Bentley Restaurant and Bar is one of Sydney's influential restaurants, having been awarded two Chef Hats in 2020 (the Australian equivalent of Michelin stars). They have been open since 2006, serving seasonal items in their modern Australian cuisines.
We dined here for our 6th year anniversary in late June and had a lovely time. At the time of dining, NSW was 2 weeks out of the 3 month Covid19 lockdown and people were thrilled to be seated at restaurants and eating out again.
It was a set tasting menu of 4 snacks, 4 mains and 3 desserts for $180 per person.
To start any fine dinner, we have our bread and butter. The bread had fennel seeds, coriander seeds and orange zest. It was very soft and had an airy texture so it didn't feel carb-heavy. There was a sweet coating on top of the bread, almost rounding off the bite. The butter was slightly salted, creamy and had hints of cheddar. I wanted to keep eating but Mick told me not to fill up on this starter 😤
The four "snacks", or entrees, came out all at once and we were overwhelmed by the sudden abundance of food. I've posted it from our least to most favourite.
Our least favourite snack was the smoked eel dumpling with lemon jam. The pastry was soft and mushy in this one-bite ball. The eel flavour was mild and bland, with the smokiness coming through in the aftertaste. It was interesting but overall, as a dish, it was just not our thing.
Coming in third on our list was the Jerusalem artichoke with delice des cremiers. The artichoke flavour was well salted and good. It was balanced out by the triple cheese which was light and creamy. The presentation was very delicate but it was not enough to beat the other two snacks.
We liked the celeriac and truffle toast next because it was blooming with flavours. The cheese was fluffy and creamy on top of the thin pastry toast. Every bite was light and melted in our mouths. The truffle was subtle and enhanced every bite with its delicacy. Yummm.
But it does not compare to our favourite snack, the sea urchin custard with tomato broth. Woah! The presentation was spectacular! They carved out the sea urchin and created this amazing pudding only to put it back in the shell 😍 The tomato was a sweet acidic tang and not at all overpowering. It complimented the urchin custard so well by cutting out the heavy umami taste sea urchins are known for. The nucleus had been refined perfectly, creating this delicious and balanced bite. We loved it!
Our first main was the Fremantle octopus with sunflower, lardo and Geraldton wax. This was an interesting dish with lots of intricate textures, like the crunchy sunflower seeds and the tender octopus meat. The first bite had a strong impact of salt and as we chewed, we tasted a lingering bitter oceanic taste from the octopus. There was a bit of kaffir lime in the sauce, which brought out a hint of Asian inspirations. Finally, the vegetables added a cool freshness, cutting through the concentrated sauce. It was delicious but not our favourite out of the mains.
We were informed this was a dish designed pre-Covid (3 weeks prior to the lockdowns) and it did not get the chance to shine long enough so Bentley included it in this post-Covid tasting menu.
Next was the kangaroo with castelfranco and riberries. I really enjoyed this dish because it came with the bone marrow broth in a cup. Compared to other restaurants, we thought this kangaroo tartare was a unique take because the tender meat was intertwined into the mixed shredded cabbage and riberries instead of being placed next to it, creating this simple salad-style presentation. It was refreshing to eat and contrasted well with the creamy and rich mayonnaise.
Woah! This was the bone marrow broth, inclusive with the kangaroo tartare, and upon first sip, it tasted like a concentrated slurp of phở (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) 😍. The broth was a light viscosity. We tasted the nutmeg and staranaise but unlike the traditional soup, there was also a hint of cinnamon and a lingering bitter aftertaste from the red wine deglaze. The flavours were strong and strangely addicting (added MSG?) that I slurped both down to nothingness. So good!
Our third main dish was the pork jowl with wattle seed, macadamia and sunrise lime. This fatty piece of Peppa Pig was so tender that our knives cut through like warm butter. Every bite was compact and powerful with savoury juices of pork, emulsified macadamia and acidic lime gel. Mmmmmmmm. Deliciouss. We loved the crispy pork skin, paired with the creamy and rich mashed potatoes.
Our final main was the wagyu beef short rib with bone marrow toast and charred onion. Holy shit, we were getting so full by this point but that didn't stop us from eating this super tender piece of meat. Mick was mind blown 😲 The wagyu was fatty and flavourful and melted in our mouths with its delicious juices. The brown sauce was thick, sticky and salty. The charred onion added sweetness and dimension to the bite. Towards the end of the dish, it felt heavy and was exhausting to finish because of the fatty meat. In our opinion, some acidity was needed to cut through between the pork jowl and the short rib.
The wagyu was served with these bone marrow toasts. It was very creative and unique, with a beautiful presentation. The bone marrow flavour was clean and mildly infused in to the nice, crunchy bread. The delicate herbs on top brought a bit of spice to the bite, cutting through the richness of the dish but it was not enough to cleanse the palette from the overload of fatty meats (pork, wagyu, bone marrow).
