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Dinner International Lunch

Nick's Seafood Sydney Darling Harbour

Nestled right in the middle in the Sydney’s Darling Harbour is Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. With so many food options, it would be easy to walk right past this place and chalk it up to another seafood restaurant. I’m here to advise you that if you ever visit Darling Harbor, a meal at Nick’s Seafood Restaraunt is a must. Nick’s has both indoor and outdoor seating, however in the midst of the Australian summer indoor seating is the better of the two options. You are able to enjoy beautiful views, live entertainment, fireworks at night and a nice breeze from the harbor. We were leaving the Sydney aquarium and decided to stop and eat before going back to our hotel. We arrived just before the lunch service was about to end so it wasn’t crowded and the wait staff were very attentive. As usual my husband and I ordered appetizers and mains to give ourselves a broader and better taste of the menu to complete our reviews.
For our entrée, I ordered the Hervey Bay Queensland Scallops. One of the benefits of eating seafood on an Island or in a coastal area is that the seafood is often fresh. Australia is a huge continent/country and here seafood is a part of life. These scallops were seared to perfections and drizzled with a honey soy dressing. A serving of five will cost you $24.00 which may seem expensive but I’ve learned that with food sometimes you really do get what you pay for. If you’ve ever eaten scallops before you know it can go one of three ways. The scallops are either not cooked, too chewy or just right. These scallops literally melted when I bit into them. The honey soy drizzle was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweet and salty.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans.

When in Australia, be as wild and adventurous as the outback”.

As I prepared for this trip, I told myself I was going to try some kangaroo. It’s the one thing that you will not be able to get authentically anywhere else. Up until coming to Nick’s seafood, I hadn’t been able to get my hands on some kangaroo and I was afraid as the trip was coming to an end I’d miss my opportunity. However, our impromptu lunch stop provided the chance for this foodie to treat her palette to something exotic. Funny thing is, right when it was time for me to order I almost backed out and went with a safer choice. To be honest I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like it, but boy oh boy am I glad I didn’t let fear keep me from this delicacy. With full mettle, I ordered the Kangaroo Fillet with Tomato Chutney and Chargrilled Herb Polenta and hoped for the best. The picture may or may not do this dish justice depending on if you think it looks delicious.

This kangaroo dish will knock you out. The kangaroo was cooked perfectly, not too tough and not too tender. My suggestion would be to order it cooked medium because well done would make it much too tough. I was able to cut through the fillet with ease with my steak knife. The meat itself had a slight gamey flavor but it wasn’t overbearing. I can honestly say it doesn’t taste like steak. The tomato chutney was amazing and paired well with the meat. It had the perfect amount of sweetness which elevated the kangaroo’s flavor. Lastly, the polenta was fantastic and the perfect compliment to the kangaroo. An complete oxymoron, the polenta was firm yet buttery. When I add the two together it was the perfect harmony. As you can tell from my face, I was in pure bliss. The kangaroo not only met but completely exceeded my expectations.
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FUN FACT: Only 14% of Australians report they eat Kangaroo.

It is a close battle between the squid and the octopus when it comes to who tastes better. It comes as no surprise that calamari will be on a seafood menu, at a minimum as an appetizer. I must admit calamari is always a fan favorite but I think octopus can give calamari a good run for its money. Rarely have I found that octopus is a staple on many restaurant’s menu and I’m not sure why. Whenever we get the chance to eat octopus we take full advantage because it is just that delicious. Lucky for us, Nick’s spared no expense with the portions and we were able to enjoy a hearty size. I mean look at the size of the octopus I’m trying to scarf down LOL!

It’s okay to drool over this mound of octopus… and if you listen closely enough you can practically hear the sizzle on those chargrill marks. Looks scrumptious right? The chargrilled octopus is served with cherry tomatoes atop a basil rocket salad and topped with a balsamic reduction sauce. The main portion is a whopping $38.00 so if you don’t want to spend that much on your meal you are in luck. Nick’s offers the octopus as either an entrée or a main so if you want to try it but wish to go easier on the pockets you have the option. For what it’s worth, this octopus is the second best octopus I’ve had in my life.
Overall, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Darling Harbour was a great experience. It was clean, the wait staff helped with recommendations and were very attentive and the view was great. Moreover, it was kid friendly. I’d go back and dine there in a heartbeat.

Categories
Dinner England International

The Brampton Mill

The Brampton Mill is a nice gastropub and restaurant tucked away in Huntingdon.  It backs up to the River Great Ouse which offers a great scenic backdrop.  Built into the building is this really cool water mill which I didn’t get a pic of because it was sooo dark. My husband found this little gem while searching for places that offered a Christmas reveillon (pronounced rev-ee-on) meal.  Last year while visiting New Orleans we had our first experience of a Christmas Reveillon which is a really fancy dinner that usually includes 3-4 courses.  To prevent me from misquoting how the tradition started, you can learn more about it by reading this article.  Considering that our first experience was so wonderful, my husband started the hunt to find a restaurant that offered the meal  (seeing as how we are so close to France and all).
The setting in The Brampton Mill was perfect, intimate yet homey.  There was a bar with lounge seating in front of a fireplace.  The smell of burning wood really set the holiday feeling in motion.  The restaurant was extremely family friendly as there were quite a few children dining and they offered a children’s menu- a huge thumbs up.  We chose to order from the Holiday Menu as opposed to their regular menu well because that was the point of the trip right?

First Course

My husband and I always order different meals, mostly because he is a weirdo and doesn’t like people to order the same thing as him.  I also order separate because it allows me to try more of the menu when I stick my fork in his dish too lol.  I decided to go with the thyme-roasted portobello mushrooms and he chose the severn & Wye smoked salmon.
 

The dish name is deceiving because it doesn’t include all of the scrumptious deliciousness that is in that mini cast iron skillet.  Aside from the fact that the mushrooms are roasted with thyme which makes them awesome in itself.  The mushrooms are basking in a chestnut puree with melted raclette cheese.  I’ve never had raclette cheese let alone chestnut puree but man oh man I could have kissed the chef. Served on the side are toasted ciabatta slices to sop up all that yummy sauce.
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My husband was gracious enough to allow me to taste his appetizer. It is really hard to describe the taste other than creamy and fresh.  The salmon was mixed in a cute glass mason type jar and was more like a spread, hence the reason I added it to some ciabatta. It was mixed in a Devon crab creme fraiche with pickled beetroot. I’ve had a few salmon dips/spreads in my time but none like this.  I am not sure if this is included on their regular menu but it was a light and refreshing way to start the course.
The Brampton Mill will most definitely be placed in our “go-to” restaurant categories.  I cannot wait until Spring comes around and we can dine outside next to the river.