Sydney Food Diary: Inferno Grill, Maroubra

Inferno Grill is located on a buzzy strip in Maroubra with rather a lot of interesting hole-in-the-wall eateries nearby. It might be worth getting to know the ‘hood a bit better… which is only half an hour’s bus ride from my place in Surry Hills, but I’ve hardly ever been out this way. It’s obviously an institution, with boys in school uniforms stopping by in packs, and other folks from the neighbourhood stopping in for lunch (and the restaurant sending out orders on Deliveroo).

I was hanging out with the gents from Ompty (they and the restaurant shouted me for the meal) and a very pleasant Friday afternoon it was, with a sneaky beer (they’re licensed) and a rather amazing burger. The photos on the menu were taken by Sydney food bloggers! My Boss Hogg burger had bacon and crumbed mozzarela and was delicious and too big to fit into my mouth. I had to use a knife and fork.

They’ve got a good selection of everything though: burgers of chicken or vegetable, a whole range of salads, wraps and Greek Grilled Things.

And they mix up their own flavours of ice creams… and sometimes make colourful sundaes out of them.

Good, honest, casual food served up by friendly folks. Stop by if you get a chance!

Inferno Grill & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: The Grounds of the City

So, this place is completely bananas. I was just hoping for a coffee, and that chilly winter not quite spring wind made it too cold to sit at the tables outside. So, then I had to ask for a table at the rather intimidating check-in counter, and then opening the door is like entering another world.

A 1920’s cafe: does this hearken back to the Queen Victoria Building across George Street or to Europe or to New York City. I’m not sure but the fit-out is beautiful. Everything was shiny and sparkling and there was this crazy buzz about the place. People seemed excited just to be there, on a Tuesday, mid-morning.

I decided to just grab a snack, and the crumpet was as crumpetty as can be. Homemade. Ten bucks. I ended up smothering both pieces in all the butter and all the jam, and lapping it up like it was their $14 pancake dish.

Most of their heartier dishes are in the $20 range, which makes me roll my eyes at how expensive Sydney and hipster food is. But the Grounds folks have created a bit of a phenomenon: they know how to create a buzz, how to fashion a beautiful atmosphere for dining, and they make great coffee.

The Grounds of the City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Edition Coffee Roasters

The latest: So, Edition Coffee Roasters is now open for dinner, on occasion. I couldn’t find clear information on their website or Facebook page, but luckily, on a Saturday night, they were open. It’s a limited menu, with plates to share. Between the three of us, we ordered pretty much one of everything except the edamame and daikon chips.

Generally, we liked it. There’s an interesting Japanese version of a taco, which is more like a wrap your own handroll, with a crisp bit of nori and some sashimi and rice to put in it. We had various other interesting Japanese influenced bites of food, but it was disappointing there wasn’t a bit more choice, nor one big substantial dish that was a standout.

On the other hand, this dish above, now that was a standout, and we liked it so much we ordered two servings. Agedashi tofu in a blackened caramel sauce. Perhaps the best agedashi tofu I have ever had. Worth going for just for that.

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And here’s my review of breakfast from December 2016, which was itself an update on a review from the end of 2015:

Just 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 (which seemed to climb to 16,000 views after this review and 7 likes).

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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Coffee in Sydney: Cafe Rumah, Surry Hills

Cafe Rumah is offereing a pretty cool concept: coffee, Malaysian treats and great men’s clothes.

I had coffee here a few times before I finally tried one of their treats. My god: what was I missing? They made the madeleines on the spot, freshly baked for you, and then some coconut jam, kawa, piped in the middle.

Really: You do not want to miss this. Next I should try some lunch items here which have gotten some good reviews…

As I said, I think it’s an awesome thing that they’ve combined the cafe with a men’s clothes store (15 sheets) that sells hard-to-find and interesting brands including one of my faves, Descendant of Thieves.

I found a shirt from them in NYC years ago which has remained a favourite, and I just bought a cool pair of reversible shorts. I love a gimmick.

Let’s see if I can update my blog post on Zomato now. I think it requires me to delete the old review (7330 views and 3 likes, but who’s counting?) and then posting this one up again. Eventually.