Hmm, the beetroot sorbet was an interesting dessert. Mick does not like beetroot so after a bite, he handed his one over. It honestly tasted like eating a soft, cold beetroot. The flavour was strong with a bitter aftertaste. The sprinkles of dark chocolate and raspberries created texture but otherwise did nothing. This was not our kind of dessert.
Ok, ok, now this is a dessert, with a show! The staff wheeled around a small cart with a pot of freshly cooked mandarin. They poured it around this quince with fennel pollen, buttermilk, mandarin, creating this beautiful hot and cold dessert. 10 out of 10 for presentation 😍. The contrasting temperatures were pleasantly soothing on our tongues. The sorbet was smooth and icy with a mild quince flavour. The mandarin was sweet and comforting, embracing our taste buds with its warm hugs. It was the perfect winter dessert and we loved it!
To end our dinner, we had the petit fours. This was a strawberry gum biscuit. It tasted like a sickly sweet cream inside a soft pastry. We did not like it.
This was the dark chocolate with honeycomb bite of the petit fours. It was really good, like a sticky bold amount of cocoa.
Finally, this was the banana and yuzu bite of the petit fours. The banana was hard to chew, like a lolly, and while it was stuck in our teeth, the mild yuzu cream would ooze away. Their textures did not mix well.
We had a lovely dining experience at Bentley. The interior was beautiful. The staff were exceptional. Every dish was delicious and presented at a steady pace. The tasting menu was a great selection with broad options for amazing value of $180.
In our honest opinion, as delicious as they were, most dishes lacked a wow element. We also thought the menu was too rich and needed more freshness and acidity to break up the main course. Otherwise, it was a great culinary adventure into Australian cuisine.
Until our next meal, happy eating!
I revived my old PC and found all of my cosplay pictures 😂 I used to be heavily into cosplaying anime and game characters in 2016-17. I was such a weeb HAHAHA.
For each of these characters I:
During this period I taught myself soldering, auto-sanding, woodworking, handling resin and worbla, photography, photo and video editing, technology, sewing and who knows what else. I even filmed YouTube videos like GRWM and How-Tos. Holy fuck, I was so bothered 😂 To be young with creative purpose again...
Total characters: 16
Wendy - Fairytail
This was the first thing I ever sewed. I used a 'how to sew a blazer' YouTube tutorial as a guide and my mum was hella disappointed the seams were not perfect LOL From memory, the right shoulder was uncomfortable to wear because it was too tight 🤫😂. I wore this to an anime convention in 2012.
Sona (Arcade) - League of Legends
I made this for PAX 2014 and my friend Josh drove my 1 metre keyboard down to Melbourne for me LOL. I can't believe I walked around the entire convention with this thing 😂 The outfit was easy to sew but it definitely looked cheap in reality. And this wig was the only time I spent a lot of money on fake hair - it was $110 at a shop because I purchased it last minute.
Ahri (Original) - League of Legends
I used to love LoL and of course, I had to cosplay Ahri. This was my first time using satin and it was difficult getting the shapes, edges and seams right. I was very proud of this one and wore it to a Sydney convention in July 2015, but only got time to make the fluffy tails in mid 2016 (when these photos were taken).
Katarina (Original) - League of Legends
In October 2015, we went to another convention where I was Katarina. Oooft, LoL was my world 🤣 I only made the top (spandex and cotton) and swords for this one; everything else was thrown together.
Lina - Dota 2
I started cosplaying more by the end of 2015. This outfit was fun to sew but due to the satin material, it took me about a week. This is the only outfit I would ever feel comfortable selling because of the details LOL It was also the first time I used worbla and made these two little fireballs 😆 I started my YouTube channel here and created a how-to with a time-lapse of this cosplay in 6 videos.
Thresh (Original) - League of Legends
I WAS SO PROUD OF THIS ONE! It was my first time incorporating working lights into my props 😄 The lantern, skull and cleaver were made of cardboard, worbla and paints and I worked really hard to make the highlights and shadows stand out. There was probably 6 coats of paint on everything LOL. There's a YouTube series on this cosplay too. By the end of 2016 (a year into cosplaying), I revamped this with a worbla bra and working belt (below). I was a little sad I had to throw it out because of adulthood....
KAIRI - Kingdom Hearts
In 2016, I was hopping on to the cosplay trend and the new Kingdom Hearts game release so I made Kairi, even though I had never played the franchise before HAHAHA I was so phoney. I made the key out of foam and I was so proud of how it turned out 🌼. There's a YouTube series for this cosplay too.
The movie Maleficient was coming out and every cosplayer was hopping on this trend, myself included. This was quite easy to make out of duct tape but I never upload the YouTube series / photos because I was starting to feel self-conscious of my round face and work 🤐
Ahri (Dynasty) - League of Legends
It was mid 2016 and I was juggling full-time university and a part-time retail job so when I decided to cosplay Dynasty Ahri, I bought it online. I was very happy with that decision because it boosted my mental health.
2B - Nier: Automata
Everyone cosplayed 2B in 2016 and I mean, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. I purchased the outfit online ($120) and did a small photoshoot at a beach house in Gosford. I told myself I would play the game one day but I never even got time to do that 😂 #phoney
Veigar (Boss) - League of Legends
I loved the idea of a female veigar and designed this crossover myself. Everything was made from scratch. The gamer hand was made out of cardboard and paint. The hat was filled with expanding foam and a lot of worbla. I don't even know how I achieved it 😳. The hardest part was keeping the wand in place. This was my last major cosplay and LoL character.
Air Nomad - Avatar, Last Airbender
I wanted to make an Avatar, Last Airbender series on my YouTube. This outfit was easy to make but I was a broke uni-student so I cheapened out on fabric and ran out of some around my ankles HAHAHAHA. I never got around to filming it.
Water Tribe - AVATAR, LAST AIRBENDER
Yooo, another cheap cosplay. The fabric costed $10 max. I had the brilliant idea to go to the Entrance (NSW) to take these photos and HAHAHAHA I can't stop laughing at the water effects 🌊
Asuka Langley Sohryu - Evangelion
Mick loves Evangelion so I made Asuka for him. Again, I cheapened out so this body suit was made of thin spandex HAHAHA. The spear weapon was made of foam but it was so flimsy it fell off mid-photoshoot 🙃
Rei Ayanami - Evangelion
Of course I had to do Rei too. I don't even know how I made this entire thing from scratch, like... the pleather and white cotton with the details on the arms 🤔 I was really proud of this one because it was the most accurate in regards to dress-making. This was the last time I went to an anime convention in 2017.
My last cosplay: Elfen Lied in October 2017. It was just a wig and bandages from the pharmacy LOL. I loved the editing in this one.
As time-consuming and weird this hobby was, I learned a lot from it, from sourcing materials to editing the final pictures. If I was more patient, I would have been more satisfied with the results but alas, I was very hard on myself. My mental health declined because I was self-conscious about putting myself out there. It was a dark time and I knew I was not made to be a 'influencer' or internet-famous person but I will always encourage others to go for it.
Thanks for falling down the rabbit hole with me. Byeee! 😘
Harajuku Gyoza Lou is a casual restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, known for their delicious dumplings. They have a 4.2 star rating from 3000 eaters on TripAdvisor.
Between 11:00 - 3:00, they serve larger items like ramen, soup and rice sets for an average price of ¥900. Their dinner menu is designed for drinking. We ate here in 2017 and 2020 and both dinners were great drunken experiences 🍻
TIP: Their official address says Shibuya but the quickest way to get to the restaurant is to get off Harajuku station and walk 6 minutes. The restaurant is located near Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, the iconic 'mirror-frame' shot on Instagram.
These little bad boys were the classic pan fried pork dumplings, 6 pieces for ¥290. They were small, packed with meat and full of savoury sweet pork flavours. The pastry was soft and moist, contrasting with the crunchy fried side. With the chewiness and juice from the pork, each dumpling tasted fun and delicious to eat. This was our favourite out of the three. It was a great drinking food and a cheap snack.
We got some steamed dumplings with garlic and chives, also 6 pieces for ¥290. The pork was juicy and savoury, just like the pan fried ones but the chives added a bitter and garlic freshness to the bite. Personally, I'm not a fan of large chunks of chives so this dumpling was not my favourite but it was still really good to eat.
Yum, time for some original steamed pork dumplings, also 6 for ¥290. I think they used a standard pork mince for their filling because these dumplings were just as delicious as the others, except it was more juicy and moist from being steamed. Even if it was not that great, we wouldn't have minded because each dumpling was worth 50 cents. So good!
We never realized a simple cucumber and miso could taste so appetizing. We demolished it and ordered another 2 portions, with each bowl at ¥250. The cucumber was refreshing. The 'special made' miso paste was creamy and had a sweetened touch to it, like sukiyaki sauce 🤔 that made every piece delicious.
For ¥250, we got fresh cabbage to cut through the alcoholic haze with its acidity. I know it's a simple dish but I took a photo and edited it so I'm gonna post it LOL
Finally, this was their bean sprouts with a special made meat sauce for ¥250. It honestly tasted like water and meat. There was nothing amazing about it but it was a great bite to have to compliment the dumplings.
We know their dinner menu does not have many items so we recommend getting one (or two) or each and then heading off to your next dinner session (or stopping by 7/11 for an egg sandwich because why not? You're in Japan 👅).
Thanks for reading! Happy eating!