On our new quest to try every restaurant at Miranda Fair, we stopped at Mejico Miranda for dinner tonight, which I was feeling a little ambivalent about. On one hand, I’m not a huge fan of eating with my hands in public; on the other soon to be dirty hand, we do love our spicy food and Richard always liked Mexican.

The place was quite full on this Friday night, but we managed to grab an outdoor table without booking. The waitress explained the “Feed Me” banquet as she handed the paper menu to us. For either $55 per average person, or $80 for someone really hungry, the table would get this, and this, and this, and that… a whole heap of dishes, as she recited the actual menu. I was thoroughly impressed with her excellent memory, but for someone not already familiar with the food options, we just couldn’t follow and would do much better with a printed version of it. We settled on the fact that the banquet was “basically a little bit of everything”, and even though I’m always really hungry (as we all know), I wasn’t interested in the desserts and we opted to order our own dishes.

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Scallop Ceviche

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Scallop Ceviche – Avocado, pomegranate, jalapeno, crispy eschalots on house-baked tostadas ($16)

Scallop ceviche on house-baked tostadas ($16) and tuna ceviche on hand-cut tortilla chips ($16). These bite-size gems were super fresh with the right herbs to give their own distinct flavour, and a nice contrasting crunch from the toasted tortilla chips. I preferred the scallop ceviche and Richard the tuna, but both were very good.

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Tuna Tostadas

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Tuna Tostadas – Sashimi grade tuna, cucumber, avocado, capsicum, ginger, spiced tapioca pearls on hand-cut tortilla chips ($16)

With the maximum 3 chilli icons on the menu and how much I love hot food, I was really, really looking forward to the feta-stuffed jalapeno poppers, served with chipotle mayo ($14). The small plate dish unfortunately received what Richard dubbed the “Shire treatment”. Crunchy, greasy, cheesy – yes, but the jalapeno peppers were very carefully scraped clean of any seeds, resulting in zero detectable heat. Zero, my friend. They should know not to deceive Vickie with 3 chilli icons!

(By now Vickie should also know better than to expect many foods in Sydney to live up to 3 chilli icons, which often only just set her up for disappointment.)

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Jalapeno Poppers

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Jalapeno Poppers – Crumbed & stuffed with feta & herbs, served with chipotle mayo ($14)

Back to eating with hands, our tacos arrived. The achiote chicken taco ($12) came with chorizo, cucumber, cumin and chives just to keep up with the alliteration, and maybe also taste; whereas the slow-braised lean pork taco ($12) had chilli caramel salsa and aioli with extra pork scratchings. I liked that they weren’t modern cheese-covered abominations, but the soft shell tortilla tasted overpoweringly floury to me; to Richard the tacos just lacked a certain kick.

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Tacos

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Chicken Tacos (top) and Pork Tacos (bottom) ($12 for each dish)

The only main we ordered was the lamb adobo with house-made chimichurri ($29). The rare lamb was super tender and fatty on the sides, and I thought it was nice enough with the adobo and didn’t need the accompanying oily and subtle-tasting chimichurri. Not the biggest of main in volume, but definitely good enough to be a winter night dish if you didn’t skip the green sauce and trim off the fat like I did.

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Lamb Adobo

Mejico Miranda, Aug 2015: Lamb Adobo – Chargrilled Hunter Valley lamb, house-made chimichurri, snow pea tendrils, pickled onion ($29)

Looking back at the menu, I discovered a few of the dishes we ordered that weren’t spicy at all were actually given 1 chilli icon. I also don’t know if we would get better value from the banquet menu or if it’s just designed for the less picky. Overall, apart from the “Shire treatment”, I was quite happy with the meal and service. Eating with my hands might not be so bad after all?

Mejico Miranda

Address Westfield Miranda level 2
Shop 2202, 600 Kingsway, Miranda NSW 2228, Australia
Speciality / Cuisine Mexican
Price (2015/2016) Entree (ceviche, Small Plates, tacos): $12-16
Main (Bigger Plates): $24-32
Dessert: $10-12
Set Menu (Feed Me): $55 per person (classic) / $80 (deluxe)

Zomato mini logo

Are you ready for an obscene amount of gelato photos in one post?

The whole saga began when I first heard about friends driving out specifically for a gelato run (people do that?), and then later someone else asked me what my favourite gelato place was (none at the time), what I thought of Gelato Messina because they thought it was all hype (I’d never visited a Messina at the time) and recommended another gelato place in Sydney (still yet to visit). Gelato is apparently a pretty big deal to many, so I guess there’s only one way for me to find out and form my own opinion. Yes, Vickie finally visited Gelato Messina to see what the fuss was all about. This is what Gelato Messina at Miranda is all about!

Jump to:

Note 1: I don’t have a sweet tooth so very little sweetness would satisfy me and any more quickly overwhelm and sicken.
Note 2: I generally avoid caffeine after a certain hour and usually only have gelato after dinner, so I may never try many of the coffee or chocolate flavours. Boo.
Note 3: I am cuckoo for coconut, so expect just a little bias. smile
Note 4: Blank comment means it tastes fairly standard (and that’s not a complaint).
Note 5: This post will be continually updated as I revisit the place. Oh, spoiler. I revisit the place.

Post Last Updated: 25 Jan 2016


Gelato Messina Standard Flavours (Gelato)

There is a plethora of standard gelato flavours available, and the first time I went there I just didn’t know where to begin. At Messina Miranda, the first and third display cabinets from the left are the standard gelato flavours that are available year-round.

Gelato Messina: Gelato (standard)

Gelato Messina Miranda Standard Gelato

Flavour Comments Date
Apple Pie This flavour has my usual complaint of the apple pie crust crumbs being too large a lump, but it wasn’t soggy and that I appreciated. I love apple pies themselves but wasn’t particularly fond of this flavour. 25 Oct 2015
Banana Split I liked the banana-ness on the first few tastes, but after a while, it seemed to have dissipated and I could only taste caramel, peanuts and chocolate. 25 Oct 2015
Bounty Coconut milk gelato with desiccated coconut and choc chip. I thought this tasted too chocolatey and not coconutty enough, but I’ve never had Bounty the chocolate, so I wouldn’t know how it compares. 2 Dec 2015
Choc Mint This flavour tastes like mint leaves. It leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, which I much prefer than the sugary fake mint flavour of some other choc mint ice cream. Every time Richard orders this, the staff would ask if he’s tried it because it’s just different from the typical choc mint. 31 Jul 2015
star Coconut Lychee Loved the very Asian coconut and lychee flavour combination. 14 Aug 2015
Hazelnut 31 Jul 2015
Macadamia Crunch Macadamia gelato with crunchy sweet white chocolate bits inside. 23 Aug 2015
Pannacotta w Fig Jam & Amaretti Biscuit Had a big scoop of this and a big wad of super sweet sticky fig jam hit and overwhelm me. I wish this was more pannacotta than fig jam, but if super sweet stickiness is your thing, this flavour would be your thing. 31 Jul 2015
star Pear & Rhubarb Lovely fruity flavour! 14 Aug 2015
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Chip A bestseller according to the Messina website, and I can see why. It’s creamy, sweet and slightly salty. It’s the complete diet. 25 Jan 2016
Vanilla 2 Dec 2015
Yoghurt & Berry Tastes more or less like its name. There’s meant to be both raspberries and blueberries in the coulee, but every time I’ve seen it there’s only red swirls in it. 19 Sep 2015

Gelato Messina Standard Flavours (Sorbet)

Sorbet, also available year-round, are on the furthest right. I could favourite all the flavours in this section!

Gelato Messina: Sorbet (dairy free)

Gelato Messina Miranda Standard Sorbet

Flavour Comments Date
Blood Orange Quite sour, which I love. Excellent as a palate cleanser. 9 Oct 2015
Chocolate Sorbet Taste dark chocolatey and not overly sweet, and not thick like an ice cream or gelato. A lighter chocolate option. 14 Aug 2015
Coffee and Hazelnut Praline The sweet crunchy hazelnut praline goes very well in the coffee sorbet. There’s enough hazelnut taste in it. 23 Aug 2015
Lemon Sorbet Super refreshing, palate-cleansing, tarty lemony goodness. 11 Sep 2015
Mandarin 25 Sep 2015
star Pandan & Coconut Pandan and coconut are always a reliable flavour combination. 31 Jul 2015
star Passionfruit Comes with all the crunchy passionfruit seeds. Enjoyed the tartness. 14 Aug 2015
Raspberry 19 Sep 2015
star Salted Coconut & Mango A bit of mango puree on a coconut base with just a hint of salt. Love this. 23 Aug 2015
Strawberry 25 Sep 2015

Gelato Messina Special Flavours

Special flavours are on the left hand side of the second left section. There are always 5 special flavours available and every weekday, a new one displaces an old. Unlike their standard gelato and sorbet, the specials would often have a million things going on. My general comments about these million things going on are:

  1. Many are too cakey / doughy / obscure for my taste; I’ve learnt to avoid anything with “brownie”, “bread”, “biscuit”, “cookie”, “crumbs”, “cake”, “pie”, “doughnut” in the description. Yeeeaah. I don’t bother with a lot of the specials any more.
  2. Even on days where the “brownie”, “bread”, etc weren’t too cakey / doughy, they could sometimes be in too big a chunk that gets awkward to chew. They probably look better for promo pictures, though.
  3. Nuts in the gelato are not guaranteed to not be soggy.
  4. Anything with “praline” in it so far has been reliably crunchy.
  5. Taste test is a must before committing to the full scoop! But even then, your sample might not have grabbed that doughy crumb or soggy bit of nuts.
  6. There always seems to be one peanut butter flavour on the board?

And now, the ever growing Special flavours comment table!

Gelato Messina: Specials

Flavour Comments Date
Rococo Chocolate, honey and coconut gelato with crunchy, sticky nougat. I taste-tested this and thought I liked it, but the big scoop got more sickly sweet by the minute. 25 Jan 2016
Old Gregg Baileys gelato with butterscotch sauce folded through. Taste test of Richard’s scoop and it’s very alcoholic! 1 Dec 2015
Pablo Pistachio Light pistachio gelato smothered in white chocolate mousse and raspberry puree. I didn’t pick up a lot of the white chocolate taste (or my scoop just didn’t have a lot of the mousse in it), but I still liked the pistachio and raspberry flavour combination.
Pretz N’ Popped Pretzel milk gelato with peanut popcorn praline. Ah, it’s the peanut popcorn praline, which I remember having in one of the old specials (Cracker Jack). Still crunchy, and I still liked the peanut flavour.
Big Cheese-Off Pistachio & ricotta gelato, scented w/ orange blossom water & candied almonds folded through. The staff told me it’s quite cheesy; Richard thought it’s cheesy enough; I mostly tasted the pistachio. Occasionally the lovely orange blossom water came through as well. My only complaint is the candied whole almonds got quite soggy being embedded in the gelato. 9 Oct 2015
Cracker Jacks Caramel peanut butter popcorn gelato with peanut popcorn praline. The praline was sweet and crunchy and the peanut tastes great with the popcorn. Enjoyed this.
star Tongue Thai’d Peanut and coconut gelato with cashew dacquoise and lime curd. Loved this! Very nice peanut taste. Richard’s comment on taste test of my scoop: “Taste like Thai!” 25 Sep 2015
Passionfruit Cheesecake I got this as a full scoop after taking a taste test, but regretted my decision. I couldn’t taste any of the cheesecake but a watered down passionfruit gelato. The crunchy biscuit base chunks were so big they were distracting. 19 Sep 2015
star Pina Coco-Lada Bounty gelato with pineapple cake and mango puree. Love this one! It had more coconut than the super sweet Bounty gelato on its own, and the pineapple and mango taste went super well with it all. It was thankfully not as cakey as the Danny Two Times I had in the same cup. 11 Sep 2015
Danny Two Times Yoghurt, orange and poppy seed gelato with orange cake. I loved this as the taste test and proceeded to get a scoop, but my scoop ended up being almost all orange cake, and barely the yoghurt, orange and poppy seed gelato I first tasted. Richard also had a full scoop, and both were so cakey they didn’t melt at all. Not a fan of this.
star Burnt Caramel and Ginger It wasn’t too sweet despite the burnt caramel name; love the ginger taste in this. Wish this was a base flavour available at other times! And this doesn’t even have coconut in it! 23 Aug 2015
VJ’s Coconut Caramel coconut gelato with ginger lemongrass jam. Taste test only. Has more ginger lemongrass taste than coconut. I was very close to getting this as a proper scoop if I hadn’t felt like something more coconutty. 14 Aug 2015
Romanikerer Peanut butter cheesecake gelato with peanut butter brownie. Very rich, to the point that I somewhat regret choosing to have a whole scoop of this. 31 Jul 2015
Key
star Standard flavour Note to self: try this again
star Special flavour I wish they would redo the flavour in the future
all I got fooled by the taste test! *shakes fist*

The Verdict

TL;DR: Do I think Gelato Messina is all hype? Nope! Especially not if the staff at Miranda have been so consistently helpful and friendly, even when the place is super swamped on the weekends after a film. This is really bad for my waistline!

Gelato Messina Miranda

Address Westfield Miranda ground floor
600 Kingsway, Miranda NSW 2228, Australia
Speciality / Cuisine Gelato
Price (2015/2016) Scoops: $4.80 (1 scoop) / $6.80 (2 scoops) / $8.80 (3 scoops)
Tubs: $12.80 (0.5L) / $22.80 (1L) / $29 (1.5L)
Other Notes Cash only

Zomato mini logo

Everyone’s favourite Taiwanese dumpling place Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) opened yet another branch in Sydney. We previously visited one in Hong Kong, and later at Central Park after discovering for the first time that the franchise existed in Australia (yeah, we know). We’d been talking about trying this new Westfield Miranda branch, and tonight was finally the night. It’s dumpling time!

Guarded by their giant dumpling head mascot, the entrance to the two-level restaurant is on level 2 of the Westfield mall. Even though most of the shops around it were already closed, at 6 pm this Saturday night, quite a few tables were already occupied by couples, families and groups, and the place only got busier as the night progressed. We sat upstairs and after going through the same full menu as the one we got from Central Park, handed the waiter our paper order form.

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Dan Dan Noodles

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Dan Dan Noodles ($11.80)

The food didn’t take very long, and first up was our Dan Dan Noodles ($11.80). Traditional Sichuan dan dan noodles are meant to be numbingly spicy; while the texture of the one we got tonight was great, all we could taste from the noodles was peanut sauce, which I didn’t even realise was a common ingredient for certain variations of the dish. Richard quipped that this is the “Shire version” for you (and it’s okay for him to say that because he’s from there tongue ); whatever this is, it had to be one of the more disappointing soup base I’ve tried yet.

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Prawns with Pineapple

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Prawns with Pineapple ($22.80)

Prawns with Pineapple ($22.80) was very mayonnaise-y and therefore delicious because anything covered in mayonnaise is delicious, but it could really use far less of the sauce. I also didn’t quite taste the pineapple in it.

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wontons

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wontons ($10.80)

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Xiao Long Bao

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Xiao Long Bao ($12.80 for 8 pieces)

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Vegetable and Pork Jiaozi

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Vegetable and Pork Jiao Zi ($10.80)

Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wontons ($10.80), Xiao Long Boa ($12.80 for 8 pieces), and Vegetable & Pork Jiao Zi ($10.80) are pretty much our staple order. They initially sent us the non-spicy version of the wontons, but quickly fixed it after we pointed out the error. This time, the broth was at least detectably spicy, and all the dumplings lived up to my expectations.

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Crispy Fried Chicken with Chilli

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Crispy Fried Chicken with Chilli ($16.80)

After the zero-heat dan dan noodles and slightly spicy wontons, it really was a gamble whether the Crispy Fried Chicken with Chilli ($16.80) would be hot enough. Not for me (but nothing is), but the deep fried chicken was moderately crispy and appropriately savoury. I got my chilli kick out of chewing on a pepper — literally.

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

Din Tai Fung Miranda: Black Sesame Bun Inside

Steamed Mini Black Sesame Bun (inside)

Comparing to Central Park, Richard and I both independently agreed that our dinner tonight at the Westfield Miranda branch was the better experience. I would quite happily return, but probably not to order any of the Shire-spicy noodles again. wink

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon