Date Archives February 2015

Breakfast and Bubbles: Kazbah, Balmain

Poached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beans

They say you’re meant to eat breakfast like a King, and Kazbah is more than happy to take on that challenge with their Banquet Breakfast Feast, taking it upon themselves to feed you until you’re stuffed, and then proceed to bring out dessert.

Usually available only for bookings in groups of eight, they have decided to shrink the serving sizes to allow groups of 2 to sample the feast for the New South Wales Food and Wine Festival at $30 per head, bubbly included.

Turkish CoffeeTurkish Coffee

We start off with a Turkish Coffee, because when in Rome right? It had fabulous caramel notes and its strength was only tempered by the sugar that was added. There was none of the burnt aftertaste that I always associate with darkly roasted coffee, and finished smooth on the palate. It sure provided one heck of a caffeine hit though, and we needed it for the food coma that was soon to follow.

Sweet cous cous with nuts, dried fruit, stewed rhubarb, and cardamom milkSweet cous cous with nuts, dried fruit, stewed rhubarb, and cardamom milk

Warm Rice Pudding with Saffron Poached Pear, Cinnamon and HazelnutsWarm Rice Pudding with Saffron Poached Pear, Cinnamon and Hazelnuts

Wholegrain Barley and Oat Banana Porridge with Brown Sugar and Date CompoteWholegrain Barley and Oat Banana Porridge with Brown Sugar and Date Compote

They started us off sweet, with a trio of breakfast grains and cereals. Sweet Cous Cous, Saffron Rice Pudding and Barley and Oat Banana Porridge set the scene for a breakfast in the middle east, and “sits on your stomach like a sack full of quarters” (Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations, Season 4, Ep 18, 16:10). We were advised very early on not to fill up on these, but I can’t resist the comforting starchy texture of a rice pudding or porridge. In fact, the Rice Pudding with Saffron-Poached Pear (with it’s beautiful notes of vanilla and orange zest) reminded The Boy very strongly of what he used to have as a kid: Haleem, which is a creamy porridge made from whole wheat berries. The Sweet Cous Cous with Dried Fruit, Stewed Rhubarb and Cardamom Milk presented like breakfast cereal with a twist – the cous cous is cooked in a rose and cinnamon spiked liquid, topped with sweet dried fruit, and served with a warm, frothed cardamom milk that you pour over the top.

Move over, Captain Crunch.

Duo of Roasted Pumpkin, and Lamb TaginesDuo of Roasted Pumpkin, and Lamb Tagines

Then the tagine: a half and half of Roasted Pumpkin on one side, and Lamb on the other. Usually marked by the high conical cap that tops the shallow dish that holds the food, the tagine, much like the paella, actually refers to the stewing pan and not the food. In this one, the Roast Pumpkin was sweet and light, and y’know, good, but it wasn’t the lamb. Oh the lamb. Spiced lamb mince (secret spice mix recipe and all that) lays thick and rich on the bottom of the tagine, couching a baked egg that retains its oozy yolk. Grilled bread on the side, of course, because you need to be full, right?

If I die from being overfed tomorrow, I’m just glad that I have had this lamb.

Poached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beansPoached, scrambled and fried eggs, toast and lebanese bread with sides of merguez sausage, bacon, roasted tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi, mushrooms, baby spinach, and baked beans

Then more savoury, because you can’t have breakfast in Australia without bacon and eggs. Laid out on a wooden platter were eggs done three ways (scrambled, poached and fried), hash brown, toasted bread, bacon, roasted tomato, grilled haloumi, stewed mushrooms, baked beans and spinach. It was quite a luscious platter (though not quite as amazing as the lamb tagine) and I really needed the acidity and tang that the stewed mushrooms provided. The scrambled eggs were a touch overdone for me – maybe to keep it from spreading all over the platter, I don’t know – and the hash browns didn’t quite have enough surface area to fluffy inside as I was hoping for. But really, I’m just nitpicking at this point because my stomach feels like overfilled muffin cups that have been put into the oven, and is resulting in the subsequent spilling out over the waistband of my jeans.

Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch SauceChocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce

Remember how I said that they would feed you till you’re full and then bring out dessert? Well here is dessert. Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce. Pancakes larger than your face is drowned in a pool of sauce, and topped with two scoops of ice cream.

Chocolate and Raspberry Pancakes with Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream and Housemade Butterscotch Sauce

And thick, too. I’m sure that this is the food coma talking, but I’m not such a fan of the texture of these pancakes. The addition of almond meal and the sheer size of it creates a tough, cakey texture, which is not quite the fluffy, bouncy texture that I’ve come to expect from pancakes. The butterscotch sauce mixed in with rivulets of creamy chocolate ice cream was nice, like a caramel and chocolate milkshake had a baby.

This is where the Turkish Coffee really came in handy. I was well and truly in a comatose state from the meal, and needed a wooden barrel to help roll me home. I’m told that these portions are calculated to be scaled down from the 8-person banquet, and the only thing that was left at a larger portion was the pancakes, which usually serves four to six. I could have easily been full if The Boy and I shared this with another four people, and with a bag full of leftovers, I can safely say that neither of us ate for the rest of the day.

And maybe that is the point of a middle eastern breakfast. You can like a King in the morning, so you don’t have to consume anything until the next breakfast.

If you’d like to try this luxurious breakfast, it is still available at Kazbah in Balmain till the end of the NSW Food and Wine Festival on the 1st of March. Visit for more details.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of the NSW Food and Wine Festival.
Kazbah Balmain
379 Darling St
Balmain, NSW 2041
Phone: 02 9555 7067

Kazbah Balmain on Urbanspoon

Would you like fries with that? Burger Project, World Square

Spicy Roast Pork Burger with Salted Caramel Milkshake

Hype does strange things to restaurants. Some of them ride it well, like a fictional college girl on a mechanical bull like you see in the movies, and some of them, well, let’s say that the only thing worse than disappointment is disappointment after all the hype.

So when Neil Perry’s Burger Project opened up in World Square to snaking queues that threatened the sanctity of your 30 minute lunch break, you knew that this could only go 2 ways: fantastic, or very VERY disastrous.

Spicy Roast Pork Burger with Salted Caramel MilkshakeSpicy Roast Pork Burger with Salted Caramel Milkshake

Well, for that first week I fought the Singaporean urge in me to queue for the possibility of good food. Stories came back like soldiers after the war, largely disillusioned and incredibly dissatisfied. The general feeling was that the burgers themselves were not up to scratch. and it didn’t even have the saving grace of being cheap or quick.

And just when I was about to cross it off my Eat List, rumours whispered through the eating scene, spread like the way I spread my Nutella on toast in the morning: with much judgement and self-loathing because I’d sworn off something that I keep going back to. The Burger Project had, apparently, fixed their burgers. It was “much better now”, and it made me wonder what “much better” meant, relative to how bad people were saying it was before.

So, time to give it a try for myself. I got the Spicy Roast Pork Burger – Happy Chinese New Year everybardy! – with a salted caramel milkshake. The sambal oelek was a nice touch (I always give points for chilli) and the pork belly had some good crackling going on there. So that was nice. On the bun side, it wasn’t as rich or buttery as I’ve come to expect burger buns to be, and actually tasted just a bit stale to me. It was lacking the decadence you expect from a burger – no ooze, no drip, no flavour that hit your mouth and made you widen your eyes and go “YES”. The burger and shake took a good 10 minutes from order to table, which is cool and all, except that for that amount of time, my sacred 30 minute lunch break could be spent doing something else more satisfying.

Maybe next time, then.

This meal was independently paid for.
Burger Project
World Square Shopping Centre
644 George St Sydney, NSW 2000
Opening hours: 11am-9pm daily

Burger Project on Urbanspoon

Brooklyn to Bondi: Lox, Stock and Barrel, Bondi Beach

Ocean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Going out for dinner is always a hedonistic affair for me. I’ve always held the belief that if I was going to take the time, effort and money to haul my lazy couch potato ass out somewhere, I’d better be getting an experience that I can’t easily replicate at home. And most of the time this also means that the food is also hedonistic in nature. That is, “healthy” is not exactly a word that is used in association.

So imagine my surprise and mild confusion when I got an amazing dinner at Lox, Stock and Barrel in Bondi, but still walked away feeling light, and “healthy”.

Ocean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber PickleOcean Trout Croquettes with Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Croquettes are the perfect blend of classy dining and unadulterated comfort junk food to me. It basically involves a creamy mix of meat/fish/cream/potato etc shaped into a cylinder, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried into a crispy-on-the-outside-oozing-on-the-inside logs of golden brown perfection. Now say that three times fast.

At Lox, Stock and Barrel, we start the night off with Ocean Trout Croquettes, which contain little pink flecks of ocean trout, and all of the above-mentioned decadence. This was a fantastic way to whet the appetite, each log just large enough to tempt us with its oozing innards, and small enough to keep us wanting more. The Fresh Cucumber Pickle on the side was a nice touch, doing away with the need for the typical tartare sauce and the tangy notes that it provides.

Green Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and OreganoGreen Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and Oregano

Then comes the Green Asparagus, Labne, Jerusalem Artichoke, Smoked Salt and Oregano. because EAT YOUR VEGGIES. And what delicious veggies they are. If this was the way my mother wanted me to eat my five servings of vegetables a day, I’m sure I wouldn’t have spent so much of my teenage years hiding in a closet with a mini wheel of camembert. The asparagus held a light amount of char on it, tempering the bitterness with a light nuttiness. The fried jerusalem artichoke provided an exotic crunch, and the labne – a sort of yoghurt cheese made by straining yoghurt to create a thicker consistency – tied it all together.

Duck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Consomme and Baby HerbsDuck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Consomme and Baby Herbs

I have a love/hate relationship with cooked cabbage. When overcooked, cabbage can stink out your house, much like over cooking Brussel sprouts can do. Thankfully, this plate of Duck and Pistachio Cabbage Rolls retain that al dente crunch in the cabbage, adding texture to the duck. The mushroom consommé here is more sauce than soup, leaning toward the salty side of things, but delicious in its umami mushroom flavour nonetheless. It seems that they are building up the heaviness of the dishes with each course that passes, though I must say that I would have been very happy to just have this as a main by itself.

Slow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced NutsSlow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced Nuts

Now we’re moving into the heavyweight arena, with a stew of Slow Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, Haloumi, Quinoa and Spiced Nuts. Now this is what vegetarian cooking should be like. All too often, vegetarian dishes are left to be afterthoughts, scrapping together meat substitutes, chasing a flavour that can’t really be faked. This, however, is unabashedly intended to show off the gorgeous veggies, meat be damned. The small cubes of haloumi add pops of salt, and the quinoa and nuts add heft and texture. The Boy and I agree that this would be fantastic winter comfort fare, and a guilt-free one, at that.

Grilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushroomsGrilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushrooms

And finally, a finale of Grilled Rangers Rump Cap, Caramelised onion puree, watercress and field mushrooms. I have a soft spot for soubise – a puree of onion sautéed in butter and cooked in cream – so I’m already all over this. The rump cap was a nice medium rare, and the mushrooms plump and juicy without being soggy. The watercress seemed somewhat superfluous, but I guess you need something green to balance the rest of it. At this point, we were pretty stuffed, so a delicious dish was good, but not quite as out of the park as the others.

Before this, I always associated Lox, Stock and Barrel with lunch sandwiches and bagels. And witty names, yes, but not this creative, delicious, food that walks that fine line of the dining out experience and the showcasing of beautiful ingredients and produce. I’m glad to say that I was very wrong in my assumption.

This glorious menu of Lox, Stock and Barrel’s best dishes is available till the end of the NSW Food and Wine Festival, and costs $96 for two people.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of NSW Food and Wine Festival.

Lox, Stock and Barrel
140 Glenayr Ave
Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Phone: 02 9300 0368

Lox, Stock & Barrel on Urbanspoon

Having a Cow: Gyuzou Japanese Barbecue, Sydney

Aerial shot of the barbecue filled with wagyu beef pieces and vegetables

If I had to be reborn as an animal for food, I’d definitely choose to be a Wagyu cow. A morbid thought? Maybe. But these cows have got it gooood.

This is would be a life where being fat is a good thing, and you spend your living days eating, drinking booze and getting massaged! What’s not to love about that?

Well, there’s that bit about being eaten. But wagyu beef gets treated with such reverence that I’m sure it’ll make it worthwhile.

So it makes sense that Japanese yakiniku – aka Japanese barbecue – features little to no marinade or seasoning, to showcase the raw flavour of the beef. And at Gyuzou in Sydney, the cow is built right into the name, so I was over the moo-n to be invited to sample their menu!

100%Assorted Wagyu Platter, $25.50

It seemed to make sense to start with the Wagyu Platter, $25.50. You get a variety of cuts, including my favourite part of the beef, the short rib. Yes yes you get more fat in the prime cuts of meat, but really, the short rib is where you can taste all the amazing beefy flavour, and with just a bit more cooking, a deliciously firm but tender texture.

Large Intestine, $6.50Large Intestine, $6.50

And I ordered the Large Intestine, $6.50, because I’m Asian. And also because you can really tell how a restaurant treats their meat in their treatment of their offal. Offal needs NEEDS to be fresh, and cleaned properly or it will smell to high heaven the moment it hits the heat.

This, thankfully, was one delicious plate. Lightly fatty – so decadent! – and with just the the tiniest amount of bite, these pieces didn’t even need to be marinated, in my opinion.

Pro tip: Cook it low and slow on the edges of the barbecue, and give it time to render out some of the fat, causing the all-important flare ups that will give you that classic barbecue smoky flavour.

Salmon and Kingfish Sashimi, $9.00Salmon and Kingfish Sashimi, $9.00

Of course, you can’t do Japanese food without the other thing that stinks to high heaven if it isn’t fresh – sashimi! At Gyuzou, it definitely is, though I question the decision to serve it over ice. On one hand, it keeps the fish cold because it can get pretty warm while that barbecue is sizzling, but on the other hand, things get a bit watery as the ice melts. And well, you get the wet fish reference right?

Okonomiyaki, $5.50Okonomiyaki, $5.50

Okonomiyaki, $5.50, is basically a Japanese cabbage and beef/seafood pancake covered in mayo (that magically delicious word again!) and a brown Japanese barbecue sauce. Personally I like okonomiyaki a little firmer, but it was still the flavours you’d expect, so it was okay.

Wagyu Tataki, $8.90Wagyu Tataki, $8.90

So back to the beef we go. The Wagyu Tataki, $8.90, very simply features thin slices of seared rare beef laid over thin slices of red onion, with a light soy based sauce on the side. Good, but not great, especially next to the stellar barbecue.

Green Tea Parfait, $7.90Green Tea Parfait, $7.90

And just to round things out on a sweet note, the Green Tea Parfait, $7.90. It may look simple, but it’s got a circus of sponge cake, green tea jelly, whipped cream, matcha ice cream, and chocolate wafer cigars. A good way to finish, though part of me wonders if I should have ordered more beef and intestine.

It was a very pretty setting, and a great experience for date nights. If you are a bit worried about the lack of marinade, let me assure you that the trio of sauces more than make up for it. The yakiniku, shiotare, and tabera rayu, provided enough salt, tang, and umami flavours to change it up with every bite. I particularly enjoyed the tabera rayu, which was like a chilli and garlic mixture that just brought out the Singaporean in me.


Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Gyuzou Japanese BBQ.

Corner Of Day St X Liverpool St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9268 0410

Japanese BBQ Yakiniku GYUZO on Urbanspoon

Feeling Crabby? Singapore Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe

Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe

I may be a very hardworking *ahem* eater, but I’m actually quite a lazy cook at home. And let me say this:

There ain’t no shame in using modern conveniences!

I do love making a lot of things from scratch, but there are just some sauces that take so much time and effort that it’s really worthwhile getting a good packet sauce mix, for the convenience. Sambal belachan, for example, is one of those that’s full of pungent fermented-shrimpness and takes ages, so JUST BUY THE DAMN BOTTLE.

And Chilli Crab, for me, is one of the other. Sure, make your own when you have the time, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t enjoy a weekend meal on a weekday. You just need a little helping hand. So this Singapore Chilli Crab Fried Rice uses packet Chilli Crab sauce, bottled sambal belachan, frozen vegetables, and a tub of picked crab meat.

And it’s frickin’ delicious, in 40 minutes or less.

Chilli Crab Fried Rice Recipe


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Full Mooning: Lunar Markets 2015, Pyrmont Park

Korean Tacos from Poklol at the Lunar Markets

The moon is said to do strange things to people: it brings out the monsters, it brings out the crazy…and it brings out the HUNGRY.

Oh wait, that’s just a normal state for me.

But markets usually involve me getting up early in the morning, and honey child, I ain’t no morning person. Which is why night markets have always been a favourite of mine – from the annual Night Noodle Markets of Good Food Month, to the weekly Chinatown markets – and I’m so excited that NSW Food and Wine Festival has just started the inaugural Lunar Markets, to celebrate Chinese New Year!

They’ve selected a cool mix of seasoned market stall holders and food truck operators, newbies on the Sydney food scene, and even some favourites from interstate.

I haven’t eaten from Poklol before, but their selection of fusion foods certainly inspire an appetite. The tacos that we were given to sample were generously filled with marinated beef and pork, and had that distinct Korean mix of sweet and salty.

Food Truck Location Varies Check Facebook
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 0421 111 691

Poklol on Urbanspoon

Crispy Dumplings from Fat NoodleCrispy Dumplings, Fat Noodle

Fat Noodle also joined the Lunar Market fray, offering up a mixture of crispy bites and stir-fried dishes. We were given Crispy Dumplings and Spring Rolls to sample, all hot and steaming from the fryer. It may not be knock your socks off amazing in terms of dumplings, but we already know that Fat Noodle produces consistent, reliable, quality food. So there’s that.

No Salt and Pepper Tofu on the market menu though. /sad face. That, you have to cross the road to The Star to get.

Fat Noodle
80 Pyrmont St Level 1
Sydney, NSW 2009
Phone: 1800 700 700

Fat Noodle on Urbanspoon

Gyozas from ZagyozaGyozas from Zagyoza

All the way from their initial debut at the markets in Brisbane, and then interstate in Melbourne, Zagyoza has brought a variety of 9 gyozas for your sampling pleasure. As a base standard pork dumplings were pretty nice, their seafood dumplings – made with prawn and squid meat – were better, and their vegan black bean dumplings interesting. I personally am a bit so so about the texture myself, but it’s so much better than a LOT of other vegan food that I’ve tried.

Shop 1/60 Vulture St West End
Brisbane, QLD
Phone: 07 3844 6696

Zagyoza on Urbanspoon

Pork Skewers from Daniel SanGiant Pork Skewer from Daniel San

Manly residents Daniel San has also put on a strong market face, serving up a short menu, allowing them to focus on quality. The giant pork skewers we sampled were nicely flavoured, and comes with the added bonus of allowing you to use the sticks for a bit of jousting afterwards! The pork that they used was quite lean though, putting them at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to this particular market, because…

Daniel San
55 N Steyne
Manly, NSW 2095
Phone: 02 9977 6963

Daniel San on Urbanspoon

Skewers from Hoy PinoyPork and Chicken Skewers from Hoy Pinoy

HOY frickin’ PINOY is back in the building!!! Since I first tried them at the Winter Night Markets in Melbourne, I’ve been stalking them like a woman possessed, sniffing the air for that smoky smell of charcoal like a wolf.

See? I told you that the moon does strange things to people.

They are the reason I would seriously consider moving to Melbourne, and that is no exaggeration. Their menu is short, but it packs a punch. Their chicken skewers are coated in a sweet soy glaze, and their pork skewers in a banana ketchup glaze. Never in my life have I been such a fan of chicken.

And their showing at both the SMH Night Noodle Markets and The Age Night Noodle Markets shows amazing consistency – here’s hoping that they’re soon going to make a permanent expansion up to Sydney.

Hoy Pinoy
Mobile Food Truck
Location Varies- See Facebook
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Hoy Pinoy on Urbanspoon

Tammi eating Filipino skewers

Hoy Pinoy makes me happy.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of the NSW Food and Wine Festival.

Drive-by eating: Snag Stand, Sydney CBD

Chilli Cheese Fries from the Snag Stand in Sydney

When most people visit the Snag Stand, they are probably interested in getting a hotdog. Or you know, a snag. But not me.

What I’m interested in, is Chilli Cheese Fries. Takeaway, of course.

Chilli Cheese Fries from the Snag Stand in Sydney

The Order: Chilli Cheese Fries.

The Taste: It had a fantastic sauce and cheese to fries ratio. As much as I bask in the glory of the amazing potato, I do like it saucy when it comes to an order of loaded fries. Like, to the point of sogginess saucy. This one wasn’t quite at pudding level, but the requirement of a fork made me a happy little spud indeed.

The Service: Given that you order at a counter and wait for the buzzer to set off, it doesn’t give me much to judge in terms of service. They’re polite enough, I guess, but sometimes I get distracted by the number of people just standing by hanging out, even when there’s a lunch crowd going on.

The Convenience: Located inside the crazy busy food court of Westfield Sydney, their buzz-and-collect system actually works out quite well in the middle of a lunch rush. It’s not exactly the fastest order on a 30min lunch break, but then very little is when it’s crowded and made to order.

The Value for Money: At $7.90 (so, $8 essentially) you could get a better meal in the Sydney CBD. But if you have to be in the Westfield food court, it’s really not too bad. I do think it’s worthwhile though, to add the extra $1 to change the chips to onion rings. Because onion rings with cheese, chilli and sauce is BOSS.

This meal was independently paid for.

Snag Stand
Lv5, Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt St Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9221 9600

Snag Stand on Urbanspoon

Cinderella ahoy! Sweet Pumpkin Soup, Eastwood

The Big Breakfast from Sweet Pumpkin Soup in Eastwood comes with baked beans, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, wilted spinach, grilled tomato half and thick slices of white toast.

In my household, brunch on a weekend is often nothing more than a nice idea that other people do. See, all the fancy pants brunch places are located inside the city, and otherwise, the cheapskate inside me insists that I can whip up the usual breakfast fare in my own kitchen.

And really, I don’t want to have to hop on a train first thing in the morning on a day off just to get some food.

A mug of cappuccino is topped with thick frothy milk and a dusting of cocoa powder.Cappucino

But Sweet Pumpkin Soup opened up just down the road, and besides the usual breakfast fare, they served up cheesy garlic bread first thing in the morning.

Cheese. On garlic bread. FOR BREAKFAST. Me likey.

Iced Chocolate from this cafe is served in a tall glass, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powderIced Chocolate

So off we went. Drinks first, of course, because some people can’t eat till they’ve had their Cappucino. Fair enough. Just gives me an excuse to get an Iced Chocolate! They were nice and rice, though not outstanding. But it was a good start.

The Big Breakfast from Sweet Pumpkin Soup in Eastwood comes with baked beans, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, wilted spinach, grilled tomato half and thick slices of white toast.Big Breakfast

And for the interest of comparing apples with apples and bacon with bacon, we did also order the Big Breakfast. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this plate – the serving was actually enough for the two of us to share (we’re not big on breakfasts usually) and the food was cooked well. The toast was my favourite bit – no sad slices of supermarket white bread here, they toasted sweet white Asian milk bread, and that soft fluffy interior of the thick slices made all the difference.

Pumpkin soup is served with a thick dollop of cream, and an aromatic basket of fluffy garlic breadPumpkin Soup

Of course, we couldn’t not order the Pumpkin Soup at a place called Sweet Pumpkin Soup, right? So I indulged my Cinderella fantasies and got a bowl, which was really half a bowl…cause the bowl was very tall.


You know what I mean.

It was rich and thick, and was actually quite satisfying and creamy. Especially with the Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Garlic bread is topped with melted cheese and served in a pretty white basket.Cheesy Garlic Bread

Yes, as promised, the cheesy garlic bread. And it actually lived up to my lofty expectations. Again, the sweet Asian milk bread was used, and it gave me the distinct impression of eating a cloud. A buttery, savoury, makes-garlic-breath-worthwhile cloud. And the cheese gave me a fantastic soft foil for the lightly crisp crust that gave way to my determined attempts to get it all in my belly before The Boy noticed it was even on the table. 

Not quite successful, but I guess I can share. 

It was a lovely morning out, and considering that we were both a bit grizzly first thing in the morning, I think the staff managed us very well. Now for more of that garlic bread…

This meal was independently paid for.

Sweet Pumpkin Soup
106 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122
Phone: 0433 301 173

Sweet Pumpkin Soup on Urbanspoon

Thai Glass Noodle Salad

Thai Glass Noodle Salad on a white plate, with yellow chopsticks and a glass of Thai Iced Tea on the side

For quite a few years when I was a kid, one of my aunts – the cool one, in case you’re wondering – moved abroad and lived in England and Vietnam, and came back with all sorts of amazing dishes, like a kickass potato salad, shrimp fried chicken, as well as this glass noodle salad, full of amazing Thai flavours.

This salad became a fridge favourite when my aunt dropped off a batch – I would sneak a bowl between meals when my parents weren’t looking, and at one point I just ended up eating straight out of the tub during those midnight trips into the kitchen.

What? Sleep eating is a thing right?

Over the years, the recipe has evolved a touch. I’ve added loads of fresh veggies – because my mind lays on the guilt like an Asian mother – and taken out the chicken, just for preference. It’s not quite the same as what my aunt makes, but it’s become my own version of the fridge favourite of my childhood, ready on hand for lunch boxes…

…and of course, midnight trips to the fridge.

It just so happens that the theme for this month’s #LetsLunch is noodles, so I’m sharing my recipe for this Glass Noodle Salad, for the last weeks of summer!

Thai Glass Noodle Salad on a white plate, with yellow chopsticks and a glass of Thai Iced Tea on the side


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This post is also part of the Let’s Lunch linkup! If you’d like to read some of the other noodle themed Let’s Lunch posts, check out these blogs below:

Lobster with your eggs? Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills

rose-infused watermelon salad with watercress, mozzarella and capers.

I think it’s fair to say that Sydney has a cafe on every corner, and then some. Whether it’s a coffee obsession or a casual-dining obsession, we seem to express it in a myriad of coffee and food options.

But I haven’t yet had lobster to go with my eggs. Until now.

Turkish Apple and Rose Iced TeaTurkish Apple and Rose Iced Tea, with Lemon and Mint

We started off first with a couple of refreshing drinks.

Avocado Smoothie with honey and pistachioAvocado Smoothie, with honey and pistachio

The Turkish Apple Iced Tea with Rose Lemon and Mint was lovely and what you’d expect an iced tea to be, but the Avocado Smoothie was the one that really caught my attention. Notes of honey and pistachio were laced through the creamy smoothie, and it was a really nice departure from the crazy sweet Avocado smoothies I’m used to having from Vietnamese restaurants.

bosphorus benedict from rustic pearl in surry hillsBosphorus Benedict

And the main event. The Bosphorus Benedict involves two toasted buns topped with smashed avocado, poached eggs, housemade hollandaise and bay lobster, finished with coriander and chilli.

Oozing egg yolk from the bosphorus benedict

I can’t even begin to explain how ridiculously luxurious this breakfast is. Besides the fact that there was a perfectly cooked lobster sitting on your breakfast plate – and trust me, because I detest overcooked shellfish with the fire of a thousand suns – there is the texture of a creamy buttery hollandaise, mixed in with the oozing yolk, mixed in with that smashed ripe avocado. Besides the fact that the bread was toasted so well it was just slightly hard to cut and eat, this plate was utter perfection for me.

rose-infused watermelon salad with watercress, mozzarella and capers.Rose infused Watermelon Salad with Watercress, Mozarella and Capers

And they’re not a one-hit wonder either. We also ordered the Rose infused Watermelon Salad with Watercress, Mozarella and Capers to freshen things up. It comes with an option of grilled scallops on the side, but it doesn’t need it. The cubes of watermelon was lightly scented with rose like a fruity Turkish delight that Mother Nature ought to have made, and the mozzarella and capers brought a great contrast in flavour and textures to keep things interesting. The watercress, I could’ve done without, but it really needed something else crisp and fresh on the plate, so fair enough.

Besides the food, the service was also commendable. We were put on the waitlist when we first arrived, and were still seated relatively quickly. They were attentive without hovering, and managed the crowded, packed restaurant with apparent grace and calm.

Well done Rustic Pearl, well done. /slow clap.

This meal was independently paid for.

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown St
Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Phone: 0406 930 083

Rustic Pearl on Urbanspoon