Spotted - Ventuno, Sydney

Spotted is a monthly post I am starting that features a short interview with someone I have spotted in a food setting.

The person I interview could be just about anyone: from someone I randomly approach, to someone I just met that same day, to someone I know well. The point is, they must be spotted while eating.

Most of the people I interview will be either someone I do not know at all, or not know very well. For that reason, I have purposely kept these interviews short and sweet to avoid annoying people too much.

Nestled in Sydney's historical old town quarter, this month's Spotted is at Ventuno, Sydney.

Where are you from: Sydney, Australia

Your signature dish: Schnitzel

Weirdest thing ever eaten: Cheese...I never tried it until last month

Favorite ice cream flavour: Ferraro Rocher

Your last meal would be: A Thai beef and cashew dish

Good Food Month in Sydney

I just found out that October is Good Food Month in entire month devoted to the celebration of food!

No food lover will want to leave Sydney during this time. Good food month is packed with features and events such as night noodle markets, cooking classes, young chef's dinner, farmers' markets, and lunch and dinner offers.

They will even have Ferran Adrià, the world's most celebrated chef, give a talk about a day at his Spanish restaurant, El Bulli. This three starred Michelin restaurant has been voted the world's best restaurant 3 years in a row.

Luckily, I will be in Sydney for October, but sadly, it will only be for 2 days. I leave for New Zealand tomorrow, will be there for 10 days, and then back to Sydney for 2 days before I head home. Hopefully, I will be able to take advantage of some of the food offers, but we will see.

Here are some of the classes that I will be missing and would love to do if I were here longer:

Oyster Class
I've always wanted to learn how to shuck oysters. There is a selection of oysters for tasting, and you even get to take home an oyster knife.

Olive Oil Appreciation
Like wine and coffee tasting, olive oil can be just as intricate. I've always wanted to learn the finer details of this oil.

Italian Cooking
Italian is one of my favourite cuisines. I've always enjoyed making fresh pasta. Here, you not only get to make Italian food, but you get to learn about the history behind each dish you make. I find you get so much more when you learn history from someone instead of reading it on the Internet.

It is events like these that I wish I were living in this city **sigh**

Bite Me, Sydney

I had lunch at the Sydney Bite Me burger chain, and I have to say it was pretty good. This is not your typical fast food burger joint. In fact, I would say that this is not even a fast food joint.

The theme of this place is dirty and raunchy. The billboard photos combine their food with inappropriate suggestions, and the name itself is somewhat inappropriate. But because it is a burger restaurant that serves quality food, that somehow cancels out, and all of it just seems kind of funny and charming.

Bite Me prides themselves in selecting the finest ingredients. They use premium Australian beef sourced from top quality beef suppliers, their buns are made with organic flour, their chicken is Australian free range and chemical free, and their cheeses are top quality.

Aside from their standard burgers, they have created their own combinations such as the Australian Wagyu beef with truffle, and Australian lamb with cumin, olive and mint.

I ordered the mini beef burger with beetroot and their trolley fries.

I saw a group of girls order the foot long hot dog that was split between three people. I'll have to save my appetite and order that the next time I go.

Sydney's Top Cafes

After 30 hours of travelling, I finally arrive in Sydney. This is my 5th time visiting in 3 years, and I have really grown to love this city. The first thing I did was go out for coffee. Well technically, the first thing I did was unpack and shower, but that is besides the point.

If there is a city that takes their coffee seriously, it is Sydney. The baristas here are passionate about their coffee, and they take pride in what they do. Sydney cafes have no doubtedly mastered the art and science of making coffee.

The funny thing is is that I didn't really care much for coffee until I visited Sydney for the first time. I was researching things to do, and found an article about coffee in Sydney. I decided to enroll in espresso school, and I instantly fell in love the drink. For about a year after my first trip to Sydney, I lived and breathed coffee. I bought several espresso machines, read every book and watched every documentary ever made about coffee. Obsessed you say? Absolutely! That obsession has somewhat died down, but I still love a good coffee and am a major critic when drinking it.

My favourite espresso based drink is the flat white. It is basically a latte with less foam, but for some reason, it tastes better than a latte. You can't find it in North America (an Australian and New Zealand drink), so when at home, a latte is the closest thing.

