Sydney Food Diary: Bread & Circus, Alexandria

Yup, it was delicious. Conveniently located across from Dan Murphy’s (I’m only kind of joking), this warehouse space has always been appealing as a place for coffee, a snack or breakfast. Bread & Circus is brightly coloured and whimsical, and though husband thinks the lunch menu is more interesting, I liked my breakfast a lot.

In fact, three of the four of us had the parmesan-not-so-scrambled eggs with truffle oil. The sourdough bread was delicious. The generous amount of butter was of course delicious and the fresh herbs and greens really made this come alive. And the fourth of our party liked her porridge.

Coffee only comes in one size, and apparently soy milk isn’t natural enough so is not an option (but I thought the coffee was very good anyways).

Bread & Circus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Tokyo Laundry, Circular Quay

The entire Gateway complex was heaving. Heaving. On a Monday night. That tells me how great the need was for reasonably priced food in Circular Quay, probably Sydney’s most dense tourist area. And we needed something to eat before the National concert at the Opera House (outdoors, a glorious night: it was a great concert). Chat Thai was packed, and so was the Italian place. In fact, Tokyo Laundry looked to be one of the only places that could seat us!

It was absolutely fine. There’s a lot of competition in this space in Sydney, with some really interesting modern Japanese eateries. The spicy chili garlic edamame ($7.50) was one of the more interesting versions that I’ve had (and did you know these are really easy to make at home…). The Chicken Gyoza Dumpling ($15) was fine: light and crisp. I don’t often meet a gyoza I don’t like.

We also tried a few dishes from the Robata Grill: broccolini ($13.50) and pork belly ($14.50), both rather nice. I think the highlight for me was the Agedashi Tofu, as it was an unusual rendition: a thick savoury sauce, quite yummy, and some nice textures with the mushrooms and spring onions. We started the meal with refreshing apple martinis. The service was nice but seemed a bit confused.

It seemed that there’s a reason why it’s not as crowded as the other places, but I don’t think it would be too difficult to lift the service and tweak the food so that it’s really, really good, instead of just pretty good.

Tokyo Laundry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Speedo’s Cafe, Bondi Beach

Husband tells me that Speedos Cafe has been around for yonks. When he lived in Bondi, he used to come down regularly. Looking for a casual place for lunch while showing some out-of-towners Bondi, this seemed like a perfect place.

It’s got a great atmosphere, open and casual, with friendly service. We had a bit of everything really: a pittaya (dragonfruit) bowl, a veggie burger with fries, an amped-up poké bowl and a chia pot.

These are Bondi (or Eastern Suburbs) prices, from $18 to $23. Hmm. $23 for a burger = ouch, but I guess I’m used to in Sydney. We were all happy with our food. The poké bowl isn’t really like the fast-food poké bowls sweeping across North America, I’d say it’s rather poké-inspired… And my chia pot looked like a big kid’s sundae. But why not? Four mains and a latte and a juice = $92. And did I mention it’s a perfect location?

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

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Sydney Food Diary: Queen Chow, Enmore

If I keep on writing that Sydney’s restaurants are surprising me, it’s a good sign that 1/ I’m not becoming a tired, old jaded thing (at least I think I’m not) and 2/ Sydney’s restaurants are constantly offering something new. While modern Asian food ain’t new, and upscale food served in a pub isn’t new, I found it a pleasant novelty to be in Enmore, greeted and served by a mixture of hipsters and Asian staff, serving up fine Asian food in a light, airy, contemporary rooftop space.

Also a plus: eating with my mostly vegan pal Steve, there was definitely enough to choose from. Dumplings to start with, of course. These looked and tasted like elevated versions of the standard dumpling. Even though the green dumplings looked suspiciously like Gulpin, one of the generation three Pokemons in Pokemon Go… (Yes. I am a Pokemon Go tragic. And at MY age…) Can one eat vegetarian dumplings that look like Pokemon Go creatures? Is that a hypothetical or moral question? Is this a sign that I play too much Pokemon Go?

I loved the salt and pepper mushrooms, but then again, I love the variety of mushrooms that you can buy (or order in restaurants) in Sydney. Steve thought these were just OK.

Also a difference of opinion as I thought these tofu rounds with vegetarian XO sauce on top were pretty tasty (and he thought they were a bit meh).

But we definitely agreed that this simple egg noodle dish, with a sprinkling of non-vegan fish eggs, was kind of perfect. Filled in any empty spaces.

They also have a very interesting selection of cocktails and a wide selection of beer. I have to say I really liked this place.

Queen Chow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Yasaka Ramen, Neutral Bay

So, we were off to a movie at the Hayden Orpheum and what to choose among the dozens of restaurants along Military Road? On this quiet Monday night, I felt like ramen! I checked with the ratings of Sydney’s resident ramen expert, Ramen Raff,  and saw that he liked it. So, we dropped by for a casual meal.

I felt lucky that there were two of us, and that husband was amenable to trying the Mashi Mashi King, a double portion of ramen that offered all three meat options available: pork belly charsu, kakuni (soft bones) and a wonderful grilled spare rib. In addition to a hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, corn, a wafer of nori, and an incredibly rich and thick miso broth, this put us into a meat coma. I was sweating meat after. Oh, and we ordered the firm noodles with a free extra portion (so that there was enough for two people) and these were also delicious.

The broth is of the variety called ‘tonkotsu’, not to be mixed up with ‘tonkatsu’, the delicious breaded and fried meat, Japanese style… This is a broth of pork bones, cooked so long that it becomes cloudy and gelatinous, available in three varieties: shio (with salt); shoyu (with soya sauce); or miso (with miso). What we ordered was so thick and rich that we couldn’t finish all of it… but while that might say I should try one of the lighter varieties, it was soooo good.

The kakuni, a specialty of the house, was a surprise: it’s not only soft and juicy inside but slightly gelatinous with the soft bones and then flame-grilled crisp on the outside and with a sweet marinade. The spare rib came on the side. Perfect. And the charsu was good. I made a bow to something green with a small side of seaweed (actually, it was because I love this seaweed).

Even though the chalkboard mentioned sake and beer, we weren’t offered a liquor menu and didn’t seen any signs of it. Probably a good thing considering how full we were on leaving. This place is so awesome, I’m going to try the CBD location next. But maybe not eat for a day beforehand…

Yasaka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Drinking in Sydney: Covent Garden Hotel

Whether or not this was a conscious marketing decision, putting a bit of London’s Covent Garden smack dab in the middle of Sydney’s Chinatown, at the bottom of Dixon Street, seems a good move, and the fellow behind me in the line at the bar seemed really quite pleased to be in a pub called Covent Garden.

I’ve walked by here many a time, but have never quite been drawn in. But… waiting for a table at Ho Jiak (highly recommended Malaysian food), it was a good option. We scored a table outside, from which we saw a punch up between builders who seemed to have been drinking all afternoon and the bouncers, and drank a bottle of Rolling Pinot Grigio for $28. I mean: hurrah. That is a good ten or twenty cheaper than in Surry Hills. And I’ve always liked the Rolling brand and it’s jaunty label with a bicycle on it.

In any case, not only are the drinks cheap here, but the karaoke is awesome. This feels like the place where locals have been practising up and do their greatest song, cheered on my a supportive audience. The songs are daggy classics, such as the one depicted above: Love Hurts (“I know it isn’t true… love is just a lie”). But in this case, love was not hurtful at all, it was in fact, all around, as we discovered for our SECOND bottle of Rolling, after dinner and a rather strange Chinese New Year/Mardi Gras event at the Dynasty Karaoke club. While this isn’t quite a destination pub, if you’re at the night markets on Friday night, or in the neighbourhood for a meal, this ain’t a bad place to split a bottle of white wine with your mates.

Covent Garden Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Coffee in Sydney: Artificer Specialty Coffee, Surry Hills

Artificer is still going strong. There are no frills. There isn’t a lot of seating. But it’s obvious that the coffee is attracting the denizens of Surry Hills. It’s all about the quality.

I get it though. When I last did a review, about two years ago, I found my coffee too milky. As if reading my mind then, the barista asked me this time if I wanted two shots. Sure. $4.50 for a latte to sit down with; it was delicious and strong and just what I needed before I headed up to the Surry Hills Library to do a little work and blogging.

Review below from Feb 2016, apparently viewed 8,427 times on Zomato (before I delete it and try to convince them to update my review to the current one).


I like the concept: coffee, just coffee. No frills, limited seating, no food or other items. And it’s got a buzz: it’s one of the top rated coffee houses in Sydney on BeanHunter, and it always seems busy. The minimalist Japanese vibe matched with Surry Hills cool is a pretty good combo.

But my better half said that sometimes minimalism looks like a lack of effort… and man, those cushions inside are really stained and dirty-looking. As for the coffee, perhaps it’s not to my taste. It’s obviously quality and made my skilled baristas, but I found my latte too milky, so much that I didn’t get much flavour. Single Origin in Surry Hills is still my favourite…

Artificer Specialty Coffee Bar & Roastery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Cairo Takeway, Enmore

I’d heard of Cairo Takeaway but I got a strong recommendation to try it from an English school teacher who is Chinese and Jewish and called herself Jewsian. I love that! My delight in the multicultural ways of the world is also why I was excited to try Cairo Takeaway, of which I’d heard a bit of buzz.

I’m no expert to be able to say what was different than Middle Eastern food that I’ve tried but I thought this was very fine food: the pickles and spices and condiments, perhaps subtle, was tasty and fresh. We split two dishes between the two of us for lunch (washed down with a beer from Young Henrys); the fuul madamas ($16), slow cooked fava beans which you mix with salad and hard-boiled eggs. I liked it a lot. I was glad we could split it as a full plate of it might taste a bit the same.

We also had a mixed vegetarian plate ($18), and I liked everything on the plate, but the cauliflower in particular. Yup, I liked this place very much.

Cairo Takeaway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Coffee in Sydney, Lidz Caps and Coffee, Enmore

I am completely up for multi-tasking. I know it’s supposed to be bad for your brain and make you less efficient, but as a creature of the modern world, at least I like to believe that I can do more than one thing at a time. I’m sure I’m fooling myself though.

Still, while sneaking in a coffee before trying Cairo Takeaway, it was a huge pleasure to

  1. Watch the world go by in Enmore, from their outdoors seating
  2. Read a bit of the 3rd Elena Ferrante novel that I’m addicted to
  3. Drink a delicious coffee, as served up by the friendly guy behind the counter.

Thus, in a similar way, to a place that sells caps and coffee at the same time, I say: all power to you. I hope you’re a booming success.

Lidz Caps And Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Cubby’s Kitchen, Circular Quay

I didn’t even know that Cubby’s Kitchen in Surry Hills had popped down, and has now popped up again in Circular Quay. I had a great meal in the Surry Hills location; would it be as good in the new pop-up? Yes sir. It was spectacular.

They take Lebanese street food and elevate it. The flavours all pop. Even the dishes that didn’t look surprising tasted surprising. We did the 5 course menu; I think it was about $65 each, perhaps? I love the smoked labne. The hummus with chili oil was addictive. Two dishes that I’ve had versions of elsewhere but these were the best.

The fried chicken was scrumptious. We had mini falafel kebabs, and then another pita wrap with a chicken shish and lamb kefta. Finished off with a pastry each.

We brought our own wine. The manager seems a friendly and efficient sort, a former NRL player of some fame, apparently. We caught our waitress on what we would guess was her first shift at the restaurant… hopefully she’ll settle in.

The restaurant itself is modern, light and colourful. With everything on the menu that we had a success, I suspect that there’s not a thing that you shouldn’t order on the menu. While the eating IS getting better around Circular Quay these days (it was slim pickings a few years ago), this is a GREAT choice to eat at before you head off to a show at the Opera House.

Cubby's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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