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Miss Dissent Local Star

Food writer for more than a decade, Miss Dissent writes Does My Bomb Look Big In This? - Sydney's most comprehensive food blog. You'll find well over 1500 reviews. On Zomato over 23 million views of reviews & photos. On Trip Advisor Level 6, #22 Sydney reviewer, 175,000 readers. Yelp 143,000 viewers in last 90 days. The blog: http://missdissent.livejournal.com/

Joined 27 December 2013 Lilyfield, NSW

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  • The Weston Eatery

    Cafes Canley Vale, NSW
    Lately I?ve been experimenting with breakfast bowls. Initially I was quite suspicious that they might be another triumph of the Instagram age, where looks are valued far more than how a dish tastes and what it?s like to eat. This time I employed the assistance of a girlfriend who has mastered the breakfast bowl, and makes her own beautiful bento box-style packed lunches, too. Our brunch destination: The Weston Eatery.

    Strikingly modern in a sleepy runway of shops sitting on both sides of the street leading up to Canley Vale Station, The Weston Eatery, certainly stands out. It?s clean, white and minimalist, with brass and rose copper accents set off by raw plywood, and painted white paling and pegboard walls. The starkness of the effect is minimised using leafy green ferns. The pale colours are employed to open out what is actually quite a small space; an open front area followed by a galley-like rear with a kitchen porthole and a banquette running down one side.

    I dutifully order the Chia Pudding ($14). It?s not what I?d normally pick, but even I have to admit that I?m delighted when it lands. The porridge-like coconut and almond chia pudding is topped with toasted coconut crumble, and seed and pepita-rich house granola, sweetened with a drizzle of organic honey. It's beautifully adorned with eye-catching array of fresh and dehydrated fruits, with some edible blooms and baby herbs thrown in. It holds my interest throughout our catch-up, and I don?t even find myself with order envy.

    Though if one were to be envious, the Bubble Waffle ($16) would probably do the trick. Chef Hung Le (who spent time in Bistro Ortolan?s kitchen) has combined a crisp Hong Kong-style waffle with buttery soft honeycomb and hazelnut praline. Through the addition of caramel ice cream and toffee sauce, it?s quite rich, meaning my girlfriend didn?t finish it, but, she reports, it made her really happy.

    While the use of Double Roaster beans certainly lets off an inviting aroma, nothing says catching up with your girlfriend like pink House-Made Lemonade ($5). The colour is courtesy of the daily flavour - mixed berries - whose fruity addition made for two attractively pink, tangy, refreshing drinks.

    Along with all the expected attributes of a Surry Hills café, from green tea lattes to poke, there?s enough here to make me say: Canley Vale you are onto a winner. The youthful second generation Vietnamese locals packing out the tables clearly agree.
  • Paper Bird

    Restaurants Potts Point, NSW
    Take the heart of Moon Park, move it from Redfern to a curiously turquoise, vaguely Art Deco-inspired, Potts Point basement. Widen the modern Korean brief to take in more of East Asia; and extend the formula to encapsulate breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yep, it even sounds like a scathingly brilliant idea. Paper Bird will likely top the charts as 2017?s hottest new restaurant. Moon Park?s reputation is enough to guarantee that most (upwardly mobile) people will pop by, if, for nothing else, more of the shrimp-brined, Korean fried chicken.

    The online version the wine list got me excited about drinking by the glass, but in situ the updated list offered none of the varietals I was keen on. No matter, Brooks is equally as accomplished in other drinks, from easily quaffable Korean tinnies to a well-described list of Blackmarket sakes. Priced on a single serve, the ten sakes represent an easy way to get more acquainted with this intriguing drink. Tasting notes provide a good indication of the key flavours, without being too proscriptive.

    I start in safe territory with a junmai ginjo (pure rice sake with the rice polished to 60% or less) called Uehara Shuzo ? Soma no Tengu ($11.50). It started creamy, nutty and sweet, then moved through crisp acidity for a long, elegant palate length. If you want an even gentler junmai ginjo, the Moriki Shuzo - Suppin Rumiko no Sake ($15) drinks like spring water flowing over smooth grey boulders. The delicate sweetness morphs into a dry finish.

    As the sake pours are small, we slow our drinking with a beer chaser ? the Wildflower Gold Australian Wild Ale ($30/750ml) ? a bready, lemony wine-like beer that goes gangbusters with Ddeokbokki ($8/6). Here these compellingly chewy Korean glutinous rice cakes are slathered in fermented chilli paste (gochujang) and rolled in peanuts. Don?t think about profit margins - just eat them.

    We also rip into a thin Scallion Pancake ($15) topped with wafer-thin jamon, slices of shiitake and green shallots. It?s good but not revolutionary, and gone in a heartbeat. We take more time with our Korean penicillin. This subtle little bowl of silky, fresh Tofu ($10) and enoki in double boiled chicken broth is bolstered using black sesame oil. It impresses with elegant simplicity.

