Yeniköy Café and Restaurant

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I have a quick review for you tonight on the blog, and when I say quick I mean that I will only be covering 3 dishes from this place. I was supposed to go back to this place a few more times to try out their lunch and dinner menu, but I didn’t get to before I left Sydney. Hopefully the dishes I cover today will make you want to give this place a try if you haven’t already paid them a visit. The dishes I will be showing you today are quite simple, but packed with flavour, and I really felt like I was in a different place – Turkey? I’m not sure since I’ve not been. If you want to check out their menu a little bit than what I will be showing you today, click here.

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant

If I remember clearly, Jialing, Yvonne, and I were being indecisive on WhatsApp the night before – well, I wouldn’t say indecisive, more like I wanted to go to a certain place (SHUK to be exact in North Bondi), but Yvonne didn’t want to go too far off from the city because she was sick that day. Then we couldn’t agree on a time because again, BRUNCH at 10am was too early for Yvonne, so we finally came to a compromise to meet at 11am instead so that we wouldn’t miss out on Yeniköy’s breakfast menu.

Anyway! I came across Yeniköy by simply just walking along King Street in Newtown – don’t know when it was or why I was in Newtown in the first place (quite possibly to eat anyway). Also, did you know that Yeniköy is Turkish for “new village” which is a pretty fitting name for a café and restaurant to be residing in  the hip streets of Newtown. I think I walked past Yeniköy a number of times, but had never actually gone in until this brunch of ours. I was quite intrigued by this place, not by the food at first, but the ambience of the place as I quickly glanced through the huge glass windows – “wood furniture, stone panelling, lanterns, and Edison light globes”, Besides that of course, I was intrigued by their menu that’s Turkish with a Modern Australian twist to mix it up a bit.

Even though we all ordered a dish each, we shared everything together so that we could get a little taste of each other’s dishes – I mean, it’s a common thing that we do whenever we eat out tougher anyway 🙂

BREAKFAST MENU

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant - KIYMALI GÖZLEME
KIYMALI GÖZLEME: Beef mince and vegetables gözleme with side vegetables ($13.00)

For those of you who don’t know what a gözleme is, it is basically a savoury traditional Turkish flatbread that is filled with various meat (minced beef, chopped lamb, fresh or smoked seafood, sucuk, pastirma), vegetables (spinach, zucchini, eggplant, leek, chard, various peppers, onion, scallion, shallot, garlic), or a combination of both, and/or cheeses, then sealed and cooked over a griddle. The flatbread is made of hand-rolled dough that is lightly brushed with butter and eggs.

This was the dish that I ordered and wished I had all to myself because it was pretty amazing. I’ve had gözleme before, but only at the Glebe Markets, and those tasted pretty great too. The beef mince filling tasted really good and the flatbread was nice a crisp. The “salad” on the side was a bit disappointing though because it was just a mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumber (which I personally don’t like). I guess that doesn’t matter anyway since the gözleme was the highlight of the dish!

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant - SUCUK BRUSCHETTA
SUCUK BRUSCHETTA: Turkish sausages, tomatoes and eggs on a toasted Turkish bread, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and pomegranate molasses, and served with rocket and side vegetables ($17.00)

This was Yvonne’s dish, and I can’t remember if she liked it or not, but I remember that the only thing I really liked on this plate was the scrambled eggs – light, fluffy, and well seasoned. Again, the side vegetables weren’t anything special, and I don’t know, neither was the bruschetta to be honest. I’m actually not a fan of bread that has been toasted until crisp because then it just becomes too dry for me and too hard to chew, especially the crust – which was what this bruschetta was. I like my bread soft. But hey, the dish wasn’t a bad dish at all, it’s just my personal preference, or I guess, me being picky.

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant - TURKISH SUCUK AND CHEESE PIDE
TURKISH SUCUK AND CHEESE PIDE: Traditional Turkish lamb and beef mince sucuk and cheese pide with a crack egg ($14.00)

Jialing ordered this dish, and before I start, I’m going to tell you a story. So, I can’t exactly remember where or when, but on a different occasion to this, I saw ‘Pide’ on the menu and ordered it, unsure really on how to pronounce the word. So when I ordered it, I pointed at it and hesitantly said to the waitress, “can I have the… pide (pie-duh)“. She knew I was struggling to pronounce it, and she said, “one pide (pee-deh), yeap”. So I told this to Jialing and Yvonne when we saw Pide on the menu. I told them that it’s pronounced pee-deh but Jialing insisted that it was pie-duh because one of our mutual friends said so. To end our not-quite dispute over the word, Yvonne told me to say pie-duh to the waitress and see if she would correct me – I wasn’t going to make a fool out of myself again so when the waitress came over to take our orders, I said pee-deh, but Yvonne butted in and said pretty loudly with an exclamation mark PIE-DUH! I started laughing and so did the waitress, and she said it’s pronounced pee-deh.

Anyway, so now that you know how to pronounce pide (pee-deh), on to the actual dish – it was good, but again nothing really that special to be honest.

To be perfectly honest, I was a little underwhelmed with the dishes that we had at Yeniköy, but obviously, this is just one person’s opinion. I really wished I had gone back for lunch and/or dinner because the dishes that those menus looked more enticing than what we had. All in all, we had a good time because even though the food was mediocre for us, it wasn’t bad at all. We shared a lot of laughs and remembered this day as “the time that Yvonne was sick” (a little inside joke between the three of us), and overall just enjoyed each other’s company in a very nice café on King Street. Ambience and service is a sure 10 out of 10, food a 7 maybe because I still enjoyed the food and their other menus looked great too. Value for money, maybe a 7 too – it’s not overly priced, breakfast that is, not sure about the lunch and dinner menu.

Yeniköy Café and Restaurant
480 King Street
Newtown, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Before I begin, I hope you’ve been enjoying the recipes produced by my guest bloggers, my one true love, Jialing Mew, and of course my new friend Brendon D’Souza, for the past two weeks. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with them and cooking with them in the kitchen before I left to come back home to Brunei. Stay tuned for the next two weeks, I’ve got another friend who will be guest blogging, and a special someone whom without her, this blog may not even exist!

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria

So anyway, for those who have been following my blog for a while now, or those who just know me personally, will know that The Ground of Alexandria is a place I keep going back to for the food and just the overall vibe of the place… oh and for the cute waiters at the Potting Shed as well *cheeky grin* If I did not already mention this in my previous review on the Potting Shed, there is another café/restaurant as well as various food stalls in and around the Grounds. I’ve been to and had food at the Garden Bar three times now and the food never fails to impress my tastebuds and fill my tummy up with delight. The first time I was here, I went alone for the Christmas Markets back in 2014, shopping for gifts for my friends, eating food, and meeting Santa Claus! Would you believe that that was the very FIRST time I ever got to meet Santa and sort of sit on his lap? Yeah, what a childhood I’ve had right? Anyway, Santa said to me “it must be my lucky day!” referring to the fact that he’s had a couple of women taking photos with him before me.

The Grounds of Alexandria

The second time I came back to the Ground and had food at the Garden Bar was with my family when they came to visit for a holiday and my graduation ceremony in early May of this year. I decided to take them to the Garden Bar and enjoy the eats of the various food stalls. There were a lot of people, as usual, and it was difficult to snag a seat for four, but luckily we were able to find one under the lovely winter sun within 15 minutes of arriving. My Mom and my sisters fell completely in love with the food, as well as the atmosphere and overall vibe of the place – just like me. The third time I came back and had food from the Garden Bar was during a catch up session with Vidhya – well, I had been stalking the Instagram page of the Grounds and found out they were selling waffles that weekend so I HAD to go (and drag Vidhya along of course since we planned to hang out that day). Vidhya, if you’re reading this, correct me if I am wrong, I think I made you fall in love with the Grounds as well!

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria


Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - THE GARDEN BAR BREKKY: BRUNCH BURGER
THE GARDEN BAR BREKKY: BRUNCH BURGER
with halloumi, caramelised onions, and rocket on a brioche bun ($10.00)
add chorizo (+$3.00)

I ordered this burger before when I went to the Grounds by myself during the Christmas festivities. I ordered it with the chorizo, but then completely forgot to add on that as an extra when I ordered it for the family to share. So instead it was a vegetarian burger with extra garlic sauce; nonetheless, it tasted great without, but still would’ve been even better with the chorizo! I think I’ve mentioned this before in many blog posts, and many of my friends know this – I’m not a huge fan of burgers, and even though this tasted pretty good, I am still not a fan of them.

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: JUMBO SALT & PEPPER PRAWNS
THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: JUMBO SALT & PEPPER PRAWNS
crumbed and dressed with garlic, lime, coriander or chilli ($15.00)

THIS. That’s all I pretty much need to say about these prawns really; cooked, crumbed, and seasoned perfectly. The prawns melted in your mouth at every bite and tasted so well with the extra chimichurri sauce I drizzled on top! The prawns were by far my favourite dish from the Garden Bar – was sad to find out that they weren’t on the menu when I returned with Vidhya for round 2! (Side note: extra sauce comes at no price! They’re at the collection counter in massive bottles waiting to be drizzled onto your food!)

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: CHICKEN WINGS (feast for one, 8 wings)
THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: CHICKEN WINGS (feast for one, 8 wings)
crumbed and accompanied with fiery chilli or BBQ basting sauce ($12.00)

Another one of my favourites from the Garden Bar; we ordered the fiery chilli wings and though it wasn’t the fiery that we’re used to, it was still deliciously good, juicy and tender! If you’re tastebuds don’t fancy some spicy wings, I’m sure that the BBQ won’t disappoint. There’s also another option if you want more wings, which is 20 wings for $20.00!

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: BBQ CHICKEN ROLL
THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: BBQ CHICKEN ROLL
spit roasted over ironbark & charcoal, served with salsa and your choice of sauce ($12.00)

This Vidhya had when I took her to the Grounds; you have the choice between chicken, beef, or lamb as your meat, and you can either have it as a roll or a salad. Vidhya of course, only eats chicken, thus the chicken roll. I can’t remember if I had a little taste of the roll or not – I’m guessing I didn’t since I can’t remember, but anyway, I’m sure the roll tasted really good since pretty much everything on their menu had been spot on for me. Vidhya seemed to enjoy it 🙂

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: SMASHED AVOCADO
THE GARDEN BAR LUNCH: SMASHED AVOCADO
with tomato, feta, dried chilli flakes, and fresh mint from the garden ($9.50)

I’m usually not a fan of ordering smashed avocado when it comes to eating out. The reason being is that it’s basically just a piece of toast with smeared with smashed avocado and topped with feta, tomatoes, etc. Something that I can easily whip up myself at home to be honest. But alas, I knew that going out with Vidhya for “brunch” would turn into late lunch – and surprise surprise! We ended up getting to the Ground at 1pm when we decided to meet up at 11:30am. Anyway, yes so my instincts were right to have something to eat before meeting up with Vidhya to eat again 😛 So since I wasn’t overly starving, smashed avocado was the only light thing on the menu besides the roll/salad, or burger. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the smashed avocado – I mean, you can’t really stuff that up I guess.

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - SIDES: SWEET POTATO FRIES
SIDES: SWEET POTATO FRIES ($8.00)

When you see sweet potato fries on the menu, how can you ignore it?! Drizzled with extra garlic aïoli sauce ❤

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - ORGANIC JUICES: TROPICAL FLAIRORGANIC JUICES: TROPICAL FLAIR
watermelon, pineapple, apple, lime ($8.00)

Refreshingly good!

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - GARDEN SMOOTHIES: MANGOGARDEN SMOOTHIES: MANGO
fresh ripe mango, dried mango, and natural low-fat yoghurt with the goodness of chia and flax seeds ($8.50)

Though it wasn’t mango season the time I ordered the drink, it tasted heavenly!

Garden Bar at the Grounds of Alexandria - CHOCOLATE AND RED VELVET WAFFLES
CHOCOLATE AND RED VELVET WAFFLES ($9.00)

THIS IS THE REAL DEAL HERE; basically the main reason why I keep going back to the Grounds. I cannot stress out how many times I’ve been to the Grounds for the waffle stall that left me disappointed on so many occasions. I say disappointed because no matter when, and every time I find myself at the Grounds, the waffle stall was ALWAYS closed. There was one time I even waited around at the Grounds for 2 hours for the stall to open and kept pestering the lady at the dessert stall, asking when the waffle stall would open. I got tired of waiting, and eventually just had food from the Garden Bar and then left. When the Grounds posted a picture of their Chocolate and Red Velvet Waffles on Instagram, I knew I had to make a trip over for them; I was overly happy! Even though I was already so full from all the food I had that day prior to waffle eating, I finished all three waffles (with the help of Vidhya who took one or two small bites because she too was already full). Definitely worth my 9 bucks!

The Grounds of Alexandria

Once again, the Grounds of Alexandria never fail to disappoint me every time I visit. Each time I visit is a different experience; also because I’m with different people whenever I pay a visit to explore the gardens, the markets, indulge in the food. and of course say hi to the various farm animals such as Kevin Bacon the resident pig. The atmosphere and overall vibe of the place is a sure 10 out of 10 for me – it can get very crowded during sunny weekends, but nevertheless, it’s all part of the experience really; I mean, it’s crowded for a reason! Food I’d give a 9 out of 10 (only because I feel I’d be too biased if I gave them a 10 out of 10 for food even though they really deserve the 10). Seating can be a bit of a hassle to find especially when the Grounds is packed with people and kids. Vidhya and I ended up sitting on the ledge of one of the garden beds along with other people, but if you’re okay with that, I see no problem here. The Garden Bar has a good value for money, definitely much cheaper than the Potting Shed for reasons that are apparent anyway in terms of the quality of the food served and the ambience of the Potting Shed in comparison to the gardens. If you haven’t seen my review for the Potting Shed, or want to recap on the dishes from there (the menu might be different from my review and now since seasons have past), click here.

The Grounds of Alexandria

Garden Bar at the Grounds
Building 7A
No. 2 Huntley Street
Alexandria, New South Wales
Australia, 2015

– Ally xx

Belly Bao - BAONANA SPLIT

Belly Bao

Hello Everyone! Finally I’m back with an all new Review Sunday (on a Monday – sorry about that) on the blog! I had a pretty hectic day yesterday and didn’t get around to finishing this post. I spent yesterday morning hanging out with my sister, the afternoon with a fellow food-loving friend, Miao, over some cold drinks and cake, then went to indulge in the not-as-amazing-as-I-thought-it’d-be fireworks display for Singapore’s 50th National Day (might I add also, being sardined between sweaty, wet, and smelly people; it was so gross). Then ended the night meeting Alex, talking about anything and everything while we strolled around the area and eventually made our way to have some food.

So onwards with the review – I’ve only ever been to this place once, but have heard many things about it before it even started shaking up the Sydney scene permanently. I think, that is if I am not mistaken, Belly Bao first started dishing out these buns at various market stalls across Sydney about a year ago. I managed to visit a stall at the Paddington Markets on a Sunday afternoon before the found permanent residency at the GoodGod Small Club in the Sydney CBD.

Belly Bao

So the first and not quite last, but won’t be back in a while kind of thing, time I visited the club was with my friend Marissa on a Thursday, maybe Friday night after she had finished her work. We got to the place at around 6:30pm and the place was already packed. The line to order food was not too long, but a good 20-30minute wait, so while Marissa was lining up to order food, I went around the club quite possibly 7-8 times to look for a seat, and occasionally approach people that looked like they were about to be done, asking if I could have their seats when they were done. Thank goodness I was able to snag a seat for a two just as Marissa was about to be next in line to order the food. So yes, if you do plan on visiting on a Friday or Saturday night, be prepared to hunt down seats for a while and battle the noise a bit (well it is a club after all).

BELLY BAOS

Belly Bao - SLOW BRAISED PORK BELLY
SLOW BRAISED PORK BELLY: Pickled mustard greens, coriander, crushed peanuts, and kewpie mayo ($6.50)

The braised pork belly was well cooked – tender, juicy, and packed with flavour. However, I was not a fan of the pickled mustard greens and the coriander. I was able to look past these because it was actual a delicious bao overall. Perhaps a little bit more kewpie mayo or a spoonful of the stock that the belly was braised it would have been nice as it did feel a bit dry with the steamed bun.

Belly Bao - CRACKLING ROAST PORK BELLY
CRACKLING ROAST PORK BELLY: Crackling, pickled radish, coriander, and kewpie mayo ($6.50)

Though I did not have this bao when I was at the club, I did have this when I visited their Paddington Market stall before they opened permanently at GoodGod. Like the first bao, this was also as delicious as the first – tender, juicy pork belly with a nice crispy crackling skin.

Belly Bao - SOFT SHELL CRAB
SOFT SHELL CRAB: Watercress, chilli aïoli, and lemon vinaigrette ($7.50)

Now, I love a good soft shell crab, however I was kind of disappointed with this bao just because the soft shell crab wasn’t as crispy as it could be. It had a bit of a crunch, which I’m guessing came from the shell of the crab anyway, and it was a bit chewy more than crispy. Although I really wanted to love it, it was a sad let down. If it had been the crispy soft shell crab aI hoped it’d be, it would’ve been a great bao especially paired with the chilli aïoli and lemon vinaigrette!

SIDES & SNACKS

Belly Bao - Belly Bao spicy half chicken
SIDES & SNACKS: Belly Bao spicy half chicken ($15.00)

Beside the baos, we also got a couple of sides and we didn’t need to think twice about getting some fried chicken; I mean, who doesn’t like fried chicken? Or better yet, spicy fried chicken? Absolutely delicious, crispy skin on the outside, and tender, juicy meat on in the inside. It wasn’t really that spicy to be honest, but it’s alright for someone who can’t take spicy I guess. Or if you don’t do spicy at all you can just opt to have the non-spicy chicken 🙂

Belly Bao - Sweet potato fries drizzled with chilli aïoli
SIDES & SNACKS: Sweet potato fries drizzled with chilli aïoli ($7.00)

You can honestly never go wrong with sweet potato fries, NEVER. This was a pretty hefty order though and I don’t think we even finished them because we were too full in the end to down them all. The fries weren’t very crispy to be honest which was a shame, but were still nevertheless oh so good. For some reason though, I found their chilli aïoli super spicy – even more spicy than the spicy chicken so not sure what happened there!

DESSERT BAOS

Belly Bao - BAONANA SPLIT
BAONANA SPLIT: Golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh banana slices, salted peanuts, drizzled with Nutella ($6.50)

Before I begin, I just want to say that I wished they did more desserts for their menu because their golden fried baos are heaven on earth. Maybe they could consider changing up the dessert menu once in a while like how other places change up their dessert flavours once every two weeks. That may just very well attract me towards the place even more! Anyway, I can’t really fault this dessert because I love banana and Nutella, and everything else paired with it. If I had to nitpick this dessert, I just wished that the Nutella was a bit more like a sauce 🙂

Belly Bao - STRAWBELLY BAO
STRAWBELLY BAO: Golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberry slices, drizzled with condensed milk ($6.50)

From the two desserts, this was the once I actually ordered while Marissa had the first. I’m glad this was the one I ended up because I loved the strawberries and condensed milk drizzle over the whole dessert. It was delicious indeed!

NON-ALCOHOLIC QUENCHERS

Belly Bao - CHERRY MELON POP & GG ICE TEA(LEFT) CHERRY MELON POP: Freshly juiced watermelon & green apple popped sweet with Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters ($9.00)

(RIGHT) GG ICE TEA: Our classic house-brewed ice tea with fresh mint ($9.00)

Overall, I wouldn’t say that the food is really outstanding, but it’s a pretty good interpretation of traditional Taiwanese street food, “not how grandma remembers it”, or as one has questioned, is bao the new taco? They’re definitely a little more than just average, but would probably not score it more than a 7 out of 10; I just didn’t feel any fireworks as I had a bite of my slow braised pork belly bao. The dessert bao though I feel were on an entirely different level to the savoury baos, and so if I were to score the savoury and sweet separately, I’d give the dessert a higher ranking. Other than that, I suppose that the baos are a good value for money. One of these babies, plus a side or two, with dessert filled me up real good, each bao only setting you back about $6.50 on average. I believe that Belly Bao could have chosen a better place to locate their residency – something more in line with the history of how they started out would have been a much more enjoyable scene I believe. I was imagining a quirky café on the corner of a suburban street that isn’t too far away from the city, like perhaps Bronte or Coogee, with some outdoor seating. I was a bit disappointed to hear that they’ve teamed up with a club scene which feels like the complete opposite of what their food is about I guess; then again this is just my opinion. I’d give the ambience a 4 out of 10, possibly 5 if I am being generous – but yeah, dark, noisy, super packed, not quite the way I want to enjoy these delicious baos.

Belly Bao
53-55 Liverpool Street
Sydney, New South Wales
Australia, 2000

– Ally xx

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY

Cuckoo Callay

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Now, I’ve been back to the places twice already, once earlier on this year in February for my last brunch with friends in Sydney before I left to go back to Brunei. The other time I went here was with my family towards the end of May this year to try out their new menu, and to obviously take them to a favourite café of mine (yes I really liked this café from the very first visit I made with my friends). Anyway, the dishes that you are about to see below are a bit muddled in a sense that you will see dishes from their Bacon Festival which launched in the second week of February. The festival lasted for about 6 months I think, and is now no longer on their menu, but don’t fret! They have a whole new menu out and I will also be looking at a few of those dishes in today’s review.

Cuckoo Callay

Firstly, the Bacon Festival; sadly over, but the deliciousness will forever remain! Though I’ve been following the café on Instagram for a while back then, I never really found the chance to pay a visit. When they launched their bacon festival, I made it my mission to go at least once before leaving or else I’d miss out on the festival forever! It was such a great sunny fall day spent with very close uni friends. It was my second last day in Sydney at the time and therefore my last brunch as well before I went back to Brunei. I mean, clearly seeing that I’m back in Sydney, it wasn’t actually my very last time – I just said that at the time because I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the June graduation sessions, and if I didn’t that meant that I’d be away from Sydney for 9 months until November 2015. I’m glad that I was able to graduate in June, so really I wasn’t gone for too long, but I do only have 2 weeks left in Sydney before I leave for good *sad face*

We decided to all order a dish each, and share amongst the 5 of us so that we’d be able to get a taste of everything bacon! Also to note down, all their bacon goods are free range and sourced from Australian pig farmers by Black Forest Smokehouse.

Cuckoo Callay - BACON DAWG
BACON DAWG: Maple glazed bacon sausage with gruyere cheese sauce, tomato and quince relish, crackling, and dill mustard pickles ($16.00)

My least favourite from the dishes that we ordered and only because I don’t like mustard or pickles, so dill mustard pickles? No! Otherwise if I can recall, my friends quite enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t their top pick amongst the other dishes. I did love the sausage as it was juicy and succulent, as well as the crackling though, well what I could get of it I suppose since we were all probably going for it!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON ALL THE RULES
BACON ALL THE RULES: Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, bourbon bacon, bacon steak, bacon sausage, and bacon-crumbed poached eggs served on sourdough ($24.00)

This dish, though nothing special for me personally seeing as I could whip up something like this at home myself, was a good dish. It was jam packed with meat, eggs, and toast; a classic hefty breakfast. I know this is probably something you probably wouldn’t comment on, but the eggs we’re cooked perfectly with an oozy, runny yolk. I’m commenting on the eggs because you would not believe the many places I’ve been to that say poached eggs and the yolk was a disappointment – basically overcooked. Cuckoo Callay did not disappoint!

Cuckoo Callay - DON'T GO BACON MY HEART
DON’T GO BACON MY HEART: Beer candied bacon and popcorn chicken burger served with beer and tomato chutney, mustard aioli, and ‘slaw on brioche ($19.00)

I don’t really remember if I liked this dish or not – then again I guess not being able to remember a dish means that it didn’t have an impact on me. I don’t think it was bad, but it didn’t impress either. As long as there was bacon, but not just any bacon, beer candied bacon!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON, GET IN MA BELLY
BACON, GET IN MA BELLY: Pork Belly with sticky sweet chilli and fennel seed sauce with bacon, caper, coriander, and lime salad ($20.00)

This was my second favourite dish from the festival. The pork belly was chunky and crispy which was well accompanied by the sticky sweet chilli sauce/glaze it had. The squeeze of lime over the pork belly was a nice hint of freshness along with the capers and coriander. I don’t really like the taste of coriander so I just picked the capers out and ate those 😛

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY
YA BACON ME CRAZY: Buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup, and chocolate coated bourbon bacon ($20.00)

MY FAVOURITE DISH OF THE BACON FESTIVAL! I love bacon, I love waffles, I love caramel, I love cinnamon, I love ice cream, and I love caramel cinnamon ice cream. Altogether? Heaven. Need I say more? Well, I guess the only things I can say negatively about this dish was that the waffle was a bit soft for my liking. I’m all about the crispy waffle! Otherwise, a superb dish.

Cuckoo Callay - BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL
BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL ($14.00)

I have no words for this, well I do but it’s going to be very biased. For starters, I’ve never had a Bloody Mary before so I was definitely taking a chance on this drink. But bacon makes everything better right? I’m afraid to say not in this case. One of my friends even made the comment saying that, “it tastes like cold pasta sauce” and after that comment, I could not get the image of drinking pasta sauce out of my head. I told you it’d be biased, but for Bloody Mary drinkers, this would probably be heaven for you guys.


So as mentioned above, I was able to revisit Cuckoo Callay a second time with my family when they came to visit. The bacon festival was sadly over (I think the weekend before they arrived actually), but they had a whole new menu out for everyone to enjoy! Before I get into the food, I need to tell you a story about what happened at the café; it’s nothing bad, in fact it was hilarious and I will never forget this story. Anyway, when our dishes came to our table, I of course, whipped out my camera and started taking photos of the dishes. Moments later, I’d say about less than 5 minutes later, our waiter (a charming and cheerful lad I might add), returned to our table and said quite loudly and playfully, “Why haven’t you guys started eating?! Is there something wrong with the food?!” followed by a small giggle. I replied, “I’m taking pictures!” to which he then responded, again playfully with a hint of sympathy, “Oh okay, so everyone has to wait I see”. My Mom then said, “She has a food blog” to which he then gave that raised-head ahhhh expression, and then walked away. It was quite hilarious! I’ve taken so many pictures of food before at cafés/restaurant, but never have I ever been why I’m not eating my food. Well honey, if you just wait for me to be done with my pictures, I’ll gladly eat the food!

Anyway, below are just a few of the dishes you can find at Cuckoo Callay:

Cuckoo Callay - GEORGE'S GORGEOUS COUSIN
GEORGE’S GORGEOUS COUSIN (vegetarian and gluten-free): Marinated avocado and thyme infused confit heirloom tomatoes on sourdough, goats curd, house made basil pesto, lemon herb gremolata, and a 63degree egg ($17.00)

My sister Angela had this dish and I of course had a little bite of it so that I could at least write about the taste of the dish. What I really loved about this dish was the marinated avocados; I mean avocados alone are already just good nought for me with a crack of sea salt and black pepper, but these were simply divine. I can’t quite make out what they marinated the avocados in, but they tasted a bit tangy? Anyway, they tasted so good that I think I might’ve had a bit too much of the avocados than I was offered to have!

Cuckoo Callay - PURPLE RAIN
PURPLE RAIN (gluten-free): Beetroot cured salmon, organic quinoa, chargrilled broccolini, sugar snap peas, avocado, kale, chilli, feta, toasted almonds, and 63degree egg ($21.00)

This was the dish that I had and though the avocados weren’t marinated, I still believe that I made the right choice in ordering this for myself. The dish was packed with lots of flavours and textures, and the runny yolk from that 63degree egg just tied the whole salad together. The cured salmon was something new for me in a sense that I’ve never had beetroot cured salmon before and though it was nice, nothing can compare to Devon Café’s cured salmon for me!

Cuckoo Callay - WE FOUND MARY'S LAMB
WE FOUND MARY’S LAMB: 16 hour slow cooked Moroccan spiced lamb, Israeli couscous, chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yogurt, and pistachio ($22.00)

My youngest sister Alyssa ordered this dish, well more like I ordered the dish for her since she had no clue on what to order. The lamb was very tender and really had that Moroccan flavour packed in it. I really liked the Israeli couscous for the way it looked only because I don’t think I’ve ever seen couscous so big and so round! Besides those two elements, everything else on the dish tied nicely together.

Cuckoo Callay - EGGS ON TOAST
EGGS ON TOAST: soft scrambled ($9.00) with extra marinated avocados (+$4.00)

My mom, though she enjoys food a lot, isn’t much of a big eater and so I ordered a simple eggs on toast with marinated avocados for her. You can choose how you want your eggs, whether soft scrambled, 63degree, or fried, and what extras you would like to go with it from crispy bacon, beetroot cured salmon, duck sausage, to grilled haloumi, marinated avocados, etc. Take your pick really to whatever suits your tastebuds. Anyway, of course before ordering this dish, I had no idea how good the avocados were, so after tasting them from my sister’s dish, I was quite happy with the decision to get extra avocados for my mom’s dish only because it meant that I could have more avocados *insert evil laugh* Anyway, what else can I say? The scrambled eggs were light a fluffy, the way it should be and toast is toast.

One thing that I noticed with Cuckoo Callay’s menu (both for the bacon festival and their new menu), is that they are very creative with naming their dishes; even my Mom found it very amusing! Overall, both dining experiences were delightful, and both the company and the quality of service was on point. If I recall, we had to wait a while for our dishes during the bacon festival, and that was only because the café was jam-packed with a lot of customers. We even had to wait 45 minutes in line to be seated, but altogether worth the wait I must say. The festival did not disappoint! Value for money? Like I mean it’s definitely worth your money in comparison to other places that I’ve been too. My Mother on the other hand, of course having just arrived from Brunei where you can probably get a similar dish for half the price, found it quite expensive. However, before she and my sisters left to go back to Brunei, she did comment on how yes eating out is definitely more expensive in Australia, but you get double the portion than you do back home. I’d give value for money an 8/10. The food probably a 8/10 as well; some minor issues due to personal taste, but nothing bad or mediocre about the food to give it a lower rating.

Cuckoo Callay
Newtown Railway Station
Shop 324B Erskineville Road
Newtown, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT

In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: TOBLERONECOCKTAILS: TOBLERONE
Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWNENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWN
with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
DESSERT: MRS B’S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx

Surly's - AMERICAN BBQ PLATES*: PORK SPARE RIBS

Surly’s

Hello Everyone and a very warm welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! It’s been a while now since I’ve done a review on the blog, and it’s mainly because I’ve been travelling around Australia the past month with my family. Not only was time a bit short on my hand, I didn’t have much places that I wanted to review anyway. Now that I’ve sort of settled down a bit from travelling, I’ve been visiting/revisiting some of my favourite eatery spots in and around Sydney. That’s probably one of the many things I will miss about Sydney, the food diversity it has to offer.

Surly's

About a week ago or so, my friend Sophia was organising a Food meet up and asked for suggestions on what kind of cuisine we’d be up for. Since the meet up was on the 4th of July, I suggested we go out and have some American food to kind of, but not really, celebrate Independence Day; and that’s what we did yesterday night at Surly’s. We caught up over good (but greasy) food and exchanged A LOT of laughs across the table, and even when we were out and about Surry Hills making our way to Gelato Messina for dessert.

I wasn’t evasedropping or anything, then again maybe I was since the music was ever so loud at the place, but this was how to conversation went at the table beside ours:

Aussie: Today is America Day right? Happy America Day!
American: It’s not ‘America Day’, we don’t call it America Day…
Aussie: Oh so what do you call it then?
American: It’s Independence Day.

I don’t know why I found that so funny – maybe because here it’s called ‘Australia Day’ but that is in fact it is the complete opposite of gaining independence. I’m not even American anyway so I don’t know why I was so keen on kind-of celebrating 4th of July. I’d probably call myself faux-merican just because when I first arrived here in Australia, people always assumed that I was from America because of my ‘accent’ – sorry what accent? I always thought that Australian’s had an accent while I was perfectly normal. Anyway, there was one guy who went all specific and said to me, “you sound like you’re from California”.

Surly's - STARTERS: NACHOS
STARTERS: NACHOS
Cheesy jalapeño ($10.00)

What can I say? Chips, really yummy cheese, and jalapeños. ‘Nuff said. $10.00 might’ve been a tad bit too much to charge for just these though. I don’t really like jalapeños as well so it was just basically chips and cheese for me, but still good!

Surly's - STARTERS: WINGS
STARTERS: WINGS
Buffalo hot wings served with carrot and celery sticks and ranch ($12.00)

I remember looking at the menu before heading to Surly’s that night and when I saw buffalo wings on the menu, I knew I was going to get a side of these for sure. When we got to Surly’s and we were deciding on what dishes to get to share with everyone, I asked which of the wings they wanted from a choice of either Buffalo Hot Wings or House BBQ Wings. Natalie tad me that Sophia doesn’t really eat hot/spicy things, but said that she would need to eventually since she’d be going to Thailand with her. So I said, “hot wings it is – this can be her training for Thailand”. The wings were good and had a good amount of heat, didn’t really like the ranch sauce, more of a blue cheese sauce person when it comes to buffalo wings, but the majority of the table voted for ranch. The only thing I didn’t quite comprehend was ‘served with carrot and celery sticks’; we had just one stick of each…

Surly's - FRIED CHICKEN: 6 pieces with fries on the side
FRIED CHICKEN: 6 pieces with fries on the side ($25.00)

Okay I admit that when I saw 6 pieces and $25.00 together I was a bit confused like how and why so pricey for 6 pieces of fried chicken?! When the dish came to the table, it was not at all what I had in my mind – they were 6 enormous pieces of chicken, like as big as your face kind of big. I told everyone at the table that I wasn’t expecting the pieces to be so big, and then followed that sentence with, “oh that’s right, I forgot it’s American sized” and everyone started laughing. Also, when Sophia got this dish, she asked what were the other sides that we decided on for the other dishes because we all agreed that we’d get different sides to try them all. The sides that we hadn’t picked yet were fries and greens beans. I jokingly told Sophia to get the green beans just because it’d be funny to imagine the pairing of fried chicken with green beans! Anyway, funny backstory aside, the chicken was well cooked – tender and juicy on the inside, and a flavourful crust on the outside. A bit greasy but what even is fried chicken without the grease?

Surly's - AMERICAN BBQ PLATES*: PULLED PORK
AMERICAN BBQ PLATES*: PULLED PORK
with BBQ beans and coleslaw ($15.00)

The pulled pork for me didn’t have much flavour to it to be honest, and I probably only had two small bites of this dish because of this; sorry but I wasn’t a fan. Also, it seemed kind of dissatisfying to see such tender good pork to be slopped on a plate just like that – at least put it in a sandwich or burger. Other than that, the BBQ beans tasted really good, and coleslaw, I mean, it’s just coleslaw to me. The cornbread was really good and I definitely think there should be more cornbread on the plate to go with the pulled pork I reckon!

Surly's - AMERICAN BBQ PLATES*: PORK SPARE RIBS
AMERICAN BBQ PLATES*: PORK SPARE RIBS
with mac n’ cheese and potato salad ($20.00)

Sadly the pork ribs didn’t leave me wanting for more. Jialing agreed that the ribs lacked flavour beyond the outer layer of the meat and quote, “as if they didn’t marinate the ribs at all”. On top of that, the ribs were dry and not very tender. The sides were good though, but that’s basically all for this dish.

*All plates come with 2 sides (mac n’ cheese, coleslaw, BBQ beans, green beans, potato salad, or fries) and  homemade cornbread

The only thing that I wanted to try but completely forgot about ordering it when at Surly’s was their Philly Phil’z Philly Cheesesteak: Juicy grilled flank , grilled peppers and onions all glued together with provolone ($13.00) Man that sounds so good! Maybe next time? Well see – if I really REALLY need to go back for this dish.

The ambience of the place was pretty good actually, lots of space and pool tables on the upper floor for a nice game; not for me though because I don’t play (more like I don’t know how to play). The place was well lit, but not enough at night that is, for someone like me who takes pictures of food – we had to be ‘that kind of people’ who takes out their phone flashlight for a photograph. alright; not a place for a person who loves taking pictures. The music was really loud, so I wouldn’t suggest it if you want to catch up with friends and have deep long conversations or for a date; it’s more like a Friday night with your mates kind of place.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed exchanging laughs as I said earlier and ended up not having an itchy throat at the end of the night from raising our voice over the table. The service was really quick, when we returned to our tables, Jialing’s pork ribs came within 10 seconds upon sitting down, and I’m guessing on average we waited less than 15 minutes for all the meals to come to the table, which was less than waiting for Sophia to arrive at the place. I’d say a good value for money as well, but probably not for the BBQ plates in my opinion. Overall the food was okay – maybe good, but nothing out of this world; I’d probably rate it a 5 out of 10 just with some minor issues that I had with some dishes. Other than that, be sure to check out Surly’s with your mates for a round or two, or maybe more, of drinks and a game of pool – the place has a pretty sweet vibe for that kinda night out.

Surly’s
182 Campbell Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen

Hello Everyone! Not only is it another Review Sunday but it is also my 100th post on the blog! 10 months ago I started this blog out of pure procrastination. Basically I was bored over the Easter break and was in no mood to tackle the many assignments that I had at the time for uni. Thus this blog was born. I have long been interested in food even way before 10 months ago, and was encouraged by many to start up a blog. I can say now that what was once just hobby, I have now grown to put much more effort into each dish that I prepare and into each blog post that goes up 3 times a week. I don’t want to say that blogging is now my ‘job’ as it sounds a little bit like ‘I have to do it’ kind of thing. It’s not about me having to do a blog post for everyone out there, but it is more like I do it because I want to do it – if that makes any sense? Anyway, I am just super happy about how well I have been doing with my blog and I have some exciting new changes coming up in the next few months. I am also looking to building up my followers both on wordpress and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so if any of you guys out there have any tips on how to do this, your help/knowledge will be much appreciated!

Sadhana Kitchen

Now on to today’s post – Sadhana Kitchen! I first came to know about this little gem through posts on Instagram from various food bloggers. What attracted me to their menu was that the food they served was always so colourful through the uploads I came across while browsing through my newsfeed. The great thing about Sadhana Kitchen, even though it does not really matter in my case, is that they are gluten-free, organic, raw, and vegan – Sydney’s first organic wholefoods and raw foods café. Now, when I made mention that it does not really matter to me, I meant that I am not gluten intolerant, nor am I a vegan, but I was quite intrigued as to what kind of foods do those with dietary requirements eat since I am a person who can eat almost anything and everything. I often find myself saying how I’d never go vegetarian or vegan because I love meat too much to give it up but after paying a visit to Sadhana Kitchen, I have a whole new appreciation for healthy, organic, and raw superfoods. Though I don’t think that I will ever find myself converting, maybe not right now that is. I can’t say what will happen in the future, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and suddenly transform into a ‘crazy vegan lady’ as one of the waitresses mentioned about her obsession over veganism.

I’ve been here a total of two times, both with friends whom I know to have an appreciation for healthy foods but not necessarily vegans themselves. I thought that they’d be the perfect company for a nice weekend lunch. What was funny though was that one of my friends that I went with (she who shall not be named, but you know who you are), actually asked the lady at the counter if they put any ice cream in their smoothies – I mean, even after my other friend and I explained to her that they would definitely not put ice cream in their smoothies since its all about the vegan. The lady gave her a sort of weirded out look and said that they only use frozen fruits in their smoothies. Though I felt bad, I could not stop laughing on the inside.

This place I feel could do with a lot more seating space. Both times that I’ve been, and not even on the hour when normal people have their breakfast and/or lunch, like I’m talking 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s always packed. The first time we visited we were lucky enough to snag the only table left, but the second time around we weren’t so lucky. We waited about 20 minutes before we could run and grab a table, and after we did the place started empty out slowly.

Sadhana Kitchen - FRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCHFRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCH
Pitaya (dragon fruit), strawberries, banana, and orange ($9.50)

I love dragon fruit, but even though this is called a ‘pitaya’ smoothie, the banana taste came across more predominantly. A refreshing smoothie nonetheless and had a very vibrant colour to it which made it even more appealing to the eye.

Sadhana Kitchen - GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
Seasonal greens, orange, mango, and flax seeds. Vitamin, mineral, and fibre booster with omega-3 fatty acids ($9.50)

Though I wasn’t quite sure about what greens were added to the smoothie (but I’m guessing either kale, spinach, or even both), the mint flavour really came through. Again, refreshing for a warm summer day.

Sadhana Kitchen - SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIESUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIE
Blueberries, raspberries, banana, sprouted brown rice protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, mesquite, and almonds. Packed with muscle building cholesterol free protein, omega-3 for brain function, and calcium & manganese for healthy bones ($9.50)

The epic of smoothies! Very thick though so it was a bit difficult to drink from the straw.

Sadhana Kitchen - RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
Sadhana coconut bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, coriander and house-made mayo, in between two sliced of onion bread ($14.50)

What intrigued me about this dish was the ‘coconut bacon’ which basically was just coconut that was made to look like bacon and even had the texture of bacon. I’m not sure about whether it’s an innovative way of thinking from Sadhana Kitchen, as in if it’s actually already a thing that someone else came up with, but definitely creative idea!

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA LASAGNE
SADHANA LASAGNE
Layers of zucchini pasta, cultured cashew cheeze, basil pesto, walnut mince, wilted spinach, and chunky tomato sauce ($15.50)

This was the dish that I had the first time I came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the size of it on the dish, it actually filled me up good! Loved the flavours of the dish and that walnut mince really looked like meat mince that you’d find in your traditional lasagne.

Sadhana Kitchen - CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
Carrot and walnut falafels served with seasonal greens, pickles, olives, zucchini hummus, and beet dip ($16.50)

This was the other dish that I had the second time around. I initially wanted to order their Prana Pad Thai which had kelp and zucchini noodles, but they unfortunately ran out. I had no regrets though because this dish did not only look pretty on the plate and appealing to the eye, it had great flavour and was also surprisingly filling (just not a filling as the lasagne of course). The ‘falafels’ had a nice crunch to them as well as a roasted flavour. The dips complimented them nicely and the salad on the side really enhanced the flavours that it needed to bring it to the next level of flavour satisfaction.

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA SUPER BOWL
SADHANA SUPER BOWL
Shredded kale, house-made sauerkraut, cherry tomato, cucumber, and pesto zoodles served with Brazil nut cheddar, sundried tomato, and smoked paprika hummus ($17.50)

I’m not quite sure as to how this dish tasted, only because this wasn’t my dish to consume. I had a taste of the zoodles (zucchini noodle) but that was basically it. To me, this dish looked like a bowl of vegetables – that’s it really, though my friend did find it quite satisfying.

Sadhana Kitchen


SNICKERS CHEEZECAKE
Cashews, almonds, walnuts, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, dates, sesame, and salt ($12.50)

This cheezecake was made with layers of nougat creme, milk chocolate, and chocolate ganache topped with caramelised nut clusters. Probably my favourite from the two of the cakes we had. The flavour really came through as it almost tasted like a traditional snickers bar – when I say traditional, I mean it in a way that it doesn’t taste like the vegan alternative.

Sadhana Kitchen - WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
Cashews, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, stevia, cacao butter, sesame, vanilla, dates, maca, mesquite, and lucuma salt ($12.50)

This banoffee pie was made of layers of banana creme, salted caramel creme, and white chocolate creme on a walnut & coconut biscuit base. The name itself was already enough for me to be sold on ordering it, but I must say that that was probably the only good thing about it, the name. I don’t know what it was, but the cake didn’t quite tickle my fancy. I think it was the taste of it? Like the banana tasted a bit off, not that they used a bad banana, but it was more like you know it’s supposed to be banana, but it doesn’t taste like banana kind of thing. It was also the cake that was ignored for a while on the table when we dug into our desserts.

Sadhana Kitchen - SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
Twisted SK coconut cocowhip, topped with half a caramel slice, cacao nibs, himalayan pink salt, and house made superfood caramel sauce ($13.00)

The second time we came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen, it was all about the cocowhip hype. To be honest, it was alright. Loved the added toppings, but I felt like the cocowhip was a little bit too soft. By the time we dug in and had about 2-3 spoons each, it was almost like soup, and it wasn’t even a particularly hot day as well for it to melt so fast!

Before I end, here are a few things that you might want to know about organic/raw foods, and veganism:

  • Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and by-products, particularly in diet.
  • Foods that are prepared and processed without exceeding 40°C are known to be raw. This way of preparation allows the food’s natural enzymes to stay intact, which in return gives your body the most benefit and easy digestion.
  • The best place to start improving your health is by improving what you eat. This is the main reason why Sadhana Kitchen insist on using only pure, organic seasonal produce that is free from harmful toxins to create delicious dishes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for those who are fans of organic and raw foods, and of course those who are all about the vegan. I would also recommend this for those who are experimenting with food and are open to broadening their palettes. Like I said, I would probably never go vegan myself, but having experienced the foods has really made me appreciate how else it can be prepared and still be as filling and delicious as what I am used to eating. The food is a definite 8.5 out of 10 for me. Their main menu was the stand out, but their dessert disappointed a bit, even though I was even more excited for their dessert menu. Service was good, and the ambience could be a bit better. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $12.50 for a slice of cake. I definitely hope to visit again soon as I am curious to know what the vegan substitute for their ‘eggs benny’ is and their prana pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles looks too good to pass up! *drooling*

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen
147 Enmore Road
Enmore, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S

Devon on Danks

Hello Everyone and welcome back to yet another Review Sunday on the blog! Devon Café is one of those that I’d never fail to go back to for a nice Sunday brunch, well besides the Potting Shed at the Grounds though – I can’t pick between the two! So recently, I think somewhere in mid-November, Devon Café expanded their brand and opened up a new venue over on Danks Street in Waterloo. I quite honestly did not get into the hype of it until late December, after Christmas, before New Years – not that I wasn’t into it, but I just wanted to wait until the hype died down a bit. Knowing that this is Sydney, the hype never dies down! The first time I went here wasn’t that bad though, we managed to get a seat straight away but even so, the place was pretty packed. If we had arrived any later we could’ve easily been standing outside waiting for at least 10 minutes or so for a table for 3. Don’t even get me started on how packed it was on ‘Straya Day, but lucky again we managed to get a table for 2 with ease, but I did feel sorry for the others who had to wait out in the rain for a table.

Devon on Danks: 'STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
‘STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
Medley of tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, and soft-boiled egg, on toast ($16.50)

As mentioned above, this dish was only available during Australia Day. I ordered it because it’s one of their specials and it won’t be on their menu ever again (maybe)! It was a difficult decision because I was eying their ‘Naked’ Bruschetta at that time as well. I actually have no regrets going for this dish because it blew my mind. Yes I know, some tomatoes and avocado on toast – really? The dish was just so flavoursome and fresh at the same time. The crusty white bread added that crunch texture to the palette and was excellent for soaking up the olive oil. The disappointment in this dish though was that my egg was not at all soft nor runny liked I’d expect it to be. Would’ve loved a runny yolk to compliment the crusty bread to soak it all up. Also, $16.50 for this dish? A bit too much in my opinion.

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S
Miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63˚ egg, radish petit salad, and kewpi mayonnaise ($24.50)

This dish is probably Devon’s signature as it appears in both menus at the original Devon and Devon on Danks. My Instagram newsfeed always features this dish from other people’s brunches. I never really had this dish for myself to consume, but I did manage to have a bite from my friend’s plate. According to her, the salmon was cooked to perfection and I can definitely vouch for that statement. The egg was perfectly cooked, and flavour combinations worked well together. She overall liked the dish.

Devon on Danks: LITTLE LOST BREAD
LITTLE LOST BREAD
Brioche French toast, fresh and freeze dried strawberries, balsamic and strawberry gastrique, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and Arnott’s biscuit crumble ($16.50)

Again, I did not have this dish to myself, but I did manage to have a small bite. My friends, who at that time share this dish as a dessert, really loved this dish, but it was a bit sour for my liking, which I think mainly came from the balsamic. But otherwise, the brioche French toast was amazing, and so was the ice cream that topped it. What I found interesting was that at the end of the description for this dish it said “add bacon $4.00”. BACON? I was so confused and intrigued at the same time, but my friends didn’t want to get the bacon with it.

Devon on Danks: DR SEUSS's GREEN EGGS AND HAM
DR SEUSS’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM
Thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63˚ egg, green tomato ketchup, pea purée, soybeans, pea tendrils, and jus ($19.00)

This again was a dish that was predominately popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. I think what is attractive about this dish is its name. It brought back many childhood memories and this was a dish that I really wanted to indulge in, but unfortunately lost the battle with Marissa. She told me to order the same thing but I was like NO that’s not point! Because I write a blog, I actually hate it when people order the same thing, because then that means that I have one (sometimes two) less dishes to write about. Which also means that I have to again visit the café/restaurant so that I am not just reviewing two or three dishes. Anyway, tangent aside, the bacon was delish, cooked to perfection, and paired well with the other components in the dish. Marissa seemed to love it too!

Devon on Danks: SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
Crispy soft shell crab with sichimi pepper, wasabi mayo, tobiko, nori, pickled cucumber, daikon, carrot, and shiso ($19.90)

Originally, this dish was meant to be a soft shell crab roll. I don’t know what happened, like whether they ran out of rolls or whatever other reason, this time when I came back with Tara, they had blacked out the ‘roll’ on their menu and changed it to a salad. Despite it not being a roll anymore, the dish was beautifully presented and was very flavoursome. The soft shell crab was crunchy and was packed with a lot of spice, quite possibly from the wasabi. That was on point for me. The salad was flavourful, but in the end I kept thinking that the dish looked really small, and for roughly $20.00, it almost seemed that you didn’t a good value for your money. I’ve had soft shell crab salad elsewhere before at a Japanese restaurant and it was about $11.00 for more than just ONE crab.

Devon on Danks: LUCKY DUCK
LUCKY DUCK
French buckwheat crêpe, crispy duck leg, duck liver parfait, fried duck egg, and blueberry preserve ($24.50)

This was the dish that I had that time I was out with Marissa and her friend Karina. Duck is one of my favourite meats which is why I had no doubts when having to select another dish after not being able to have my way with what I wanted in the first place. I regret nothing. This dish was top notch for me, despite me having doubts about the liver parfait. It actually tasted good together with the blueberry preserve and the other elements to the dish. I could not fault this dish, and unlike most dishes, this definitely was a great value for money.

Devon on Danks: CRONUT
CRONUT
Green tea matcha cronut with red bean filling ($7.00)

This was by far the best cronut I’ve had to date (not that I’ve had many anyway), but the flavour combinations happening in this one tiny cronut was to die for. The amount of red bean filling in this cronut might I add was very generous! It just oozed out every time we sliced into it for a bite. Though I did feel that by the 5th or 6th bite, I could feel that the red bean filling was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Devon on Danks: SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
Pandan soft serve, banana, rice and coconut krispies, kalamansi cream, palm seeds, and gula melaka ($11.00)

What I love about Devon is the Asian fusion that they bring into their cuisine. This ice cream, though Asian inspired based on ingredients and flavours, is nothing that I have seen at all in Asia. Pansan, kalamansi, palm seeds, and gula melaka, are all flavours that I am familiar with, but never did I think that they’d all work so well together as an ice cream sundae! Loved the flavour combinations in this sundae, better than the salted caramel soft serve. I only wished that it had been a very hot day instead of a gloomy ‘Straya Day the time I shared this with Tara because the cloddish weather and really cold ice cream did not feel right!

Devon on Danks: DD's SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
DD’s SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
with salted caramel ice cream, black salt, and hot chips ($10.00)

Ever since the opening of Devon on Danks, I have seen this pop up on my Instagram feed one too many times! It brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and how I’d use to dip my order of fries into my soft serve ice cream on a cone from McDonalds. I think it was everyone’s childhood memories for everyone had written about how they did that when they were kids when talking about this sundae. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, there was too much salt going on for me. I was fine at first, but I struggled to finish the rest. Salted caramel ice cream, TOPPED with black salt, AND salted fries on the side. Salt overload!

I’d rate the food probably an 8 on a scale of 10, just cos of some minor issues I had with some of the dishes that were served. Service was on point and the waiters/waitresses were always smiling, friendly, and gave great recommendations when it came down to having to make a decision on what cronut we wanted to have for dessert. The ambiance was sort of like modern meets industrial which by the way is what I like most about cafés around Sydney who embrace this interior design style fusion. Value for money is variable – some dishes I feel were reasonably priced while others I felt that they were a bit overpriced for the amount of food that was on the plate. Then again this is my opinion, and I’m pretty sure others will have a different say to this. But overall, be it the original Devon Café or Devon on Danks, I will always pay a visit when I am in the mood for a pretty epic brunch date.

Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street
Waterloo, New South Wales
Australia, 2017

– Ally xx

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese

Hello Everyone! Knowing that Muffin Making Monday would fall on ‘Straya Day, I just knew I had to make these muffins. All I can say is that when I was out doing groceries over the weekend, I had so many doubts about this, and I could not even comprehend WHY I decided to do this. I even struggled to place the tiny jar of vegemite into my trolley of groceries. I just could not bring myself to, but in my head I kept saying, “just do it. Do it for ‘Straya Day” and I did (what am I doing to myself).

Besides lamb, vegemite is another ‘Australian thing’. Vegemite has appeared on my blog once before, but for those of you who don’t know, vegemite is like the Australian version of marmite, a popular spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets, crackers, and as well as a filling for various pastries. It is salty, slightly bitter, and apparently is similar to beef bouillon. You’ll either love it or hate it, and I did mention before that I am on the hateful side. The smell for me is a bit off-putting, and I know Vidhya hates it too, so I kept shoving the jar of vegemite up her nose whenever I had the chance to *cheeky grin*.

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese

I was too scared to bake a whole dozen muffins because I wasn’t too sure on how the taste would go down with me, so I only baked half a dozen, however, please note that the recipe below is for a full dozen – if you’re like me and don’t want to end up having to throw away the whole batch after eating one, then just half the measurements from the recipe below! Also, a little side note, I followed Sally’s master muffin mix recipe for these, and then added the vegemite and cheese. I only added about a tablespoon of vegemite as I was again afraid that the saltiness of it would overpower the taste of the muffin. But I can tell you that the batter smelled amazingly good!

But to be completely honest, these muffins did NOT taste as bad as I thought they would. It’s sort of like a taste that I cannot really describe. The only issue I had with them this morning was that because knowing that there was vegemite in them, I gagged a couple of times before even putting them in my mouth, so it kind of threw me off just a little bit. Nevertheless, the muffins were beautifully moist though, and I think that all the other ingredients mixed together with the vegemite sort of diluted its taste a bit. They weren’t at all overly salty like I thought they’d perhaps turn out to be. Having said that though, I would probably still never indulge in vegemite just as it is, like on toast or something as they have it here down under.

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | MAKES 6 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 handfuls of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp vegemite
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Add the baking powder and flour in a large bowl, gently whizzing together until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Then add in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until the mixture is pale and yellow in colour.
  4. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and lightly mix everything together until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. Then add in the cheese and vegemite, and continue to mix. Be careful as to not over mix the batter; it will result in tough, dense muffins. The batter will be extremely thick and somewhat lumpy.
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top.
  6. Bake at 220C degrees for 5 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 190C and continue to bake for a further 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Muffins taste best fresh the same day. Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months.

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese

Breakfast Muffins: Vegemite & Cheese

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA

Pastabella

Hello Everyone and hello to an all new Review Sunday! I’ve visited Pastabella twice now; the first time was for Marissa’s birthday dinner at the beginning of this month, and the second time was two nights ago when I caught up with my friend Rowena from back home. Both times did not disappoint; the food was absolutely amazing and the dining experience was taken to the next level with great company.

Pastabella is an Italian restaurant that is all about fresh house-made pasta and wood fired pizza. Now it may not have the best looking ambience in comparison to the other cafés and restaurants on the same street, but it had a homely feel to it. The inside space was like sitting down in your own dining room, while the outside space felt like your backyard or patio area.

There is this man, a cheerful guy he is, who I believe may quite possibly be the owner of Pastabella, greeted us with a smile, a cheeky joke and a laugh, which I thought was quite pleasant because it set the mood for us. I absolutely hate it when you’re greeted with snotty and unpleasant waiters/waitresses, but no, none at Pastabella! You could easily joke around with this man as well and he even returned the favour. When he served us, he asked “who ordered the spachatella?” I raised my hand and he placed the dish in front of me. He then asked “and who ordered the gamberi?” I mean, I was with one other person at that time so it was obviously Rowena’s dish. Nonetheless I responded by saying “I think someone inside ordered this” while I tried to point through the glass windows at a table inside. He the responded by saying “oh okay” and took about two steps away from our table, then quickly turned around, laughed, placed the dish in front of Rowena, and said “she’s a cheeky one isn’t she?” Golden. There were many other funny encounters but I’ll end up writing a whole paragraph or two more about that!

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): BOSCAIOLA
PRIMI (PASTA): BOSCAIOLA
House-made fettuccine pasta with mushroom, bacon, and shallots in a fresh creamy sauce ($18.00)

This dish was quite similar to their carbonara, minus the mushrooms of course and add the egg. I had a little taste of this from my friend’s plate and I quite enjoyed how the cream sauce was nice and relatively thin, but still very flavoursome.

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA
PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA
Famous Italian dish of house-made spaghetti pasta with bacon, shallots, egg, and cream ($18.00)

Carbonara is like a classic favourite of mine, but I always try to stray away from ordering it for two reasons mainly. The first is because I can make my own carbonara and secondly, for me I find that carbonara anywhere is the same. When this came to our table though, I have never seen anything like it! When I say that, I am actually referring to it’s presentation. I’ve had my fair share of carbonara’s and never have I seen it being served with a raw egg yolk sitting on a bed of pasta. It tasted amazing! The sauce was rich and absolutely divine, but I probably would struggle to eat a whole plate of it just because the richness and creaminess gets to you at a certain point.

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CHILLI CON GAMBERI
PRIMI (PASTA): CHILLI CON GAMBERI
House-made fettuccine pasta with tiger prawns, rocket, garlic, and olive oil, cooked in a white wine sauce with a dash of chilli ($22.00)

I had a little taste of this off Rowena’s plate – the tiger prawns were cooked to perfection. Plump, juicy, and soft; nothing of that rubbery texture that I’ve had at a fair share of other places. This dish here was perfection. The pasta was cooked well and I remember Rowena saying that she gets skeptical when dishes say ‘chilli’ but they don’t live up to that level of spice that she expects. This dish did not disappoint her tough! To quote her, “they used legit chillies”. I felt though that those who cannot take the heat will complain about the ‘dash’ of chilli – did not feel like dash! But I’m not complaining; I love the spicy kick!

Pastabella - PASTABELLA SPECIALS: RISOTTO MARINARA
PASTABELLA SPECIALS: RISOTTO MARINARA
Traditionally cooked risotto with mixed seafood in our traditional napolitana sauce garnished with fresh parsley ($26.00)

This for me tasted really good; the seafood was cooked to perfection and flavours were on point. But like other marinara dishes that I’ve had, I feel like they all taste the same.

Pastabella - PASTABELLA SPECIALS: SPACHATELLA, PISTACHIO E PANA
PASTABELLA SPECIALS: SPACHATELLA, PISTACHIO E PANA
A traditional Sicilian style pasta cooked with fresh cream, sprinkled with roasted pistachio nuts, and topped with pecorino cheese ($25.00)

I was intrigued by this one because never have I ever had a pasta-pistachio combination before. I love pistachios, and I know they have a very distinct taste to them as well. This pasta tasted so great! The pistachios really enhanced the flavour of the dish and was finished off nicely with pecorino on top. It was something that I’ve never tasted before, and I couldn’t even compare it to any other dish in terms of flavour.

In my opinion, the pizzas that we ordered were nothing really special that would make me want to go all the way back here for more. Don’t get me wrong, the pizzas were good, but it’s more like there are other pizza places that are nearer to where I live that are just as good.

Pastabella - PIZZA: ITALIANA
PIZZA: ITALIANA
Napolitana & mozzarella cheese base with eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and garlic ($23.00)

Pastabella - PIZZA: PASTABELLA
PIZZA: PASTABELLA
Signature Pastabella sauce, grilled chicken, mushrooms, and olives ($20.00)

Pastabella - DOLCI (DESSERTS): PIZZA ALLA BANANA
DOLCI (DESSERTS): PIZZA ALLA BANANA
Banana and custard pizza, drizzled with a delicious caramel sauce and lightly sprinkled with icing sugar ($14.00)

After a filling feast, we just had to have dessert, and we definitely made the right choice. Wood fired dessert pizza with a custard-base sauce, fresh bananas, and caramel sauce – what a combination! Though I love the taste of fresh bananas, I probably would’ve loved them to be fired in the pizza oven for a few minutes to caramelise. I bet that would be AMAZING.

Pastabella - DOLCI (DESSERTS): PASSIONE DI FRUTTI
DOLCI (DESSERTS): PASSIONE DI FRUTTI
Banana, passionfruit and custard pizza, sprinkled with icing sugar ($15.00)

I know, you’re probably thinking that this is exactly the same as above but with passionfruit instead of a caramel sauce. Well you are totally right! But this was supposed to be a dessert pizza with peaches and passionfruit instead of banana. To my dismay, they had run out of peaches that night, and they asked if banana was okay. Well, I couldn’t do anything about it, so I just agreed to it. Not disappointed on the taste though because it was just as good as the last time I had their pizza alla banana dessert!

I definitely recommend this place if you want to spend a quiet date night with friends or even your special someone. There’s just something about ambience that makes you feel right at home, and eating great traditional pasta and pizza with good company that makes Pastabella a great dining place.

So based on all that, I’d say that this place is a definite 9.5 for food (just a slight disappointment that they didn’t have peaches for the passione di frutti dessert pizza we ordered), ambience probably 8, and service an easy 10. Value? I’d probably give it an 8.5? The portions were decent for the price in my opinion!

Pastabella
89 Glebe Point Road,
Glebe, NSW
Australia, 2037

– Ally xx