Monday, November 26, 2012
In one of my recent posts I mentioned one new venue that we opened recently, but we actually have another new baby - yes, that's right, we opened two new venues within two weeks of each other (phew)! Sweethearts BBQ is located on the rooftop of the Sugarmill building in Kings Cross, which also houses Kit & Kaboodle nightclub... and I like it so much that I've been back 5 times in the last 4 weeks!
Think sunshine (although there's a retractable roof too for when it rains), beers, ciders, cocktail pitchers and shandies. Did your aunties drink shandies too? The food is fresh as can be, and perhaps a little fancier than your regular family BBQ - definitely no burnt snags here! I think this will turn into the perfect place to spend summer evenings and catch up with friends over a few drinks and delicious food to share. I love the super relaxed vibe and tick box menus.
In the name of research, we tried all the cocktail pitchers and I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite. The Hills Hoist above is definitely a crowd pleaser and perfect for sharing with the girls containing watermelon, apple, lemon, mint, gin and soda. But I also really liked the Mango Tree that mixed up mango liqueur, pineapple, rum, ginger ale and lemon. The tap cider (James Squire I believe) is also great, and they also offer a Spiked Cider Slushie that might just become my drink of the summer.
Onto the food! We started with some barbecued turkish and olive bread (similar to how my Dad does it for our family BBQ's) and the thickest, fluffiest chips with a homemade tomato sauce that I think had a hint of Dijon mustard in it. I love when the potato skins are left on chips, so of course these were a favourite. I recommend adding Truffle Salt for $1 extra.
After that, the starters started coming out fast. I was looking forward to trying the soy-braised brisket and beetroot burgers, although I was expecting it to be a full size sandwich. However mini size was probably for the best considering how much food there was! As a general rule, I will love anything containing brisket, and these were no exception - the tender beef was delicious with the beetroot relish.
Sweethearts potato salad was a blast from the past, with bits of crispy bacon and sweet corn kernels, it reminded me of family BBQ's when I was younger. Not to mention that it was served on a plate that looks like something my Nanna would own! I liked the little bit of heat that the green chillies brought to this version.
A surprise favourite of mine also from the 'Rabbit Food' category was the Grilled Watermelon with feta, mint and pita chips. A sort of unusual combination to be sure, but wow, it works so well and is definitely a must order when you visit!
The Grilled Prawns are a tribute to Paul Hogan's shrimp on the barbie, cooked in butter and loads of garlic. A great dish to share with your mates over a few beers.
I don't have any photos of them but a recent favourite dish has been the Skewers. On offer are chicken, beef, pork, salmon belly and veggie with your choice of condiment, so there are endless combinations for deliciousness. I love the chilli caramel with the pork, the chimmichurri with the chicken, and the truffle salt with the salmon.
Another standout was the Glazed Pork Belly. Just look at that crispy skin! It was beautifully cooked and served with a salad of sweet and sour slaw, chilli, pear and sesame. Suze, this one's for you!
Promise me you'll try the ribs when you visit. It's a little more unusual to see lamb ribs on a restaurant menu, but when they're done perfectly like this, it's a welcome surprise. I've never seen ribs that fall off the bones like these do, and the honey, chilli, coriander and lime sauce is absolutely delicious.
As stuffed as I was, I couldn't rightly turn down bone marrow butter now, could I? I've wanted to try this since I was designing the menus! We requested our Black Angus Sirloin very rare and it was served perfectly pink. Once the butter started to melt into the meat, it was absolutely incredible. I also liked the selection of mustards that accompanied it, but who are we kidding, it was all about the butter.
What's an Aussie BBQ without the classic Aussie dessert - pavlova! Sweethearts' version is a Smashed Pav with summer berries and cream with flecks of vanilla bean throughout and it's absolutely freaking delicious. Also on the dessert menu is a delicious grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet, and a selection of house made choc tops and cornetto ice creams!
I have to say it's very interesting being involved in the early stages of opening a venue, from the first mood boards to menu designs to finally seeing it all come together and open. I loved the food, the decor, the lovely staff, the casual atmosphere, touches of nostalgia coming through in the retro coasters and plates, and even the old school hip hop music playing. I think this will definitely become one of my regular haunts over the summer months!
Sweethearts BBQ, 37 Darlinghurst Rd Kings Cross (02) 9368 7333
Spicyicecream dined as a guest of Sweethearts BBQ.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
It’s been a less than awesome week, but I hate to come here and complain. So instead, I’m going to make a list of all the things that have been making me happy lately and hopefully that will make me feel a little better!
• jacaranda trees in bloom everywhere • green juice • a new rooftop BBQ (more on this soon) • fluffy hotel robes • chocolate covered almonds • mojitos • finding time to read • morning walks • philosophy's birthday cake lip gloss • pinning apartment decorating ideas • our travel bucket list • old playlists that are still awesome • seeing summer stone fruit starting to appear at the market • I'm uncharacteristically excited about Christmas this year • cocktails in jugs • new cookbooks • discovering a lovely little homewares shop in Mornington • homemade pizza • the pierces • turquoise nail polish • strawberries • blueberries • raspberries!
I don't bake cupcakes nearly enough these days, but I still love how easy and delicious they are, not to mention how quickly they disappear whenever I do make them! The summer berries have been fabulous so far this spring and I had to show them off in a fruity little cake. Buttermilk is my secret weapon when it comes to cakes these days, I will not make a chocolate cake without it! If you're after a moist, fluffy, vanillary cake, this is it. A whole tablespoon of vanilla extract might sound like a lot, but it's the perfect amount for these cakes.
Cream cheese icing is still my favourite, so I may be biased but I think it was a perfect match to the cake and the berries inside and on top. Here's hoping things start to get a little less crazy soon, but in the meantime, cupcakes help! Hope everyone has a sweet weekend xx
PS: all of you should go over to Raspberri Cupcakes and wish Steph a happy birthday today!! :)
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I have had Greek food on the brain a lot lately, not least of all because one of our brand new venues at work is a heritage pub in Newtown downstairs and a Greek restaurant called The Animal upstairs. With all the menu revisions making me very very hungry, I was very much looking forward to going and checking it out.
Happily, the doors swung open about 2 weeks ago and things are going great guns. The decor is awesome and so is the food, although I have only sampled a very small portion of the menu so far. I am looking forward to going back with a big group of friends so with our stomachs combined we can try a whole lot more of the dishes - so stay tuned!
I have shared one recipe for baklava on this blog, a few years ago now, but I've always really loved the dessert and thought I'd make a slightly different version this time. Chocolate, cacao nibs, pistachios, walnuts, cinnamon, honey and crispy filo is a combination that I knew would be great so I set to work chopping, mixing, brushing and rolling these little baklava "fingers" - individual servings of sweet and sticky deliciousness.
There are so many ways that you could adapt this recipe. Add some orange zest to the filling or the honey syrup, try a different combination of nuts, use chopped dark chocolate instead of the cacao nibs, accompany the baklava, with fresh figs or pomegranate arils instead of the raspberries I have used, or serve with a slick of salted caramel sauce like they do at The Animal, or a scoop of ice cream while they're still warm. Yum!