Nov 5, 2011

Food, Friends and Friday Nights.

I'm a bit of a nanna when it comes to going out on a Friday night after work.

I like catching an early evening bus because they're usually pretty empty city bound and I get a seat and some piece and quiet whilst I listen to my BBC podcasts and try not to smudge my dramatic evening makeup.

This usually means I get to my destination early enough to have a soothing cup of tea before pre dinner drinks.

Soaking up the atmosphere outside Jamie's Italian on Friday night.  As you do.

And I also have an older persons dislike of queuing for dinner.  Or in the case of Jamie's Italian on Pitt Street (really hard to find actually), lining up in the the line to wait for the chance to have dinner.  Apparently, if you get to the start of the queue I was in, you get to wait 2 more hours for dinner.  7.30pm on a Friday?  I think not.

Luckily, Carly and S, who I was meeting for dinner felt the same about all the waiting.  We met, turned on our heels and walked to the Opera Kitchen, which is a relatively new development in the concourse area of the Opera House.

Where good food, seats and a bit of quiet came our way pretty quick smart.  We were blessed with perfect weather and clear skies.  The Sydney sky line at night always takes my breath away.

We decided to sample dishes from a few outlets at the kitchen, starting first with Kenji.  Kenji Nishinikagawa was originally the sushi chef at Koi in Woolwich (one of my favourite local haunts and I'm so sad it's now closed) and this sushi kitchen at the Opera Kitchen is his latest venture.

I'm cursing the decision to try and take photos in total darkness but I had no other choice.  The photo above was meant to be of our bento tower which was served high tea style.  We also each had a bowl of miso.  This wasn't overly salty but lacked a strength of character.

The top layer was an assortment of vegetable, prawn and calamari tempura. The batter was crisp and the vegetables had bite to them.

Underneath was a platter of mixed sushi and sashimi.  I was pretty impressed with the freshness in a 'food court' setting though the flavours were not as delicate and refined as at Koi.

The final layer was sashimi.

Kenji Japanese @ Opera Kitchen on Urbanspoon

It wouldn't be a Friday night amongst friends without bubbles.  For me it was also a celebration of surviving a rather long and draining week.

I think Miss Chu will forever remind me of Carly, S and K (who was unable to join us on Friday).  We met earlier in the year at the original Miss Chu in Darlinghurst and now here we are at the Opera Kitchen ordering a few of our old favourites.  Unfortunately, they were all out of rice paper rolls.  I can safely say that this outpost of Miss Chu's is every bit as delicious as the mother ship.

The pork dumplings were juicy and well seasoned.

The 3 of us all eyed the final duck pancake.  But alas, there could only be one winner of a second serve.

Miss Chu @ Opera Kitchen on Urbanspoon

There's always room for a bit of the 80s on a Friday night and we had our flash back with a prawn cocktail from the Cloudy Bay Fish Co.  It was deluxe.  The dressing wasn't fluorescent pink or too thick and there were plentiful prawns and a crisp vibrant bed of greens and red onion to boot.

Cloudy Bay Fish Co @ Opera Kitchen on Urbanspoon

We still had so much to talk about after all that food that ending the night with a dessert stop was the logical next step.  S and I managed to sweet talk (love the unintentional pun) Carly into going to Guylian for dessert.  Carly isn't the biggest chocolate fan but we convinced her that there would be non chocolate items on the menu - macarons, danishes and the like (or at least we thought we'd seen these foods at Guylian the last time we checked).

We needn't have worried.  Once we entered the chocolate coated world of the Guylian Cafe (link to menu) at Circular Quay, Carly decided that she'd bat for our team just this once.  We ordered a tasting plate which included a hot chocolate that our waitress kindly offered to divide into 3. In hindsight I wondered how 1 person alone could finish a hot chocolate as well as the array of desserts that accompanied it.

The hot chocolate is served with a Guylian chocolate seahorse at the base of the cup.

Then someone with a steady hand like S pours hot chocolate over the seahorse and you stir the 2 together.

It was heaven and a little goes a long way.  Carly was impressed.  Here she is modelling the Diva replica of the Duchess of Cambridge's sapphire engagement ring.  We were both lucky to get ours as they sold out at full price at practically every Diva store in Australia.  Apparently Kim K's version is now going for half price.  I might investigate this during the week.  Carly, if you want me to pick you up one, please let me know ASAP.

Yes, that's the tasting plate.  The scoop of vanilla and berry ice cream was delicious actually.

A cup of chocolate dipping sauce with strawberries and a selection of beautifully decorated cakes.

I am pretty sure at least one of them was a chocolate sesame cake, another a chocolate mousse cake and the pure pleasure cake with almond in it.  There were also chocolates.  There was too much choice.  The orange gold flakes scattered on the plate looked gorgeous.  If I wasn't so full I would have tried them too.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe on Urbanspoon

What more can I say?  Here's to friends, food and Friday nights!


  1. I WAS going chocolate free tonight ... Not any more ;)

  2. Looks like a great night out! Such fantastic food and great job with the low light iphone skills!

    The twitterverse tells me that I will see this post on another blog :)

  3. Yum!! I love Miss Chu! The rice paper rolls are so delicious!

    That chocolate tasting plate looks too good for words.

    Waiting at Jamie's... Well you didn't miss much there. The food is good but not worth the huge wait, IMO. We ate at his restaurants in Oxford and Westfield London while we were there last year and the food was good but not exceptional by any stretch. It's well priced though so even though you may have waited 4 hours for a table you don't feel ripped off when you get the bill. That has to be a bonus, right?

    K xx

    PS: We only had to wait half an hour at the Oxford restaurant and I still think that was slightly excessive. Having said that it was 7:30 on a Saturday night in the middle of the theatre district so understandable...

  4. Naw, sounds perfect. All of it. And haha re: the Diva rings. Says a bit doesn't it. ;)

  5. I've heard Australia has some of the best food in the world these days:).

  6. What a fab evening! And all I can say is wow, wow, wow to that chocolate platter. That is all kinds of awesome.

  7. I had an incredible night SSG. Such great food and lovely company! I wish we spent more time together!

    Thanks for this blog - it made me laugh about the Kim K ring - I prefer Kate as my role model, and will continue to wear my 'engagement' ring with pride, knowing Kate and Will's love is forever, not just for a TV contract. Plus, the stability of their relationship means I am one step closer to Prince Harry marrying me. Somehow.
    You are awesome xx


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