Oh, hello novelty #icecreamthurs! When someone is passionate about something, it can be infectious; Danny from Scroll is passionate about creating a fun, quality experience for customers visiting Australia’s first teppanyaki icecream parlour, Scroll. The experience is unique – you order one of six icecream and topping combinations, and watch your Scroll master create icecream right in front of you on a cold plate. I ordered the Perfect Matcha ($9, $8 if you check in on Facebook), made with Matcha Maiden tea and Fleurieu milk (yay for supporting local!), and topped with lychee, strawberry Pocky and blueberries. Wow. There is a huge amount of icecream in the cup, and I really liked the addition of fruit for balance. The icecream itself is incredibly creamy (Danny tells me there are no stabilisers or preservatives), and the green tea flavour is beautiful – not too sweet and very clearly full of high quality matcha powder. The Pocky (a Japanese snack) add a fun twist and a different flavour/texture combination that goes well with the matcha. Yum. Being social media savvy, Scroll is also encouraging customers to tag their photos with #scrollin on Instagram, for the chance of a repost and free icecream. Yes, please.
Scroll, 35 York Street, Adelaide SA, http://www.scrollicecream.com.au/
Part One is here. Next was the rare beef with white anchovies served on toast with anchovy paste. I love anchovies and found the strong fish and salt flavour delightful, although the beef was left as nothing but texture with the strength of the anchovy taste. Tier two was our unanimous favourite – the soft shell crab buns, packed with deep-fried crab and dressed with coriander a very spicy mayonnaise that was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, go and eat this now. Amazing. The final tier was dessert, with more French influence – pistachio, salted caramel and vanilla macarons, all with perfect feet and true flavours. We all liked the pistachio best, although the salted caramel was a close second. We saved the best until last, although again the experience wasn’t top notch as there was no cutlery provided to eat the hazelnut cake covered in gooey chocolate glaze – we had to steal the cutlery bucket from a vacant table to be able to eat it (after having to ask for a water refill, we felt a bit neglected). But oh my, it was fabulous, with a rich dark chocolate mousse and a crispy hazelnut base – super rich, but utterly divine. Food perfection, but the experience didn’t have the same degree of class as other high tea venues.
Madame Hanoi, Adelaide Casino, North Terrace, Adelaide SA, http://www.adelaidecasino.com.au/restaurants/madame-hanoi/
Adelaide has a couple of exotic high tea offerings, and Madame Hanoi’s is to a Vietnamese food theme – how could I resist? We were shown to our table and I was quite gobsmacked by the decor – even the coffee machine has cherry blossoms painted on it! Very stylish. The high tea included a pot of Hendrick’s gin-spiked tea, which I loved but Mum didn’t really enjoy. The tea has a strong cucumber flavour, and paired with honey it was certainly an unusual brew, true to Hendrick’s brand claim. It took a while to persuade the staff to substitute coffee for the tea for Dad, something that you would expect to be standard at any high tea offering. On to the food. Savoury tier one started with the most delicious croque monsieur I’ve ever had – seriously, there was so much cheesy, hammy, buttery goodness in that wedge that I was in foodie heaven. Yum. In comparison, the cold roll was a bit plain – I felt it could have used some dipping sauce, but with advanced notice the staff happily substituted beef for duck due to an allergy in our party. Part Two to follow.
Madame Hanoi, Adelaide Casino, North Terrace, Adelaide SA, http://www.adelaidecasino.com.au/restaurants/madame-hanoi/
Japanese food is my absolute favourite, and so for my birthday, Mum and I had the most amazing dinner at one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve been to in Australia; Shoya. We sat at the sushi bar, and ordered a la carte, starting with the deluxe sashimi entree. The sashimi here is just as good as any place in Tokyo, and I was gobsmacked by a) the beauty of the ice sphere it was served in and b) the perfection of the salmon, tuna, scallop and kingfish sashimi pieces. Basically, everything melted in your mouth and I could have happily eaten another three serves. Swoon. Next was a piece each of the aburi salmon and unagi (eel) nigiri sushi – the salmon was tender and tasty, but the unagi was the stand-out, with a huge, meaty piece grilled to perfection atop the rice. We then enjoyed the salmon onigiri, which was actually huge and very filling – the flakes of salmon were perfect and there was the occasional pop of heat from a red peppercorn within. Finally, we shared a plate of the agedashi tofu, which was just the right level of crispy on the outside and pillowy-soft inside. Pure birthday bliss.
Shoya, 25 Market Lane, Melbourne VIC http://www.shoya.com.au
The lovely dessert team at Lotus have created an incredible Easter dessert, which my friend and I were lucky enough to sample yesterday. The egg is beautifully presented on a bed of fried pastry strands, with a rose glaze that reminded me strongly of musk. The strands were lovely and crispy and surprisingly sweet – I ate more than my fair share! The egg is the main game though, created out of incredibly thin Valrhona dark chocolate dusted in a brozne shimmer, filled with soft coconut meringue ‘white’ and a mango sorbet ‘yolk’. All of these flavours work well together – the chocolate is of that exceptional calibre that it just dissolves on your tongue into creamy, bitter luxury, which contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the coconut meringue. I was completely smitten with the mango sorbet; it was like eating a ripe mango, the flavour was so intense and true. The mix of textures was fabulous as well, with creamy sorbet, fluffy meringue and the crack of the tempered chocolate, not to mention the crunch of the pastry strands. Available as part of the Easter banquet or a la carte at dinner, definitely one to try before it disappears!
Lotus Restaurant, Level 1, The Galeries, 500 George Street Sydney NSW, http://www.lotusrestaurant.com.au/
The food at Barrio is never what I expect – they’re always trying something exciting and slightly off-kilter (which I mean in a whole-heartedly positive way). This time I picked their take on a potato salad, but don’t imagine it’s your usual staid boiled-with-mayo affair. No. Here, your potato is candied. What, I hear you ask? Like almonds? Not exactly – the potato is cooked but almost dehydrated, with a texture that reminded me of unknown but delicious vegetables in Japanese supermarket salads (again, a good thing). To contrast this almost sponginess are segments of fresh orange, which add a divine splash of acidity and freshness, slightly bitter green leaves and some sort of split bean/pea thing (woe is me for forgetting to photograph the menu). That’s not to mention the smattering of puffed wheat and fried shallots on top. I ordered this dish with a side of smoked salmon (the recommended optional extra), and was delighted by the three thick, not overpowering slices that brought great balance to the riot of flavours and textures in this salad. The whole thing was nicely complimented by a glass of fresh orange juice; I could have happily had a dozen more glasses as this was the real deal. Never expect the ordinary here.
Barrio Collective Coffee, 59/30 Londale Street, Braddon ACT http://www.barriocc.com/
My friends were appalled to discover that I hadn’t been to Goodberry’s before – apparently it’s a Canberran institution, and on a warm evening my friend took me out to the Belconnen store (there’s also one in Erindale) for my first taste of their famous frozen custard. Frozen custard? Yep. I’ve had frozen yoghurt, but this is a whole new thing. The recommended way to try it is in a ‘concrete’ – a cup of either chocolate or vanilla frozen custard, to which you can add any number of flavourings, so I picked vanilla and decided to add in Reece’s peanut butter cups as my flavouring. You can add more than one, but I was keen to taste the custard as much as possible. The concrete was ready quickly and I was surprised at how big the cup is (much bigger than most #icecreamthurs servings!). The custard really does take on the flavour of what you add, so mine had a lovely hint of vanilla against the salted chocolate and pops of peanut butter and chocolate strewn throughout. Definitely great value and a fun Canberra thing to have ticked off my list!
Goodberry’s 25 Lathlain Street, Belconnen ACT, http://goodberrys.com.au/
I hadn’t really considered Honkytonks as a dinner venue, but after catching up with a friend there for drinks, we weren’t really ready to move elsewhere. With the recent introduction of table service and an extensive Mexican-themed menu, I was pleasantly surprised by the impressive-looking chimichangas and hot-dogs being brought out. As I am wont to do, I ordered the burger. The Pablo Sanchez burger ($16.50), to be precise. I was lured mostly by the call of the jalapenos and chipotle sauce giving a Mexican twist to the traditional beef burger. The food came out fairly quickly, and my burger was served in a plastic basket with a huge portion of fries alongside. The burger looked great and on first bite, I got a lovely hit of jalapeno heat and spicy chipotle suace – just what I wanted. The patty wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was still slightly pink in the middle as patties should be, so points for that. The fries were thin, crispy and moreish, served with a small dish of tomato sauce that helped cool down the spice from the burger. For the price, it doesn’t really have a scratch on Grease Monkey, but still a good mid-range burger in Civic on a night out.
Honkytonks, 17 Garema Place, Canberra ACT, drinkhonkytonks.com.au
My first stop after picking my bags from the luggage carousel in Adelaide was Ryo’s Noodles. Yep, not even kidding. Last time, Mum gave me massive order envy with her miso ramen, so that’s what we both picked this time. Ryo’s is unusual for a ramen restaurant in that you can request your serve to be salt reduced, which we both did. The star of this ramen is the broth – the miso flavour just adds a lovely richness to the already complex broth, which only tastes better the more you eat. I found myself wishing for a second stomach in order to have more! The pork is beautifully tender and not overly fatty, although I would have liked another slice. The spring onion and bamboo shoots are great textural elements, and the ramen noodles themselves have a great amount of bite, making them a real delight to eat. The bowl actually has a very generous serve of noodles, and I was very full by the end of my meal. We had cups of green tea with the food, which come with free refills – the tea was simple and a nice complement to the ramen. See you on my next visit, Ryo’s!
Ryo’s Noodles, 80 Gouger Street, Adelaide SA
So many of my old favourites in Tokyo are just the same as I remember them – Bitter Sweets Buffet is yet another. We went nice and early on a weekday for lunch and didn’t have to line up (I remember waiting 90 minutes to go in 2009). For a fixed price, you have 90 minutes of all you can eat at the buffet, and all of their food is delightfully tiny so you can try lots of different things. There was a Mediterranean Cruise theme to the buffet when we went, so I started out with a slice of the margherita pizza, some crumbed fish with tartare sauce and (my favourite), a mini burger! You order the burgers from the chef and add your own toppings (lettuce, pickles, tomato sauce, onion) at the salad bar. I tried the potato salad (yum – so creamy) but went back for more crumbed fish – that was definitely the savoury pick. After enjoying some green tea we moved to dessert – hello mini cakes! I tried the strawberry mousse cake, the strawberry scroll (so light and fluffy!), the chocolate berry cake (my pick of the sweets) and a couple of jellies. We were so full that we didn’t last the whole 90 minutes, but every mouthful was delicious.
Bitter Sweets Buffet, 8F Lumine Est, 3-chome, 38-1 Shinjuku, Japan http://pscoop.jp/bsb/index.html