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Sir and M'Lady Dine Out is a restaurant, travel, bar and food journey across Australia and the world. Come with our group as we eat, drink, holiday and cook our way through life.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

PASSIONTREE VELVET - NORTH RYDE, SYDNEY

Passiontree Velvet
Shop K3415 Macquarie Centre
Cnr Herring and Waterloo Rds
North Ryde, Sydney

If you like looking at pretty food, then eating it, this place is somewhere you'll love. The Passiontree Velvet name is probably better known north of the border in Queensland, but they've now thankfully spread their wings and travelled south.

A shopping centre isn't where you'd normally expect a place like this but it certainly doesn't seem to be a problem for the many people visiting. In fact, it probably makes it all the more accessible.

Nestled in the newish part of Macquarie Centre, this place stands out with its huge almost glowing display of beautiful cakes and macarons. It causes people to stop, stare longingly and then invariably buy.

We started with some lovely coffee. It's always a good yardstick for any cafe/cakery and it was bruchtime as well.

It also gave us a bit more time to decide what to order, as well as a chance to go and gaze longingly at all the goodies on display inside their long front counter.

It's a sweet-tooth's paradise here with so many choices. Some are individual servings while others are for sharing.


















The very intriguing baked stuffed avocado caught our eyes and intrigued our appetites straight away as it sounded a bit different.

It was avocado halves lined with smoked salmon and baked with an egg in each half.

There was a hint of chilli and some cracked black pepper too and it was served with two pieces of toast - pane de case to be exact.

Then the high tea for one arrived. It was a two tier stand with long rectangular plates.

The bottom level had sandwiches, a fresh scone and a lovely salmon bite.

The top level had the sweet stuff and they really looked good. They also tasted great too!

Each one was a work of art - beautifully presented and hard to resist.



Even though we'd basically had brunch and a high tea it was impossible to resist some of the smaller treats on display.

So we made the easy choice and decided not to resist!

We had the salted caramel popcorn eclair and the popular strawberry cheesecake eclair. Both were delicious - light fluffy pastry with great flavours for the fillings and toppings.















The tea at Passiontree Velvet is a real focus. We spoke with Chris Sheldrick, who put this place together, about it and heard all about their passion (pun intended) for serving great tea.

They also use clear glass teapots too - so they can see if you need a top up and offer it asap. It's a great idea and they also look really cool as well. If you want herbal tea don't fret - they have plenty as well. 

The focus here is on cakes, macarons, tea's and high tea's, but they actually offer a lot more than this - including very tasty cooked breakfasts and lunches. You can mix, match and share too and even take away what you don't finish.Passiontree Velvet. They have a killer macaron tree too if you're looking for a great gift or event idea.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Passiontree Velvet. Big thanks to Bec for looking after us and to Chris for inviting us.










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Friday, 26 June 2015

LA CASA RISTORANTE - RUSSELL LEA, SYDNEY

La Casa Ristorante
271 Lyons Rd
Russell Lea, Sydney

We had the pleasure of visiting a little slice of Sicily in the suburb of Russel Lea at 271 Lyons Road.  The restaurant is well lit and the large wooden front door adds to the appeal of the facade.

Once inside, it’s evident that owner Albert Giammanco has done a great job renovating his restaurant to ensure the decor provides a warm and welcoming invitation, as does the Italian music that fills the room.  We were greeted by Amato, who was to be our waiter for the evening. Amato has worked with Albert for a year and his cheeky demeanour made it easy to instantly like him.

La Casa has been in Russell Lea for five years with Albert taking ownership approximately a year and a half ago.  In February this year Albert renovated the restaurant to give it his personal touch.


The restaurant has two levels.  The main dining room is at street level and seats approximately 100 people.  There is also a beautiful alfresco dining area that seats approximately 40 people.  Finally, there are two rooms upstairs - The Victoria room which seats 30 and the Bagheria Room which is still under renovation.  The private rooms are perfect for small parties and functions.


We started with an imported Italian red wine - Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D'Abruzzo.  To say this wine was smooth is an understatement.  We both loved the taste and richness of the wine.

We left our food selection up to the expert owner and we were certainly not disappointed.

Firstly, we were served some zucchini flowers filled with a lovely mix of prawns and mascarpone cream.

They were simply divine with a crisp batter and light filling.













This was followed closely by a fresh, white tuna carpaccio – thinly sliced tuna with red and black caviar,  topped with grated truffle.  The tuna was a great start to the meal. We were then served some traditional Sicilian meatballs in a rich tomato sauce accompanied by La Casa's freshly baked bread.  The meatballs were light, flavoursome and juicy and the bread came in handy as we dipped it into the delicious sauce.





Our last entrĂ©e was Cupido Prawns.  These were king prawns wrapped in crisp prosciutto sitting on a light pumpkin puree with a dash of Gorgonzola.

A thinly sliced fried purple potato rested to one side of each prawn and the grated truffle added to a taste combination that was delectable, with all the flavours marrying together perfectly.  It left our taste buds satisfied and wanting more.


Our pasta dish for the evening was a tagliolini, cooked to perfection with prawns, zucchini, a dash of cream and a hint of saffron. This is a delicious dish that we highly recommend. The first of our mains was a herb crusted lamb rack served with roasted potatoes and mixed mushrooms. The herb crust enveloped a beautifully cooked juicy lamb rack, with the meat falling off the bone and the rich taste of the mushrooms complementing this dish perfectly.

Our last dish was a nice platter of grilled king prawns drizzled with a delicious Sicilian sauce, salmoriglio.

They were served with patatine fritte and a basic and not overpowering mixed salad.

It was a simple, but very tasty dish, with clean, fresh flavours.



For dessert we were served some mini cannoli filled with fresh ricotta, lightly dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.

They were topped with a  sprinkling of crushed pistachios and a piece of glazed cherry.  These didn't need any cutlery!  The cannoli was crisp and the ricotta was fresh and light.

A perfect way to end an extremely delicious and satisfying meal.

Owner Alberto Giammanco and chef Salvatore Chisari gave us the ultimate experience in Sicilian cuisine. La Casa offers good home style cooking with variety, flavour and freshness and excellent service that makes a visit to this restaurant a most enjoyable experience.

Two Contessa's, who are doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of La Casa. Big thanks also to Amato for looking after us and to Frank for arranging our visit.











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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

PASTIZZI CAFE - NEWTOWN, SYDNEY

Pastizzi Cafe
523 King St
Newtown, Sydney

Pastizzi Cafe is an institution in the inner west of Sydney having opened 8 years ago and originating from the Maltese cafe in Surry Hills.

Located at the south end of Newtown's famous King Street, an area that has had an explosion of new cafes and bars open in recent times, Pastizzi Cafe is a is pillar of tradition offering authentic Maltese and Italian food.

The space might seem small as you walk in, and there are a few tables outside, however walk through a door to the back and you will find a very impressive dining area.

Nonetheless, we chose to sit inside at the front and didn't feel crowded or squished at all, quite the contrary actually. The tables and chairs are simple yet very comfortable.


Pastizzi Cafe is BYO which is great but we felt like having an alcohol free night, but obviously we could have easily brought our own had we chosen to.

We noticed San Pellegrino on the drinks menu so we ordered one each - it's a favourite of ours anyway.

Have you ever tried the Mandarin flavoured variety?

It's really refreshing.


Now, you can't come to the Pastizzi Cafe and not have pastizzi right? That's exactly why we ordered three of them. There were so many varieties to choose from.

These hand made pastizzi's have a buttery and flaky pastry and generous filings. The spinach and ricotta is creamy and the mushy pea, also traditionally known as the pizelli, just melts in your mouth. The chicken and mushroom is just as tasty.


We moved one to a rocket and pear salad which was bursting with flavour. The goats cheese in the salad was extraordinary with a very silky texture (we're guessing they use Meredith Dairy products here).

We also decided to try the crab and prawn ravioli - home made of course - served with a ginger stock. If you're wondering how well the ginger stock went with the dish, you'd be amazed, we certainly were!


There is an emphasis on traditional food here and judging by the osso bucco that arrived, we can definitely attest to that.

This osso bucco was done so well, the meat was literally falling off the bone.

It was cooked in a rich tomato based sauce with just the right amount of herbs and spices giving it a true authentic Italian flavour.

We loved this dish!

The spaghetti was also authentically Italian. With a dash of chilli adding a slight kick to the prawns, it was perfection. We were told this recipe, like most on the menu, was passed down to the owner from his Nona.



Now don't worry, we made sure we left room for dessert. Two mouthwatering sweet pastizzis filled with custard and berry, creating a creamy combination with the buttery pastry that is certainly a taste sensation.

The panacotta was just as delicious, and with a generous layer of berries on top it was bursting with freshness.

We even managed to fit in a macchiato as well!






























Our experience at Pastizzi Cafe was truly sensational. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and we felt so welcome. Pastizzi Cafe offers customers many options, with all menu items available as take away.  You can also drop in and pick up frozen pastizzi and ravioli to cook at home - how convenient!

Pastizzi Cafe is open 7 days a week from 10 am till late. We will definitely be back to try more pastizzis.

The Counts, who are now doing reviews for Sir and Mlady Dine Out, dined as guests of Pastizzi Cafe. Special thanks also to Debbie for arranging this visit.









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