In celebration of the new year, I thought it would be suitable to look back at all of my best eats in 2009. Here, I've included some of my most frequently visited restaurants as well as a few memorable favourites.
Most Visited Casual Restaurant: Dong Ba Bun Bo Hue, Bankstown, NSW
I think I have honestly dined at Dong Ba at least once every fortnight in 2009 - joining the regular local slurpers of Bun Bo Hue, a Hue-style spicy noodle soup. It is only $7 and the food (they also serve plenty of other traditional Vietnamese eats such as my second most ordered dish here, the Cambodian Rice Noodle Soup) is served at lightening fast speed. Dining at Dong Ba in Bankstown is always a guaranteed fuss-free cheap and cheerful eat. Another bonus is that the menu caters for all possible cravings of anything Vietnamese so is sure to satisfy everyone. But the best part would probably be their drinks menu which includes the iced black coffee and the avocado milkshake.
296 Chapel Rd South, Bankstown, NSW
Bun bo hue (Hue-style spicy noodle soup) at Dong Ba, Bankstown - My most visited casual restaurant of 2009
Most Expensive: Le Cinq, Paris
In May 2009, I left home for my first eating extravaganza in Europe. Let me just start off by confessing that I have a really bad habit of not checking prices whether it be shopping or food. My boyfriend almost passed out when he browsed through the 'host' menu at Le Cinq, which I had booked many months in advance. Thankfully I had the 'guest' menu which didn't have the prices so he was able to break the shock to me slowly. We soon justified to ourselves that because we had travelled all the way from Sydney to Paris, it would only be right if we allowed this one splurge and promised to be sensible throughout the rest of the trip. Le Cinq sits within Paris' most luxurious hotel - Four Seasons George V, and is the most elegant space I've ever dined in. Something like 440€ (AU$900 at the exchange rate during that time) excluding drinks and service charge and almost six hours later, we left gleefully with a massive dent on my credit card.
Four Seasons Hotel George V
31, Avenue George V, Paris, France
Best Surprise: Wiseman Park Wollongong City Bowling Club
My boyfriend was transferred to Wollongong for six months for work, a few years ago. During a visit to some of his old workmates earlier in 2009, we were introduced to Wiseman Park Bowling Club. Tucked within a senior's bowling club bistro is this spectacular down-to-earth yet slightly fancy restaurant. Think traditional Mediterranean and remember to make a reservation if dining on a Friday or Saturday night as the secret is out, and this place is hawt!
Wiseman Park Wollongong City Bowling Club
Gipps Road, Wollongong, NSW
Favourite City Travelled To: Barcelona
My time in Barcelona can easily be summarized with daily visits to the Boqueria Market - the best market I have ever been to. The vivid display of fruits, seafood and jamon was an amazing sight and simply drool-worthy. The friendliness of locals shouting "hola" and the buzz in eating paella after paella, oh, and the shoes made Barcelona my favourite city visited in 2009. Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit it again soon.
Fruit drinks display at Boqueria Markets, close up of paella and tapas in Barcelona
Most Visited Seafood Outlet: Ocean Foods, Drummoyne, NSW
Almost every drive on Lyons Road in Drummoyne has resulted in me stopping by at Ocean Foods. Their floor to ceiling glass walls means there's no running away from the grand display of fresh and ready to cook seafood and salads.
154 Lyons Rd, Drummoyne, NSW
Most Visited For Dessert: Mamak, Sydney, NSW
Roti and condensed milk are just made for each other. After countless dinners at other restaurants across the city, Sydney food bloggers, myself included, seem to always end up at Mamak for dessert. The roti tisu is a golden cone encrusted with butter and sugar that tastes heavenly with a swirl of condensed milk and sometimes, even ice-cream. If that doesn't have you drooling, the roti pisang will - with freshly sliced banana that caramelizes within a thin buttery roti. Oh, so good.
15 Goulburn St, Haymarket, NSW
Favourite Late Night Dining: Wagaya, Haymarket, NSW
With ridiculous trading hours (Wagaya opens until 2am on most nights), private booths and a quirky touch screen ordering system, late night dining at Wagaya is perfect for those night owls (like me) who want a decent feed. I can't get enough of their soft-shell crab hand rolls, lotus root chips or takoyaki gratin. Unfortunately, all this late night dining has contributed greatly to my growing waistline... Hmm... Did someone say New Years Resolution?
Level 1, 78-86 Harbour St, Haymarket, NSW
Dining at Wagaya - Most Visited Late Night Dining Restaurant of 2009
Best Discovery of a Hidden Gem: Uchi Lounge, Surry Hills, NSW
Uchi Lounge is only a street behind the chaotic Oxford Street but upon stepping inside, you're in a whole new world. It is soothing and peaceful, offering a selection of Japanese sake cocktails and some scrumptious food such as their grilled eggplant with miso and a sprinkle of parmesan.
15 Brisbane St, Surry Hills, NSW
Favourite Bar: Water Bar at Blue, Woolloomooloo
I was introduced to Water Bar after my 25th birthday dinner in 2009. It's the fine dining of bars. As well as offering all the traditional cocktail favourites, Water Bar also features a range of new concept drinks that utilises some surprising and experimental techniques. Elderflower martini with a cucumber air, the kaffir lime dacquiri with coconut foam or the spiced fig whisky sour are just a few to name. The only downside here are their trading hours, closing at midnight on most nights and 10pm on Sundays and Mondays.
6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo, NSW
Favourite Brunch: Rhodes Phoenix, Rhodes, NSW
Yum-Cha, Dim-Sum, whatever two words you use to call the fine art of eating dumplings and other Chinese delicacies over tea with friends or family, is a weekend hobby of mine. Having discovered the Phoenix group in 2007 - there's four of them: Sky Phoenix, Hilltop Phoenix, Manly Phoenix and Rhodes Phoenix, I quickly became a regular at the Rhodes restaurant which is only a short drive from my place. 2009 saw me dining at Rhodes Phoenix more than ever before. I have such a weakness for their prawn toast!
1/5 Rider Blvd, Rhodes, NSW