Meat District Co. – Sydney

Meat District Co. – Sydney aims to re-awaken the senses & bring a new kind of dining to the streets of Sydney. Besides pushing their enticing menu over social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Meat District Co. Sydney launched a competition to encourage their guests to eat, relax, and win some vouchers. Besides designing a graphic for both Facebook and Instagram to promote their competition, the other deliverable was to design a simple table menu stand for their restaurant.

Meat District Co. - Sydney Context

Meat District Co. - Sydney Table Menus

Meat District Co. - Sydney #mdcburgerselfie

– Ally xx

SHUK North Bondi

Hello Everyone and welcome back to our final Review Sunday for the year! Your read that right, and if you were able to catch my review last Sunday, you would’ve already known that I am stopping Review Sundays for a while. I have pretty much covered all the restaurants and cafés that I have visited over the past few months when I was in Sydney, and I have not been café hopping since I got back to Brunei. Instead of reviews on Sundays, I will be posting some of my design work on the blog.

All that aside, let’s get down to the review! So I’ve been wanting to go to this place for a very long time now and have had many opportunities to visit, but was always shot down for various reasons. The first time I tried to come here was for a brunch outing with Jialing and Yvonne. Yvonne was feeling under the weather at that time and said that she didn’t want to travel so far for brunch. The second time I tried to go there was with Jialing and her boyfriend for lunch; shot down again because he didn’t want to go to a place that has anything to do and/or supports Israel – just some firm beliefs and political issues he has with the country. So for my farewell brunch, I didn’t let anyone tell me otherwise because this would be the very last opportunity I’d have to go to this place. So how I came to know about SHUK was purely by just discovering eating places that I have never been to before. I came across a lot of places, but SHUK really spoke out to me, especially their Isralei Breakfast.

So yes, as mentioned above, I invited a few of my very close friends to come out and have brunch under the beautiful winter sun. Amongst the people who came out to see me were Annie, Daniel, Edison, Greta, Kevin, and Sophia. I know, you’re probably asking, where’s Jialing and Yvonne? Something happened the night before where Jialing couldn’t make it to brunch that morning. Yvonne technically had no excuse, but still ended up waking up late and therefore did not make it to brunch. I did however see her for a bit after brunch.

“The place is unstoppable. It’s Israeli by heart, Mediterranean on paper, Bondi by postcode and very Australian in its multicultural scope.” — Ryan O’Kane in GoodFood.

This café, bakery, and deli draws inspiration from the Hebrew term SHUK, which means marketplace. SHUK is North Bondi’s own marketplace where the freshest produce and dishes offered promises a flavour of Israel mixed with modern favourites for locals and tourists alike. Their menu is directly influenced by Arabic, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines, and of course is inspired by Israeli dishes that the owners of SHUK grew up with, sharing with us what they’ve learnt from their families back home.

ALL DAY

SHUK: Green Shakshuka
GREEN SHAKSHUKA: Baked eggs, fennel, zucchini , kale, caramelised onion, feta, olives, and sourdough ($16.00) with extra chorizo (+$3.50)

If I ever have the chance to go back again, I would definitely order this dish. It looks like it would taste really good, I mean, of course it tasted good according to my friends who ordered it and didn’t share one bite (I forgive you Kevin). Edison was too far away from me to share, because I know he’d share 🙂 It is also a healthy vegetarian dish if you minus the chorizo add ons on the other dish!

SHUK: Hummus & Lamb
HUMMUS AND LAMB: House made hummus with 8-hour slow cooked lamb, served with pickles, olives, bread, and zhug ($18.00)

This dish that Sophia ordered looked amazing, and even the combination of hummus and slow cooked lamb was hard to resist. On their menu you could have hummus and mushroom as another option, and I remember when Sophia ordered this, she asked our waitress, “I really like lamb, but I also like mushrooms, so I was wondering if I can have the hummus and lamb with mushrooms as well?” The waitress said she’d ask but by the looks of the photograph, I don’t think she got her mushrooms. Anyway, I had a bit of her dish and it was delicious. The lamb was tender and juicy, and the hummus complimented it well. I can’t remember if it was from her dish, or Kevin’s, but I remembered eating the olives from someones dish because they didn’t like it.

BREAKFAST

SHUK: Israeli Breakfast
ISRAELI BREAKFAST: 2 eggs of your choice, Israeli salad, olives, labn’e, butter, house jam, avocado, and yoghurt with granola ($21.00)

This was the dish that I ordered. To be honest, even though it look spectacular in front of me, served in a massive pan with little bowls of everything, that was all it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad dish, it’s just that he flavours and everything were average and nothing really blew my socks off. Also, when I got the dish, I felt like something was missing; I had all these spreads but no bread to put it on, so I had to call a waiter and ask for some toast for my dish. I still liked this dish; I only wished it impressed me more.

SHUK: SHUK Porridge
SHUK PORRIDGE: Oats, puffed whole grains, banana, dulce de leche, and roasted nuts ($13.00)

Now I know Daniel to be quite health conscious, so it was no surprise that he’d go for this dish (well except for the fact that it has dulce de leche in it). Daniel was sitting across the table from me so it was hard to want to try a little bit of his dish. From where I was sitting though, he seemed to enjoy his porridge, but I think he was a little bit upset by the fact that he ordered some smoked salmon on the side. Why was he upset? The side was priced at $4.00, and he got a puny bowl of it.

SANDWICHES

SHUK: House Cured Salmon
HOUSE CURED SALMON: House cured salmon with sour cream & dill, pickled cucumber, and spinach on an Israeli roll ($13.00)

I’m surprised that even though Greta sat next to me, I didn’t get to try her roll at all, well only because it’s kind of hard to bite into someones sandwich I guess. I did ask her how her dish was and she said it was very good. She had actually been thinking of going to SHUK for some time as well and thanked me for choosing this place as it then gave her to opportunity to.

SPECIALS

SHUK: SHUK Special

I’m sorry but I completely forgot what this dish was – it was on their specials menu which meant that it wasn’t listed out on their regular menu. A little back story here, so one of my friends, Annie, who came late to the brunch, went inside the café and ordered this dish. When he dish came out, she told us that it was one of the specials that they had for that week. We never asked the waitress who served our table what the specials were, and frankly she didn’t think to mention it to us as well, so I guess it’s no one’s fault. Also, because of that, I didn’t know what dish she ordered, nor did I remember to ask her what dish she ordered. I think she mentioned it, but it’s been more than a month since I was at SHUK, so it has already slipped my mind. So I did have a bite of the burger, I believe it was beef, and one too many sweet potato fries *cheeky grin* The fries, to die for, and the burger patty was tender and juicy.

Overall, I’m actually quite impressed with the food served up at my farewell brunch. It was actually quite a packed Saturday morning when I got there, but I was able to snag a table within 5 minutes of arriving. I’m just glad that they didn’t kick me out of the table because I had to wait a good half hour for the next three people to arrive, and an hour for the rest to come. We basically had the table for an hour before we even started ordering… Oops! Besides that, they can accommodate quite a lot of people in their restaurant, both indoors and outdoors. The service was pretty good, the waiters and waitresses who served our table were quick with requests and food came out very quickly too I might add. I’d give ambience/environment and service a clear 8/10 for our experience that day. I must say that I was quite surprised that the food served was fairly priced, though I’m not sure if I’d pay $21.00 for the Israeli Breakfast, but other than that, the other dishes definitely looked like you got your money’s worth; 8/10. The food looked amazing and some impressed more than others; 8/10.

SHUK is open everyday for breakfast and lunch, and dinners on Friday and Saturday night until 10pm. If I ever find myself in Sydney again, I would definitely hit this place up again and try dishes from their lunch and dinner menu as they look very enticing. As to quote Greta on that day, “you should just keep coming back and leaving so that we’ll have endless farewells.” Thank you Greta! 🙂

SHUK North Bondi
2 Mitchell Street
North Bondi, New South Wales
Australia, 2026

– Ally xx

O Crab Sydney

“O Crab ain’t just another crab shack or seafood diner! The restaurant pays homage to the American seafood pub scene dishing out bags O Crabs with customers breaking out the mallets and getting messy all whilst enjoying a craft beer, or two or three…”

O Crab Sydney

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday on the blog! I actually had this review scheduled for last week, and when I realised that I was going to be covering seafood month, I thought I’d push this review to today as it sits with the theme for the month of September on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Wow, I just realised that that was a really long sentence! I think I was living with Marissa at the time she came across this restaurant while she was browsing through Instagram for a place for us to have our next girls brunch out. She came across O Crab and asked if I wanted to go; I had a look at the pictures on their Instagram and was already hooked on the idea of crabs in a bag, eating them with disposable aprons, gloves, and a mini Thor hammer. They definitely lived up to their statement of a truly unique dining experience.

It’s been a while since I came and visited O crab, I’m guessing it was somewhere in the middle of winter around late June or early July, so bear with me if I can’t remember what the dish tasted like. Trust me though, you’re going to want to pay them a visit when you get a load of the pictures. Also, before I forget to mention, when we were about to leave the place, the waiter asked us if we wanted to sample their Jolly Rancher Cocktails, which at the time, they weren’t serving on their menu just yet, but now I think they are. It was a Sunday after lunch kind of day and already we were doing vodka shots of Jolly Ranchers haha! We told the waiter to not give Marissa any shots since she was underaged (she wasn’t, but we just wanted to play with her a bit). It tasted really good and I’m glad that it’s on their menu now but sad that I won’t get another opportunity to have a proper drink of it!

O Crab Sydney
One more thing! If you check in on Facebook or upload an image on Instagram with the hashtag #ocrabitson and #ocrabsydney you get a free soft drink! How cool is that? Actually, another thing I remembered when I was just about to post this review, we also got complimentary nachos while waiting for our meals! #winning #sofood #muchfree

FEELIN’ PECKISH…

O Crab Sydney: O Crab Seafood Chowder
O Crab Seafood Chowder: Creamy taste of the sea – mussels, prawns, fish, and seasonal veg served in a freshly baked bread bowl ($12.00)

I love a good chowder, and what better way to warm up from such a cold morning it was that day we trekked to O Crab than a seafood chowder in a bread bowl! It was well seasoned, definitely creamy in texture, and nicely finished with a soggy bread bowl to nom on. Since it was a very long time ago since I had this dish, I can’t remember if there were pieces of fish in the soup or they were all just blended together, but I guess it would’ve been nice to have a few pieces of mussels, prawns, and fish in the there instead of just all soup.

CRABS AND PRAWNS “IN A BAG”

O Crab Sydney: Blue Swimmer Crabs in Original Old Bay
Blue Swimmer Crabs in Original Old Bay: American blend of herbs and spiced seasoning ($25.00 per crab)

I remember this dish very well and because the Original Old Bay sauce was to die for! I remember we were dipping everything we could find, the prawns, fries, and even the bread bowl from our chowder into this sauce because it was just that amazing. Besides the sauce, the crab was also cooked well and had a lot of meat in it (I cannot stress the number of times I’ve had crab that was all shell and no meat).

O Crab Sydney: Snow Crab Cluster in Cajun
Snow Crab Cluster in Cajun: Classic Louisiana style spiced seasoning ($29.00 per cluster)

The seasoning for this crab cluster wasn’t bad but it was my least favourite from the three sauces/seasonings that we picked. Nonetheless, the crab clusters were well cooked, and again packed a lot of meat into those legs so I couldn’t complain. Also, we dipped the crab meat in the Original Old Bay sauce anyway so it was pretty damn good!

O Crab Sydney: 300G Prawns in Garlic Butter
300G Prawns in Garlic Butter: Special blend with herbs ($18.00)

The prawns were pretty good as well, well cooked that they were melt in the mouth kind of good, and the sauce was garlicky, buttery (as you’d imagine garlic butter sauce to be anyway), and simply delicious. There’s really nothing more that I can say about these prawns really; I have no issues with it.

BURGERS & FRIES

O Crab Sydney: O Crabby Patty Burger
O Crabby Patty Burger: O Crab signature spiced crab patty with lettuce, grilled pineapple, and chilli mayo served with original fries ($19.00)

I only had a small bite of the burger only because this was actually Jialing’s dish. She wasn’t too fond of crabs even though she tried very hard to want to like it. So instead, she ordered a burger for herself. I can’t remember what the burger tasted like but I do hope for your sake that the patty is cooked through but still juicy on the inside. That would be perfect. Oh, you can also substitute original fries for sweet potato fries for an extra $2.50 – I don’t know why we didn’t get the sweet potato fries!

O Crab Sydney

I really enjoyed our dining experience at O Crab; I wish I had gone back a second time for some Jolly Rancher Cocktails and more crabs of course! Also, I could not have chosen better people to dine with that day. The food was superb and I really could not fault the dishes that we had; so I’d say the food for me is a sure 9/10. When we got there, the restaurant was in fact empty, which I thought was kind of weird for a weekend and during lunch, but anyway, it meant for a quicker service for us. I guess it was good also in a way that we were then able to sample their Jolly Rancher Cocktail since we were the only ones there. Though it was quiet because we were the only ones there (what am I saying, we were a very noisy table on our own!), the ambience was quite nice and in theme with the whole crab shack/seafood diner vibe of wooden crates and ropes that decorated the restaurant; 8/10. If you’ve got the money to spend on high quality mud crabs then go for it! Mud crabs are based on market price and when we saw their Instagram post from a few weeks ago, a 1.4kg (or something of that weight) mud crabs was going to cost you a whopping $95!!! Other than that, the blue swimmer crab and snow crab cluster are quite affordable; 7/10. I do highly recommend this place if you want some good quality seafood at an American themed crab shack and a beer to go with that.

O Crab Sydney: Aftermath

O Crab Sydney
Suite 2/9 Railway Street
Chatswood, New South Wales
Australia, 2067

– 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

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

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Roasted bone marrow

Meat District Co. – Sydney

Hello Everyone! And a happy first day of Autumn to all my dear Aussie friends. Welcome back to an all new Review Sunday. Today, I have a selection of cocktails, entrées, mains, and a dessert to share with you from Meat District Co. Sydney. If I am not mistaken, Meat District Co. started in the United States? And branched out to Sydney in late 2014. How I came to know about this place was through my internship – Meat District Co. Sydney is a client of Hello Social and I worked on a few graphics for them, one of which included their #mdcburgerselfie competition that ran earlier on this year.

The first time I came here my boss Max treated lunch for everyone in the office. I had the lamb loin then. The second time I came here, I came with a bunch of close friends for my farewell dinner. We went on a Friday night and even Darling Harbour had fireworks on later that evening. Normally fireworks only happen every Saturday, so Edison cheekily said that he had arranged for fireworks that night for my farewell (obviously he didn’t). Nevertheless, the fireworks were a great touch to a wonderful evening sharing food and exchanging laughters with close friends.

Inspired by the paddock to the plate, Meat District Co. aims to bring a NEW kind of dining to Sydney. Meat District Co. works in partnership with some of Australia’s most sustainable producers delivering an experience & dishes that tick all the boxes when it comes to quality & taste, leaving you wanting more each & every time: an ADDICTION waiting to be savoured. We remember a time when beef came from a farm & not a factory – when ‘100% beef’ was actually from a cow. Meat District Co. has decided it is time to bring the farm to your doorstep.

ASSORTED HOUSE COCKTAILS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - ASSORTED HOUSE COCKTAILS

CUCUMBER MULE: Traditional Moscow Mule with Smirnoff Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer & cucumber slices; served tall over ice ($10.00)

MANGO TANGO: A sweet & fruity mix of Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka & Mohala Mango Liqueur, cloudy apple juice & mango purée ($10.00)

PIMMS ‘N’ PONY: Fortified ‘any occasion’ classic; Pimm’s No. 1, tuned with Gordon’s Gin, served tall with lemonade, strawberries & mint ($10.00)

HAVAIANA: Pleasant flavour of the tropics; a blend of Malibu, Midori, banana liqueur, pineapple juice & coconut cream ($10.00)

FRUIT NINJA COMBO: Sweet with subtle fruity hints of mixed Passoa & Malibu strengthened up with Smirnoff Vodka, finished with pineapple juice, passionfruit & dash of raspberry cordial; served tall & garnished with fresh fruits ($10.00)

I only had sips of the other cocktail drinks that my friends ordered, but from what they all had to say, their drinks were all refreshingly tasty. The alcohol flavour did not dominate which I quite like. I had the Fruit Ninja Combo cocktail, and obviously I’m going to be biased, but it was probably the best cocktail drink from the others that we ordered that night. It was absolutely yum. Tough I couldn’t really taste much of the other fruits that were incorporated into the drink, the passionfruit taste really stood out from the rest.

Like most reviews I do, I mentioned that I could not comment on some (most) of the dishes because I wasn’t able to have a bite of it. But overall, my friends were really impressed by the flavours of the dishes that they ordered, which were mainly the burgers and the fries. They also commented that the prices were well worth money.

STARTERS & SIDES

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Fries with rosemary & thyme salt
Fries with rosemary & thyme salt ($5.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Truffle fries, truffle salt, truffle parmesan & truffle aioli
Truffle fries, truffle salt, truffle parmesan & truffle aioli ($7.50)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Crispy battered onion rings with truffle aioli
Crispy battered onion rings with truffle aioli ($7.50)

Quite possibly the BEST onion rings I’ve ever tasted ANYWHERE in the world. Nothing can top this. The crispy, light batter that wrapped around a generous thick slice of onion was simply to die for! And that truffle aioli! I really wished I hadn’t shared this dish with others.

Meat District Co. - Sydney - Roasted bone marrow
Roasted bone marrow with garlic, parsley, mustard seeds, chilli, served with bread ($8.50)

Unfortunately this dish was more bone than marrow. A little disappointing to find half a slice of bone with little marrow on it. I felt that there were more mustard seeds than the marrow itself, and I’m not a fan of mustard myself! Would’ve been a great dish if the marrow spoke for itself because that’s how I like it.

Meat District Co. - Sydney -  Grilled watermelon salad
Compressed, grilled watermelon salad, sumac, goat cheese, and hazelnut ($8.50)

BURGERS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - OLD FAITHFUL BURGER
OLD FAITHFUL BURGER: MDC beef patty with mixed greens, tomato, caramelised onions, pickles & house sauce ($12.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - TRUFFLE BURGER
TRUFFLE BURGER: MDC beef patty with truffle parmesan, rocket, roasted peppers, tomato & truffle aioli ($14.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - CHICKEN BURGER
CHICKEN BURGER: Crumbed chicken breast with sesame seeds, almond flakes, tomato, coleslaw & horseradish mayo ($14.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SPIDER CRAB BURGER
SPIDER CRAB BURGER: Battered soft shell crab, coleslaw & lemon caper aioli ($16.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLIDERS FLIGHT
SLIDERS FLIGHT: 3 mini burgers, an Old Faithful, Crumbed Chicken & Lamb Pull ($15.00)

THE DOGS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - CLASSIC DOG
CLASSIC DOG: Pure beef hot dog with caramelised onions, mustard, pickles & ketchup on a baked roll ($11.00)

THE PULLS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLOW ROASTED PORK
SLOW ROASTED PORK: Spiced & roasted pork shoulder, coleslaw & apple jam on a bun ($12.00)

Meat District Co. - Sydney - SLOW ROASTED LAMB
SLOW ROASTED LAMB: Spiced & roasted lamb shoulder, cucumber, rocket, BBQ mint dressing on a bun ($13.00)

FROM THE GRILL

Served with your choice of chips or salad

Meat District Co. - Sydney - 220G LAMB LOIN
220G LAMB LOIN: Sous vide lamb loin with an olive & pistachio crust, truffle mash, and lamb jus ($33.00)

This was overall an okay dish to be honest. I know a lot of people have certain preferences of how they like their mash; I like mine smooth, creamy, and rich, which unfortunately was not what I got on my plate. I got chunky mashed potatoes, which I don’t mind, but would’ve preferred it the way I like my mash to be. The lamb loin looked a bit small on the plate, but nonetheless was quite flavourful. Was it worth the $33.00? Probably not.

RIBS & COMBOS

Served in two sizes with your choice of fries or a side salad

Meat District Co. - Sydney - HALF PORK RIBS
HALF PORK RIBS with a side of rosemary & thyme salt fries ($31.00)

This was my highlight of the night for this main dish was the absolute bomb dot com. Way much better than the ribs you find at Hurricane’s Grill in my opinion. Tender pork ribs with a lovely barbecue flavour. I only wished they had given a truffle aioli dip for the fries on the side because the dip that I got seemed like it was barbecue sauce if I’m not mistaken? Yes that’s right, only real women order fries with their ribs… I mean, a salad? Really? Anyway, barbecue on barbecue was a bit much to handle. Nevertheless, this dish is seriously melt in the mouth, and the TRUE definition of finger licking good. I mean honestly, who eats ribs with a knife and fork? Not me that’s for sure!

DESSERTS

Meat District Co. - Sydney - COOKIE & CREAM CHEESECAKE
COOKIE & CREAM CHEESECAKE: with white chocolate ganache, chocolate soil, and white chocolate gelato ($12.00)

This wasn’t my first choice at dessert actually for I had my eyes (or more like my friend Simon who wanted to share dessert with me) on the Caramel Tart, but they had unfortunately just run out of it when we placed our order – so it was either the cheesecake or gelato. It didn’t disappoint though for it was a nice, light, and airy dessert, which was perfect to top off the half rack of ribs I had that night. My gelato on the side unfortunately melted quite quickly, but MDC aren’t to blame here for I got caught up saying goodbye to a few friends who were ready to go home that night. Overall, I lovely dessert to end the night on.

Overall, the food is about a 7 to 7.5 out of 10 for me. There are a few dishes that I had minor issues with, and some that were top notch for me. Then again, I haven’t had the range of dishes that they have to offer so I can’t give an honest score. Service was good, and the ambience, I’m not too sure because both times I dined outdoors and haven’t had the chance to see the indoor seating area yet. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $33.00 for a small piece of lamb loin, but the ribs was definitely worth it. For a total of 14 people that night at my farewell, the total bill came to almost $450.00!!!

Meat District Co. – Sydney
R3/11 Lime Street
Sydney, New South Wales
Australia, 2000

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS

The Potting Shed at the Grounds

Hello Everyone! It’s Sunday which means another review on the blog tonight for you! Today’s post is one of my favourite cafés to date. I’ve been here a total of 3 times now and this place always finds a way to impress me. That’s right, I am talking about The Potting Shed at the Grounds of Alexandria! The ambiance, the feels, the food, the service, and of course the ever so friendly, drop-dead gorgeous waiters there – spot on. I came to know about this place through Instagram photos from friends and various food bloggers that I follow.

My first trip here was when my high school friend Andrew came to visit, which was somewhere in mid-August. We, and three of my other friends went along for a lovely Sunday brunch. I remember that day clearly – it started off wet and gloomy, but ain’t no rain gonna stop me from getting FOOD, especially from the Potting Shed. By the time we finished catching up over food (which was a very long time indeed – basically the table next to us seated 3 different customers before we got up and left), the sun came out and it ended being such a beautiful day. My second trip here was for dinner; a complete different feel to the ambiance as it was dark, but food was the same – spot on delicious. The third time, we were a group of about 12 people, gathered together to celebrate my 23rd birthday over a delicious brunch. And finally, I popped by the Grounds for their Christmas markets. I got a photo with Santa and instead had food from the Garden Café – it was a festive day and again the food didn’t disappoint.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds

The Grounds of Alexandria is located in an old pie factory from the early 1900s. The exterior and interior design maintains the integrity of the former warehouse, embracing its rustic and industrial aesthetic. Besides the cafés, the site opens onto a luscious garden of heirloom vegetables and fragrant herbs, in which the kitchen uses sustainable practices. This includes picking fresh herbs every morning and working with full time horticulturalist to grow seasonal produce for the menu; offering a wholesome and rustic menu. The site is also home to  a coffee research and testing facility as it is known to be the flagship venue for its specialty coffee. If you want to know more about their sustainable practices and research facility, head on over to their website at GroudRoasters.

The Potting Shed is one of the eateries that can be found at the Grounds. It is located towards the back of the site, if you’re entering from Huntley street, right next to the florist. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by one of the locals at the café Fluffy the Blue and Gold Macaw. The café is surrounded by lush greenery and really defines its name throughout – from how they presented their menu right down to the cutlery used; terracotta pots everywhere! This is also one of the reasons why I love this place so much.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: PUMPKIN FATTEH
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: PUMPKIN FATTEH
Roasted pumpkin, za’atar, pine nuts, labne, black sesame seeds and flatbread ($16.00)

This roast pumpkin fatteh was melt-in-the-mouth perfection; a wholesome burst of Middle Eastern flavours that is sure to tingle your tastebuds. If you’re looking for a great entrée, this is definitely one to try and share with friends. The pumpkin was so tender that you could easily spread it onto your flatbread. Top it off with a bit of labne, pine nuts, za’atar, and chives and you’ve got every element of this dish in one bite. My only criticism for this is that the flatbread-pumpkin ratio isn’t quite balanced – would love more flatbread to wipe up the rest of the labne and pumpkin!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: KUROBUTA PORK BELLY SLIDERS
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: KUROBUTA PORK BELLY SLIDERS
with kimchi and rye-eye mayo on a charcoal brioche ($16.00)

Taking a shift in culture, these pork sliders are a fusion of French (brioche), Japanese (kurobuta), and Korean (kimchi) cuisines. I am not a complete fan of kimchi, but these flavour combinations worked to my liking. The pork belly sandwiched between the charcoal brioche buns were flavourful and melt-in-thee-mouth tender. The pork crackling on the side of each slider? Crispy. They are offered as a set of three per order on their menu, but you can always ask your friendly waiter/waitress to add an extra or two at additional costs.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: MINI DOGS
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: MINI DOGS
Shed-made Kurobuta pork & fennel sausages with caraway seed, cabbage and apple slaw, plus white onion, dill and mustard ($16.00)

This was probably one of the most enjoyable entrées on their menu as it was served as a sort of DIY plate. It was quite entreating in a way because not realising that they had already cut a slit into the buns, Jialing further made a horizontal cut along the sides of the buns. When she cut through halfway and the top fell right off, she realised that incisions had already been made. But other than that little mishap, the dogs tasted amazing. Like the pork sliders, you can ask for an additional serving or two at additional costs.

You’d imagine having these 3 hefty entrées would already be ever so filling for 5 people, but no, we were just getting ready and pumped up for our mains!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: BATTERED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
SHED MAINS: BATTERED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
served up with hand-cut potato chunks and rosemary salt, lemon, watercress, radish and tartare ($23.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: GRILLED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
SHED MAINS: GRILLED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
served up with hand-cut potato chunks and rosemary salt, lemon, watercress, radish and tartare ($23.00)

You have a choice of battered, crumbed, or grilled for their market-fresh fish of the day. As you can see, we went for the classic battered and grilled. The fish was cooked to perfection and again just melt-in-the-mouth, especially the grilled fish. It’s like a fancy take on fish and chips, but instead of the chips, you have baked potato chunks seasoned with rosemary salt. The salad on the side added an extra texture to the palette and a burst of freshness to the tastebuds.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: SLOW COOKED GRAIN-FED ANGUS SHORT RIB
SHED MAINS: SLOW COOKED GRAIN-FED ANGUS SHORT RIB
with sweet & sour glaze, spiced eggplant ($23.00)

This was amongst the best mains that I’ve had from the Potting Shed. Beef and eggplant are a match made in heaven, both absolutely tender and packed with flavour. We were unsure though whether it was actually beef ribs as according to Jialing, they didn’t taste like ribs. For me, they didn’t look like the classic ribs for they weren’t served on the bone, but nonetheless, delicious!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHARCOAL-GRILLED HOLMBRAE 1/2 CHICKEN
SHED MAINS: CHARCOAL-GRILLED HOLMBRAE 1/2 CHICKEN
amongst fenugreek, coriander, walnuts, pomegranate, cucumber, radish and grains ($28.00)

This charcoal-grilled chicken was another favourite amongst us. I actually can’t remember if the skin was crispy, but that golden tan on it though! Tender, juicy chicken on a bed of yummy grains. The broth (sauce?) that came on the side to bathe your chicken in was also very flavoursome, and the fresh greens on the side balanced the dish as a whole.

The next two mains I unfortunately cannot comment on because I did not get to have a bite of! This was during my birthday and everyone basically had their own mains. I am assuming that they all taste very good anyway as my friends ate every single thing on their plate and left nothing behind.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: DAVID BLACKMORE FULL-BLOODED WAGYU CHEESEBURGER
SHED MAINS: DAVID BLACKMORE FULL-BLOODED WAGYU CHEESEBURGER
with shed-made dill pickles, mustard seed onions, tomato chilli jam and lettuce, all on a poppyseed bun with chips ($21.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: LAMB SHANK POT PIE
SHED MAINS: LAMB SHANK POT PIE
with piped buttered mash and green leaf salad ($24.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: BBQ CHILLI & GARLIC QLD JUMBO PRAWNS
SHED MAINS: BBQ CHILLI & GARLIC QLD JUMBO PRAWNS
(6) covered in burnt lemon dressing, served whole ($32.00)

I actually got to try one of these plump jumbo prawns – they were cooked to perfection and packed with flavour. I actually have a funny story to tell about these. But first, flashback to entrées. So amongst the friends who came to my birthday brunch was Daniel. When digging into our pumpkin entrée, we realised that he was putting the pumpkin skins to the side. We told him that you could in fact eat them. Then came along this main of his – I didn’t actually notice it at first, but towards the end of his meal I realised how clean his plate looked. He had eaten the shells of the prawns. After that we all made fun of how when he could actually eat the skins, he’d put them aside; and when he’s not meant to eat the skin (shells), he ate them anyway!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS
SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS
(6) infused with oregano, mint and grilled lemon, with beetroot, potato & feta salad ($34.00)

When i visited the Potting Shed for the second time for dinner, my eyes were all over this dish as I was deciding on what I wanted to have. I went for something else though only because I thought it was a bit expensive for a casual weekend dinner. We settled the bill and just before I walked out of the café, a waited walked by carrying two plates of these babies and I had an instant food regret. They looked so good even though it was relatively dark and I could barely see a thing. I knew then that this was definitely a dish that I needed to order for the next visit despite how expensive it was. And voilà! I went all out and ordered it for my birthday and definitely no regrets. My only criticism? It was probably a little bit too pink on the inside for me, but otherwise, flavour combination was on point!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BAKED APPLE PIE (for 2 people)
DESSERTS: BAKED APPLE PIE (for 2 people)
amongst home style vanilla custard ($16.00)

I actually cannot remember what my mouth felt like after having this dessert which means that it probably wasn’t as memorable as the last dessert you’ll see in this post. Nonetheless, it was a great tasting apple pie. I really liked how they served the vanilla custard in an old-school milk bottle, it made us fight over who wanted to pour it onto the pie!

Again, I was not able to have a bite of the next two desserts, so I won’t be able to comment on them. But judging by the orgasmic sounds that my friends made while consuming the dessert, I’m guessing they were pretty top notch as well!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BANANA TART TATIN
DESSERTS: BANANA TART TATIN
alongside coconut ice cream and hazelnut praline ($14.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BANANA BANOFFEE PIE
DESSERTS: BANANA BANOFFEE PIE
short crust pastry with caramel topping, flavoured cream, grilled banana and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: SELF SAUCING CHOCOLATE PUDDING
DESSERTS: SELF SAUCING CHOCOLATE PUDDING
with vanilla bean or salted caramel ice cream ($14.00)

Ever heard of the saying that there’s always room for dessert? THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ROOM FOR THIS DESSERT HANDS DOWN! You can obviously tell that this is probably the most mouthgasmic dessert I’ve had EVER! The first time I had this dessert I unfortunately had to share with 4 other people – it was definitely not enough! I had about 2 mouthfuls and that was it! Much rage. But for my birthday, I ordered one just for myself! This warm and chocolate-rich pudding is to die for, and the salted caramel ice cream on the side was the perfect match. I mean, if this photograph of the dessert doesn’t entice you into making that wise decision to order it, then I have no words for your insane mind.

What I have shown in this post is just a number of dishes that you can find at one of the cafés at the Ground of Alexandria. The site is filled with various food stalls and I definitely recommend spending a sunny weekend at the Grounds with friends for some delectable eats. Explore the gardens, the markets, and of course say hi to the various farm animals!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds
Building 7A
No. 2 Huntley Street
Alexandria, New South Wales
Australia, 2015

– Ally xx

Rustic Pearl

Rustic Pearl

Hello Everyone! Here is another brunch turned late lunch review of this lovely café in Surry Hills that my housemate/friend recommended for a Sunday Brunch treat before the beginning of Semester 2 (last semester for me, but many more semesters for her). We’ve also been planning this brunch outing for a while now as our friend Daniel was on a month-long, or even more, holiday and we wanted to have our first brunch-turned-late-lunch get together. I also invited along my new housemate Lydia for our delicious eats.

I keep saying brunch-turned-late-lunch, and for those of you who have read my previous post, I am very particular about the timing when it comes to ‘brunch’ and ‘lunch’. Well hats off to Marissa for wanted to get to Rustic Pearl at 10am, at least she understood the concept of time when it comes to brunch, but what happened was that we ended up leaving a little bit later than planned. We only left home at about 10:45AM and probably reached the place at around 11:15AM. At least it wasn’t quite lunch yet, but nearly pushing it. The place was hectic though, we had to wait in line for a table and I was told by one of the waiters that it would be about a 45-minute to an hour wait. I was just like OH MY GOD, but we waited anyway.

They were pretty spot on with the predicted waiting time as I didn’t get a call for a free table until about an hour later. By the time we sat down and ordered it was probably already quarter to one, and food probably came out about another 15-20 minutes later. Man I was starving because as usual I skipped out on breakfast thinking that I would be having brunch. I think from the past two ‘brunch’ outings I have learnt my lesson – that I will NEVER be able to actually have brunch at the time I perceive it to be at, and that I should ALWAYS have breakfast before going out for a brunch-turned-late-lunch outing.

But enough babble, I shall get onto what I loved about Rustic Pearl. Now, I’m not one to order drinks at cafés just because it usually fills me up a bit even before the food arrives. But Marissa told me that they have some pretty awesome smoothies, and other drinks of course on their menu – and she was right! It was to die for! I had something called a Chocomolé which was basically Avocado and Chocolate, something I’ve never had before, combined that is, and I was just blown away by how amazing it tasted. The other smoothies were delicious as well (yes, we all doubled dipped and shared a sip from each drink that we ordered amongst the four of us).

Rustic Pearl - Avocado SmoothieAvocado Smoothie topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Banana Cinnamon SmoothieBanana Cinnamon Smoothie ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Chocomolé SmoothieChocomolé Smoothie with avocado, cocoa & honey, topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - 'Yum Yeshil' (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice‘Yum Yeshil’ (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice with spirulina, topped with seeds, goji berries & bee pollen ($7.00)

Daniel wasn’t too fond of this drink. I only had a little sip so I couldn’t really judge the taste of it based on that. But this was the only smoothie that was dairy-free which is why he ordered it.

Now onto the food, we of course decided to order something different so that we could all each have at least one bite from everyones plate. The food was amazing! I could not fault the dishes at all, and neither could my friends.

Rustic Pearl - Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette
Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast ($17.00)

Marissa’s dish; she absolutely loved about the omelette was silky smooth and juicy. She is not a big fan of cherry tomatoes, but with this dish in particular, she almost forgot that she ate them! It was that good. She said that it looked a little bit small on the plate (in comparison to our dishes) but it was filling enough for her.

Rustic Pearl - Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish)
Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish) with spinach, tomato concasse, capers, avocado, cucumber & witlof, dressed with apple vinaigrette ($19.50)

Daniel’s dish; he absolutely loved how his fish was cooked to perfection. Yummy and juicy. He also loved his greens so this was the perfect, healthy dish for him.

Rustic Pearl - LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger
LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant purée, fresh tomato, cos lettuce & yoghurt dressing ($18.00)

Lydia’s dish; another stellar dish that did not upset. The meat patty was cooked to perfection – moist and juicy.

Rustic Pearl - BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict
BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict, char grilled bay lobster flesh, crushed avocado & 2 poached organic eggs, topped with homemade hollandaise, fresh chives, coriander & chilli ($24.00)

In my opinion, the best dish of the 4 (just because it was mine and I got to eat most of it) no but seriously, this dish was just so delicious. Runny egg yolk with char grilled lobster, who would’ve thought? Another stellar dish to my list of mind-blowing eggs benny (my top one is still Devon’s Eggs Blini – I will do a review on them when I have the chance to go back with more friends that that I have an array of dishes to show and write about and not just the one).

Now this is one worth mentioning (but hopefully no one from the café will see this, just incase it was a mistake and they will get in trouble with this), however I assume that it was intentional and I will state why… So, when the bill came, it was folded in half, had the total amount written on the back of the order sheet, and had a ‘Thank You!’ note written just below it. Now of course because we all knew that we needed to split the bill according to what we ordered, I opened the bill to see that we were undercharged in two of the dishes. Each dish, except Daniel’s was $17. Which meant that Lydia’s Lamb Burger was undercharged by $1 and my lobster Eggs Benny was undercharged by $7… Now being a nice and honest person, I was actually going to ask them if they had made a mistake on the bill, because I find being undercharged $7 is quite significant.

But instead I didn’t – not because I wanted to cheat but because I analysed they way the bill was given to us. It was folded in half, the total was written on the back of the order sheet, and I’m pretty sure that if they had totalled it, they would’ve spotted the mistake on the bill. Also, the two dishes that were undercharged came from their regular menu so I’m pretty sure they have been serving the dishes for a while and they would’ve remembered how much it costed. So I just wondered… Why? I probably should’ve asked why we were undercharged so that I at least knew why… A part of me also thought that it might be because we waited just a little bit over an hour for a table? Just maybe.

Nonetheless, it was a great day of warmth and sunshine (off for it is the middle of ‘winter’ here down under), laughs shared between old and new friends accompanied by delicious drinks and lip-smacking food. A must visit café for those in the Sydney region!

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx