Posts tagged Bar

It’s not easy being green: One Tea Lounge and Grill, Sydney CBD

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro Green Tea

Green Tea is touted to have many health benefits, like antioxidants, and…yeah whatever. To be honest, all I care about is that it’s so DAMNED DELICIOUS.

I know you feel me when I say matcha errthang.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro Green TeaGyokuro Green Tea

Well, David – owner of One Tea Lounge and Grill – seems to feel the same way, using green tea as a component in 80% of the menu. Of course, it helps that his mum is an expert in the stuff, what with having her own store and all.

From drinks to food, just about everything is tinted a beautiful shade of Jade.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Yuzu Frozen TubesMatcha Yuzu Frozen Tubes

We were spoilt with David getting behind the bar to personally create our cocktails. Using matcha to create a green tea syrup, he then mixes it with tangy yuzu juice and other fruits to create a refreshing mix that’s served up in test tubes, with billowing dry ice for effect.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Gyokuro smoked octopus with avocadoGyokuro smoked octopus with avocado

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Takocini, $9Takocini, $9

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Fries ($4 for half serve)Matcha Fries ($4 for half serve)

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Popcorn curry chicken ($5 half serve)Popcorn curry chicken ($5 half serve)

Food-wise, the small bites ranged from the more obvious Matcha Fries, which were topped with a green tea and nori mixture, to the more subtle Gyokuro smoked octopus with avocado. The octopus was creamy and rich, cut by a light smokiness, and the Popcorn Curry Chicken was a perfect snacking accompaniment to our cocktails.

The Takocini was a particular standout: part arancini (Italian rice balls coated and deep fried) and part takoyaki (Japanese Octopus balls made from a wheat flour batter and fried in a cast iron pan), these little morsels on a bed of green tea mayo was just all moreish. Also high on the so-addictive-it’s-like-crack scale, the Matcha Fries. Served with a curry sauce, it reminded me of my childhood in Singapore where Maccas had curry sauce available to be eaten with a seaweed flavoured bag of fries.

Because you ain’t done fast food till you’ve done Asian fast food.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Ramen Burger with Beef, $13.80Ramen Burger with Beef, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Baoger with Tofu, $13.80Matcha Baoger with Tofu, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Black Pepper Unagi Matcha Bento, $20.80Black Pepper Unagi Matcha Bento, $20.80

On the mains front, they’ve got all the Japanese classics like Bentos, Sizzle Hotplates, and Wagyu Beef, all with a modern twist, of course.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Spicy Cheese Pork Sizzle Hotplate, $13.80Spicy Cheese Pork Sizzle Hotplate, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Volcano Wagyu BeefVolcano Wagyu Beef

The Ramen Burger has come a long way since I first tried it at the Night Noodle Markets. The noodle ‘buns’ are satisfyingly crunchy on the outside, and held together really well, even though the beef patty made it a touch too thick to eat as a burger.

For the rice lovers, the Black Pepper Unagi Bento features a soft green tea rice, that adds a very mild and complementary note of bitterness to the whole dish. Or if you prefer a one-dish rice thang, then the sizzling hotplate is something worth ordering. Owner David honestly states Pepper Lunch as his inspiration, and I think you can never have enough of a good thing. He’s changed it up by adding an egg pour, so that you get flecks of hotplate-fried egg through your sizzling rice! Add to that chilli pork and cheese, and you’ve got yourself a cold-weather winner.

And if you’re trying to impress someone – or potentially maim them, haha! – you have to go the Volcano Wagyu Beef. Beautifully marbled pieces of wagyu are seared on a hotplate, and served with a billowing volcano of FIRRRRREEEEEE…and red wine jus. But really, I’m a sucker for theatrics, and the pyrotechnics got me.

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Lava Bomb, $20Matcha Lava Bomb, $20

Sydney Food Blog Review of One Tea Lounge, Sydney CBD: Matcha Lava Bomb, $20

The desserts, too, have gotten the matcha treatment. The Matcha Lava Bomb is basically a lava cake that’s had a lovechild with a crepe suzette: the cake gets doused in orange liqueur and set on fire. Cause everything is better when it’s been set on fire.

