kaiseki :: sasaki, sydney

Ma. The concept of Japanese minimalism. Shibui. The aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.

Everything about Sasaki is delicate, minimalist, has beauty and purpose, and of course, the finest ingredients are precisely and proudly cooked, plated and presented.

We had the “omakase” menu, which translates to ‘leave it up to you’, the chef. A degustation of sorts.

Plump pretty oysters (Oyster, Akazu & Mandarin), silky subtle scallops(Scallops, Celeriac & Kombu), a joyously wobbly savoury custard with poached prawns (Egg & Prawn), delicate slices of fish with dipping sauce & condiments (Bonito, Apple & Ponzu), crunchy tempura asparagus with farm fresh corn purée (Asparagus, Corn & Matcha), pinkest of fish with pops of row and mushroom rice (Ocean trout, egg Yolk & Ikura), rare duck – not my thing – (Duck, soy, leek) with soup (egg in bonito broth) and choice of desserts (choux pastry and mango sorbet).

It’s a true, Tokyo-esque kaiseki style restaurant in a hidden inner Sydney city laneway.

Kanpeki. 充実. Perfection.

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//melly files//

[existential detective]

CITY LIMITS I moved to Sydney when I was 20. I dropped out of university to followed my heart. My parents were upset, but I had always been an independent kid. It paid off though, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and I married that guy; my high-school sweetheart.

Sydney Sydney

MY VALENTINE I’m not really into Valentine’s Day. It’s too commercial to have meaning. Usually my husband will send me roses the day before just to let me know he loves me but he refuses to buy-in on being told to demonstrate his love. We started a tradition a few years ago of seeing a scary movie on V-Day; the bloodier the better. I still remember the year we saw My Bloody Valentine in 3D. It was a total trip! This year we’re going on a double date with close friends The Williamsons to see 50 Shades. It’s not…

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do :: catch ups!

It’s been a long, loooong while since I last posted regularly, so it’s one of my resolutions to start writing on my blog more often!

Life has been busy. It always is, but in the last 6 months it’s been especially so; I’ve taken a month long vacation overseas, moved house, had a promotion at work and been overwhelmed with my husband’s newly-diagnosed serious health issues.

Understandably, we’ve had super high highs and fairly low lows, but it’s made us appreciate the fun times and especially catching up with friends (old & new)!

Here are a few photos from recent nights out with those we hold dear:

Mexican with the crazy work crew:

We met at work 15 years ago and some of us have moved on to new jobs, but we still come together for weddings, birthdays, dinner & drinks.

15 years of friendship!

Left to right: Karen, Juan-Carlos, me, Robin, Shookie & Jay

12 years apart! Top 2004, bottom 2016
 

Girls night out!

We’d love to catch up more often, but it seems the older we get, scheduling a night out with all the girls takes longer to arrange! When we finally make it together, we drink, giggle, gossip & dance the night away!

Kersti & I
me, Gab & Sue
Gab, me, Sue, Mel & Virginia
Cheers!!!

The best kind of stranded:

A weekend on an island with my two best friends is the best kind of soul food!

We spent a couple of nights, mid-summer-heatwave, and cooked, strolled around the island, played scrabble, read aloud, cuddled the dogs, exchanged Xmas pressies and generally chilled.

Harley & Pedro

Harley ran around like a crazed dog and Pedro chilled out wondering what the fuss was about.

Dangar Island is a special place; only accessible by boat, and with no cars or stores on the island you bring what you need. There is a little coffee shop so we wandered down there each morning to get our caffeine hit. Leon, the ever active man, even discovered a running club (of 2 people) and proceeded to show them how the mainlanders do it!!!


The house was simply amazing; large, open plan, floor to ceiling sliding doors and lots of eclectic treasures like old LP albums of the Beatles & Led Zeplin as well as an iPad full of all genres of music which we explored. An amazing catering style galley kitchen for cooking feasts, and separate sleeping quarters with an amazing view of the harbour. So much wildlife and tranquility, it was a restorative weekend.

Xmas Party!

My husband’s works Christmas party is the best of the year! With over 3000 people attending they always make it the biggest & best party! We danced most of the night away, getting very drunk in the process. I even broke my shoe on true Cinderella style!

Syaz & I
Jay & I

Xmas Day Lunch

My favourite family came down for lunch. We made food, sat around our little old apartment and ate on the floor and then talked, read & napped. It was super chilled and super good.

The Dawes

New Years Eve

We moved in two days before NYE. Jay was working but I had some time off and it was a difficult move but achievable. It was a 40-degree-C day of the move and we were sweating but the two guys I hired were brilliant. Everything was done in 6.5 hours and I managed to unpack 90% of the apartment within 36 hours.

We had a little soirée with Neen, Ian, Syaz & Brendon coming over for drinks, nibbles, BBQ & to watch the fireworks from our terrace.

