Posts tagged Lunch

My baby shot me down: BangBang Cafe, Surry Hills

Fried chicken, $13.90: Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog Review

Slap me between two buns and call me a patty – it really does seem like Sydney’s burger craze isn’t going to blow over any time soon. From The cult favourite Burgers by Josh, to the down and dirrrty Mister Gee’s Burger Truck, to Warren Turnbull’s Chur Burger (do you even Chur, bro?), Sydney is absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to all the salty, cheesy, meaty, pickly fantasies that you can slap between two fluffy halves of a burger bun.

So when BangBang Cafe reeled me in with the promise of burgers, well…did you really expect me to say no?

Double Banger, $16.90: Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog Review

The Order:

Double Banger, $16.90
Double wagyu pattie, double cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and bangbang sauce

Fried chicken, $13.90
Buttermilk fried chicken, sriracha cabbage slaw, lettuce, tomato and sour cream

The Stack, $16.90
Potato rosti topped with wilted spinach, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and pancetta

The Food:

With burgers, bigger is always better, but sadly, I might not be woman enough for it.

Double Banger, $16.90: Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog ReviewDouble Banger, $16.90

The Double Banger is a hulking stack of wagyu, bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato and BangBang sauce. The patties were cooked to medium, the cheese oozing, and the sauce tangy – everything that I look for in a burger.

Fried chicken, $13.90: Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog ReviewFried chicken, $13.90

Maybe I’m a purist (that’s my excuse, anyway) but I don’t think I’ve met a fried chicken burger that I actually like. Not that it stops me from trying! This particular burger – called Fried Chicken, obvs XD – was decent enough with moist chicken, light sauce and a fresh slaw, but really I didn’t feel any chemistry with it.

Because eating a burger should be like dating – if you ain’t completely satisfied, just move on.

The Stack, $16.90: Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog ReviewThe Stack, $16.90

But the surprise of the morning for me? The Stack. This take on eggs florentine (poached eggs, hollandaise and spinach) supercharged the already luxurious breakfast classic with the addition of rosti and crispy pancetta. Because potato and bacon makes everything better. AND you can still claim that it’s a healthy breakfast! Because spinach.

Seriously though. That hollandaise? Rich, buttery and the stuff of dreams. YAAAASSSS.

Food: 1/1

The Service:

Its always a bit tricky commenting on service when I’m invited as a guest of the cafe, but from what I can see from the other diners, waters were filled, tables were bussed and service staff actually knew the menus and specials off the top of their heads (it’s less common than you’d think). There was a definite passion about the place – recommendations were made personally and thoughtfully, and they actually sounded like they enjoyed eating there themselves.

Quite impressive.

Service: 1/1

Value for money:

Given the portion sizes and that BangBang is in Surry Hills, paying $16.90 for a burger is still fairly reasonable. Of course, not quite easy on the wallet if you’re on a budget, but something that you’d happily treat yourself to on the weekend without having to save for months. Not too hot, not too cold…like goldilocks.

Value for money: 0.5/1

The Vibe:

Bang Bang Cafe, Surry Hills. Sydney Food Blog Review

BangBang has a really nice, chilled vibe going on. And not like a hipster “I look like I’m chilled buy really I’m not” type of chill, but a relaxed, personal feel that’s reinforced by the service. The only thing that prevented it from being a complete package for me was that the personality didn’t quite come through in the decor – most likely because they were still in the process of changing things up in the decor department.

Good, but not quite an experience yet.

Vibe: 0.5/1

And finally,

It’s very impressive that Matt – BangBang’s owner of 11 months at only 24 years old(!) – has such a clear vision of what he wants, and enough experience in both back and front of house to execute it. It’s not often that someone so young has such carry through, and he (and his team) has my utmost respect for it.

Can’t wait to see how BangBang is going to evolve. ??

Bonus points: 1/1

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of BangBang Cafe.
BangBang Cafe
113 Reservoir St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone:+61 2 9281 0018
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Bangbang-Cafe-260790390627103/

Bangbang Cafe 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. 😉

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’s like discovering a damn unicorn.

It’s 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’t 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’s a really basic quality that I’ve 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’re 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’ll turn your teeth black. And I’ve never been so happy to look like I’ve 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’t quite, well, conventional as I was expecting it to be – the cacao nibs provided a strange savoury note, and the rose petals didn’t come across as strongly as you would expect from a Turkish Delight. A bit of a shame: it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t the Turkish Delight that I wanted.

