Sydney Food Diary: Edition Coffee Roasters

img_6047Just over a year ago, I proposed Edition Coffee Roasters for a coffee meeting because it seemed to be exactly between Surry Hills and Potts Point… My coffee was delicious. The freshly baked cinnamon buns smelled too heavenly to pass up. We split one. It was fine; though the relatively healthy Scandinavian version rather than the weird big doughy North American ones (which are to die for).

I said at the time, ‘I’m coming back for lunch, because why wouldn’t you be interested in a Nordic-Japanese menu?’

img_3838And there my review on Zomato languished, getting just over 15,000 views.

And now, just over a year later, we were trying to get into Trunk Road whose website and google listing said they’d be open on Saturday at noon for lunch, but were not. Lucky for us. I finally had my long-awaited Scandinese breakie.

img_6046The menu here is really, truly interesting. I love Scandinavia and I love Japan, so to combine flavours and techniques of both regions into one place is pretty darn cool. We split the Masu No Misoni: organic miso-simmered trout with sushi rice and wasabi mayo. I thought that the rice looked a little too firm and dry, but it wasn’t. Served with a pickled carrot and perfectly presented for two people, this was delicious.

Then we had Yakuza in Black which was black sesame hotcakes with mango ganache and something with yuzu. Beautiful. Delicious. Not as rich as it looked (but pretty rich).

img_6045Also had a good coffee, and I’d like to come back and try everything on the menu.

I find it amusing that the name of the restaurant doesn’t appear anywhere, not in signage, not on the menu. Perhaps this is a place only for those in the know…

Edition Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Cape Comorin, Cremorne

img_6042 Basic, tasty Indian food.

We were on the way to see the worst movie ever made (‘The Room’) at the Orpheum and needed somewhere to eat.

img_6038There are quite a few restaurants on that strip of Military Road, so we weren’t sure where to go, but my handy Entertainment Guide app said it would give us a 25% deal if we went here.

img_6041It’s a basic, friendly place, BYO (and we brought a nice pinot grigio). The specialty of the img_6040house is the dosa, the fantastic thin crisp pancakes rolled and filled with something else… that’s why the restaurant is said to specialise in South Indian cuisine, but instead, we just ordered some regular North Indian dishes.

My pal is an expert on butter chicken and said this one was fine, not the best, but OK. The lamb was perhaps the standout, though I really liked how generous a serving was given of the palak paneer. Dahl was fine too.

img_6043My friends thought this place was really, really good. I liked it too. The friendly owner (or manager) checked on us during the meal to make sure everything was OK.

Cape Cormorin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A song (and video): Someone to Fall Back On

The first time I heard Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Someone to Fall Back On’, I thought ‘I want to learn how to sing that.’ A much admired Broadway composer, this was on his 2005 album ‘Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes’ and shows that not only can he write beautiful songs, he’s got an amazing voice too.

I love how this song builds and builds, the melodies in the piano accompaniment, and the sentiment. It’s also a true Broadway song where the person singing it goes through a transformation during the song.

A *much* better quality of both video and sound recording than I’ve ever managed on my own (thanks Stevie!).

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Sydney Food Diary: The Local Bar, CBD

img_6034 My stars! Up and down.

I think there’s a certain amount of wit about calling a restaurant, ‘The Local’, especially when rather than referring to your neighbourhood pub, it’s a restaurant in the courtyard of the enormous 161 Castlereagh Street, in the middle of the CBD. But it’s apparently an offshoot of a popular bar in Neutral Bay.

We met up for lunch on an enormously hot day. My weather app said ’32 degrees, feels like 34′. Even the large umbrella overhead could do little to cool us down.

There was an amazing pair of musicians at the restaurant next to us: loved the voice of Billie Isabelle and the arrangements. We were also entertained by a constant stream of youngish workers, dressed in different themes, leaving the building: some in plastic foliage with fake birds; others with butterfly wings.

img_6036Good thing we were entertained because the food took a very long time to come. And it seemed that the friendly and charming waiters were completely overworked. The restaurant was packed and there were only two of them.

So, my score for the lunch was falling by the minute when our meals finally arrived. However… things were looking up. My duck confit was really, really good, served with a sort of coleslaw and some salad leaves. The cod got high compliments as did the beetroot tatin. Only did the steak (of steak frites) fall short: a little overdone.

img_6033And by then, the sun had moved, the restaurant was quieter and it was much more pleasant. Another plus.

In the end, it was the chairs that brought the rating back down again. Two of us were fine, but of the other two, one found her legs too short so was dangling, uncomfortably, and the other found his legs too long to comfortably put on the rest, and also found the chair difficult to get out of. Then, with the weird plastic backing in the heat, when I arose, my backside was all covered in sweat: perhaps not the dessert I wanted.

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The Local Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Automata, Chippendale

img_5977We were definitely sold on this hot, new restaurant.

Automata’s been on my hit list for a while. I’d read about it before it opened… and then good reviews after it opened. It’s just taken me a while to get there. What better occasion than a Friday lunch with a fellow foodie, LH. I had an extra minute or two before she arrived and there was (unusually) a lovely dry fino on the menu for an aperitif.

We opted for three courses for lunch, with matching beverages (yum!) and then ended up having an extra cheese course. This was just a little amuse-bouche. Yum. Inside the tiny green balls was a hint of Japanese plum.

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The stracciatella cheese was amazing… with amaebi (I think those are the raw, shrimp-like creatures), kombu and shellfish oil. Great textures, strong flavours. Italian soft cheeses like this are so pleasing on the tongue. img_5980

I had the pork belly with grilled greens, a homemade xo sauce, and red vinegar.

img_5982LH opted for the John Dory, with eggplant, burnt carrot, olives and herb. Lovely plates, beautiful plated. img_5983

We couldn’t resist this dense, crumbly montgomery cheddar, which seemed to be more about the interesting texture than the taste, which was subtle. img_5984

To finish, a yoghurt sorbet with tamarillo, mulberry and kelp oil. I thought it was an interesting dash of savoury. LH did too, eventually, but I think she had a little too much on her dish compared to me. I really like a dish like this that seems like it could be simple to make… but it wasn’t simple at all, really.

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The three courses were $55 each, and we split the cheese course ($12) and then we had drinks on top of that… Ah, and the service was very friendly and efficient.

It was contemporary, a bit surprising, but mostly delicious!

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

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Sydney Food and Coffee Diary: Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

IMG_3828Reuben Hills is an institution and an incredibly busy one. It has spectacularly good coffee, and is a fun place to hang out. The food, Latin American influenced, is interesting, and I think was ahead of a trend that is now well established.

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I remember when it arrived thinking that Single Origin’s dominance was being challenged, but there’s room enough for all coffee lovers in Surry Hills, it seems. My first blog post for here was in November 2015, when I just had coffee and sweet treats with a pal.

In August 2016, I noted that the one dessert on the menu is a Monte Carlo ice cream cake. It has a yummy pair of biscuits (well, half-biscuits but generous), a really nice sort of raspberry paste or jam, and vanilla ice cream. Imitating a famous Australia biscuit, this was a rather version of it. Big enough to split between two…

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And I finally made it here for some food, in December 2016… My pal had a Baleada, an El Salvadorean dish of scrambled eggs and beans and other tasty stuff in a tortilla wrap. I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d get by ordering ‘divorced eggs’. I liked the wit and the plating of it. Two toasted tortillas, an egg on each one, but with quite different salsa and flavouring. Tasty, nicely spicy and a nice start to a Sunday.

The service is always just the right amount of friendly here, and did I mention the coffee?

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Reuben Hills Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Guzman y Gomez, Australia Square

img_6004 Reopening in the courtyard: fiesta!

Guzman y Gomez celebrated its 10th birthday on Wednesday night with a move on its Australia Square location from inside the Food Court to outside in the courtyard. It’s a perfect location really. This place is packed all the time with workers, and I reckon now they’ll go from having an after-work bevvy to having a bevvy and a taco.

img_6008I remember when Guzman y Gomez opened in Newtown. It was always a great concept: bringing high-quality, authentic Mexican fast food to Australia. As a North American, I was used to cheap Mexican food at chains, but missed having it when I arrived in Sydney.

img_6012I’ve always found them dependable and tasty. The burritos are kind of way too massive for me and stuffed with rice, but then the last time I was in New York City, that’s the way they were serving up burritos from the many El Salvadorean, Mexican and other Central American casual eateries around town. But that’s an aside.

img_6006G y G are now an empire with around 20 locations in Sydney. This branch is now serving margaritas, not the frozen kind, but very tasty, on ice, with Herradura tequila (wow, amazing they’re using an expensive tequila; the cheapest tequilas can really be nasty).

It was a fun party. The Corona beer and Margaritas were being passed around, and food was coming out at epic speed from the kitchen, as they were not only passing around trays but taking everyone’s order. Amazing how many people they were serving up!

img_6009Aside from the afore-mentioned tasty Margarita, I caught some fries (crisp, tasty) and some nachos, and finished off with two quesadillas, one with barramundi and the other with chicken. G y G have gone completely free-range, and all power to them. I think it’s a great ethical and marketing decision. And really, this food is all of what Guzman y Gomez are about: fresh, tasty, high-quality ingredients served up perfect and piping hot with authentic flavours. It’s Mexican street food that happens to be fast, but not the fake Mexican fast food of old (well, of ye olde days in North America, did they ever have fake Mexican fast food in Australia?)

img_6011In any case, one of the founders gave a touching speech, everyone was in a jolly mood, I got to hang out with amazing blogger Lisa from Weekend Food Escapes, and saw Simon and some other foodie-types. And then I had to cut out early (which was probably a good idea considering how I am around free alcohol).

Guzman Y Gomez Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Kerasma, Newtown

img_3016Australia’s only Cypriot food… authentic, farm to table and homemade ingredients.

There’s something really interesting happening at Kerasma Souvlaki Merchant in Newtown. My friend and I were shouted to a special meal there by Peter, and we discussed it afterwards. In a way, this is cutting edge Sydney dining.

img_3011They’re curing sausages and making their own haloumi in the kitchen, using their own olive oil, and importing rabbit and goat from a farm in the Hunter valley. It’s all about fresh, seasonal, local cuisine. Other restaurants are using the same philosophy and are considered at the cutting edge of Sydney dining. But my friend, F, points out, it may be hip in Sydney right now, but it’s also very, very old.

img_3018I think the slightly confusing part is that the restaurant looks so humble. On the busy sidewalk outside Newtown Station, remodelled and cleaned up a number of years ago (Kerasma has been around for three years), I think the restaurant has to appeal to the mostly modest tastes of Newtown. Accordingly the prices are very reasonable, and the menu is accessible. Yet people may think they’re having more regular food than they are, and if they’re expecting regular Greek food (and souvlaki), they may get confused.

img_3008If you’re lucky enough to be in the know (and if you’re reading this, consider yourself in the know), there’s something quite special and fine dining that’s peeking up through this cooking, though it seems humble.

Check out that the kitchen takes up about half of the whole floor space of the restaurant!

img_3010Skate as an appetizer, confit in their house olive oil, was absolutely delicious, and quite exotic. I’m not sure another time I’ve had skate in Sydney!

img_3012I always like these bullet-shaped pastries made of bulgar wheat and filled with mince beef. I found these very, very delicately done.

img_3013And then the haloumi. My god, this is tasty. Homemade, half of sheep’s milk, half of goat’s, it had that fabulous rubbery sound and texture when you bite into it, and was delicious. Not a delicate dish but something very special about the flavour.

img_3015We opted for one of the grilled souvlaki dishes: this was a homemade sausage, rich and dense. F. particularly liked it!

img_3014Splitting one main, after all those first courses, was enough (and wise): we had goat, very tender, stewed and with some crunchy baby potatoes in the mix (see the photo at the top of the post). I like goat. It’s got a distinct flavour. I suppose it might taste like lamb or beef if you weren’t paying attention, but I think it’s unusual. This goat (and the rabbit) is from the Hunter Valley, and the goat is very much like the goat you would get in Cyprus, apparently.

Ah, we washed all of this down with a beautiful, soft and smooth red wine, a 2013 Enotria Red, a Cretian wine. Strangely, Vivino tells me that this wine is cheap as chips in the USA, a average of $7.50 a bottle. We’ll ignore that little fact (also that I suspect you wouldn’t be able to find this wine easily elsewhere in Australia).

Finally, for dessert, triandafillo: a simple rose and almond milk scented custard, ‘watermelon rind spoon sweet’ and slivers of toasted, crispy, sugared almonds. Very nice and not too heavy after all the rest.

img_3017We had a lovely chat with Peter after the meal along with some fresh, hot Greek doughnuts (yum) and a little Greek brandy (very smooth, chilled).

img_3019‘Kerasma’ means to shout or treatment someone for a meal or drink, and there’s a rather good story about how a monk gave Peter the name for his restaurant, in the same script that appears on the sign, inspiring him to take the step and open his own restaurant, after being a chef and executive chef for others.

img_3020Peter believes this is not only the only Cypriot restaurant in Sydney but in Australia as well. His passion for food and his philosophy are inspiring, though I think he’s far too modest a sort to turn Kerasma into the next hip eatery with lines out the door. So sneak in here yourself, pay particular attention to the daily specials (and the recommendations of the wait staff) and tell all of your favourite people about this unique place. It’s a gem.

Kerasma Souvlaki Merchant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Rusty Rabbit, Darlinghurst

img_5992 Atmosphere. And story.

img_5988The cafe at the corner of Forbes and Burton has gone through a lot. I remember it when I first arrived in Sydney as the popular DOVe cafe, which then headed over to open up an equally popular location in Potts Point.

Then it became Forbes & Burton. I am sure that I had coffee and a few lunches here. But the story goes that the Chinese owner wouldn’t hire a black barista, and after that broke, no one would go there. Karma?

So was born Rusty Rabbit in 2014 by the Khoury brothers, and it seems to be going great guns. This is not one of those cursed restaurant locations like, for example, where Master was on Crown Street.

img_5994What I was struck by on a Saturday morning was the vibe: so relaxed and friendly, I almost didn’t care about the food. It’s got a real buzz to it, super-friendly staff, and with open windows to the street, in a magnificent sandstone building. The owners seem to have further amped that up with merchandise and a theme but it all sort of works.

img_5995It really is in a great spot, not busy with traffic or even stores, but lots of people around, it’s kind of combines a neighbourhood feel with something pretty hip. Prices by the way are very reasonable for the Eastern Suburbs.

img_5987I had a delicious latte, and check out my muesli at the top of the post. Beautiful and delicious. Another kind of tasty thing is, catering to their neighbourhood and audience, they’ve staffed the restaurant with fit, friendly guys and put them into sleeveless t-shirts that show off their upper bodies. If you’re into that sort of thing.
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The Rusty Rabbit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

img_5997 The fabled Three Blue Ducks. Solid.

I was surprised, going to a group dinner on a Saturday night, that the organiser managed to get us into Three Blue Ducks. I’ve heard about it for years, as well as how hard it is to get in. But we either booked early enough, or maybe the hype has lessened somewhat.

img_5996I was very impressed how our rather charming waiter managed to corral orders from the dozen of us, serve everything up and make sure we had enough wine. I started with the fish tacos which I thought were very nice indeed. The tacos were slightly thick, but it made them taste homemade. Nice bit of grilled fish. Good spices.

I loved my main: fresh pappardelle pasta with wild mushrooms, leeks and homemade ricotta. Everything worked together.

img_5998D., sitting next to me, said that his steak and bone marrow was OK (it was the most expensive item on the menu, and I was tempted by it too) but he spends a lot of time eating or cooking up good meat, and said this was OK but not exceptional. I didn’t manage to survey anyone else… but all in all, it was a really lovely night.

Three Blue Ducks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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