Cuckoo Callay: Food Review

Food

Located: Newtown Railway station, 324A King St, Newtown NSW 

Opening Hours: 

Monday – Friday (6am – 4pm)
Saturday (8am – 4pm)
Sunday (8am – 3pm)

 

Newtown is definitely a foodie hub that I want to explore more of so I dropped by one afternoon for a quick meal at Cuckoo Callay. This cafe is tucked right outside Newtown Station and you feel so at-home once you set foot inside. The waitress was so lovely and helped give this cafe much of its pleasant character. Classic white walls and sleek awnings frame the exterior but when you look closer, there are definite drops of retro, as you’ll see with their lighting, flooring and tables/chairs.

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Capuccino $4

When this was brought out, it looked like another level of coffee; it looked so incredibly silky and milky. I don’t think this photo does any justice because I crown this as the most beautiful coffee I’ve ever seen. Their coffees use a house blend called ‘Alchemy’ which is produced locally in Marrickville.

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Chamellia Organic Matcha Green Tea Latte $4.5

This looked really kawaii. I appreciate the Hello Kitty and its organic origins, but it just tasted like warm milk. The green tea flavour was too subtle to notice.

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The Sideways Shuffle $24

This dish reminds me of summer. It’s light, refreshing, colourful and dotted with little blobs of lemon jelly and flowers. The egg actually toppled off when they served it, so when you get your Sideways Shuffle, it will look taller and grander than shown. I’m actually really into eggs when they’re cooked this way; 63 degrees, in wobbly form and encased in slippery egg white. The blue swimmer crab cake was also really delicious with the avocado, corn and salsa bits. A very satisfying and tasty dish.

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We Found Mary’s Lamb $23

As its name suggests, this was not a great ending for the lamb. This dish was on the drier side with tough meat despite being cooked for 8 hours. The ingredients didn’t seem to blend as well as I imagined it would when I had read it on the menu; the ingredients just felt separate from each other. Despite there being Israeli couscous, spicy chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yoghurt and pistachios, there was no magical umami blend. It sounded fancy on paper but it was nothing special.

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M.A.C CosmeChips $14

Another case of, “I got this because it looked good on Instagram.” I don’t even like Mac n Cheese but I hoped that eating pretty food would mean a satisfying meal. When I had my first bite, I almost felt happy-tears. It is truly the perfect combination of flavours and ingredients; there is nothing not to love about this dish. Cheesy and creamy textures with flavoursome bacon bites and really good chips. This is a must-try.

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Cuckoo Callay is a gem with great vibes and a fairly extensive menu. Gluten-free options and a kids menu are available plus believe it or not, a pets menu. There are various cocktails, beers and wines too for those anytime drinkers. 

One thing I love about this cafe is their commitment to ethical trading practices and their local sources. It definitely does its part for the community, enforcing a positive change in the way we consume and source food. I think a lot of people will appreciate their free-range eggs, award-winning pork, Jersey cow milk (my favourite!) and freshly handpicked vegetables.

Really wanted to try some cakes and desserts afterwards, but for 2 people, the 3 dishes we ordered were more than enough.

Recommended: M.A.C CosmeChips, The Sideways Shuffle

xoxo Paula

White picket fences

Music, Personal

As the Olympians have been preparing to compete in Rio, I’ve been making my way to piano eisteddfods in pretentious dresses that I’ve found no occassion for otherwise. It doesn’t sound like much of an event, and honestly it isn’t when compared to something like the Olympics, but when I thought about my long hiatus from competitive stages, the stress made it seem larger than life.

During this period of preparation, I actually noticed that sport and music were really similar; the endless hours of training and practise, the bid to push yourself to move just those milliseconds faster, the determination to be your absolute best. Both careers mandate excellence in high-pressure environments and both sportsmen and musicians alike aim to get one step closer to perfection with each new day. There’s so much work to be done behind the scenes, so much pressure to be at your peak form that with music, I find it is just as much about refined technique as it is tremendous passion and just as much about frustration and failure as it is about enrichment of the soul. 


It’s been 5 long years… I have really taken a great deal of time off from the competitive side of piano-playing and I feel the years would likely have rolled on into eternity had I not snapped out of my self-encasing doubt. 

Piano competitions used to be a religious routine since I was 7, but as a kid, it was different; you just did it. Your parents enrolled you in something and it was just another activity to do to pass the time in your day. As adults though, oftentimes stress, illogical emotions and the ease with which you can simply choose to give up finds itself in the mix and it really stops you from being in an ideal state of mind. As each year whizzed by during this time off, I lost more and more chunks of my sense of foundation and my need to perform at a high-standard. 

