Posts tagged Sydney

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

Hedgehogs in the Inner West: Luyu and Yum Yum, Newtown

Mr Luyu Snow White Dumpling, $11.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog Review

It was raining, and I was late. Public transport improves no one’s mood at the best of times, and this was no exception. It was stiflingly humid, and even the vibrancy of a neighbourhood like Newtown couldn’t fight off the absolutely depressing and un-sexy shade of grey that had descended upon Sydney.

Located on King Street with a bright neon sign is Luyu and Yum Yum: the effort of tea master Luyu to pair his tea with food, and the result is a classy east-meets-west restaurant, with a heavy emphasis on dumplings.

Manga Dumpling Manga Dumpling “Hedgehog”, $12.80

I had a job to do (hard life) and as the entrees started rolling out I felt like I was getting a good Asian feed, without the stereotypical Asian service. The Manga Hedgehogs were so gosh darned cute that I almost couldn’t bear to eat them. Almost.

Manga Dumpling Manga Dumpling “Hedgehog”, $12.80

Encased in sweet fluffy dough was a rich mushroom filling that transported me back to Hong Kong in the 90s. Everything melded together whilst keeping its own flavour identity, and I felt like I was watching an award-winning acapella performance.

Caviar Dumpling, $13.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCaviar Dumpling, $13.80

The Caviar Dumpling was also a winner, and not just because I’m a slave to anything caviar. A solid mouthful of prawn dumpling was just lightly annointed with salty caviar, giving me texture and flavour all at once.

7 flavoured tofu, $7.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog Review7 flavoured tofu, $7.80

Want something fun? Then eat the 7-flavour tofu with the chilli oil. By itself, the cubes of tofu weren’t particularly exciting, but the chilli oil transformed it into BBQ duck. Seriously. If you’re vegan and always wondered why we love BBQ duck so much, this is your chance to find out. There’s some sort of magic voodoo going on here, and all I need to know is that it just works, like Apple products did in the 00’s.

Duck Pancake, $16.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewDuck Pancake, $16.80

Speaking of which, the Duck pancakes bring me right back to old Chinese restaurants of the 90s with my family, with generous lashings of sauce to accompany the chunks of duck meat. Nothing new, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fantastically executed, and kept me eating till the last bite, even if I personally prefer the sweeter plum sauce to the more commonly used hoisin.

Truffle Dumpling Skewer, $12.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewTruffle Dumpling Skewer, $12.80

The east-meets-west fusion, of course, doesn’t always produce stunners. Even the most beautiful people in the world have average babies sometimes. Don’t let Angelina and Brad fool you. The Truffle Dumpling Skewers was one example, which confused the excitement right out of me. Let me try to explain it with this Venn diagram.

Dumpling venn diagram. Sydney Food Blog Review of Luyu and Yum Yum, Newtown

It’s really like if you added truffle on a Siu Mai. Prawn dumplings? We know that’s delicious. Truffle prawns? Yes please! Truffled dumplings? Din Tai Fung will show you the way. But Truffled Prawn Dumplings? Eh, not so much. Maybe my palate isn’t pushing the boundaries of dining, but I wasn’t a fan of the combination even though I enjoyed the individual components. And the sweet Jasmine honey sauce didn’t help either. It was cute that it tasted strongly like soda – and I’m all for repurposing flavours in unexpected ways – but it just didn’t go.

If in doubt, just follow the Fonz.

Mama's Chilli Chicken, $12.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewMama’s Chilli Chicken, $12.80

And the mains didn’t exactly come out swinging in the same way entrees did.

The Chilli Chicken and Beetroot echoed Kung Pao Chicken, an old school popular Chinese restaurant favourite that involves cashews, dried chillies, and a dark soy sauce that’s so sticky it really should be called a glaze. In this case, fresh serrano chillies replace the dried, and candied walnuts replace the cashews. The glaze wasn’t quite as saucy or dark, and the fresh pieces of beetroot added a fresh crunch. The candied walnuts were the best bit of the dish, with a glassy sugar coating that shattered with every bite. I really wished that there was more of the glaze/sauce – how would you mix it into your rice otherwise? – and while I was initially ambivalent about the beetroot, it really grew on me as I kept picking at it. The part that got me confused was the sprinkle of dried basil over the top. It jarred me out of the Asian illusion of the dish, and felt like that awkward kid at the party who tries to insert themselves into the group and then doesnt know what they want to say. Not a bad dish, but after the dumplings, it had big shoes plates to fill.

Eggplant, $12.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewEggplant, $12.80

The Eggplant was another dish that grew on me, but not to desired rash status. Battered eggplant fritters are served in a pyramid of sorts, and drizzled with a caramel sauce. I really
mourn that the eggplant wasn’t more obvious – you could’ve replaced it with zucchini and I’m not sure many would notice – but it was pretty enjoyable in a fritter sorta way. Crunchy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside coating, and sauce. Good, but not ‘amazing’, as the waiter recommended it to us.

If the dumplings were the pinnacle of what Luyu and Yum Yum had to offer, then I’m really sorry to say that Osmanthus Oasis, for me, was base camp at the foot of the mountain.

Osmanthus Oasis, $13.80, from Luyu and Yum Yum: Sydney Food Blog ReviewOsmanthus Oasis, $13.80

My personal doubts about the flavour aside, the Osamanthus Oasis was just plain hard to eat. Served on a long, thin plate, the jelly kept slipping and sliding off and was fairly difficult to pick up. What made matters worse was the chocolate syrup, that added a faint chemical taste to the dessert. Why they would add something like that to what could’ve been an otherwise an interesting dessert, I will never understand. Especially not when the waiter strongly seconded our decision to order it.

I think Luyu and Yum Yum is perfect for a group outing: the serving sizes of dumplings allow you to sample and try a little bit of everything without getting too full, and it’s a nice change to the ubiquitous tapas houses in Sydney. If I could do it all over again, and I wouldn’t mind going back with more friends, I’d just stick to the dumpling and entree menu. It’s got more than enough variety to keep anyone’s attention, and most of it is really well executed.

Just don’t order the dessert. Trust me.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Luyu and Yum Yum.
Luyu and Yum Yum
Level 1, 196 King Street
Newtown, Sydney
Phone: 02 8317 6337

Luyu and Yum Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Danno’s, Dee Why

Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: Heirloom Tomato and Beetroot Salad

So here’s the goss: Danno’s used to be THE place to go to for burgers. Hulking, juicy, thick, saucy burgers. These burgers were made by Burger Josh – yes, a man so devoted to his craft that burgers have just become his identity – and they were truly a work of art to behold.

Then one day, Burger Josh and Danno’s decided that they didn’t love each other anymore and part ways. And the diners, like me, were left inbetween feeling like the product of a broken home. After all, who’s side do you pick when mommy and daddy break up?

Better still, what do you do when mommy finds another man to replace daddy. WHAT THEN?! ?????

Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: Organic Breakfast Trifle, Coconut Milk, Chia Seed, Mango, Yoghurt, Mixed Berries, $16Organic Breakfast Trifle, Coconut Milk, Chia Seed, Mango, Yoghurt, Mixed Berries, $16

Thinly veiled analogies aside, Danno’s is back with a new menu and a new chef, ready to reclaim (or retain?) the love of the dining public. The new menu is created by Chef Ashraf Saleh, who brings with him middle eastern influences and years of restaurant experience.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: Egyptian Poached Eggs, Bastourma, Za'atar, Kale, Sweet Potato Croquet, $17Egyptian Poached Eggs, Bastourma, Za’atar, Kale, Sweet Potato Croquet, $17

So how does the food stack up? Well, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, really. One gives pretty, upscale, cafe-type food, and the other, gritty, sexy, voluptuous burgers.

No, you’re saying it wrong. Gotta add a growl to your voice and say it again:


Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: Heirloom Tomato and Beetroot SaladHeirloom Tomato and Beetroot Salad

Anyhoo, Danno’s new menu is indeed pretty. Very photogenic in a Covergirl ad sorta way. Not exactly edgy in terms of favour profile or culinary creativity, but that might not have been what Chef Ashraf might have been aiming for.

The Organic Breakfast Trifle, $16, was a chia pudding with a riot of fresh fruit and compote over the top. It was silky and comforting, with light, fresh notes of the summer fruits keeping it from being stodgy.

On the savoury front, Egyptian Poached Eggs, Bastourma, Za’atar, Kale, Sweet Potato Croquet, $17 was well, interesting. The individual elements on the plate – and there were many – were okay, but didn’t come together into anything remarkable. Massive amounts of beetroot and radish made it all visually stunning, but pretty only gets you so far.

But of course, you are really waiting for me to compare apples with apples. Danno’s indeed has a burger on the menu, and yes, we ate it.


Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: The TitanicThe Titanic

The Titanic was aptly named, because well, look at it. Here, I even have a shot of Chef Ashraf holding it, for comparison.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Danno's, Dee Why: The Titanic, with chef Ashraf Saleh

As he set down the plate, Chef Ashraf made very sure to tell us that he felt that his burger was full of flavour, and there was no need for it to be dripping with sauce. No need to be OTT, you know, gotta keep it simple.

Well, um, I dont’t really know how to put this, but it needs more sauce. *hides face behind hands* The fried chicken was flavourful enough, but not juicy enough to combat the natural dryness that is bread. And what sauce it had, mind you, had a lovely thousand-island-type tang, but I needed more. Way more.

The fries thst it came with though? A+. Hints of sumac and spice brought the humble fry to life, and I just kept picking at it, even though I should’ve stopped eating 10 minutes ago.

I think that the new menu reslly shows a lot of promise, though I kind of question putting a burger on so soon after the divorce. Salt in the wound man, salt in the wound. It might take s bit of time for the new chef and evolving menu to find their footing, but from what I’ve seen, it shouldn’t take too long for the taste of the food to match the expectation that the presentation gives.

Wasn’t there something about judging a book by its cover?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Danno’s.
23 Howard Avenue
Dee Why, NSW
Phone: 02 8094 9677

Danno's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Best of Brunch, SMH Good Food Month

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Fried Chicken and Waffles, Hartsyard

The world of food is fantastically varied. You just know, KNOW, that wherever you go, someone has a specialty and it’s going to be just delicious. I mean Asia has street food, America’s got diners (amongst other things), and Australia?

Australia’s got talent brunch.

So it’s fitting that Good Food Month celebrates that with Best of Brunch, where some of Australia’s best and hipsterest come together to feed us the most important meal of the day.

You know, the one we eat after sleeping in and while nursing a hangover?

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Poached Eggs and Kale Salad, Ruby's DinerPoached Eggs and Kale Salad, Ruby’s Diner

Ruby’s Diner was first up to bat, with a very responsible Poached Eggs and Kale Salad. Very light, very healthy, and very keeping in with the theme of the Pyrmont Growers’ Markets right round the corner. It almost felt too healthy, except the kale salad was actually quite delicious, so points for that.

And perfect to whet your appetite for the courses to come.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SMH Good Food Month.
Ruby’s Diner
Shop1/173-179 Bronte Road
Bondi Junction, NSW
Phone: 0404 379 585

Ruby's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Farro and Corn, PinboneFarro and Corn, Pinbone

Pinbone (RIP) then bulks it up with Farro and Corn, which for some reason made me think of American grits. Very comforting, and so luscious that you just wanna roll around in a bed of it.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SMH Good Food Month.
3 Jersey Rd
Woollahra NSW 2025
Phone: +61 2 9328 1600

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

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Fried Chicken and Waffles, HartsyardFried Chicken and Waffles, Hartsyard

But you know what you have with grits? FRIED F**KING CHICKEN. And not just any chicken either. It was the famed Hartsyard fried chicken. And waffles. But really, we all know who’s the star here. Crispy juicy fried chicken, sweet fluffy waffles, maple syrup…this elevated the meal to a had-a-sexy-night-then-roll-out-of-bed sorta brunch. I’ve always wondered about the hype, and now I know.

Oh boy, do I know.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SMH Good Food Month.
33 Enmore Road
Enmore, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 8068 1473

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

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Apple Strudel, LuMi DiningApple Strudel, LuMi Bar and Dining

Then, it was over all too soon. LuMi Dining put forward an apple strudel, which, while it might have been a perfectly respectable strudel, wasn’t quite at the level of the fried chicken. And I’m beginning to fear that nothing will ever live up to the fried chicken, and my life will be sad.

That being said, the apple strudel isn’t quite what I’d go to LuMi for, necessarily. The rest of the menu is much better. Much.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SMH Good Food Month.
LuMi Bar and Dining
56 Pirrama Road
Pyrmont, NSW
Phone: 02 9571 1999

LuMi Bar & Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sydney Food Blog Review of Best of Brunch, Good Food Month 2015: Chocolate Chip Cookie, West JulietteChocolate Chip Cookie, West Juliett

And to take home, like a cool, new-age version of the petit fours that you get at the end of fancy restaurant meals, a salted chocolate chip cookie from West Juliett. The reveal of this brought many ooh’s and aah’s at the table, even though I hadn’t really heard of West Juliett before this. I know, #foodbloggerfail.

Either way, the cookie never actually made it home. Soft chewy pieces with melty bits of chocolate all through it? YAAAASSSSSS. I absolutely demolished it. Demolished.

Milk not included.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of SMH Good Food Month.
West Juliett
30 Llewellyn Street
Marrickville, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9519 0101

West Juliett Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheesecake of legends: Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield: Nutella Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

For someone who loves cheese to the point of a gallbladder removal (true story), I’ve always been a bit touch and go on cheesecakes. Light, airy, lemony cheesecakes are good, dense, dry, baked cheesecakes, not so much.

But there has been so much hoo ha about the baked ricotta cheesecakes from Pasticceria Papa that I had to give it a go. Maybe I’d been eating it wrong this whole time.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield: Nutella Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

But then again maybe I just wasn’t built for cheesecakes. I mean, I may look like I’m made of cheesecakes, but I assure you that it’s not the case. The original ricotta cheese cake had the effect of drying my mouth out, and the nutella version just added a sticky rich feeling on top of everything.

Such a shame, since it’s one less delicious thing in the world to appreciate. My tastebuds mourn, and my waistline rejoices. Or at least that’s how I’m explaining the jiggling.

This meal was independently paid for.
Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay Street
Haberfield, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9799 9531

Pasticceria Papa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burrata ta ta ta…Paesanella Food Emporium

Sydney Food Blog Review of Paesanella, Haberfield: Burrata

I know that there’s always been a stereotype of the lactose-intolerant Asian. Apparently the Asians who aren’t lactose intolerant have some kind of genetic mutation that allows them to enjoy dairy products.

So…I must be the newest member of X-men! Because I do so love my cheese.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Paesanella, Haberfield: Burrata

Ever since I was first introduced to the glorious creamy mess that is Burrata by my cool aunt in Singapore, I’ve been obsessed. Absolutely, head-over-heels I-would-stalk-it-if-it-were-a-celebrity kind of obsessed.

But it’s just so hard to get a good one, especially when the one that constituted my initiation was one that was flown in fresh from Italy. Very hard to beat.

Well guess what? I FOUND ONE! Christine and I were talking about Burrata and doing our best Homer-Simpson-dreaming-about-doughnuts impressions one day, and Simon had the very helpful but dangerous suggestion that we try Paesanella.

Let me just say that the Burrata from this place is pretty legit. Stretchy mozzarella stretched into a ball is further filled with salted cream, leading to this explosion of delicious cheese. And $10 got us a ball large enough for 3 people to share as an entree, especially when paired with a homemade truffle crouton, balsamic glaze, cherry tomato, shaved eschallot salad. So much yum in so few mouthfuls.

And really, how can you resist any place that calls itself a ‘food emporium’? Makes me just want to walk in and yell, “DELIGHT ME! DELIGHT ME WITH YOUR CHEESE!!!”

This meal was independently paid for.
Paesanella Food Emporium
150-152 Marrickville Road
Marrickville, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9519 6181

Paesanella Food Emporium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Livin’ la vida: Los Vida, Crows Nest

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8

Authenticity is a very finicky thing. We get so riled up about “this isn’t authentic (insert food here)”, that sometimes, we forget about the fun of it all. I know, because I do it too.

So it’s quite a relief to rock up to eat a cuisine that I have little experience with: this time, it’s Mexican.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Smoked Chilly Popcorn with Chorizo Chips, $7Smoked Chilly Popcorn with Chorizo Chips, $7

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Prawn Ceviche, $13Prawn Ceviche, $13

I’ve seen mixed reviews about Los Vida in Sydney’s CBD, but this brand new venue in Crow’s Nest also seems to be accompanied with a brand new menu, just to spruce things up a bit.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Los Vida Famous Fish Tacos, $5Los Vida Famous Fish Tacos, $5

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, $5Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, $5

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8Chorizo Octopus Tacos, $8

So I did my food blogger duties and gave the new menu a workout, the only kind of workout I partake in.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Chilaquiles, $13Chilaquiles, $13

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Beef Ribs, $18Beef Ribs, $18

Sydney Food Blog Review of Los Vida, Crows Nest: Watermelon Salad, $12Watermelon Salad, $12

The Chorizo Octopus Tacos were an instant favourite, with the smoky paprika and tender octopus delivery punchy mouthfuls of flavour. The Chilaquiles was like hearty, grown up nachos that’s perfect to share, and the Beef Ribs had a sweet sauce paired with tender meat and tangy pickles.

I did have a bit of an issue that the Prawn Ceviche actually involved poached prawns in a tangy dressing (WHY U TOY WITH MY FEELINGS), which actually made for a nice mouthful, just not a ceviche. And I was looking forward to cured raw prawns in citrus.

But otherwise, it was all very enjoyable, with bubbly staff members and an upstairs/downstairs setup that gave the whole restaurant a lot of depth and a great ambience. Whether or not it was ‘authentic’ or not (as some of the reviews were complaining about) I really don’t know, and you know what? I don’t think I cared. It was a good lunch and a great day out, and I really want more of those Chorizo and Octopus Tacos.

Why do they have to be so small?

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Los Vida.
Los Vida
419 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW
Phone: 02 9439 8323

Los Vida Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hair of the dog: Bloody Mary’s, Darlinghurst

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bloody Mary's, Darlinghurst: Bloody Mary's Beef Burger, $19

I’m obsessed with Bloody Mary’s. Well, virgin mary’s cause I don’t do so well with alcohol (asian genes and all), but you get the idea. Bloody Caesar, Bloody Maria, Bacon fat vodka…whatever the combination, I’m absolutely there.

So when I saw this Buzzfeed article about a cafe called Bloody Mary’s, right here in Sydney, I knew I had to go.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bloody Mary's, Darlinghurst: Bloody Hell, $25Bloody Hell, $25

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bloody Mary's, Darlinghurst: Classic Bloody Mary, $14Classic Bloody Mary, $14

So, there were many bloody mary’s, as expected, but also a short food menu to soak up the potential hangovers.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bloody Mary's, Darlinghurst: Bloody Mary's Beef Burger, $19Bloody Mary’s Beef Burger, $19

Sydney Food Blog Review of Bloody Mary's, Darlinghurst: Yankee Doodle Classic Hotdog, $13Yankee Doodle Classic Hotdog, $13

The verdict? Bloody marys with massive-ass toppers are good fun and beats crazy milkshakes anyday. Because cheeseburger > doughnut. The actual food on the menu did seem like an afterthought to the bloody mary’s, which I guess is a fair call, except when the Bloody Mary’s Beef Burger turned up fairly dry, both in topper form and full-sized form.

The buffalo wing topper was actually pretty good, and I wished we ordered that instead, but life is full of shoulda woulda couldas and this will be one of them.

I also got the Yankee Doodle Classic Hotdog, which was pretty punchy in flavour with chorizo and mushrooms covered in a creamy sauce. And cheese. Because cheese is delicious. A bit too much bread in each mouthful for my liking, but it was okay when you wash it down with your bloody mary.

Great theme, so-so execution. Go for the experience, but I’m not sure that it’s enough to hook me into coming back hangover after hangover. The drinks are pretty good, but incredibly..delicate for my unsubtle Asian palate. (Read: needs more tabasco. Always more tabasco.)

Go on and give it a go, though. I’d love to know what you think. And if you aren’t quite into it, as I was, well there’s always Gelato Messina’s Dessert Bar down the street.

This meal was independently paid for.
Bloody Mary’s
332 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Phone: 02 9360 5568

Click to add a blog post for Bloody Mary's on Zomato

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

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Washoku Lover’s Kitchen with Raita Noda!

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita Demonstrating how to make his version of sukiyaki

I love classes. I love Japanese food. Put me into a Japanese cooking class where I’m fed by one of Sydney’s renowned Japanese chefs? YES PLEASE.

Chef Raita Noda is the chef in the spotlight of the very first Washoku Lovers’ kitchen, which is aimed at bringing authentic Japanese food and culture into the homes of Australians, one dish at a time. Today, it’s Sukiyaki – a Japanese hotpot synonymous with home cooking and tradition, showcasing amazing wagyu beef.

So in words of Chairman Kaga:


Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita Noda teaching the class how to wash Japanese rice

It all begins with the rice. Maybe it’s my Asian bias, but rice truly is a difficult ingredient to master. From the handling, to the washing, to the cooking, to the resting, Japanese apprentices can spend years only learning how to wash rice without doing any other cooking.

The secret, Chef Raita tells us, is that rice should not be washed too vigorously. You know what they tell you about washing till the water runs clear? LIES. ALL LIES I TELL YOU. You’re meant to quickly rice the rice, drain it, then massage it gently for a couple of minutes before rinsing it again. Repeat this process three times, and you’re ready to cook the rice.

Now Sukiyaki traditionally is served as a hotpot, but not content with the status quo, Chef Raita shows us how to bring it into the present by making a Sukiyaki roll!

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: shaping the rice and nori roll with a sushi mat.

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Chef Raita rolling up his version of sukiyaki

This roll is then seared, sliced, and served with a salad of julienned leek, spring onion and green chrysanthemum leaves, to mimic the mix of vegetables in the hotpot.

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: New Style Sukiyaki

And what’s a main without an entree to start?

Washoku Lover's Kitchen: Smoked Marinated Tuna with Yuzu Kosho

We had heaps of fun quick-smoking slices of marinated tuna under stemless wineglasses, werking it like only Heston can.

Because you gotta use them skills to pay those bills, gurl.

The class was really informative, and Chef Raita was so endearing in his nervousness and blinged up chef’s jacket. And you know what, I walked away and made my own version of the traditional sukiyaki hotpot for dinner, so the class did what it set out to do!

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

Insatiable Munchies attended this Washoku Lovers’ cooking class as guests of Washoku Lovers.
Raita Noda
1/222 Riley Street,
Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: 02 8093 9807

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