To be brutally honest, the food, while good, isn’t super amazing. But the whole experience though, is a barrel of fun. David really understands what it means to be a diner, and he makes sure that everything from the service to the ambience is deliberate and thought out. It really speaks to the story behind One Tea Lounge – it’s dedicated to Daisy, David’s fiancee who passed away from cancer last year. It was always her dream to open a restaurant, and really provide the ‘hospitable’ in ‘hospitality’. And I respect that David is trying to carry out her dream.

I would recommend heading down to One Tea Lounge and Grill in a group – it’s much more fun that way. Otherwise, why not say hi to David at their Night Noodle Market stall? It’s not 100% confirmed, but if the previous years are any indication, they’ll be there. =)

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of One Tea Lounge and Grill.
One Tea Lounge and Grill
Upper Ground Floor
73 York Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 8318 2246

One Tea Lounge and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Behind every good plate of dude food is…Bar Luca, Sydney CBD

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bar Luca, Sydney CBD: The Carnivale

What makes a good burger? I mean, there are so many variables: bun, patty, cheese, toppings, sauces, balance…really it’s in the details. So I guess you could say that a good burger requires a woman’s touch? And at Bar Luca, that touch comes from the super talented Sarah Robbins.

Appropriate, since I was at Bar Luca to try out The Carny, which Sarah will be serving up at this Sunday’s Burgers for Boobs at Harpoon Harry’s (alongside Josh from Danno’s Cafe and Charlie from Chef’s Kitchen and Cafe) to raise money for breast cancer research!

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bar Luca, Sydney CBD: The Biggie SmallsThe Biggie Smalls

But first, HOW CUTE IS THE BIGGIE SMALLS??? This gangsta take on the Big Mac comes with a super cute mini cheese burger topper, and has a wagyu patty, umami ketchup, pickles, bacon, lettuce, grilled hotdogs, and big poppa sauce between two halves of a sweet bun. Savoury, juicy, structually sound without being dry, this burger is an amazing example of the attention to details that Sarah puts into her work. Every move is deliberate, and this burger has been soundly engineered.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bar Luca, Sydney CBD: The CarnivaleThe Carny

And the Carny, too, shows a similar level of attention to detail. Here, Sarah utilises all the typical elements – toffee apple, corndog, fried pickles – and makes one heck of a burger. The lusciously pink toffee apple aioli simultaneously moistens and adds an addictive edge of sweetness to the burger, and I very willingly chowed down every last bite, even though I was already keeling over from the fullness.

And you know what else kept me going? Her shoestring fries, seasobed with a secret mix of herbs and spices – the colonel ain’t got nuthin’ on this shizzle – and served with a side of Big Mac Big Poppa sauce.

Amazing dude food designed with a woman’s touch and located smack bang in the middle of the city. I think I’ve found my new favourite burger joint.

Sarah from Bar Luca will be serving up The Carnivale with a side of seasoned shoestring fries as part of Burgers for Boobs this Sunday, 12th of July 2015, at Harpoon Harry’s in Surry Hills! Head on over to their Facebook page for more details, and TO GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!!

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Bar Luca.
Bar Luca
52 Phillip Street, CBD
Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9247 9700

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Explosion on the palette: The Powder Keg, Potts Point

Duck schnitzel lolipops/ Pickled kohlrabi + tarragon mayo

A good restaurant is more than good food. Good food is a given, sure, but a great restaurant transports you into another world, and presents, just for the couple of hours while you’re there, relief from your everyday life. The team works together to create a little drama, a little theatre, and if done right, just a touch of magic.

Gunpowder Plot  Gunpowder tea spiked gin +fernet branca +gunpowder syrup+ dandelion & burdoch bitters + fresh citrus. Served in a smoking cloche with gunpowder twigs

So when we are greeted by a large smoke-clouded cloche that obscures a beautiful cocktail, we know we’re in for one hell of a ride.


A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

Clockwise from top left: Gin and Tonic on tap, Nettle Gimlet, Strawberry Smack, Gunpowder Plot, Volcano Punch

With a name derived from the early origins of gin, you just know that the bar menu is well stocked with inventive cocktails that showcase just that. Grant Collins – expert mixologist and once named World’s Best Bartender – provides a unique perspective on these alcoholic beverages. Here, alcohol is not a short road to blinding drunkedness, but instead is meant to be savoured. The Gunpowder Plot is a heady mix of gunpowder tea spiked gin, syrup, dandelion and burdock bitters, and fresh citrus, with just a hint of smoke laced through the foam from the smouldering twigs. So full of flavour, and lacking that acrid burn of alcohol in the back of the throat from cheap gin. It was absolutely delicious.

Also surprisingly smooth and clean on the palette was their Gin and Tonic, ON TAP. Yes, this amazing concoction, so often maligned by cheap bars and inexperienced bartenders, is available on top. Mind blown.

Palate cleanser of gin and apricot liquor, set into a sphereSphere of gin and apricot liquor

Gin is also clearly an influence in the menu, put together by Chef Elijah Holland. What started as an interest in gardening and horticulture as child, soon blossomed into an expertise in foraging, and a creativity when it comes to cooking with the seasons. By beginning with the foraged fruit and veg, before moving on to the proteins, Chef EJ – as he is affectionately known – has crafted an earthy array of dishes that have strong Nordic and European influences.

Oysters, Gin and Tonic Sorbet, Cucumber, Foraged Violets and Sea LettuceOysters, Gin and Tonic Sorbet, Cucumber, Foraged Violets and Sea Lettuce

These fresh oysters, topped with cucumber, Gin and Tonic Sorbet, and foraged violets is their most popular dish, and with the fresh ingredients cutting through the briny flavours, it’s easy to see why.

Duck schnitzel lolipops/ Pickled kohlrabi + tarragon mayoDuck schnitzel lolipops/ Pickled kohlrabi + tarragon mayo

Quail Scotch egg/ Smoke potato + crispy pancetta + mushroomsQuail Scotch egg/ Smoke potato + crispy pancetta + mushrooms

Even the deep fried bites have a certain lightness about them. The Duck Schitzel Lollipops, crumbed and fried, are balanced with pickled kohlrabi and tarragon mayo, and the Quail Scotch Egg carried the crunch of the crispy pancetta, and a mild tang of pickled shimeji mushrooms. The mushrooms, cooked lightly in a pickling liquid before being left to ‘do its thang’ for about a week, didn’t dissolve into mushiness like you would assume, and instead provided a fairly firm texture that more than held its own.

Sauteed Foraged Pine and Slippery Jack MushroomsSauteed Foraged Pine and Slippery Jack Mushrooms

Speaking of mushrooms, we were also treated to this one off dish of Sauteed Foraged Pine and Slippery Jack Mushrooms. Wild mushrooms, garlic, butter? YES.

Roast snapper/ Horseradish  + lemon + buttermilk + silverbeetRoast snapper/ Horseradish + lemon + buttermilk + silverbeet

Pastrami pork fillet/ Crackling  + barley + apricot + black garlicPastrami pork fillet/ Crackling + barley + apricot + black garlic

Peas/ Woodside goats curd  + cucumber + mintPeas/ Woodside goats curd + cucumber + mint

The mains for me weren’t quite as exciting as the bites. Maybe we were getting full at the time – we were very spoiled with LOTS of food – but the larger plates lacked some of the delicate balance that was present in everything else. The Roast Snapper had a beautiful garlic silverbeet condiment with a pickled cherry tomato, but it didn’t, for my taste, make up for the inherent dryness of snapper due to its lean meat. The Pastrami Pork Fillet was paired, rather impressively, with house-made black garlic – a testament to Chef EJ’s technical skill – but again, there was such leanness that it lacked the sense indulgence of the dishes that came before.

Negroni Ice Cream SandwichNegroni Ice Cream Sandwich

But this sense of opulence certainly came back with the presentation of not one, but two amazing desserts.


A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

Sponge, lilly pilly jam, mascarpone, plum and ginger sorbet, and blueberry dust made from freeze dried blueberries

The Sponge, Lilly Pilly Jam, Mascarpone, Plum and Ginger Sorbet and Blueberry Dust shows a skilful mix of technical skill and creativity, and presented a riot of fruity, refreshing flavours and contrasting textures that kept you coming back for more. I must admit that even thought we were bursting to the brim, I still scraped the bottom of the plate in a rather unladylike way because it was just so delicious.

And it turns out that this passion for food that Chef EJ has doesn’t just start and stop with The Powder Keg. He reveals that spear fishing and barbecuing ranks amongst his favourite ways to eat at home, echoing the same approach to food and nature that he has brought to The Powder Keg.

Oh, and when I asked about a dish that didn’t make it to this amazing menu? “Yabbies, smoked yabbie consommĂ©,charred fennel, pickled apples, pine oil”, he says, and I wish I hadn’t asked because now I just know what I’m missing out on.

Definitely worth a trip back to explore the rest of the menu, including the Butchers block – our board of in house made charcuteries, pickles, ferments, preserves, bread, which seems like an underrated dish, but comes as a recommendation from the chef himself.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of The Powder Keg.
The Powder Keg
7 Kellett St
Potts Point, NSW 2011
Phone: 02 8354 0980

Powder Keg Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Amazing Hidden Gems in Sydney

Sydney has always been quite the foodie’s paradise, with many cultures converging into this melting pot of a city, with some of the best produce I’ve seen in the world, to boot. And with the stampede of foodies hunting down every amazing eatery in town, it can be easy to think that there’s nothing really left to be discovered in Sydney.

Well, fear not, because I’ve found a couple of hidden gems in Sydney’s crevices, and armed with a true passion for amazing food and service, they’re putting the ‘hospitable’ back in the hospitality industry.

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Dragoncello, Surry Hills

New restaurants are popping up in Sydney like flowers in Spring, and it really takes a lot to make an impression. You’ll need vision, creativity, skill and experience. Hunger, and not just on the part of the diner.

And you know what? New restaurant/bar Dragoncello in Surry Hills are serving up just that.
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Mary’s Newtown – Sydney’s Best Burgers and Fried Chicken?

It’s all burgers and fried chicken this week at Insatiable Munchies. Maybe it’s the hot weather. Maybe it’s the tantalising smell of when hot oil meets meat. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s my last hurrah before swimsuit season descends upon us like a good looking man at the beach: great to look at but a lot of effort to attain.

But we try anyway.
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The Cliff Dive, Darlinghurst

Too often, bars in trendy districts rely on run of the mill, overpriced drinks and non-existent food to get by, because really, most people that I know of would walk up to the bar, order a spirit/mixer drink, and walk away without even considering a specialty menu (if there is one).

So when a bar promises quality drinks and quality food? Well this, I’ve gotta see.
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Waitan, Haymarket

Peking duck was a dish that was developed for royalty in ancient China, and once you know the process that goes into making it, you’ll understand why it was a royal dish. Chef’s used to blow air – yes, mouth to duck – into the duck to separate the skin from the meat, before par cooking it in a master stock, drying it for 24hrs, glazing it, then roasting it in a brick oven. It’s not a recipe I would really attempt at home – I keep wanting to but am still daunted by the task – which is where places like Waitan come in for my Peking Duck fix.

Waitan is decked out in the opulent style of ancient China. One room actually features booths styled like the lazing areas of the rich during opium times. Prints featuring chubby women – chubbiness used to be associated with wealth, and so beauty – smoking opium pipes adorn the walls, transporting you to a romanticised version of old money during a past time.


But as much as I like interior design, we all know that my tummy will always lead me to the food. And lead me it has.


Waitan features open kitchens – for the more voyeuristic of us – and built near the back of the establishment is a hung oven for Peking duck. Flames leap as browning succulent ducks shamelessly parade in front of you, seducing the hungry diner.

But with all these theatrics, how does it taste? On launch night, Waitan served up canapé versions of their best dishes for us to sample. Peking duck pancake was of course one of them, together with fresh offerings from the oyster bar, wagyu beef steamed buns, prawn spring rolls, and prawn skewers with a Singapore chilli crab sauce.




And to finish the night, there was a black sesame cheesecake.

The food was executed in a classy way, but I’m not sure whether it really hit the spot for me. I’m very impressed that they actually built a Peking Duck oven, and am equally impressed with the 10 million dollar fit out. But is it food that you can’t get any where else in Chinatown? Perhaps not, especially with the accompanying price tag. But it’s definitely a place where you would wine and dine someone you’d like to impress, and is offering very decent food with extremely lush surroundings.

If you’re more business minded, then there are also private rooms upstairs from the main restaurant with a huge selection of fine wines.

Note: Tammi of Insatiable Munchies and her dining partner dined as guests of Waitan and Hill+Knowlton Strategies

We ate at:

405 Sussex St, Haymarket New South Wales 2000
(02) 9212 7999

Waitan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Stuffed Beaver, Bondi


Beyond the famous Poutine, I haven’t really heard much about Canadian cuisine. So when I got to go to the Stuffed Beaver in Bondi I leaped at the chance. Ready for fried pickles and clamato juice?

Beaver dam is a fantastic little diner/bar located on Bondi Road. It was a little quiet when I first arrived – just before the lunch rush – and we were greeted by a small team with wide smiles. As far as I can tell, the staff are actually from Canada, and they are just SO FRIENDLY. I guess that’s what they mean by Canadian hospitality.
Clockwise from left: Bloody Caesar, Frickles, Hot Wings

I LOVE myself a good bloody mary, and in the Stuffed Beaver I’ve found a version called the Bloody Caesar. It’s made with clamato juice, which is basically a mixture of clam broth and tomato juice. The flavours are bold and unapologetic, and this is reflected in all of the other food as well.

The hot wings – and I’m a chilli eater so I think I can say this – are HOT. It left my fingers covered and mouth stinging in all its hot wings glory. Thank goodness we had the battered and fried pickles on the side to balance it out. Sure, the wings were slightly difficult to eat because the wing tips were still attached – when you have to remove it when covered in slippery sauce, it can be quite a challenge – but it makes up for it in kick-you-off-your-seat flavour. The dill pickles were much milder, but surprisingly good and slightly moreish.

John Candy Combo

You can’t be in a bar without trying a burger, and with it’s slice of fried cheese – that’s not an egg in the photo – and brioche bun it promised me a juicy gooey flavourful burger. Well, this one delivered on the flavour, but was just a little bit dry. With fried bacon, beef patty, fried cheese and pickles, almost felt like it needed some sort of sauce.

Our sauce prayers were, however, answered with the next dish.

Classic Poutine

I think poutine is just one of those dishes that takes a classic and put a legendary stamp on it. Potato chips? Delicious. Chips and gravy? Awesome! Chips, gravy and cheese curds?

LEGEND – wait for it – DARY!!!! (NPH is awesome)

I like chips and gravy well enough, but I don’t crave it the way I now crave poutine. The poutine here is quite a bit on the salty side, but SO GOOD. I’d rather it a touch salty than a touch blah any day. If this is what poutine is like, then I think I’m booking the next flight to Canada.

Overall, the service was excellent and super friendly, the atmosphere was great, and the food was delish. Apparently a popular pick amongst the hungover crowd, Stuffed Beaver is somewhere I would go if I wanted a casual chilled out night with friends.

Or if I’m just craving poutine and hot wings.

Note: Tammi from Insatiable Munchies and her partner ate as guests of Stuffed Beaver and the Trish Nichol Agency

We ate at:

Stuffed Beaver
02 9130 3002
271 Bondi Road
Bondi NSW 2026

The Stuffed Beaver Dining Parlour on Urbanspoon

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