Why haven't I been blogging as regularly, you ask. Well, firstly, my laptop screen decided it would pass out every two seconds. Thus over the last week, I've had to buy a new computer and back-up and transfer terabytes worth of files. Thankfully, the nightmare is now over and I'm loving my new PC set-up. I've mentioned how much I love my LED TV before and now I have a sleek new LED monitor to add to the collection. (Food looks even more drool-worthy on it!)
I had a lovely long lunch last Tuesday at Ripples to conclude the fabulous super long weekend (to readers who aren't based in Australia, we celebrated ANZAC Day right after the Easter break and enjoyed a five-day weekend!). So the following photos are the first I've edited on this new faster and sexier computer. It's been such a revitalising process, putting this blog post together.
Sometimes a small change makes a big difference.
And you know what's an even more instant and cheaper way to feel revitalised? Getting a hair makeover. So I did that too. Gone are my long waves. I feel like so much weight has been lifted off my head! Here's a before and after shot - taken with Instagram of course.
So anyway, that is what's been happening with me over the last week or so. And here's the meal at Ripples that I was talking about earlier.
Ripples Whale Beach is located right in front of Whale Beach. It's about 40km north of the Sydney CBD and is an hours driving time. Both the location and food makes it worthwhile to create an event out of it. It was unfortunately rainy and wet on the day Zen and I dined here, but otherwise, we would've definitely brought along our swimmers!
I've been to Ripples Sydney Wharf several before and have become acquaint with their unpretentious offering - beautiful waterside dining, fabulous food and affordable prices. Ripples Whale Beach did not disappoint.
We start with nibbles of mixed olives and grissini ($8) as we debate over which menu to order from. There's the standard a la carte menu and the special autumn set menu (one course, $29; two course, $39; three course $49; all with a glass of wine).
We end up going for the normal menu as more items appealed.
This is Zen's entree - pan seared scallops with twice cooked pork belly, savoy cabbage, pickled ginger and sweet corn puree ($21).
I have the tempura soft shell crab ($19) served with pea sprouts, a sensational chilli jam and a fragrant coconut and lychee relish. The tempura batter is wonderfully light and crisp and the chilli jam is thick, sticky and sweet - the perfect accompaniment!
For mains, I have the king prawn saffron risotto with Hawkesbury river cuttlefish and zucchini blossoms ($32) while Zen has the King Island beef fillet with cafe de paris sauce, braised short rib and truffled dauphinoise.
The serving size of the risotto is extremely generous. I love the fresh crisp cuts of asparagus which adds a wholesome note, and the perfectly cooked prawns and cuttlefish.
I sneak in a few bites of Zen's dish. The beef fillet is a juicy medium and the braised short rib is succulent and tender.
Although extremely full by now, no long lunch is completed without dessert ($15 each).
We have the kaffir lime panna cotta with lemon glaze and candied zest, and the caramelised figs with vanilla bean ice-cream.
As you can see, the presentation of both is absolutely impeccable.
The tangy aroma of the kaffir lime in the creamy panna cotta is luxuriously divine. And the figs... They're extraordinary. I love everything about figs, the texture, the flavour, the scent. The figs on my plate are perfectly ripe, and coated with just the right amount of golden crystalised sugar. Not only are they stunning in taste, but even the swirl of vanilla bean ice-cream looks like it has been finely plated to complete the fig flower.
Simply put, food like this makes me so happy :)
Ripples, Whale Beach
24 The Strand, Whale Beach NSW
Phone: (02) 9974 5111
Ripples, Milsons Point - Olympic Drive, Milsons Point NSW
Ripples, Sydney Wharf - 56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW
Rippes, Chowder Bay - Deck C Chowder Bay Road, Mosman NSW
JENIUS & partner dined as guests of The Mint Partners and Ripples