I can’t believe the month of October is almost over. I have been looking forward to going to Dan Hong’s ‘Dude Food Deg’ since I saw it on the Crave event. It was supposed to be a one-off event, five course degustation of junk food ($70 pp, extra $50pp for matching drinks), but it was sold out so quickly that they decided to add two more, which was also sold out! I have always enjoyed Dan’s inspiration so knew I was in for a treat.
We started with the cheeseburger ‘spring roll’ and empanada ‘doner kebab’. Oh my goodness, the spring roll really tasted like a McDonalds cheeseburger, including the pickle, mustard, tomato without the bun but the pastry. It was absolutely delicious and could have definitely eaten a dozen on my own.
Like the spring roll, the empanada did taste like a doner kebab. I remember many drinking nights ending with a doner kebab, but it wasn’t quite the same, it was missing some sort of sauce, chili and barbecue. It was good but my favourite would have to be the spring roll.
Next, Indomie with fried quail egg, deep fried essays and ‘pulled buffalo wing’ sauce. I grew up on Indomie, it’s a dish I know quite well and love. Definitely one of my favourite, it had lots of flavour, the buffalo wing sauce really gave it a nice kick, and the fried eschallots really gave it that extra crunch and flavour. (I did ask my fried egg to be cooked longer, other diners had their yolk oozy)
I really enjoyed the pepperoni pizza with napoletana consomme. It was definitely different. I love wontons, usually filled with pork mince and vegetables, but these ‘wontons’ were filled with cheesy pepperoni pizza. The consomme was very similar to the tomato base of a pizza, it was so delicate and tasty.
Tasting of hotdogs – corndog, chicago style hotdog, foie gras and truffle hotdog. Definitely a fun idea.
The corndog was lightly battered, it was simple but yet tasty. It had the right amount of batter to sausage, and topped with mustard and tomato sauce, it was delicious.
The chicago style hotdog of Frankfurt style sausage, tomato, pickle and mustard was simple and possibly my favourite out of the three. Could have easily polished another two or three.
The foie gras and truffle hotdog was probably the craziest, A generous chunk of foie gras and drizzled with truffle oil. I opt for no foie gras, I know, call me crazy but I just didn’t want it. There were mixed reactions, some loved it and some thought it was crazily sweet!
And if you thought the above was crazy, dessert was donut ice-cream with candied bacon, banana fritter, pretzel praline, peanut butter and raspberry jam. Three words – OH MY GOD! Candied bacon! A guy from another restaurant, who happened to be sitting near me was in awe about this candied bacon. He couldn’t believe it was on the plate, I did offer him some but he politely declined!
The banana fritter was wrapped in kunefe, it was incredibly light and possibly my favourite. The donut ice cream, rich and delightful and eaten with the candied bacon, pretzel praline and peanut butter was just calorific but excellent. I thought my heart stopped for a mini heart attack! I have to admit though, I couldn’t finish the dessert, I was full and it was a tad rich but fantastic!
It was definitely a fun event! I can’t remember the last time I ate so much junk food in one sitting! Dan said that this was ‘probably my last dude food deg forever’. NOOOOOOO!!!!! I was looking forward to more dude food deg in the future! Service at Lotus was fantastic as always! I have enjoyed dining at Lotus, and no doubt will be back for their awesome cheeseburger!
22 Challis Avenue
Potts Point 2011
Ph: +61 2 9326 9000
Never a shortage of cafe’s in Surry Hills. It seems like B and I are always on the hunt for new places to have coffee, brunch or lunch in Surry Hills. Frames cafe can be found on the busy street of Bourke Street, nestled in a ‘charming renovated terries house’ and offers diners, all day breakfast, salads, pasta and a super chilled out vibe.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the coffee here, we did notice a lot of regulars dropping. I wanted a cold drink, so opt for the freshly squeezed juice.
I wasn’t overly hungry and opt for the house baked croissants with ham, cheese and tomato ($5.50). The croissants was toasted, but unfortunately, the filing was a tad cold. I think I would have preferred for the filing to be warm, just like the croissant!
