Dear reader,

By the time that you read this, I will have been long gone from Sydney!

I'm currently overseas as part of a two month holiday which is a celebration of graduation of uni - and a last hurrah before beginning full time work.

Here is a small taste of the Lonely Planets that I was skim-reading before my trip.





I will be back in February - until then, I hope that you are having your own happy food adventures!
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Cannoli

When the Pastry Chef discovered that I had never eaten cannoli before, this was quickly remedied by the appearance of three - one with vanilla custard and two with a chocolate cream filling.




I didn't know what to expect. A deep fried outer? And then a soft filling? Crazy!


So I nibbled a bit of the outside and it was....pretty good!



They were dusted with icing sugar and I took one of the chocolate ones to try.



It was a bit of a mess eating them but the payoff was worth it. I'm happy to be able to now say that I have eaten cannoli!

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The Good Kitchen (2), Hurstville

Good Hong Kong style afternoon tea sets are sometimes difficult to find. But I think I have found a good one at The Good Kitchen in Hurstville!


Entrance



The tea set is offered from 2-5pm. The menu didn't specify any days so I assume that it's offered everyday. The price differs according to what you select as your main dish but they all come with a drink.

As soon as we sit down, we're handed the afternoon tea set menu. I whispered to the Pastry Chef, 'How did they know we wanted the set?'

He scoffed a response, 'What else would people be here at this time for?'

Touché.

The tea set menu




I chose a Hong Kong style milk tea for my drink.


The Pastry Chef selected a Red Bean Ice.




Although the rim of the glass was a bit messy when placed on the table; the drink itself was very nice. The red beans at the bottom was mushy but still came up the thick straw with ease.

You also receive a complimentary glass of hot tea with free refills.


About five minutes later, the dishes in the sets came out.

Pork chop noodles ($6.50 for the set)


The pork chop noodles did not taste as good as they look in the picture. It was basically two minute noodles with a few pieces of lettuce and thin pieces of tough pork.

Now this bowl of noodles on the other hand....


Beef brisket noodles ($6.50 for the set)


Two thumbs up!!

The beef brisket was fall apart and tasted like it had been stewing for hours. The egg noodles were certainly better than two-minute noodles and it came with choy instead of lettuce. I am definitely ordering this next time!


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Sushi Masa, Camperdown

Boy, this place is hard to find!

Tucked away behind the old Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital, it seems like Sushi Masa's main clientele comes from locals who live in the units surrounding the restaurant.

Inside Sushi Masa


DJ Rehactor, Mobblees and I had come here for lunch but alas, I was still full from my 'Newtown Big Breakfast'.


Hence I only ordered a drink and sipped it while I waited for my stomach to digest the breakfast haul.

Considering that it was 35 degrees outside, I was pleased with my icy cold peach iced tea.

Peach Iced Tea ($2.50)


I was charmed by the delicate floral motifs on their serving ware.


DJ Rehactor and Mobblees both claimed to be starving and each ordered a lunch set for $15.50.

The lunch set comes with a salad, miso soup, agedashi tofu and your choice of main dish.

The salad was your typical Japanese salad but the serving size was much larger than at other places.

The salad


Agedashi tofu


Mobblees ordered the sushi and sashimi dish with her set.


I thought that this was really good value! The sashimi looked fresh and the size of the plate alone could easily cost $20 elsewhere.

DJ Rehactor had ordered the Teriyaki Salmon which came with a small bowl of rice.


After they finished their meal, the waitress came over with free dessert!

Green tea creme brulée




I don't think that I would make the trek out here again but it seems like a great steal for the locals!

Sushi Masa on Urbanspoon
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El Bahsa, Newtown

The Vintage Queen and I met up one Saturday morning to have Newtown brunch.

We both purchased a Rooibos Iced Tea with Blood Orange and Mint (nowhere near as nice tasting as that description sounds!!! Tasted like very watered down rooibos tea with no hint of blood orange or mint - despite mint leaves being in the tea) from Black Star Pastry. Here are some pics that I snapped of Black Star's goodies:



Sadly for us, there weren't any free seats at Black Star Pastry and we were refused entry at the café next door because of the iced tea, which they thought was coffee from another place. (it had been served in a styrofoam coffee cup).

After wandering about a block of King St, we popped into El Bahsa which looked very welcoming with booth seating and cushy chairs.


Sample menu


I was just after an ordinary breakfast so didn't have particularly high expectations but I was quite pleasantly surprised at how nice the breakfast was.



I ordered the 'Newtown Big Breakfast'.

The waitress informed me that it came with both orange juice AND tea/coffee. You can have the best of both worlds!

Orange juice (included with the Newtown Big Breakfast)



Flat white (included with the Newtown Big Breakfast)



When the breakfast arrived, I was taken aback by how big it was. The plate took up half the table! Duh, I should have been forewarned by the 'Big' in the title! :)

Newtown Big Breakfast - $13.50


Another shot of the big breakfast



In this breakfast was:

- two fried eggs
- two large slices of thick white toast (hidden at the bottom of the plate) and two Devondale butter pats
- one hash brown
- one sausage
- LOTS of bacon (I could only finish half of the bacon on the plate)
- grilled tomato
- mushrooms

Phew! I made a valiant effort but still had to leave one egg, one slice of toast and some other things on the plate.

The Vintage Queen went for the more subdued option of scrambled eggs on toast.


Eggs on toast ($6.90)


This was still a big serving with two thick slices of toast and grilled tomatoes.

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and the Big Breakfast is extremely good value. I think the wise thing to do in the future is to share it though - one person could have the juice, one person could have the coffee, you get one slice of toast each, one egg each etc etc. In retrospect, it looks like it was designed for sharing!


El Bahsa on Urbanspoon
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Miss Saigon, Hurstville

Suburban Vietnamese restaurants are always better than those in the CBD. Is it the lower prices? Is it the generous servings? I think it's all of the above!

There are a few other places that serve pho in Hurstville but I think Miss Saigon is the best. The staff are very efficient and each table is quickly wiped down before seating new customers. As soon as you sit down, you are given a menu, a teapot and teacups.

One of the artworks on the wall


Lots of seating





The cutlery is contained in jars at your table and you get whatever you need for your meal.

Teapot


I ordered a bowl of pho with rare beef and beef balls.

Pho accompaniements


Pho with rare beef and beef balls ($7.50)




Yum yum. The beef was thinly sliced and I immediately dunked it underneath the noodles to help it cook. The soup was delicious and helped the rice noodles to glide down my throat.

The noodles in the bowl



Where do you go for your pho in Sydney?


Miss Saigon on Urbanspoon
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Just Another Restaurant (JAR), Darlinghurst




JAR has the potential to become my new favourite restaurant in Sydney.

This was my first visit but I was so impressed that I can't wait to go again.

It is hidden on the corner of Crown St and Stanley St in the city, which is about a ten minute walk from Oxford Street (or shorter if you cut some corners!)

The Chief and I met up here on a Thursday night to partake in their dinner special. I was surprised to see that the restaurant was mainly empty - is this because it was a weeknight? Considering the value of their dinner special; I would have thought that it would be packed to the rafters!

The atmosphere of JAR is very pleasant indeed.

Inside the restaurant


There is outdoor seating on the pavement and ample space for their indoor seating as well (which is fantastic because I don't really like restaurants that really jam pack tables in!)

Large windows on the side facing Crown Street have been opened and some cushions allow customers to sit along the window sill.


Our table




As I already mentioned, we were there to enjoy the Early Dinner Special which runs on Tues-Sat from 5.30pm to 8.00pm.

The Chief and I both decided to have three course option for $29.50.

Early Dinner Special details on the menu



Menu page


The friendly waitress recited the specials of the day and informed us that they could also be selected as part of the Early Dinner Special.

We placed our order and it wasn't long before the food arrived.

I chose the Poached Chicken Roulade as a starter.

Poached chicken roulade, tomato relish, salad ( $13.50 on the menu)


The relish actually wasn't tomato but tasted like mango. I love mango so I wasn't complaining at all!

This was a wonderful start to the meal. The poached chicken roulade had a thin layer of chicken skin that held the rolled chicken together. The three elements on the plate combined beautifully and I smeared the relish over both the chicken and bits of the salad.

The Chief went for the Green Bean Salad.

Green bean salad, red onions, feta cheese and lemon dressing ($12.50)


As the Chief and I chatted, night time began to fall and unfortunately this meant that the following photos aren't the best because the lighting became quite dark.

For my main, I chose one of the specials of the day.

Fettucine with king prawns



The pasta was a generous serving and I was delighted to discover that the prawns were fresh, not frozen! There were also more prawns than I expected, I think about six or so. The sauce was creamy but not too creamy (you know in that way how sometimes creamy pasta can get a bit too much about halfway through the plate...)


The Chief had ordered the Angel hair pasta and said it was delicious, finishing off every bite.


Angel hair pasta with crab, prawns, chilli, tomato, goats cheese and lemon ($22.00)


By this stage, we were both stuffed but then there is the separate dessert stomach....

My dessert of choice was the Orange pudding.

Orange pudding, whipped cream and chocolate ganache ($12)


Yes, it really was as gluttonous as it looks in that photo. What a hot mess.

The chocolate ganache had been melted and flowed over the orange pudding like warm lava.

The pudding itself was a bit disappointing. I was expecting something moist and soft but this was hard, like a fruit cake.

The Chief ordered the brulée of the day.

Brulée of the day ($12.00)



I can't remember what the brulée of the day was.....but it did have some sort of fruit in it. I think pear? I had a small taste and the top had a satisfying crack.

The service was attentive throughout the meal with the waitstaff enquiring how our meals were.

I look forward to returning and trying more of their food!


JAR
85a Stanley St, Darlinghurst
(Corner of Crown and Stanley Street).

P.S. I just noticed that they have an online booking system now. How convenient! I think more restaurants should have online booking :)

P.P.S. On our walk back to the city, the Chief and I saw that Town Hall has been lit up for Christmas!




Yay for Christmas spirit!
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