Showing posts from May, 2015

Bowery Lane, Sydney

We were ushered into the inner chambers.  Our on-line booking was deftly recognised.   End of week,  there was relaxed chatter.  It was first floor and we could see the ground lobby through the glass enclosure.  The name of the restaurant evokes the Big Apple, of course.   The American site reminds one of mansions, cocktails, connections to farms and the Old World.   I was half-thinking of Kransky sausages, cold beer and a refuge from the world outside - yes, they do have that every Thursday evening, with the late night shopping hours in Sydney.  In fact, every week night has a theme at Bowery lane.

It was a rainy day, the sun had gone hiding and it was windy outside.  Inside, it was so different. I had inadvertently dropped my knife.  Oh yes, JW and I had already started our pre-meal cocktails.

The cutlery knife slooshed gently through to the carpet.  The lady staff member offered a replacement fast, she made me and my mate feel relaxed and had a gentle sense of humour. She transfor…

Kin by US, Macquarie Park Sydney

The Australian food scene has leapt by bounds especially in the past dozen years.  Fusion, innovation and boldness seem to be the common thread in striking new offerings in cuisine, setting and taste.  It seemed inevitable - the country is located in the Asia-Pacific, a region with swirling flows of demographics, cultural inspiration and inter-mingling of produce and styles.

Cuisine is never static, driven by the requirements of greater movements of different tribes, powered by a richer customer base looking for variety and transformation.  When East met West in the past, for example in the period of Western colonialism, creativity flourished, new and old ingredients raised expectations and opportunities translated into fascinating options.

I was told of the possible interplay of cooking styles and ingredients in this cafe restaurant sited in the hub of an emerging new world in the north-west of Sydney. Many migrants with a south-east Asian background live in this residential corrid…

Sifters Espresso - Wollongong NSW

Perhaps this is the most consistent gathering of bearded hipsters south of Surry Hills.  Fronted by a funky clothes shop Minty Duds, the sloping lane from Market Street leads to a fete like location of paved tar, several forms of seating, a caravan park like setting, a hidden world beside alleys as if you are in Melbourne and one of the best coffees this side away from the Grounds off Alexandria.  And the food, partnering with Son of A Gun, complements the coffee focus, the crowd demographic and the daily opening hours.   On a nice day, the theme is sky blue.

Puddles there may be on a persistently rainy day, but you can rely on the Sifters, as surely as you can find a hard copy of Future Perfect magazine there.   There are potted plants on the side, apparently mobile loos, art pieces hanging around and easy parking on the adjoining Victoria Street (weekends are free).  Most just walk in from the nearby GPT shopping centre or Wollongong's burgeoning food street - Keira.  Every tim…

Kurtosh House No 5 - Wollongong NSW

With an Eastern Euro feel, founded by Israeli and French entrepreneurs, staffed by friendly Aussies and with a branch found in a regional city. What more could I ask for, but wait there is more...the Kurtosh No.5 (in the context of the greater Sydney area anyway) is located in a  literally, figuratively and trendy cool place, beside Globe Lane in the CBD, an offshoot from the pedestrian Crown Street Mall.

 This cafe has  a long shape inside, so deep far in that a couple could while away long hours without being interrupted.  Its entrance is not so obvious but provides two choices, one to the amazing display of its produce and creations, with another allowing customers to push baby prams in.    A clue -it is opposite the San Churro and adjacent to His Boy Elroy.   Inside there are dim lights, darkened brick in the raw walls and cosy tables.

What does the word Kurtosh signify?  I can think of the KurtosKalacs, once a festive treat and a favourite of Hungarian nobility, now more access…

Big Tree House Cafe, Rydalmere NSW

The yummy Eggs Benni for breakky.

It is a delightful to find a city centre styled cafe in the north-western Sydney suburbs.  Vehicle parking is much easier, the Opal card relevant bus from both Parramatta and Eastwood does pass by on the adjoining Park Road (but alas only on weekdays) and there is a train station at Dundas (but on  the much maligned City Rail Carlingford line, with not very regular trains and the need to change at Clyde).   Putting all these minor transport irritations aside, I reckon the Big Tree House is a gem of a place, with a relaxed atmosphere, tree lined roads, friendly staff, Campos coffee and a variety of creative menu items for breakfast, brunch and lunch.  The setting is residential but the mood can be hipster in an area bound by Kissing Point and Victoria Roads.   My experience there has been its popularity with youngsters, families, hipsters, trades, business twosomes, women's groups, mates and dates.

There are not many items on the menu as I reckoned,…

Din Tai Fung - Miranda Fair Sydney

Taiwan styled Dian Xin* can be different from the Cantonese Dim Sum*, although both expressions in variations of the Chinese language refer to the ritual of partaking in and sampling small tapa-like dishes for variety in flavours and texture.  Historically such get togethers were meant for the early morning, with modern society norms and pressures extending it to a brunch and lunch thing.    Din Tai Fung and Shanghai-inspired outlets around the world have extended the availability of such food for evenings these days, although with a stop for the staff after 3pm and before 530pm each day.

The other noted difference is that such "touch of the heart" cuisine offering restaurants as a general practice do not allow table bookings - customers come as you are and then only we shall seat you, perhaps reflecting the Asian penchant for best facilitating revenue turnover, but also removing the potential conflicts in misunderstood communication, errors in bookings and so forth. Yum ch…

Tim Ho Wan Restaurant - Chatswood Sydney

The deco is modern, emphasising on tables for twosomes.   The staff that afternoon did look stressed out, although it was not a really busy time by THW experience.  Asking for drinking water involved a few times trying - the wait staff were not very communicative as well, seemingly pressured to clear tables and bring in the ordered dishes than  doing anything else.

Customers reflect the Hong Kong Gen Y anime loving spectrum - and the cooler climes of mid-autumn here did help in dressing up.  There were the old timers scattered across the tables, obviously relishing of good old times in the Fragrant Harbour.  Non-Chinese Australians seemed happy with the menu, which consists of only twenty-five items - what a brilliant idea for a business model, which incorporates the difficult-to-discard concept of encouraging table turnover,  an easy to order picture menu card and quick working staff to bring in dishes within an impressive five minutes after ordering.

The lady at the payment count…

Milking the Aussies - and Not Doing Anything In Return

Rising competition from other economies is one reality that Australia and its government have to grapple with seriously for the future.  The media here is full of reasons and analysis as to why the nation is potentially facing its greatest economic crisis in 25 years - leading us on a merry go round of "oh, it is due to falling demand from China, the sad and significant fall in iron ore prices, etc., etc..."   
What the country's politicians and economic experts do not sufficiently recognise is the lack of action required from within - and not external factors - to innovate, be more productive, change the mindset of economic action and to take more responsibility to find solutions, instead of continually reacting to events or just patch working with temporary solutions.
Fiscal discipline in the eighties had brought benefits and set the tone for the long years of economic prosperity and growth until the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century.  A rethink is re…