    The floor team are full of personality, and confident enough to pause and exchange banter as we move through the sake list. For the ?bigger? dishes we move onto Mii no Kotobuki ? Biden Koshu ($15). It?s yeasty and earthy (like Vegemite) curbed with a sweet caramel kiss, but soft enough to work against Cobia Sashimi ($22) with pickled ginger and buttons of smooth avocado puree. The kingfish, though frugal, is tasty and served at a temperature that gives its flesh a toothsome pleasure. The almost Mexican flavour combination allows the subtle fish to speak from under a green dusting of sea lettuce powder.

    Our weirdest sake, Mukai Shuzo ? Ine Mankao ($16), is made with red rice and drinks somewhere between raspberry cordial and rose. It?s far from my favourite, but it grows on me through a bowl of Yukhoebap ($25). It?s basically expensive bibimbap ? a ubiquitous Korean rice dish ? made with Korean beef tartare. I love it, well I did after we asked for more gochujang, particularly the pine nuts and little cubes of pear.

    With one owner on the floor, and two in the kitchen, booze, service and the subtle, elegant dishes are all restaurant strong suits. A lack of generosity leading to a low perception of value for money, combined with dining in an odd, below-ground windowless box are the drawbacks. It's very good but I won't be rushing back.
  • Olleyville

    Restaurants Murrumbateman, NSW
    You can smell wood-fire as soon as you get out of your vehicle at Shaw Vineyard Estate. This cool climate winery is located in Murrumbateman, right between Canberra and Yass. You?re in luck if your vehicle happens to be a Tesla, as they?ve thoughtfully provided two charging stations in a tumbledown shack. It?s a wonderful juxtaposition of old meeting new. The equally picturesque corrugated iron shearing shed is also dual purpose, interspersing the serious estate business of shearing sheep, with time as a pop-up art gallery; showcasing the neighbour?s artistic endeavours against the heady waft of lanolin.

    We take a winding path past a row of sulphur-crested cockatoo sculptures on fence-posts, and blooming gardens alive with buzzing bees, to arrive at the main building. Edged with neat green hedges, the large verandah is humming with people. We?ve arrived to check out the Estate?s new restaurant, Olleyville, smack in the middle of the 2017 Murrumbateman Moving Feast.

    Luckily this restaurant (which replaces Flint in the Vines) is in the experienced hands of Create Consultants. They're an events and catering company who are destination specialists, responsible for the food at the Australian War Memorial, Sydney Observatory and the Australian Museum. With just four weeks in this space, they?ve made some minor changes to the cavernous room that hint towards a more homely, rustic vibe.

    Brown Chesterfield leather lounges arranged around a lit fireplace, function as the room?s centerpiece if you can drag yourself away from the beaming sun outdoors. The restaurant is still sharing the space with the Shaw Vineyard Estate?s cellar door (though there are plans afoot for this to change). This affords you good tasting opportunities - at the counter you can taste the 2014 Shaw Reserve Isabella Riesling ($57/bottle) for five bucks. With 20 grams of residual sugar this off-dry Riesling makes for a lovely afternoon wine, but sadly it wasn't available by the glass in the winery's restaurant.

    I bought a bottle to take home, and made do with the 2016 Estate Riesling ($10/glass) against Sydney Rock Oysters ($22/dozen). Pomelo pieces are a lovely touch on this oyster plate. They contrast well with tight, briny oysters procured from Narooma, just three hours away on the coast. Shucking to order is only way I could see to improve this dish, ensuring the oysters land with more liquor, but on the Murrumbateman Moving Feast weekend I can understand why this wasn?t the case.

    Local Charcuterie ($18.50) produces a rustically arranged plate of cold meats, crackers, pickles and olives. It sits well against the stamped brown paper table toppers, which give the restaurant?s tables a bespoke artisan look very cheaply. We tuck into the farmhouse style chunky salami and super-smoky leg ham, punctuated by great pickles. The only weak links on the plate were an unremarkable prosciutto and the olives.

    Orecchiette ($19.50) with a mushroom medley and aged Parmesan is well cooked and tasty. The creamy cheese sauce begs you to order a Rustic Bread Basket ($6.50) to scrape up any remainder, and the bread arrives with great olive oil, too. With the by-the-glass list being disappointing, we move onto a Pact Mount Tennant Pale Ale ($8.50). It?s a pretty American pale ale that throws honey and hoppy floral notes, and it?s made just fifty clicks down the road in Fyshwick.

    The summery, sessionable beer suits Wood Fired Garlic Prawns ($14) presented cold in a salad with pomelo, coconut and snapping fresh green leaves. These likeable garlicky prawns are another example of a please-all menu that the chef can turn out quickly, even with the whole restaurant full. Mark it down as a pit stop next time you're off to Canberra.