Sunday, February 17, 2008

RESTAURANT: Faheem’s Fast Food

Type: Indian, Pakistani
Location: 196 Enmore Rd, Enmore
Booking Required: No bookings

God I love Faheem’s. It’s my local Indian take away and it’s one of the best Indian take-aways I’ve ever had. The food is a tad oily but for the price I am yet to see it matched elsewhere. The haleem curry with a kashmiri naan from here is hard to beat. Especially if you follow it up with some chicken tikka.

Yes the food is oily and no it’s nice an attractive place to eat, so get some take away, take it home, get plenty of naan to soak up the oil, crack a bottle and enjoy. And you know it won’t hurt your bank balance as well.

RATING: Will constantly return to

Faheem Fast Food on Urbanspoon


Type: Lebanese
Location: 489 King St, Newtown
Booking Required: Sometimes

Arabella is a bit of a so-so place. Nothing about it really grabs you. The food isn’t bad, but the rest is a bit average. The wine list is poor, the service can be a bit patchy, the televisions in the room really detract from the ambiance and they seem to really pack group bookings in. To the point where I don’t know how someone can physically fit in such a small seat.

It’s main strength is that it’s a no fuss place. If you’re in the area and want something that isn’t Thai then you can come here with a couple of friends, get a banquet (around $40) and know you’ll be well fed.

RATING: Okay, may go back

Arabella on Urbanspoon


Type: Thai
Location: 321 Sussex St, Sydney
Booking Required: Sometimes

Thai food has become so common in the Sydney landscape that it’s hard for a restaurant to really stick out and make you want to go back. Sussex Thai manages to do that.

They do it by offering good food, at a good price in a nice location with good service. Nothing is outstanding, but the total package is hard to fault.

The entrees are really quite delicious here and whenever I come I usually get a mix of those. The chicken in banana leaves has a fantastic flavour to it and is one that I’ll always order. The mains can be a little hit and miss though. Their curries are sublime and the garlic soft shell crab an absolute monster of a dish (they must have an entire bulb of garlic on it), but the scampi wasn’t great and the stir fried pork belly is nice but almost prohibitively spicy.

But whatever you do order, it’s never a terrible disappointment, and you know that the next dish will be better.

RATING: Will return to

Sussex Thai on Urbanspoon


Type: Japanese
Location: 76 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket
Booking Required: No bookings

There is something about this place that is just awesome. Really. The place is tiny. It only seats about 12 people and there are usually half a dozen chefs cramped into the impossibly small kitchen. I don’t know how they do it. I’ve seen bigger news stands in the city.

But in addition to defying the laws of physics, they also make some really good Japanese food for a great price. Really satisfying raman noodle soups, delicious takoyaki, Moorish fried salmon skin and great sashimi for the price.

Service is lightening quick, so don’t ponder over your choice for long. Just think of something and stick with it. Chances are you’ll like it. I’m yet to be disappointed with anything I’ve gotten there and I have it as one of my few trusted places for food.

Ignore the queue and get in the line if you’re after a quick, cheap bite in Haymarket. There may be places doing things better than Kura, but everything Kura does is consistently good and for a great price.

RATING: Will return to

Kura on Urbanspoon

EVENT: The Sydney Royal Wine Show

February 16, 2008
Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
Cost: $55 at the door ($50 pre-sale)

Last year we had so much fun that we decided to go again for some serious tasting. And boy am I happy that we did return, because it was even better. Last year the entry price gave you the chance to try 18 medal winning wines, and as many non-medal winning wines as you wanted. This year you could try whatever you wanted and as much as you wanted. Last year the challenge was to allocate your tasting allowance on your favourite categories and those wines that interested you. This year, the hardest decision was what to try next.

After getting a few Aussies sparkling I’m yet to try out of the way (Houghton’s Pemberton sparkling was a good surprise) and moving through some other categories, I decided that it would be fun to put my effort towards my favourite categories. And so I did. From sweet white wines to muscats to ports to brandies, I tried everything sweet, fortified or late harvested that they had in that room. McWilliam’s took my award of the day for two utterly sublime wines in the Hanwood Tokay 2 and the Hanwood Grand Tawny.

Another improvement on last year was the introduction of the Trophey Room, where you could enter for a limited amount of time and try all of the wines that won trophies at the event. This gave everyone a chance to try everything they wanted and made sure there were no crowds around some areas.

Once again it was good to see what some of my favourite producers were awarded. I was really pleased to see that Banrock Station’s The Reserve sparkling wine picked up a very well deserved silver medal. Blue Pyrenees Estate were also well rewarded for some of their better wines.

Produce from the Royal Food Show was also impressive with a great selection of dips, meats, nougat and bread on offer.

This event is simply a must for anyone who takes their wine seriously and wants the opportunity to try a lot of the better wines coming out of this country all in the one room.

WINE: YARRA BURN Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier 2005

Type: Sparkling
Origin: Yarra Valley, Victoria
Approx Cost: $25

I’ve been neglecting this blog horribly lately, so I suppose a gesture of good will is in order. Yes, I will review a cheap sparkling wine. That will make you all happy. Yes.

It pours with a good mousse and has quite a fine bead.

It’s always a worry to see a cheaper sparkling wine have all three of the traditional grapes included. Almost as if it wasn’t a good wine with pinot noir and chardonnay so they scraped some pinot meuniere together and decided to add that in.

It smells average, with a bit of citrus and yeast fighting for dominance. And that’s pretty much it. Citrus and yeast on the palate with a bit of a toasty edge. But really not that impressive.

It’s not going to disappoint terribly for the price, but it won’t impress.

Welcome back.