Posts tagged Sydney CBD

Wax on, wax off: Lotus, Sydney CBD

Crispy tofu with salt and wildfire dukkah, $17: Lotus, Sydney. Sydney Food Blog Review

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing, until you’re missing it. And I never knew just how hard it was to get vegan options until I actually went to lunch with a vegan.

And I mean real options. Not like “yeah you can order the side salad” options.

So when the menu at Lotus offered up plenty of delicious sounding tofu and mushroom dishes, I thought, “Maybe there’s hope after all!”

The Order:

Steamed shiitake mushroom dumplings, $12

Crispy tofu with salt and wildfire dukkah, $17

Steamed seasonal vegetable with sesame oil and soy, $16

The Food:

The food was quite lovely, with a Mr Wong-esque slant to it.

Steamed shiitake mushroom dumplings, $12: Lotus, Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSteamed shiitake mushroom dumplings, $12

We started off with the Steamed Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings, $12, filled with a mushroom and chopped greens mixture (asparagus, I think?) and encased in a translucent potato starch skin that’s notoriously hard to handle. It was a light bite, and the flavour of the mushrooms really came through, almost for a lack of flavour from anything else. The chilli that came with it really helped, though – there was a tomatoey sweetness that prevented it from being too spicy (not that it’s ever really a problem for me) and overpower the dumplings.

Crispy tofu with salt and wildfire dukkah, $17: Lotus, Sydney. Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy tofu with salt and wildfire dukkah, $17: Lotus, Sydney. Sydney Food Blog Review

My favourite, though? The Crispy tofu with salt and wildfire dukkah, $17. Soft, fluffy tofu is dusted with a tangy, peppery mixture, and served alongside a thick, sesame and black vinegar pouring dipping sauce. The tofu actually carried a light crunch on the outside, that soaked up all the sauce without turning into mush, and then crumbled satisfyingly into my rice.

The Steamed Seasonal Vegetable with sesame oil and soy, $16, was, well, Bak Choy with soy. Not groundbreaking, but we didn’t order it expecting the wheel to be reinvented. So…*shrugs* eh.

The Service:

The service at Lotus was a bit of a mixed bag for me. They were efficient and polite enough most of the time, but they didnt go out of their way to make me feel like I was in safe hands. For example, beyond what was written in the menu, I didn’t get much more information about the dishes set down in front of me. There was no forthcoming explanation, for example, about the sauce that went with the tofu, and I had to ask them twice before I got an answer.

Also, towards the end (you know when they set down a dessert menu purposefully in front of you?), I had the distinct feeling of being rushed off. I mean, I totally understand that restaurants have to turn tables over in order to make money, but it’s usually a little bit more subtle. We had taken a pause to Instagram (talk about #FirstWorldProblems, huh), and the waitress came back to enquire about our choices for dessert, even though it hadn’t been enough time for me to finish typing my Instagram caption.

Not a good look.

Value for money:

I know I have to take into account the CBD location, and the fancy interior and all that, but the only thing that justified the price was the dumplings. Everything felt just that little bit overpriced, and there is no parallel universe where $16 for steamed Bok Choy tossed in soy sauce and sesame oil is justifiable. Well, maybe if there was gold leaf.

BUT STILL. My Asian ancestors would disown me if they found out I paid that much.

The Vibe:

It was classy, in a “non-Asians were drinking wine with their Asian lunch” sorta say. (Where is the damned tea, people?!) The decor screamed pan-Asian chic, and it was fairly busy for a weekday lunch. Otherwise it felt pretty sterile, which is good or bad depending on how you look at it: I completely understand if dilapidated Asian restaurant with a single old man in the kitchen is not always your thing.

And finally,

As far as the vegan options go, Lotus performed pretty well. They gave us more options than your average eatery in the CBD, even if that came at a price. If you’re not with a vegan crowd, however, Lotus might not be your first choice: there are just that many more authentic and delicious options in the city that are easier on the wallet to drop by for lunch.

Unless, you know, you really want that wine with your meal. In that case, go for it, you lush. I won’t judge. 😉

This meal was independently paid for.

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

Miyama, Sydney CBD

Miyama, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog Review

I think the 28th of December might have just been the worst day of my life. In a dramatic, inconsequential way, of course. It all started with a trek out to Ultimo for burgers. Pub Life Kitchen burgers that I’d heard so much about. Turns out, after a 20 min trek, we found out that GOOGLE LIED TO US.