Here are my top Sydney cafes:

1.) Single Origin, Surry Hills - This place is tucked away in Surry Hills and may be hard to find, but it is well worth the search. The cafe has a very funky vibe to it, and the staff here are extremely passionate about their coffee. They also roast their own coffee on site.

2.) Campos, Newtown - This place is always packed and busy, and it is definitely not the place to have a leisurely coffee. You come for your coffee and messin' around. This espresso bar definitely has the most consistent coffee in the city.

3.) Mecca, Downtown - The coffee here gives an excellent aftertaste. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, Mecca will produce great coffee without fail. The staff here are super friendly with high energy.

4.) Toby's Estate, Woolloomooloo - This is where it all started for me. In the back of this coffee shop is where I attended espresso school and learned all there is to know about making espresso. If you want a laid back atmosphere, this is the place to be. Toby's also hosts regular tasting events.

Flower Blooming Tea

The first time I saw flower blooming tea was at Slanted Door in San Francisco. I am a huge fan of lychee so when I saw a jasmine infused green tea with lychee flower on the menu, I ordered it. To my surprise, it was not just an ordinary tea. When it first came out, it was a ball of green. However, moments later, the ball transformed into a beautiful work of art.

Not only was the tea beautiful, but it was extremely fragrant as well. Although this flower tea was quite a bit more expensive than the one I had in Vancouver, it was well worth it. It had a lot more flavour, the presentation was nicer, and the craftmanship of the flower was much better in quality.

The slanted door is a Vietnamese restaurant that recreates Vietnamese street food with a modern twist. For appetizers, we ordered the vegetarian spring rolls, and pho bo. For mains, we ordered the catfish clay pot and a rice noodle stir fry. We ended the meal with a green bean dessert served with coconut milk.

The service here was really good. Our server brought us an extra plate of baby bok choy for waiting so long for our food...the funny thing was, we weren't even waiting all that long. I totally recommend this place.

Black Rice Sushi and Ramen Noodles

I am on my way to Sydney to visit CK, and I am so excited. I haven't seen him in about 6 months, and the phone relationship just hasn't been cutting it lately. He is usually in school when I visit, but this time he is off, and we have booked a trip to New Zealand...woo hoo! I am in Sydney for 2 days (just enough time to get rid of my jet lag) and then we are off. We are doing a 10 day road trip around the South Island, and I am just crossing my fingers that I'll be ok driving on the other side of the road (first time ever). I get bad motion sickness when reading or doing anything in a car, so I will be doing all of the driving on this trip while CK will be the trusty navigator.

I had a layover in Vancouver en route to Sydney, and naturally, I could not resist the opportunity to pop into the city for some good food. I called my friend K and we hit the busy streets of Davie and Denman for a whirlwind Japanese dinner.

Our first stop was Akira Sushi. This place is well known for its black rice sushi. Not only is this place cheap, but the food is great too. We ordered a spicy tuna roll and a spicy salmon roll with black rice. Black rice, aka Forbidden Rice, is less starchy and more nutritious than traditional white rice. It is high in fiber and rich in iron. We quickly downed it, and set off for our next destination.

Our next stop was up 4 blocks at Kintaro Ramen for, of course, fresh hand-made ramen noodles. There is always a long line up at this place, and it is reminiscent of a typical ramen joint in Japan – open kitchen, small space, energetic staff, and tight seating.

I ordered the Miso Ramen and K ordered the Shoyu ramen. I would have to say that the ramen was ok…I have had better. However, I heard their cheese ramen is worth trying.

I was insanely full at this point, but there was still some time to kill. I needed something to calm my stomach, so I decided I needed some tea. I started reminiscing about this flower blooming tea I had in San Francisco, and I asked K if he knew where we could find some. Luckily, he had seen it for the first time a few weeks back, and said it was close by.

Our last stop was at Shanghai 1949 for Chinese flower tea. Unfortunately, the tea had absolutely no taste, but the $2.50 was well spent for the entertainment value. When the tea first comes out, it is in the shape of a closed ball. After steeping in hot water for about 60 seconds, the ball blooms into a beautiful flower.

This all accomplished in 2 hours…in time for me to get back to the airport to catch my next flight. Not bad.

Dean and Deluca Truffle Salt

This Dean and Deluca truffle salt is one of the best salts I have ever tasted. Sounds bizarre, but it is true. The Dean and Deluca website says that this salt goes well with steak, risotto, eggs and potatoes, but in my opinion, it is best eaten on its own.

