Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Pilu at Freshwater, Freshwater Beach, NSW

 We came to Pilu for a special lunch celebrating my son's birthday. It was a beautiful sunny day and the weather was just perfect. The place was spacious but intimate at the same time and all tables overlook a stunning view of Freshwater Beach.
We enjoyed an amazing seven course degustation lunch and every dish was divine. It was lovely flavours from Chef Giovanni Pilu's Sardinian homeland one after another.  He even came out of the kitchen to greet and serve us our first course (I noticed he also did this with other guests) which made us feel really special. The service was impeccable and so was the ambience and the food. Thank you to chef Pilu and his team who helped made this truly a memorable lunch experience for us.

Beachy accessories and furniture pop against a neutral coastal foyer.

Parmesan cream with paprika on a linseed crisp.

Smoked mullt and kohl rabi "panada", horseradish, apple, cucumber and dill
Just, wow!

Sardinian ravioli of baccala and potato, confit tomato and basil
  I can't begin to describe how fantastic the ravioli tasted. 

Hand rolled fregula risottata, pearl onions, leeks and wild garlic
This dish offers a magical combination of flavours. It was a joy to eat.
Grilled barramundi, sea herbs, baby turnips and smoked ham consomme
Further proof of good food comes from great chefs.

Melanda Park free range oven roasted suckling pig with condiments.I couldn't be happier.

Pimm's No. 1 Cup
Pimm's and strawberry consomme, cucumber and mint

A surprise rum cake for our birthday celebrant.
It was done well and so delicious.

Sardinian pastry filled with ricotta and sultanas, served with local honey
 I fell in love with this brilliant dessert. How good it made me feel. 

I left with a happy stomach.

Pilu at Freshwater
“On the beach”, Moore Road, Freshwater, NSW, 2096, AUSTRALIA

(02) 9938 3331

Pilu at Freshwater Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Gustu Restaurant, La Paz, Bolivia

 La Paz, the highest capital city in the world that sits at an altitude of 3,650 meters (almost 12000 ft) is where you'll find Bolivia's best restaurant, Gustu, meaning flavour in Quechua language. The time we went it held the #14 spot in Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants what's more, ex-head chef and now advisor Kamilla Seidler was also crowned Latin America's Best Female Chef. Gustu is financed by Noma's co-owner Claus Meyer with the intention of revolutionizing Bolivia's culinary heritage.

We rode the Teleferico to Estacion Irpavi (green line) which is located only a short walk to Gustu Restaurant. Taking the Teleferico is cheap, easy and a great way to see amazing bird's eye views of La Paz.  We rode all three lines: red, yellow and green (colours of Bolivia's flag). If you don't have enough time and need to choose just one then the yellow line is absolutely the one I would recommend because it goes the highest and has the most interesting views.
(Update: they have added two more lines after my visit: blue and orange.)

 We didn't go for the tasting menu and instead went ala carte. They use only native  ingredients of highest quality to showcase Bolivia's many unique produce hence encouraging chefs to be creative and innovative. Bolivia may be South America's poorest and least visited country but unknown to many its biodiversity is among the greatest and unexplored in the world. 
I was pleasantly surprised by how exotic the flavours were. It was rustic, bold as well as filling. I must admit some dishes were better than others nevertheless it was far from dull. The staff who are students training in the restaurant were extremely welcoming and attentive like what you would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant.
This place is a long way away if you are coming from the centre of town. We took a radio-taxi ride back to our hotel.  It took around 30 minutes at night to get to the centre for a  relatively inexpensive fare. 

Beautiful decors bursting with colour filling the restaurant.

The students working through the open kitchen.

Mocochinchi and Spices

Hibiscus, Tumbo and Cinnamon

Amuse Bouche

Tofu spread sprinkled with quinoa and coca leaf butter. 
That tofu spread was so delicious and leaving me wanting more.

Garden Tomatoes with Rawfried Broccolini and Creamy Aged Cheese

Quinoa, Miso and Kombucha

Cured Trout with Pickled Achojcha and Frozen Dill Yoghurt

Poached Rabbit with Corn, Lime and Lemongrass
I love how this dish feels in my mouth. I love the different textures and the complexity of flavours. It's unlike anything I've ever eaten.

Beef Cheeks and Racacha

Braised Lamb with Sweet Potatoes and Coa

Amazonian Fish Stew with Yuca
Such rich natural flavours.

Milk Whey Sorbet with Black Lime and Smoked Egg Yolk

Chocolate Bizco Flan with Mint Ice Cream and Chocolate Ganache

Black Beer Meringue with Caramelized Seeds and Curled Cream

A little gift from Gustu for our celebrant from its Panaderia.
Ave Costanera 10, La Paz, Bolivia
591 (2) 2117491

Friday, 16 February 2018

Burmese Lunch at Sanon Training Restaurant & Temple-hopping in Bagan (Bagan Part 2)

An ancient city in central Myanmar located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Bagan is a land of thousand stupas, temples and pagodas. You cannot go to Myanmar without going to Bagan. Our trip to Bagan was one unique travel experience I will never forget. Here's a list of some of the city's biggest, most popular and most beautiful temples that should definitely be included in your itinerary. 

Thatbyinnyu Temple was built by King Alaung Sithu in the year 1144. At 61 meters high, this magnificent temple towers above all the other monuments in Bagan. Built in Bamar-style, this temple is different than what you'll see elsewhere in Bagan because of its grey and white colour. It is also a gu-style temple which is a hollow structure used for meditation, worship and other Buddhist rituals. 

 Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest of all the temples in Bagan with bats lurking around its high ceiling. The temple has a gruesome past hence locals believe it is haunted. The structure is undoubtedly impressive and the only temple in Bagan that houses a rare double Buddha sculpture. 

Puppets for sale outside Dhammayangyi Temple.

The Shwezigon Pagoda is one of the oldest and most impressive monuments of Bagan. This thousand year old gold plated pagoda was built by King Anawratha who founded the Bagan Kingdom in 1044.
The pagoda was damaged during the earthquake in 2016 and was covered but just imagine how magnificent this will be in its full


A beautiful and rare teak monastery in Taungi Village.

Nat Taung Kyaung Temple, another impressive teak temple.

Home to the largest area of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world.

Cute little Burmese girl with thanaka on her face and arms selling some vegetable fritters.

Maha Bodhi Temple is modelled after the famous Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, India.
It is built in Hindu-style which is rare in Bagan. Its pyramidal tower has many niches containing 
over 450 images of Buddha.

Sanon located in Old Bagan is a training restaurant for marginalized local youth. We had previously supported Khaiphaen in Luang Prabang and loved the meal, so we decided to dine at Sanon Training Restaurant to continue supporting this association of restaurants with a cause while we were there. Slightly more expensive than other restaurants but it's worth funding this Burmese initiative. Although I can't really say it's the best in Bagan but food was delicious, fresh and tasty. Service was also friendly and polite which is typical in Bagan.

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie, Myanmar Beer, Watermelon Juice with Citrus

Burmese Style Crispy Watercress and Onion Pakora

Ginger Salad

Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Burmese Style Green Mango Salad


Burmese River Prawn and Catfish Curry with Apple Eggplant and Acacia Leaves
Chef Kyaw Kyaw's Beef Curry

Burmese Coconut Semolina Cake

Nutty Banana Fritters with Kaffir Lime Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream

Bagan is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas. A truly beautiful place that I would love to go back again.