Tag Archives: Crows Nest

Mama’s Buoi, Crows Nest

Most cultures have a word or a phrase that means “mummy’s boy”.  In Italian it is mammone, in Greek mamakias.  And while “buoi” is actually the Vietnamese word for a type of grapefruit, the name of this traditional Vietnamese eatery is in fact a play on words by founder Bao Hoang, and a reflection of love and admiration for his mother, and recipes he learnt from her along the way.

I had often walked past its little corner in Crows Nest, seeing heads bent over steaming pho or munching on rice paper rolls.  The place doesn’t take bookings, but on a cold and wet Sunday night we are in luck and seats are free in the small indoor area, as most of the seating is outside.  I’m having a long overdue catch up with a lovely friend; like the Marito, she is a vegacquarian, so we stick to vegetables and a fish dish.  Everything that comes out is tasty, light and fragrant, and I would happily come back to try some of the meat dishes. The staff are friendly and attentive too.

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We start with some fresh rice paper rolls with mushroom and tofu

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Followed by this delicious dish of smoky eggplant with a slight hint of chilli. My friend, who has an ambivalent relationship with eggplant, loves it.

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Mushroom and snow pea stir fry, simple and tasty

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The barramundi, marinated in lemongrass and kaffir lime comes with a decent chill hit and is very fragrant, though the fish is a little overcooked

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It is a pleasant and unfussy meal in a relaxed environment, just what we needed to cram in a few months worth of conversation.

For groups, there is a $49 banquet menu

Mama’s Buoi, 77 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, Ph 02 9438 5005
http://www.mamasbuoi.com.au

Mama's Buoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Annata, Crows Nest

The original thinking behind recently opened Annata was that it would be a wine and cocktail bar that served a bit of food. But you could also look at it as a place with great food, that serves some good wine. With some heavily hatted experience behind the bar and in the kitchen – its a meeting of minds with skills gained from Rockpool, Bridge Room, and Café Paci – Annata lifts the bar on the lower north shore. The staff who looked after us that night were friendly, enthusiastic and knew their stuff – it seemed like they were really happy to be there.

The well thought out wine list is good fun, with sections like The Funky Bunch, The Big Boys, and CBA (Chardonnay Back Again). There are also some clever cocktails. I tried the Heather & Stone (Jasmine Jamieson, Pistachio, Suze, Lime, Whites) which had a delicious almost biscuit of pistachio in it (petit four in a cocktail, yeh!); and the Dipolmat (Havana 3, Apricot Jam, Orgeat, Cardamom, Bitters).

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There are four of us and the staff recommend we share, kindly suggesting which dishes we double up on. We start with some superbly fresh Sydney Rock oysters served with pickled black fungus

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We spot zucchini flowers on the menu – with broccolini, goats milk custard, black garlic and fennel salt – and know it’s a given they’ll be ordered. In our minds we’d pictured them in typical stuffed format, but it’s a ‘deconstructed’ version. The broccolini add texture and the custard is silky smooth.

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Next is a dish almost too pretty to eat – plums with heirloom tomatoes, smoked avocado (oh so good, smoked with beechwood), basil and roquette oil. The girls love it, but I find the plums a too sweet; a bowl of that avocado with some bread instead please!

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We all adore the scallops. The sliver of guanciale is delicious, and lurking underneath is like a hazelnut and mushroom paste (a hint of porcini methinks?) which we love.

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Our next dish is also seafood. This time some prawns with a devine miso corn butter, tasty chargrilled corn and curry oil. We all agree though, that the prawns are just a little underdone.

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The pork neck comes with a roasted apricot butter and pickled shitake. Its tender meat and here the fruit works well.

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The side of greens is fresh and crisp and comes with a smooth butter sauce.

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We finish with the flathead done wrapped in seaweed and kataifi pastry, served with peas, pomelo and oyster mayonnaise. I’ve had fish done like this before, but this one is not quite right and needs a little finessing.

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Annata is the kind of place you’ll linger either a little or a lot, and overall I’d happily do the latter again.

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Annata Menu

Annata, 69 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest, Ph (02) 9437 3700
http://annatasydney.com

Annata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Johnny Lobster, Crows Nest

When I heard about a place serving Maine style lobster rolls in nearby Crows Nest, I had to check it out.  Johnny Lobster is its name – its a cute, fun, casual eatery with an appealing menu.  You can eat in or takeaway, and I thought the prices were very good.

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The lobster roll at $20 is the most expensive item on the menu.  It is bigger than I expected, with an excellent brioche bun and fresh, succulent lobster.  People will even cross the bridge for this.

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The other dishes are good too, served with a very fresh, crisp salad.  The salad dressing needs a little work (just tastes like oil has been squirted on it) but its a minor thing in the scheme of it, considering the place has only been open a week. I note on the menu it says all the seafood is from sustainable sources.

Grilled fish with salad – you’d have to be pretty happy with this for lunch or dinner at $10.80

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Chilli octopus and salt and pepper squid

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Soft shell crab

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Thrice cooked hand cut chips – forget your new year’s resolutions and diet, and grab a bowl.  Seriously good.

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I’d say its going to be a hit.

Johnny Lobster, 48 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
http://johnnylobster.com.au/

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At Restaurant, Crows Nest

“The kids have ditched us”, I tell my husband one Friday night. It is school holidays, and the boys are with my Mamma Rosa (she relishes school holidays. Me not so much).  They call me and tell me they aren’t coming home that night, they’re staying there. Could I blame them? The food is better, the rules are less, and they can usually wrangle some cash out of their grandfather.

Finding ourselves on our own at the last minute, we decide to grab some Japanese on the way home and I make a quick call to At Restaurant, or rather, as the sign says @ Restaurant (not quite sure why the @, maybe some quirky Japanese thing?).  Its a cosy, basic little place and every table has a reserved sign, which means sushi boss Saito-san is going to be busy.

The service is unobtrusive and efficient and our food arrives at a good pace.  This is simple, well executed, well priced Japanese.  In Crows Nest, which seems to have become Little Japan of the food scene over the years, this one has an advantage. And its BYO.

We start with bonito tataki with a sesame ponzu – clearly a popular choice as all the surrounding tables order it – and it is fresh and delicious.

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Next a simple tuna and avocado salad.  Not sure what the tiny crunchy balls are, but they add a great texture.

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This is followed by a good quality mixed sushi and sashimi plate

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For the hot dishes, a light whiting tempura

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And finally a teriyaki salmon – the teriyaki has good body, and is not too sweet.

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At Restaurant, 417 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, Ph (02) 9437 5285

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