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GASTRONOMY

They say good things come in small packages & Small Bar is one of them!

June 2, 2012

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Last week I had the pleasure to check out Small Bar, a gorgeous little wine bar on Crows Nest’s main strip.

Once you step inside, you’ll notice Small Bar certainly does live up to its name in size. However in this case, smaller is definitely much better! The wine bar is quite narrow and runs right down to a pretty little courtyard out the back light up with fairy lights and plenty of candles. The first thing I noticed was just how intimate the place was. With warm wooden interiors on the inside and exposed brick and vines outside, it certainly gave off a romantic and warm ambience – very European!

They have an extensive list of wines for you to try and the staff are incredibly knowledgable. They’re more than happy to help you select a wine if you’re daunted by the list. Alongside this, they offer an amazing tapas menu, which all come under $20! Whether you’re after a couple of drinks with some nibbles or a full blown meal, there are more than enough food options on the menu for you to choose from.

Alex and I were spoilt for choice, but in the end went for the cheeseburgers ($16) the calamari ($14) the arancini balls ($12.50) and accompanied these with some mixed olives ($7). The servings were generous and the waiter service is incredibly quick.

Definitely a perfect little spot to catch up with friends, or take someone out on a date. Although the space is smaller, and you find that you are sat quite close to other patrons, there is a sense of intimacy there. It’s incredibly warm, friendly and offers a relaxed atmosphere. I went on Tuesday night, and was told by the staff that they have live music on the weekends, so perhaps it would be a little more livelier then. Either way, whatever you’re after – you can pick a night that suits!

A little tip though, they don’t take reservations, so make sure you turn up early on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – especially if you want a courtyard table.

I definitely recommend you check out this little gem! If you have been or end up going, let me know your thoughts! And as always.. Live a little!

Soph X

Small Bar
85 Willoughby Rd,
Crows Nest 2065

Web: www.smallbar.com.au
Facey: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Small-Bar-Crows-Nest
Phone: 02 9438 4559
Small Bar on Urbanspoon

GASTRONOMY

It’s Time To.. Enter The Rice Den

May 18, 2012

The Rice Den - Chopstick Game

The Rice Den, where Asian cuisine meets Pulp Fiction. Food with a bang and an interior to match! 

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of checking out The Rice Den, one of the trendiest Asian joints I have ever experienced – and one of the tastiest and flavoursome Asian meals I’ve ever had. The Rice Den brings some serious freshness and vitality to dining options to Chatswood, a suburb located just north of the Harbour Bridge.

When you walk in to The Rice Den, you notice straight away the really quirky interiors, made up of wooden beaming, angled mirrors, and dark wooden furniture. Despite being in a smaller space, the restaurant  feels so much bigger and gives off a really cool vibe. Look out for the kitsch prints on the counter – especially the army kitty!

So after looking at the menu, we soon realised that nearly every single entrée is under $10 and nearly every main under $20 – so you’re pretty much looking at a $30 meal! There is no specific branch of Asian that The Rice Den offer. With a blend of  Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Japanese fused with Western influences, you’ll definitely find something to get your chopsticks into.

Pete, Mark and myself were incredibly hungry and ordered the following:

  • Sate chicken sticks – $8
  • Duck pancakes – $8
  • Honey soy winglets – $6
  • Angus steak with black bean chilli – $22
  • Lamb cutlets – $18
  • Nasi Goreng – $12
    AND… after much debate, and a push from the waitress we ordered..
  • Deep fried chilli basil crocodile! – $17

When each dish came out, the first thing I noticed were the burst of colours and the crazy delicious smells. You could tell the vegetables were fresh – they were super crunchy and so vibrant. The taste – wow! They don’t hold back on the chilli, so if you’re a spice lover, then this place is one for you (you can mild them down of course!). My favourite was definitely the Honey soy winglets. The meat was super tender and the sauce had just enough of a sweetness. I also highly recommend the Chilli basil crocodile! Yes! The crocodile! Now, this was a first for me and I was a little apprehensive about eating a reptile (see pics for photographic evidence that we all tried it!) and after a big debate with the boys and a final push from our lovely waitress, it was ordered. Much to my surprise, it was really tasty! Think chicken crossed with calamari perhaps? And as a little tip, our waitress recommended if you are game enough to give the croc a go, ask for it deep fried rather stir fried first go.

We had a fantastic night, really chilled and relaxed and we had an absolute laugh  – the staff are super friendly and more than willing to help you out and narrow down your menu decisions. I was even lucky enough to get a photo of the amazing chefs, who truly know how to rock a wok! Another cool little feature that I liked, was if you couldn’t see the Blackboard menu, they’d give you an iPad with the picture of the menu on there, so you’re not missing out!

Book in early if you’re planning to hit up The Den on Friday/Saturdays – they get super busy!

And as always – remember kids, Live a little..
Soph X

The Rice Den
3/77 Archer Street, Chatswood.
Ph: 9411 2001
Web: www.thericeden.com.au
Facey: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rice-Den/130599526955573
BYO / Lisenced
The Rice Den on Urbanspoon