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Monday, September 11, 2017

BCD Tofu House, Epping

Korean bbq beef ribs, bossam, fish roe tofu soup and kimchi at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney

Soondubu jjigae. If you've never heard of it, you just may end up best friends with it this winter. This Korean favourite is more than just a soft tofu soup. You get a quivering wobble of soft set tofu - like a savoury version of pannacotta - simmered in a mini cauldron of bubbling spiced soup. The broth is guaranteed to warm you up from the tips of your fingers right down to your toes, and don’t freak out about the angry red tinge – it’s not half as spicy as it looks.

Altang sundubu fish roe tofu soup at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Altang sundubu fish roe tofu soup with plain rice $16 or special claypot rice $20

At BCD Tofu House, they’re all about soft tofu soup. You’ll find 13 variations ($15-$16) on the menu. So you want your tofu soup with seafood? Or kimchi? Or dumplings? Tick. Tick. Tick. Restaurant regulars swear by the version with fish roe.

Altang sundubu fish roe tofu soup at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Fish roe tofu soup



Yeongyang dolsotbap special claypot rice at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Yeongyang dolsotbap special claypot rice

Rice comes with every option, turning your soup into a complete meal. It's worth paying an extra $4 for the upgrade to special rice, or yeongyang dolsotbap, a purple-tinged extravaganza of mixed rice cooked with gingko nuts and thin slices of jujube red dates. The sizzling stone pot it’s presented in means that by the time you hit the bottom you should find a crunchy layer of rice that Koreans call nurungji. Scrape it out as is, or follow the lead of locals and ask staff to pour in boiling water to make a kind of rice tea.

Yeongyang dolsotbap special claypot rice with gingko and jujube at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Special claypot rice with gingko nuts and jujube red dates

BBQ beef ribs with tofu soup at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
BBQ beef ribs and tofu soup with plain rice $25 or special claypot rice $28

Bolt on extra dishes, like bulgogi beef or stir-fried squid, for a tofu soup combo meal. The BBQ beef ribs are a ripper, marinated in a sweet soy glaze and grilled until the meat slides off the bone.

Bossam pork belly in cabbage wraps at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Bossam $48

It’s worth rounding up the crew so you can order more dishes to share. That means stomach space for crisp seafood pancake, yukhoe beef tartare and bossam, a DIY affair of pork belly wrapped up in Chinese cabbage with spicy radish salad. The ginseng chicken soup is said to cure all ills.

Shredded radish kimchi for bossam at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Shredded radish kimchi

Boiled pork belly at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Boiled pork belly

You’ll score complimentary panchan side dishes too. If you need a refill, just press the buzzer on your table and ask nicely. And expect crowds on weekends. They don’t take bookings so turn up early or be prepared to queue.

Panchan Korean side dishes at BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney
Panchan

Entrance to BCD Tofu House in Epping Sydney


Bcd Tofu House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BCD Tofu House

74-76 Rawson Street, Epping, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02)

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-9.30pm
Sunday 5pm-9.30pm


This article first appeared in Time Out Sydney. Read this article online or read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews.

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/11/2017 01:21:00 am


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Yass Korean BBQ Buffet (all-you-can-eat), Strathfield

Beef ribs on the grill at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney

Wear loose clothing. If there's ever a time to follow a specific dress code it's when you hit up the Korean barbecue buffet. All you can eat? All you can meat, more like. Protein sweats aren't just a threat. They're a given.

One of Sydney's best value Korean barbecue buffets would have to be Yass Buffet. We're talking $34 for dinner and $32 for lunch. What's included? Keep scrolling.

Self-serve all-you-can-eat at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Loading up at the buffet

Pay first at the counter and then start loading up the plates. And while it's tempting to go crazy, remember to only take what you can eat. If the food wastage guilt isn't enough to make you reconsider that second scoop, the warning signs about a $50 leftover levy may be more effective.

LA galbi beef rib at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
LA galbi beef rib

The raw fridge contains all a mix of meats and seafoods for DIY cooking. Ramble your way through sausages, marinated chicken fillets, chicken wings, mussels and more. My faves are always the LA galbi beef ribs and the ox tongue.

Pork belly at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Pork belly (sam gyeob sal)

Marbled ox tongue at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Marbled ox tongue

All-you-can-eat meat at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Load up the meats

Banana prawns at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Banana prawns

All-you-can-eat meat and seafood at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Round two with seafood including octopus and calamari

Jap chae noodles at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Jap chae noodles

The vegetable and noodle station includes everything from jap chae noodles to kimchi to spicy cucumbers.

Spicy cucumber salad at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Spicy cucumber salad (oi muchim)

Enoki mushrooms at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Enoki mushrooms

Grab a heap of enoki mushrooms and raw pumpkin wedges for your veggie quota.

Condiments and dipping sauces at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Condiments and dipping sauces

And swing by the sauce station for ssamjang dipping sauce, soy, sesame oil, raw garlic and chilli. They'll make all your barbecued meats and veggies taste better.

Pick up a plateful of lettuce leaves too and use these as wraps for the meat to help cut through the richness.

Cooked food station at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Cooked food station

Too lazy to grill? The cooked food station includes a selection of ready-to-eat dishes too.

Bulgogi beef at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Bulgogi beef

Takoyaki octopus balls at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Takoyaki octopus balls

Chilli pork at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Chilli pork (daeji bulgogi)

The chilli pork is particularly good.

Tteokbokki stir fried rice cakes at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Tteokbokki stir fried rice cakes with seafood

Kimbap Korean sushi at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Korean sushi (kimbap)

Fried chicken at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Fried chicken

Candied sweet potato at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Candied sweet potato (goguma mattang)

The candied sweet potato could almost double as dessert but don't worry, there are tubs of No Frills ice cream in one of the chest freezers (look for it next to the cutlery station).

Sikhye sweet rice punch at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Sweet rice punch (sikhye)

Also sweet is the sikhye rice punch. It's a slushy-like punch made with barley malt powder and cooked rice. The drink is sweet and cooling. And it's incredibly addictive. Traditionally it was served to royalty after a meal to help with digestion. No wonder it feels so good.

Beef ribs on the grill at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
LA beef ribs on the grill

Back at the table, it's time to cook everything you've hunted and gathered. The sneaky people sit furthest away from the grill so they're relieved of cooking duties.

Ox tongue at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Ox tongue

Prawns and oysters at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Prawns and oysters

The only downfall here is that the barbecues run on gas, not over charcoal. The place is well ventilated though, so you won't leave with your clothes reeking of smoke.

Eat. Relax. Eat. And be glad you wore your loosest clothing.

Dining room at Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney
Yass Buffet dining room

Yass Korean BBQ Buffet in Strathfield Sydney


Yass BBQ Buffet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yass Korean BBQ Buffet
Level 1, 39 The Boulevarde (entry on Redmyre Road), Strathfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9746 1101

Opening hours
Daily 12pm-10.30pm

Bookings strongly recommended


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/07/2017 01:41:00 am


Monday, August 28, 2017

Porteno, Surry Hills

Wood-fired pork belly at Porteno in Surry Hills

There are two new things to celebrate about the new Porteno location. One - it's so much easier to get to. And two - they now take bookings! It was a sad day when Sydneysiders bid adios to MoVida (MoVida Bar de Tapas is still open at terminal 2 of Sydney domestic airport) but the arrival of the Porteno crew to Holt Street feels like an easy transition.

The vertical grills, used for grilling whole beasts over woodfire, has been installed in one corner of the open kitchen. It still makes for mesmerising viewing. The dining room has undergone some changes too - gone are the booth seats alongside the former enclosed kitchen. Now it feels much more airy, with round tables scattered throughout.

Counter seating at the bar at Porteno in Surry Hills
Counter seating at the bar

You can still sit at the bar, on new stools with backs.

Private dining table at Porteno in Surry Hills
Private dining table

In the back corner of the dining room (on your way to the amenities) is a large single table designed for private groups.

Co-owner and chef Ben Milgate on the pass at Porteno in Surry Hills
Co-owner and chef Ben Milgate on the pass

The pass has been extended out into the dining room. The black and white tiles on the floor are a nice touch too.

Wood roasted pork belly at Porteno in Surry Hills
Wood roasted pork belly

The open kitchen means you can watch the kitchen carve up meats, just like you could at its former Cleveland Street site.

Provoletta wood fired cheese at Porteno in Surry Hills
Provoletta $26
Wood fired cheese with crushed olives and capers

The menu is a little less meat-heavy than Cleveland Street, with more of a Mediterranean bent to dishes. Do expect wood fire to play a large role in everything.

That includes a bubbling mass of provolone cheese, all oozy and smoky from wood fire. It's a gooey salty hit, especially with the blanket of crushed olives and capers across the top.