Cafe Rumah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: Kiroran Silk Road

After seeing a sensational film at the Latin American Film Festival (Adriana’s Pact: a gripping story about the extent to which a family member was involved in Pinochet’s secret police), a group of us were taken to one of YK’s favourite restaurants.

I like Uygur food, from what I’ve tried, not like Chinese food that I’m used to with its Muslim and Central Asian influence.

The standout were the lamb skewers: the cumin flavour and the taste of the grill are sensational. A cold lamb’s tongue dish was interesting to start with, a bit spicy. Eggplant was appropriately melting and shiny. We also had a big lamb stew, which was hearty, and a plate of noodles in a peanut sauce.  We had it was their version of naan bread, which was kind of dry and hard, nothing like any naan I’ve had before.

It was bustling on a Saturday night, and the decor is hilarious: as if you’re in the living room of a crazy relative. The curtains are particularly spectacular. It’s worth a try for something different and definitely go for the lamb. All up, just over $20 each, and a good amount of food.

Kiroran Silk Road Uygur Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Drinking in Sydney: Bitter Phew, Darlinghurst

I had stated that I’d just have one drink (on a Saturday late afternoon) and by the time I met up with D, I knew that we’d have two. But how did we end up having four drinks? Such is Sydney. In any case: we loved Bitter Phew.

It’s casual and fun. Got a bit of hip happening and a bit of silliness. A huge selection of interesting craft beers, on tap and in bottles (I had a tasty beer on tap to start the evening). Cocktails were $18 to $20 and the negronis were might fine (though I also tried a martini and… something negroni-like but not as red). It was buzzy but not frantic: just our speed. I’ll be back.

Bitter Phew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sydney Food Diary: 5th Earl, Rosebery

The task at hand, on a Sunday afternoon: Find a place that would serve one of us white wine, one of us coffee and one of us tea. Sweet treats welcome too.

So, providing this already impressed us, as I’m not sure if anyone else is serving wine in the vicinity (on a Sunday afternoon) and having a gin or vodka at Archie Rose seemed a little excessive.

The new complex in Rosebery, the Cannery, is pretty amazing: organic food, high-end providores, a cooking school (filled with kids the day we passed) and hipster coffee places and restaurants. It’s worth an explore, I think, particularly if you live in the area.

We stopped by after visiting the pop-up event with Mamasita visiting Gelato Messina. I had a very tasty tostada and some amped up French Fries and then we were all too full to have an ice cream. Oh well.

My caramel slice was good. Johnny liked his dessert too. It’s a nice ambience. We’re enticed to return.

5th Earl Rosebery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Vancouver Food Diary: Sushi Van, Fairview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t expecting much from this place: it’s really humble looking; the chefs and staff are Korean; and it’s so cheap, I was wondering: is the food going to be good? But it’s a favourite of my mom’s and I ended up going there with her and my brother on my trip to Vancouver. Some great dishes, like this black cod above.

We ordered a good selection of dishes. And really, I was impressed. For example, the fish collar is an unusual dish, was cheap, was tasty and tender. Mom kept saying how most people wouldn’t know to order this and how good it is. Secret’s out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The various innovative sushi rolls are worth a try. This one seemed to have some real bits of lobster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only dishes I wasn’t impressed with was a tamago nigiri (egg omelet on sushi rice) and mom’s order of a crab roll sushi (with real crab, a dollar or two more). They were the same quality as cheap Japanese take-out or sushi trains… but hey, they hardly cost anything at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I forgot my phone and stole Mom’s to take these. Horrible quality and weird shapes. Sorry. And as mentioned, you don’t go here for the decor, or even the ambience. But if you’re up for cheap and surprisingly tasty Japanese food, I would recommend it.

Sushi Van Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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Vancouver Food Diary: Frenchies, Mount Pleasant

When I was a kid, poutine was not really known much outside Quebec and certainly not outside Canada. But it’s a welcome and interesting contribution to global cuisine now, eh? The last time I was in Vancouver, my nephew wanted poutine so we tried a place on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver and I had one of monster-poutines that had some other flavour: was it chicken, or pizza, or? In any case, I thought it was disgusting. But, realising that I was perhaps not giving it a “fair go” (as they say here in Australia), I followed friends’ recommendations to end up at Frenchies… and even brought my mom and brother.

And… this was an awesome poutine that reminded me of why it’s great. Some parts of the perfectly deep-fried fries are crisp, and the parts covered with just enough gravy are going soggy, so it’s interactive: you want to eat it before it all goes soggy, but it’s an awesome combo of textures. And the cheese, of course, is perfect. You don’t find the same curds easily in other places (and certainly not here in Australia). We thought this poutine was delicious.

I’ve not understood the affection for smoked meat, and certainly not the price of smoked meat sandwiches in New York. Also, it’s often a bit salty, I find, and too much. So, I was happily surprised with this sandwich, a modest amount of meat, thinly sliced, you can taste the smoke, and matching nicely with the bread with a nice layer of mustard.

So happy with this: Tourtiére is a French-Canadian meat pie. I think it’s pork with potatoes (sometimes with veal and beef too) and a very crisp pastry. It’s got lots of lovely spices in it, is very homestyle and humble, and I think it is SO tasty. And I’m not sure I’ve ever found it outside of Quebec.

So hurrah. The joy of eating in different places for me is often getting something particular to the place or something you can’t get elsewhere, and with this humble meal, we did. If I have one quibble it’s that the bowl of gravy above was a bit too salty and there was too much of it. Oh, and we forgot to order sugar pie for dessert. But overall (and with friendly service and a fun, unique atmosphere): Vive la Frenchies!

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

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Movie Review: Logan (2017)

I missed Logan when it was in the cinema and my hubby decided that he had no interest in seeing it. So, I caught it on a recent flight. But I’ve seen all the other X-men films so why not this one? It’s a problem though. On the tiny screens in airplanes, I find that a movie’s faults can really become evident. Fight scenes aren’t particularly engaging, beautiful cinematography is lost. Holes in storylines can gape.

X-men was my favourite comic book in my early teenager years. It was a clear metaphor for being gay, the idea that your powers manifest in adolescence and the world shuns you for it. And it was a delicious escape and fantasy world.

I had a fondness for Wolverine because he was Canadian, as simple as that. They made his character slightly grouchy, and slightly loveable, and when they cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the first X-men films, I was enthralled. He was appropriately grouchy and attractive, and had an animal sex appeal. When was that first X-men film? Twenty years ago? Apparently, this is the ninth film that Jackman has done Wolverine.

I’d heard that this latest installment was OK (in fact, the reviews are rave) and the trailer looked pretty good. So, I was disappointed with a plodding two hours with a bare plot where everyone dies. I used to say that when everyone dies it’s like Macbeth but these days I say it’s like the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones. Anyways, everyone dies.

I was hoping that because they had a child actor that things wouldn’t be cutesy, but this was the opposite. It’s hard to feel sympathetic to Laura, the young character, Wolverine’s mini-me who growls and screams her way through the script. She has a certain intensity about her which is impressive but to what end?

Jackman growls his way through the whole film, broken, upset and grouchy and I wasn’t really caught by the story. People are chased. People are killed. There are bad guys. It was admirable that Patrick Stewart and Jackman give their all to their characters but have to work with dialogue like “I suck at this. Bad shit happens to people I care about. Understand me?”

I also couldn’t follow the logic of the language. Laura was born in Mexico. She refuses to speak until late in the film, upon which she switches back and forth between Spanish and English, yet expects people to understand both. Then comes out with some sophisticated sarcasm. “Nice man,” she tells Wolverine, who weirdly, seems unable to moderate his growl, the tone and way in which he speaks whether he’s speaking with Professor X, Caliban, a store clerk or a 12 year old. Sure, he’s meant to be an honest beast, but he’s intelligent, and it feels kind of stupid to talk to everyone in the same way. “What are you going to do now?” asks Laura. “Find the nearest bar,” he replies as if he was joking with one of his friends, except Wolverine doesn’t have friends.

Meanwhile, Professor X with his formidable intelligence is likely to speak many languages, but here he speaks bad Spanish with a terrible accent with Laura. Wolverine pretends not to understand the language at all. It’s a weird linguistic world; how much of what language do people speak or understand? It didn’t feel logical to me.

I was reminded of the magic of the X-men films right near the end where they imagined the mutant powers of some of Laura’s young peers, But too little, too late, after so much non-magical blood and gore. Disappointing.

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