Posts tagged sydney food blog

Fly me to the moon: Domestic Airport, Sydney

Sydney Food Blog Review of Chur Burger, Domestic Airport

Airports are usually associated with sterile out-of-the-way buildings filled with surly security people whose sole purpose is to remind you why you need to get away and have a holiday. And airport food? Overpriced and of bad quality, usually.

Well, it looks like the tide is starting to turn, as T2 of the domestic airport opens its arms to a new batch of restaurants usually more associated with the CBD than the airport. Your pre-flight meal will never be the same again.

Chur Burger

Sydney Food Blog Review of Chur Burger, Domestic Airport

Since it first opened its doors in trendy Surry Hills (with a little unfortunate break due to a fire inbetween), Chur Burger has been serving up Instagram’sSydney’s favourite food to countless foodies in the CBD, Brisbane, and now the Domestic Airport. The burger menu is identical to HQ, and with the ingredients all coming from the same supplier (down to the pickle) you would expect a consistent Chur experience from Warren Turnbull and team.

We went for a classic Beef Burger and a more uncommon Lamb Burger, with side Coleslaw, Chips with Chilli Salt, and a Milo shake. I’ve always been a fan of a classic beef burger, but I must say now that I am officially a lamb burger convert. IT’S THE LAMB WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. With a succulent lamb patty, mint sauce, feta, red onion and aioli, this burger was a riot of flavours nestled in a soft, buttery brioche bun.

The Beef Burger in this case had a well-done patty, which made it a bit dry for me, and a departure from the Surry Hills burger that I love so much. Maybe it’s down to teething issues, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t go a second round to find out, now that I’ve met my one true lamb love.

Sides-wise I was missing the Garlic Lime Sweet Potato Chips, and for some reason the Coleslaw here had bits of undissolved salt crystals. Added texture, maybe? Go the Chilli Salt Chips if you want to complete the meal, but really, that burger is the clear Beyonce in this trio of burger/side/drink.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SSP.
Chur Burger
Food Court
T2 Sydney Domestic Airport
Airport Drive, Sydney Airport, NSW

Chur Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

COOH, Alexandria

Sydney Food Blog Review of COOH, Alexandria

When you say “brunch” and “Alexandria” in the same sentence, you’d probably start thinking about The Grounds of Alexandria and their farmyard pets. But with that, you’d probably also start seeing the bustling crowds and lack of parking, and long queues waiting for a table. Well, COOH has opened up just across the street, and with an expansive dining area and an open kitchen, it looks incredibly promising as a new brunch hotspot.


The Order:

Bruschetta, $16
Heirloom cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, pesto and balsamic on toasted sourdough

Raw ocean trout cured with Beetroot and orange, $22
Golden and mixed baby beets, gets mousse, skin crackling, and crunchy seed bark.

Hand cut sweet potato chips with aioli, $8 (large)


The Food:

Originating in North Curl, COOH has a menu that would fit right in with the organic/vegan/dairy free/gluten free people of the Eastern suburbs. Their menu is certainly very inclusive of special needs, and they certainly don’t pretend to reinvent the wheel.

Raw ocean trout cured with Beetroot and orange, $22: COOH, Alexandria. Sydney Food Blog ReviewRaw ocean trout cured with Beetroot and orange, $22

The Raw ocean trout cured with Beetroot and orange, $22, was quite lovely, with lightly cured salmon dyed a bright fuschia from the Beetroot. The mix of baby beets and leaves kept everything very fresh and light, and the goats cheese mousse brought everything together nicely. The “crunchy seed bark” was neither crunchy nor bark-y for me, holding more the texture of tempeh – slightly firm and tender; not bad, but certainly not the texture I was expecting.

Bruschetta, $16: COOH, Alexandria. Sydney Food Blog ReviewBruschetta, $16: COOH, Alexandria

The Bruschetta, $16, was exactly as advertised : bread, tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic, olive oil, pesto…oh wait, did I mention that it’s a dairy-free pesto? At least, that’s what seems to be the case – the pesto was quite a uniform green and lacked body, and elsewhere on the menu we saw dairy-free pesto advertised.

