zaaffran, Sydney, Australia

zaaffran is a superb Indian restaurant at Darling Harbour in Sydney. The views of Darling Harbour and the Sydney CBD are second to none.

Being a balmy evening, we sat on the balcony to have our feast.

I’ve eaten a lot of Indian food around the world, including India itself. The food at zaaffran is simply magnificent and some of the best that I’ve eaten.

The staff are knowledgeable and explain the dishes to you, so you know what you will be eating.

Last evening we ate

  • Mixed starter of chicken tenderloin, vegetarian entree¬† & a lamb cutlet
  • Tiger prawns in a tomato, onion & coconut sauce with green chili, garlic & curry leaf; tempered with fennel seeds & star anise
  • Chicken in a roasted coconut, clove, cinnamon, onion & tomato sauce with tamarind and curry leaf
  • Lamb cutlets grilled with ginger, garlic, black pepper, coriander and curry leaf, flecked with sesame seeds; seasonal salad; garlic chutney; beetroot raita; potato wedges
  • Decadent Chocolate Pots: swiss dark chocolate cremes; cr√®me fraiche

A feast that was washed down with a couple of bottles of pinot.

I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough.

Sebel Citigate, Brisbane, Australia

This is a review in two movements.

I’ve stayed at this hotel twice now over the past couple of months. The first stay, I would have to say, wasn’t the best.The bed was, to put is nicely, crap. It was just so uncomfortable I’d wake up more tired than when I went to bed.

The second stay was in stark contrast to the first. I don’t know if the hotel had had complaints about the beds, or they’re upgrading, but the bed in my room was magnificently comfortable. It was a pity to get out of bed in the morning.

I had a rather nice pizza from room service this stay, it wasn’t overly expensive (compared to most hotel’s) but I’d have thought they’d serve it on a plate rather than in the cardboard box you get takeaway pizzas in!

The location can’t be beat either. Its a quick walk or cab ride to most of the CBD, and probably a 15 minute walk to the Eagle Street pier where you can find Cha Cha Chars and Jellyfish.

Let’s hope I get a decent room and bed next time.

Jellyfish restaurant, Brisbane, Australia

When we couldn’t get into Cha Cha Char’s because it was full, the maitre’d recommended their sister restaurant a couple of minute walk down the river called Jellyfish.

The restaurant was busy, and people were waiting for tables. It took around 30 minutes for a table to open up for us, but it was worth the wait and we had a table overlooking the river. It did get a little chilly later on in the evening.

The restaurant definitely has a fishy theme to the dishes, but for those of us that may not be a big fish fan, there was lamb and steak available on the menu as well.

No wine this evening, as I’d had a long day of travelling, so just had a couple of beers.

Great restaurant, highly recommended.

Cha Cha Char, Brisbane, Australia

When we asked the concierge at our hotel for a steak restaurant we were told of this Brisbane institution.

Cha Cha Char is a wine bar and grill at the Eagle Street pier on the river in Brisbane’s CBD.

I ate at Cha Cha Char’s probably a month or so ago, and I’d have to say that is is one of the best restaurants that I’ve ever eaten at.

If you love your steak, and a fine wine, then this place is for you.

You will have to book in order to get a table as we weren’t able to get a table when we walked up, so we booked for the next evening.

The Sebel, Chatswood, Sydney, Australia

And this weeks winner of Gavin’s “another hotel of the week” award is The Sebel in Chatswood in Sydney.

Chatswood is just just up the Pacific Highway from North Sydney and St Leonards, where one of our Sydney offices is, so its pretty handy.

I have stayed at the Sebel once before, probably 4 or 5 years ago.

The room, well suite really, was massive. It had a living room, bed room, kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Quite wasteful really as I was in the room for just under 16 hours.

Apart from that its a pretty standard hotel / serviced apartment.

On the downside the Internet connection didn’t work at all. Thank God I had my 3G wireless card on me, and reception was good.

If you were staying in Sydney for a while and you wanted a decent apartment then this would be a good place to stay. Its pretty much right on top of the Chatwood shopping centre as well, which is handy.

If you need to work in the CBD you still can’t go past the InterContinental. Though it only takes around 15 to 20 minutes to get into the CBD from Chatswood at around 9:30am.