My purpose in playing was chipping away and I dipped my toes in other things, trying to find the passion I felt I had lost. However, with the numerous new beginnings I realised one important thing; the problem was never really with piano itself. The problem was actually always with me. 

The issue wasn’t with what I was doing, it was with how I was doing it. It was simply a lack of zest with my approach to my activities which caused this internal conflict to build up, making me think that I was better suited to other things. So many people seem to fall into this trap; they chase passions blindly, thinking that they can find happiness simply by pursuing a different path. However, they usually find that they’re just as miserable as before even in new settings. Attitude is the absolute key. So instead of trying to search for passion, try taking passion into the work that you are doing. This shift in perception makes you realise that happiness can be found almost anywhere. For me, in these recent weeks, I’ve become more and more aware of my direction, learning a lot about myself, others and life in the process.  

In terms of what I’ve rediscovered, I think the attribute I’m most thankful to re-embody is confidence and belief in myself. I actually have some friends to thank for making me see myself in another light, making me see the limits I had unconsciously imposed. 

Fear stops you from doing a great deal. It makes you become comfortable with not trying, enclosing you behind pretty fences, leaving you to doubt your potential and capabilities. Don’t do that, don’t allow yourself to stagnate. Life, you’ll find, exists between your greatest fear and your deepest desire. Just make sure you keep dancing in between. 

xoxo Paula 

Waku ghin

Food, Travel

Being a big fan of tetsuya’s, I just had to visit waku ghin whilst in Singapore. The website doesn’t state any prices, so I had to do some Google research to fit this trip into my travel budget. I initially assumed the dinner would be around $450 p.p. This would be a $900 dinner…but I thought why not?

Waku ghin is located in marina bay sands; an architectural masterpiece, and home to many luxury brands. The atmosphere is definitely “upper class”. Unlike the relaxed atmosphere of tetsuya’s Sydney. We were running a bit late, and upon arrival we were seated to the right of the teppanyaki grill next to 2 other couples. We were quickly brought to speed on the past 20minutes (the courses typically come out at the same time for all the guests).

The food:


The tuna was fresh and seared to perfection. A great start to our dinner.

Waku ghin’s signature: marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscientra caviar. Eaten with a mother of pearl spoon. A.K.A the culprit for the price of the dinner. This dish definitely earned its place as waku ghin’s signature. Every mouthful of urchin was rich and just melts in your mouth. Coupled with the botan shrimp’s soft crunchy texture and generous heap of caviar, you will be transported to a gastronomical dreamland.

I don’t remember this dish much but can you blame me? I was still revelling from the Uni..

Taking me out of my uni trance was this lump of salt that had been sitting on the table for a while now…I thought it was covering something, sort of curing it but no. It was just a huge lump of salt.

The chef used the salt to cook these beautiful Alaskan king crab legs. Being Asian, I’m a BIG fan of seafood. Especially crab. But I was quite disappointed in this dish. Don’t get me wrong, the crab meat was soft, juicy, and generous but it was accompanied with lemon and lime scented extra virgin olive oil. It had hints of citrus, but I’m someone that loves strong flavours that pack a punch. Doesn’t help that our previous trip was to Thailand either…

Moving on..

Purée of potato, quail egg, French winter truffle. Watching 3 chefs simultaneously work together to create this dish was amazing. The amount of work needed to go into this one dish was mind boggling. As always, waku ghin was extremely generous with the truffles. The potato was light and creamy, with a strong truffle flavour. On first bite, it reminded me of a dish that I’ve had before in tetsuya’s Sydney but couldn’t quite wrap my head around which dish until it hit me: truffle butter. Tetsuya’s famous truffle butter. The last time I was at tetsuya’s I ate this butter by the spoonful (no shame), and even bought a jar to take home. I absolutely loved this creamy, truffle dish. It might even be tied with the sea urchin for first place.


Braised Canadian lobster with French tarragon. I could’ve eaten a whole pot of this! Umami without being too heavy, a punch of flavours served with some bread to dip (I could’ve drank it tbh).


Japanese Ohmi wagyu. Not as good as wakkoqu melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef but a strong second place. Let us take a moment and relish the marbling on this amazing piece of meat. Cut like butter, and was perfect with wasabi and garlic chips (my new fav steak accompaniment after Japan).

We were next given a choice of ochazuke or somen. What did we choose?

Answer: both. We were planning to order one each and share but being the generous people that they are, they let us all have one each. The table was ecstatic. This was probably the best chazuke I’ve had to date.


For dessert, we were moved to another area of the restaurant to enjoy the amazing night view mbs has to offer. First up: tetsuya’s take on blueberry cheesecake. Icy, creamy, delicious. But it lacked the biscuit base that is iconic to a cheesecake and was replaced with a crunchy sugar tuile…I prefer the biscuit base..#basicbitch

Next: Tetsuya’s chocolate cake. Incredibly indulgent, layered with vanilla, chocolate, and macadamia. One word: perfection. This dish never fails to impress with its combination of flavours and textures.

3rd time having this cake and I still can’t make a pretty cut…

Petit fours. I love tetsuya’s petit fours because they’re always such a surprise. These were almost too cute to eat!

At the end of our degustation course, we were gifted macarons from patisserie platine (owned by Tetsuya). I think it was to promote the patisserie and it is definitely a place I will visit the next time I’m in Singapore. These were probably one of the best macarons I’ve had (might even be better than Zumbo’s).

The bill came, and instead of the $450p.p. we were expecting, it ended up being $550p.p. That definitely broke our Singapore budget…but it was a nice experience. Would I go again? Probably not. It is definitely a dining experience I would recommend though. The service is first class, and the food is amazing but it still won’t justify the $550 price tag for me. Not to mention my mum would flip if she found out I had a $550p.p. meal. But it is worth to go and try the sea urchin for the first time.

xoxo Robyn

Saké Restaurant and Bar: Food Review

Food

Those who have eaten out with me will know that it is imperative to take photos of my food before eating. I have endured a lot of semi-disparaging glances in my time as a food blogger but recently, I came to question why the restaurant count was becoming exponentially greater than my blogpost count. I hadn’t done a food post in months; am I making my friends and I eat cold food for nothing?!

With this realisation, I have resolved to give you my recommendations for all the restaurants that I’ve ventured inside this past year. Hopefully you’ll get a better idea of the food scene here in Sydney after this. So without further ado, here is my first post about my most recent night out to Saké.

Located: 12 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 

Opening Hours:

Lunch
Monday – Sunday (12-3pm)

Dinner
Monday – Thursday (5:30pm – 10:30pm)
Friday – Saturday (5:30pm – 11:3opm)
Sunday (5:00pm – 10:00pm)

We booked a table for 3 and walked in at about 9pm. The “traditional style Japanese table seating” was so gorgeous but like most cases of beauty, it involved a bit of pain getting into. It took an embarrassingly long while just settling into seat with legs and arms flailing about in the most awkward directions just to land into the gap. Thank God I was wearing pants.

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Chirashi Salad $16

This small salad was fresh and full of flavour with a pleasant mix of textures. The sashimi and noodles were tossed well in a yuzu sauce and the tempura flaked atop added just the right amount of crunch. It can be quite salty so I wouldn’t recommend mixing in too much of that black sauce.

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Alaskan King Crab Maki $20

What can go wrong with fresh sushi? Like nothing.

It came in a great size to just pop the whole thing into your mouth. Great mix of ingredients and light and balanced in flavour. Had to call the waiters over for soy sauce though which required a bit of patience. 

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Miso-Cream Scallops $34

My favourite thing to eat when dining at any Japanese restaurant is scallop. This creamy dish was just great and the scallops had a beautiful texture and colour. The creamy yellow sauce made even the vegetables taste amazing on their own. My tip is to make sure to eat this as soon as it comes out because it doesn’t taste as great when it’s cooled down.

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Braised David Blackmore’s Wagyu Brisket $39

Beautiful plating and once again, the sauce was just divine. The meat fell apart fairly easily but I still had a bit of a difficult time chewing. If only it were a bit softer. Still the sauce did not let anyone down and neither did the eggplant, which was surprisingly flavoursome.

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Miso Caramelized ‘Glacier 51’ Toothfish $42

This fish was just stunning and as soft as fish can be. The Japanese-inspired sauces at Saké really can’t be faulted. The only thing is I wish they had added more of that sauce because we definitely finished that too quickly. Make sure to eat this with the pickles too. Adds a refreshing and zesty kick to the fish.

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The mood here is great and the interiors have really been well-designed with woody tones and bright flashes of colour. I love the dim lighting and I love how the tables are adorned with orange blossoms. It is such a chic restaurant and it’s quite accessible as well, not too far a walk from Circular Quay.

The only fault that I had was with the service. We had to ask so many times to get our order taken and then there was a series of forgetfullness with getting us drinks and then with refilling the teapot. However, we did come around 9pm so I just assumed that they were all just getting a bit tired. Also about the “traditional” seats; despite being awkward to get into, they are exceptionally comfortable once you’re in.

For 3 people, the 5 dishes we got was a decent amount of food. However, I would recommend more dishes if you like being really satisfied after dinner. 

Recommend: Chirashi Salad, Miso Caramelized Toothfish, Miso-Cream Scallops

xoxo Paula