After spotting the name of Blackflower Patisserie popping up on our Instagram feed, I decided to find this elusive place where interesting flavours of macarons seemed to come from. Blackflower is conveniently located right across from Market City and only opened around the end of 2012, which explains why I had never noticed it before despite its central Chinatown location. As its name might hint, the patisserie is an offshoot of the popular Passionflower ice cream chain and the Asian fusion flavour combinations which have become the signature at Passionflower carry over into the Blackflower experience too.
It was only a few years ago that I was whinging about the lack of proper Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, as they were mostly food court or takeaway affairs which made it hard to find a restaurant to have an actual sit down dinner in. Then along came the incredibly successful Mamak, with its eternal long queues which were a necessary evil to confront if you wanted to get a fix of their signature paper thin roti – but if you’re keen to avoid the long queues for tasty Malaysian food then head down George Street to Petaling Street at Haymarket and you won’t be disappointed.
I had high hopes for the newly opened Hana Hana restaurant in Chinatown which is based on the self-service concept of picking a base dish and choosing your own toppings in a canteen style set up. We are big fans of the ever popular noodle canteen Menya Mappen which strikes the perfect balance between affordability, tastiness and efficiency. So one Friday night I headed over to see whether it was a worthy rival to Mappen.
Liquid nitrogen is hardly a conventional key ingredient when you think of gelato, but a new gelato bar in Sydney’s Chinatown called N2 Extreme Gelato has popularised this instant method of creating frozen goodies to great success.
I’ve been to several Korean BBQ restaurants in my time, but Miga has a slightly more upmarket feel than the rest and the prices they charge for it definitely reflect that. The décor is more plush than you see in the usual Korean restaurant, with dark furnishings and a trolley for our BBQ meat to sit on so it wasn’t taking up precious tableroom. There’s also a couple of flat screen TVs mounted on the wall playing Kpop music videos and a well stocked looking bar in the corner too.
We order the funky sounding Yakult soju from the bar and while I thought it tasted interesting (like an alcoholic version of Yakult), my friends thought it tasted like antibiotics. To each their own I guess! The soju comes in a quirky little bottle where there’s a hole in the middle for an ice cube to keep the bottle chilled and it works well, except make sure not to pour the bottle the wrong way (like yours truly did…) as the melted icewater will spill out.
Yakult soju, $20
I love marinated meat at Korean BBQ but today we decide to try out their non-marinated Angus boneless short rib to see if the quality of the meat is actually higher. It turns out to be very tender; even without the marinade the meat is quite flavoursome. The only downside is that there isn’t much meat for the price you pay.
Angus boneless short rib, $23
We also tried the pork belly which was reasonably tasty (and fatty of course…) and very easily charred. It also became tougher than the beef was but that could be due to us leaving it on the hot plate for too long.
Pork belly, $16
As a carb filler to balance out all the meat, we got the Jap Chae (potato noodles) stir fried with shredded vegies and sesame oil. This was pricier than the other potato noodles I’ve had at other restaurants and although it was a bigger serving, it didn’t taste that much different than the cheaper versions. It’s very hard to mess up this dish or do it particularly well because it’s the sesame oil which gives the delicious flavour to the noodles.
Jap Chae, $18
Miga has tried to position themselves as a premium Korean BBQ restaurant and while in some respects they do deliver that experience, overall you might be better off going to the usual neighbourhood Korean BBQ restaurants which don’t have all the decorative frills. You get more bang for your buck in terms of meat in those places, since you’ll walk out smelling like charcoal regardless. At least they still deliver on the best part of Korean cuisine – the free side dishes!
Shop 34, 1 Dixon St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9261 0888