My travels have taught me that most major cities have a Chinatown somewhere. Some are big and some are really small, regardless you are instantly immersed in the Asian food and culture right away. During my recent visit to Sydney, Australia I happened to stumble upon their Chinatown (which really pales in comparison to London’s) while we were out exploring and I felt instantly transported. What I didn’t expect to find to in Sydney was Koreatown because usually Chinatown covers everything Asian, yet here I was standing on the corner of Pitt St. heading into Koreatown. If you are anything like me, just the thought of Korean bulgogi puts my tastebuds in a frenzy and I’m instantly salivating. As with any “town” there are multiple food options to choose from and if you aren’t a local you depend heavily on reviews similar to this one for an unbiased opinion. We ultimately chose Naruone because it was rated extremely high for its Korean style fried chicken and it was open late.
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.
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.
930 S. Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33606
Nestled right in the heart of Soho is Bulla Gastrobar. It sits across from Daily Eats which is a popular food establishment in its own right. Each restaraunt that lines Howard has its own unique flair and that is what makes choosing a place to each difficult at times. Vying for my attention today was Bulla Gastrobar. Bulla as it says in the title is a Gastrobar meaning they specialize in tapas style dining. Everything offered is pretty much a small plate with the exception of some lunch and dinner items. Bulla serves up authentic tapas style spanish food..like from Spain spanish.
When I dropped in for a quick bite to eat, I decided a seat at the bar would be just fine. That is where I met Nic, my super cool bartender that took the time to go over everything with me and make a recommendation or two. Since I was working, I couldn’t partake in a tasty adult beverage but he offered to make me a handmade lemonade. I quickly accepted and thank goodness I did because it was both exquisite and delicious. I was a few sips into my drink and then I saw it… fresh mint, basil and rosemary lining the bar. I asked the bartender if he could add basil to my lemonade (of course he could) he obliged and even made one for himself too. So there we were enjoying our basil lemonades, a first for him and satisfyingly refreshing for me.
Para Empezar – For starters I chose the patatas braves at the recommendation of Nic. These are crispy potato cubes covered in spicy brava sauce and topped with an aioli. When they first arrived they looked beautiful. They were fresh nice and hot, fresh out the fryer and then covered in the spicy brava sauce and aioli. It is a good thing I’m a fan of spicy because the kick took me by surprise. It wasn’t fire breathing dragon spicy but it did have a decent amount of zip to it. At $6.50 it was well worth the order. Not only did it awaken my taste buds but it also filled me up pretty good. The portion size is enough for two people to share.
Camarones Al Curry
It’s always good to have something to balance out the spice so I ordered the camarones al curry also known as shrimp curry. The curry has more of an Indian curry connotation as opposed to a Thai curry so it had more of sweet and savory flavor profile as opposed to spicy. The camarones al curry had artichoke confit, steamed rice and cream and bread. To make this dish gluten free you can just skip the bread. The only thing that could have made this dish perfect was more cilantro. I am a cilantro lover and just the hint sent my craving into overdrive. The shrimp was cooked to perfection and not rubbery or overdone. The artichokes added a nice zest and wouldn’t be something I would have thought to add. I just dipped each one in the cream sauce and add them individually. Everything was portioned out perfect, by the time I finished I didn’t have too much rice or too little shrimp.
I wholly enjoyed my lunchtime visit at Bulla. It wasn’t too crowded, the service was great and the food was marvelous. I look forward to going back for either brunch or dinner AND trying dessert in the near future.