They were closed for the holidays

So Sam suggests heading to Sunflower Cafe for Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Because that’s always a winner. So we trek out to Broadway, and they were closed too. FML.

Then it was off to Ippudo, because the rest of Central Park (The Living Mall) seemed to be open. WRONG. The Universe didn’t want me to eat for some reason, and it was making it damned hard to get anything decent in the city.

And I was getting hangry.

Defeated, we dragged ourselves off to Central Station, ready to wave the white flag and go home, when a bright red sign from Miyama advertising ramen called to me.

Could this be salvation after all?


The Order:

Gyoza, $6
Eel Don,$13.90
Tan Tan Ramen, $10.50


The Food:

Okay, so maybe expecting one meal to save a bad day is a bit much for any restaurant. But this was one of those places where the food just didn’t stack up. It wasn’t inedible or anything, but it just wasn’t good.

Gyoza, $6: Miyama, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog ReviewGyoza, $6

The Gyoza, $6, were little more than Chinese dumplings repurposed with a Japanese name. How can I tell the difference? Well the flavour and shape are way WAY different and a you can’t fool a lifetime of dumpling eating experience.

Did I also mention that the crispy dumpling bases were irrevocably soggy? Yeah, nah.

Tan Tan Ramen, $10.50: Miyama, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTan Tan Ramen, $10.50

The Tan Tan Ramen, $10.50, was meant to be a mix of peanut and chilli flavours, but instead was incredibly salty (and that’s really saying something coming from a salt lover like me), to the point where it overpowered any other notes that could’ve been in there. Otherwise, it was pretty unremarkable, with average noodles and average toppings, which is being nice since the egg was overcooked to the point of a grey ring around the yolk.

Eel Don,$13.90: Miyama, Sydney CBD. Sydney Food Blog ReviewEel Don,$13.90

The Unagi Don, $13.90, was arguably the best thing on the table, which really comprised of cooked rice, pre-packaged eel and pre-packaged pickles. Not really much to be said about their cooking abilities, unfortunately.

Food: 0.5/1


The Service:

You know that stereotype of Asian restaurants were it’s all fairly impersonal and you’d be lucky to get any attention at all? Well in this case it definitely was impersonal, but it was pretty hard to ignore us considering we were just about the only customers in the restaurant. They were nice enough whilst taking our orders, there was nothing much to write home about.

Much like the food.

Service: 0.5/1


Value for money:

What can I say? It’s yet another middle of the road score. It’s not expensive, especially for the CBD, but it’s not so cheap or generous that I want to repeat the experience either.

Half a point for not making me demand my money back. I guess. ?

Value for money: 0.5/1


The Vibe:

Ahh finally something to say. Unless you like the sound of random TV programmes playing in the background whilst you eat (ah, like an Asian childhood), then there is really nothing else to relax you, calm you, or anything, really. Just an empty restaurant, with a TV.

The Vibe: 0/1


And finally,

I finally remember why I waited so long to give Miyama a shot: I’d always seen the little sign on the way to and from Central Station, but there was always a better, more appealing option somewhere else. I really respect, though, that they haven’t gone out of business – I remember seeing the sign since my uni days, and without revealing my age, well, it’s been a while.

Otherwise, I’m sure there are better options around. Can I point you towards Haymarket, just a 10 minute walk away?

Bonus points: 0/1

This meal was independently paid for.
Miyama
849 George Street
Chinatown, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9212 5350

Miyama 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.

Taste of Shanghai, World Square

Barramundi in Sweet & Sour Sauce, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog Review

Ever eat so much that the meal was just a whirlwind and the evening was a blur because you’ve blacked out from a food coma?

I had that, when we were invited to celebrate the launch of Taste of Shanghai’s brand spanking new decor of their World Square outlet.

