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Archive for February, 2011

O-Organic Produce, Surry Hills

O no not for Oprah, or Orgasm but for Organic Produce. Owners Mick Gay and Shane Hillard are the creaters behind O-Organic Produce to create a new experience in organic take away food. They have a cute little café in Surry Hills and have started to supply to retailers around Sydney.

The café only uses organic food – food that are ‘produced environmentally that does not invovle modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers’. All the food are prepared fresh daily on the premises. They sell various wraps, salads, savoury snacks, cakes and other sweet ‘sin-ful’ things.

B and I decided to eat in, the all day breakfast ranged from porridge, bircher muesli, eggs and many more. The lunch menu looked appertizing, different types of salads, burgers and even had a bit of asian touch to it like fried rice and noodles.

I wanted breakfast, it was my first meal of the day and was absolutely ravenous. I opted for the organic baked beans on toasted sour dough with a fried egg ($11). Weird that I have been craving a bit of baked beans lately. The baked beans were delicious, moist and not sickly rich. It was incredibly filling and the fried egg was a great complement.

B opted for the organic bircher muesli – organic oats soaked in orange juice with bio-dynamic yogurts, apple, roast almonds, coconut and sultanas ($12.50) and it was deliciously moist, creamy and RHUBARD! I LOVE rhubarb! It was wonderful and I couldn’t help but have a couple of mouthfuls.

I have to admit, Organic Produce is not cheap but it was deliciously good and healthy. Organic Produce does catering and supply to wholesale. They do deliver around 10kms of metro area (Surry Hills) with a minimum order of $50 – that’s a lot of food!

I had a takeaway coffee from here, and it was excellent. Strong, creamy, smooth and delicioussss!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Organic Produce

487 Crown Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9319 4009

O Organic Produce Cafe on Urbanspoon

Greenhouse by Joost

You have probably seen this ‘thing’ around Campbells Cove at The Rocks.

This ‘thing’ is the ‘Greenhouse waste-free Café’ which opened on 9th February until end of March. It is made from recycled materials and features a rooftop garden and serves organic food.

The creator behind the shipping container turned café is Joost Bakker, whose work also includes the Greenhouse in Federation Square in Melbourne and pieces for Stokehouse GPO Melbourne. He holds a Master Degree in Fine Arts and is known for his floral designs.

‘The Mother’ and I have talked about coming here, however, he has been so busy with work that he hasn’t really had time. So thought I would ‘drag’ my parents – god bless them – here, and they absolutely loved it!

By the time we got there, it was about 2 pm, we were told there was a 40 minutes wait for three people, I was getting a little hungry but was keen to try this place out. So left my number and thankfully, within 20 minutes we were in and seated to our table by the window.

It is a pretty cool place, very creative and Dad was in awe with the architecture. The view from the restaurant is absolutely stunning – views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. There is a roof top bar that serves beer but we didn’t get a chance to go up there.

The menu was quite limited at lunch – 8 to choose from, oysters, spiced almonds, deli meat, salad, fish, beef, pasta and pizza.  I have heard about their deep fried cauliflower, but unfortunately, only available during dinner. Dad wasn’t overly hungry, apparently he scoffed a hungry jacks burger before meeting me ‘just in case’ he said. Have I ever failed you?

We started with some drinks – homemade lemonade ($6), which was served in a glass jar. The lemonade was cold, tangy and absolutely refreshing, which was perfect for the hot day. I wondered where they got the glass jars – it was uber cool!

The cappuccino ($4) was strong, smooth and fantastic.

We shared the wagu beef gerello, green papaya, peanut, tamarind ($25) – which was served on wood and eco friendly knives and fork. The wagu beef was slightly seared and pre-sliced, pink in the middle just the way I like it. It was tender and the green papaya salad was delightful. Mum and I were trying to figure out how to make the salad – loved it!

We also shared the seared mullet, mixed tomato salad ($26), served on a triangular slab of wood. It was a generous serving of fish, we all loved the crispy, crunchy and salty skin. The fish was fresh and moist, and I loved the colourful tomato salad which was refreshingly light and delicious.

Unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by the choices of dessert – peaches and cream or 3 cheeses, so gave it a miss.

It was lovely to say the least, we sat there admiring the view, which we do tend to take for granted. The head chef is Matt Stone, who can be seen working both the kitchen and floor in Sydney. Make sure you get to check it out before it leaves at the end of March to Milan.

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Parent’s rating: 7 / 10

Greenhouse by Joost

Campbells Cove

The Rocks, 2000

Mon – Sat: 7.30am – midnight

Sun: 10 am – 10pm

Greenhouse By Joost on Urbanspoon

Blog’s 1st Anniversary.

Time flies when you are having fun. It’s been a year since I started this blog. I toyed with the idea for such a long time but thanks to two lovely friends for encouraging me to start. I have met some wonderful friends in Hong Kong, and how can I forget my dearest SK – you know who you are and others who doesn’t have a foodblog but enjoy eating as much as I do.

I would also like to say a special THANK YOU to my dear soccer friend, P, who came up with the name of this blog. It was too catchy and unique for me not to take it! THANK YOU!

I have eaten at some unforgettable places and some not so memorable places. Have met some wonderful long life friends through food blogging. Have discovered the meaning of food, its culture, the efforts behind it. Have gained a few kgs, a little rounder, a little fatter and increasing cholesterol level which I may have to do something about soon.

Thanks for all your support yo. I know how painful it can be when dining with me – no one is allowed to touch their plates until I have taken a zillion photos! I have always wanted to share my experiences of food with others. I know we all have different palates, and what I love may not be for everyone. However, I still do enjoy sharing them with you.

Many thanks for the laughter, the tears of joy, the good times, and here’s to many more delicious goodness we are about to consume!

Thought to ‘celebrate’ I would make some scones, as I have been craving them and nothing beats fresh-from-the-oven scones!

Basic Scones (from women’s weekly ‘bake’ book)

Preparation time: 20 mins, cooking time 25 times, makes 20.

4 cups (600g) self raising flour

2 tablespoons icing sugar

60 g butter, chopped coarsey

1.5 cups (375ml) milk

¾ cup (180ml) water, approximately

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees fan-forced. Grease 20cm x 30 cm lamington pan
  • Sift flour and sugar into large bowl, rub in butter with fingerprints
  • Make a wel in centre of flour mixture, add milk and almost all the water. Use knife to ‘cut’ the milk and water through the flour mixture, mixing to a soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth
  • Press dough out to 2cm thickness. I used a star shapped cutter to make these. Cut as many as you can from piece of dough. Place scones, side by side, just touching in pan.
  • Gently knead scraps of dough together, repeat pressing and cutting of dough, place in same pan.
  • Brush tops with a little extra milk
  • Bake scones about 15 minutes or until browned and scones sound hollow when tapped firmly on the top with fingers.
  • Served with jam and cream

 

Chairman Mao, Kensington

I have wanted to go to Chairman Mao for a while now. The name attracted me, Chairman Mao, commonly known as Mao Zedong. He was held in regard in China as a ‘great revolutionary, political strategist, military mastermind and savior of the nation’. I won’t go through the history, as this is not a history lesson, but I have heard many discussions about him during family gatherings from my grandparents and my parents.

‘The Mother’ and I were catching up for dinner with a couple of friends, MG and his lovely finance, A and I suggested Chairman Mao, Hunan province food.

I am glad that I made a reservation that night, it was extremely busy, and the place was buzzing. The restaurant was decorated with Chairman Mao memorabilia, as he was born in Hunan. I couldn’t take a picture of everything that was up on the wall as one, I was hungry and two, there were so many people and three, I was hungry!

We were given complementary cucumber which was soaked in chili oil. It was deliciously tender, juicy, a little tangy and spicy.

We started with the chopped green onion pancake, it was thin, crispy and perfect way to start the meal.

I couldn’t go pass the braised pork belly with preserved vegetables. This dish is very close to my heart, not only is pork belly one of my favourite dish, but it’s one that my grandmother used to make. The dish was ‘homely’ and simply outstanding. The tenderness, the juiciness of the pork, it just melted in your mouth. I really could have eaten the whole dish on my own. MG, however, prefered the one from Red Chili Sichuan they ‘have a better texture, like crisping up the skin, and had more spice and peppercorns.’ I personally haven’t had the one at Red Chili Sichuan so will definitely have to try it one day.

