Archive | January 2013

A dip at Bondi Icebergs

One of the things on my Sydney to-do list, was to swim at Bondi Icebergs – an iconic swimming pool right by Bondi Beach. Hard to believe I’ve never swum there before. What started out as an overcast morning:

From Bondi Icebergs

ended up turning into clear blue skies later….

From Bondi Icebergs

Bondi Icebergs is a 50m saltwater swimming pool at the edge of Bondi Beach open ALL year round. (Entry fee $5.50)

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

At high tide, the waves lap over the walls. Yeah, it gets kinda wavy and rocky when you’re swimming laps in this pool. It’s good open water swimming practice in a contained environment. (Stay clear of lane 8 if possible).

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

A real Aussie beach:

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

I ended up swimming up 2.5km here. It was a nice refreshing swim. So nice to be able to swim outdoors and in a 50m pool and a saltwater one at that – all of which are a rarity in Japan. And exclusively all swimming lanes. Gotta love a pool that dedicates all 8 lanes to lap swimmers! A great pool to swim in. Very invigorating.

From Bondi Icebergs

After swimming a couple of k’s, it was time to EAT. The Icebergs Club has both an RSL and a fancy dining restaurant. The RSL is the way to go. Balcony terrace with stunning views, good hearty Aussie food and super reasonable prices given its location (it is an RSL after all). We just missed out on the brunch menu (it ends around 11-11:30am) so had to dine from the lunch menu. I definitely wanna go back there again when next in Sydney for brunch. If you’re in Sydney, I would totally recommend a swim here followed by brunch. And then a walk from Bondi to Coogee following the coastal walk. Are you listening, Lonely Planet Australia? Nothing like a swim and then a hearty big Aussie brekky. Lunch didn’t disappoint though. Got me a schnitzel with gravy, salad and fries. Does it get any better? We managed to score ourselves a balcony table. Check out the views!

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

A glass of wine, basking in the Sydney summer.

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

Tucking into lunch:

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

It’s fun to people-watch here and watch all the lap swimmers.

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

I love it when the water is this colour!

From Bondi Icebergs

And then dessert – lemon tart. Hell yeah!

From Bondi Icebergs

Talk about an ideal day in Sydney – morning swim at Bondi Icebergs pool, good meal, lemon tart and a cup of tea, enjoying the sunshine Down Under.

From Bondi Icebergs

Hello, Sydney!

From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs
From Bondi Icebergs

The Bondi to Coogee walking route:

From Bondi Icebergs

I’m looking forward to next time I get to swim (and eat) there! Happy Australia Day for tomorrow!

The life of Pie

Got to eat a meat pie when I was back in Oz. Not any ordinary meat pie, mind you, but a Harry’s Cafe de Wheels pie. They call it the “Tiger” (a pie floater) – meat pie topped with mashed potato, mashed peas and filled with gravy in the middle. Mmm yum. That’s what I’m talking about.

From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels
From Harry’s cafe de wheels

 

Aria, Sydney

Brace yourself for an overload of Sydney photos. Was back home over the Christmas and New Year break and did a hell of a lot of eating. Top of my go-to list was Aria. Actually, I had wanted to go to Quay – Australia’s number 1 restaurant and ranks in the world’s top 50 restaurants. Bookings are near impossible. We tried to book 2-3 months in advance, to no avail. Aria was my second choice. Did you know that Australia has no Michelin star restaurants? (It’s because they don’t cover Australia). Aria is up there on Australia’s culinary scene, having garnered a lot of publicity from Masterchef’s (TV show) Matt Moran. Located at Opera Quays it offers both views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

From Aria

We were able to get a booking here under the pre-theatre dinner option, that is dine early and be out early (in at 6pm and out at 7:30pm). It was also a somewhat cheaper option (although the meal will set you back some bucks). One of my best friends appreciates food, much like yours truly and it’s a tradition of ours that when I’m back home for visits that we do a fancy expensive restaurant. Prior to our reservation we thought we’d have a pre-dinner cocktail but alas they weren’t open until 6pm on a Sunday, so we headed to Opera Bar instead for a cocktail.

From Aria

Enjoying Sydney sunshine:

From Aria

My memory is a little rusty, so here’s what can I remember. Upon arrival, we were given the best seats in the house, right by the window with views of the Sydney Harbour and the bridge (mind the barricades – they were set up for impending New Year’s Eve celebrations. Our reservation was for December 30).

From Aria
From Aria

We splurged on a bottle of wine to share (I’ll admit the wine list was pricey!)

From Aria

There was an amuse bouche/appetiser. I cannot recall what it was, but it was tasty.

From Aria

Some bread to boot:

From Aria
From Aria

For entrees, I opted for the scallops and was not disappointed by the generous portion – 4 scallops (for an entree! Maybe I’ve been in Japan too long. Am used to much smaller portions). I love meaty scallops!

From Aria
From Aria

Jess opted for the wonton consomme – lots of mushroomy goodness in there. Again, very flavoursome.

From Aria

For mains, we both opted for the lamb dish:

From Aria
From Aria

Now, I swear Australia is the only country I know of where when you order a meat dish, you have to order the sides separately. I’m not a fan of this. If you’re ordering a main dish, if should be a complete dish. Mind you, this only happens at upper scale restaurants in Australia. Most other countries you get the meat/protein plus vegetable accompaniments etc. So anyway, we have to order sides separately. We got a salad to share and the truffle oil mashed potatoes. Was really disappointed with the salad. Overpriced for 4 cos lettuce leaves and some ricotta/feta (can’t remember which) cheese.

From Aria

The truffle oil mashed potatoes on the other hand, I would highly recommend. Portion was incredibly generous (4 person serving) and it was incredibly creamy and indulgent.

From Aria
From Aria

Because we were on the time-limit dinner, they unfortunately couldn’t offer us dessert as they needed us to vacate the table. If you eat fast enough, there would have been time for dessert…but I would argue that the service was a tad on the slow side. It did take a little long for our main dish to be brought out. At any rate, complimentary petit fours were included to end the meal on a sweet note.

From Aria
From Aria
From Aria

The overall experience – whilst it was fun to do, I don’t think I would go back there again. I was also somewhat horrified by two minor mishaps that didn’t escape my attention. I’m usually not that picky but when you spend a fair bit of money at a reputable restaurant, I have higher standards. The first was that when we arrived, the table wasn’t properly ready. By properly ready, I mean that it was a table that was set for four people, when there was only two of us. Considering we had a reservation 2 months in advance, and they knew we were coming, I would have liked to have seen that they were prepared for a party of 2 rather than a table set for four and then take away the additional place settings in front of us. I just looks unprepared. A reserved table should be ready and waiting for you. The second incident was that a waitress knocked over my cutlery which fell on the floor. She then picked up the cutlery and proceeded to put it back on the table for me to use. I think she noticed my split second expression of absolute horror and did a double take and said she’d get me new cutlery. I’m all for the 5-second rule if something falls, but at a top-notch dining establishment I expect them to bring me out new cutlery. I’m really not that fussy a person, but you have certain expectations when you dine at certain places. Nevertheless, it was still cool to dine there. And the food and wine was pretty good. Been there, done that!

From Aria
From Aria

5

Happy NEW year: 2013

Excuse the hiatus. Have been super busy since the end of last year. In a nutshell: finished up old job, went back home to Australia for two weeks, ate way too much, caught up with family and friends, busy, busy, busy, flew back to Japan, started new job and new firm the next day, getting familiar with new job, and have been away the last two weekends that I’ve been in Japan since coming back this year. So it’s that time of year again – – New year. New word. And the word for 2013 is…

From January 21, 2013

I’m going to focus on NEW things this year. The new year has started off with a NEW job. New work environment etc. Am also planning on moving apartments this year, so hopefully a NEW residence. I plan on trying NEW things, gaining new skills, new confidence etc. Maybe somewhat a bit of make-over year in terms of lifestyle. Nothing drastic. But sometimes change is good. Out with the old, and in with the new. Also need to lose me a few KGs. I’m at my highest weight ever. I ate all sorts of good stuff back in Oz, and have not found any time to exercise in the last couple of months! So I’ve got to do something about that. Time to focus on a new mindset and let go of the past. So here’s to a Happy NEW year for me…fingers crossed. Will have lots of posts forthcoming. Took way too many photos as usual during my trip back home.