Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Summer is here, and you're after a long lunch with a beautiful view. This is the perfect place for you - MCA Cafe in the Museum of Contemporary Arts. We arrived in time for lunch and got seated outside, and the first thing I noted was that there were sweet delights up at the counter that weren't on the menu - so if you've got a sweet tooth like me, don't be deceived!

We ordered the pulled pork sandwich (above), and ordered another but asked for it in salad form (below). The salad actually looks a lot more delicious than the sandwich too (and was much easier to eat!)

The staff were very accommodating, especially since the salad wasn't an option on the menu, but they happily made it for us anyway. 

Meal: Lunch
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Perfect for: A long lunch after a grand tour of the museum
Hot tip: Get a table outside if it's a nice day - but beware if it's windy!

Price range: $$ Not bad
My rating: 8.5/10

Address: Level 4, Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street, The Rocks
Near: MCA - check it out while you're there
Hours: Fri-Wed 10am-5pm, Thu 10am-9pm

WEBSITE | MCA Cafe & Sculpture Terrace on Urbanspoon 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Kingsleys ranks pretty high on my list of perfect Saturday lunches, especially if the sun is shining and the wine is flowing. We spent the morning playing squash in Surry Hills, and after all that exercise, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal here. 

We ordered the Garlic Butter Prawns and the Burrata Mozzarella Salad, both of which I would recommend and order again myself. 
The Burrata Mozzarella Salad was very different to any Burrata I've had before - the cream inside the buffalo mozzarella was a lot thicker and congealed than others I've had which are usually quite liquid. The flatbread had a smokey taste to it, and it was perfect combined with the tomatoes, basil and olives. 

We ordered the Oven Roasted Tasmanian Salmon, and New York Striploin for the main, with a side of zucchini, peas, mint, persian fetta salad, and the kipflers, spinach and chorizo. 
The striploin was very flavoursome and I really enjoyed it even though I'm not usually a steak person, but I found the salmon a little bland. Highly recommend getting any of the steaks since it is a steakhouse after all, right? 

Meal: Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: Modern Australian / Steakhouse

Perfect for: Lazy Saturday lunch in the sun, definitely with a glass of white
Must try: Burrata Mozzarella Salad
Hot tip: If you're going during the day, book a table outside so you can enjoy the sunshine!

Price range: $$$ Exxy
My rating: 9/10

Address: 10/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo
Near: The Tilbury Hotel - meet friends for a few drinks before or after dinner (or lunch if you're feeling parched)
Hours: Mon-Sat 12-10pm, Sun Closed

WEBSITE | MENU | Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse on Urbanspoon 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


If you work in the CBD, you’ll have probably seen the Rabbit Hole on Elizabeth Street. With one of two spherification kits in Australia, the Rabbit Hole is really worth a visit – for a cheeky drink or a nice three course dinner. We chose both.

On the Friday night, you will walk down the spiral stairs and be greeted with live music. The right hand end of the restaurant/bar is the bar and the left hand end is the small cosy restaurant with no more than 12 small tables. As you’re taken through the restaurant, it’s hard to forget where you are because the place is all decked out in cartoons of Mr. Rabbit himself.

We order a couple of cocktails right away; Tea Smoked Apple, and New + Old School sparking cocktail (the one with the spherified Cointreau jellies). Round two quickly follows and we order the Star of Anise,  and the Rabbit's Elixir (carrot cocktail!).
My favourite was the tea smoked apple – smelt peaty like a good scotch, but it tasted like sweet apple. The New+Old was fun; you drink most of the champagne concoction at the start and you’re left with the jellies at the end which pop in your mouth. The carrot taste in the Rabbit's Elixir definitely came through along with the vodka, and I enjoyed it more than I thought. I don’t like the taste of Sambuca at all due to a bad experience with that involved flaming shots last year, so I didn't enjoy the aniseed cocktail, but if you’re a liquorice fan, you would probably love this.

For the entrees, we ordered 1) Seared scallops, celeriac two ways and buckwheat, and 2) Black pudding, caramelised apple tart tatin and crumble. All the dishes come out beautifully plated and you wouldn’t hesitate to give the chef a gold star for presentation. The scallop were nice, but nothing special, but the black pudding was delicious and would be a great bet if you’re usually a black pudding fan.

For the mains, we ordered the roasted 1) Kurobuta pork loin & bean family; lemon puree, sugar snaps, peas & beans, and 2) Sous vide chicken breast, roast thigh, potato three ways & passionfruit. The pork loin was one of the most tender pork dishes I’ve ever tried in my life, and if you hadn’t told me that it was pork, I probably would’ve struggled to guess exactly what sort of meat it was.
I haven’t tried sous vide chicken before – only sous vide duck – so I thought I’d give this one a go. Sous vide means placing the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooking it in a water bath of 60 degrees for longer than normal cooking times, so that the meat is incredibly tender but doesn’t lose any of its juices and flavour. And the chicken was very tender too – maybe tenderness is a theme here? – and the tender texture of the meat was well contrasted with the crispy breadcrumbs coating the meat. The three-ways potato was also very innovative – the first was the paper-thin potato chip coated in perhaps a thin layer of glucose and then fried (it literally melts in your mouth); the second was the tiny sautéed potato cubes; the third was the potato mash lining the plate. I thought both the mains were extremely innovative and I was thoroughly impressed. The only thing I would change about the mains would be to make it a little bit more flavoursome, as I felt both the pork and the chicken were a little bit bland.

For the dessert, we ordered the Dark Fondant chocolate, white chocolate ice & passion fruit meringue as well as the Melon, crisp pancetta, cognac ice cream & botrytis gelee.  I noted that the chef likes combining sweet with savoury, so I felt compelled to try the melon balls with pancetta, especially since it's so similar to the Italian entree prosciutto e melon.  
The chocolate was very rich but delicious with the vanilla gelato, and we felt that it was even better with the cognac gelato. I loved the cognac gelato in the melon dessert, but I didn’t like the combination of the pancetta and melon because I felt that the pancetta was too thick and fatty, and it overpowered the subtle flavour melon balls. I personally prefer it done the traditional Italian way with thinner slices of prosciutto.

The entire bill came to under $180 for four cocktails, entrees, mains and desserts, which I felt was very reasonable. The sous vide chicken was only $26, and you would struggle to find that sort of price for a main like that anywhere else.
We thought that the service was great and our waiter was very attentive and made a couple of great suggestions. My biggest praise is that the menu is very innovative – and you don’t often see that sort of boldness around in the restaurant scene, and I personally think that that’s what differentiates a good meal from a great meal.

Meal: Lunch / Dinner / Bar food / Drinks
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Perfect for: A drink with friends on a Friday night with live music
Also for: Dinner or lunch with your favourite foodie friend
Hot tip: If you’re having dinner, book! I imagine it will be much harder to get a table in the coming months as the restaurant gains traction.
Must try: Old + New cocktail

Price range: $$$ Exxy
My rating: 8.5/10

Address: 81 Elizabeth Street, CBD

WEBSITE | MENURabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 3, 2012


If you walked past this wee café on Cleveland Street, you’d probably miss it because it is so well disguised as a garden store. In the front where it opens to the passerbys of Cleveland Street , you’ll find pot plants and garden gnomes in a serene store packed with foliage, but in the back, there is a sweet little café that serves cooked breakfast and lunch. There are tables inside as well as outside in the garden courtyard – perfect for a Saturday morning brunch if you’re in the mood for somewhere quiet and serene.

I live about a block away from Twig Café, and although it has been on my list of cafes to have brunch at, it really hasn’t been that high, just because I take it for granted that it is less than a 2 minute walk away. But on Saturday, we were after somewhere convenient, and this was the perfect location.

It was a little bit chilly so we decided not to sit in the garden courtyard, and we took one of the two tables at the back of the garden store. Upon first glance of the menu, I was slightly disappointed – there were only very generic options like eggs on toast (and choose your own custom sides), pancakes, eggs benedict etc – but I found out when the food arrived that the generic items can be very deceiving.

We ordered a couple of coffees to begins, and for the food we got the corn and mushroom risotto fritter with roasted tomatoes, pork and fennel chipolatas with the roast eggplant, caramelised apple and rosemary relish, as well as the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and crisp pancetta.
I was surprised by the fritters – they tasted amazing and sticky like arancini balls, and came with a side of delicious caramelised apple and rosemary relish as well as the pork and fennel sausages. The pancakes were delicious too – the pancetta itself was paper thin and delicious – I’ve never had pancetta like that before – and the buttermilk pancakes came with a bit of surprise in the middle – bacon and cream cheese!
We also ordered juices as well – a pineapple and mint juice, and an apple and ginger juice. Both very tasty, but I preferred the pineapple and mint juice a bit more.
The service was fine; we found the ordering to be very efficient and the waitstaff were very polite, however we did have to ask for the bill twice which didn’t come either time so we just ended up walking up to pay.
All in all, Twig café is a sweet little place that really does surprise you with its ordinary-looking menu items. I’m looking forward to going back in summer when it’s a little bit warmer and trying out their lunch menu in the outdoor courtyard!

Meal: Breakfast / Lunch
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Perfect for: Saturday morning brunch and reading a book or the newspaper in the outdoor courtyard
Hot tip: Don’t be fooled by how ordinary the items on the menu might look
Must try: Buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and crisp pancetta

Price range: $$ Not bad
My rating: 8.5/10

Address: Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
Near: The Yoga place…
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 8am-4pm

WEBSITE | MENUTwig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 1, 2012



I wish I lived closer to Bronte just for Three Blue Ducks. But frankly, I think this is the sort of cafe worthy of a 40 minute bus trip, even at 9.30am on a Saturday morning - that is how highly I rate this quaint little cafe that does delicious brunches with a bit of twist and uses fresh local ingredients. Of course, I wouldn't complain if it did move closer to me - Sydney could do with half a dozen blue ducks. Yes, I went there. Get this girl a stage. 

The first time I heard about Three Blue Ducks, I immediately knew I had to move it to the top of my to-eat list. Former head chef at Tetsuya's, Darren Robertson, running this gig?! Sign me right up. And it certainly didn't disappoint. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner (have yet to try lunch and dinner and I seriously have to go back), and all the menus look delicious. 

Have I raved enough about how good I think the food is? I haven't even talked about what we had. We got the scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam, and the trout with poached eggs, spinach and hollandaise. The essentially-eggs-bene-with-trout was tasty, but the scrambled eggs and black sausage was to die for. The combination of the black sausage, dill and cucumber and yoghurt, and the jam - how did they even come up with something so genius?

To add to that, the service was simple, quick and satisfying. Our waitress was lovely and smiley, and came back a couple of times to check on us to make sure we were okay. We thought for a cafe that popular and busy, the wait would be ridiculously long (think Bourke Street Bakery, Bills etc...) but we were seated within 5 minutes. That's what I call service...

Meal: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Perfect for: Brunch with your best friend or significant other, before spending the day out in the eastern beaches
Must try: Scrambled eggs with black sausage, dill cucumber yoghurt salad and red currant jam! Incredible.

Price range: $$ Not bad
My rating: 9.5/10

Address: 143 Macpherson Street, Bronte
Near: Bronte Beach
Hours: Tue-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 7.30am-3pm, Wed-Sat, 6pm-11pm

WEBSITE | MENU | Three Blue Ducks on Urbanspoon