You know how kids sneak to the cookie jar to steal cookies...well, I would say that this is my cookie jar equivalent.

This is an Italian sea salt mixed with black truffles from Abruzzi. If you have never tasted truffle before (not the chocolate truffle), it is has a very rich and earthy taste. This fungus is one of the most expensive and prized foods in the world. It can go anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars per pound.

Hunting for truffles is no easy feat either. They cannot be cultivated and they grow underground, so sows and dogs are trained and used to hunt for truffles. Dogs are more common nowadays because sows tend to eat the truffles when they find them.

I would love to go hunting for truffles someday. I saw it once on David Rocco's show, Dolce Vita, and it looked really neat.

Low Fat Tiramisu

I'm all about eating healthy. To me, healthy equals natural, which means eating real food. Oh yea, another thing...the quicker and easier, the better! My general philosophy on eating healthy is to avoid processed and hydrogenated foods, eat mainly whole wheat and whole grain products, and always eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Easier said than done, right? I have to admit, eating healthy is not easy. However, it is not that hard either. You just always have to be conscious about what you are eating. The way I see it, eating feeds your soul, not just your stomach, so it is worth the effort.

I made this low fat tiramisu a few weeks ago, and this weekend, my sister begged me to make it again. Not only is it tasty, but it is truly a guilt-free dessert. I got the idea from the Made Healthier blog. This version of tiramisu is made of espresso, savoiardi biscuits, and vanilla pudding...that's it!

Low Fat Tiramisu
- Approx 24 savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers)
- 6-8 shots of espresso
- 2 cups of vanilla pudding
- Cocoa powder to sprinkle on top of tiramisu (optional)

1. Prepare the espresso and vanilla pudding. I used a stove top espresso maker and I made the vanilla pudding using 1% partly skimmed milk and Jell-o instant vanilla pudding powder. Dip each savoirardi biscuit quickly into the espresso, and build a layer across the bottom of the serving dish. My serving dish was about 9 inches long and 2.5 inches high.

2. Spoon a layer of vanilla pudding over top of the savoirardi (approx 0.5 inches thick).

3. Alternate between layers of espresso dipped savoirardi biscuits, and vanilla pudding until you reach the top of the serving dish. Refrigerate for 2 hours, and voila....guilt free tiramisu! When you are ready to serve, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top.

About Us

Nooschi is dedicated to bringing you cool and inspiring food content that will stimulate your senses and expand your culinary world. Our focus is global, with a deep appreciation for different cultures and how those influences have shaped the culinary world today. We like things that are fun, delicious, inspirational, beautiful, quirky and artistic.

What does Nooschi mean?

Pronounced noo-shee, the name is a true portmanteau, and is combination of the Persian and Chinese culture. In Persian, the word for bon appétit is noosh – e – jan, and the word for eating in Chinese is chi. You combine the two and you get Nooschi!

To help you navigate around the site, here are some things you may want to know:

Recipes – You'll notice there aren’t a lot of them. That's because we only publish the ones that are tried, tested and used over and over in our own kitchens. We love ones with an exotic twist but also appreciate the simple recipes for busy people on the go!

Restaurants – Restaurants we have tried and liked, hence our desire to share it with you. We are not food critics nor do we write about things that we don't like. With so many great restaurants out there, it's a waste of time to focus on the negative. You can search restaurants by city or country on the home page.

Cuisine – This displays all posts organized by a specific cuisine such as Thai, Italian or Indian. The cuisine listing on the home page is not a full list of every cuisine we have every written about, it is a short list of the types of cuisines we write about most. 

Products - Just like restaurants, this section is all about products we like and want to share with you. While we do accept free offers or paid posts from companies, we will never write about anything that we don't like.

People and Events - From time to time, we will come across people or go to events that inspire us and we write all about it in these two sections.

If there is anything you would like to see more of on the site, we love feedback. Or if you'd like to contribute, visit the Contact Page to get in touch.

We have partnered with and/or contributed to the following publications:

The Australian
En Route Magazine
Huffington Post
Lost at E Minor
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Taste & Travel Magazine

Ottawa Post Index


Benny's Bistro, Continental, Downtown
The Buzz Restaurant, Continental, Downtown
Chu Sing, Dim Sum, Chinatown
Corner Bar and Grill, Continental, Glebe
Fraser Cafe, Continental, New Edinburgh
Stoneface Dolly's, Continental, Downtown
Sunflower Cafe, Israeli, Downtown
Urban Pear, Continental, Glebe

Allium, Continental, Westboro
Art Is In Bakery, Bakery, City Centre
Back Lane Cafe, Rustic Italian, Westboro
Cafe Orient, Chinese, Chinatown
La Bottega, Italian, Downtown
Le Cordon Bleu Bistro, French, Downtown
Mamma Grazzi's Kitchen, Italian, Downtown
Morning Owl, Cafe, Downtown
Murray Street, Charcuterie, Downtown
Ox Head Restaurant, Vietnamese, West End
Perogies, Ukranian, West End
Pesto's Deli, Italian, West End
Play Food and Wine, Continental, Downtown
Stella Luna Gelato Cafe, Cafe & Gelato, Ottawa South
Sukhothai, Thai, West End
Sushi Kanata, Japanese, West End
The Village Cafe, Continental, Westboro
Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, Seafood, Downtown
Zazaza Pizza with Pizazz, Pizza, New Edinburgh

Absinthe (Omnivore's Ottawa Supper Club), Bistro, Westboro
Atelier (Omnivore's Ottawa Supper Club), Molecular Gastronomy, Downtown
Atelier, Molecular Gastronomy, Downtown
Baan Thai Restaurant, Thai, West End
Black Cat Bistro, French, Little Italy
The Black Tomato, Continental, Downtown
Club Red, Continental, West End
Domus Cafe, Continental, Downtown
La Roma, Italian, Downtown
Le Cafe, Continental, Downtown
Le Kim Chi, Korean, Little Italy
Liang's Village, Chinese, East End
Luxe Bistro, Bistro, Downtown
Navarra Restaurant (Omnivore's Ottawa Supper Club), Spanish, Downtown
Pho Bo Ga LA, Vietnamese, Chinatown
Poco Pazzo, Italian, West End
Rideau Restaurant, Chinese, West End
Sea King Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant, Chinese, West End
Siam Bistro, Thai, Westboro
Taylor's Genuine Food and Wine Bar, Continental, Glebe
Tennessy Willems, Pizza, Hintonburg
Topkapi Turkish Restaurant, Turkish, Little Italy
Town, Continental, Downtown
Wellington Gastropub (A Taste For Life), Bistro, Westboro
The Whalesbone Oyster House, Seafood, Downtown
Zen Kitchen, Vegetarian, Chinatown

French Baker, Bakery, Downtown
Lago Bar and Grill (Wedding Reception), Finger Foods, Dow's Lake
Obama Tails, Beaver Tails, Downtown

Summer Harvest Garden Party Aug 12
ORMHA Gala Jan 11
Launch of The Restaurant Adventures of Caroline and Dave Jan 10
Opening of Le Cordon Bleu Bistro at Signatures Nov09
Gold Medal Plates Oct 09
7th Annual Lumiere Charity Gala Jun 09
Savour The Tulips Party May 09
A Taste for Life Apr 09
Cupcake Camp Ottawa Mar 09
FoodMODE at Ottawa Home Show Mar 09
Ottawa Wine and Food Show Nov 08

My Darling Husband Spotted at La Cucina, Ottawa Dec 09
Caroline Ishii and Dave Loan Spotted at Zen Kitchen, Ottawa Nov 09
Jordan and Sarah O'Leary Spotted at Morning Owl, Ottawa Aug 09
Chef Gilles Penot Spotted at Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa July 09
Ron Eade Spotted at Atelier, Ottawa June 09
Atelier Team Spotted at Atelier, Ottawa May 09
Spotted at [No Name], Ottawa Apr 09
Chef Duane Keats Spotted at Luxe Bistro Mar 09
Spotted at La Bottega Nov 08

Arya Food Market, Persian, Downtown
Christian Lacroix 2008 Limited Edition Evian Water Bottle
Indie Coffee Passport Ottawa Edition
Majdouli Cheese at Mid-East Foods Centre, Lebanese, East End
New 168 Market, Chinese, Chinatown
Tea Store, Tea, Downtown
Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, Seafood, Downtown