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日本語

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Xanthi bar & restaurant

Any occasion is a good occasion to gather up and share the moment with good food. To celebrate a birthday occasion for our good food-loving friends Gianna, Phuoc and Rita, we gathered up tonight with our hungry stomaches for newly opened Greek restaurant Xanthi.

As many of you might already know, the well-respected Greek restaurant Perama has closed its door in August and now reopened as Xanthi at Westfield Sydney. They offer a banquet set menu (mandatory for a group over 10+), and we went for the $55 banquet menu.
(Some of dishes shown below are not included in the set menu. Please refer to their set menu on the website.)

Shortly after everyone seated, a few bottles of Tsipouro – a Greek spirit contains 44% alcohol. This is often accompanied with ice cubes and/or water, and diluting with water causes it to turn white colour. This is just like the turkish Raki – a.k.a. Lion’s tear. We were told that Tsipouro helps stimulatie and induce appetite, but my stomach was already ready and finishing the glass of Tsipouro would have rather pushed me toward a night of embarrassment.

Pickled Octopus

Greek Salad

Tarama dip

Hot smoked eggplant dip

BBQ haloumi

Starter dishes arrived one after another. And oh how I love haloumi cheese.

Herbed Skordalia Croquettes

Sheftalies BBQ pork meatballs

Fried veal sweetbreads

More savoury dishes continued to follow. Herbed skordalia croquettes, Sheftalies BBQ pork meatballs, fried veal sweetbreads – these were the dishes I didn’t see at Perama the last time. I loved the chunky pork meatballs!

Prawn and scallop bougatsa

Spinach & feta bougatsa

Pork belly baklava

There’s one bougatsa included in the set menu, but thanks to David the owner/chef at Xanthi, we’ve got two – Prawn & Scallop bougastsa and oh yes, the signature pork belly baklava. We also got two more bougastsas as nut-free alternatives – Spinach & feta, and lamb fricasse bougatsas. Crispy pastry and tasty fillings are hard to resist, I of course had to have taste of all four. The pork belly baklava was definitely one of my favourites dishes of the night, but hmm I think I like the old one better. (read a little more insight regarding the pork belly baklava at Helen’s post.)

Meat from the spit (extra $15)

Instead of lamb skaras, we were given meat from the spit, thanks to David again! Accompanied with potatoes and lemon wedges, the lamb and pork were just luring me into stuffing myself to the max. I usually like pork better than lamb, but tender and succulent lamb won me over this time.

Garden of Aphrodite (Not included in the banquet menu)

Sokolata Castania (Not included in the banquet menu)

Caramel Baklava Ice Cream

Salted caramel peanut & banana sweet bougatsa

Good old favourite dessert dishes – Caramel baklava ice cream and salted caramel peanut & banana sweet bougatsa. But we were also given extra dessert dishes: Garden of Aphrodite and Sokolata Castania. Both were beautifully presented, but I especially loved the Sokolata Castania the chocolate mousse. Very nice.

Those who loved Perama, you’d definitely love the new and improved dishes at Xanthi. And those who missed the opportunity to dine at Perama before closing, I highly recommend to visit and enjoy the great Greek feast!

γεια μας!

Xanthi
Level 6, Westfield Sydney
Corner Pitt street mall and Market street
Sydney

02 9232 8535
http://www.xanthi.com.au

(After hour entrance is located further down the street)


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Sepia Restaurant & Wine Bar

Hai. Do you still remember me?

Just like the last time, “I can’t believe it’s been awhile since the last post.” And I have to say that again, but this time, a year later! Sometimes life takes different turns on its own, and you just simply need to go with it, right? That’s pretty much what it was.

But you know what, I’ve got something else to confess. The Japanese double post that is. It’s very flattering to have gotten many requests from Japanese readers to add Japanese translation, which in fact I have started. But it’s just damn hard for me to keep it up simply because I myself can’t even feel the same *vibe* from written Japanese… So that’s the huge reason for the long overdue neglect. Oh well.

Anyways. Now that I’m back blogging again, I’ll just wait and see if Betty the hungry girl would keep her promise – “I’ll get back on blogging if you did” ;p

So the first post after a year of absence is Sepia. I have quite alot of back logs from the past eating occasions, but this is relatively recent. And just as I was thinking of posting this, a good news came in. Sepia won Restaurant of the year. Woohoooooo, congratulations!

You must have read other posts on Sepia like I have. I have to say they definitely live up to their good reputations – the fantastic dishes with eye-opening creativity and attentive, friendly and knowledgeable staff. And that’s why I chose Sepia for this special celebratory dinner with Tomo.

Tomo changes into his fine-dinning cloth. Looking sharp’n'slick? Yeah, until this was revealed.

I’m just saying I wasn’t the only fat one here. And this is even before the dinner, just so you know. ;p

Arrived and greeted by the staff, we seated at our table and went through the menu quickly. As I Looked around other tables, I already spotted some interesting dishes on other tables. I assumed those were from a la carte menu, but we went for degustation menu ($150/pp) this time.


Optional starter dish – oyster

I cannot eat oysters after a bad food poisoning experience, so only Tomo gets this. *sucking finger*


Amuse bouche – Hiramasa king fish

Beautifully seasoned Hiramasa King Fish – I don’t know what it is about the fish, but you can’t fail me with Hiramasa king fish. We both enjoyed the Japanese influence of the dish.


“Scallop Sushi”Nori rolled scallop, pickled ginger, puffed sushi rice, avocado cream

Looking at the menu, I was wondering about the quotation marks and here’s why. The dish visually resembles essential elements of sushi – The pink (Gari: Pickled ginger that’s always comes on the side), White (Sushi rice & scallop), Black (seaweed paper) and Green (Wasabi) I guess this is something you would need to actually taste the dish to get it, but the combination of these flavour and visual elements literally conjures up a real sushi. It’s like eating actual sushi with your eyes and mouth at the same time. Very interesting.


Tartare of yellow fin tuna
warm leek cream, poached egg yolk, soy and wasabi, sprouting caviar lentils, amaranth grain

I should’ve taken this picture differently so the yummy looking poached egg yolk in the middle! This was soooo flavoursome and I loved the texture of it as well. Soft smooth texture of tuna, leek cream and egg yolk against crunchy sprouts and amaranth grains. I wanted another plate of this.


Queensland spanner crab and buckwheat risotto, mustard butter, shellfish essence

Oh how I loved this – it’s just packed with flavour! The form on the top was full of umami from shellfish, and it creates absolutely amazing flavour when mixed with the risotto underneath as recommended.


Scampi & Cod fish with fennel and scampi cream

You know, this was also a great dish, but I guess I was loving the risotto so much that it didn’t strike us too impressive, to be honest.


Angus beef sirloin with Nameko mushroom and miso sauce

The first meat dish! There’s no explanation needed for the angus beef, right? It was visually screaming that it was perfectly cooked and seasoned. I was kind of intrigued by the Nameko mushroom on the side. Sticky & slimy mushroom that is in which I never had thought of putting on the dish along with meat. But it goes really good with all other elements on the dish. And the amazing tenderness of the beef just makes this dish perfect.


Cocoa and sansho seared Mandagery creek venison, baby beetroots, rhubarb, chocolate, beetroot and boudin noir crumb

Again, this dish was also great but the previous dish was so good that this appeared less impressive compared to the angus beef. But the interesting part was the boudin noir crumb. It sort of added bitterness/smokiness to the venison, I wonder if that’s because the boudin noir had been smoked?? Or the cocoa & sansho that is?


Blue and mascarpone cheese with macadamia granita (Optional dish)

This is another optional dish. I always love discovering a new combination to go with blue cheese, and this is something new I’d try. The dish has sort of half savoury half dessert feel to it.


Pre-dessert: Buttermilk, mint jelly and Japanese pumpkin granita

As a palate cleanser. Sourness of buttermilk and chilly granita really cut through the richness of previous dish, and we were so ready for the next dish to come.


“Chocolate Forest”
Soft chocolate, chestnut, elderflower cream, blackberry sorbet, blackberry candy, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, crystallised lemon thyme

Doesn’t this just look so pretty? It was a virtual forest in my mouth. As every spoonful of this went in my mouth with the sorbet, and chocolate elements made sounds like I was walking on a path in a forest, snapping off twigs with my foot as I walk. Love it!

As I mentioned earlier, during our degustation course their staff was very attentive and that made our dinner even more enjoyable. Highly recommended, and I definitely would like to revisit soon.

Sepia Restaurant & Wine Bar
201 Sussex street, Sydney NSW 2000
02 9283 1990
http://www.sepiarestaurant.com.au/


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MOS BURGER + MR. DONUT = MOSDO.

Their second collaborative products are coming out on 12th!
Donut burgers and potato churros from Mr. Donut. They look cute or what!

One on the left consists of Donut bun, strawberry sauce, strawberry whipped cream, rice puff chocolate. The other one consists of Green tea sauce, green tea whipped cream and rice puff chocolate.

mosdo

And these from MosBurger. Special limited Mos Original burger with Wasabi sauce and teriyaki burger with wasabi sauce! And look at the patty, it’s got a hole in the middle like a donut! And what goes in the hole? That’s where the wasabi sauce will be.

donut_burgers1

I want to eat both!

Word to represent my year 2009.

There’re so many sites that generate something out of your name in Kanji, and here’s one that generates what word represents year 2009 to me.

今年の漢字占い
中野泰成の今年の漢字

毛 FUR  玉 BALL.

Mayhem.

Yogo did it again! Awesome creative & execution!

Morisawa – major Japanese font set (like, “Helvetica Neue”) – takes your creativity to different dimension with calligraphy. Create your own master piece with millions of Japanese characters!

http://fontpark.morisawa.co.jp/

Physics intensive cuteness!

Ahhh I’m totally getting this!

Little Big Planet will be out on October 30th. Go check out their promotion video.

Sweet red bean & dango paradise

Take me take me take me now.

Plus An – offering pure natural flavour of traditional sweet red bean with a contemporary twist.

Hablo Japonese un poco.

Lately I’ve been actively trying to gain more clients from Japan as they have more interesting stuff happening over there in terms of “use of new technology”

I have just been informed that I’m most likely to win a new job from Japan. Yay!

OK, now, this company called me up and said,
“Since you are not a Japanese resident for a quite some time, we are going to have to ask you to give us a result of Japanese proficiency exam. I know you speak Japanese natively, but it’s just a policy and formality of our company.”

… WHAAAAAT?

Yes, I do speak Japanese natively. But at the same time, I’m one of those who would be identified as “Kikoku shijo” or “semi-lingual (Limited skills in multiple languages.)” Since I’ve been away and never been in Japanese working environment, my business Japanese is VERY limited. Pretty much everyone says that I sound “Extremely friendly” in general conversation (which is a good thing) and “Questionable” in formal/business speech that would make people go “huh? … oh you mean —-”

After taking a mock exam, my Japanese proficiency grade resulted in significantly lower than what I thought it’d be. 4th grade. – Intermediate (Junior high school to High school level.) *gasp* Apparently experienced workers should have 1st or 2nd grade.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO….

To save my dignity (if any exists ;p ), the exam is actually not PRACTICAL day-to-day Japanese but is literally to test your knowledge in formal and business speech levels. There’re ALOT of expressions and words that I had never heard of before, and those are generally used rarely in very specific context or very formal client-to-company situations.

I think I can handle the most part, like remembering new Chinese characters and their multiple pronunciations, and expressions. But the problematic one is to identify different speech levels among sentences. Some expressions from different speech levels are very similar and quite often sound correctly. But mixing different speech levels is considered “uneducated” in Japan, I’m going to have to work on that….like, VERY HARD.

Also, Japanese have MANY MANY counter words. You can’t count stuff just like in English, you need to use a proper counter word for the stuff you are counting. There’re so many exceptions….. ugh…..
(check out this Wiki entry about Japanese counter word just for the sake of it….) I mean, seriously, we could just say “one book, two books” and so on, if you don’t know the counter word.

*moans*

The only logical thing left me to do is

Inner-brain maker

This website generates an image of what inside of your brain must be like, based on your name in kanji.


食(eat) surrounded by 欲(desire) How accurate is that.

Sometimes your intelligence depends on how cleaver the technology is.

I always wonder how people type Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other non-alphabetical languages. Japanese is basically very phonetic language, therefore it is quite easy to type – just type as it sounds, like “Sa Yo Na Ra.”
What’s difficult is, due to its phonetics, choosing the correct / intended characters when you convert the roman characters into Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana.

For Japanese, input method application automatically picks words for you based on a frequency of words and sentences. Usually it shows relatively accurate results, but you’d be shitting in your pants when it failed to pick appropriately.

Japan Kanji proficiency exam association has released the result of “funny character conversion contest”.

Best funny conversion award
“UMAKU IKANAI GAZOU SAIZU NI NATTA.” (The image size gone wrong.)
gotten recognised wrongly by splitting word break as “UMA KUI KANAI GA ZOU SAIZU NI NATA”
which reads “My horse-eating wife became size of elephant.”

The runner-ups
“KYOU INAI MON NE. GOMEN.” (You won’t be here today, will you? Sorry.)
recognised as “KYOUI NAIMON NE. GOMEN.”
that reads “You have no breast. I’m sorry.”

“NANIKA TO USAN KUSAI TOKI GA ARU.” (There’s a time when it somewhat looks suspicious.)
recognised as “NANIKA TOUSAN KUSAI TOKIGA ARU.”
that reads “There’s a time when dad is stinky.”

I had a good one myself too:
“KA NI KUWARETA.” (I’ve got bitten by a mosquito)
became “KANIKU WARETA.” meaning “Meat of the fruit gotten cracked”

Ah Japanese language is funny.