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Dinner at St Ives, Sydney

A gathering, a birthday and a feast. It was the middle of winter in the Sydney region. The food served was eclectic, inspired by traditions from southern China to Penang to Australia. There was relaxed conversation, it was winding down after a working day. Singapore styled pepper chili crab was appetising, whilst the closer of flourless chocolate cake was topped up by brewed Campos coffee. In between, one went through laughter, thoughtful chatter, change of plates, munching of rather sweet mandarins from an Eastwood outlet, delightful smoked tea and the serving of traditional Straits Chinese braised birthday noodles (lam mee).

The mussels moray stood out as an appetiser (above image) followed by the carving of the Beijing roast duck (below), served on paper thin pancake slices, garnished with hoi sin sauce, shallot strips and cucumber bites.

Captivating red syrup flavoured jelly (below) provided a contrast to the heavier items on the menu. Uncle Jimmy also brought his home made kuay chap, a Chiuchow concoction not easily found in Australia but a hit with many southern Chinese immigrants around the world, especially in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. It essentially is a dark coloured broth that blends flavour with bite, as it contains cooked innards of pig or cattle, but treated as comfort food from the past.


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85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Hurstville NSW

There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia.  Did they coem from the USA?

Each franchised outlet is in a busy area, often in suburbs so-called by a diverse Asian demographic.   The one in Hurstville is rather roomy and lots of baked stuff on its shelves.   The base of Sydney operations is in Chester Hill, a suburb south-west of the Sydney city centre.

Some of the cake creations would be viewed as rather leaning on the East Asian dimension  - Strawberry Angel (with chocolate base and top) and Mango Cheese ( with yoghurt).   However, to counter this perspective, there are also Death by Chocolate, US Cheesecake, Coffee Brulee and Blueberry Marble options.    

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The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.

Hot and cold drinks are easily on offer from the cafe (above and below) at very reasonable prices.

Another version of the dish (below) taken whilst Bob Lee was enjoying them in another cafe or coffee shop in Georgetown…