I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed Yum Cha anywhere across Asia as I do here in Australia. While in Singapore we were recommended to visit ‘Yum Cha' (www.yumcha.com.sg) located in Chinatown. Food was far better than what I’ve had before while traveling in Hong Kong, and the dynamics of restaurant itself reminded me a lot of my favourite Yum Cha in Melbourne named ‘Shark Fin Inn' (www.sharkfin.com.au). However no surprises service was as crap as ever - slow and extremely non-attentive! But I guess you can’t go to Singapore without having Yum Cha at least once right?

As part of our self-proclaimed ‘glamour weekend' to celebrate the birthdays of my best friends Melissa and Steven, we decided to visit Jones the Grocer’ (www.jonesthegrocer.com), nestled neatly on the edge of the food court level of ‘Sydney’s Westfields' for a pleasant late brunch before some light retail therapy. During our time at the cafe, there were often moments you would constantly have to be reminded that you’re technically within a shopping mall. This mainly because of its featured in-house bakery, variations of deli and wine displays, and its modern European take on black and white furnishings really steps ‘Jones the Grocer’ above your usual rustic cafe - its’ overall interior design and layout really runs by its name! I was quite surprised about their price range - really affordable! All produce was beautifully fresh and the food we ordered was seriously mouthwatering (and this was not because we were seriously hungry by that time either haha). Great to have this new, fresh and affordable addition in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.

It was the day before Christmas Eve, and as with every year, same day, I would spend it over an intimate Christmas dinner with my parents and Tim. We decided to celebrate at ‘Black by Ezard’ at The Star being as everyone was hankering for well deserved steak. Most definitely not a vegetarian friendly restaurant haha, as Black by Ezard prides itself on its grills. Entree portion sizes were far larger than expected and price point was not a place you could dine everyday, however well worth the quality in taste. The biggest dissapointment of all would definitely be the service, or you could say, lack thereof, particularly for what you pay. The Staff weren’t very professional, attentive or well knowledgeable of the menu, or even supplied any positive recommendations, which is a massive pet peeve in my books. Enjoyable however dissapointing. Overall the important thing was the quality time spent with good company celebrating Christmas. 

After the Create Cosmetics launch, a group of us all decided to grab a proper meal after working up quite an appetite during the event from all the canapes and beverages. Spontaneously enough we were all in the mood for some good old hearty tapas, and Bodega (www.bodegatapas.com) located in Surry Hills had been one of those restaurants on my long list of ‘to try’ for sometime now. Surprisingly enough for a highly raved about restaurant we were extremely lucky to find ourselves an available seating for such a large group of us without a reservation.

Bodega was a rather small yet extremely bustling restaurant. A minimalist diner yet still very cosy in experience. I really enjoyed the fact that the restaurant was located on a more quiet strip of the Surry Hills area, which added a more intimate setting. Bodega’s menu is not your average tapas joint, with blends of Spanish and Argentinian flavours. The dishes were innovative with strong, impeccable flavours that has left a long impression on my taste buds. Service was very friendly and attentive, and it was extra nice of them to serve us complimentary dishes for our brief wait prior to seating. Bodega has now definitely been added as one of my top choices for modern tapas in Sydney. Highly recommended, absolutely exquisite!

Recently on Saturday night it was one of those days I wanted to spontaneously set out to treat my boyfriend to special night of casual fine dining just because I thought he simply deserved it for being such a supportive partner. Originally my intentions were to finally get around to trying french restaurant ‘L’etoile' (www.letoilerestaurant.com.au) by celebrity chef Manu Feildel. You may have recognized him on such competitive Australian cooking shows such as ‘Ready Steady Cook’ and particularly on Channel Seven’s prime time television show 'My Kitchen Rules'. With such conflicting time schedules in being able to decide on an appropriate time and day, I ended up leaving my decisions to the make reservations the very last minute. And inevitably I failed to gain ourselves a booking, and just to add, it was no surprise that anywhere else in terms of mid-range valued, finer styled dining, would have been difficult to find a seating last minute. Particularly Pendolino and Etch, which were one of the few other next top stops on my long list to try’s.

However I was surprised to find a perfect seating for the boy and I at Bentley’s (www.thebentley.com.au) on Crown St, Surry Hills. Specialising in Modern European cuisine, I had already set my heart on their signature eight course degustation  menu, and it was far better than I had anticipated. You can expect plenty of focus on stunning presentations, commendable textures and I absolutely enjoyed the fact that every dish offered such unique flavours - the way it should be, because who wants to pay good money for flavours you’re already familiar with everyday for less?

The location and the overall ambiance of the restaurant itself was somewhat deceiving for the 5-star menu it offered. However Bentley’s Bar and restaurant surely established a very dynamic experience, extracting formality and offering a more ‘casual’ style of fine dining. I’m glad that my odd night of spoiling for the boyfriend was worth it!

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