Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Luyu & Yum Yum

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Walking up a flight of stairs into this restaurant is like stepping into the forgotten world of ancient China.  With its high ceilings, wooden panels and rows of tea themed ornaments, this is a recluse from the hustle and bustle of the main street outside.

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Located in Newtown, the restaurant’s name is inspired from the name of the person, Luyu, who wrote the first definitive work on cultivating, making and drinking tea, coupled with “Yum Yum” which refers to the dumplings, and this inspiration of the partnership of tea and dumpling is seen throughout the menu.

 

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We visited this restaurant on a Sunday night without making a booking, and the staff was friendly and was accommodating for our large table with adults and kids.

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Duck Pancake ($17.80 for 4 pieces)

This entree consists of pancakes wrapped with duck, spring onion and cucumber.  The pancake was a bit dry, but the duck was very tasty and had the right balance of fat.

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Manga Dumpling Hedgehog ($12.80 for 3 pieces)

The flour dough in these dumplings are baked with king oyster mushroom, Chinese mushroom, fungi, carrot and coriander inside.  When served, they looked like mini hedgehogs complete with spikes and eyes.  The pastry was sweet and soft, but the filling inside, being predominately mushrooms, was a bit bland.  These dumplings needed some dipping sauce to bring out their flavours.

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Caviar Dumping ($14.80 for 4 pieces)

The rice dough in these dumplings are steamed with prawn, carrot, coriander and celery inside, and some caviar is sprinkled on top of these dumplings.  Visually, they looked stunning, as they were in the shape of money bags, with the caviar on top looking like coins.  In fact, they looked alot like the money bags from the computer game “The Legend of Zelda”.  Taste-wise, these dumplings were nicely cooked and elegant, with the flavours of the prawns and caviar melding well together.

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Mr Luyu Mixed Steamer ($18.80 for 6 pieces)

This steamer consists of the Herb Dumping, Fungi Dumpling and Starburst Dumpling.

The Herb Dumpling is made from steamed rice dough filled with prawns and chives.  This dumpling was nicely done with a good ratio of prawns to chives, so the freshness of the prawns shone through.

The Fungi Dumpling is made from steamed rice dough with king oyster mushroom, Chinese mushroom, fungi, carrot, coriander and celery inside.  The texture of this dumpling was interesting, where in one mouthful, there were elements of softness, crunchiness and chewiness.  However, similar to the Manga Dumpling Hedgehog, the taste was a bit bland, which again required some dipping sauce to bring out their flavours.

The Starburst Dumpling is a modern take on the traditional Xiao Long Bao, replacing the pork filling with chicken filling.  The steamed flour dough is infused with fruit, with the filling being chicken and homemade soup.  Visually, this dumpling was impressive.  It literally looked like a large starburst, with different colours illuminating its wrapping.  One bite, and the soup inside bursted into our mouths, creating a wonderful sensation, and this was balanced by the subtle fruity flavours of the wrapping.  This is a must try for anyone coming to this restaurant.

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Mr Yumyum Pot Stick ($10.80 for 4 pieces)

This consists of chicken, ginger, shallots and Chinese cabbage in seaweed flour dough which was pan-seared.  This dumpling was very tasty, with a nice ginger flavour.

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Truffle Dumpling Skewer ($18.80 for 4 pieces)

This dumping is made from pan seared flour dough with chicken, prawn, ginger, shallot and truffle inside, served on skewers.  It is a modern take on the Siu Mai being sold on the streets of China, replacing pork with chicken and adding a touch of luxury with the truffle.  This was a very nice dumpling.  The truffle flavours was fused perfectly with the subtle flavours from the ginger and shallot.   Another must try dish.

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Salt & Pepper Squid ($24.80)

This consists of fried squid with spring onion, garlic and serrano chilli.  A fairly average dish with the texture of the squid more on the limpy side, but the serrano chilli provided a nice kick to this dish.

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Steamed Fish ($26.80)

This dish is an orange roughy fillet steamed in shallot and ginger.  The taste was spot-on, but the fish was a bit overcooked.  The sauce was really tasty and if we had some steamed rice, we would have mixed the sauce with the rice and gobbled it down.

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Mama’s Chilli Chicken ($22.80)

This consists of chicken, beetroot, serana chilli and honey coated walnut.  A modern take on the chicken stir-fry, the flavours were nicely balanced, with the spiciness of the chilli balanced by the sweetness of beetroot, while the walnut provided the crunch which contrasted with the softness of the chicken flesh.

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Mr Luyu Fried Rice ($17.80)

This fried rice contains duck, egg, asparagus, shallot, coriander, baby corn and mustard seeds.  It has great mouth-feel when we took a bite, with a variety of textures cumulating in our mouths.  However, the flavours from the asparagus and shallot were too overpowering, and we were not able to taste the other elements in this dish.

