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Sydney Photo Diary Part IV (Zoo Day)

On Wednesday we took a trip to Taronga Zoo. I have a thing with going to a zoo everytime we visit a different city. I just love animals and find them so fascinating. Before we did that, we stopped by Zen Garage, somewhere that Pham was eager to visit during our trip. It is a place for motor enthusiasts to socialise and chill out. It's a revamped warehouse tucked away in Leichhardt. I liked how they kept the industrial ceiling beams and kept the decor quite minimal. They had some pretty cool pictures hanging on the wall and some soothing tunes to help you unwind. Although it's not my type of thing, I could appreciate the concept.

I found a minion!

We made a quick stop by The Fabric Store in Surry Hills. I visited one of their stores when I was in Melbourne and I was blown away by their selection of fabrics at an affordable price. They've recently opened a store back home, so I'll have to make a mental note to go and visit some time. I bought the most beautiful cream suede hide which I intend on making into a leather crop top. I'm so excited to show you guys!

So then off we went to the zoo, dressed in my best khakis. Taronga Zoo is really big and spread out over the hills in Mosman, overlooking the harbour. Its really quite a breathtaking scene. We were lucky that it was lovely warm weather all day as it was forecasted to rain. I was really intrigued by the snakes vivid colours and patterns. It's funny how something that's usually frightening can become beautiful when its separated by glass. The highlight of my day was watching three baby elephants swim and play with each other in the water and seeing the gorillas and their resemblance to us humans.
Passed out

So adorable!
Incredible view

Like a baaawwwsss

On the way home we experienced the traffic that we always hear about, but have never had to endure through. It took us about 2 hours to get home, it was crazy! My bum was pretty sore afterwards. We met up with a highschool friend for dinner and he took us to a local Thai and Laos restaurant called Holy Basil for dessert. They're famous for their deep fried icecream. I was pretty impressed by it, as I always found deep fried icecream quite unappealing. I had always known it to have a thick soggy batter with melted cheap icecream inside. This one was totally different. It was a slab of light vanilla icecream wrapped in the thinnest filo pastry which was fried to a lovely crisp coating. It was then topped with icing sugar and toasted coconut with raisins. Oh it was soooo good! It's totally changed my mind about deep fried icecream.
Holy goodness!

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Sydney Photo Diary Part III (Becasse)

So here is the delicious 7 course degustation we had at Becasse. The restaurant is located on the 5th level of the Westfield shopping centre on Pitt St. It was a bit strange walking into a shopping centre for fine dining, but walking through the enchanting leafy entrance soon made you forget about that. The maitre d' took us through a corridor with mirrors on both sides and leaves winding around the ceiling. Soon you come into the main dining room which is very French styled and delicate with dimmed lighting and crystal chandelier features. It was a beautifully styled room and wasn't too over the top. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. I was very impressed at how they knew every single ingredient and the way it was used in the dishes. The sommelier (wine waiter) helped us pick a lovely earthy French white, it's a shame I didn't note down what it was because I'd love to have it again. 

We started the meal with little 'snacks' of tapioca crisps, sourbise mousseline, fried bread, cured lardo and seared swordfish. They also gave us a plate of Becasse artisan bread with sesame whipped butter to enjoy throughout the meal. And then our first dish came...

Whipped butter with black sesame and olive oil
Local radish, melon, oloroso and green zebra gazpacho
Chilled ocean consomme, Pacific oyster, scallop and octopus
This was an extra dish the chef decided to send out last night. It was similar to
a potato rosti, but had a light smoky flavour. On top are fried potato skins which
were deliciously caramelised on the outside.

Spanner crab, chamomile, young coconut and crab jelly
Flame grilled mussels, caramelised calves sweetbread, duck proscuitto and koh rabi.
This was wrapped in an amazing duck jelly which I LOVED, but Pham wasn't into.
Slow roasted pork, endive, olive, fennel and lemon myrtle. This was the main
that I chose. The crackling was incredible! And it worked well with the sauce
which had a hint of honey sweetness to it.
Slow cooked lamb shoulder, pine smoked summer heirlooms, cardamom jus.
This was Pham's main dish. He said it was 'some tasty lamb!' haha.

Autumn still life.
OMG, this was the most heavenly dessert I've ever tasted. I don't remember
what was in the icecream, but there was a burnt butter toffee on the base and
a buttery biscuit crumble scattered on top. I'm drooling just thinking about it
Green and red grape sorbet.
Because Pham is lactose intolerant, they substituted the super dairy Autumn life
desert with this fresh fruity sorbet. They also scattered candied celery on top.
69% Alto beni Zokoko chocolate cadeau, dulce de leche, peanut and milk
This was the dessert I chose out of the two options. By this point I was pretty
damn full so I didn't enjoy it was much as I should've. Although it was a little
too sweet for me, I did think that dulce de leche was pretty yummy.

Again, because of Phams lactose intolerence, he couldn't enjoy any of the desserts on the menu.
He had a plate of fresh, poached, caramelised peaches, blueberries, pears and fruit
jellies. Even though he would've liked a sweet indulgent dessert, he liked the lightness of his
to balance out the big meal.
Petit fours
Our little gifts of raisin bread for breakfast the next morning.
We had a wonderful dinner at Becasse. Pham felt very special that they accomodated to his needs. Being his first degustation it was a little overwhelming for him at first, but he came around to it in the end and said he liked the experience. For me, the highlights were the flame grilled mussels, roasted pork and the autumn still life. Pham found the chilled ocean consomme a little bizarre, he said it tasted like a mouthful of ocean, haha. I would've liked to try the other dessert which was Verbena creme caramel, golden peach, blueberry and lemon balm. Since the autumn still life was so creamy and rich, it think it would've been better to balance it with something a little bit more acidic and fruity. The service was fantastic and the atmosphere was sophisticated, but relaxed which was what I was looking for. I loved that we took away raisin toast for breakfast, which is a sweet reminder of the incredible meal we had the night before.

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Sydney Photo Diary Part II

What a cultural day we've had! Yesterday we visited both the Powerhouse Museum and the Australian Museum. I was super excited to go to the Powerhouse Museum because the Harry Potter exhibition was on. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any photos to share with you guys, but if the exhibition is ever around your area and you are a Harry Potter fan as well I highly recommend you see it. I was blown away by the fine detail all the costumes and props entailed. It made me realise why movies were so expensive to make (espescially fantasy ones like these) because nearly every single prop has to be custom made and needs to be consistent throughout the film. At the Australian Museum they had an exhibition on the life and extintion of Dinosaurs. It was pretty interesting and I certainly learnt a lot of new things about them. They had other permanent exhibitions on as well, but the ones that caught my eye were the ones with different eye catching minerals and collections of butterflies and moths. I'm like a magpie, anything shiny or colourful always catches my attention. While looking at the minerals I kept thinking about how they would look great as jewels on accessories. I certainly was inspired by the butterfly's vivid contrasting colours and patterns and its symmetry. Definately something I will look at again when playing around with prints and paints next time.

Flying Ford Anglia!
Being a tourist

Opalised dinosaur skeleton


Wouldn't they look great as pendants?
Or rings?
And on to the food.... Well we spoilt ourselves a little yesterday. We had booked ourselves in for a 7 course degustation at Becasse. After reading many rave reviews we decided this was the special we'd treat ourselves to for this holiday. Knowing that we were due for a big dinner we decided to eat as light as possible during the day. For lunch we tried Miss Chu on Bourke St. This is a chain of 'tuckshops' which specialise in Vietnamese catering. Although the prices were 2 to 3 times higher than the suburbs, it was still a delicious healthy and relatively cheap meal. Next time, I'll remember to ask for no corriander in my rice paper rolls though.

Tiger prawn and green mango rice paper rolls and traditional Peking duck

The last picture is of the Hanoi pork belly stew with wild rice, quinoa and greens and a soft boiled deep fried egg. That was the high absolutely delicious, I would definately order it again. I'll put the Becasse photos up as a separate post so this one isn't too image heavy. Stay tuned, the food was beautiful!

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