2+2=5, I guess

Hand cut sweet potato chips with aioli, $8: COOH, Alexandria. Sydney Food Blog ReviewHand cut sweet potato chips with aioli, $8

Ahh the best bit of the meal, though, the Hand cut sweet potato chips with aioli, $8. The aioli was creamy and garlicky, perfect to dip the strips of sweet potato chips. The only thing preventing it from scoring a 10/10 is a slight lack of crispness – I know that sweet potato never quite gets quite that crisp, but if Harry’s can do it, then my dream lives on.


The Service:

When we went, there seemed to be a rather large number of bookings at COOH, but the waitress was nice enough to accomodate our request to be close to the window as best she could.

After we were seated, our orders were taken very quickly and service was readily available whenever we needed it. Very smooth sailing.


Value for money:

I would actually say that COOH sits in the middle with this one. It’s not the cheapest, but the portions were decent and it IS Alexandria, after all. $22 for cured trout? Sounds about right to me.


The Vibe:

With hanging lights suspended from high ceilings, a warm wood decor and cushy benches, COOH exudes a Surry Hills-esque vibe, minus the hipster coolness. It’s definitely the sort of place that you’d bring people who aren’t too particular about the food, but would like to enjoy a leisurely, comfortable brunch.


And finally,

With all the brunch options available in Sydney, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a destination brunch spot. It IS, however, very inclusive of dietary needs, which makes things much easier if you’ve got someone in your brunch group with special requirements.

Or, you know, if the Grounds is particularly busy and you do t want to wait. Either way it works. šŸ™‚

This meal was independently paid for.
COOH
90-96 Bourke Rd
Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: +61 2 9002 1333
Website: www.cooh.com.au

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

Loco for…Coco Cubano, Ryde

El pollo frito, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi Kwok

When I first saw Coco Cubano, all I knew was that you could order a Cuban cigar with your hot chocolate. I don’t smoke, and the hot chocolate was okay, but not great, so I left it at that.

Today, many branches later, Coco Cubano is offering up much more than hot chocolate and cigars – though the cigars are still there for sure – and I was lucky enough to be invited to try out the new menu!

The menu:

Starters

Tostones
Havana Dip Plate

Entrees

El pollo frito
Chilli caramel pork belly
Cuban fried rice
Tropical prawn salad

Mains

Arroz con pollo
Pork ropa vieja
Beef short ribs
The Cubano

Sides

Elote
Garden salad

Desserts

BuƱuelos
Citrus cheesecake

Drinks

Salted Caramel Espresso Martini
Chocolate & Rum washed “brownie”
Triple chocolate batido crazy shake
Salty dulce de leche crazy shake

The Food:

There was just SO MUCH of it. As statistics would dictate, some were good, and others not so much.

Of the good pile, lay the El Pollo Frito, the rice in the Arroz con Pollo and the BuƱuelos.

El pollo fritoCoco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi KwokEl Pollo Frito

The El Pollo Frito (fried chicken drumettes with red mojo dipping sauce) had a lovely, seasoned crust that the colonel (or should I say, el presidente) would be proud of. The dipping sauce was similarly flavourful, with a great balance of sweet, tangy and savoury. Sure, the drumettes themselves could use a little brining themselves, but otherwise it was pretty nice.

Arroz con pollo, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi KwokArroz con pollo

The Arroz con Pollo (Cuban spiced half chicken with brown Sofrito rice) had fabulous rice that was light, delicately flavoured with separated grains. Nice work. The chicken though, came off a little dry, but for me, the rice more than makes up for it.

BuƱuelos, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi Kwok BuƱuelos

And the BuƱuelos? Donut + Chocolate = always a winner. The donut was a touch stiff for me, but I loved the crunch of cinnamon sugar on the outside, and then the richness of the thick, flowing molten milk chocolate that I can dip it into.

Of the not-so-good, the Cuban fried rice, the Chilli Caramel Pork Belly and The Cubano. Every thing else is – in the words of every competition reality TV show judge ever – “safe“.

Cuban fried rice, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi KwokCuban fried rice

The Cuban Fried Rice (with chorizo, chargrilled corn and black beans) would have been better off labeled just rice and beans. It had the texture of risotto, which completely threw me off the expectation of fried rice. It was pretty heavy, and when compared to the rice of the Arroz Con Pollo, just didn’t make the cut.

Chilli caramel pork belly, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi KwokChilli caramel pork belly

The Chilli Caramel Pork was almost too sweet, or not sweet enough. It was like eating pork belly (albeit tender and nicely cooked pork belly) that had been sprinkled with sugar. It didn’t quite have the hit of dark rich tones of caramel, and there wasn’t an element of salt to balance out what sweetness was there. The chilli also wasn’t particularly present, but that could also be because my Asian chilli sensors have been used and abused over the years.

The Cubano, Coco Cubano, Ryde. Sydney Food Blog Review by Tammi KwokThe Cubano

And if you’ve seen Chef (the movie that taught us you needed to neither have looks nor personality to land Scarlett Johansen, you only need to know how to cook), you would probably have a super romantic idea of the Cubano, which at its core is a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. A BANGIN’ toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Here it was a bit, um, bready, and the cheese say limply on the ham and pork, but was neither melty nor luscious. The side fries, though, were shoestring, and so have my seal of approval just for that.

The Service:

It’s a bit hard to comment on the service because we were there for a menu launch, but I did have a particularly friendly waiter who was hilariously cheeky and made sure we felt right at home. It was also a great ice breaker that he had a name tag that said “Awesome”.

Well, if the shoe fits, right?

The other service team members were friendly enough, but mostly just seemed rather green and just a little lost. Maybe it was the event setting that they weren’t used to, but when compared to Mr. Awesome, they just sort of faded into the background.

Value for money:

It’s not the cheapest meal out there, with mains sitting at the $25-$35 mark. But then again, they aren’t advertising value so much as they’re advertising an experience. In this case, it’s a bit middle of the road: the food wasn’t particularly authentic or punchy, but they weren’t charging you CBD prices for it. It would make more sense if you were dining in a group, in this sense, and if the group wanted a Cuban-lite experience that wasn’t too exotic.

The Vibe:

When we went, they had a BALLER singer/guitarist playing. He was as Australian as they come, but he really brought a Latin American vibe to the whole place. The mood lighting and dark wood also brought forth visions of smoky clubs in 1930s Havana, and really add fuel to all the Dirty Dancing fantasies you might have (the sequel, I mean. Don’t judge me!). The space may not actually be conducive to dancing, but doesn’t mean you can’t pretend!

And finally,

So the goss from Mr. Awesome is that the kitchen team was very nervous about the new menu, also because they were coming together as a new team. Fair enough. Some things can take a while to settle in and because this is the launch of something new, I can take that into account. I had a good time there, and while I didn’t get what I think would be an authentic Cuban experience there (I’m happy to give the oppression a pass), I went in knowing that an authentic Cuban experience wasn’t what they were offering up anyway.

Like I said, if you’re celebrating in a group that has polarised tastes and likes a very… gentle introduction, this is a safe bet. Otherwise, maybe stick to the hot chocolate and cigars. Hard to go wrong, there.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Coco Cubano.
Coco Cubano
Ground Floor, Top Ryde Shopping Centre
Corner Blaxland & Devlin Street
Ryde, NSW
Phone: 02 8279 9239
Website: www.cococubano.com/

Coco Cubano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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! šŸ˜‰

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

The Rice Den, St Leonard’s

Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog Review

What’s going on with the North Sydney area? It wasn’t until I started looking through my calendar did I realise how many trips I was making into the St. Leonard’s/Crows Nest to eat. Thai Food, Mexican, Burgers…and now, Modern Cantonese.

The Rice Den in St. Leonards takes traditional Cantonese cuisine and gives it a new spin with fresh Australian ingredients. When we first step in, the dark wood furnishings convey a sense of old world charm, while the efficient wait staff bring it all back into the modern day. They knew the menu like the back of their hand, and could make personal recommendations based on solid food knowledge.

So far, so good.

Handmade Cheong Fun, Peanut sesame, hoisin sauce $8. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewHandmade Cheong Fun, Peanut sesame, hoisin sauce $8

We started with the Handmade Cheong Fun with Peanut Sesame and Hoisin Sauce, $8. Because nostalgia. When I was a kid, Cheong Fun was a daily breakfast. My mum would take me to this hawker stall, downstairs from the kindergarten I went to. A large, rotund man in a thin white wife beater stood, amongst steaming pots, selling rice cakes with radish condiments and rice noodle rolls with hoisin sauce to long queues of dreary-eyed office workers in the building.

The noodles here were soft, tender, but not quite as silky as I wanted them to be. As for the sauce, I could do without the peanut element, but it really did bring childhood memories flooding back for me.

