Showing posts from May, 2016

Alpha Espresso Bar Epping NSW

Families and couples were digging into their food that late weekend morning.  The menu can be limited and this made me think this is more of your suburban cafe.   Formerly a Pablo & Rusty franchise joint, what first caught my interest was to have good coffee - and this met my high expectations.

The place  is more narrow and deep in kind of layout in the old style rather than more contemporary wider shop fronts.  Weekend papers are strewn over the tables like a hub for breakky devotees.    For me this cafe was just a pit stop between different points on a busy schedule.   So it is not right for me to evaluate or comment further on the food at this juncture.

The location near Epping Rail Station and linked bus stops can be useful.Alpha's competitors could be the Nero Cafe further towards Oxford Street or the facility rooms at the Epping Club near Coles Supermarket.

Toilets are at the back outside but its maintenance could be improved that day.  I find a dearth of public accessible …

Kingston & Co. Espresso Bar & Diner Chatswood NSW

Poached eggs, pasta, pulled pork, sliders, fish and chips, Nachos, grilled steak, burgers, fish........ you can have it all at KAC.     Diners sit in a semi-industrial interior and in Chatswood, also have a choice of experiencing eating in a self-contained section with glass which is beside a narrow lane that is used by vehicles.on a relatively not so cold day - this to me is the preferred area to gather and everyone can see each other, even the passers-by on the pavement.  There is also an entrance to Westfield nearby.

I sense a delay in getting the food to the table but the serving size is wholesome for most menu items.    More impressive is how the tall young man organises customers, allows sufficient time for each diner to make a choice and then interacts with a friendly but efficient manner.

The underlying philosophy for KAC is to champion good ingredient local producers,  like Country Milk.    I was a bit curious about the mascot doggie in their business logo but forgot to ask.   …

Passion Tree Cafe Chatswood NSW

I have been drawn in different directions from the feedback I get from friends on this Passion Tree Cafe.   We can agree on Zumbo, Christopher The, Pishon and Messina, but I get two waves of strong opinions about this Korean set up above Chatswood rail station.

One, it has desserts that you would come back for, purposefully, and not just because you by chance happen to be near by and need to kill some time off waiting or checking the smart phone.

Two, some things are not what they make you expect to be and some are rather pricey for what  you get.  The coffee is so so and not comparable with those dished out by hipster bearded guys at rustic looking dug outs across the Sydney landscape.

Peanut bread with honey butter, cakes, chocolate Fondue, macaroons, cheesecakes and Tortes all served here seem to have no issues with my foodie mates. 

Two particular servings are at dispute in my network.

Patbingsoo  - is it more of the quality of fruit offered, rather than in the making and serving of th…

King Dynasty Chinese Restaurant Chatswood NSW

The King Dynasty says they are meat and steak specialists.  Located at the former site of Kam Fook, it may be a good stop by before or after a Hoyts cinema show and in between shopping.  The morning we were at this restaurant, all fourteen of us, we had a corner table, as big as Chinese as they come, with a strategic view of the early yum cha crowd.

Taro deep fried as in Woo Kok  ( or yam puffs)  芋角   stood out crunchy and not over salty.  The barbecue pork buns were my next favourite, with fluffy dough and appetising char siew inside.   I enjoyed the smooth and yummy veg lightly sauteed in oyster sauce.  The mango pudding in a plastic cup was a tad dry, much a disappointment to my preferred bouncy texture as you scoop in.  

The baked Char Siew So was a winner, a fav amongst my non-Chinese mates.   Chinese favoured congee was there, the ubiquitous version with century old egg and minute bits of chicken - and it was served rather delightfully warm despite a cold morning outside.
Our table…

Bourke Street Bakery Alexandria NSW

There are many branches of the Bourke Street Bakery these days.   I recall when the first outlet was set up, with a sense of uniqueness, hip and excitement.

Roll forward and I find myself back at the Alexandria outlet, a corner shop with faded exterior walls, still sited at a strategic corner at the junction of Gardeners Road and Ellis Avenue.   Alexandria is a suburb being transformed, moving from its light industrial, warehousing and storage landscape to having more high rise units blocks, in the footsteps of nearby Waterloo.  Vehicle parking is best at near by Bunnings and Harvey Norman - do some shopping and walk a bit to the cafe. 

The menu other than breads is rather limited at this outlet - I am a bit surprised that many other stand alone cafes these days do offer more.    I did on the side buy take away chicken pies.  Is the location limiting the menu here, perhaps aimed for tradies and workers on weekdays and then for discount homeware shoppers on weekends?

In a quick pit stop, …

Don Campos Alexandria NSW

I am glad that I no longer have to go to traffic heavy Newtown anymore just to get my cuppa of Campos blend coffees in Sydney.  No more vehicle parking hassles  - and more space for every one when one sits down at a table for a moment.  

I love the business layout concept at 21 Fountain Street, possible an ex-warehouse turned hipster hub and gathering central.    At Don Campos here, you could start your weekend morning here and move on to lunch or brunch at its neighbours - all within the same building, what a good idea if it is so windy or rainy outside.

With a transparent counter and barista area, the bonus in this Waterloo joint are the big wide glass windows looking out, not just on to the street but also at the big blue sky that is iconic of Australia - just ask any Londoner or Scandinavian mate.    You can even watch the youngsters making dough through an open glass bakery prep room - they look enjoying themselves at their craft, passion and work.  There is a rustic, wooden ambian…

Crystal Seafood Restaurant Carlingford NSW

The stand out was the steamed fish.  The soft juicy bite combined well with the gentle but flavourful light gravy, gracefully with aromatic sensations of the ginger, shallots and succulent seafood.  I must say it was a master piece, more than what I have experienced in most other Cantonese restaurants in Australia.   Steamed fish is the outcome of technique, the quality of the fish itself and knowing when to serve and stop steaming.   There are choices in Morwong, Barramundi, Parrot fish or Silver Perch.   My fellow diners had the Red Morwong this time around.

The much favoured claypot of vermicelli for southern Chinese dinners perhaps is a significant  test for Cantonese cuisine.  Usually cooked with seafood like prawns, lobster or Mud crab, the texture of the noodles combines with the flavours of the ocean  to produce an exquisite yet wholesome experience for the palate.    XO sauce is utilised but the freshness of the sea produce is also on test.

I did find the vermicelli  smoky flav…

White Rabbit Cafe Keiraville NSW

The White Rabbit Cafe gives the feel of being home in a small village. with people you must surely know already.   Nestled in the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment, it has a strategic location near the junction of Grey Street and Gipps Road.  There is both indoor and outdoor seating - and the cafe owners support the Rabbitohs of South Sydney NRL.     There is even a shelf of delicate looking porcelain white rabbits on an inside wall.   It is in  a hub of activity not far   from Wollongong city centre itself, but not that near.  The university campus is in an adjacent suburb;  I could even go to the local butcher before dropping by this cafe.

I was happy with my choice of old fashioned Whiting fish and chips, graced by a serve of veg on the side.  The coffee is strong and good.   The people at the cafe are friendly, even to the extent of keeping my butcher's meats in their fridge whilst I was there.   The barista also said someone will take my food orders at my table, instead of…

Harbour Street Wollongong NSW

It looked like it was going to be an evening of Kafta grills, Spinach pastry and  Hummus dips (blended chickpeas with Tahini and lemon juice).

 Here A and I were trying out Harbour Street at Wollongong Harbour.  We chose to sit outside,  even if it was an unusual coolish evening this time around in a rather warm May.  Perfect!  I anticipated a warm cooked dinner with Mediterranean cuisine  -  and it suited me well that the air was slightly nippy.

The lady who welcomed us assured us of the outdoor vertical heater near by our table.  I wondered what can be different here from the other three restaurants in Wollongong providing this cuisine.  Harbour Street has funky coloured mural walls inside and has a wide facade along the southern end of WIN Stadium.   It did not look like a traditional restaurant.  Its site is a logical place for outdoor dining and drinks, especially with events happening nearby with live shows and sports games.

Sweet potato fries and crispy fried garlic chicken wings …