Food: 1/1


The Service:

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar doesn’t 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 ‘overpriced’ – $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…I’d say it’s well within reason for what they’re 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

Reuben and Moore, Sydney CBD

Reuben wagyu cheese burger ($14): Reuben and Moore, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog Review

I remember when I first heard about New York’s Katz’s Deli and their towering beauties of Reubens. Thin slices of salt beef are layered like a puff pastry put together with brute force and New York grunt, and the whole sandwich (can you even call it that anymore?) stands proud, dripping with juices from all the meat and steam. And naturally, after that, I had to assuage the empty reuben shaped hole in my heart…perhaps Reuben and Moore can help me out?


The Order:

2 bite sliders (3 for $15)
Pork shoulder: pulled pork, smoked chilli, Apple and fennel coleslaw
Wagyu salt beef: chipotle mayo, sauerkraut, shaved pickles
Chicken and charred corn: pulled chicken, BBQ sauce, carrot and coriander coleslaw

Reuben wagyu cheese burger ($14)
Wagyu beef burger, Swiss cheese, pastrami, lettuce and chipotle mayo


The Food:

Okay, so this time we decided to get a bit, uh, creative. I’ve long decided that if the Reubens at Reuben and Moore were the “best Reubens in Sydney”, then maybe Reubens aren’t really my thing after all – I always find the bread is too hard, which throws the ratio off, and I just end up wanting the salt beef with no distractions. Which is usually what I get, sometimes with a bit of ham.

This time though, we were in a burger mood, with three wee sliders (for sharing, because calories don’t count when you share), and a Reuben Wagyu Cheese Burger, which just sounds like a sandwich and a burger had a love child. And I’m down with a good crossover, as long as it’s delicious.

2 bite sliders (3 for $15) : Reuben and Moore, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog Review2 bite sliders (3 for $15)

The sliders were just the right size for a person with as short a food attention span as…hey there are dumplings over there! Filled to the brim with lush, juicy ingredients, every bite was full of flavour, even though in isolation, the elements were pretty average. The Wagyu Salt Beef was my favourite, but that could also be because I couldn’t actually tell the difference between the Chicken and the Pork because there was so much sweet sweet sauce. Blessing or a curse: that one’s up to you.

Reuben wagyu cheese burger ($14) : Reuben and Moore, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog ReviewReuben wagyu cheese burger ($14)

It may just be my order, but the execution of the burgers just don’t seem to scale in quite the same way. The Reuben Wagyu Beef Burger was a bit lacklustre in the seasoning department – no mean feat considering that there was pastrami, cheese AND mayo in it. The bun ate a little stale to me, and it hinted at the Reuben themed burger it had the potential to be, but left you disappointed.

Much like my hopes and dreams for my life.

Food: 0.5/1


The Service:

The service here has always been pretty consistent, thank goodness. They are always polite and professional, and on the customer-facing end, incredibly efficient. Sure it’s a little impersonal – once in a while you get the feeling that they would rather be anywhere but there, though they’re never rude to your face – but hey, it’s not marketing itself to be a high flutin’ fine dining restaurant, right?

Service: 0.5/1


Value for money:

At $14 ish for a burger, I’m not sure that I would necessarily call this value for money. Size wise, I guess it’s okay, but when you have playas like Josh in the game, I’m not sure that charging that for a below average burger really makes the cut anymore.

Value for money: 0.5/1


The Vibe:

Reuben and Moore has always branded itself in-between the classy and the casual: i.e. not quite subway, but it still IS a sandwich joint. I wouldn’t blink twice at walking in with flip-flops and a singlet, but it’s not quite filled to the brim with after-school teenagers. A happy medium, even if it’s not bursting with vitality.

Vibe: 0.5/1


And finally,

I used to visit Reuben and Moore way more often when I worked in the area – I always ordered the Salt Beef Plate with Pickles – but since I work somewhere else now, I don’t quite see the need to make dedicated trip back for the food or experience. Give it a shot if you have a serious hankering for salt beef.

Otherwise, I’m sure there are other options out there too.

Bonus points: 0/1

This meal was independently paid for.
Reuben and Moore
Level 5, Westfield Pitt Street Mall
188 Pitt Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 8072 9777
Website: http://reubenandmoore.com.au

Reuben & Moore Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hello…Kitty Diner, Chatswood

Gee Gee Burger, $12: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog Review

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the reviews say. If you put a dish like Crispy Lamb Ribs on the menu, I will show up. And I will drag Christine and Simon along with me. Like how we ended up at the Hello Kitty Diner…

And made this.

Our Freakshake creation: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewWhat happens when you cross a milkshake with a doughnut and a soft serve?

Simon is not impressed.

Simon is not impressed: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog Review


The Order:

Crispy lamb ribs, $10
With sweet soy, mint, sesame seeds

Southern fried chicken, $10
With waffles, bourbon barrelled maple syrup

Gee Gee Burger, $12
Korean fried chicken, cucumber kimchi, pickled vegetables, Asian slaw

Sweet potato fries, $6
With Miso Mayonnaise

Doughnut Soft Serve

Doughnut

Yuzu curd and white chocolate milkshake, $8


The Food:

Never has there been such a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to a menu. First I got all excited because Warren Turnbull of Chur Burger fame (and just all round chef who knows his food) designed the menu. I mean, how wrong can it get, right?

Then the deluge of reviews came through, and let’s just say that people were less than impressed. Quite a bit less. Reviews ran the gamut of saying that you’d go more for the kitsch of the theme than the food, to saying that it was downright nasty (I’m paraphrasing here). Either way, it didn’t look good for our tastebuds, but I was adamant on getting my hands on those lamb ribs.

Crispy lamb ribs, $10: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy lamb ribs, $10

Ahh lamb ribs. My second favourite of the rib variety – after beef ribs, of course – and I’m glad to say that this doesn’t change things. Lightly coated with corn flour, there was just the slightest crunch before it gives way to unctuous meat, the richness of which is enhanced with the sweet soy sauce. Because sugar is delicious, amirite?

Southern fried chicken, $10: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSouthern fried chicken, $10

The rest though, didn’t fare quite as well and fell into the “okay” category. The chicken in the Southern Fried Chicken was pretty decent, but the sad state of the waffles let it down. It was stale, and tasted like waffles that had been pre-cooked and heated in the microwave. Even the novelty of having it Hello-Kitty-shaped couldn’t save it.

Gee Gee Burger, $12: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewGee Gee Burger, $12

The Gee Gee was in a similar boat, with a decent balance of flavours, but dry bun. It’s like you could see where they were trying to go with it, but they never quite got there.

Sweet potato fries, $6: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSweet potato fries, $6

The Sweet Potato Fries were pretty edible, but no where close to the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had in Sydney. Even with the miso mayo – and you know I’ll eat anything that’s got miso in it.

Doughnut: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog Review Doughnut

Doughnut flavoured soft serve: Hello Kitty Diner, Chatswood. Sydney Food Blog ReviewDoughnut flavoured soft serve

Of the sweets, the Doughnut and Doughnut soft serve was dutifully adorned with Hello Kitty themed decorations, but when it comes down to it, the ice cream tasted like plain vanilla – which is okay except when you’re selling it as doughnut flavoured – and the strawberry flavoured doughnut was so sweet that I’m still buzzing from the sugar high days later.

The real travesty, though, was the Yuzu Curd and White Chocolate Milkshake. It’s as if who made this never had yuzu before. It was faintly chemical in taste, and on top of everything, runny like the texture of milk. We all took a sip each, and the glass was banished to the end of the table, behind the water glasses.

I guess what Simon said really summed up the food, ” I wouldn’t be angry if I was served this again”. Sure, the menu is designed by a really good chef, but it’s a bit like Apple being designed in California – no one said anything about execution. With mostly okay-but-not-mind-blowing dishes, you really start to wonder how much the novelty of it all is really carrying the diner.

Food: 0.5/1


The Service:

The Hello Kitty Diner seems to be staffed mostly by teenage girls, which seems fitting given the theme, no? They aren’t the most experienced of staff, but at least they don’t look like they were tortured into being there, which is saying a lot. They were polite enough, and we really appreciated the little things, like waters being replenished efficiently, but not much personality otherwise.

Well, this one girl did seemed sorry that we pretty much left the milkshake untouched, but that’s about it.

Service: 0.5/1


Value for money:

It’s not the most filling meal you could have at Chatswood, but $10 for a plate of ribs is not too shabby either. The burger was of a similar price and size to Chur, except for the drop in quality, so it’s also not the worst thing you could spend your money on.

But really, you’re there for the kitsch. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Value for money: 0.5/1


The Vibe:

I actually love how the diner is decked out. It actually feels like how I imagined a Hello Kitty Diner would look like as a 10 year-old, and I like how they get the message across without shoving your face in it.

And we all know how I love a good theme. 😉

The Vibe: 1/1


And finally,

There are no illusions here. The Hello Kitty Diner isn’t the epitome of fine dining, and you know what? It never said it was either. It’s there for the fans and people who love the novelty, and by the way, you can eat there too. All we could ask of it is that the food doesn’t suck, and in that regard, we were pleasantly surprised.

Just don’t order that Yuzu curd and white chocolate milkshake. Just please. Don’t.

Bonus Points: 0/1

This meal was independently paid for.
Hello Kitty Diner
The District, Chatswood Interchange
436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, Sydney
Website: https://www.facebook.com/hellokittydineraustralia/

Hello Kitty Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mama’s Buoi, Crows Nest 

Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review

Sense of humour is a very subjective thing. Some people like intellectual jokes, some people like low brow toilet humour…and some people, like Mama’s Buoi, are like me:

I love a good pun.

With two restaurants located in Surry Hills and Crows Nest, Mama’s Buoi is serving up classic Vietnamese family favourites, with the owner’s mother providing inspiration and recipes. The menu isn’t the shortest, but gives you ample options if you, like me, have a bit of the ol’ food ADD.

The Order:

Banh Cuon, $13: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewBanh Cuon, $13

Small share plates

Chicken ribs, $10
Seasoned with 5 spice and a chilli lime glaze
Banh Cuon, $13
Rice noodle stuffed with pork, mushroom and fried shallots

Salad

Mama’s Boy’s Buoi
Crispy soft shell crab, served on a papaya and pomelo salad (House special, seasonal), $20

Stir Fry

Rau Muong
Morning glory with garlic and chilli, $16

Bo Kho, $16: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewBo Kho, $16

Hot pot

Bo Kho
Stew of beef spare ribs, $16

Dessert

Che Chuoi
Banana and sago in a warm coconut cream, $9

The Food:

I think that I can confidently say that everything that I ordered that afternoon, I’d order again in a heartbeat.

Mama's Boy's Buoi, $20: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review Mama’s Boy’s Buoi, $20

Some things were more memorable than others: the Mama’s Boy Buoi (the pun is strong with this one) was a refreshing papaya and pomelo salad, accented with crispy soft shell crab. If you’re more familiar with the Thai Som Dtum, this would the a milder, sweeter, fresher Vietnamese counterpart. Very moreish, and very summery.

Chicken ribs, $10: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant Review Chicken ribs, $10

The Chicken Ribs and Banh Cuon are also excellent light options. Chicken ribs are like the new wings to me – crispy little morsels that you eat off teeny bones with your hands are glazed with a sweet and spicy glaze that will have you licking your fingers at the end. Here, they aren’t quite as good as the amazing ones I had at Thai Culinary in Melbourne, but they’re pretty darned close.

The Banh Cuon is Vietnamese version of my childhood favourite rice noodle rolls – filled with pork and mushroom and dressed in a sweet tangy nuoc Cham dressing, these bring a certain lightness to what could be an otherwise stodgy comfort food.

Rau Muong, $16: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewRau Muong, $16

If you prefer your veggies cooked, try the Rau Muong. Morning glory leaves are wilted, much like spinach, and stir fried with a chilli paste. Homely, and a perfect accompaniment to rice. And authentic, too. I distinctly remember similar dishes to this growing up in the region, just with various different greens, like sweet potato leaves and water spinach. A very scrumptious way to get your 5-a-day. ?

The Bo Kho is a rich stew of tender beef ribs that, while comforting and delicious, doesn’t hit as many high notes as the lighter options on the menu, probably because of the warm weather. Perhaps I’ll revisit this in winter, but until then, I’m sticking to the fresher dishes.

Che Chuoi, $9: Mama's Buoi, Crows Nest. Sydney Food Blog Restaurant ReviewChe Chuoi, $9

On the sweet side, the Che Chuoi also toes the line between being heavy and stodgy, and being incredibly comforting. It was sweet, thick, creamy, and rich with stewed bananas. Eats like an angel, weighs like a bag of coins in your stomach.

You have been warned.


The Service:

I’m not sure I can comment much about the service because we were invited guests, but from what I could observe from the other tables, they were incredibly accommodating and knowledgeable: having first hand experience with all the dishes on the menu.

Definitely a team that I would trust to ask, “what would you recommend?”


Value for money:

This restaurant definitely falls into ‘Asian Restaurant pricing’ for me, where the menu is meant to be enjoyed in groups. If you went by yourself, you’d probably be looking at about $30 a visit, assuming that you order a meat, a veg and rice to create a balanced meal. Sure, you’d have some leftover to take home, but it’s still a commitment that you’d have to make.

But, if you were to, say, share that with just one other person, the commitment drops to just $15 a visit. The spend per head drops significantly with a larger group, and of course, value for money goes up.

Need more convincing to go in a group? Then you get to try a little bit of everything across the board!

That’s always a winner ?

The Vibe:

I don’t know about the one in Surry Hills, but the Crows Nest restaurant has a really nice, relaxed vibe, with plenty of covered outdoor seating for you to enjoy the long summer days. The tables and chairs are organically – but artfully! – worn, adding to the homely feeling, without losing the professional edge.

I especially like how this carries on to the decoration of the menu – old family photos accent a few pages, like a mother showing off her brag book to a few guests. Coupled with the occasional pun, and classily plated food, Mama’s Buoi certainly has a deliberate vibe that they’re aiming for, and I really like the level of commitment!

Points for sticking to the schtick. ??

And finally,

If you were looking for something nice to have in a group in Crows Nest, then Mama’s Buoi is for you. I’m not sure that I would necessarily make a dedicated trip there for just myself, but with the variety and relaxed environment, it’s a great group option, especially since the value for money goes up the more people you dine with.

Just make sure that you get people who also love sharing food. No Joey Tribbianis allowed! ?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Mama’s Buoi.
Mama’s Buoi
77 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: +61 2 9438 5005
Website: www.mamasbuoi.com.au/

Mama's Buoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Instagram Eats: Harry’s, Bondi

Harry's, Bondi: Sydney Food Blog Review.

“Where shall we go to eat?” Such a small question, such huge responsibility. After all, what’s the criteria for picking a place where you exchange your hard-earned money for sustenance, and hopefully an experience to go with it.

Well, in the case of Harry’s, the criteria was: Instagram. Yes, we’ve come to that. I’d seen my Instagram feed flooded with pictures from this bustling Bondi cafe, and I thought it was high time to see what all the fuss was about.

The Order:

Pulled pork roll, fried egg with coffee bacon jam with added sweet potato fries with kasoundi, $20

Quinoa and feta fritters, fattoush, avocado, labna and hazelnut dukkah with added poached egg, $22.5

Apple cider cured trout, soft egg, avocado, fennel, zucchini and grapefruit, $20.50

Green Tea, $4 per serve

The Food:

Well, Instagram got one thing right: Harry’s sure does serve up a pretty plate of food. Colours were vibrant, and the entire plate just screamed “fresh” and “seasonal”.

Apple cider cured trout, soft egg, avocado, fennel, zucchini and grapefruit, $20.50. Harry's, Bondi: Sydney Food Blog Review.Apple cider cured trout, soft egg, avocado, fennel, zucchini and grapefruit, $20.50

Flavour-wise, they got it mostly right. The Apple Cider Cured Trout was a work of art by itself, and the fennel, avocado and grapefruit combination gave the dish a lot of dimension. Depending on how much grapefruit you chose to have in any bite, it could get a touch overpowering, but otherwise, it was spot on.

Pulled pork roll, fried egg with coffee bacon jam with added sweet potato fries with kasoundi, $20. Harry's, Bondi: Sydney Food Blog Review.Pulled pork roll, fried egg with coffee bacon jam with added sweet potato fries with kasoundi, $20

The Pulled Pork Roll with fried egg and coffee bacon jam was a breakfast burger of my dreams, if my dreams were made of pulled pork and soft buttery buns. Which you know they are. The pork was unctuous and succulent – avoiding all the squeakiness that can come with choosing too lean a cut of pork. The egg added richness, and the coffee bacon jam added depth. Together, they sang in perfect harmony, and I was just the lucky person drinking eating it all in.

The sweet potato fries were the icing on the cake, with a small dish of Kasoundi, an Indian tomato relish that just kept me coming back for more. And that’s not even considering that the sweet potato fries were one of the crispiest I’ve ever had. ??

Quinoa and feta fritters, fattoush, avocado, labna and hazelnut dukkah with added poached egg, $22.5. Harry's, Bondi: Sydney Food Blog Review.Quinoa and feta fritters, fattoush, avocado, labna and hazelnut dukkah with added poached egg, $22.5

But with the ups come the downs, and the Quinoa and Feta Fritters didn’t quite work for me. A large part of it, I’m sure, comes from the fact that I quite dislike raw capsicum, but the fritters themselves ate fairly dry, and the other elements (crispy pita, pomegranate seeds, labna, avocado) didn’t come together to create a cohesive masterpiece like the other dishes. All the bits and bobs stood aloofly apart, kind of like if strangers come together for the first time and try to form a band. Potential is there, but it requires a bit of work to hit it.

The Service:

Our waitress was friendly and perky, and had an easy charm that made small mistakes – forgetting share plates that we asked for, mixing up our order and needing to come back to confirm – easy to overlook. Being a pleasant human being does go a long way: everyone makes mistakes once in a while, and being nice just inspires a lot of patience and, well, chill.

Value for money:

I went in with the assumption that I was going to over order – I always do – by choosing three dishes to share between two females. Turns out, while the portions were certainly not measly, we polished off all three plates fairly easily. And at about $35 a head, I kinda expected to be absolutely stuffed.

I guess it still falls in the realm of reasonable, though. It IS Bondi, after all.

The Vibe:

It’s hard to fault outdoor seating with the sound of waves crashing in the not-too-far distance. The music was boppy, and played at a volume where it filled the silence, but still allowed us to easily chat over our food. Stained wood and hexagonal tiles gave it a trendy feel, and the regular clientele simply exuded “cool” in their beachwear and towels.

Very chill, and very relaxed.

And finally,

I’m not sure that I would make the trek out just to go to Harry’s (I’m really not a beach person at the best of times), but I wouldn’t mind stopping by if I was in the area. Their sweet menu items (ricotta pancakes? Yaaaasss) look very promising, and there’s a selection of cake/tart things that’s simply calling my name. I like how relaxing it is, and perhaps it was the fact that I went on a weekday, but it spared me the claustrophobic crowds of similar cafes in Surry Hills.

Go if you fancy a lazy afternoon in a cafe by the beach, or if you’re after a satisfying breakfast. Or pulled pork burger.

Now that is a must-try.

This meal was independently paid for.
Harry’s
Shop 2, 136 Wairoa Avenue
Bondi Beach, NSW
Phone: +61 2 9130 2180
Website: www.harrysbondi.com.au/

Harry's Bondi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The battle of the Korean Fried…Incredible Chicken, Eastwood

Review of Incredible Fried Chicken, Eastwood: Original Fried Chicken, Half Order

Remember how I said that pretty much all my conversations begin with food? Well, one day, Christine, Simon and I were talking about Korean Fried Chicken, and wondering about how we could have it for breakfast.

Because fried chicken should be an ‘anytime’ food.

And given that I live in the land of Korean Fried Chicken (read: Eastwood), I simply don’t understand why no one will sell me a plate of glorious crispy poultry before 11am. Don’t they recognise a clear gap in the market?

Review of Incredible Fried Chicken, Eastwood: Original Fried Chicken, Half OrderOriginal Fried Chicken, Half Order

Anyhoo. The self-proclaimed Incredible Chicken (seriously, it’s on the sign), has opened in Eastwood, and is a sister restaurant to the famous Red Pepper in Strathfield, and Sparrows Mill in the CBD; home to the Snow Cheese Chicken, that make fried chicken aficionados squeal in delight.

The Original Fried Chicken is consistent with the performance of Strathfield and CBD, hitting home runs with a crispy coating and tender meat. Not quite as juicy as the brined chicken of the Deep South, but hey, you can’t be perfect at everything.

Review of Incredible Fried Chicken, Eastwood: Spicy Braised Beef Short Ribs with NoodlesSpicy Braised Beef Short Ribs

And if fried chicken is not quite your thing (shame! SHAME!), I really liked the Spicy Braised Beef Short Ribs too. There was something utterly addictive of the cloyingly sweet soy-based sauce that clung to every strand of chewy potato noodle. Packed full of beefy goodness, the ribs were tender and fall off the bone, making me a very happy diner indeed.

The one thing that isn’t consistent, though? The service. At Eastwood, it was warm and friendly (thankfully), and at Strathfield, polite and professional. CBD wishes you hadn’t stepped in, and is grumpy when you want actual service from them. It really makes you prioritise what you want from a restaurant, but if it’s all the same to you, I’ll be sticking to the Eastwood branch, thankyouverymuch.

Now, if I could only convince them to open for breakfast…

This meal was independently paid for.
Incredible Chicken
120 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Incredible-Chicken/405561556253267

Incredible Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vessel Italian & Bar, Sydney

Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog Review

You know that saying, “never go to bed angry”? Well you should also never go to bed hungry. It’s a thing. And it was exactly what we were, um, trying to prevent when we rocked up at Vessel Italian & Bar, and ordered two pizzas, a pasta, an entree and a salad.

Because salads are healthy, right?

Also, we had a $100 voucher from Zomato to spend, and I have an appetite like an Asian. Win-win!

Nomad's hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewFrom left: Nomad’s hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50)

For the pizzas, we ordered the Nomad’s hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50). Because we really like garlic bread.

So classy, I know. ?

Anyway, maybe because I’ve been so spoilt lately by thick, chewy, bready crusts, I’m finding that the thin crispy ones aren’t really doing it for me anymore. Nothing wrong with them, but just not satisfying.

The topping on the Nomad’s hot chorizo, though, was pretty good – the chorizo was cooked to a satisfying crispness on the top, while retaining tender chunks of flesh in the middle. Could’ve done with a stronger tomato flavour in the base, but it was just because there was so much cheese, and I could never complain about too much cheese.

NEVER, Y’HEAR??

Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewSeared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24).

The Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24), brought up a bit of a “ooooh, fancy!” reaction in me, probably because I do love a good slate plate.

Isn’t it just so pretty?

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

The scallops were nicely seared without being overdone, the Jerusalem artichoke purée was silky and luscious, and the green apple salsa brought a lovely touch of freshness. The pork crackling though? Um. It wasn’t the best. *hides*

Never have I thought that I’d ever complain about pork crackling, but there it is. It was broken up to fairly small pieces, and gave me that feeling of…of…

You know when you eat shellfish and you can bits of shell stuck in the back of your mouth? Yeah. Like that.

Spaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewSpaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22)

The Spaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22) didn’t fare too well, either. I love, LOVE aglio e olio – which usually is a light pasta dish of garlic, olive oil, and sometimes red chilli – but it’s the simplest dishes that are sometimes the hardest to get right. This particular one was a bit lacking in flavour for me – salt, garlic…oil. And considering the name of the dish translates to “garlic” and “oil”, it’s not a great sign.

The squid was cooked very nicely though – tender and juicy and not rubbery – so points for that.

Caprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCaprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14)

Much better was the Caprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14). It’s really REALLY hard to mess up a caprese, assuming tomatoes are in season (which they are), and this provided a lovely freshness that balanced out the whole meal.

Kinda distracted me from the fact that I was eating a whole ton of cheese.

Mmm cheese.

The service also had its ups and downs – the lady who seated us was very friendly, but after that, it was pretty hard to get anyone’s attention, even though the restaurant was not even half filled when we went. When we did get a hold of someone though, they were pretty accommodating in our requests for salt and chilli, and our bottle of water got topped up without asking.

I’m not sure if there’s anything I would particularly make the trip back for – it was a bit on the average side for me – but I don’t think I would kick up a fuss if I had friends who wanted to come here for a group outing.

Not great, but could be worse.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Zomato.
Vessel Italian and Bar
1 Shelley St
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 92955070
Website: http://vesselsydney.com.au

Vessel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Devon on Danks, Waterloo

Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog Review

I’ve been very lucky to have very good friends in my life. Friends who will brunch with you, and support you when you go,

“Hmmmm. Do you think we should order one of everything?”

Okay, so it’s not quite that extreme. But Christine did help me with my gluttony by coming with Alli and me to Devon on Danks – the younger sister of the cafe-award-winning Devon Cafe in Surry Hills.

Because she’s a good friend, that’s why.

Now I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with Devon. My first experience wasn’t that great, but then the second was much better. Maybe third time’s the charm?

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

Mmmmmm all the fish eggs.

Well that Salmon Blini isn’t quite available anymore, and a lot of stuff has changed since. Between the three of us, we ordered the Bruschetta with extra soft egg ($17), Brunching with the Sakuma’s ($27), Annato Spiced Fried Chicken Fillet ($7), Kaya Cronnie ($7), and a DD Special ($12). Okay, so I was exaggerating when I said with ordered one of everything, but we weren’t too far off!

Bruschetta, $17: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog ReviewBruschetta, $17

Bruschetta ($17) first, because it was as close as we were going to get to our 5-a-day in this brunch. Homemade burrata melted onto balsamic chargrilled sourdough gets topped with basil, and confit tomatoes and basil. Very luscious, full of flavour, but curiously lacking the creamy naughtiness that a bursting ball of burrata gives you. A great bruschetta, but WHERE MY BURRATA?!!

Oh, but I really recommend paying the extra $3 to order the soft egg. Not only does it give you great egg porn, but the yolk also soaks into the toast, giving you a squidgy, rich bite.

And besides, the soft whites look like it could’ve been a ball of burrata, so um, we can pretend.

Brunching with the Sakuma's, $27: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog ReviewBrunching with the Sakuma’s, $27

Then the dish that has caused a whole ton of debate in my circles – Brunching with the Sakumas ($27). The first incarnation, Breakfast with the Sakumas, had a smoked eel croquette, kewpie mayo, furikake (a Japanese savoury sprinkle that you usually have on rice) and a 63C egg. The salmon at the time, for me, was incredibly dry and overcooked, and for the new-hot-cafe-on-the-block, it just felt like an unacceptable thing.

I’m happy to report that this time, they’ve really upped their game. The roasted salmon is served in a thick piece, rather than a long, thin fillet, and this allows the inside to retain a silky softness, while giving you some serious crunch in the skin. Top points!

It also comes with potato noodles, clam and miso butter, onsen egg, and furikake. And you might be tempted to think that the potato noodles are made of potato starch, like other asian noodles? Nope. It’s spiralised potatoes, which should make the zucchini spaghetti lovers happy. It retained a slight crunch that polarised the table – and by that, I mean that I was the only one who liked it – but I think it provided a great body to otherwise soft textures on the plate.

Good show, Devon on Danks, good show. *slow claps*

Annato Spiced chicken fillet, $7: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog ReviewAnnato Spiced chicken fillet, $7

Christine had already tried The Manny P Burger, so instead of going to whole hog, we order just Annato Spiced Fried Chicken Fillet ($7), with a side of their chilli mayo. Annato refers to a red spice, often used as food colouring in some Spanish cultures, that comes from the seeds of the achiote tree.

But besides a bright orange colour, I’m not sure how much flavour has come across. The chicken didn’t taste unlike typical fried chicken, and not particularly moreish in itself.

Annato spiced chicken fillet, $7: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog Review

Dat chilli mayo, tho. Tangy, salty, creamy…all the qualities you want in a good condiment. If this chilli mayo was on Tinder, I’d swipe right in a heartbeat, and then proceed to stalk it on social media. Trust me when I say that YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE.

Kaya Cronnie, $7: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog Review Kaya Cronnie, $7

On the sweet side, we got the Kaya Cronut Cronnie ($7). Whoever said that round shapes doesn’t fit in square things was lying. LYING. Deep fried croissant pastry gets pumped full of kaya, which hails from my side of the world: South East Asia.

To call it coconut jam would really be too simple. Think of it like…like Coconut Dulce De Leche, made with coconut cream, egg yolks, and a shit ton of sugar.

Which could bother some people, but you’ve just ordered deep fried pastry. I don’t think the sugar matters.

DD Special, $12: Devon on Danks, Waterloo. Sydney Food Blog ReviewDD Special, $12

Ah, this next one’s for the true connoisseur. Soft serve and salty chips are one of life’s great pleasures, and Devon on Danks has made a blue pea flower and jasmine soft serve for their DD Special ($12) this week. Blue pea flower is used in very traditional Peranakan desserts to add a sky blue tint, but it doesn’t have a lot of flavour, which is where the palate cleansing jasmine comes in.

Legit.

The staff at Devon on Danks have a much more relaxed vibe than the original, probably because the cafe itself has a chill vibe to it, assisted by wonderfully lit wide open spaces, beautiful decor, and beautiful wood and enamel-coated furnishings. Price-wise, it’s um, not student friendly, but fairly doable if you’re in a large group and splitting the bill. And you know, if you’ve got some savings. The food is well executed, and the seasonal menu means that the chefs are ever improving, which can only mean good things.

This meal was independently paid for.
Devon on Danks
2 Danks St
Waterloo NSW 2017
Phone:+61 2 9698 7795
Website: http://www.devoncafe.com.au

Devon on Danks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

At..Home Thai, Sydney

Eastern Thai Sausage ($11.90). Home Thai, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog Review

Remember how I talked about how every conversation with my friends revolve around food? Yep, it’s struck again! This time it was Christine’s birthday, so Simon and I went present shopping.

But first, lunch.

For me, hot days = Thai salads, and Simon recommended the ones at Home Thai on Sussex Street.

Mixed Papaya Salad $11.90. Home Thai, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMixed Papaya Salad $11.90

Just like many authentic Thai restaurants, a papaya salad comes in many variations: fermented crab, shrimp, anchovies, sausages, rice noodles…if anyone ever tells you again that a salad is just a bowl of rabbit food, sock ’em in the head with some fermented crab.

That’ll teach them.

We got the Mixed Papaya Salad ($11.90), with vermicelli, pork roll (which is a bit like a Thai ham), Thai anchovies and pork crackling (!!). Because pork crackling makes everything better. This version is a little more sweet, which tempers the fermented flavours of the anchovies and shrimp paste. The soft pork roll and pork crackling added a great contrast of textures, that made this more a satisfying meal than a side dish.

Eastern Thai Sausage ($11.90). Home Thai, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewEastern Thai Sausage ($11.90)

Speaking of side dishes, we also got the Eastern Thai Sausage ($11.90). The texture was more like fresh mince than what you’d necessarily expect from a sausage, and there was a slight sourness that’s typical of this variety. Why it’s sour, I have no idea. But I’m quite happy to eat it all the same.

And because we’re asian, WE MUST HAVE RICE!!

Pork Hock with Rice ($9.90). Home Thai, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewPork Hock with Rice ($9.90)

Rarrr. Rice monster.

The Pork Hock with Rice ($9.90) was very simply a stewed bit of pork hock, with lots of gravy and rice. There’s just something about the whole hock getting stewed that turns the rind and fat into a lovely soft gelatinous mass, with chunks of fall-apart meat underneath. Unctuous, flavourful, and an absolute favourite at the table.

SAH GOOD.

As for the present, well we didn’t quite find what we were looking for, but we got there in the end. Now who’s birthday’s next…

This meal was independently paid for.
Home Thai
1-2/299 Sussex St
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone:+61 2 9261 5058
Website: http://www.homethaisussex.com.au

Home Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato