Posts in Best in Sydney

En Toriciya, Crows Nest

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Review

I’ve always had a healthy respect for Japanese chefs and their craft – there’s something about the quiet reverence that they have for each ingredient, and all their techniques are based around elegantly bringing out unique flavours and textures that naturally occurs in the food. So when I had the opportunity to pick the brain of Chef Hikeaki Fukada of En Toriciya, I was absolutely ecstatic.

…Of course, it had nothing to with the fact that he fed me dinner as well. 馃槈


The Order:

En Toriciya Degustation, $60/pp ($80/pp with matching sake):

Kingfish & Jalapeno Carpaccio
Kasujiru Vegetable Soup
Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage
Yakitori (Momo and Tsukune)
Popcorn Prawn
Charcoal Grilled Black Cod or Wagyu Steak
Sushi Moriawase (+12 to upgrade sushi)
Chefs selection of dessert (Matcha Creme Br没l茅e and Adzuki Custard)


The Food:

Holy. Smokes.

I was not prepared for this. I walked into En Toriciya expecting a smart casual dining restaurant, only to be presented with a close-to-fine dining experience. The only thing missing was the lack of pretentiousness, which I was very happy to do without. I was also informed that Chef Fukuda was also a sake sommalier, and our dinner would be matched with different sakes of his choosing.

I was certainly not expecting the sheer education I was about to receive.

Kingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio

We started with a very simple Kingfish and Jalape帽o Carpaccio – thin slices of kingfish were dressed lightly and topped with a small dab of what looked like jalape帽o pur茅e. Very refreshing, and just enough to whet the appetite. I was quite surprised by the Danemon sake that came with it – the richness was meant to bring out the flavour of the kingfish, but for my palate, it was oddly heavy to start the meal with. Still, an interesting choice.

Kasujiru Vegetable Soup: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewKasujiru Vegetable Soup

Then we moved on to the Oven baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage and Kasujiru vegetable soup. It is here I learnt that if it looks like miso, and smells like miso…well sometimes it’s not miso. Chef Fukuda shows us just how passionate he is about sake…by using the lees (sakekasu – residual by products from making sake) to thicken and flavour the soup. No waste!

Oven Baked Truffle Cabbage: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewOven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage

The Oven Baked Truffle Savoy Cabbage was so magnificent that I wondered if he was going to peak too early. With humble beginnings as a staff meal (where chefs are forced into ingenuity to make delicious meals for the restaurant staff out of whatever ingredients they have on hand) this cabbage dish has risen into such magnificence it should be called Daenerys. A soft truffle aroma laces through the robust char on the cabbage, which is then balanced by a tangy salty-sweet dressing.

This course was had with Asabiraki sake from the Iwate prefecture, which I’m told is famous for their rice. Fitting, then, that a complex sake plays a supporting role to such complex food. There is a typically Japanese sense of balance at play, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Tsukune (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTsukune (Yakitori)

Chicken Thigh (Yakitori): En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewChicken Thigh (Yakitori)

Next course: yakitori. Literally translating to “barbecued chicken”, we get two types for dinner – tsukune (chicken meatballs) and momo (chicken thigh). All fairly simply prepared – salt, smoke, and in the case of the tsukune, a light brush of glaze. Chef Fukuda tells me that he uses binchotan instead of regular coals – these Japanese “smokeless” coals hold the heat longer and more steadily, producing a better dish.

Popcorn Prawn: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPopcorn Prawn

The Popcorn Prawn follows, and although it’s a fun dish topped with generous lashings of mayonnaise (oh Mayo, how I love thee), it wasn’t quite as finessed as the other dishes seemed to be. Some bits of the batter were a touch underdone and a bit gluey at the end of the mouthful, which I noticed only because the standard of his other dishes were so high to begin with.

