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Sakae, Eastwood

June 27, 2012 Comments off

Sakae in Eastwood near the mall has been around for as long as I remember. They have a few branches now, two in Eastwood, one in CBD and the other is in Marrickville. I was catching up with a couple of friends, Dumpling Girl and Cheesecake Boy and suggested this place as I have been craving for Japanese. I was on a sashimi ban for about 9 months due to being pregnant and have been craving sashimi since then.

It’s quite a small restaurant, thankfully DG came early to grab the last table of three which was near the door. The place was buzzing for a Friday night. The menu was vast, sashimi, sushi, entrees and different types of entrée.

We started with a couple of entrees, takoyaki ($6.50) – grilled octopus mince ball served with special sauce. I love takoyaki, it’s a must order when I see it on the menu. I love the creamy innards, the crispy but soft shell topped with bonito flakes and drizzled with kewpie mayo. It was pretty tasty!

Next the gyoza ($6.80) – pan-fried Japanese style dumplings pork and veggies were delicious and absolutely moreish.

DG couldn’t go past the Japanese curry ($8.80) with pork katsu ($3). I thought the pork katsu was a little small, however, it was only $3! I didn’t try any of this but she did say that it was pretty good! I am usually a sucker for curry but was craving various of things instead.

CB had the sakae box ($17.80) – served with sushi (5pcs), salmon sashimi (5pcs), torikara, salad, pickle and Japanese side dish. I had food envy as I wanted the torikara which are crumbed and deep fried chicken – it looked fantastic!

I on the other hand opt for dinner box ($26.80) and it was larger than I thought but had everything that I was craving for. Sashimi (9pcs) which were fresh and delicious, tempura (prawns and vegetables), tonkatsu which was tender and unaju which sat on a bed of rice. A lot of food I know but it was the perfect meal for a very cool evening!

Service efficient and food came out relatively quickly! It was definitely lovely catching up with bot DG and CB! Thanks for dinner, and let’s do Peking duck next time!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Sakae

138 Rowe Street

Eastwood 21

Ph: +61 2 9804 7420

Sakae Japanese Dining Bar on Urbanspoon

Black Star Pastry, Newtown

Black Star Pastry requires no introduction. This patisserie is located on Australia Street and well known for its cakes and delicious sweets. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to come back since it first opened.

It’s a small bakery, limited seating area and extremely busy on the weekends. We were there on a weekday around lunch time and the place was already busy. I had just eaten lunch but wanted some sweets to take home.

I couldn’t go past their signature Strawberry, Watermelon and Rose cream cake. My goodness – doesn’t it look pretty? Ok I wasn’t driving that fast, it somehow toppled!  I was tempted to buy the large cake but thought a slice would probably suffice. The cake is light and airy, I love the flavours and the subtle aroma of the rose cream. Topped with sweet strawberry, it was delightful – I couldn’t help but eat most of it, in hindsight, I probably should have bought the whole cake!

I love bread and butter pudding, and this was superb! As I didn’t dine in, I was told to heat it up for 40 seconds in the microwave and then pour the crème anglaise over it.

We devoured this within minutes! Eaten warm, it was incredibly sinful and incredibly delicious! One gripe though, I wish we had more crème anglaise!

It’s not all about the sweets, they have a mean pie here too – got two for the family, a lamb shank, red wine and vegetable pie – I can smell the aroma of the red wine, I am not usually a massive fan of lamb as you know but this was pretty good. The meat pie I didn’t get to try as I was stuffed, but I was informed that it was one of the best pies he has eaten!

I totally forgot to buy the donuts which means a visit again is in order. Next time we will definitely dine in! Can’t wait to go back, especially for that Strawberry, watermelon cake! YUM!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Black Star Pastry

277 Australia Street

Newtown 2042

Ph: +61 2 9522 5643

Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon

Cafe Belgenny, Surry Hills

It’s definitely been a while since I have been to Café Belgenny. This was the place that B and I used to go every Monday morning before work for at least a year, our Monday ritual catch up. We would each have a coffee and share their large bircher muesli.

Café Belgenny can be found right in Taylor’s square, the coffee is great, the menu which is written on a white blackboard is small but varied. It’s a very casual and relax atmosphere, the owners are extremely friendly and lovely.

We finally made it back again after a two year hiatus, Sue, one of the owners still remembered us! We didn’t have any coffee that day, but B couldn’t resist their bircher muesli. I have to say though, I was a little disappointed with their bircher. It wasn’t the same as before, it used to be one of my favourite bircher muesli in Surry Hills. It’s more like a fruit salad, yogurt and almond meal than bircher. No oats, just almond meal. Think we were both a little disappointed, shame.

I opt for their poached chicken, mixed salad leaves, kumera, avocado, cucumber and fresh tomato and I absolutely loved it! It was very fresh and very healthy!

Their sandwiches are also great, their poached chicken wrap or sandwich is one of my favourite. It’s a very small café, with a neighbourhood feel to it. Shame about the bircher muesli but their other menu is very good.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Café Belgenny

197 Campbell Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9360 0043

Cafe Belgenny on Urbanspoon

Tsuru food truck pop-up, Waterloo

I was fortunate enough to attend the Tsuru pop-up which was held at Bocata in Waterloo. Tickets sold out the week that of the event, and a dear friend, H, had a spare ticket as her husband couldn’t make it and I couldn’t help but said yes! Tickets were $35 per person for unlimited Tsuru grub and Sangria, beer, wine and other beverages were by the Bocata team available for purchase on the night.

As most of you know, the food truck phenomenon is rolling into Sydney! There will be 10 different trucks, two are already on the streets on Sydney and I have not yet been to either of them. The first being Cantina Mobil, Mexican food, pick your style of soft or hard taco, burrito, or chilli corn and the filling of slow roasted shredded chipotle beef, marinated and slow cooked chicken or traditional pinto beans. The second being Eat Art Truck (which I have been stalking and dying to try!) – the specialty being twice cooked steak ssam, pulled pork buns – yum!

Tsuru which means paper crane in Japanese will serve Asian street food including chicken satay skewers, pork belly buns and onigiris.

Now the event, I have to say, I was really looking forward to trying the pork belly buns! When H and I rocked up at 7 ish, the place was packed. Food were slowly coming out, every time a tray of buns were served, it was gone within seconds.

You had to be quick and you had to stand near the kitchen otherwise, you will definitely miss out. The execution I thought was poorly done, too many people and the kitchen wasn’t big enough BUT the food definitely made up for it – especially the buns and the satay and not to mention my favourite, martabak manis, which is a rich-flavoured pancake like sweet dish which has toppings including chocolate, cheese or nuts.

I have been looking forward to the pork belly buns, the buns were incredibly soft and fluffy. The pork belly tender, but it was missing something, sauce! The buns I thought were a little big, making it very filling.

The fried chicken buns were probably my favourite for the evening. Crunchy fried chicken, pickled carrots and mayo – OMG! It was absolutely delicious. I probably ate two or three of these scrumptious buns, however, I would have happily eaten just the fried chicken on its own.

Here’s a close up of the inside….

The tender bbq beef was good but the fried chicken was definitely a winner for me. The youtiao – which are fried dough stick eaten with congee was served with prawn and pork and sweet chilli sauce were also good! I was getting a little full by then, I think I had about four buns!

I was dying to eat the satay, they were making it outside – charcoaled Indonesian style and they were fabulous! It reminded me like home, the chicken satay tender, although a little burnt and the peanut sauce – perfection!

Dessert was martabak manis – it wasn’t any ordinary martabak manis, it was pandan flavoured which I have never had. The pandan flavour was subtle and the filing peanuts, I have to admit, it was pretty frigging tasty! I took both home, hoping to give one to ‘The Mother’, but I couldn’t stop eating it and the next thing I knew, GONE!

We got a goodie bag to take home, inside, was a steamed bun with butter and nutella for breakfast!

It was definitely a fun event, I am looking forward for the Tsuru truck to be on the Streets of Sydney, the fried chicken bun is definitely worth the wait! So is the pandan martabak manis.

The chef / proprietor behind the Tsuru truck are Ellyn Tse. Elaine is also the girl behind the non-profit organisation called Eat.Drink.Give – an organisation that helps the less fortunate in the community.  The truck is almost ready, and Ellyn said they should be on the road in the next few weeks! I can’t wait!

Thanks H for thinking of me.

Tsuru Food Truck

Tsuru Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Sugarcane, Surry Hills

An impromptu lunch date took us to Sugarcane. We had originally going to The Sandwich Shop but it was a little cold for salad and sandwiches. Sugarcane is located on Reservoir Street, not far from Central Station. The chef behind this hip restaurant is Milan Strbac where he started his career as an apprentice at Fez Cafe in Darlinghurst before a stint at Marque and Brooklyn Hotel Restaurant in the CBD.

We started with complimentary vegetable dumplings which was served with fried onions, coriander and shallots – thanks chef! They were incredible moreish and tasty.

Next came roti with curry sauce, cucumber and chilli ($10). The roti was flaky albeit thin, we like ours little fluffier and chewier but still pretty good.

I couldn’t go past the salad of crisp pork hock with papaya ($15). Mountain of salad, it doesn’t look as though there’s a lot of pork hock but there were! Bite size pieces, the pork hock was tender but crispy. The salad was fantastic, tangy and absolutely refreshing.

E had the crisp fish salad with Asian celery, ginger and shallots ($16). I didn’t have any of this, but E enjoyed it, she did say that it was a shame the fish was at the bottom as it made it soggy instead of crispy.

Uncle had the lunch special, fried chicken with rice ($10) – it looked really good actually, I had food envy. Crispy chicken… who can say no to that?

Unfortunately dessert didn’t really grab any of us, so we gave it a miss. The rest of the lunch menu sounded good, so does the dinner menu. Will definitely be back to try their other dishes.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Sugarcane

40 Reservoir Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 02 9281 1788

Sugarcane on Urbanspoon

Runcible Spoon, Camperdown

I have heard wonderful things about this café, which can be found on Barr Street in Camperdown, where the old Western Biscuit Factory used to be. Whilst perusing their menu on the website I noticed they served ‘pork belly’ for breakfast, now how can I say no to that?

I was catching up with the lovely suzchef for brunch, and suggested this place – she too couldn’t go past the pork belly for breakfast! It’s a cute little spot, nestled under apartment buildings, I can envisage parking to be a nightmare on the weekend, but on a weekday, it wasn’t too bad.

S started with the coffee, which wasn’t too bad she claimed.

Watermelon juice for me, which was fresh and refreshing.

We both opt for the poached eggs on toast ($9) and a couple of sides, S had the spinach ($3) and the pork belly ($4).

Check out the oozie egg – YUM!

I had the pork belly ($4) and mushrooms ($3). I almost ordered, pork belly and bacon – now that would be an over kill! Although, I was told that someone has ordered that before. The pork belly was crispy and tender with the right amount of fat, I could have definitely eaten a couple more slices of pork belly though! YUM!

Check out the pork belly at the bottom of the cabinet – my goodness! YUM!

I was told that the Thai Style Fried eggs with steamed jasmine rice, tomato, coriander and nam jim with pork belly is one of their best sellers! I thought having rice for breakfast was a bit heavy, although next time for lunch I will be ordering that! They serve breakfast all day, which is a bonus. Their lunch menu is not too bad, burgers, pork cassoulet and salad and soup if you want something lighter.

I am craving for their pork belly already – must visit soon! It is quite a small café and I assume that on the weekends, it does get fairly busy, but seriously, who can say no to pork belly for breakfast? Definitely NOT ME!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Runcible Spoon

27 Barr Street

Camperdown 2050

Ph: +61 2 9519 2727

Runcible Spoon on Urbanspoon

Hartsyard, Newtown

Hartsyard, the new kid on the block in Newtown which is owned by a husband and wife team Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart. They met in New York whilst working in a restaurant, fell in love, and moved to Naomi’s hometown, Sydney. Gregory runs the kitchen, and Naomi runs Front of House. They decided to open their own restaurant last November, acquiring the former Gourmet Viking premises, it’s quite a cosy restaurant, a lot smaller than I thought but still very funky and pretty cool.

The menu – seed and feed is for sharing. M and I couldn’t go past the crispy pig tails ($18) – buttermilk dressing, pickles and hot sauce. Not what I expected, as I had envisaged a pigs tail, however, it was a ball with a crispy layer of batter, and inside, tender, succulent pork shreds. The pork was fatty and the buttermilk dressing a wonderful complement. The pickles were seriously tasty!

I couldn’t go past the oyster po’boy ($16) – English muffin, old bay mayo, coleslaw. The oyster was deep fried, a relatively large oyster and it was crunchy, moreish and absolutely delicious. It was served with shredded coleslaw and mayonnaise. It was good, my only gripe is the English muffin, a tad on the heavy side and I think it would have been better if it’s served with normal bread or brioche.

M couldn’t go past the Poutine ($19) – oxtail gravy, fried potatoes, crispy beef threads, cheddar and beer sauce – oh my – talk about calorific! It was seriously good, especially the oxtail gravy. Pity the crispy beef threads were a little hard.

The cold-smoked fried chicken($26) – buttermilk biscuit, low country sausage gravy had my name on it. A very generous serving of fried chicken, it was crunchy and the flesh was moist. I am undecided about the low country sausage gravy – a little too creamy for me but the buttermilk biscuit was definitely wonderful, soft, fluffy and pillow-y.

We were stuffed, and thankfully M stopped me from ordering more. I wanted to try either the roast pork, which the table next to us had and it looked absolutely fantastic or the smoked beef short rib which we were told were excellent!

We wanted room for dessert, peanut butter and banana sundae ($16) – pretzel ice cream, banana doughnut and salted fudge. This was insanely good, the banana doughnut balls with fudge sauce was divine and although I was full I could not stop eating the pretzel ice cream with the crumbled praline biscuits and salted fudge. It really was hard to stop!

We were beyond full! That last mouthful of ice cream really put me over the edge.  As for the drinks list, they have a variety of cocktails, wine by the glass (and a pretty comprehensive list of wines by the bottles), beers. They also have filtered water, sparkling or still, unlimited for $4. Naomi was extremely friendly, service was efficient and food came out relatively quickly. Definitely a great addition and can’t wait to go back and try the roast pork and ribs!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Hartsyard

33 Enmore Road

Newtown 2042

Ph: +61 2 8068 1473

Hartsyard on Urbanspoon