Smoking Gun Bagels

Food

129 Cathedral St, Woolloomooloo (Sydney)

SCONE WRONG

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YID-LIFE CRISIS

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CHAMPAGNE PAPI

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HANDS OFF SNAKEY

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Recommend: “Champagne Papi” (my favourite), “Scone Wrong” and “Yid-Life Crisis”

Paula

Flower Child: Food Review

Food

Location: Shop 391 (Level 3), 1 Anderson Street Westfield, Chatswood NSW

Opening Hours: 

Monday – Sunday (8am-4pm)
Open late Thursdays (8am-9pm) 

A very suitably-named botanic oasis inside Westfield that definitely lives up to the hype. Filled with flowers and an assortment of plants suspended in terracotta pots, it feels like you’re having one of those much-needed moments with nature… Only you’re sitting under a glasshouse of a busy shopping centre.

Cold Drip Filtered Coffee $7

The coffee had strong flavours and delicate, sweet undertones. Really nicely presented on a silver tray with a touch of flora.


Chai Latte $4

This is exactly how I like my chai lattes; creamy with hints of sweetness and peppered with cinnamon on top.

Ocean Trout Bagel $21

If Spring were translated into a dish, I’m guessing it would probably look like this. It’s pretty, refreshing and filling all at the same time. There was the crunch from the croquette and toasted bagel, sweetness from the apple and beetroot, gooeyness from the poached egg and the smoky flavour from the house cured ocean trout. I loved this dish and would definitely recommend it.

Aussie Beef Burger with Fries and Bacon $21

The burger was great with a juicy patty and generous fillings of pineapple, beetroot and caramelised onion. The fries, however, tasted like dry cardboard after some time… The lady next to us had left a whole plate of fries unfinished and I get why because they really don’t taste good when they’ve been sitting for even 10min. So eat them quick! And I’d probably ask for sauce too.

Lychee and Mint Shake $7.5

Great distinct flavours in a gorgeous shade of pale green. Very satisfying lychee taste which wasn’t too overpoweringly sweet; just very icy! I constantly got brain freezes and became a shivering mess so I’d only recommend this when you feel hot and in dire need to cool down.

Moccamaster $4

Coffee lovers will enjoy this. Once again, a very strong, bitter black coffee with an extremely smooth texture.

 

This space is like every girl’s guilty pleasure. I didn’t want to leave. There were so many pretty corners and you really feel like you’ve walked into a refreshing oasis. Only thing is, I felt a bit pressured to eat somewhat quickly as you’ll constantly see waitresses’ talking in their earpieces about seatings and ushering people in and out.

Overall though, it’s a beautiful space and a great place for a catch-up. However, keep in mind that this is a really popular cafe so you might need to wait before being seated. If you’d like to get in quickly, definitely go on a weekday and stay clear of the weekends where you could wait for about 40min. Nonetheless, I would definitely come back to try more of their menu. It’s designed by the people that brought you the Grounds of Alexandria so trust me in saying that it’s a visual paradise.

Recommended: Chai latte, Ocean Trout Bagel

Paula

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

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

 

Purradise

Food, Travel

On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, I visited my first cat cafe! Purradise is a cat cafe with a mission to help rescue cats by giving them a safe environment to be in. They also reinvest the proceeds to support pet fostering and re-homing. Many of the kittizens at the cafe can be adopted, but some are already an essential part of the heart of the cafe, and it would be hard for them to leave their friends and family to move into another home.


All the kittizens are extremely precious, and friendly. The cafe also serves small snacks, and drinks. I had the cake of the day (which happened to be cheesecake), and it was surprisingly a really nice, rich cheesecake. I have found many overly sweet, or Japanese style (cotton) cheesecakes in Asia, so it was a pleasant surprise to find. Not that I don’t like Japanese cotton cheesecakes, but I feel like it doesn’t have the richness of a New York cheesecake.

For a foreigner, the price to visit the cafe is fairly cheap, at RM15(~AUD5) for the first hour (with a free drink), of RM39(~AUD13) for the whole day (with a free drink). They also offer group, and monthly packages.

At the cafe, you can play, cuddle and selfie with the cats. The owners are pretty relaxed, and the cats are pretty much the bosses. They have free reign over the cafe(as it is their home), and after their playtime (around 2pm-4pm), a lot of them get worn out and fall asleep. There are a lot of bean bags for you to sit on(if the cats don’t beat you to it), or you can even share with the kittizens.

Waiting for dinner…

This cafe is a must visit if you’re in KL, and I highly recommend the cake of the day!

Date with Winter

Food, Personal

As Sydney prepares for another low-key Ice Age, I’m trying to cope, running around going on daily scavenger hunts for warm pants to wear. I have never been well-equipped for winter time so once the frostiness hits, I’m like a deer caught in the headlights, still donning my favourite crop and shorts and waving around a swimsuit, asking my friends to go with me to the beach.

Only one good thing comes out of Winter and it’s that cold food tastes infinitely better when it’s actually cold. That is the truth for ice-cream.

My most recent ice-cream visit was to Zero Degrees, the newest Instagram flare up that sells Puffer Fish Ice-cream.


Coming in an edible waffle-cone that is shaped like a fish, it is topped with popping candy, chocolate icing and fruit. This combination was so good and I particularly liked the crunchiness of the waffle.  Hidden inside the cone was red-bean, just like the traditional Taiyaki and it was stellar.

Contrary to how it looks in photos, the fish waffle is actually quite small and both flatter and harder to hold than it seems. Keep in mind that the soft serve is quick to melt and a big chunk of my icecream actually fell on the ground much to my horror.

But if asked whether I’d get it again? Hell yeah.

 Location: [Regents Place] 501 George St, Sydney (Down the escalator)


xoxo Paula

 

 

Cafe Oratnek: Food Review

Food

Located: 4 Pitt St, Redfern NSW 2016 

Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday (7am-4pm), Sunday (8am-4pm)

They also do dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings.


Matcha Latte $4.20/4.90

Not going to lie, I came here mainly for this drink. It has the perfect amount of bitterness for me, but some people might be used to the more sugary versions at other cafes. I had it with one sugar in it and I found myself appreciating this plainer taste.

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On Toast: Spicy miso minced pork, fried eggplant, sansho pepper $14

This is a must-have. The flavour of the meat is exceptional and balances really well with the eggplant. It is a new addition to their breakfast menu and it’s definitely one of my favourites now. Although it says spicy, it wasn’t really that spicy…

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Sandwich: Pulled chicken, japanese curry, cheese, leaves, mayo $12

This had a nice, typical japanese curry taste. Not very spicy, but very juicy and generous on the sauce. Normally, I don’t like this kind of bread but with the thick sauce, it didn’t actually taste bad or dry. It could have had a bit more cheese, but overall not bad.

Sides: Chips, aonori, murray river pink salt, ketchup $6

I always get this. Usually this is really flavoursome with a really nice crisp texture. Today it was a little on the un-crunchy side but still, I found myself finishing every last piece.

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Matcha Lamington 

You can order this from their cake counter. It is nice and fluffy with a crumbly matcha exterior. I love the inside of the cake most of all as it is surprisingly rich with a solid-tasting texture. It really is a very large serving of cake and quite worth trying.

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For 2 people, this was a good amount of food. This cafe has a really homey feel and I really liked talking to their waiters and waitresses. Friendly service and very accommodating for pets. There is usually a slight wait (5-10min) but after about 1pm, it isn’t very busy. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

PHOTOGRAPHY // Timothy H.

Recommended: Matcha latte, spicy miso minced pork sandwich

xoxo Paula 

Complete 

Food, Personal


I don’t like to drink coffee but when I arrived at Spicer, I thirsted for something cold. I felt a little too mature to ask for an iced chocolate so I got a cold coffee instead with their homemade nutty milk. It was such a hit that I worry I’ll step over to join the world of the habitual coffee-drinkers. 

Stepping out of the cafe with mango muffin leftovers packed in a serviette, I stumbled into a neighbouring bookstore. Usually bookstores and libraries disinterest me but this one was invitingly red and I walked in and immediately felt at home. I inspected every glossy cover and was suddenly taken by a pale, jade-coloured book. The gold embossing ‘Wild Swans’ gleamed as I picked it up and I wondered about the stories that hid under its paper-bound cover. When even my mum claimed to know of this Chinese story, I knew I wanted to spend what little money I had left on it. 

My daily life now always feels complete with a good book and a good walk with nature. The simple things are usually the best. The drive back included a detour to Double Bay and we hopped out, watching the waves play. I’m always near the water when something’s on my mind but today, the trivialities of life were not worth the contemplation. I stared out at the bobbing sails and the dimming horizon until the wind blew just a bit too icily and it was time to leave. 

Returning home, I discovered an unexpected surprise while tending to my plant. My newly gifted bonsai is doing well. I can already see its first bud. 

xoxo Paula