Posts tagged NSW

Three little piggies went to market: Hungry Wolf, Wollongong

Sydney Food Blog Review of Hungry Wolf, Wollongong: Pork Belly, Po' Boy, $10

The tale of the three little piggies has always been one of my favourites – after all, who can’t identify with the poor wolf who was obviously just hangry?

And we all know that you’re not you when you’re hungry. 😉

So I was very delighted to receive an invite to the Hungry Wolf, a sister of the whiskey bar, the Howlin’ Wolf.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Hungry Wolf, Wollongong: Heirloom Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, Balsamic DressingHeirloom Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, Balsamic Dressing

I was originally expecting smokey barbecues to go with the whiskey theme, but was instead (pleasantly) surprised by fresh, light food, very comparable to whatever we can find in Sydney.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Hungry Wolf, Wollongong: Pork Belly Po' Boy, $10Pork Belly Po’ Boy, $10

We started with a salad of Buffalo Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes and Balsamic Dressing – just fresh but savoury enough to whet our appetites. The tomato wedges were lightly crumbed to provide a crisp exterior, and the mozzarella was creamy and delicate.

But the star of the whole lunch, was really the Po’ Boy.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Hungry Wolf, Wollongong: Pork Belly Po' Boy, $10

Po’ Boys originated from New Orleans, and is basically a variation of a sandwich. But like, BEST SANDWICH EVER level of awesome. Hungry Wolf uses a soft yet crusty bread to hold a delectable pile of whisky braised pork belly, slaw, chilli, aioli and green apple. It was way more satisfying than a banh mi – and that’s saying a LOT coming from me – and the thinner-than-shoestring fries just finished the package for me.

I could have eaten this all day every day and still come back for more.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Hungry Wolf, Wollongong: Pearl Barley and tomatoes, with Beef BrisketPearl Barley and tomatoes, with Beef Brisket

But the downside to an amazing dish? It’s hard for the others to stack up. The Pearl Barley and Tomatoes with Beer Braised Beef Brisket was a lovely wintery dish that was hearty without sitting too heavy in the belly, but really, after the addictive mix of textures and flavours in the Pork Belly Po’ Boy, nothing was going to ever be good enough.

Who knew that a humble sandwich would have come out on top?

And I really respect the vision there, too. When chatting to the chef, I learned that there was a very deliberate balance struck between vision and price point. He would have loved to use top ingredients at every turn, but because of the lack of supply in Wollongong, and the importance of keeping the food affordable, he had to make comprimises in the execution. Not that you’d realise it, given how expertly he’s navigated the murky waters of substitution.

The vibe at the Hungry Wolf certainly screams family, with a small team that really seem to love their jobs. I was given suggestions when offering by someone who has actually eaten from the menu (it’s rarer than you think) and who had their own notes of why they loved those dishes so much.

It’s got great potential, and if this is what the lunch menu looks like, I would be very interested in seeing how dinner pans out.

Now to just figure out the secrets to teleportation…

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Hungry Wolf.
Hungry Wolf
53-61 Crown Street, Wollongong
Phone: 0417 265 272

Click to add a blog post for Hungry Wolf on Zomato

Road Trip! Lovedale Long Lunch

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Braised Wagyu Beef with Truffle Mash, Apple, and Beetroot Relish from Saltire Estate Catering

Lady dates are the best, especially when it involves a road trip to wine country with a fellow person who..doesn’t drink.

Isn’t life ironic?

But when I got invited as a guest of Lovedale Long Lunch, we absolutely jumped on the chance to explore Hunter Valley!

Tatler Wines and Cafe

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: 200g Grass Fed Scotch Fillet, with tatler chipolatas, herbed butter, tomato chutney, and rocket, pear and walnut salad

First stop: Tatler Wines and Cafe. Steak and sausages, with a fresh salad on the side. Sausages were great, but I don’t really understand why you would serve steak at a festival: it’s so hard to keep warm and yet not overcook it, and have you ever tried to cut steak with a plastic knife? Not so cute when it tips all over you while you struggle with fragile plastic cutlery – like my self-esteem, haha!

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Lovedale Long Lunch
Tatler Wines and Cafe
477 Lovedale Road
Lovedale, NSW
Phone: (02) 4930 9139

Click to add a blog post for Tatler Wines & Cafe on Zomato

The Deck Cafe

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Hunter Valley Brie with lavosh and fig, date and walnut roll from The Deck Cafe, Lovedale

Then it was on to the Deck Cafe for some brie like a huge wodge of creamy cheese. Served a bit too cold for my liking, and not quite rich enough, but it was still a nice piece of cheese, with a beautiful still pond serving as your view.

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Gartelman Winery

Very pretty.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Lovedale Long Lunch
The Deck Cafe
701 Lovedale Rd
Lovedale, NSW
Phone: (02) 4930 9007

Click to add a blog post for Deck Cafe on Zomato

Saltire Estate Catering

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Braised Wagyu Beef with Truffle Mash, Apple, and Beetroot Relish from Saltire Estate CateringBraised Wagyu Beef with Truffle Mash, Apple, and Beetroot Relish

Saltire Estate catering really really was a bust. Overcooked meat, and truffle mash with no truffle aroma – this meal was like the Tinder version of food: it looked promising, but no cigar.

