It's true. I work from home and I am my own boss; yet I still find that I don't have time for the important things in life. You would think that I'd have my work/life balance all figured out by now seeing it's my second year at this entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Scheduling a date to catch-up with with family, friends or loved ones has become a tricky process that involves a cross-analysis of everybody's busy schedules. On rare occasions, my spontaneous nature kicks in and I'm able to gather a group of people together faster than they could reload their Facebook news feeds. Most of the time though, I've placed too much trust on those words 'we'll catch-up soon'.
Let's face it. If you don't make the effort to set a date and make it happen, it won't. Everyday life gets in the way.
So that's my new mentality. I've been setting specifics for everything.
And so far, it seems to be working. After one too many months of clashing schedules, I finally caught up with my dear friend Dianne, whom I've known since kindergarten!
We chose to meet at Chefs Gallery because of its central location and proximity to the train station (for her) and the bus stop (for me).
I've been here several times now; there are a few dishes I absolutely adore and others which seem to be a hit and miss.
We start with soya bean drinks ($2.90). Dianne orders the chilled version but I'm after the hot one. It is sweet, warm and comforting. I'm a bit surprised the hot version is served in a glass cup as you would expect a hot beverage to be served in a mug of some sort.
Just like how you wouldn't leave Mamak without ordering their Malaysian-style rotis, I'd never leave Chefs Gallery without their Chinese roti with pork floss ($6.90). The pastry is crisp and fluffy, enriched with the flavour of spring onions and tasty pork floss. LOVE!
I'm slowly working my way through their menu, so try the diced chilli chicken tossed with handmade noodles ($12.90) which I haven't yet had. The handmade noodles are perfection - thin strands, consistently smooth with a satisfying bite. However, I'm not too fond of the black vinegary sauce.
For something spicier, I'd recommend the (not pictured) handmade noodles with finely sliced beef shin slow roasted in premium soya sauce dipped in a spicy red soup ($15.90) or even tastier is the wok fried rice with three types of eggs (chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg) ($13.90).
Regardless, the chef's skillful technique in rolling, folding and stretching these handmade noodles is truly worth watching in the large kitchen theatre.
My obsession with fried green beans still hasn't died down so on the table are wok fried green beans with minced pork, served with steamed shallot pancakes ($17.90). The pancakes are remarkably thin and delicate yet firm enough to wrap around a small bundle of beans. This dish just makes me reminiscent of eating Peking duck!
Desserts are a photogenic bunch: steamed sesame 'piggy face' buns (two for $5.90) and the green tea icecream with red bean paste and lightly fried sweet potato balls ($7.90). The presentation of both is so adorable.
The buns are served peering out at you from a bamboo steamer. There's a male piggy and a female piggy, both with a thick black sesame filling.
And on the other dish are toasted almond flakes, studded along the top of a large scoop of green tea icecream to look like the plates of a Stegosaurus. Do you see that too? Or has my childish imagination gotten ahead of me?
Chefs Gallery is brought to you by the same restaurateur that brought Din Tai Fung to Sydney so there's no doubt there are some similarities, especially when it comes to the kitchen theatre. But beyond that is the perfect location for a catch-up. Modern ambiance with good noise levels, a wide variety of mostly scrumptious northern Chinese delights and service that is unrushed but swift.
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501 George Street, Sydney NSW
(Enter via Bathurst Street)
Phone: (02) 9267 8877
WIN 2kg worth of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate blocks
On a related note, Cadbury have a new campaign where they are encouraging people to pledge their catch-ups.
As part of the promotion, there's 100000 blocks of chocolate to be won. Buy a specially marked block, enter your unique code online and winners can send a block of Australia's favourite block of milk chocolate with a note inviting a loved one to share it over a catch up.
In addition, I have 10x 200gm blocks (a total of 2kg) of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate to giveaway to one lucky JENIUS reader! To win the lot, simply go to http://www.facebook.com/jenius.com.au/posts/136296693106907, leave a comment and tell me what your idea of a perfect catch-up would be?
Terms & Conditions
Competition is open to Australian residents only. Entries close 20/03/11 at 11:59pm AEST. Entries will be judged on creativity and entertainment value. The winner will be notified via email and announced on JENIUS the following day.