There are more than 40 different types of frames in hanging on the wall. It’s definitely a cute little cafe, very laid back and friendly service. There is a cute courtyard out the back for those lazy Sunday brunches with friends! Food reasonably priced and service very friendly, pity the filing in my croissants were cold, but I guess some people do prefer it that way!
659 Bourke Street
Ph: +61 2 9319 6024
Jamie Oliver requires no introduction. Most of us would probably have one or two (or more) of his cook books. I definitely have a couple and have tried to replicate most of the dishes. His first Sydney restaurant, Jamie’s Italian opened this week, and it has been busy from what I hear. There are no bookings for groups less than 6, so be prepared to wait by the bar if you come during peak hours.
Located on the busy street of Pitt Street, it used to be Industrie, a Souther French restaurant. I remember dining there a couple of times, but it really didn’t blow me away. I have been looking forward to dining here, so suggested lunch with a fellow food lover, D.
We started with the complimentary bread, sourdough, focaccia and dryish bread stick, served with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic. I thoroughly enjoyed the focaccia and would happily eat this all afternoon.
D couldn’t go past the truffle risotto ($17 / $28.50) – entree size of finely shaved black truffle with creamy rice, butter and parmesan, ‘a real treat’ they claim. The risotto was nicely cooked but we both agreed that it could have done with a lot more truffle!
I on the other hand couldn’t go past the buffalo ricotta ravioli ($14 / $21), entree size of delicate parcels stuffed with creamed ricotta, lemon, mint and Parmesan. ‘Pure heaven’ it says, and how can I say no to that? Five moderately large ravioli filled with creamed ricotta, which was cooked to perfection. The tang from the lemon really gave it that nice touch and I have to say, it was ‘pure heaven’. Serving wise, just right for lunch, as I didn’t want to be in a food coma, and dessert, I wanted dessert!
We shared the rocket and radicchio salad ($7.00) with aged balsamic and shaved Parmesan, which was recommended by the waitress and it was a wonderfully light and refreshing salad that went with both our pasta!
For dessert, we both couldn’t go past the special tiramisu ($9.00) – coffee flavoured trifle with orange mascarpone and chocolate. I have never had orange zest with my tiramisu, so this was refreshing, and absolutely delicious. D and I certainly enjoyed this.
The restaurant was busy when we rocked up at 1.30pm, lots of suits. Service friendly and warm, and our waitress was quite knowledgeable about each dish. I am definitely keen to go back to try their non pasta dish. Great for afternoon lunch with friends or even for a business meeting, although the place did get a little rowdy. None the less, it was an enjoyable meal at reasonable prices!
Came back a week later, and vowed I would order a non-pasta dish, alas…. Came here with a dear friend, A, she is a HUGE Jamie fan. I think at one stage she was thinking of naming her child (boy or girl) Jamie.
We started with the crispy squid, fried squid served with really garlicky mayo ($12.00). Served in a terracotta dish, the fried squid was served with chili, garlic, and lemon. The ‘really garlicky mayo’ really gave it a nice touch and tang. It was absolutely delicious and I think both A and I could have had another serving of it.
I wanted to order a non-pasta dish, but really couldn’t go past the prawn linguine ($15.50 / $25.00), entry size, the linguine was al dente, the prawns were pan-fried and garlicky and served with tomatoes, chili, rocket and fennel. The chili really gave it that extra kick, I would have liked it to be a little more spicier.
A couldn’t go past the crab and squid ink risotto ($15.50 / $26.50) – black creamy rice with hand-picked spanner crab and crunchy herby crumbs. We had the main size and boy was it big! You couldn’t miss it, black risotto, it looked fantastic and it was! The lemon really gave it a nice tang flavour, and crab flesh was just delightful.
We ordered a side of salad, rocket and radicchio salad ($7.00) – with aged balsamic and shaved parmesan, it was as good as the first time!
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for dessert, A’s baby boy was getting a little restless, but saw the table next to us have the ultimate brownie and it looked DIVINE! next time!!!!
The restaurant is quite narrow, but definitely kids friendly. A’s son sat on a high chair and was a winner amongst the staff but then again, he is super duper smiley and absolutely gorgeous!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
107 Pitt Street
Ph: +61 2 8240 9000
I was visiting my ‘Uncle’ and his lovely wife, E, who has recently given birth to the cutest baby boy. I told ‘Uncle’ that I was going to drop by, hoping that he would cook me dinner but he suggested that we go to Agape, which is a couple of minutes walk from his place.
The definition of Agape is from the Ancient Greek word meaning a) God’s unconditional love for us, b) a pure selfless love of one person for another c) a love feast shared as a sign of love and fellowship. Agape is ‘Sydney’s largest certified organic licensed restaurant’ offering diners, tapas, spelt pizza, mains and desserts.
The menu vast, we couldn’t decide what we wanted and ‘Uncle’ wanted one of each of the tapas, a pizza and a main! I believe he was a tad hungry. We started with the herb, garlic and chilli bread ($15). Spelt base, and shaped like a pizza, it was absolutely delicious. It had the right amount of herbs and garlic but definitely could do with more chili. It was deliciously light and ‘Uncle’ could have definitely eaten the whole thing on his own.
Chicken croquettes, royal quinoa and saffron aioli ($16) was a favourite of mine. The croquette was lightly battered, and had a crunchy exterior, it was light, fluffy and the saffron aioli gave it a really nice touch.
E and I love haloumi – squeaky cheese is what we call it, and the grilled haloumi, vine leaves, beetroot and olive salad ($13.50) was perfect! Salty haloumi, sweet beetroot, topped olives and parsley – perfect for a hot summer day.
For main, E, couldn’t go past the slow braised gundooce wagyu beef, jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, royal black quinoa and truffle butter ($34). Generous serving of medium rare, tender succulent beef, drizzled with truffle butter. I didn’t have any of this, but judging by how E demolished this and ‘Uncle’ cleaning the leftovers, I can safely say that they both enjoyed the dish.
‘Uncle’ opt for the spelt spaghetti, prawns, patagonian scallops, mussels, surf clams, chili, garlic, tomato and parsley ($36). Again generous servings of prawns, they were moreish and cooked to perfection. The pasta fantastic, it was definitely tasty and I had serious food envy!
I on the other hand, opt for king salmon, potato and truffle puree, braised fennel, leeks, red wine and thyme ($34). I love salmon, and this was cooked just the way I like it. It sat on a mountain of potato and truffle puree – it was rich and creamy. A tad too rich for me, but both E and ‘Uncle’ were more than happy to demolish it for me.
For dessert, we thought we would share the upside down apple and spelt cake, cinnamon ice cream and butterscotch sauce ($16) – hmhmhmh butterscotch sauce!
Service was excellent, I love the dining room, the wooden furniture and chandelier fittings. The chef behind Agape is Simon Lawson, who started cooking at a very early age in his grandmother’s kitchen. After 15 years of realising his passion, he decided to open his first restaurant with his two sisters. Simon is very passionate about ‘good food and organic produce’.
Definitely will be back to try their spelt pizza and to try their high tea, which is on every Saturday from 12 noon to 4pm – reservations is highly recommended. I have to say, I definitely enjoyed my meal, the company was even better!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
1385 Botany Road
Botany, 2019, NSW
Ph: +61 2 8668 5777
It certainly has been a long time since my last visit to Pendolino. I remember coming here for work lunch and dinner and it was a bit of a hit and miss and my last visit a few years ago was definitely a miss! A couple of friends recently visited this place and said that everything was delightful and a must visit again. I was due to catch up with fine looking, S, and suggested this place. He too hasn’t been here for a while so was keen to give it another go.
Pendolino can be found on the second floor of the Strand Arcade. Pendolino specialises in regional inspired Italian cuisine, a range of pastas which are made on the premises.
We started with the complimentary bread and olive oil. I love the funky mushroom-like lamp which they put on the table whilst you peruse the menu. I was tempted to take home this funky looking mushroom-like lamp but S glared at me in disgust when I suggested it!
S really wanted to share the cappeletti (stuffed ‘hats’) with wild boar, peas and crunchy pancetta (main size – $39). Part of the pasta was a little undercooked, it was a little doughy, but the wild boar was incredibly tasty. The saltiness and crunchiness of the pancetta, and the sweetness of the peas gave it a really nice touch.
I couldn’t go past the traditional handmade ravioli with spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella, burnt butter and sage ($22 / $36). It had me at burnt butter. Entree size, four large perfectly round ravioli, it was excellent. Definitely one of my favourite dish at Pendolino.
S couldn’t go past their special, salmon cooked medium rare wrapped with pancetta served with mash, vegetables and with a crispy pancetta. I didn’t have any of this, but the salmon looked divine, and judging by how he demolished this, I can safely say that he totally and utterly enjoyed it!
I asked S if he wanted dessert, his respond ‘I am on a diet’ – sure sure! Unfortunately I was too full for dessert, ate way too much pasta! Talk about carb loading but it was absolutely delicious. Although the cappeletti was a little undercooked, it was still wonderful. Probably should have left room for dessert, but definitely an excuse to return.
Service friendly, room was super duper dark! I forgot how dark the restaurant was! Great for dates, not sure about business diners or lunches though, the restaurant does get noisy!
So lovely to see you again dear friend!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
Level 2, 414 George Street
Ph: +61 2 9231 6117
Spiedo is an Italian restaurant headed by Alessandro Pavoni of the one hatted Ormeggio at the Spit. I have yet to try Ormeggio, it is on my list of places to go. Spiedo can be found on the sixth level of Westfield in Sydney. I love the relaxed vibe, the open kitchen and the friendly atmosphere.
I haven’t done many Crave SIFF events this year. I was meeting up with a friend, and she suggested we do lunch, ‘let’s do lunch’ part of the Crave SIFF events. We both couldn’t go past the Spiedo ‘Let’s do lunch’ – which was slow-cooked pork neck, agrodolce glaze, green peas, silver beet.
The pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with sweet and sour sauce which was absolutely delightful. The peas and the crunchy silver beet was a very nice touch. My only gripe would be the size of the serving, it was quite small and I could have definitely eaten two servings of it!
For dessert, we thought we would share the tiramisu, Spiedo Tiramisu ($14). I have to say, I was a little disappointed. I LOVE tiramisu, however this didn’t really hit the spot. It was a deconstructive tiramisu, all the components separated, coffee sponge cake, chocolate, espresso sorbet and mascarpone. The sponge cake was very light and airy, the chocolate nice but bitter, and the espresso sorbet unbelievably bitter that I couldn’t eat it. I think I would have preferred the whole thing assembled together!
I thought the lunch option was quite ‘small’ however pretty good value – two courses for $45 and three courses for $55. Might try their dinner menu one day, it is a larger menu and the pasta did look very good.
Level 6, Westfield Sydney
Ph: +61 2 8072 9999
Bondi Pizza opened in 2009, and claims to have the ‘tastiest thin pressed pizza’ in the world. They first opened in Bondi beach in 2009, but it was the one in Westfield Bondi Junction that we went too.
I was catching up with M for lunch and she suggested this place. Located on level 6 of Westfield, the restaurant was large with views, perfect for summer evenings. It was a little cold that day, so we opt to sit inside.
I couldn’t go past the pepperoni (classic pizza) – traditional Italian pepperoni, roma tomato, buffalo mozzarella and fresh mint ($21.90). 8 inches, the pizza was just ‘right’. Thinly crust, the pizza was scrumptiously yummy and just ‘perfect’ for lunch.
M couldn’t go past the true vegetarian – goats curd base, sauteed spinach, mushrooms, roast pumpkin, balsamic onions, fresh tomato, kalamata olives, roasted pinenuts, shaved parmesan, pesto sauce, balsamic reduction and parmesan sauce ($23.90) – very colourful and very flavoursome! Definitely a favourite!
They have a vast range of pizza, with choices of meat, vegetarian, seafood or mixed. Service was good albeit slow at times, but the pizza was tasty. Definitely keen to try their other dishes that’s for sure.
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
Shop 6009 Level 6,
Westfield Centre 500 Oxford Street
Bondi Junction, 2022
Ph: +61 2 9388 9222