Get ready for a deluge of food photos…

Peking style shredded Pork + Golden Buns, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPeking style shredded Pork + Golden Buns

Pan Fried Noodles with Shrimp & Shredded Pork, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog Review Pan Fried Noodles with Shrimp & Shredded Pork,

Salty Pork with Green Vegetable Fried Rice, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewSalty Pork with Green Vegetable Fried Rice

Pan Fried Pork Bun, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewPan Fried Pork Bun

Tofu with Preserved egg, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewTofu with Preserved egg

Wonton in Red Chili Oil Sauce, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewWonton in Red Chili Oil Sauce

Stir Fried Green Beans with Pork Mince, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewStir Fried Green Beans with Pork Mince

Xiao Long Bao, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewXiao Long Bao

Mud Crab with Salted Egg Yolk, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewMud Crab with Salted Egg Yolk

Dude, we had 20 different dishes that night. Like a solid 20, not even counting the double ups of a couple of them. I had my clear favourites, of course, like the coronary-inducing Mud Crab with Salted Egg Yolk. And by coronary, I mean my doctor would collapse from the shock and horror as I wantonly devour succulent mud crab coated in a rich, salted duck yolk crust. Yaaaaasssssss.

Eggplant & Pork Mince in Sweet Chili Vinegar, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewEggplant & Pork Mince in Sweet Chili Vinegar

Also on the hit list, the Eggplant and Pork Mince in Sweet Chilli Vinegar, eaten with the Salted Pork and Green Vegetable Fried Rice. There’s just something so comforting about tossing that tangy tender eggplant in a large bowl of fried rice that just keeps me going back for more.

Fish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog ReviewFish Fillet in Spicy Chili Oil

If you’re looking to impress, the Fish Fillet in Spicy Chilli Oil comes out in a massive platter, complete with a slotted ladle so that the fillets aren’t absolutely drowning in the crimson oil. The fish is snowy white and tender, and a barest hint of chilli clings to the silky flesh. Make no mistake, this fish is less fried and more poached in its texture.

Barramundi in Sweet & Sour Sauce, Taste of Shanghai, World Square. Sydney Food Blog Review Barramundi in Sweet & Sour Sauce

Chilli oil not quite your thing? Well, How about the Barramundi in Sweet and Sour Sauce, because who doesn’t like a sweet and sour? A WHOLE fish is deep fried and glazed in the sweet and sour sauce of my childhood – thankfully missing the pineapple pieces and capsicum – ready to be a dramatic centrepiece at any table. Very theatrical in its presentation, but accessible and straightforward in its flavours.

Food-wise, they’re serving up pretty much the same menu – except that the physical menu has been given a facelift. I’m happy to report that the seasoning levels were much better than the last time I visited, and I wasn’t left reaching for the water quite as often.

It was really lovely getting spoilt on such a selection of the menu. The seating has changed to allow two massive tables to accomodate large groups, as well as smaller tables for the everyday crowd, and the walls are adorned with family photos from the owner’s childhood. It really gave it a cozy, homely feel, which was quite impressive considering that it was packed to the brim on a weekday night.

From what I hear, this is the first of the Taste of Shanghai group of restaurants to get the facelift, and I think it adds a nice update to a reliable chain of eateries. Now just to see when my local Taste of Shanghai gets the same treatment! 😉

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Taste of Shanghai.
Taste of Shanghai
Shop 9.07, World Square Shopping Centre
644 George Street
Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9261 8832
Website: www.tosau.com.au/

Click to add a blog post for Taste of Shanghai on 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

Coffee Box Espresso, Darling Harbour

Prosciuto and Egg Sandwich, Coffee Box Espresso, Darling Harbour: Sydney Food Blog Review

With the onset of 38C days, I think it’s safe to say that summer is officially upon us. It sucks, but it’s true. And with all the sweat, tears, and general grumpiness that accompanies it, also comes the headaches, and you know what solves that?

Iced Coffee.

Many ‘serious’ coffee places seem too snooty to do an iced coffee – there’s a stigma that iced coffee is somehow not worth their time because it’s more coffee flavoured milk than a serious caffeine hit. Fair enough, but that leaves people like me in the middle of nowhere, because I’m an unabashed fan of iced coffee that’s forced to either settle for the bottled stuff or make it at home myself.

Well Coffee Box Espresso in Darling Harbour comes to the rescue! Made with a shot of real coffee and scoops of ice cream, they actually make one of the best iced coffees I’ve had in Sydney. Assuming you like iced coffees, of course. Blended and frosty, it was creamy, sweet, and, I can’t stress this enough, made with actual coffee. Caffeine and sugar hit, all at once!

It’s a twofer.

And if iced coffee is a little bit beneath you (no judgement here! *backs away with hands raised*), then a cold drip might be your thing instead. This week, the cold drip coffee came in the form of an Ethiopian Koke Yirgacheffe, with was sweeter and less acidic than most cold drips I’ve had. Very easy to drink, especially for a coffee beginner like me.

Food-wise, I think Coffee Box Espresso do pretty well for a tiny little kitchen that’s pretty much the size of a kiosk. Sandwiches are made daily on-site, and the pastries are baked by “mother dearest”.

I kid you not. The owner’s mother supplies the baked goods, which instantly raises my respect for the place.

Strawberry and Passionfruit Muffin, Coffee Box Espresso, Darling Harbour: Sydney Food Blog ReviewStrawberry and Passionfruit Muffin

We tried the Strawberry Passionfruit Muffin, which was covered with a very generous dusting of icing sugar.

Like the kind that will go up in puffs if you breathe too hard on it.

The muffin itself was tender and moist, and fell apart in the best way. Like a heroine in an old school romance movie. A little bit of tart, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lotta soft cakey crumble.

Well done, Mama.

And at the risk of eating dessert before the main – the sky is going to fall down on us! – we also tried the Prosciutto and Egg sandwich.

Prosciuto and Egg Sandwich, Coffee Box Espresso, Darling Harbour: Sydney Food Blog ReviewProsciuto and Egg Sandwich

Hard boiled eggs – but not too hard boiled! NO GREY RING OF DEATH!- are well, sandwiched between a crusty roll, together with strips of prosciutto, rocket and tomato relish. Very delicious mix of flavours, even though the bread was a bit, um, chewy for my taste. Which wasn’t too hard to fix – just take off the bottom and have it as a tartine!

My mama always said I was a problem solver.

The Coffee Box Espresso may only be a scant eight weeks old, but they seem to have their act together. The owner makes the coffee personally – for every customer, not just for me – and there was a sense of consistency and heart in the work. I’m glad to see a kiosk that tries for standard, rather than just ordering things in for profit and ease, and with the arrival of a new oven soon (so I’m told) it looks like it should go on that way.

Definitely stop by for a quick iced coffee if you’re in the area on a hot day – they aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but they sure do provide a smooth ride.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Coffee Box.
Coffee Box Espresso
Level 2, Harbourside Shopping Centre
2-10 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, NSW
Phone: N.A.

Coffee Box Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Momo Brasserie, Sydney CBD

Momo's Wagyu Brioche, $20, Momo Brasserie: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMomo’s Wagyu Brioche

I’m not the kind of girl that needs her coffee in the morning to operate. In fact, I’m not the kind of girl to operate in the morning at all.

But that’s besides the point.

Cappuccino, Momo Brasserie: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCappuccino

Unlike so many sleep-deprived 20-somethings out there, the caffeine in coffee doesn’t actually have an effect on me, so I’m extra picky about how my coffee tastes. Di Bella Coffee blends and roasts their own coffee out of Queensland. From what I’ve tried at Momo Brasserie, it’s actually a pretty good cuppa. It was aromatic without being burnt and bitter, and unlike many of the coffee places I’ve been to, this didn’t require the cloak of milk and sugar to mask badly handled beans. Very slightly acidic and fruity, with lots of body without a burned aftertaste.

The food was a bit hit and miss for me. The Wagyu Brioche (pictured above), $20, was dry and somewhat uninspiring – not the two words you’d wanna hear in the same sentence as “wagyu” and “brioche”. It was saved entirely by the chips on the plate, though, with just the right amount of crispy to fluffy ratio, and a salty bite that keeps you going back for more.

The New York Pastrami, $19.50, makes all the WHO cancer warnings worthwhile. I love me some cancer meat. A heaping mountain of house-made pastrami lay atop toasted rye with pickles and mustard, and a refreshing slaw and cut through the brininess of the meat. A serving large enough for two, but only eaten by one.

Momo's New York Pastrami, $19.50, Momo Brasserie: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMomo’s New York Pastrami, $19.50

It’s mine, ALL MINE Y’HEAR?!

So good coffee, and okay food. But what about the service? Well, the service was incredibly attentive – I pre-ordered because Sam was on a ticking lunch break, and they paid attention to when he arrived and made the coffee and food accordingly. Very meticulous, and very seamless. Definitely somewhere to go on a lunch break time pump, if only for the coffee and the service, just maybe avoid the burger and get anything with that house made pastrami in it.

Mmmmm. Delicious cancer meat.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Di Bella Coffee.
Momo Brasserie
65 Elizabeth St
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9233 8838
Website: www.momobrasserie.com.au/

Momo Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grain Bar, Sydney

Grain Burger, $24: Grain Bar, Sydney, Sydney Food Blog Review

I may not be a drinker, but I’m ashamed to say that I’m a nightmare to any bartender. I see cocktails as food, and I’m very, uh, specific about what and how my drinks are balanced. My usual order is *takes a deep breath* aBloodyMarywithextraTabascoextrasaltlemonnotlimeshakennotstirredchilledbutwithnoice.

You see what I mean?

So it’s nice to finally meet a bartender who shares the same view: cocktails aren’t just there to get drunk on – it’s meant to be absolutely delicious.

Sam-the-boyfriend meets Sammy-the-bartender over whiskey and the beautiful bar at Grain Bar, at The Four Seasons. Let me just take a moment and say that I feel so posh and adult right now.

Look Ma, no hands!

Whisky Tasting: Grain Bar, Sydney, Sydney Food Blog Review

I know that they say that you should never drink on an empty stomach, but it was a lovely day, and we were in a good mood, so what the hey.

If you ever thought that whiskey was just about men with moustaches sitting at bars filled with cigar smoke and dark wood, well…okay there’s an element of that but it’s also so SO much more. Sammy-the-bartender guided us through the smokey peat and liquid gold.

Our favourite was the 18yo Yamazaki: smooth, nutty, and almost unctuous in the way it slides down the throat. But even more than the amazing booze on offer – any bar can stock that – is the sheer vastness of knowledge and passion that Sammy had for the history and cultures that are behind each bottle. He clearly loved what he was doing, and in return, we had an experience that we would be hard pressed to get anywhere else.

But now and we were nice and sloshed up, we were ready for a big feed, and we were quite sure it was going to be better than a 2am kebab run.

Well, we’d hoped. ?

And because we are so thorough, we ordered the Grain Burger, $24, Smokey Meats Platter, $38, Whiskey Cured Salmon, $14, and Maple Bourbon Stuffed Cronuts, $7. I know it’s a lot of food, but hey, how can you make a fair judgement otherwise?

Whisky Cured Salmon, $14:Grain Bar, Sydney, Sydney Food Blog ReviewWhisky Cured Salmon, $14

My absolute favourite at the table? The Whiskey Cured Salmon. Velvety slices of salmon cured with salt, sugar of course, whiskey, were served with salmon roe (Think of the children!), that left delicious pops of saltiness in every bite. There were little cracker things, too, but who needs ’em when you have it’s so damned beautiful on its own!

Grain Burger, $24: Grain Bar, Sydney, Sydney Food Blog ReviewGrain Burger, $24

The Grain Burger and Smokey Meats Platter were a bit on the ‘meh’ side of things. The burger patty was a bit overcooked for my taste, and it wasn’t quite large enough for the bun encasing it. The Smokey Meats were good enough o their own, but when Sydney has been churning out smokey meats the likes of The Oxford Tavern, Parson’s and Vic’s Meats? You just can’t go back from that.

Smokey Meat Platter, $38: Grain Bar, Sydney, Sydney Food Blog ReviewSmokey Meat Platter, $38

And the Cronuts? Well the cronuts were more like a crispy profiterole than cronut, but it was still had lovely pops of sweet custard piped into a thin shell. Not bad, but also not a cronut.

It is definitely clear to me that Grain Bar is all about the whiskey. Whether you’re a connoisseur or a beginner, it really has the variety and the know-how to introduce you into the craft. The food is designed to be a a supporting act, and well, it’s pretty obvious. The overall experience is great – friendly, professional service, and fabulous ambience – but it’s more bar than restaurant, and I’m okay with that.

Although, I would seriously make a trip for the whiskey salmon. It was that good.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Grain Bar.
Grain Bar
199 George St
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9250 3118
Website: www.grainbar.com.au

Grain Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale

Eton Mess at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog Review

So a priest, a chef and a diner walk into a restaurant… no, seriously, I had a real-life version of this when I went to the launch of Two Wolves Community Cantina, a not-for-profit restaurant run by the Jesuits. Located on the corner of Broadway and City Road, this boho chic eatery is adorned with photos of their charity work on the walls, and fits right in with the Uni crowd.

The idea behind Two Wolves is that they will run on mostly volunteers, with just five core (paid) staff: Head chef, sous chef, bar manager, assistant manager and volunteer coordinator. The profits will help charity work overseas, and Father David Braithwaite wants this cantina to run as a restaurant in its own right, and foster a sense of community.

The menu for the night promised cuisines from all over the world, and for someone who is experienced um, in the art of eating, this can only be a bad thing. Too many techniques, too many ingredients to understand, and usually nothing gets done right.

Sister Hien's Bun Thit Nuong at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog ReviewSister Hien’s Bun Thit Nuong

Well, my waistline hips don’t lie, but I’m actually quite sorry to be right. Some things were done quite well – Sister Hien’s Bun Thit Nuong was a fresh Vietnamese rice noodle salad tossed in a sweet and salty dressing, with pieces of pork, fried shallots, fresh herbs, peanuts, shredded carrot, beansprouts and roasted peanuts. Lots of flavours and textures, just like a good Vietnamese salad ought to be.

Vietnamese Chicken, Lemongrass and Sweet Potato Curry at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog ReviewVietnamese Chicken, Lemongrass and Sweet Potato Curry

The Vietnamese chicken, lemongrass and sweet potato curry however, not so much. Especially next to the vibrant salad, it missed the mark in flavour, and the vegetables in the curry – cauliflower and sweet potato – were left in large chunks and were pretty much raw on the plate. But that means that it’s retained all the vitamins, right?

Korean Fried Chicken at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog ReviewKorean Fried Chicken

The Korean Fried Chicken was a decent enough glazed fried chicken, though I’m not sure Korean was the best word to use. What makes Korean Fried Chicken (KFC as it’s affectionately known) different is a light-as-air coating of potato starch, followed by a punchy glaze made (usually) with soy, chilli and/or garlic. Ingredients can chop and change, but one thing is non-negotiable: it has to pack enough flavour that you need to be reaching for that beer to wash it all down. KFC is notoriously expensive in Sydney, and it has always earned its keep. It felt like tonight they were cheating with the name, which ultimately detracted from what would’ve been a perfectly acceptable dish.

Eton Mess at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog ReviewEton Mess

Of the desserts, the Eton Mess was lovely – smashed up chunks of meringue, with cream and berries made me very thankful to the Eton boy of legend who decided to mush up his dessert.

Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut at Two Wolves Community Cantina, Chippendale: Sydney Food Blog ReviewBlack Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut

The treatment of the Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut really had me questioning whether it was just the Asian dishes that were going to cop the problems. There’s no nice way to put this: it was watery. Black glutinous rice thats usually cooked to either a sticky clump (as glutinous rice should be) or a creamy porridge, was left in a sad state inbetween, with a dark purplish puddle surrounding the rice and mango.

Ultimately, I love the idea of dining out for a good cause, but I expected more from the paid chefs. And with all the easy access to obscure cuisines nowadays, diners WILL have expectations, trust me.

I realise I’m being a hardass, but if paying the chefs is going to cut into profit, then they need to be able handle the different cuisines and provide a consistent quality across the menu.

Let me take a quick moment to highlight the efforts of the unpaid volunteers. Every single server was just fantastic; very professional and warm in their service. They set the stage for a lovely family dinner, and well, it was a family dinner, one that was perhaps prepared by that aunt for whom cooking isn’t a strong suit.

Despite the teething problems, I really want Two Wolves to do well. The volunteers seem to enjoy being there, and I’m rooting for Father David’s vision of a bustling cantina up above, and a classy cocktail bar in the space below. Very chic, very Chippendale.

Great vision, great cause, and great atmosphere. Not great food, so that needs to go.

The live jazz can stay, though, that was pretty great.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Two Wolves Community Cantina.
Two Wolves Community Cantina
202 Broadway
Ultimo, Sydney
Phone: 02 8039 3595
Website: http://www.thetwowolves.com.au

The Two Wolves: Community Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato