Archive for August, 2010

Big Brekky Cafe, Petersham

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I have been soooo curious about trying this place.  It has ranked many times on the Sydney Morning Herald Good Living’s list of top ten breakfast joints in Sydney.  But I am ever so cautious and reluctant to try places unless they have an online menu so that I can plan exactly what I want to eat, and in fact whether I want to eat there at all.  Well having run out of ideas for last Sunday, I decided to bite the bullet and decided to try it with a couple of friends, toddler in tow.  I called up to make a booking, and was actually very surprised that I was able to do so! And very friendly staff also accepted a request for a high chair.   The cafe is actually not near the shops that marks Little Portugal in Petersham, and is on a corner in the middle of nowhere on New Canterbury Road, Petersham.  When we arrived, I was very thankful we had booked as it was packed and we were told there were no more tables.  Phew for bookings!  We quickly ordered drinks.  Big breaky – need a big hot chocolate!  The bowl was only $4 and came promptly with two marshmallows.  Smooth and chocolate but not in a sickly sweet kind of way like some chocolate cafes.

The menu was HUGE!  Ssssoooo many choices.  It’s a big menu for  a big breakfast. So many different things to try, ranging from bacon and egg rolls to ‘Voluptuous Veg’ – aka poached eggs on green beans and sweet potato and zucchini fritters.  We opted for the sweet corn fritters with poached eggs, spinach, bacon and tomato relish.  Two big corncakes arrived piled high with bacon (a bit crispier would have been better) and lavished with perfectly poached eggs and a dollop of relish.  Check out the size of this mountain of food!! Exactly what I was hoping for and more!  The fritters were not too doughy yet still held together well.  Sort of like chunky pancakes, with a spicy curry flavour from the relish which added a slight heat.

Everyone was eating mushys and their garlicky aroma filled the air as you walk in.  Side of mushys – $3. (more…)

Ripples Cafe, Sydney Wharf

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

First up, let me just say that going to Ripples Cafe, Sydney Wharf on a rainy day is the WORST idea!  Its ideallylic waterfront location on the wharf also makes it a gauntlet for those without umbrella because there is absolutely no cover!  For some moments, it was rainy so heavily we wondered whether the plastic canopy was going to cave in, in fact some parts of it dripped.  But on a fine day, I’m sure it will be entirely spectacular.  Should have known that though, cos the restaurant is 100% outdoors!  Anyway, now that I have stated the disclaimer, let’s look at the delights for those who are lucky enough to go on a fine day!

We were famished by the time we got there, so first up was to order some roasted garlic bread.  Each serve came with four generous wedges of garlic bread with a twist. It was bread with whole baked caramelised cloves through it. And boy was there alot of garlic!  The husband of my manager was said to say “you reek!” when she got home!  But we as a whole team wolfed it all down.  It came served with extra garlic butter, as well as a walnut sauce which was a bit redundant as it was a bit sweet and the bread was sweet anyway.  I would have preferred the garlic to be more integrated into the bread as it was a bit offputting to chew through whole cloves of garlic.

Hunger staved, we could then turn our attention to ordering.  We were having the $29 team lunch, which comprised a choice of one of four courses with a glass of house wine, beer or soft drink; AND tea or coffee at the end.  First choice, was their signature fish and chips.  The fish was hake (ie shark), which is not atypical of fish and chips in Australia, but could be improved by using flathead for example.  They were crispy and served on crispy fries.

Second choice was olive crusted slow cooked lamb.. I don’t eat lamb, but was informed that it was braised so tender it fell apart at the mere touch of the fork, and the serving size was also very generous.   Served with mash topped with ratatouille and a basil dressing, it sounded a bit busy with the jus, but that’s just my opinion, uninformed :)

My choice was the sirloin with watercress salad and chips.  The steak was very tender and the salad tangy.  I quite enjoyed it!  I particularly loved the giant chips, stacked like a little block of potato jenga :) (more…)

Bathers Pavillion Afternoon Tea

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Bathers’ Pavillion, Balmoral, is well known for its brunches in the cafe, and also the fine dining restaurant, both sharing an uninterrupted view of Balmoral Beach as you dine.  But did you know that it also offers the best value high tea in Sydney?  It is just $50 for two people, and really does make you think why other Sydney hotels charge so much for around the same thing, minus the view!  Bathers’ Pavillion takes a more casual approach, no stuffy waiters and elegant china here!  This is very well suited to its large proportion of families that come her also much more affordable at $25 instead of $50+ per person.  The napkins are brightly coloured, and suit the seaside type of interiors inside.

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Also unlike other stuffy high teas in Sydney, Bathers does NOT put everyone’s food onto the one tea stand in an attempt to make it not look stingy! Bathers puts two persons food on the one stand, no need to make it look good value because it already is!

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Many people eat savoury sweet sweet, but for me, I start with hot then move to savoury then to sweet.  First up, scones!  One each, still warm, and of a good size, served with whipped cream and strawberry jam.  High tea purists might argue that clotted cream or double cream should be served.  But I prefer my cream with as little saturated fat as possible, it makes it much less heavy.

Bathers Pavillion afternoon Tea 4 scones.jpg (more…)

The Hummingbird Bakery, London

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Last year, I bought the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, based purely on the beautiful traditional home baked goodies that filled its pages.  A year later, I was lucky enough to get to visit London, and purely by coincidence, managed to pass the actual store whilst exploring trendy Soho!  You can’t miss it, as the book is so true to the store – the pink bird sitting on top of the painted font (a hummingbird dare I say? ;) ) and the striking red shelves with its wares on display.

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Inside the store, it’s even cuter, with pink cupboards, pink and brown checkered floor and rows and rows of perfect cupcakes behind glass display cabinets. (I didn’t notice this lovey dovey couple on the left until I got home, the guy blended so well with the decor ;) ).  The restaurant has a row of benches where you can eat it (it costs more though) and enjoy a coffee.

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All the treats from the book are on display here.  The most popular is the red velvet, and of course the traditional vanilla cupcake, each is adorned with a lick of pastel cream.  New flavour of the day was the earl grey tea flavour.

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These mounds of calories and goodness were in fact rocky roads, rather than rocky road topped cupcakes as I had imagined.

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Apart from the cupcakes, Hummingbird Bakery also has large cakes. Sadly, I didn’t realise you could buy these by the slice, until too late :(

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Despite the fact that I was still full from lunch, I decided I did not want to carry around a cupcake whilst shopping. So I had to eat one there. Eating in costs just slightly more – but at least it allowed me to dissect what’s so good about these cupcakes :) After much agonising deliberation, I decided on a chocolate cupcake for something different, swathed in a gorgeous lemon coloured vanilla frosting. (more…)