Mixed wild mushroom pancake, $10. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMixed wild mushroom pancake, $10

But because you can’t live on rice noodles alone – well, you can, but I don’t think you’re meant to – we also got the Mixed Wild Mushroom Pancake ($10) and Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout with pickled fennel, ginger and soy sauce ($16).

Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard': Sydney Food Blog ReviewRice Wine Cured Ocean Trout, Pickled Fennel, Ginger and Soy Sauce $16

The Rice Wine Cured Ocean Trout was seriously kickass, but we all know that I’ve got a bit of a thing for cured fish. Or fresh fish. Or any fish. Doesn’t have to be fish, as long as it comes from the sea. In this case, the rice wine flavour wasn’t particularly obvious, but it really worked as a dish, for me.

Tea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinkiang vinegar, $16. The Rice Den, St Leonard's: Sydney Food Blog ReviewTea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinkiang vinegar, $16

Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle, $24. The Rice Den, St Leonard: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCrispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24)

Of the larger bites, we ordered the Tea smoked chicken salad, rice sheets, peanut sesame and soy dressing, chinking vinegar ($16), and the Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24).

Maybe it was the crazy heat, but I was really really feeling the chicken salad, and I’m not even a chicken fan! The smoke really came through without being too overpowering, and the black vinegar dressing kept it refreshing and moreish. A big fat yes.

The Crispy soft shell crab, with spicy spanner crab mung bean noodle ($24) reminded me a little of the Thai claypot crab with glass noodles, mixed a little with chilli crab. There was something really comforting about it, and it was very well made, but somehow wasn’t quite as punchy as the tart chicken salad on a steaming hot day.

French Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea, $14. The Rice Den, St Leonards: Sydney Food Blog ReviewFrench Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea, $14

And to finish, French Toast, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Crumble, Mascarpone with matcha green tea ($14). It was crazy rich, with only the green tea mascarpone to cut it. It didn’t quite have the pudding quality that I like in a french toast – My french toasts border on bread pudding – but it was fantastically crispy, and oozing with Dulce de Leche.

I really like what The Rice Den does with bringing old school favourites into the modern day. There’s a whole lot of respect for the cuisine, without taking itself too seriously, which is really what casual dining (to me) is all about. Because not everyone has to spend 10,000hrs perfecting Cantonese techniques.

No, I think we’ll leave that to the old masters.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of The Rice Den.
The Rice Den
30-32 Chandos Street
St Leonards, Sydney
Phone: 02 9438 3612
Website: http://thericeden.com.au

The Rice Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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

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

I know you feel me when I say matcha errthang.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of One Tea Lounge and Grill.
One Tea Lounge and Grill
Upper Ground Floor
73 York Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 8318 2246
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ONEtealounge

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

A little street in…Little Hutong, Little Bay

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Roti Cina with Slow Roast Crispy Pork Belly, $15.50

You know the story of Gulliver’s Travels? Where he stumbles upon (literally) a little town full of little people – not a euphemism. They were about the size of his little finger – that saw him as a dangerous giant to be restrained? Well that’s how I felt most of the time as I was growing up, which then led me to be very afraid of the word “Little”.

So Little Hutong in Little Bay? Well, the irrational part of me half expected to arrive and find myself in a Gulliver-type situation. We were going to be very close to the water, after all.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Penang Cheh Hoo, $14Penang Cheh Hoo, $14

Thankfully no such thing happened. In fact, Little Hutong was a fairly roomy restaurant, situated in a large, sprawling suburb. An airy dining room looked straight into an open kitchen, and a long bench ran along the length, dotted with tables along the way.

Quite pretty, and charming.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Beef Rendang Roti, $14Beef Rendang Roti, $14

The food had an equally pretty and charming quality about it. Hawker-style dishes were plated in a restaurant-style fashion, which worked for some items more than others.

The Penang Cheh Hoo, $14, for example – a turnip/fritter/tofu/peanut salad topped with a sweet potato gravy/sauce – and was plated in a wide rimmed slate black plate. Quite a step up from the slap-it-on-a-plate style that most hawkers employ.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Roti Cina with Slow Roast Crispy Pork Belly, $15.50Roti Cina with Slow Roast Crispy Pork Belly, $15.50

The Roti Cina with Slow Roast Crispy Pork Belly, $15.50, was a bao by any other name, Pretty good mix of flavours, but after I’ve had the wonderfully fluffy, light-as-air bao of Belly Bao, nothing else can compare.

