Balmain is not a place I go very often, especially on the weekend. It’s not that I don’t like the place, quite the opposite, just that parking can be absolutely horrendous! I was catching up with the lovely C and she suggested this place. She was here the week before with friends who had kids and thought it was child / pram friendly and she was right.
Our Place can be found on the busy Darling Street, next to the church where the markets are held every Saturday. The chef behind this lovely café is Tracy Muir, the menu has a Mediterranean twist and focuses on sharing plates which ‘highlight fresh seasonal ingredients influenced by her recent culinary experience from the Riviera to the Middle East’.
We were here for breakfast and everything on the menu sounded wonderful but I couldn’t go past the roast corn and pumpkin fritters, soft poached eggs, tomato and avocado ($16). OH MY! The combination of corn and pumpkin were delicious. The soft oozy eggs, and the tomato and avocado a wonderful complement. It was the perfect breakfast for a cold Saturday morning.
C opt for the eggs benedict with ham served on house-made hash browns ($16). Such a cute presentation – eggs, spinach stacked on top of hash brown. C certainly enjoyed it.
Service was friendly and definitely child / pram friendly! I don’t know why I don’t come to Balmain more often – I really do like the atmosphere and place!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
225 Darling Street
Ph: +61 2 9810 4677
Fundamental fish in Balmain has been around for as long as I remember. I remember coming here for brunch and dinner with friends a few years back but it certainly has been a LONG time since my last visit. There’s really no shortage of cafe’s in Balmain – I am not sure why we picked this place, probably cause it used to be a ‘local’ or possibly cause it is the closest cafe we saw.
I was starving so opted for the big breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, roast tomato, mushroom with either orange juice or coffee ($16). It was a gigantic serve and true to its name – BIG breakfast! Unfortunately i didn’t finish it all, the eggs were a little dry, the bacon and sausage weren’t too bad but I loved how the focaccia was smothered with butter.
A had the eggs fundamental ($13) – poached eggs with brie, and ham and hollandaise sauce. The eggs cooked to perfection, the bacon a wonderful complement. Was it the best eggs hollandaise? No, but it was ‘pretty decent’.
GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10
266 Darling St
Ph: +61 2 9810 1010
I remember coming to Kazbah many many years ago and enjoyed it. I was certainly due for a revisit. I was catching up with two awesome photographers, one whom I have gotten to know reasonably well and the other, his brother. There were six of us, their respectively wives and another friend of theirs, G. D1 made a reservation and we all ordered the breakfast feast. I haven’t had the breakfast feast but have read and seen many photos and it looked wonderful!
We were all looking forward to the feast. We sat outside, as it was a rather warm-ish day and were all ravenous, well I certainly was!
We all ordered our drinks – I, skim flat white, it was smooth but a little too watery for my liking. The juices, Ruby Grapefruit and Mango and Mandarin were a little sour but refreshing.
Three large bowls were placed in front of us. Started with warm rice pudding with saffron poached pear and hazelnuts – soft cooked rice with saffron poached pear, dusted with sugar, cinnamon and crushed toasted hazelnuts. I am not a huge fan of rice pudding nor cinnamon but surprisingly this was ok, in small dozes of course. I couldn’t eat a whole serving of this, but a couple of spoonfuls were ok.
Next the banana porridge with date compote served with brown sugar and warm milk. It was creamy and thick and a little tasteless I thought. The date compote was sweet but not nearly as sweet enough.
Sweet couscous, mixed nuts and dried fruits served with stewed rhubarb and cardamom milk was not a favourite of mine. It was a little dry and rough, but with the stewed rhubarb it was slightly tastier.
I did enjoy the stewed rhubarb though – LOVE rhubarb!
The breakfast tangines are Kazbah’s signature dish. I recall having one of their tangines here before and enjoyed it. A large tangine was placed before us, a combination of roast pumpkin and lamb mince breakfast tangines. The roast pumpkin tangine consists of roast pumpkin, spinach, roast capsicum, roast tomato caramelised onion, feta and eggs and the lamb mince breakfast tangine consists of lamb mince, sucuk, roast capsicum, roast tomato, caramelised onion, feta and eggs both served with turkish toast and lebanese bread.
I wasn’t a fan of the lamb mince, but only cause I am not a fan of lamb, however, the pumpkin tangine was delightful. Tender succulent roast pumpkin with caramelised onions and several eggs over the top and baked.
We were all getting rather full by now but wait… there’s more food!
Eggs three ways, scrambled, poached and fried served on turkish bread and the hot breakfast plate – bacon, roasted tomato, haloumi, potato hash and lamb merguez sausages. Unfortunately, the meal was lukewarm, getting on the cold side actually. I didn’t enjoy the lamb sausages, the haloumi were over cooked. I don’t think D1 enjoyed this either.
With the hot breakfast plate, we were presented with baby spinach, mushrooms and baked beans. I enjoyed the mushrooms and baked beans more than the not so hot breakfast plate.
We were stuffed but there were more of course! Dessert. Unfortunately, we waited a good 1hr and 20 mins for dessert to come. We had to chase them several times, and each waiter gave us a different answer. ‘Its on the way’, ‘It’s been called away’, ‘I’ll come back’ except they never came back and some ‘even shunned eye contact knowing that we’d ask them about our dessert’. Dessert was pancakes with ice cream – D1 claims that ‘my blind grand mother can whip them up in 5 minutes – not that hard’ and I have to agree.
I have to say, it was a surprisingly HUGE pancake – strawberry pancake with double cream and maple syrup topped with chocolate ice cream. The pancake was thick and I love the crusty exterior, however, I do prefer normal thin pancakes. The chocolate ice cream was creamy and absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, the wait was not worth it.
The service was ordinary that day, I know it was a busy day but still. We asked for ice and we all couldn’t believe that they all ran out of ice, considering it was the weekend of 40+ deg day in Sydney. You would think that they would have unlimited ice?
Lastly, when D1 walked up to the counter to pay, with money in the bill-fold, one of the waiters not in uniform, stood there, putting money in the till took one look at him with his outstretched hand and continues to count money, and ignored him. No wonder it took forever to pay – we were all wondering what was going on.
The breakfast feast was $25 per person, however, food was ok and service awful. I enjoyed the tangines but that was pretty much it. It was a little disappointing as we have all heard raving reviews and were looking forward to a wonderful feast.
I asked D1 if he would go back, his response: ‘are you kidding? Of course not! What a let down.’
Definitely a shame though. The company however was fantastic! IT definitely made up for the crappy service and ordinary food.
GA’s rating: 5 / 10
D1’s rating: 5 / 10
379 Darling Street
Ph: +61 2 9555 7067
I would never have found this place if A didn’t suggest it. She found this restaurant one evening when she and her friends were on a pub crawl around Balmain. It has no connection with the Riverview School which both P1 (A’s husband) and P2 (who came up with the name of the blog)’s school.
It is actually a pub, restaurant on the 1st floor. It’s not a huge restaurant and menu is not extensive, a choice of 3 – 4 dish for each entrée, main and dessert, however, each dish sounded absolutely divine! I thought about the ‘trust the chef’ which consists of 5 courses for $75, however, everyone at the table must have it. However, not everyone wanted this, so we all just got our own entrée, main and dessert.
For entrees, I couldn’t go pass the zucchini flowers. I am a huge HUGE fan of zucchini flowers! A and I have tried making this before, with S, who was also at dinner. We all LOVE zucchini flowers and no guessing what we all had. In fact, 5 out of 6 diners that evening had the zucchini flowers w scallops, prawn, rocket and crab aioli. It again had me at ‘aioli’ – you all know my love for aioli. The zucchini flowers was lightly battered and deep fried, and was stuffed with scallops, prawn, served with rocket and crab aioli. The zucchini flowers was light and tasty, the crab aioli was creamy and divine! It was perfect with the rocket. The whole combination was just fantastic.
T, who is S’s fiancé, ordered something different. He ordered the wagyu beef cheek schnitzel, smoked onion puree, red cabbage, cauliflower piccalilli. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try and of this. I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for what’s to come. T did say that it was tender and delicious.
For mains, I couldn’t pass the pork belly – I am such a sucker for pork belly! Berkshire pork belly, brussel sprouts, ham hock and black pudding ravioli. I was also curious with the black pudding ravioli. I wasn’t sure what black pudding was, it tasted like meat! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect to tell you the truth. So when I googled it, black pudding is actually a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled, also known as blood sausage. It was interesting to say the least.
Now… the pork belly… OMG… the pork belly was tender and succulent and the pork crackle, was crispy and crunchy and cooked to perfection. It was simply divine! The ham cock, brussel sprouts was a great compliment – it gave it a nice flavour.
A had the roast dutton park duck breast and croquette with pickled pear and celeriac. I had a taste of the duck breast and it was incredibly tender. It was rich but absolutely tender!
P had the seared ocean trout, courgette spaghetti, black mussels, king prawn and chorizo. I didn’t have any of this as I was getting rather full. P did say that it was good, however, the ocean trout was a little too cooked. He said medium rare would definitely have been better, but it was still ‘good’.
T had the clare valley scotch fillet, pine mushrooms, pearl onion fondant, carrot puree and truffle mash. The scotch fillet was also tender and cooked to perfection. The truffle mash – divine! I love truffles… prior to our entrees being served, we had bread and truffle butter – and OMG – truffle butter… fantastic!
S had their special which was the rabbit pasta. Unfortunately photo is a little blurry but the rabbit pasta was fantastic. The pasta was cooked to perfection, the rabbit fantastic, and it had a hint of spiciness which was delicious.
We all enjoyed our mains! It was really good, P1 had the same as me – pork belly and he also enjoyed it.
By this stage we were all getting rather full! I have a really sweet tooth and really wanted some of the bread and butter pudding with treacle ice cream. Both P1 and P2 ordered this, and A and I shared one – I simply couldn’t eat a whole dessert but OMG, it was the creamiest, sweetest, moistest bread and butter pudding I have ever tasted! It was absolutely, incredibly fantastic. The caramel sauce was a perfect compliment. It was simply mouth watering!
T had the churros with walnut ice cream and chocolate sauce. I was too stuffed to try some but T did say that it was crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the chocolate sauce – deliciously sweet.
We were all STUFFED! I for one was absolutely satisfied and was deliciously happy. We had a great evening chatting and catching up. I got to know T better and I have to say, he has one fascinating job! It was a great catching up with everyone: A, P1, S, T and P2. Pity C, P2’s wife was not there – she would have also enjoyed the meal.
Will definitely come back and have the ‘trust the chef’ courses! It was definitely the best meal back this trip!
GA’s ratings: 9 / 10
The Riverview Hotel
29 Birchgrove Road
Ph: +61 2 9810 1151