Salt cod potato dumplings with king crab calypso sauce at Porteno in Surry Hills
Pierogi de bacalao $32
Salt cod potato dumplings with king crab calypso sauce

The bacalao salt cod potato dumplings are not the deep-fried fritters we expect, instead arriving as baked dumplings smothered in a calypso sauce. Yellow onions and peppers form the base of calypso sauce, a condiment originally from the Caribbean. The dumplings are a little on the doughy side but together with the sauce, it still adds up to a tasty number.

Vitello tonnato at Porteno in Surry Hills
Vitello tonnato $30
Wagyu girello, tuna mayonnaise, preserved mackerel, date and caper vinaigrette

Vitello tonnato provides firm evidence of the menu's expansion to the Mediterranean. It's terrific news for this vitello tonnato fan. The thin slices of wagyu veal are incredibly tender, draped over a silky tuna mayonnaise. There's just the right amount of zing and pepperiness from the capers and watercress leaves too.

Wood roasted beetroot salad at Porteno in Surry Hills
Remolacha con ricota $28
Wood roasted beetroot salad with whipped ricotta, sweet olives, pecans and kale

Beetroots are cooked over, you guessed it, woodfire, their earthiness tempered by whipped ricotta and a tumble of olives and pecans. The deep fried kale across the top is ridiculously addictive, shattering into delicious smithereens with every bite.

Morcilla blood sausage at Porteno in Surry Hills
Morcilla $18
Blood sausage spiced with cinnamon and shallots


The morcilla blood sausage is designed for offal fans. The sausage is grilled whole so the insides remain soft and malleable. It's served with white beans but all I really want is to eat it with a thick slab of crusty bread.

Chorizo paprika and garlic sausage with romesco at Porteno in Surry Hills
Chorizo con romesco $20
Paprika and garlic sausage with romesco

The chorizo is firmer and springier in texture, its garlicky meatiness best savoured with a generous dip in the accompanying romesco sauce, sweet with red capsicum.

Charcoal grilled dry aged chestnut-fed bone-in rib eye steak at Porteno in Surry Hills
Charcoal grilled dry aged chestnut fed bone-in rib eye $120
with wood fired bone marrow vinaigrette

We make the agonising decision to skip the wood roasted pork belly in favour of the night's special, a bone-in rib eye grilled over iron bark charcoal. We're told the beef was fed chestnuts for two weeks and then dry aged for six weeks. It's a special cut of meat.

The steak is cooked to a luscious medium rare pink, drenched in a wood fired bone marrow vinaigrette. The beef has faint notes of nuttiness from the chestnuts but the bone is definitely the best bit, sticky with caramelised fattiness.

Crispy fried brussels sprouts with lentils and mint at Porteno in Surry Hills
Repollito de bruselas $28
Crispy fried brussels sprouts with lentils and mint

And of course we had to have the crispy fried brussels sprouts. If there's a tastier way to eat vegetables than deep-frying them, I've yet to find it. The leaves are browned on the edges so they're nutty and sweet in taste, doused in a vincotto dressing that's just acidic enough to take the edge off the oiliness of the sprouts. Mint leaves also help to impart freshness.

Grapefruit sorbet with Amaro cream at Porteno in Surry Hills
Helado de pomelo $10
Grapefruit sorbet with Amaro cream

The grapefruit sorbet is just what you need after a heavy meal. We can't get enough of this palate cleanser, the fine crystals of sorbet straddling the perfect line between sour and sweet. The Amaro cream on top works brilliantly with the grapefruit.

Tarta de manzana upside down apple tart at Porteno in Surry Hills
Tarta de manzana $16
Upside down apple tart with prune and rum ice cream

The upside down apple tart isn't too far removed from a tarte tatin. The tart is a little on the sweet side but the prune and rum ice cream is something I'd happily eat by the gallon. There's a backbone of substance to the ice cream that feels deeply satisfying.

Milk flan with cream and dulce de leche at Porteno in Surry Hills
Flan mixto $14
Milk flan with cream and dulce de leche

But the hit of the night has to be the flan mixto, a heavenly vision of layered milk-soaked sponge cake with dulce de leche, cream and a bonanza of chestnuts. Don't make my mistake. Order your own slice instead of sharing!


Porteño Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Porteno
50 Holt Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8399 1440

Lunch Fridays from 12 noon
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6 pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/28/2017 01:32:00 am



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