#sorrynotsorry

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Hainanese Chicken Rice, $14Hainanese Chicken Rice, $14

Of course, when there’s Hainanese Chicken Rice on the menu, I’ve just gotta order it. I know that it’s never going to be as good as the $5-a-meal chicken rice I can get from Singapore, but really, it’s like a challenge that I must accept. I just HAVE TO. #FirstWorldProblems

The verdict? I’m actually quite impressed by the peripheral condiments that are often overlooked. Sure, the chicken wasn’t quite as silky and the rice wasn’t as punchy, but the chilli and ginger sauce was fresh, and the CHICKEN HAD DRESSING!! Woo!!

You don’t know how important that seemingly invisible soy/stock/chicken fat dressing is. It adds an extra layer of unctuousness to a juicy chicken, and soaks through the rice for maximum enjoyment. And Little Hutong is the first place in Sydney that I’ve seen that didn’t leave the chicken naked, and me wanting. Teehee.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Little Hutong, Little Bay: Sakura in the air, $21Sakura in the air, $21

But the piece de resistance of the whole lunch? This. Sakura in the air, $21, is a very posh plate of silky salmon, poached egg yolk, eel arancini, pickle salad, and Japanese mayo. Very sophisticated, but somewhat out of place on the humble menu.

Very expertly executed and balanced though, and should be the first thing that you order at Little Hutong. Kinda like a better version of a certain Breakfast at the Sakuma’s. But shhhh, don’t tell anyone that I said such a sacrilegious thing.

Little Hutong is a lovely local in a lovely neighbourhood, with really decent options on the menu. Sure, it’s not quite the truly gritty feel that I would want to accompany my true hawker experience, but not everyone wants to be sweating and crying into their food all at once. I’m just sad like that.

Shame that it’s all the way out in Little Bay, though. I would very much like to make another trip for the dinner menu.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Little Hutong.
Little Hutong
Shop 4, 2-8 Pine Avenue
Little Bay, Sydney NSW
Phone: 02 8020 0779
Website: https://www.facebook.com/thelittlehutong

Little Hutong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Big Foot? Big Food! La Grande Bouffe, Rozelle

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Croque Madam, $17

When I was a kid, I wanted to be one of those people who were randomly fluent in French. I imagined myself sitting in a quaint little cafe, surrounding by picturesque surroundings…and effortlessly ordering everything on the menu.

What can I say? I dream big.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Chicken Liver Parfait, spiced port and fig chutney, and sliced baguette, $16Chicken Liver Parfait, spiced port and fig chutney, and sliced baguette, $16

Well, I’ve learnt now that Spanish is really the language that I need to learn now for the cutting edge of food advancement, but in the meantime, French food still needs eating. And eating, and eating, and eating.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Classic Steak Tartare, $18Classic Steak Tartare, $18

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Classic Steak Tartare, $18Classic Steak Tartare, $18

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Croque Madam, $17Croque Madam, $17

Sydney Food Blog Review of Le Grande Bouffe, Rozelle: Roasted duck, lardon, cos lettuce, shaved parmesan, anchovy vinaigrette, sliced avocado, $18Roasted duck, lardon, cos lettuce, shaved parmesan, anchovy vinaigrette, sliced avocado, $18

You know what? La Grande Bouffe is serving up classic French dishes that still feel relevant. The Salad Nicoise – commonly made with rather overcooked tuna – is made with confit salmon, which they didn’t have the day I went (BOOOOOO).

The Croque Madame – a fancy name for a ham and cheese sandwich – is made with truffled gruyere and sourdough, and is the most monster ham and cheese sandwich this side of the city. I especially enjoyed the Classic Steak Tartare – minced raw beef with pickles, mustard and a raw egg yolk to bind it all – and Beef Bourguignon was a dark, hearty stew with cubes of super tender beef, and a buttery mash that I could’ve bathed in, it was so good.

With food like that, I don’t understand how the French stay so skinny. TELL ME. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!!

Until I find out the answer, I’ll just retreat into my corner with the potato mash. Mange mange mange mange.

This meal was independently paid for.
La Grande Bouffe
758 Darling Street
Rozelle, NSW
Phone: 02 9818 4333
Website: http://www.lagrandebouffe.com.au

La Grande Bouffe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80

I have found my Mecca. A place where I can go to for some spiritual healing. Where I can congregate with other people similar to me and bask in the glory in something bigger than myself.

That something, is Japanese food culture, and that place? North Sydney.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Yuzu Honey Hi ballYuzu Honey Hi ball

I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to discover this treasure trove of Japanese grocers, restaurants and general awesomeness. But now that I’ve found it, I’m not going.

AND I’M TELLINGGGG YOUUUUU…

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Fried Crab Claw Croquette, $8.80Fried Crab Claw Croquette, $8.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Grilled Engawa and Grilled Salmon Nigiri, $12.80Grilled Engawa and Grilled Salmon Nigiri, $12.80

Hidden in an alcove of Japanese restaurants is Tamageta-ya. When you first walk into this cozy eatery, you are enthusiastically greeted by a chorus of Japanese staff members, as well as delicious smells emanating form the kitchen. Here, they serve up Japanese classics, with a few modifications.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Mentai Cheese Gyoza, $8.80Mentai Cheese Gyoza, $8.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Salmon Avocado Roll, $5.80Salmon Avocado Roll, $5.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Pop Corn Roll, $6.80Pop Corn Roll, $6.80

The maki rolls and nigiri are all served with black rice. Full of nutrients and higher in fibre than regular sushi rice, black rice is still maintains a soft stickiness that I expect from Japanese rice, and succeeds where brown rice fails. And bonus points because it actually has quite a bit more flavour than regular sushi rice, so double win right?

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: pickled ginger

And let me take this opportunity to share a little public service announcement: you know how dipping a sushi roll into soy sauce just makes everything super salty and fall apart? Well, enter your friend – pickled ginger. Simply use the pickled ginger to brush on the soy, and voila! Reasonably seasoned sushi. #winning #lifehack

You’re welcome.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet on Egg, $13.80Chicken Cutlet on Egg, $13.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80Chicken Cutlet Curry Rice, $18.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: BBQ Eel Set, $19.80BBQ Eel Set, $19.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamagta Ya, Neutral Bay: Premium Wagyu Beef Steak, $10.80Premium Wagyu Beef Steak, $10.80

Besides the sushi selection – I highly recommend the engawa for it’s amazing texture and tender flesh – they also have hearty mains like Japanese curry and a chicken cutlet on egg that’s served in what looks like a massive ladle.

How’s that for presentation?

The curry was my favourite, because you can take the girl out of Singapore but you can’t take the Singaporean out of the girl. Japanese curries are a little sweeter, but there’s just something about this massive serve of curry and rice that is comforting AF. There’s nothing like a huge bowl of noms to make me want to loosen the top button on my eating pants.

Psych! There is no button on my eating pants.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay: Tokyo Tower, $7.80Tokyo Tower, $7.80

Sydney Food Blog Review of Tamageta Ya, Neutral Bay: Chocolate banana sundae, $5.80Chocolate banana sundae, $5.80

And of course dessert, because I’m greedy like that. The Tokyo Tower is a classic Japanese parfait, with cornflakes, ice cream, red bean paste, and mochi balls. Very pretty, very Japanese, and incredibly filling. The portion sizes here are certainly not small – don’t let the little old Japanese lady customers fool you! I had to be rolled out of there at the end of the night.

At Tamageta ya, there’s does seem to be an emphasis on the complete meal. They provide ample options from starters, to mains, to desserts, and even have an extensive drinks menu that feature classic Japanese cocktails made with quality whisky. They even have a lunch deal where it’s cheaper to order your food with a drink than just the dish by itself. I know, the math did my head in too, but it’s definitely the case!

Oh, and you’ve got your Washoku Lovers card? Flash it when you drop by for lunch and you’ll get to get the “Today’s dessert” for free! Any excuse to have dessert is a good excuse.

Washoku Lovers is a free membership programme that gives you perks to many Japanese restaurants in Sydney! We also have visited other restaurants participating in the Washoku Lovers programme, like Suminoya and Oiden! To find out more about the programme and sign up, visit www.washokulovers.com.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Tamageta Ya.
Tamageta Ya
Shop 5, 197 Military Road
Neutral Bay, NSW
Phone: (02) 9953 6678
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamageta-ya/688951367784037

Tamageta-ya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato