Thai riffic, Westfields, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

I'm never too sure what to expect when I use a coupon/voucher to try a place out. Why did the place offer discounted food? Is it because they don't have business? Are they just trying to increase exposure to the market? Will the food be good? Will it be terrible?

On this occasion, a colleague of mine purchased a Groupon voucher for Thai Riffic, a Thai restaurant (why does 90% of all Thai restaurants have to be puns??) located inside Westfields Sydney CBD. Six dollars for a laksa, pho or thai or tom yum. Close to our workplace and inside the swish westfield food court, it seemed like a bargain!

We lined up at the counter, presented our vouchers and were shown a simple separate menu where we could choose from the 3 noodles dishes and the type of meat. The good thing about this place is that it has its own (albeit limited) seating area. A good thing given that trying to find a table in the Westfield food court at lunch time can sometimes be near impossible.

Not sure if it was because our items were 'voucher' menu items or not, but I would say they were worth $6 nothing more nothing less. Not much meat, not much noodles and overall lacking in flavour, the 2 dishes were a bit disappointing. Nonetheless, we wolfed down our food, happy that we at least got what we paid for.

I wonder though, if we had ordered it from the proper menu without vouchers, would we have received the same dishes?

Beef laksa - $6

Chicken Tom Yum -$6

Thai Riffic Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon


Streetfest, Belmore park, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

I was recently invited to visit the Street Fest Food Trucks United event which occurs every first Friday of the month at Belmore park. Confusingly, Belmore park is no where near the suburb of Belmore, but is actually the big park opposite Central station (on Eddy Avenue).

After 5pm, this park unites food trucks, a pop up bar, eclectic street artists as well as phat beats from local and international DJs. The event is free to enter and is organised in conjunction with the City of Sydney and definitely beats leaving the park unused and dead. Instead, the atmosphere is lively, the music is energetic and the smell from the food trucks tantalising.

We arrived around 6pm and already the street fest was bustling with people watching the street artists, ordering from the street trucks and enjoying their food on the grass.

Although there were numerous stalls and food trucks all serving a variety of yummy items from different cuisines at fairly reasonable prices, we were limited by our stomachs and could only try a few.  =( 

Nepalese chicken skewers - $10 - three fat sticks of grilled chicken with a slighty spicy sauce, yummmm, I love the taste of meat fresh off the grill. Only downside was the amount of sauce.

Spelt chilli dog with chorizo ~$10 - having never tried spelt before, I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of the bun. Only downside to this dish was that it was quite difficult to eat physically, lol

Beef and Spinach gozleme $10 -there's something about a piping hot gozleme served from a stall that I just cannot resist. Such a simple dish, yet so tasty and filling - very hard to go wrong with this one
Straight from the UK, Gaymers ciders is the main drink on offer here at the pop up bar (although there are also various beers and wines). The cider comes in a variety of funky flavours and we tried the tropical variety. Quite a refreshing cider and doesn't taste too strong like some ciders can. Probably has a ton of sugar though... 

As we finished our food, the festival was still rocking on and the music was still pumping in the closed off (ticketed) dance/DJ area. After a long day of work, having dined in the park under the stars and trying a variety of dishes was enough for us, and we headed home, leaving the cutting of the rug to more enthusiastic revelers. I think the addition of this Street fest is most definitely a welcome addition to the Sydney Friday night scene, offering something different for everyone to enjoy.

 The Food Book attended as a guest of Street Artistry.


McDonald's waffle cone, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

I could not help but be disappointed in my waffle cone >_<

McDonald's on Urbanspoon

Zeta bar, Arabian nights, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to the launch of the Arabian nights series of events at the Zeta bar last week. Zeta bar is a roof top bar (ableit only situated on around the 4th floor) of the Hilton hotel on George St, Sydney. A place I frequented often as a city worker, it is one of very few decent high rise, open air bars that you can go to for some after work drinks.

Arabian nights is a Friday night event for the Zeta bar where the bar takes on an Arabian twist - think Price of Persia, Ali baba, Alladin and you were get the gist. The cuisine served becomes of the region including harissa lambchops, Lebanese bread with pickles and various dips, turkish delights as well as specially mixed signature cocktails containing some truly middle eastern inspired flavours.

Being linked to the Hilton meant there was little expenses spared in the launch of this event. Live camels, belly dancers, sheesha sommelier and juggling bartenders were some of the highlights of the night. Unfortunately given that it was an open event and there was so much stuff going on, it was difficult to remember the details of the things I ate or drank >_<!  I will however try to give my thoughts on as much as I can

Real live camels downstairs! yes you could sit on them if you asked nicely!

It feel good chilling with a nice cocktail whilst watching the hustle and bustle of George street below..

Assorted spices for cocktails

Decked out like a sultan's palace

A gin based cocktail with star anise and saffron - tasted very middle eastern and slightly strong but nice

Lebanese bread, onions and dips

Harissa lamb and dip - soooo super delicious, the lamb was so soft and tender and the amount of marinate/spices was perfect - I literally could have eaten these all night!

Chicken skewers - also nice but not as good as the lamb

Lamb koftas

Garlic and chilli prawns - another highlight dish- garlic + chilli + prawns - what can go wrong?

A refreshing cocktail, from memory it had some cucumber, vodka, yoghurt and dill and the rim was dusted with spices and sugar. Very nice drink and not as strong as the previous.

Dont' remember what was in this one, except that it had some mint and lots of ice, lol

Served from a chilled teapot

Some of the entertainment

Dessert time - coffee liqueur and turkish delight, mmmm

Lots of baklavas!

Last cocktail of the night - a warm cinnamon mulled wine like drink, perfect for those cold desert nights...

Arabian nights runs every Friday at Zeta bar (Hilton hotel) until the end of March. Definitely something to try if you're bored of the usual corporate drinking holes.

The Food Book attended as a guest of Zeta bar and SBPR.

Zeta Bar on Urbanspoon

Bone Daddies, Soho (London)

Bone Daddies is a thumping ramen bar in Soho.  Surprisingly, for London, it is a good ramen bar.  Ouch, did I just say that?

Yes, yes I did - because Japanese food in London is ridiculously overpriced and the overall standard falls far short of Sydney.

But I digress.  On most nights (including weeknights), you will find a queue stretching out the door of Bone Daddies.  I've found the magic hour to avoid having to line up for dinner is to arrive by 6.30pm.  The thing about queuing at Bone Daddies is that most of the queue will stretch outside (in the cold) as only about 5-6 people in the queue will fit inside.  They are very vigilant about controlling the line as well, making sure that people stay outside as to not clog the doorway.

On this occasion, I arrived earlier than my friend and the ramen bar had not started to fill up yet. The seating is relatively communal as you share long tables or booths with strangers.

The menu is short and sweet, only about one page long so I didn't spend much time perusing it.  I ordered a drink to occupy myself in the meantime.

My friend soon arrived and we picked our selections from the menu.  The food didn't take long to arrive.

Dipping ramen (£8)
with spring onion, kizami nori, chashu pork (chicken bone broth)

Accompanying dipping broth

Tonkotsu Ramen
with spring onion, chashu pork and 20 hour pork bone broth (£ 11)

The portion sizes aren't particularly big but what can you do.  In my opinion, Bone Daddies is a big step above the nearby Tonkotsu.  The tonkotsu ramen is what I have gone back for at Bone Daddies and it satisfies my cravings for ramen.  Their chicken karaage isn't bad either, although less 'meatier' than I would like. 

I recently went to visit the sister restaurant to Bone Daddies, called 'Flesh & Buns' - a momfuku inspired bun restaurant in Covent Garden.  More on that later!

Bone Daddies on Urbanspoon

Tramshed, Shoreditch (London)

Just to show how delayed I am in posting about London eats, this is a post about my birthday dinner last year - in November! My friend Chief had kindly booked us a table for two at Tramshed, a hot spot for chicken & steak in trendy Shoreditch. It's a very cool place to eat and proving how cool it is, there is a giant Damien Hirst art installation suspended above the dining area. It is a cock and cow in a big glass box, hanging over you as you eat your chicken and steak. Hmmmm

Since it was my birthday, we went all out.  

De Beauvoir smoked salmon ' Hix cure' with pickled cucumber  (£5.25)

Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers  (£ 3.95)

Out of the two starters, I definitely enjoyed the Yorkshire pudding more.  I had thought the smoked salmon was going to be raw smoked salmon! When it came out, I was a bit surprised and after tasting it, felt like the salmon was a bit plain.  In contrast, the yorkshire pudding was delightfully more-ish and the whipped chicken livers were as light as air.

250g sirloin steak served with chips and bernaise sauce (£22.50)

Barn reared Indian Rock chicken with stuffing and chips (£25.00)

I think you can guess what the piece de resistance of the meal was - how could anyone ignore the parades of chickens being carted around by the waiters, each one perched as it was?

The chicken was moist and the steak melted in the mouth.  Chips were a winner, as were the variety of sauces that accompanied our meals - ketchup, mustard, mayo...

 There was just a bit of stomach space left for dessert and we couldn't resist this:

Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and donuts (£12.50 for sharing)

A sugar maniacs dream dessert! The donuts had been freshly deep fried and the marshmallows were pillowy soft.  It was a lot of fun to eat but I struggled at the end to fit anymore in.  My tooth is aching now just thinking about how much sugar was in that dessert!

Tramshed on Urbanspoon

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