Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Jimmy Blanco Restaurant - Surry Hills - Sydney, Australia

The Christmas season lunches and dinners have been rolling in non-stop and I have been eating so much over the last few weeks. Will need to hit the gym and do some more exercises next year. Till then, I shall continue to indulge in good food with good company.

We were initially planning to go to a Mexican Cantina owned by the Merivale Group called 'El Loco' in Surry Hills who are well-known for their cocktails and tacos. As it's located within the Excelsior Hotel, there isn't much seating. There are a few tables on the outside but inside it's mainly a standing area near the bar. As there were no vacant tables, we decided to find another place.

Walking down Foveaux Street, we stumbled across a little restaurant which was relatively packed with customers. They specialise in fusion Latin-Australian cuisine. From the paper menu outside, it looked appealing with selections such as burgers, ribs and steaks to a mix of mini bites.

The eatery is open spaced and airy with Latin music playing in the background.

We started with the entrees.

The 'Empanadas ($9.00)' are little pastries filled with minced beef. There was a spicy kick to the mince filling and it went well with the mayonnaise. We specially loved the sauce and used it to dip with the other items.

'Corn Chips and Guacamole ($7.00)' was one of my favourites. A simple dish but that guacamole was just beyond delicious. I could eat bowls and bowls of it. The corn chips were also freshly made and these two together were a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the chips were broken into little pieces which made scooping up the guacamole a challenge.

'Chargrilled King Prawns ($17.00)' was the favourite amongst the group. Large, plump and juicy prawns, grilled to perfection, served with a side of garlic aioli and mango chilli salsa. This was exquisite and the others definitely agreed. I find the addition of fresh mango to anything savoury confuses my taste buds but this combination went well together.

'Patatas Bravas' was unfortunately disappointing. The Spanish version we're use to eating is usually fried to a crispy golden brown and then abundantly drizzled with a tomato based sauce and mayonnaise. The one here was simply large chunks of potato, possibly steamed or cooked in hot water, then coated in a tomato sauce. It lacked the flavours and most of it was left untouched.

Then it was onto the mains.

The 'BBQ Pulled Pork Burger ($10.00)' had melt in your mouth pulled pork with slaw and lime mayonnaise. The pulled pork was cooked well and had a nice balance of sweet and saltiness, leaning more towards the sweeter side. The sauce from the slaw affected the overall taste of the burger as it left a bit of tang.

By this point, we were really full and struggling to finish everything. The 'Chorizo Hot Dog ($10.00)' had a nicely grilled chorizo sausage with roasted capsicum, rocket and chimmichurri. I much preferred this over the burger as the sausage was well seasoned with spices.

The service staff were extremely friendly and most of the food was spot on. The sides and entrees here reigned supreme over the burgers. Will definitely be coming back for more of these as we were told that the chicken wings were a winner. Prices are reasonable and the food was tasty. What more could you ask for?

54 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Phone no: 9211 1748

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday 
11:00am - 10:30pm
6:00am - 11:00pm


Jimmy Blanco on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Beschico - Epping - Sydney, Australia


Can you believe the end of year 2014 is approaching? I can't believe so myself, and it sure doesn't feel like Christmas is just around corner. 2014 has been a fulfilling year and I'm thankful for the travel opportunities, having been to my favourite country Singapore twice, visiting a new country Korea and re-visiting a country which I haven't been to in more than 10 years, Vietnam. Most of all, I appreciate the chance to experience the different cultures and new foods. I've taken a new outlook on Korean food and as mentioned previously, this is the Korean year. Here is another Korean restaurant review.

With the opening of new stores at Macquarie Centre such as Uniqlo, Gap, Zara, H and M, and Forever 21 recently, it was an incentive to visit the shopping centre. Though, this post is rather delayed and when we went, Forever 21 wasn't open as of yet. After dropping by for some shopping, off we went to have some lunch. I recall reading blogs where people raved about the Korean fried chicken at a restaurant called Beschico in Epping. It's a popular fast food franchise from Korea. A friend I spoke to a few weeks back  who said the chicken was absolutely amazing. So fried chicken it was.

Driving from Macquarie Centre to Epping is a fairly short drive, approximately 10 minutes. It's located on Beecroft road so you might miss it if you're not too familiar with the roads there. I had to do two loops around the area as we couldn't find the place. It's situated across from Epping train station. On a midday weekend, the shops along the road are mostly closed for lunch service with an exception of a few. Luckily, Beschico was open.

Beschico occupies the space in conjunction with a bar downstairs and karaoke lounge upstairs.  The customer base on that particular day looked to be mainly be families with kids. It wasn't overly busy but there were a steady stream of customers coming in and out.

They have a decent selection on their menu. They have the classic fried chicken which also comes in hot sauce or garlic soy sauce. Do not fret as they also cater for those who don't like fried things. How could you not like fried chicken? Then there is the BBQ chicken which sounded interesting but we were here for the fried goodies. They also offer traditional Korean dishes such as bulgogi.

One special thing about this restaurant that differentiates it from other Korean fried chicken restaurants is they offer drumettes! Now, if you've been reading my blog, I don't like the dry part of the chicken and if possible, I tend to stick to the thighs and drumsticks. For experimentation purposes, we decide to not order the drumettes.

The 'Classic Crispy Whole Chicken ($26.00)' looked spectacular on a plate. The chicken is double fried leaving a super ultra-crispy outer coating. Its texture bares a high resemblance to the KFC 'hot and spicy' chicken.

 On first bite, it's hot as in steaming hot and packs a whole lot of flavour from the spices. It's seasoned well and the technique of double frying makes it less oily and more pleasing to eat. The meat is tender and juicy, just like how the perfect fried chicken should be.

The mandatory 'pickled radish'. They also provide mustard and sweet chilli sauce.

A great place for Korean fried chicken but for us, it was a bit out of the way. I must say the service here is extremely efficient. There was one waitress working who took the orders, brought out drinks and the food, and even cleaned the tables. Do give it a try if you're in the area and you won't be disappointed.

41 Beecroft Rd
Epping NSW 2121

Phone no: 02 9869 8188

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Saturday:11:00am - 12:00am
Sunday11:00am - 12:00am


Beschico on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dae Jang Kum BBQ Buffet - Campsie - Sydney, Australia

Dae Jang Kum BBQ Buffet

Looking at the pictures and advertisements in those free Chinese magazines distributed monthly can actually prove to be useful even though I can't read many Chinese words. There were a section advertising Dae Jang Kum Korean BBQ in Chinatown and I noticed in small print that there were the words 'opening soon' in Campsie. Yay to another Korean BBQ in proximity of the Shire!

Not knowing whether the establishment was open or not, I did a quick search on Google and on its main website it said it was open but since year 2008! Now that didn't make sense. I then called to see whether they were open yet and they were. I made a booking and they said it was a fully booked for dinner, but if we went earlier then there would be tables available. Without a booking in tow, we were on our way to Campsie to try our luck.

Arriving just after 6pm on a Saturday night, we were told it was full and the only remaining table left was at the back in the open air.  Fortunately, we got a table and there was a slight breeze which made sitting outdoors pleasant though not preferable. Unfortunately, this meant that we faced the backyard, and there was no proper ventilation set up.

After speaking to the waiter at the restaurant, he said the restaurant seats 100 patrons but they only take bookings for 40 patrons. Do book ahead or arrive early to avoid not getting a table or having to queue for a long time.

The interior is clean, spacious and well decorated. I like the Korean vibe and loud chatter as we step into the restaurant, just like how a Korean BBQ restaurant should be.

I was expecting them to adopt the exact same menu as its sister restaurant in the city, which offers an al la carte menu but they opted for the buffet style instead. Possibly due to the success of the Korean BBQ restaurant a few blocks down at a restaurant called Se Jong Korean BBQ which I previously blogged about. At $32 a head, this is affordable considering you can eat to your hearts content.

The buffet spread is exceptional. It's lined at the center and there is plenty to go around. There are a lot of pre-cooked dishes and the BBQ spread is generous too. However, we find that throughout the night, some items aren't replenished such as the watermelon slices due to the lack of staff. One thing that they didn't have was ice-cream. It would have been nice to cool down with a cold dessert after the BBQ but then again we can't demand too much.

There a is nice selection of pre-cooked foods and if you eat these then you would probably be too full for the BBQ. You must get the kimchi as I saw one lady actually making it from scratch which shocked me as these can easily be bought outside.

I especially like their marinated meats and seafood here. It's marinated well in that it's not too salty and the flavours are well balanced.

Wrap some cooked meat in lettuce and then nom.

Cook meat, cook! The power level of the grill was rather weak and it took a long time for the food to cook. That gave us time to digest and eat more.

We really liked the Korean BBQ here at Dae Jang Kum as the selection was diverse and the food was fresh. If we had a seat inside it would have been perfect. Service could be better but then again they are relatively new so do give them time to adjust. A great place to catch up with friends and be prepared to scream or talk over each other.

115-117 Clissold Pde
Campsie NSW 2194

Phone no: 02 8033 3436

Opening Hours
11:30am - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 10:00pm


Dae Jang Kum on Urbanspoon