Jay on his BBQ

Ian & Jay posing unhappily!
me & Neen & Veuve!

Fine dining in Sydney | Bennelong Restaurant

Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House
Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House

Showcasing the most beautiful view of the Sydney city skyline across Circular Quay, Bennelong is an impressive restaurant.

A visit to the Opera House always feels special, whether you are attending the ballet, symphony, music / comedy / drama performance, or simply going for a photo wander, the Opera House has the most grandeur feeling about it. It’s beautiful, artistic and a quintessential Australian landmark.

Bennelong is the perfect establishment to showcase fine dining in such a fine location.

From the moment you enter the glass door with that oyster shaped logo, you know your in for a special dining experience.

Bennelong entrance
Bennelong entrance

The Maître d’ is friendly and efficient. Our coats are taken and we are seated smoothly and quickly. We have the most amazing seats; right on the peninsula of the glass sail, looking back over the city skyline and Circular Quay.

Everything about Bennelong is smooth, calm, efficient, friendly but unobtrusive. Our waiters are knowledgeable regarding the wine list and menu, without having to ‘get someone else’ or ‘check with the kitchen’; a small touch that I love about fine dining that adds to the customer experience.

View from our dining table
View from our dining table

Surprisingly there are a good choice of wines for under $100 a bottle. We started an aperitif of a glass of Charles Heidsieck, then moved on to a bottle of French Bernard Fouquet from the ‘Future Champions’ list, which is a chenin blanc (similar to pinot gris?) with ripe melon and floral notes; light and perfect with our seafood meal choices.

My handsome husband
My handsome husband

The menu is succinct and all looks so tasty that its a tough choice! The food is light, Modern Australian; not pretentious, just beautiful plates with quality ingredients and imaginative pairings that work so well.

Dinner
Dinner

Everything we ate was deliciously amazing; Prawn raviolo & Tasmanian squid for entrees, Wild caught fish & Suckling pig for mains, and Crème caramel & mille-feuille and cheese plate for dessert. My only regret is the cheese, as it was a bit dry from lack of accompaniments (could do with quince or pear paste or a bunch of grapes).

Prawn raviolo organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Prawn raviolo
organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Today’s wild caught fish roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth
Today’s wild caught fish
roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth

It was my husband’s birthday and before they served dessert, they served a birthday cupcake with a single candle; soft, buttery vanilla cake with butter icing. Such a lovely touch.

Birthday Boy!
Birthday Boy!

Seriously, this restaurant is wonderful and you really can’t go past it for an amazing dining experience, especially if you’re dining for a special occasion.

table candle and card
table candle and card
The Williams post-dinner
The Williams post-dinner

Bennelong | Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW Australia

mornings

I recently heard an interview with a chef on a random radio station (can’t remember where or with who!) but I loved the questions enough to write them down when I had a chance.

Here’s my answers to these fun quiz questions!

What time do you get up?

  • weekday exercising it’s 6.15am, otherwise 7am for work and on the weekend I sleep in as long as possible!

Coffee or tea?

  • coffee coffee coffee coffee. there is a time for tea but in general I prefer the black gold

coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
How do you have your toast?

  • when Im eating grains, I have sourdough with avocado and squeeze of lemon with salt & pepper. delish!

avocado on sourdough
avocado on sourdough (pic via cupofjo.com)
Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch?

  • Lunch. I’m not particularly a fan of breakfast food; it’s just not that exciting.

Favourite restaurant in Sydney?

  • Gowings Bar and Grill

Gowings
Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

Dine @ Gowings
Dine @ Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
What’s the only thing that’s always in your fridge?

  • butter and wine! can’t really make a meal out of that combination but it’s what’s always present in my fridge!

***

Now, what about you?

Happy Thursday!

#putoutyouronions


Malcolm Turnbull will become Australia’s next prime minister after defeating Tony Abbott in a vote for the leadership of the Liberal Party, winning with 54 votes to 44, last night.

Arguably the worst PM in history, this man set Australia back 30 years with his sexist (3 women in his cabinet), misogynist (appoints himself as Minister for Women, consistently winks and condescends female journalists), racist (“Stop the Boats” is his most common catch phrase), anti-environmental (underhandedly trying to sell off the Great Barrier Reef to the mining industry) and anti-marriage equality agendas.

Good riddance to this out of touch and arrogant man.

It’s not all positive though, this is our fifth Prime Minister in five years. Both main political parties continue to ignore the Australian electorate’s democratic choices, to treat the Prime Ministership as a revolving door. We’ll see if this new incoming PM changes the direction of the leadership and introduces policies more in line with the majority of the Australian public’s opinions on critical issues such as immigration, same-sex marriage and the environment.

These are my fave memes circulating social media! (I put together The Simpsons #hailants meme!)

hailantstontabbottzerolikes

#putoutyouronions