Game of Thrones – HBO/Foxtel

You’ve probably seen ads around the place for the new show “Game of Thrones” currently being advertised for Foxtel’s Showtime channel (on at 8:30pm Sunday nights). If you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy novels and the like, you may want to check this series out. It’s definitely a show that you need to warm up to, as the first few episodes as Ant described it, “it’s like watching medieval news”. It’s dark, it’s twisted and at some points pushes your comfort zone with it’s violence, scandal and shock value – some call this “fantasy grown up”. George R. R. Martin’s series isn’t for the faint-hearted and growing to love characters in this series may seem futile as everyone is fair game to leave the plot at any time. You do get some likeable characters and each of Martin’s original books is set to become one season worth of the series, so this first season corresponds with book one of the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series.

HBO series

At first we found it a little difficult to stomach, I think the notion of it’s depravity and perhaps our own desensitisation to that really hit us watching this and we felt like we might not make it through the entire season, but as we rounded episode 4 (of 10) the storyline fleshed out enough that the intrigue started to draw us into the world of Westeros. By the subsequent episodes you start to appreciate the story and development, though initially I was a little disheartened to see there were no strong female characters that were noble/honourable enough to really respect in the show, but I felt much more satisfied by the end of the season.

There are some taboo and definitely dark themes in the series so you’re probably not going to want to let the kids watch this one. Look out for Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister – he adds some funny lines and persona to the series and the Emmy nominations he received are certainly warranted.

I’m really enjoying the boom of these shows, I only wish they would turn Raymon E. Feist’s world of Midkemia into a series.

If you’re into your historical dramas, fantasy series or just something to watch – check out Game of Thrones and give it a try, if you can sit through the beginning you’ll cruise through to the end of the season. If you’re looking for other similar themed shows to watch here are a few I have enjoyed:

  • Rome
  • The Tudors
  • Camelot
  • Robin Hood
  • The Borgias
  • Spartacus
  • Downtown Abbey

Let me know if there are any other shows you suggest, I’d love to check them out!

** This has been slated to return mid-2012 for Season 2 on Showcase **

\~OwL~/

Advertisements

Blackbird Café, Sydney

Bob, Owl and I went to Blackbird café at Cockle Bay Wharf for dinner after visiting the Aquarium. We just wanted something quick and simple so we could run along home to do ZA/ZG (which, by the way, is very frustrating). Bob ordered the Portuguese Chicken Burger ($21.90), Owl the Lamb Kofta Burger ($22.90), and I the Roasted Lamb Cutlets ($35.90).

The large burgers were tasty and I am happy to report that the thick chips were freshly cooked and, hence, were deliciously crunchy as supposed to dismally soggy. Bob tried to share her chips with me but lifting the cup from the board only served to scatter the chips on the table since it didn’t have a bottom – sharers be warned! I was rather pleased that my cutlets were very lean and that it was so generously apportioned. It started off well but eventually became a little too salty for my liking so I had to eat some of Bob’s burger after to try to neutralise the saltiness whilst Owl very kindly ate my last cutlet. The only major downside to this dish is that the cutlets were quite tough and did not fall off the bone well despite promises of it being roasted as supposed to pan-fried. Nonetheless, it sufficiently satisfied my lamb craving.

We fought our way to the counter and paid for our meal, for-going dessert as I had a box of pastries from Black Star Pastry sitting at home. Service was prompt yet bordered on the condescending as the restaurant seemed to have lifted its status a few notches since the last time I visited (2007). I suppose we were too casually dressed for a Saturday night out. All in all it was a nice experience if a little overpriced. No pictures since it rather makes me cringe, not being a fully dedicated food blogger. You’ll just have to imagine the yummy food 😉

Blackbird Café
Balcony level of Cockle Bay Wharf between the IMAX Theatre and Sydney Aquarium
02 9283 7385

Medusa Greek Taverna, Sydney

We went to the Medusa Greek Taverna in Sydney for a friend’s birthday not too long ago and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We found the service was attentive, food was great value and thought it’d be good to share with others.

Upon walking in you feel like you’re in Greece, the walls and general ambience are relaxing and they definitely add that little extra to the experience.

You get good generous portions for each meal and found we had plenty to eat.

For entrees we started out with the Halloumi ($16). A good sized serving which was served quite quickly and fed the three of us easily.

For mains, we had to scour the menu carefully as there were so many things on the menu which sounded promising.

I chose the Exohiko Arni ($32), which was delicious. The lamb was nicely medium rare and the filo pasty balanced the lamb and sauce well. The serving was very generous and while I usually have a good appetite this still managed to give me a run for my money.

The Swordfish skewers (Xifias Souvlaki – $34) were also a substantial serving and very tasty. They were not easily finished and ended up being shared around amongst the three of us.

swordfish and prawn skewers, chargrilled with lemon, chilli parsley sauce

The last dish was ordered by Ant, which was the whole baby calamari filled with pinenuts and rice on a chilli spiced tomato salsa (Kalamarakia Yemista – $29.50), who at first was very impressed with the dish and enjoyed it, but was eventually overwhelmed by the salt, flavour and sheer size of the portion.

whole baby calamari filled with pinenuts and rice on a chilli spiced tomato salsaThe Dessert plate for two was the final thing we ordered, and this consisted of a tasting of the Medusa strawberries, baclava, galactobouriko, chocolate mousse, loukoumades, vissino with ouzo ice cream. The plate is outstanding and more than enough for two people, especially if you’ve just had entree and mains here. You get such a great assortment of sweets that there will definitely be something that suits the taste buds. It’s a shame that Medusa don’t just sell these dessert plates as a standalone, because they are definitely worth a try!

a tasting of the Medusa strawberries, baclava, galactobouriko, chocolate mousse, loukoumades, vissino with ouzo ice creamAll up we all really enjoyed the night out at Medusa, the restaurant fills up quite quickly (we went on a Friday night) and you might want to book ahead. Parking is a bit difficult in the area, but there are plenty of carparks with paid parking on Kent and Sussex Streets or if you’re lucky on street parking may be available.

One of the best things about Medusa is that is has an excellent website, so you don’t need to guess the details of your night out. I love when venues have online booking options and provide you everything you need to know about the location and service. Medusa also have their menus conveniently provided on their site as a PDF. If you’re looking for a nice Greek restaurant, try out Medusa Greek Taverna!

Medusa Greek Taverna
2 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (Corner of Kent & Market Streets)
Phone: (02) 9267 0799
Email: info@medusagreektaverna.com.au
Website: http://www.medusagreektaverna.com.au/index.html

\~OwL~/