I absolutely loved it. It was delicious – I love the slither of fat, the skin and meatiness of the pork. I still do prefer Mum’s though, she makes this dish well and I really do need to get the recipe of her! Oh YUMMMMM.

The steamed fish fillets with pickled hot green chilling were wonderful. Underneath all the ‘greens’ were tender fish fillets which were fresh, spicy, a little bit on the oily side but absolutely stupendous.

Stir fry mushroom with celery, carrots and onions were seriously spicy. It was numb tongue spicy and absolutely deceiving. We didn’t realise how spicy this was going to be, we couldn’t see any Szechuan pepper but the more we ate, the more numbing our tongue became. ‘A’ is not a massive fan of spicy food and for her, this was over powering. We originally thought it was the fish, but no… it was definitely the stir fry mushroom.

The beer braised duck was tender, there is a hint of beer flavour, which was subtle but excellent. It was spicy but not as numbing as the stir fry mushroom. MG thought they could have ‘turned the duck dish into something a little less ‘homely”.

Some of the dishes I thought were a tad oily but I love the spiciness and how my tongue tingled whilst I ate the mushroom stir fry. It wasn’t the spiciest dish I have eaten, but it sure was the tastiest stir fry mushroom I have had in a long time.

Deliciously full we sat there chatting and laughing, waiting for our tongue to become normal. A glass of mango lassi or ice cream would have been perfect, and we did just that. We continued to a convenience store, and purchased an ice cream to get rid of the numbness.

MG did prefer Red Chili Sichuan compared to Chairman Mao – he thought the ‘flavours were more explosive and tastier’. I quite like Chairman Mao and the ‘homely’ food that it brings.

It was so lovely so catch up with both of you, we should definitely do it again. Another spicy Chinese restaurant then?

The total bill came to less than $80 which we thought was quite reasonable! I really did enjoy the meal here, the service was friendly and efficient, and food quite authentic. Will definitely be back with the family to try other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 7 / 10

MG’s ratings: 7 / 10

Chairman Mao

189 Anzac Parade

Kensington 2033

Ph: +61 2 9697 9189

Chairman Mao Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cafe Zoe, Surry Hills

Café Zoe is an old favourite of mine. I was catching up with B, our regular weekly catch ups, for brunch and I suggested this place. Café Zoe has been around for a while now, and can be found on Bourke Street.

The place was relatively quite when we rocked up at 11.45am. I was famished and in need of caffeine fix.

The coffee was excellent – smooth, aromatic and strong, exactly what I needed that day.

B opted for the muesli with yogurt and seasonal fruits and was served with a side of milk ($8.90). The muesli was nice but nothing special I thought, I have had better muesli.

I wanted something more substantial. I had the grilled chicken breast and roasted vegetable salad with wild rocket and walnut hummus ($16.90). It was a relatively large serving, the chicken breast was thin but surprisingly moist. I loved the different types of roasted vegetables, especially eggplant and beetroot. The walnut hummus was walnut-y, creamy and absolutely delicious. It was a wonderful complement to the chicken.

From memory, the sandwiches and baguettes here are wonderful. I remember having the grilled haloumi, tomato, fresh mint, baby spinach and eggplant baguette and loved it. Their breakfast, scrambled eggs are also good.

I love how the cool air comes into this café, they open all the doors and windows. The service is great and more importantly, great food and great coffee! Not to mention, fantastic company… as always!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Café Zoe

688 Bourke Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 8399 0940

Cafe Zoe on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

I have read and heard raving reviews about Cumulus Inc. It was our last day in Melbourne, we had a noon flight, which meant one last meal….Breakfast!

You have read my reviews on Cutler and Co – EPIC! If I lived in Melbourne, this would definitely be a regular restaurant!

Cumulus Inc is located in a large warehouse at the top end of Flinders Lane. It has been open for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, they have a no booking policy, except for groups over 7. I was afraid that we wouldn’t get a table, so made sure the clan got up early and we rocked up at 9.15am.

The place was already full, but thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long.

The breakfast menu is quite extensive ranging from muesli, toasts, sardines, baked eggs, sandwiches and even watermelon salad with mint.

Unfortunately they ran out of smoked salmon, 65/65 egg, sorrel, apple and dill! I really wanted that, but never fear – I did have a back up!

Started with coffee – unfortunately, they only had one size – not enough for me, but it was good. Hot, strong and aromatic, it went down so quickly that I had to get another. One was definitely not enough.

My parents opted for the grilled chipolata sausage with beans, ham hock, and 65/65 egg on sour dough toast ($17.50). The egg was beautifully done – oozing with yolk and the sausage was very tasty. The beans were delightful, full of flavours and not too sweet and sickly.

F, opted for the pain d’epices with whipped maple butter and candied walnuts ($15). Sometimes loosely called as gingerbread, it is a French cake whose ingredients are rye flour, honey and spices. It was very similar to a french toast, and was deliciously sweet. The maple butter was creamy and a wonderful complement to the pain d’epices and the candied walnuts were crunchy, sweet and excellent. I couldn’t help but steal the candied walnuts off F’s plate.

O had the toasted sandwich, double smoked istra leg ham and pyegana cheddar with tomato relish ($14). I loved the cheese, however, not enough as it wasn’t stringy. The tomato relish was lovey and it was toasted to perfection.

I opted for the turkish baked eggs, spiced tomato, dukkah, labne ($16) all served on a hot plate. The egg was again cooked beautifully, it didn’t ooze with yolk by the time I ate the second one, however, I loved the combination  fte the spiced tomato, dukkah and labne. I have taken a liking to baked eggs, and I have to say this was the nicest baked eggs I have tasted in a while.

The place has that really laid back feel. I would definitely like to try their dinner one day. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful trip in Melbourne. I loved the atmosphere, the food brilliant, and the coffee excellent. Service wonderful and I can see why this place is buzzing! If we didn’t have to go back to Sydney, I would have definitely ordered another coffee and maybe some friands or croissant.

That concludes the Melbourne eating trip. Hope you have enjoyed reading them and I am sure that this will not be my last eating trip to Melbourne. Till next time….

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

F’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Cumulus Inc

45 Flinders Lane

Melbourne, 3000

Ph: +61 3 9650 1445

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Crystal Jade, Melbourne

We were roaming around Chinatown Melbourne, I had originally wanted to go to HuTong Dumpling but they were fully booked and couldn’t fit the five of us. Starved, we thought we would go for yum cha, it certainly has been a very long time since I had yum cha. My brother saw Crystal Jade and thought we should give it ago. Unfortunately, it is not the same Crystal Jade Group that we see in Singapore or Hong Kong. Its just the same name and can be found on little Bourke Street.

I was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to fit all of us, the restaurant looked tiny from the entrance, but it was surprisingly big. We sat at one end of the corner though, which wasn’t the best ‘traffic’ for yum cha trolleys. However, I was wrong, and we had lots of trolleys coming and ordered all sorts of food.

We started with har gao, two servings as there were only three in each basket! Sio may, again two servings, xiao long bao and spinach dumplings. The har gaos were excellent, thin pastry with large chunks of prawns. The sio may and spinach dumplings were juicy and tender. Unfortunately, the xio long bao weren’t great. It wasn’t juicy and wasn’t your typical xiao long bao. It was meaty and that was pretty much it.

We couldn’t help but order the pork ribs, braised tripes, beef tendon, which were all relatively generous serving. The pork ribs were seriously succulent and the beef tripes and tendon were so tender it just melted in my mouth.

The fried prawn dumplings, pan fried dumplings, were wonderful, however the sweet bbq fried dumplings were a little ordinary, so were the yam fried dumplings which was a little disappointing.

The bill came to $100 for the five of us, and we were stuffed. There were absolutely no room for dessert. The service was good and friendly. Stuffed, we continued shopping and walked off the wonderful yum cha goodness we just consumed. Compared to the yum cha in Sydney, this was pretty good, but my favourite is still Marigold. Definitely keen to try the new restaurant Eight.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

F’s ratings: 7 / 10

154 Little Bourke Street

Melbourne VIC, 3000

Ph: +61 3 9639 263

Crystal Jade on Urbanspoon