Showing posts from June, 2014

Wild Moose Cafe- North Wollongong NSW

Please note that the Wild Moose has since September 2014 moved to 40 Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow, NSW 2519.  It has since closed in 2015.

Cosmopolitan, with hints of cross culturalism, a definite haven of rugby union gatherings and unique offerings in the regional city of Wollongong NSW.  This is the Wild Moose, with a primary heritage of South African cuisine, clever touches of Scandinavian and feeling comfy as a breakky and brunch hideaway.  I tried the Cape Town risotto and was struck positively by its inherent flavours, with chunky pieces of pumpkin, roasted pine nuts and tasty bites of chicken.  I eyed the Zanzibar chicken but saved it for next time.

There is a rather extensive menu for a place that does not open in the evenings (except for Friday evenings, when it is open till late with live music) and also does not operate from Mondays to Wednesdays.  The Boer heritage means a good drinks list (Swedish Mojito and Shaken Margarhita stand out)  with Fair trade organic coffee. …

Redfern Sydney - Eveleigh Street Markets, Breakfast Time


Helensburgh Hindu Temple - Canteen Delights

Nestled in the bush at Helensburgh NSW, in the vicinity of the Sri Vankateswara Hindu Temple grounds sited on a hill at the northern end of the Illawarra coast, lies an unassuming canteen which offers delights in Indian vegetarian cuisine.  If driving by car, you have to turn off the ramp from the main highway south of Waterfall and not head towards Wollongong and the NSW South Coast.   City trains do have scheduled runs to Helensburgh, but it is a distance to navigate from the station to the Temple at Temple Road. The place is packed with crowds on religious festive days and Sundays, but it is always wise to plan your trip and arrive early , meaning like around 1030 am.  The canteen opens at 10am on weekends. The menu consists mainly of dosas, breads, rotis, deep fried snacks, yummy vegetarian curry and yogurt based dipping accompaniments.  Even the 'blank" dosas are delightful as they are light and easy.  An interesting combination is the dhalpuri, a version of the roti th…

The Dough Collective


Ajisen Ramen from Kumamoto- Sydney NSW

There can be such a big number of ramen stalls and restaurants these days in any large city around the world.  What makes one more attractive or better in taste or experience when compared to another?

Ajisen stock soup, although still based on pork bone flavours, is not so thick, provides a different taste and yet can be addictive in a different way.  The hard boiled eggs have a yellow yolk instead of orange.  The X factor for me was the chill condiment, not overly hot, but gives a flavour kick till I finished almost all the soup, once I got the condiment stirred in.   Those who prefer a lighter sensation with their ramen can try the Ajisen recipe. On my most recent visit, I tried the in-house version but I also noticed a tom yum version of ramen soup.   Is that taking cross- cultural vibes too far? Maybe not, as the ramen model has successfully transposed itself across various cultures and countries.

I found the gyoza (pan-fried dumplings) lovely and with a wonderful blend of cut in…

Citizen Corner, Surry Hills Sydney

It is not a brightly lit place and does not have too many tables.   Sited on a corner outlet, which could have the old dairy store or small pub long ago in Surry Hills, the Citizen Corner  is however walkable from Sydney's Central Station and bus terminus.  The Hills have sloping roads, though most with gentle gradients, at the southern end of the CBD.  Key roads like Albion, Bourke and Crown compete with Devonshire for the location of several interesting culinary experiences, offering mostly modern Australian, several breakfast and brunch places and trendy night gathering holes.  In the Hills, not all the culinary and foodie outlets are easily clustered in more obvious hubs - and they can be dispersed.  So Citizen Corner was relatively easy to find.

The demographic is twenty something, alternative, double income no kids and battlers.  The restaurant customers do come from the eastern suburbs, inner city hubs and tourist profiles.   You have places that open early and do not see …

Vivid Sydney


Lady J Cafe & Wine Bar - Bondi Junction, Sydney

A bit away from the mall and Westfield at Bondi Junction, at the far end of Oxford Street, you come across two very different food concept outlets but located side by side, not exactly conjoined twins but almost. Lady J has an west coast US feel plus Spanish influences, especially in its tables, cutlery boxes and food styles.  The Paleo lists out organic ingredients.  It was a nippy Sunday morning and the obvious choice was for warm comfort breakfasts and a strong but good cup of Gabriel barista coffee.   The decor also had more character at Lady J, with its pervasive wood feel, so it had a more natural appeal on the rather first cool weekend of winter for Sydney this year.  I could not help comparing this to a smaller version of Wollongong CBD's Three Chimneys - hey this was a bar, cafe and modern Australian outlet with a special feel, in Sydney's iconic eastern suburbs.

Service was prompt, friendly and unobtrusive. There are not many tables but they were spaced beautifully.…

What A Ten Dollar Note Means

What difference does a ten dollar note mean? When I first migrated to Australia, that represented more than my budget for breakfast and lunch during a working day in the Big Smoke.  25 years later the same note has less meaning, has reduced value and is worth only a shadow of its former self....or is it?   In plastic form, the Australian ten dollar note looks more sprightly, feels better and is actually more durable than its paper version of many years ago.  I examine one again and notice more security features, better design and a more friendly feel.

When commuter trips have risen in price, coffee and tea with a biscuit can add to ten dollars in a fancy cafe setting you get to enjoy for under an hour. A simple potted plant comes up to more than this amount when you check out at the counter of a nursery. A freshly squeezed fruit or veg juice cup is creeping up to around that for large.   However when you purchase things in bulk, you get more out of this note. In wholesale markets, yo…

Gumshara Ramen - Sydney Chinatown

The progress of what was simply street food with noodles and tasty soup, whether it is referred to as ramen in this contemporary age, or called shina soba until the 1950s, is a  fascinating journey of cultural fusion, care for ingredients and continuing innovation. Soba can be unique to what we know as Japanese cuisine, but the ramen is said to be a Japanese way of saying la mian in Mandarin, literally meaning hand pulled noodles.  Depending on which part of Asia you visit, there are various versions of such hand made noodles, apart from the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East.  The mainland Chinese form of such a dish was already cooked in thick and starchy concoctions of gravy.

Today this thickness in noodle soup dishes was confronted by me at the Gumshara Ramen stall in the often crowded but unassuming food court at the end of Dixon Street, Sydney Chinatown, bordering with Goulburn Street.   Never have I seen such gooey richness and concentrated so-called soup accompanying no…