Shearwater Restaurant – Heron Island, AU

Shearwater Restaurant
Heron Island
http://www.heronisland.com/Eat-and-Drink.aspx

Heron Island: think Great Barrier Reef, turtles, sharks, birds – paradise. Didn’t think I could find a steak on this island? Wrong. After capitalising on one of those weekend newspaper “bargain” deals, my better half and I ventured out to Heron Island for a 7-night getaway. Overall, the food wasn’t great (think camp food) but seeing as we were on a nature island during the peak of turtle egg-laying season we knew we actually came to enliven the little part of David Attenborough that (I think) exists in each and every one of us.

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Despite this, one couldn’t help but be distracted by the constant wafts of bird poo that circulated throughout the restaurant. Nor could one refrain from critiquing the tacky blue walls and décor which made the restaurant seem like a staff kitchen in a dated aquarium.

On a more positive point, a noteworthy dish I had on the island was the mouth-watering Cape Byron Rib Eye.

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Set at the price of $37AUD, the steak was a long-awaited palette cleanser and star of the show for the Shearwater Restaurant (think Chris Martin to Coldplay). Cooked at medium rare, the meat was lean but buttery and juicy – you could tell the big fella had been well looked after.

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And if the meat has got you Wikipedia’ing the location from which it originated (Cape Byron is the easternmost point of Australia FYI) then you know it’s a quality cut. Served with baby carrots, red wine jus and Paris mash the combination was rich and made you fill all warm inside – almost like a good feed at a pub. The kitchen could have done a better job with the presentation but all in all it was a very satisfying dish.

 

Cape Byron Rib Eye

How well it was cooked – 8.5

Flavour – 8.5

Tenderness – 8.5

Overall – 8.5

AnnaLena – Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC

AnnaLena
Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
http://www.annalena.ca/

AnnaLena has been hailed as one of the hottest restaurants in Vancouver, having heard this I made my way down (took me 3 attempts to finally get there) and went on an ordering spree.
I loved the interior, slightly artsy, not at all pretentious and almost cozy.
I sat at the bar with my colleague and we decided to go all out, well, I decided to go all out.
I ordered the oysters with Foie gras, the octopus and potatoes, their fried chicken, the scallops and finally their braised wagyu short rib.

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Out first the oysters were good, a creamy richness along with a mineral freshness really helped keep a balance. I quite enjoyed them although and the addition of the jalapeno mignonette was, in my opinion, a necessity.

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Out next the octopus, the dish was well crafted and balanced. A tomato sauce, fluffy potatoes and the octopus cooked perfectly, added capers and lemon brought a new level to the dish as well. While the dish is no longer on the menu I would highly recommend trying it if it comes back.

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The fried chicken was up next, and despite the fact I love fried chicken, I found this particular dish to be lacking any defining flavour, the chicken while crispy didn’t offer any sort of flavourful crumbing and the mayo was good but still incomplete in terms of a dipping sauce.

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The scallops were out next and the dish was expertly crafted; veal sweetbreads in lieu of pork, mushrooms, mushy squash and some pasta thrown in. the flavours and textures all worked together well and while the dish was great the scallops were overcooked and brought the dish down and made them unenjoyable.

Last out was the short rib served with a broccoli puree, potatoes, mushrooms and a peppercorn jus.

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The dish was presented really well; the short rib braised to perfection, a nice brown on the exterior with a pink interior; served cut open it showcased the marbling and was extremely tender. The puree was flavoured well and had a lovely creaminess while the jus was a great accompaniment.

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The server we had very easily sold me on their apple fritter dessert, which unfortunately is no longer on the menu, it was fried apples dusted in cinnamon sugar served with lemon curds, pistachios and either whipped cream or semifreddo.

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Definitely worth ordering and a stellar variety of flavours which had me uncharacteristically finishing the plate.
AnnaLena is definitely worth checking out if you have the chance while you’re in town.

AnnaLena Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato