Sydney Food Diary: Bowery Lane, CBD

So, a lunch with some folks on our building’s body corporate; this is one of the favourite restaurants of one of them. At lunch, in the city, it has the feel of a business lunch; you’d want to have a bit of time here, rather than catch a quick bite, and it has a formal feel about it.

Two of us had a salad with chicken, and two of us (including me) had a salad with haloumi. As you can see at the top of the post, it’s a pretty dish, with quinoa and radish, beets, pumpkin seeds and some greens. It was lacking something though; the dressing was really light and something to tie all this together was missing for me (and I tried putting more salt on it too). The haloumi was perfectly grilled and tasty, but overall, it tasted… healthy.

Bowery Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Malacca Straits on Broadway

When Paul suggested that we try this restaurant, I looked at my list of restaurants to try, and saw that it was on the list… for the last three years. Hmm, I can be a bit tardy. Also, lucky for me that he and Johny invited along two more friends since with Asian food, the more the merrier.

I would rate the taste of these dishes as between ‘great’ and ‘effing fantastic’. OK, it’s a humble little place with quirky decor, and the service, though sincere, seemed a bit confused. And all the food came out at once, quickly, and with the entrees coming somewhere in the middle.

But oh my god, the flavours. We loved the tamarind fish curry and the belachan water spinach. A famous chicken dish that people travel for miles for… was covered in a yellow sauce and was tender and tasty. I particularly liked the prawns in salted egg yolk… and my favourite of the night was the eggplant in salted egg yolk, though splitting this rich dish between five people was about right; it’s too rich to eat any more. But god, it was good, the creamy eggplant inside a very crisp and unusual tasting batter. A bit similar to the eggplant chips I had at the Eate the other day, but these were better.

We had a roti each, perhaps a little greasy and not the greatest roti. A small complaint. Ah, we also had otak otak, sort of a fish mousse wrapped in banana leaves. I liked it and had never had the dish before. Apparently this place opened in December 2010 (and is overseen by Chef Tan, who celebrated 20 years in Australia by opening his first restaurant here). Don’t make the same mistake as I did and take your time discovering this place.

Malacca Straits on Broadway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bodum tea warmer: Chambord

So, the problem, dear readers was this. I like to serve tea to my reiki clients. Most new clients come about twenty minutes before their appointment, but not always. So, while there is an issue of making the tea in time for them to arrive and then keeping it warm (and hoping they want tea; most do), it’s also nice after the treatment to have a sip of tea.

During the summer, it’s not a bad thing to have a cool or room temperature sip of tea after the treatment, but during the Sydney winter, when it’s chilly, I’d rather have it be a bit warm.

I briefly had the idea of getting a contemporary tea cozy, though there seems to only be ONE place in the world that makes non-crocheted, modern and cool looking tea cosies. It’s Flock of Teacosy in Canada, who are on vacation now, and the timing didn’t work for me to order one and get sent to Mom’s while I’ll be in Canada yadda yadda yadda. I’m imagining they won’t mind me putting a photo of their cool cosies here, since it’s entirely complimentary.

In any case, it’s all worked out. My pal Darryl suggested ye olde tea light system and I found that Bodum, a Danish company who I’ve always had an affection for, makes a rather lovely product called Chambord. Do all Scandinavian companies name their products in mysterious ways?

It’s all worked out perfectly. With a new tealight underneath, the tea stays nicely warm for the whole 90 minute period. I’m a happy chappy. It set me back about $30 at Peter’s of Kensington (god, I love that store).

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Sydney Food Diary: The Eate, Dulwich Hill

I received a lovely invitation from Rosa and Benita to come visit The Eate in Dulwich Hill. They turned an old panel beater shop into a charcoal Mediterranean restaurant as creators, designers, builders and owners! Quite an accomplishment. It’s located down and around the bend on New Canterbury Road, within spitting distance of a KFC. Hopefully they’ll lure some KFC customers over with the promise of nicer food and a nicer atmosphere, yet still with very reasonable prices.

We tried a whole selection of things… though this appetizer was a highlight: macaroni and cheese croquettes (I think there was lamb in there too). I think it’s hard to go wrong with a croquette…

It’s a bright, fun, casual space and offers up pretty much anything you could want for dinner!

I can never go beyond a taramasalata. I want to chant its name while… oh, forget it. You don’t need to know that.

My dining companion Tim found this one of his favourite dishes of the night. Spiced eggplant chips, with pomegranate seeds and lashings of a sweet, brown sauce.

Didn’t expect the chicken wings to be such a generous size. When the super crispy skin is side by side to a piece of moist and tender drumstick… Now, that’s magic.

We also had some potato salad and a spinach and beetroot salad. Gotta get in those veg, right?

I was relieved that the small portions of lamb and chicken we ordered were in fact small, as we had eaten quite enough. The charcoal grilled and slow-cooked lamb was tasty, as expected, but the real surprise for me of the night was just how good the charcoal chicken was. And there it is in the back of the photo, I didn’t even give it a deserved close-up. This was my absolute favourite dish of the night. Super crisp skin, super tasty, really tender; it was stellar chicken, and I will be coming back for more!

I like that they have a little display of desserts to tempt you with…

We went for sticky date pudding and the lemon pudding. Both served with ice cream.

Yum! I can’t believe we ate so much. The service was friendly and familial. I didn’t actually find out if they are licensed or not. I’d recommend The Eate as a place for a casual group get-together, for those who like to eat, and for anyone in the neighbourhood. Drop on by, and do try that charcoal chicken!

The Eate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We dined as guests of The Eate. The opinions above are my own.

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Sydney Food Diary: La Provence Espresso, Lane Cove

We received a nice invitation for lunch to check out La Provence in Lane Cove. Arthur and Janey had to shut down S’Age Bistronomy in Crows Nest and have moved over west a suburb to take over this casual cafe. It’s very new so will be interesting to see how they attract the local crowd and whether they can pull in folks who knew the old cafe.

A few of the dishes will be a surprise. Snow crab congee with brown rice was a simple and delicate dish, yet lush too. I had it with an ‘onsen’ egg, a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg. Congee tastes to me of home comforts.

And it seems like I can’t get away from poke, ever since I wrote about going to one of the many poke lunch places in NYC. Now it seems to be on a lot of Sydney menus! The version here has seared salmon, soba noodles, pumpkin and some guacamole.

It was a nice simple lunch and great coffee. They also have various standard cafe fare: sandwiches and eggs and toast, as well as tartines (open-faced sandwiches, I believe).

And they’re making their own pastries, which must be labour-intensive. Delicious. We had one as a takeway and ate it after a little hike in the nearby Lane Cove National Park. Great pastry, and a great quality dessert.

In any case, if you’re in Lane Cove, do drop by for lunch and try some of their delicious food.

La Provence Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We dined as guests of La Provence, but the opinion above is my own!

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Sydney Food Diary: Momofuku Seibo, Star City

I’ve been to Momofuku Seibo at least twice (and loved it) but haven’t been to try it since the new chef, Paul Carmichael, Barbados-born, arrived. This was a thrilling, fun, tasty and memorable meal. I’ve never had fine dining combined with Caribbean flavours, especially not in Sydney, and combined with the always fun experience of sitting at the counter, I found this a wonderful birthday meal.

As a non-consequential anecdote, I happened to surf the New York Times on my iPhone at one point during the evening, and they had a story about Australia and wage earners (like in restaurants) and there was a photo… exactly like the one above. Taken from the same angle of the chefs at work. Shazam. Weird.

In any case, you want to hear about the food, don’t you. There was a bit of crustacean and shells, but no fish, interestingly. Finely slivered abalone with lardo on a tiny fried biscuit was an interesting start.

We were introduced in advance to our main course. My husband said, ‘I’m not sure I needed to see that.’

These plates are divine. We couldn’t actually understand the chef who served these up, but it’s an escabeche out of military snails, with a tiny shell of plantain. So, see, there are Caribbean flavours and ingredients, but look how delicate the dishes are.

Short rib, cooked forever, just the thinnest slice with onion and herbs. I noticed a pronounced lime and citrus flavour in many of the dishes.

I have to say that I loved how simple this dish was. Zucchini, pumpkin and a Caribbean hot sauce. Looks like you could make it at home… but you probably can’t.

This was a standout for me. Curried crab with ‘rice’ (I think a number of kinds of different grains). Many different textures here… and a yummy curry sauce.

We are approaching the culmination. Koji butter and uh, some sort of berry, and this awesome ‘busted roti’. I’ve had rotis before (and always like them) but this was crisper and swimming in way more butter than I’ve ever experienced. But of these sides were perfect for…

Incredible, perfect marron, a generous amount of meat, again swimming in butter, and god, this was a memorable dish (one of the other Zomato reviewers talked about a lack of standout dishes, but I can still taste this one a week later).

I kind of love this too. It was really only a mouthful (magnified by iPhone). Apparently, a classic Caribbean breakfast dish of avocado, salt cod (the crispy bits) and cassava. I wonder what the original looks like. This had simple flavours but came together in a really interesting way.

The pork, served with some sides, was perfectly done. That was the end of the savouries…

Yoghurt in a banana leaf oil. Nice.

This burnt coconut ice cream (with cashews and pastry wings) had a spectacular flavour. I’ve had many flavours of coconut before, but this struck me as unusual.

Two bitefuls of dessert, a tamarind jelly, and a tiny rum cake with marzipan and raisin (the cylindrical things). Nice mouthfuls.

This was the only thing we didn’t like. A ‘black b’. A tiny hard molasses ball. Didn’t know what to make of this one. They offer a few different options for matching drinks, which I think is a nice touch. A non-alcoholic version. A bigger match (I think it was 8 glasses? Guess who had that?). And a smaller match (4 glasses, had by husband). They were OK. Some interesting selections. An orange wine. A sake. A cider. Nothing mind-blowing.

And then, I honestly can’t remember telling them it was my birthday. So, I was really surprised and pleased when this beautiful dish came out with a baked Italian meringue…And complete yumminess spilling out… A very charming sommelier who took care of us, and good service all around. This is a special occasion place; it’s expensive, and while we weren’t overstuffed, it is a lot of courses, which adds up. Not something you need to do (or should do) regularly… but boy did I love this meal. I wonder if anywhere else in the world is doing something similar. It makes me feel lucky to have tried it.

Momofuku Seiōbo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Jazushi, Surry Hills

How businesss are managing to survive with all that light rail work going on in Devonshire Street is a mystery! What a mess. I hope it will get cleared up soon so they can get back to their regular trade (and new trade brought by light rail?)

Jazushi is an institution. In the tough Surry Hills market, it’s been around for yonks. Good for them. They do a mix of contemporary interpretations of Japanese food… and the classics.

For a Saturday lunch, he had pretty much a perfect lunch set. A fresh and tasty salad, a bown of miso soup, and then instead of rice (which would come with the other dishes), sushi comes from agedashi tofu, one of my favourites.

And then eight pieces of sushi, pretty much perfect really for $20 ($15 with the 25% coupon from the Entertainment guide…)

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

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Sydney Food Diary: Harry’s Bondi

Bitterly cold wind and we couldn’t get a table inside at Raw Bar so stopped in here at Harry’s Bondi. Modern and hip feel, decor and an interesting menu. One of our party tried the beetroot latte, and couldn’t say she’d go back for a second helping. I decided I’d tried a poke bowl, the first time in Australia after trying one in NYC a few weeks ago. The waitress charmingly mispronounced it as ‘poke’ (its poh-kay, but I didn’t want to seem like a wanker to correct her).

As in NYC, I found a poke bowl a pretty perfect concept. Dressed raw fish, with just enough other things (crispy curly lettuce, some Japanese seaweed salad, a few soba noodles) to make it substantial. $25.

All in all, a nice place to hang out for a late Friday lunch…

Harry's Bondi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Uber Thai, Surry Hills

  My pal is vegetarian so Thai food is often a good option in one way, because there is usually the option of having a dish with tofu and vegetables rather than meat. On the other hand, I’ve always found interchangeable dishes a bit suspicious when you can choose between beef, pork, chicken and tofu. I like, for example, a Vietnamese Chicken Curry or a Massaman Beef because I imagine that the originators specifically matched those spices and style of cooking to that protein, rather than it being any protein.

Still, one definite plus of Uber Thai is that they served up Vegetarian Money Bags, which David tells me is not so usual. Matched with the Thai Spring Rolls, this was good. They were perfectly crisp.

My Pad Thai was fine, a bit too big a portion for me, but I suppose that’s not something I should complain about. We washed our meals down with a Thai Iced Milk Tea for me and jasmine tea for David. $46 all up, $50 with a tip, for the two of us. I thought the food was standard, meaning good, but not special. It’s a quick and reasonable lunch if you’re in the area, though it looks like their dinner menu is a bit more interesting.

Uber Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Hunter’s Corner, Redfern

  Hey. What a nice surprise. A new stylish, sunny corner cafe in Redfern. We were served up an early lunch by a handsome, extremely large bearded waiter, and the food was very good indeed.

I always fall back on a Croque Monsieur and am surprised how often it’s a miss. It really needs a generous portion of béchamel, with the whole thing covered in cheese of course. This was very good.

My friend liked her corn fritters very much and remarked on both the hit of cumin and the tasty sauce. I had a bite. It was, indeed, tasty. And the coffee was good too. What could go wrong when all these pieces are in place?

Hunter's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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