Charcoal Grilled Black Cod: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCharcoal Grilled Black Cod

We then moved right back up the scale, though, with Charcoal Grilled Black Cod and Wagyu Steak. I’m not entirely sure whether you’d usually have to pick one or the other for your degustation, but I know my life is much better for having tried the both of them. The Charcoal Grilled Black Cod was appropriately dark from the smoke and Saiky艒dzuke, a miso-like paste made by fermenting sake lees (At this point, Chef Fukuda is starting to look more and more like a man obsessed…something which I wholeheartedly appreciate), whilst still keeping the soft silky flesh that makes this my favourite way to have my favourite fish of all time.

Wagyu Beef Steak: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewWagyu Steak

The Wagyu Steak was no slack either – medium rare pieces of tender steak were topped with moromiso, which is a chunky miso condiment. Rich/salty/sweet bites had pieces of cucumber to cut it, and it was over all too soon.

Selection of sushi: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSelection of sushi: Otoro

And when you think you can’t eat any more, out comes the plate of luxurious sushi. Sea urchin, fatty tuna belly, and engawa (flounder fin – a recent obsession I picked up from my trip to Japan) were one of many pieces that lined the plate. Simple, and yet such a perfect way to end the savoury courses. And it didn’t even matter that I was fairly full: I always have space for sushi.

At this point, we were treated to Daikoshu, a sake that actually HAD THE WARM HONEY NOTES OF WHISKY. Mind blown. This super aged sake (no joke, Daikoshu translates to “very old booze”) was older than I am, and defied all my previous Riesling-like experiences with sake. Where it was usually fresh and dry, this was voluptuous and almost caramel – like in its dark sweet notes. Very delicious, and an absolute eye opener.

Matcha Creme Br没l茅e: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMatcha Creme Br没l茅e

Adzuki Custard: En Toriciya, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog ReviewAdzuki Custard

Fitting, then, that we should sip it right before dessert. A Matcha Creme Br没l茅e and Adzuki Custard completed our meal, both with silky creamy textures and a sweet finish that wasn’t too cloying. With all the big hits through the evening, the dessert course didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but then again, I’d be asking for too much if I was expecting it from En Toriciya. A stellar performance: one I’m hoping to repeat.


The Service:

It’s not often that a restaurant’s service matches the quality of the food, but I’m very glad to report that at En Toriciya it’s a FULL experience. There was one waiter that really REALLY knew his shit. There was no question that we could throw at him that he couldn’t answer, and he only lacked a small nuance in detail compared to Chef Fukuda’s answers. Service that parallels the level of what I’ve had at Tetsuya’s, but in a much more comfortable setting. Love it.


Value for money:

At $60 per head for the degustation experience at En Toriciya, I think that you get more than your money’s worth. I was positively rolling out the door at the end of the meal, and my mind was still buzzing with the sheer variety of food that I was treated to. Chef Fukuda clearly puts a lot of thought into curating an array of treats, and like a good story, it leaves you walking away satisfied.


The Vibe:

En Toriciya is a fine dining restaurant hiding in humble surroundings, and that can be a little jarring for some. There isn’t a clear theme to the place, and for the uninitiated, you might even mistake this for just another local eatery where you can just pick up some hearty Japanese curry and make your way home. It’s clean and charming, but I wouldn’t expect theatrics and fireworks walking in. It’s very clear that the focus at En Toriciya is on the food and drink, the way Chef Fukuda wants it to be.


And finally,

I’ve always known that Crows Nest is home to some hidden gems (I’ve been to a few, lately) but I never expected to find a diamond quite like En Toriciya. Everything about this restaurant just resonated with the chef within me – the philosophy, the food, the single-minded obsession – and somehow they manage to artfully show off without the pomp and circumstance of other eateries with half the talent.

An absolutely stunning experience, and one I’m looking forward to repeating again and again.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of En Toriciya and Washoku Lovers.
En Toriciya
100 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9438 1738
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/En-Toriciya/607809672663924

En Toriciya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Max Joy Co., Eastwood

The Max Joy Co., Eastwood. Sydney Food Blog Review

*This is going to be a super quick post because I鈥檝e now been here so many times that I don鈥檛 actually know what I鈥檝e ordered anymore*.

The Max Joy Co., Eastwood. Sydney Food Blog Review

The Max Joy Co. is a relatively new addition to the bustling Asian restaurants of Eastwood, is bring well, joy, in the form of ice cream to the locals. From flavours like Eastwood Granny Smith (local pride! *thumps chest*), to Houjicha, they are really melding Asian favourites in the flavour department with a certain whimsy that you鈥檇 find in the inner city.

The Max Joy Co., Eastwood. Sydney Food Blog Review

The brainchild of Max, the owner (a former business student who always wanted to enter the food industry) this little ice cream shop sits where the old Eagle Boys Pizza used to be (RIP). Bright lights and sunny stripes of blue and white shine like a beacon after a night out food-crawling through Eastwood (a common occurrence, I assure you), beckoning you with its siren song of creamy delights and true-to-form flavours.

Scoops of ice cream: The Max Joy Co., Eastwood. Sydney Food Blog Review

My most recent must-have has got to be the Fig and Pistachio. Sweet, syrupy fig notes get swirled into the rich nutty pistachio base, and hits all the right spots that keep me going back again and again.

Mochi Waffles: The Max Joy Co., Eastwood. Sydney Food Blog Review

And if you are in the mood for something a little more than ice cream? Well their selection of waffles will spark the imagination. The mochi waffle is the most interesting thing on the menu, but the pandan is my favourite by far. A warm reason to have ice cream in the middle of winter. Not that I need a reason. *ahem*.

Much love for Max and his team – I鈥檝e been in quite a few times since they鈥檝e opened (much to the detriment of my ever-expanding waistline) and they鈥檝e been consistently helpful, happy to be there, and extremely hospitable.

Oh, and did I mention that they have wall chargers for your electronics? (heart eyes emoji)

This meal was independently paid for.
The Max Joy Co.
251 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122
Phone:+61 2 8084 3234
Website: https://www.facebook.com/themaxjoyco

The Max Joy Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A very important date: The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Redfern. Sydney Food Blog Review

Even when I was too young to fully understand it, Alice in Wonderland has been one of my favourite Disney classics. And yes, I know that it’s…uncouth of me to talk about the movie and not the book, but I’ve always been partial to a happy song. You know that. 馃槈

So when The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar popped up on my “to eat” radar, I just knew I had to make it down there quickly, as if the white rabbit was tapping on his pocket watch impatiently. Cause the only thing I love better than a good schtick, is a theme that is expertly and sophisticatedly carried out.


The Order:

Ginger Snap Latte $5.50
Ginger, cinnamon and honeybush.

Turkish delight, $5
Rose and cacao combo

Tea marbled egg (topped toast) with kimchi, kale and black sesame, $16

Rainbow trout salad with potatoes, leaves, radish, beetroot and salsa verde, $18

Ginger and chocolate cake, $8


The Food:

Okay, full disclosure here: I was actually expecting the food to be fairly crap. I mean, generally, finding a cafe that hits up a fun theme, serves up well executed and presented food, with good service? It鈥檚 like discovering a damn unicorn.

It鈥檚 THAT rare.

Tea marbled egg (topped toast) with kimchi, kale and black sesame, $16: The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Redfern. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTea marbled egg (topped toast) with kimchi, kale and black sesame, $16

So you can just imagine my excitement when I found out that the food, was actually pretty awesome. I loved the subtle inclusion of tea in certain dishes, like the Tea Marbled Egg with Kimchi, Kale and Black Sesame, $16. Tea marbled egg isn鈥檛 a new thing, by any means – the Chinese have had a similar idea for aaaggeeesss – but I felt like I found a kindred spirit here. Especially when I found out that the egg was marinated in the smoky Lapsang Suchong tea, like how I love to do them at home!

What kept it from being perfect, though, was the subtleness of the tea getting overpowered by the riot of spice and tang from the kimchi, and the grey ring of death that indicates an overcooked yoke.

Small thing, I know, but it鈥檚 a really basic quality that I鈥檝e come to expect from otherwise good cafes like this one, and it really ruins the impeccable illusion.

Rainbow trout salad with potatoes, leaves, radish, beetroot and salsa verde, $18: The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Redfern. Sydney Food Blog ReviewRainbow trout salad with potatoes, leaves, radish, beetroot and salsa verde, $18

The Rainbow Trout Salad, $18, was also a delight, with oily, luxurious flakes of hot smoked tuna generously flaked through halves of boiled chat potato, fresh slices of radish and sweet beetroot, and green salad leaves. Okay, so they鈥檙e not pulling Devon-level creativity with this one, but for something that was executed with finesse AND satisfying?

I REGRET NOTHING.

Ginger and chocolate cake, $8: The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Redfern. Sydney Food Blog ReviewGinger and chocolate cake, $8

But my favourite part of the whole meal, was the Ginger and Chocolate Cake, $8. A gargantuan slice of chocolate and ganache layered cake is topped with freeze dried berries, edible flowers and glace ginger gives you a mouthful so rich it鈥檒l turn your teeth black. And I鈥檝e never been so happy to look like I鈥檝e got the oral hygiene of Captain Jack Sparrow. The cake itself toed the precarious line of being rich without being doughy, and the ganache was buttery, without leaving an oily film in your mouth. The ginger pieces just gave it a necessary zing to balance it all out, and float you slowly up to cake heaven. SAH GOOD.

Did I mention that they bake all of the sweet treats in-house? Impressed, I am.

On the tea front, the Ginger Snap Latte was my favourite: the aroma of cinnamon and Christmas surrounding me as soon as it hit the table. Also not as sweet as I thought it would be, so I felt like I was a real adult drinking it. The Turkish Delight wasn鈥檛 quite, well, conventional as I was expecting it to be – the cacao nibs provided a strange savoury note, and the rose petals didn鈥檛 come across as strongly as you would expect from a Turkish Delight. A bit of a shame: it wasn鈥檛 bad, it just wasn鈥檛 the Turkish Delight that I wanted.

Food: 1/1


The Service:

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar doesn鈥檛 really provide table service. You take note of your table number, and then pop up to the counter to order and pay. The food does get served to you, but this pared-back system means that it leaves weak spots in the experience. For example, the table that we were at took so long to be cleared that we ended up moving the dirty plates and cups to a recently-vacated table ourselves. When it came to the food, we were missing the cake (I thought that they were just taking a while to bring it out) until I went up to the counter to ask about it. Not the best on a quiet afternoon.

However, they were otherwise extremely pleasant to speak to, and showed an intimate knowledge of the food when I wanted to know more about the menu. The mixup with the cake was gracefully sorted – a quick apology and the slice came swiftly out, complete with two forks (they remembered that we were sharing!).

Service: 0.5/1


Value for money:

At first glance, it would be easy to label The Rabbit Hole as 鈥榦verpriced鈥 – $16 for a hard boiled egg with pickles and toast? Amirite? – BUT when you consider the classy surroundings, inner-west location, passionate staff, and thoughtful menu鈥鈥檇 say it鈥檚 well within reason for what they鈥檙e asking.

Value for money: 0.5/1


The Vibe:

GUYS. IT’S AN ALICE IN WONDERLAND THEMED CAFE.

…seriously, though. It’s executed with such sophistication that I felt both like a child AND an adult coming here! From the rabbit tail coffee cups, to the tarnished gold cutlery, to the playing cards that double as table numbers, this is a place that knows its identity, and expresses it with more class and anointed with a hint of whimsy.

If Alice was the cafe type, I’m sure she’d come here too.

Vibe: 1/1


And finally,

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar definitely runs on the strength of its ensemble, rather than one particular schtick. The food didn’t hit the same creative concept as, say, Edition Coffee Roasters, and the surroundings didn’t transport you in the same way as the Alice in Wonderland high tea that I went to at The Waiting Room, but it does present a sanctuary from everyday life, albeit one with a foot still firmly in reality.

Definitely somewhere I’d pop by again if I were in the area, but I wouldn’t make a special trip out otherwise.

Bonus points: 1/1

This meal was independently paid for.
The Rabbit Hold Organic Tea Bar
146 Abercrombie St
Redfern NSW 2016
Phone: +61 2 9310 2207
Website: https://www.therabbithole.com.au

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burgers By Josh, North Sydney

J Burger, $14: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog Review

There has been much debate about the best burgers in Sydney, but I think that there’s no denying that Burgers by Josh is absolutely killing it right now. After making social media waves as the head chef (and burger genius) of Danno’s, Josh has now branched out on his own, serving up Sydney’s favourite American import (well, besides Doughnuts, One Direction and…nevermind) to the hungry masses.

We stop by to start 2016 with a bang! Burger-style, of course. ??


The Order:

J Burger, $14
Wagyu, American Cheese, Westmont Picklerey Pickles, fresh sliced tomatoes, iceberg, onion, J sauce

The Colonel, $15
Southern fried free range chicken breast, American cheese, Mississippi Mayo, iceberg, fresh sliced tomato

Jurassic Fries, $10
Twice fried beer battered chips, Primo sauce, Liquid cheese


The Food:

Josh proves that he’s first and foremost, a chef – expertly working the grills and the pass all by himself, while about 40 people (by my estimation) placed their orders one right after the other. The open kitchen (no where to hide, here!) exuded a sense of calm and cool, as Josh methodically worked through all the orders with his team of two.

The result? Utter deliciousness, even if they weren’t the most photogenic (I doubt he had time to worry about presentation!).

J Burger, $14: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewJ Burger, $14

On the burger front, we started with the J Burger: presumably named after Josh himself, this had a Wagyu patty, American Cheese, Westmont Picklerey Pickles, fresh sliced tomatoes, iceberg, onion, J sauce between soft sesame seed buns. Simple and straightforward, this held all the flavours of your classic burger, but on steroids. The patty was expertly cooked to a medium rare, and together with the melted cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce, onion, and sauce, it created the most delicious slip’n’slide ever.

The Colonel, $15: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewThe Colonel, $15

The Colonel was a cheeky take on a chicken burger, with Southern fried chicken breast, American cheese, Mississippi Mayo, iceberg and fresh sliced tomato. I’m not the biggest chicken burger fan at the best of times, but this was a really good mix of tender chicken, fresh vegetables and tangy sauce. Personally, it wasn’t as well constructed as the J Burger – the uneven shape of the thick chicken breast meant that some bites had chicken, some bites didn’t, and some bites threatened to slide the whole piece out the other side – but the more you ate, the more you figured out how to hold the burger. It just takes some practice, and no one is complaining about any excuse to have more burger.

Jurassic Fries, $10: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewJurassic Fries, $10

As a side, The Jurassic Fries could also just be a meal unto itself. Twice fried beer battered chips are topped with Primo sauce and liquid cheese for an unctuous pile of super crispy chips with melty bits. The only complaint? Not enough sauce for my liking – I like it with there’s a river of sauce going down my mountain of chips. Cause it’s like, um, nature, you know?

Jurassic Fries, $10: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog Review


The Service:

I’ve heard plenty about issues with the service before – from orders getting forgotten to burgers being served cold – but I think it’s ironed out now. There was still a bit of a wait, since everyone ordered at once, but if he managed to get everything out hot and correctly, then I don’t see how there would be an issue moving forward.


Value for money:

I was very lucky to be invited to eat at Burgers by Josh, but at the $15-20 mark usually, I think the burgers are skating the edge of reasonable and pricey. In a volume sense, only the Primo pays homage to his humongous burgers of days gone past, but I think on the whole the food is well made enough to justify both the price AND the dedicated trip out to North Sydney. Just.


The Vibe:

Located in an ex-bar, I really enjoyed the clear sight into the kitchen, where you can watch Josh work his magic. There’s a great graffiti/burger aesthetic to it, that makes it feel that much more street. I love the tattoo style branding, and it’s that same attitude that’s reflected in the food. Love it.


And finally,

I know I sound like an ungrateful bitch, but I really regret not ordering the Infamous Primo. Having had the Godzilla tower of sauce, meat and onion rings before, I thought I’d be reasonable and give the other menu items a try.

The Infamous Primo: Burgers by Josh, North Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewThe Infamous Primo

WHY, WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO MY BELLY???

Everything was still delicious, but don’t make the same mistake as me. Order the damn Primo, because it’s “infamous” for a reason – it’s damned good.

Josh will be at The Upper Deck at Greenwood Plaza till the end of January. You can find out more about where he’ll be next by following him on Facebook here.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Burgers by Josh.

Burgers by Josh
The Upper Deck, Greenwood Plaza
36 Blue Street, North Sydney, NSW
Website: https://www.facebook.com/burgersbyjosh/?fref=ts

Burgers by Josh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Doughnut Time, Sydney聽

Sydney Food Blog review of Doughnut Time, Sydney

I remember my first visit to Australia: I had just discovered Krispy Kreme, and I was determined to try every flavour they had in the store. The result? An extra 10kgs in 10 days. Fun times. Well Krispy Kreme isn’t quite what it used to be, but don’t worry, there are many other places rushing in to fill that doughnut shaped hole in our hearts (geddit?). Like Brisbane’s Doughnut Time, for example.

Because it’s always time for doughnuts.

The Order:

The Elvis, $6
Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon filled with raspberry jam

The George Costanza, $6
Caramel and pink salt glaze, topped with salted pretzels

Veruca Salt, $7
Salted Caramel filled and dusted with Cinnamon Sugar

The Butternut, $6
Burnt butter glaze with crushed pistachios

The Cate Blancett, $6
Topped with Tim Tams

Melon DeGeneres, $6
Sour watermelon glaze

The Food:

On the whole, the base doughnuts were soft and fluffy in texture, perfect for you to sink your teeth into (literally!).

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

The Melon DeGeneres (have I mentioned that I love a good pun?) was my first and favourite, with a sour watermelon glaze that was instantly recognisable but not overpowering. Utter perfection.

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

The next round gave me a taste of (clockwise from top left) The George Costanza, The Butternut, The Cate Blancett, and the Veruca Salt. These ones ranked a little lower for me (also because I have an unhealthy obsession with anything watermelon), mostly because the flavours weren’t as uniquely wacky as I wanted them to be. No, the George Costanza didn’t make me thirsty, and the Cate Blancett wasn’t quite Galadriel, but The Butternut, though, was a standout – with a burnt butter glaze and chopped pistachios, it was so simple that every bite just made sense. The Veruca salt also hit up my love for a filled doughnut, but although it’s well made, I feel like there’s only so much you can do with a salted caramel doughnut, no matter how funky the name is.

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

And on my latest visit, the King: The Elvis. Elvis is an inspiration to many, not just because of his hip-grinding music, but also because of his hip-expanding eating habits. Apparently he’s got a real love of deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and at Doughnut Time, they’ve taken that idea, added bacon and banana, and put it in a doughnut. It did very much feel like a heart attack in a bite that I was expecting, but it wasn’t quite hitting the spot for me to keep going beyond the first bite. Maybe I needed hot bacon, or maybe I just needed more salt? Great concept, needs work on the execution, I think.

Food: 1/1

The Service:

So this is really a review of three places, compiled into one blog post. I’d gone to the popup in Top Shop at QVB first, because I’d seen very well dressed women carrying around teal boxes of doughnuts and I just had to follow. It was near the end of the day, and judging by the paltry number of doughnuts left, it had been busy, and yet the lady behind the counter looked so happy to be there still. She was happy to have a chat about the flavours (though the signs were pretty clear), and told me all about the new stores that we’re opening. She knew her stuff, and I trusted her.

The second visit was to the popup in Chatswood (also in Top Shop), and this time, buying two doughnuts got me two thrown in for free! Perhaps it was slow moving stock, or perhaps they were going to close for the day. Or maybe they were just being nice. Either way, I was grateful for the generous gesture, and again the service with a smile put a smile on my face, too.

The third visit was to the stand-alone store in The Living Mall (Central Park), and again the service was impeccable. Either I’d been having some awesome luck, or they just hired some really perky people to match the perky doughnuts.

I think it might be the latter.

Service: 1/1

Value for money:

In some places in Sydney, $7 could buy you lunch. Not a particularly generous lunch, but a lunch nonetheless. Or at least, a hearty Vietnamese pork roll. So to pay $7 for a doughnut might sound a little steep. But the way I look at it, I would totally pay $7 for a full dessert, and this is exactly that, just in doughnut form. They are quite large by doughnut standards, and there is clearly care put into the making of them. Worth it.

Value for money: 1/1

The Vibe:

When Simon and I went, we were joking about the fact that Doughnut Time pop ups were set up in a fashion store like Top Shop. I mean, it’s something for everyone right? If you can fit into the clothes, good for you. For everyone else, there are doughnuts.

Doughnut Time has clearly put a lot of effort into their retro-chic branding, which just adds to the experience of the quirky doughnuts. This is especially clear in the fun space outside the standalone store – where you can while away the time with building blocks. You might have to fight off a toddler or two, though – and the young, hip vibe of Top Shop only complements that. Makes you feel young and carefree just going there.

Just try to ignore the possibly impending heart disease if you go too often.

Vibe: 1/1

And finally,

It’s nice to see a doughnut shop that clearly takes pride in their work, that is also easily accessible. It means that I can get my doughnut fix whenever I want, and so far it hasn’t failed to brighten my day. Sure not every doughnut is a standout, but there usually is a little something for everyone, and I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten a bad doughnut there yet.

Oh and I finally found the secret to enjoying these without putting on the weight. Eat them with some friends, because the calories don’t count if it’s shared. ?

Bonus points: 0.5/1

This meal was independently paid for.
Doughnut Time
Lower Ground Floor, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale, NSW
Phone: (07) 3251 6555
Website: http://www.doughnuttime.com.au/

Doughnut Time Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jonga Jip, Eastwood

Jonga Jip, Eastwood: Sydney Food Blog Review

When I first heard of Jonga Jip, it was introduced to me as “that place where they wear the orange shirts”. Well, the uniform seemed to have changed since, but the sheer number of banchan (Korean side dishes) is still the stuff of legends.

And did I mention that we get free refills?


The Order:

Wine Pork Belly
Marinated Beef Ribs
Rice


The Food:

Jonga Jip, Eastwood: Sydney Food Blog Review

I must say that in the case of Korean BBQ, I am a creature of habit. Always a pork belly and beef ribs, both marinaded, of course. And they’ve never disappointed.

The beef ribs were butterflied – the chunk of meat thinly sliced out in one continuous flat piece that stemmed out from the bone. The smoke from the tabletop barbecue mixed in with the sweet/salty marinade, and those little pieces of chewy beef just GIVES ME LIFE. My favourite thing to do is to wrap it with a bit of rice in the lettuce leaves (part of the banchan, but more about that later) and top it with the mustard/vinegared onion slices that come with every barbecue order. So fresh, so satisfying.

The pork belly (cut in thick rashes and steeped in rice wine), wasn’t as sweetly boozy as I’m used to, but had a really good distribution of meat to fat ratio, and also made for very good ssam (lettuce wrapped parcels).


The Service:

Like many Asian restaurants with decent food, Jonga Jip is not well known for their service. On the most recent visit, we pretty much had a table overflowing with food and raw meat, but an empty hole in the table (and my heart) where the glowing charcoal should be.

When I asked them after about 5 minutes where the charcoal was, I was told that it was another 15 min wait because they had to light the coals. Sorry, no comprende.

Did they have to wait till I had a full table of uncooked meat before you lit the coals? Do they light the coals on demand?

WHAT IS GOING ONNNNN???

I must say though that otherwise they’re pretty quick with the free side dish refill and water, so I guess I can overlook the one, very bizarre transgression.

If you’re nitpicky about the service, I’d suggest you sit indoors. The tables have push buttons that call the waiters for you – no one gets ignored, and it’s fun for the whole family.

Win/win, right?


Value for money:

We had two marinated meats, three bowls of rice, and a whopping FIFTEEN plates of side dishes, all for a satisfying $53. I think it’s pretty bang for your buck, considering that we all stumbled out of there clutching our bellies like we could never eat again.

I kid, we can always eat again.

As with many Asian restaurants, Jonga Jip follows the math we all know and love: the more people you bring to split the bill with, the more worthwhile it becomes for you as the meat and side dishes get shared. Very good value for a dinner out.


The Vibe:

Always busy, this Korean BBQ joint is very popular amongst the locals, and sometimes has to resort to the number ticketing system. In fact, business is so good that there is also a Jonga Jip II right around the corner.

Inside, the word to describe the atmosphere is “bustling”, as the chatter of hungry diners and sizzle of meats mingle in the smoky air. There’s nothing quite like breathing in that first hand smoke as you fill your belly with meats.

And I mean that in a good way, too. No music needed to get the party pumping – just barbecued meats and good fun.


And finally,

If you do decide to drop by Jonga Jip, please don’t wear your good clothes. And by that, I mean “be prepared to come out smelling like you’ve been roasting over coals yourself”. And never, NEVER, go after a hair-wash.

Please trust me on this. Been there, done that.

And if barbecue isn’t quite your thing, well they do an a la carte menu of rices, dumplings, pancakes and hotpots too. But so does practically every other restaurant in Eastwood. Give Korean BBQ a try if you haven’t already. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

This meal was independently paid for.
Jonga Jip
87 Rowe Street
Eastwood, NSW
Phone: 02 9858 5160

Jonga Jip Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17 Late night food spots to treat yourself to after The Sound of Music!

13 Late night food spots to treat yourself to after The Sound of Music!

I LOVE MUSICALS. I love them in all their forms – movie, TV, stage, flashmob – and I’m exactly the sorta girl who welcomes a big ol’ sing-a-long, especially if it’s spontaneous. And you know what started it all?

The Sound of Music.

17 late night spots to treat yourself to after the Sound of Music!

It was one of the first musicals I’ve ever seen – my parents taped it on VHS (carefully cutting out the commercials, of course) and I’d played it so many times that it got worn in parts. There was even a road trip somewhere where my mother (who enjoys a sing-a-long herself) got so sick of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” that I was banned from singing it on the way home!

17 late night spots to treat yourself to after the Sound of Music!

So you can guess my excitement when I was invited to go see this rousing musical live at the Capitol Theatre! This Rodger and Hammerstein classic has just finished a record breaking run at the London Palladium, and stars the multi-talented Cameron Daddo as Captain Von Trapp, and award-winning Amy Lehpamer as Maria Reiner.

The only problem? When an evening showing finishes past 8pm, I’m always hard pressed to find a restaurant that’s open late enough to feed my hungry belly! So I’ve compiled this list of late night places so that you can make a night of it when you go to see The Sound of Music!

Go ahead. You know you wanna treat yo’self.