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Braised Wagyu Beef with Truffle Mash, Apple, and Beetroot Relish from Saltire Estate Catering


Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Lovedale Long Lunch
Saltire Estate Catering
113 Wilderness Rd
Lovedale 2320
Phone: 02 4915 7228

Muse Restaurant and Cafe

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Pork Crackling by Muse Restaurant and Cafe

Hunter Calley favourites Muse Restaurant and Catering served up both savoury AND sweet dishes. Savoury had something something PORK BELLY (does the rest matter?), and a Nitro Rocky Road with Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry, Marshmallow, Coconut Meringue and Macadamia Brittle Biscuit.

Review of Lovedale Long Lunch: Nitro Rocky Road with Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry, Marshmallow, Coconut Meringue and Macadamia Brittle Biscuit by Muse Restaurant and CafeNitro Rocky Road: Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry, Marshmallow, Coconut Meringue and Macadamia Brittle Biscuit

So basically a lot of smoke, very dramatic, and a chocolatey dessert Unfortunately I couldn’t pick apart the individual flavours, but it did look very pretty, and it was pleasant, but not like, amazeballs, you know?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Lovedale Long Lunch
Muse restaurant and Cafe
1 Broke Rd
Pokolbin, NSW
Phone: (02) 4998 6777

Click to add a blog post for Muse Restaurant and Cafe on Zomato

Still, the Hunter Valley is just such a beautiful place to visit. Amazing vineyards, great food producers, and burrata for $4. Yes. $4.

No, don’t bother going to try buying them. IT’S ALL MINE! ALL MINE I TELL YOU!!

Lobster with your eggs? Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills

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

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

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

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

We started off first with a couple of refreshing drinks.

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

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

bosphorus benedict from rustic pearl in surry hillsBosphorus Benedict

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

Oozing egg yolk from the bosphorus benedict

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

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

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

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

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

This meal was independently paid for.

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

Rustic Pearl on Urbanspoon

Of flatbreads and pickles: Jasmine 1, Auburn

Large mixed plate from Jasmine 1 in Auburn

A quick Google of Jasmine 1 in Auburn turns up very conflicting results: no one can seem to agree on whether it’s actually part of a chain, whether there’s an affiliation between the different locations, or even whether it’s spelt Jasmin or Jasmine (why did I not take a closer look at the sign when I was there).

But what they can agree on, is that the food is good.

A bowl of Foul: broad beans simmered with lemon juice and garlic, finished with olive oilFoul, $8

Pronounced “Fool”, Foule consists of broad beans simmered with garlic and lemon juice, and topped with a fruity olive oil. As Anthony Bourdain once said of another dish, it “sits like a bag of quarters” in your stomach, but it’s so worth it. A thick stew of tender broad beans are lifted with the sour tang of lemon juice and served with soft Lebanese flatbread.

Well, the flatbread comes with every meal, so I’m assuming that I can pair the two together.

Fried Kibbeh: Seasoned lamb mince enclosed in burghul, shaped into an oval, and fried to a crisp.Fried Kebbeh, $12

And as soon as I saw the word “kibbeh” (kebbeh?), the words “raw lamb” immediately come to mind. And I rarely see restaurants serve this, because of the risks involved in serving people raw, minced meat. Steak tartare is hand-cut, and so’s the Korean yukhoe, but mincing, requires a machine, and that can be an absolute breeding ground for bacteria if not properly maintained.

Unfortunately, my dining partners weren’t quite up for ordering it, so we ended up getting Fried Kebbeh instead!

Fried Kebbeh

These divine oval parcels involve seasoned lamb mince stuffed into a burghul shell, and deep fried into golden brown deliciousness.

Fattoush: Salad of tomato, capsicum, onion, cabbage, mint, and parsley, dressed in lemon juice and olive oil.Fattoush, $8

And we got a salad. Because, EAT YOUR VEGGIES. But no, really, I never realised how INSANELY AWESOME it is to have crunchy bits of deep fried flatbread sitting on top of a salad so well-dressed it’s ready for the Oscars. Maybe it’s not the BEST fattoush in the world – I wouldn’t know really, since I’ve been distracted by it’s greener cousin tabbouli all these years – but it was tasty, and fresh, and one of the more enjoyable salads I’ve had in a while.

Large mixed plate from Jasmine 1 in AuburnLarge Mixed Plate, $36

And then the main event. A Large Mixed Plate, $36, to share. 3 chicken skewers, 3 koftas, and 4 lamb skewers are served with a plate of pickles, and endless flatbreads. Oh, and a garlic sauce that is garlicky enough to repel a bad tinder date, but not quite enough to keep you safe from vampires, a la El Jannah. The kofta was fantastic – and reminded me heaps of the Persian Koobideh, which also involves seasoned minced lamb cooked on a stick – and the lamb kebab was well seasoned and had just the right accents of fat. And I adore lamb fat.

The chicken, not so much, but I’m not a chicken person, much less chicken breast.

The service – which some think is a bit spotty – was actually pretty good when I went – they had a few customers in the restaurant, promptly brought us our menus, and took our orders in a timely fashion. They also served up complimentary cups of hot sweet black tea, which ended the meal on a light, sweet note.

Not that it stopped us from dropping by the amazing bakeries on the way back to the car to get some desserts in!

Jasmine 1
22 Civic Rd
Auburn, NSW 2144
Phone: 02 9643 8426

Jasmine 1 on Urbanspoon

Godzirra Sushizilla!

Prawn Roll from Suzhizilla

There’s just something about sushi trains that are just so fascinating for me: the lights, the colours, and the endless varieties of small bites smothered in mayo and teriyaki sauce.

Yeah, I think it’s the mayo that’s got me.

But sucking mayo straight from a Kewpie bottle aside, there’s so much more to a Japanese restaurant than just a sushi train, and Sushizilla in Central Park has become a new favourite in my household not only because of their $2.90 sushi train happy hour (5-9pm every day), but also because of their standout a la carte menu.

Clockwise from top left: Grilled oysters, Chawanmushi, Chippendale Roll, Eel Hamburg, Prawn RollClockwise from top left: Grilled oysters, Chawanmushi, Chippendale Roll, Eel Hamburg, Prawn Roll

I was a bit disappointed that on the day that I go back with my camera there wasn’t any black cod available, but I still maintain that their Miso Black Cod ($13.50) is rocking. Rice essential though, because unless you’d like salty miso flavour that makes your face screw (in which case, high five!), then you might need to temper the miso a little with some steamed rice.

The Prawn Roll was also a standout for me – panko-crumbed prawn is rolled into an inside-out maki roll, and topped with mayo and blowtorched. Mmmmm mayo. The Chawanmushi is also a regular order for me: silky savoury egg custard is studded with edamame, crabmeat, chicken and salmon roe.

Sushi train order

They sushi train, while not as stellar as their a la carte, also feature fresh ingredients and satisfying bites. And at $2.90 per plate during happy hour, this place is packed with students from around the area at dinnertime. 

Go for the cheap sushi, stay for the a la carte! And with extra incentive this time, since Sushizilla is offering 20% off all a la carte menu orders till the end of February 2015!

And you know we love a good discount around here. =)

Central Park
Shop 204 28 Broadway
Chippendale, NSW 2008
Phone: 0438 689 119
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 9:00am-9:30pm

Sushizilla on Urbanspoon

Battambang, Cabramatta

Phnom Penh noodles from Battambang in Cabramatta

Cambodian food has always been a bit like Filipino food to me: familiar, but not familiar enough. It wasn’t as commonplace as Thai food growing up, but most of the flavours just seem so familiar when I taste it.

And it tastes utterly delicious.

Off the recommendations on Thang’s blog, I decided to drop by for some Phnom Penh noodles on the afternoon that I found myself in Cabramatta.

A full bowl of Phnom Penh noodles from Battambang in Cabramatta

They come in soup or dry versions, and are basically rice noodles, topped with various bits of offal – pork liver, intestine and blood – as well as pork meat. A savoury brown sauce is then ladled over the top, and a bowl of soup served on the side.

Rice noodles getting lifted out of the bowl after being tossed in sauce and chilli

Jars of chilli sauce and pickled chillies are available at every table, meaning I get to make things get nuclear, and relive some childhood comforts.

It’s amazing how something that burns so much can be comforting in times of heat.

The noodles were slick and springy, and the offal was well, clean. Many places in Sydney don’t thoroughly clean their offal, leaving a bad aftertaste. Here it was just porky, as pork should be, and the mixture of brown sauce and chilli just made me never want to stop eating.

If you do decide to make the trip, it’s located inside a shopping arcade and not visible from the street, so keep that GPS handy, and look for the banner hanging off the ceiling that points you in the right direction.

Battambang Restaurant
15/73-79 John St
Cabramatta, NSW 2166
Phone: 02 9754 2120

Battambang Restaurant on Urbanspoon

You pho, Me Pho!

There’s been major changes down Eastwood’s Rowe St recently – shops vacate and restaurants move in (Bao Dao and Tounoya, to name a few), which can only mean good things for a glutton like me.

And it seems that just because a restaurant is popular doesn’t mean it’ll stay: Pho Gia Hoi was always pumping, but seems to have been replaced by Me Pho, a small, quiet Vietnamese restaurant, serving up more varieties than your average pho menu.
Read More

Supper at Caffe Cherry Beans, Eastwood

I am pleasantly surprised every time I decide to venture out into Eastwood for some late night eats. There are always new cafes popping up on every corner, and many of them have decided to compete for the supper eating community.

Of which I am a very active member.
Read More