After getting the all clear from the dental surgeon that there was no problem, Mr. CA4G was in the mood for going out. With no real destination in mind, we headed in to Newtown for a walk. Our feet however knew where to head and we found ourselves at Bench Wine Bar.
We haven’t been for some time and were pleasantly surprised with the few changes that Robyn has made. The most welcome change was the addition of an eco fire. Feeling the winter chill we got the closest table to the heat.
We couldn’t really make up our minds as to what we felt like drinking so trusted Robyn to make a selection for us. I think she knows we like our Californian wines and suggested we try the Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel from the 2012 vintage. Zinfandel is not a wine we have had a lot of experience with, but as the evening progressed the flavours and aromas really opened up.
The menu is still tapas style so we decided to start with four items and then see if we felt like more. Sadly we only took a photo of two of the dishes we ordered, arancini balls and prawn dumplings. All items ordered were fantastic as usual.
If you are in need of a beverage and something to eat while escaping the winter chill, head in to Bench Winebar in Newtown.
To round the weekend out we headed into the city for a bit of window shopping and catch up with some of our favourite boutique managers. One we have known for many years is Simon at Paspaley Pearls. It is always good to have a chat with someone you have known for some time, is passionate about their job and are willing to help you learn something new.
Our experience and knowledge of pearls is increasing thanks to Simon and the team at Paspaley Pearls in Martin Place. While looking and learning we also got to see (touch and try on) some fabulous pearls. The highlight was a strand of humungous pearls named ‘The Vivienne’ and worth over $1,400,000. This strand took many years to assemble. I never realized how heavy a strand of this size would be, probably 400gr or more.
We also held what is considered one of the most perfect pearls in the world. It has also been exhibited at The Smithsonian Institution along with other famous pearls. 20.4mm of pearly goodness.
Of course there is a culinary relationship with pearls as the Pinctada Maxima oysters are also used for pearl meat. The shells are also used for mother of pearl items including caviar spoons. Mother of pearl is the best for eating caviar as metal tends to react with caviar altering the flavour.
So after a wonderous afternoon of looking at pearls it was time for dinner. Our choice, Celestial Chinese Restaurant in Bligh Street in the city. You enter down a flight of stairs to a room with a very large Koi pond, bridge and pavilion. Tables are well spaced and the room a bit dated with an ‘80’s vibe.
Celestial is popular with the business brigade at lunch time and in the evenings some bus groups and locals in the know. The menu consists of Cantonese cuisine and the wine list has some very good vintage Australian wines.
We are creatures of habit when we dine at Celestial and always order the same things. Steamed scallops with black bean sauce, king prawns with house special chilli sauce, Mongolian lamb andfried rice with prawns and Chinese sausage. Sadly only one photo as we were distracted by the koi, scallops in black bean.
We also sit in the same spot everytime, in the pavilion overlooking the koi as they swim by and occasionally get excited and make a splash. A very relaxing way to enjoy dinner.
Thanks for dropping by!