Sunday, June 30, 2013

La Banette Pâtisserie

After being drenched from head to toe for most of the week, it was a relief when I woke up this morning and didn't hear the usual heavy rain beating down my window, so I jumped at the opportunity for a lazy late brunch outing.

Drawn in by the unmistakable smell of freshly baked bread and pastries, La Banette was bustling with its late morning crowd. After a few minutes of staring, I still had no idea what I wanted to order. As if the baskets of croissants, Pain au Raisins (aka sultana snails) and danishes weren't enough, the glass display cabinet was brimming with delicious treats: chocolate éclairs, all sorts of tarts - mixed fruits, lemon meringue, creme caramel, just to name a few, then there were the mille-feuilles, boxes of Petit fours and divine looking opera cakes!

I was like a kid in a candy store, I didn't know where to look and I wanted one of everything!

Pain au Raisins
Eventually I settled for a Pain au Raisins, an all time favourite of mine. The buttery pastry dusted with icing sugar had glazed sultanas on top and juicy ones in the middle, it brought back memories of my early morning bakery runs in Paris. Délicieux!

If you could be persuaded away from the sweet treats, quiches, pies and not-your-average sausages rolls are on the savoury menu. My friend who didn't need a sugar fix opted for the beef and burgundy pie. When I saw the big chunks of slow cooked beef encased in crispy golden pastry and heard it being called THE best meat pie ever, I felt a tinge of jealousy. The solution? I ordered a second cup of coffee and with it, the Ratatouille quiche. It was loaded with chunks of tomatoey zucchini, capsicum and eggplant, who would have known a vegetarian option could be so delicious? 

Paris has always been one of my favourite cities and now I've discovered a little slice of Parisian charm in Glebe! From the rows of crusty baguettes on the wooden shelves to its sandstone benches that were surprisingly comfortable to sit on, this little bakery doesn't just bake treats that will leave you drooling at the counter, they also make a mean cup of coffee!

La Banette Pâtisserie: 18 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW 2037   La Banette Pâtisserie on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

The cloud rolled in and brought with it heavy downpour on the night I was out for the Vivid Light walk with a friend. To take shelter from the rain we decided to grab dinner first and Ananas seemed like a good choice, with a champagne bar, cocktail lounge, oyster bar and brasserie all under one roof, we could spend the whole night there without getting bored. I've spent some time in the cocktail lounge when it first opened last year but haven't had a chance to try their food, advertised as "a contemporary twist on the best classic French Mediterranean food".

The Champagne list reads like a who's who in the bubbly world, and if you have the dough then why not splurge on a bottle of Krug Grande Cuveé Brut? As for me, I opted for one of their signature cocktails, Fleurette (Crème Yvette, a Berry Liqueur, shaken with gin and drenched in champagne), it was suppose to be served in a coupette but came in a champagne glass instead, not a complaint but an observation.

Settled with our drinks at the table, we started our meal with some fresh Sydney Rock Oysters, shucked-to-order of course. For something a little more substantial we ordered the classic hand cut steak tartare with crisp toast from the hors d'oeuvres selection followed by my favourite dish of the night - duck liver & armagnac parfait, rabbit rillettes served with toasted brioche. The rillettes was simply amazing, soft, buttery and melts in your mouth. It reminded me of the meal I had in a little bistro in Paris years ago...

seared scallops, caramelised veal sweatbread,
trio of jerusalem artichoke
For main I had the seared scallops, caramelised veal sweatbread, trio of jerusalem artichoke while my friend went for the pan roasted pork cutlet, caramelised apples, artichoke, tarragon vinaigrette. The scallops were done perfectly, but the sweatbread was a bit too rich for my taste, I'd preferred less of it in the dish. If you had to order one side dish, I suggest the truffled pomme purée, it was deliciously creamy and silky smooth, went nicely with our meal.

As for dessert, ananas four ways with coconut mousse was the way to go, it made sense to at least order something with pineapple in it, considering we were eating in a restaurant named after the fruit! Well, that was my reasoning on the night anyway. I adored the pineapple crisps, can't seem to get enough of those dehydrated treats; the sorbet went well with the roasted pineapple with rum caramel, but I didn't quite taste the coconut in the mousse. The real let down on the night was the peppermint tea. I expected loose leaf tea in the teapot rather than an ordinary Twinings tea bag, especially for the price they charged for it. It'd been a close to perfect meal if not for the tea.

Ananas first caught my attention with its infamous urinals that made the news, but now with Executive chef Paul McGrath and Pastry chef Yves Scherrer working up a storm in the kitchen, my attention is firmly focused on the food. I'm well on my way to joining the French evolution.

Ananas Bar & Brasserie: 18 Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW 2000  Ananas Bar & Brasserie on Urbanspoon