Overall, Luyu & Yum Yum is the place to be for tea and dumplings as their name implies.  However, their other dishes need to catch up to the high standards they have set with their dumplings.

 

Luyu and Yum Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Luyu & Yum Yum

Website: http://luyu.com.au

Address: Level 1, 196 King Street, Newtown

Telephone: (02) 9519 9888

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs – 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10:15pm
Fri & Sat – 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 11pm
Sun – 12pm to 4:15pm, 5:30pm to 10:15pm

Only accepts credit cards as it is a cashless restaurant

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - East, Sydney - Inner City

Waterman’s Lobster Co

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Lobster was once seen as a poor man’s food.  But nowadays, it is seen as an exotic delicacy.  Greg Elwell, writing for the Oklahoma Gazette, summed up the current social attitudes to lobsters perfectly when he wrote:

“Lobster is fancy. If you imagine a lobster talking, it probably has a British accent. Draw an animated lobster and I bet you’ll include a top hat, a monocle and an opera cape. That’s fancy.”

Even though lobster is now seen as a meal for the rich decadent, the best way to prepare it is still using one simple ordinary household ingredient – butter – and lots of it.  Now, imagine a place that serves up lobster, doused in butter, in a soft buttery roll.

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Waterman’s Lobster Co, located in a laneway in Potts Point, is that place.  With an option to sit outside on tables in the paved walkway, or sitting by a long bar near the window or at the bar area inside the restaurant, or on tables inside the restaurant, a meal at this place can be as casual, formal or romantic as you would like to make it.

Now let us review the food, starting with their specialty…

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Lobster Roll – Connecticut Style ($18)

The bread roll was lightly toasted, so it was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.  The roll was filled with large pieces of lobster warmed with butter.  The saltiness of the butter brought out the subtle sweetness from the lobster, and this was a very tasty and enjoyable roll.

Apart from lobster, scallop is also on their menu…

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Scallop Roll with Pea Puree and Pork Floss ($17)

The delicate sweet flavours of the scallops matched perfectly with the pea puree, while the saltiness of the pork floss added a layer of complexity to the flavours of this roll.  Again, a very tasty and enjoyable roll.

How about a side of chips to go with each roll…

Side of chips ($5)

The chips were crispy, nicely seasoned and spiced with a hint of paprika.  A good compliment to the rolls.

How about other dishes?

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Kingfish Tartare with Seaweed and Raddish ($17)

This dish was visually appealing and the fish was fresh, soft and full of nice citrus flavours.  The hint of spices provided a good kick to the flavours of this dish.  A classic dish that was done elegantly.

Now for a beer to wash down all the goodness…

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Sierra Nevada Rye IPA ($9)

A beer with strong malt flavour, with hints of citrus and herbs.  This beer had a strong aftertaste, which was too harsh to accompany the delicate food we ordered.

 

Watermans Lobster Co is a good place to go in the area at any time of the day.  Their dishes are of a high quality, using fresh produce resulting in tasty flavours in all the dishes.   With their reasonable prices, we can all experience lobster here without breaking the bank.

 

Waterman's Lobster Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Waterman’s Lobster Co

Website: http://www.watermanslobsterco.com

Address: 5/29 Orwell Street, Potts Point

Phone: (02) 9380 2558

Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 12pm to late; Sun 12pm to 6pm

Accepts all major credit cards

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Wonderbao

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A wonderful way to start the day on a cold wintery morning in the city of Melbourne is to warm yourself up with a couple of hot steaming soft buns.

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Wonderbao is situated inside a small arcade at the end of a lane. It is a small store, with exposed brick walls, and wooden tables. The store is thoughtfully decorated with bamboo steamers and a row of Sriracha bottles, giving it a very Asian vibe.

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Gua Baos

These are available daily after 10:30am. We tried all three of them – Braised pork belly ($4.20), Roast pork belly ($4.20) and Fried silky tofu ($4.20).

The first impression of the hot steaming buns was how soft and fresh they were. The fried silky tofu gua bao was my favourite – the contrasting textures of the soft bun, tofu (which was crisp on the outside and soft inside) and the crunchy peanuts, along with the flavours from the sweet soy, coriander and pickled mustard, made this bun so pleasing to eat. The roast pork belly gua bao was tasty, with crispy crackling and soft pork belly, and the use of the hoi sin sauce and cucumber reminded me of the taste of Peking duck pancake. The pork in the braised pork belly gau bao was a little too chewy for my liking.

