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Lunch overlooking the Harbour in Sydneyfullsizeoutput_132

My friend Sharon had to travel to Sydney a couple of months ago and after meeting up with another friend Katrina, we decided on lunch overlooking Sydney Harbour at a restaurant serving traditional southern Italian cuisine.  Yum I thought!  We chose a table directly overlooking the Sydney Eye.  Now having recently been on the London Eye, it was nothing like that; not as big but I think now a lot of cities around the world have one for visitors to get a birds eye view of the city.fullsizeoutput_131We decided to share an entree and chose a tomato bruschetta with a difference.  This one was huge, it was a large wood fired Italian bread with tomatoes, red onions, basil, olives and oregano and some extra virgin olive oil – delicious!fullsizeoutput_133I ordered the vegetable risotto which was absolutely delicious and came with baby spinach, asparagus, mushroom, shallots, sliced avocado, semi-dried tomatoes and fresh chilli, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg.fullsizeoutput_134Katrina ordered the lamb salad with avocado, feta, oregano, fresh rocket and semi-dried tomatoes with a garlic aioli dressing – fabulous she said too.fullsizeoutput_135And Sharon ordered the beetroot salad with roasted pumpkin, goats cheese, shredded carrot, roasted walnuts and  fresh rocket with a raspberry dressing along with a side order of haloumi.  The food here was an absolute winner.  This is a chain restaurant and is also located in other locations in Sydney and Melbourne…just wish it was in Canberra.fullsizeoutput_136It was great to catch up with these friends and enjoy good food and after a while another friend joined us and he chose a healthy option of a marinated chicken salad  with cos lettuce, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, shredded carrot, feta, semi-dried tomatoes, roasted capsicum, mushroom and cucumber with a chilli aioli dressing…looked pretty good too.fullsizeoutput_137

Dinner in Sydney’s trendy Surry Hills

fullsizeoutput_138Like me, two of my other friends retired last year, so I said I would travel to Sydney and go out to dinner to celebrate their retirement.  I chose a restaurant serving South East Asian cuisine and known for being very popular (Longrain) and had come highly recommended by my ‘foodie’ friend Jane.

Reservations are limited [first in best dressed rule] and seating is at large communal tables.  But as we had a table of nine I was able to make a reservation for an individual table.  I wouldn’t suggest this would be a good place for a first date with the communal tables and no guarantee you will be seated across from each other – you might have to sit side by side!image

(source: http://www.longrain.com.au)

We arrived early for our 6pm reservation and lucky we did as were told we had to give up our table at 8.15pm as the restaurant has two seatings per night -one at 6pm [us] and the next at 8.30pm [too late for me].  I really don’t like this system as with a large group you don’t really get the chance to chat to everyone within that confined timeframe…but we had no choice.  We were seated at a round table which only had room for eight so we had to squash together to accomodate the nine of us.longrain-melbourne-function-venue-entire-venue-7

(source: http://www.longrain.com.au)

Our waitress encouraged us to try each dish banquet style which we did and ordered a range of dishes including an eggplant curry, a northern Thai lamb curry with pickled garlic and fresh ginger, a chargrilled chicken dish with mustard greens and crispy egg noodles, salt and pepper silken tofu (really good) and a plate of stir friend Asian greens with garlic and oyster sauce.fullsizeoutput_143

fullsizeoutput_13bSome of the girls tried the desserts which I was told were very good and presented beautifully.   A coconut sorbet and a coconut ash ice cream swirl with a cashew nut praline were the desserts of choice.fullsizeoutput_141fullsizeoutput_142In the main the food was very good but it was an incredibly hot restaurant (too many tables with too many people I think) which made me rather uncomfortable and extremely noisy.  Made it very hard to hear friends across the table and those up the other end of the table, I had no idea what they were saying!