhere. Enter a class act with plenty of finesse. Prego!

Thanks for reading gang!
LuMi Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 22 February 2015

There's nothing much that beats a lazy loll about on a weekend, particularly with a Sydney brunch (I am most definitely biased). Happily, it seems the nation's past time has many incarnations across the globe. In a fresh collaboration by two artists titled Brunchcity, brunch is celebrated in all its glory. Combining Bea Crespo's talents in illustration and with Andrea Portolés behind the camera lens, Brunchcity has come to fruition with a dash of whimsy and fun. Taking inspiration from key cities around the world and the beauty in a simple meal, each brunch takes on miniature skyline cut-outs released in fortnightly instalments. The results are adorable, let alone delicious. As if the travel bug hasn't already bitten hard! 

Take a sneak peek below:

Barcelona *in your lispy best*, one of the best cities to explore (and eat) your way through Source: Brunchcity

The Big Apple, where brunch is a Saturday phenomenon often with a cocktail in hand! Source: Brunchcity

Athens, a place I'm yet to visit but is up there on the list. Just look how lush that yoghurt looks... Source: Design Boom
Lisbon. Does somebody say Portugese tarts?! Source: Design Boom

Brussels, best for waffle-y goodness Source: Brunchcity

Roma, the famed Olympic torch of gelato topped with none other than the Colosseum Source: Brunchcity

Here's hoping an Aussie city makes the cut one day! Just a quickie from me, more to come soon ;)

Thanks for reading!

Chiswick at the Gallery

Saturday, 17 January 2015

It only feels like yesterday that I was reviewing Chiswick on the leafy streets of Woollahra. As with all restaurant empires; one has the irrepressible desire to divide, multiply and conquer. Matt Moran has seized a rare opportunity to give the restaurant at the Art Gallery of New South Wales a timely revamp, opening Chiswick at the Gallery late last year. For years I had ignored the fact there was an upstairs restaurant - reserved for the likes of functions and weddings. The Caesar salad from the café downstairs was starting to look like an old friend. But times are a changin'!

Props. A complete transformation of what was already a prime location overlooking the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf Photo credit: Chiswick Restaurant

Moran has injected the gallery with a bit of the Eastern suburbs Chiswick vibe and I'd say it's pretty welcome. One of the most pleasing restaurant interiors I've seen in a long time, not a sprig of rosemary is out of place nor a picture frame askew. It's freakishly perfect here. And light! There is light streaming in from the two sides of floor to ceiling windows. A great relief from the squinty darkness we have been enduring for ages in many (too many) establishments.  

Petuna ocean trout gravlax, fennel, mustard, dill. A started which was flying out of the kitchen. The gravlax was divine, and the fennel salad a low-key side. I could eat this kind of thing all day every day

Perched high on a stool at the communal table we had a view into the kitchen - this is usually a favourite spot of mine to dine were it not for the constant, sometimes frantic cry of "Service!". Under the pump, the noise emanating from the kitchen competes with the dining room. It got a little distracting I must admit. To the menu, and all the Chiswick tried and tested favourites reappear like the slow-roasted Moran family lamb. It's got signature written all over it, if you can look past the $72 price tag. That's like 72 killer pythons from the old days (imagine the possibilities). There's a decent range of dishes on offer, so you can build up your own menu or try the set menu which often includes an entry ticket to the gallery. As an aside, the Pop to Popism exhibition was a nice meander through the decades of pop art.

Pumpkin ravioli, broccolini, lemon, raisins. Delicate house made ravioli with a sweet pumpkin filling and buttery sauce. Faultless. MAJOR highlight/deliciousness going on here

Battered flathead fillets, chips, tartare sauce. Ever trusty on a summer Sydney menu, this generous serving definitely hit the spot

Pan-fried salmon fillet, fennel, quinoa, dandelion. This mesmerising piece of tableware detracted from the beautiful simplicity of this dish. The salmon skin was lovely and crispy, albeit a bit overcooked on the inside (for me anyway). More fennel on the side tick tick tick

And a sweet to finish:

Chiswick chocolate mousse cake with candied orange peel. A layered mousse cake hides under the dusted outer shell. It's a winner for texture and a sure-hit with chocolate lovers (raise your hands)

Modelled off the Woollahra, kitchen garden prototype - the ladies who lunch will be very glad to have a CBD outpost a stone's throw from the botanical gardens. Chiswick may appear elitist but it exudes an easy-going attitude that makes you feel at home instantly.   Now that the AGNSW has a restaurant to rival The Pavilion across the road, those enviable views just got a little bit better. It'll cost you a pretty penny - but what doesn't these days.

Thanks for reading!
Chiswick at the Gallery on Urbanspoon
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