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Traditional Baos

The Da chicken bao ($3.50) was a big bun, with chicken, egg and shiitake mushroom inside. It was nice and tasty. The Cheung chai bao ($2.20) had Chinese sausage inside the bun.

Drinks

A cup of home-made soya milk ($3) went well with the buns. I would have preferred the milk to be less sweet and to have more soya bean flavours.

Overall this place is worth visiting if you are ever in Melbourne – it is cheap, quick and tasty. What more can you ask for?

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Wonderbao

Website: www.wonderbaokitchen.com.au

Address: Shop 4, 19-37 A’Beckett St, Melbourne 3000

Phone: (03) 9654 7887

Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 8am to 6pm; Sat, 11am to 4pm

Accepts MasterCard and Visa

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Masu Izakaya

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Masu Izakaya

An izakaya is a casual Japanese drinking place where people can go after work to grab a few drinks while chewing on yakitori skewers. To find a place in Sydney where there is a friendly vibe, with a good variety of drinks and food, is not easy, but we think we may have found the place.

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Located in Chinatown, Masu Izakaya has only been opened for a few weeks. It has a really nice atmosphere with bright lights creating a warm hue, exposed brick walls giving it a rustic look, and comfortable leather chairs. The inclusion of a chandelier near the stairs gives some class to the venue.

The wait staff was very attentive during our visit, and the provision of wet towels on the table was a nice gesture.

The drink menu was amazing, with a vast variety of Japanese sake (which ranged from $6.50 to $13 for 100mL) and Japanese whisky (which ranged from $10 to $17 for a glass). They even have some different types of soda drinks that we have not seen in other Japanese restaurants. The drinks menu is really worth checking out.

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One thing to note is that the bottle of soy sauce provided on the table contained very thick soy sauce, which gave the food a more robust flavour. This was a nice touch.

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Assorted Sashimi $22.80

This contained salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallop sashimi. All the sashimi was fresh and sweet.

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Dragon Roll $10.80

A lightly seared eel inside out roll with cream cheese, cucumber and avocado. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the eel did not contain any fishy taste. A nice dish.

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Scallop and Ebi Fry $9.80

A lightly seared scallop inside out roll with ebi fry and cucumber. The ebi fry (prawns) were crispy, with very subtle scallop taste. The added sesame gave this dish a touch of depth in flavour. Very enjoyable.

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Eihire (dried sting ray fin) $7

Nicely flavoured but a little bit tough, this is the perfect dish to devour while downing a few beers or sakes. The mayo was a nice little touch.

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Grilled squid $12

The squid was soft and tender, and yet it had the nice smoky tarry taste from the grill. Another perfect dish to accompany some nice Japanese beer.

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Skewers

The yakitori skewers are their speciality and we tried a few different types. Apparently all the chicken used in the yakitori are from local farms which makes them fresh and tasty.

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The Mushroom ($4.50) had two mushrooms stuffed with chicken meat, and it had a nice Asian flavour going for it.

The Nankotsu (chicken cartilage) ($3.50) was nice and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Some chicken meat seem to have been intentionally left on the cartilage for customers to taste the chicken flavour.

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The Sasami (chicken breast) and Momo (dark chicken meat) ($3.50 each) provided a contrast in taste and texture. Greg liked the Momo as he found it tender and flavoursome, while Jono found it too peppery. However, Jono liked the Sasami as he could taste the natural real chicken flavour from it, but Greg found it a bit too dry.

We also had a number of other skewers.

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The Wagyu Beef ($7.50) was soft, tender and tasty. It was simply divine!

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The Butabara Pork ($3.50) had the right amount of fat, making it soft and tender, which contrasted well with the crunchiness of the spring onion. Furthermore, the saltiness of the pork, with the spiciness of the sauce, and the sweetness from the onion created an explosion of flavours in our mouths.

The Quail Egg ($3) had the smokiness of the grill and when mixed with the sauce, it just oozed through our mouth.

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The Rice Cake Maki ($3.50) divided our opinions. Greg enjoyed it, as it was full of flavour with the outside being crunchy and inside being soft. However, Jono was disappointed with this dish, as the flavour from the sauce was too strong, making it taste like some sticky fat filled with sauce.

Overall, we loved this place, and we will be back on a regular basis. The drinks are special, the food is great, and the vibe is friendly and relaxed. This is the perfect place to wind up after work and chat with your friends or colleagues.

 

Masu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

 

Masu Izakaya

Website: http://www.masuizakaya.com

Address: Shop B1, 35-39 Liverpool Street (corner of Liverpool and Dixon Street), Sydney

Phone: (02) 9261 3011

Opening hours: Mon to Fri and Sun 11:30am to 11:30pm, Sat 5pm til late

Accepts MasterCard and Visa only for bills over $30