Rave Reviews…. hopefully

Truffle pig sniffing out the best (and worst) places to eat…

Best Dumplings in Sydney ….

Best Dumplings in Sydney ….

Dumpling bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days. If Sushi was the food fad of the 2000′s, dumplings have taken over this decade. But you won’t hear me complaining, to me dumplings are the best thing since sliced sushi and I can’t get enough of them. You know what they say, the best things come in small packages (perhaps I would like to believe that being about 5″4 tall).

I have prepared the list below as a work in progress, I don’t plan to leave a dumpling, dim sum or gyoza in Sydney unturned without eating them… so suggestions are more than welcome and if they are better than great, they will be added to the list. But, so far, here are Sydney’s best dumplings (in no particular order)….

1. Lotus Dumpling Bar

My office is located in a great spot, right on the harbour somewhere between the City, Darling Harbour and Circlar Quay. I know i’m spoilt but with this “somewhere in the middle” location means lunch choices are limited and the ones on the limited list are generally underwhelming. UNTIL… Lotus Dumpling opened just down the road in Walsh Bay. These dumplings are amazing, with service and fit out to match. Understated, funky and damn delicious. The xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings are the winner for me – go for the chicken and be warned that there is soup inside…. I learnt that the hard way. Hot tip – take a nibble from the top, slurp the soup and devour the rest.

Lotus Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

2. Harajuku Gyoza

Gyozas are Dumpling’s japanese cousins. What is the difference?… there isn’t much of one. Dumplings traditionally came in many forms and flavours and back in the day gyozas were traditionally just pork. Nowadays, gyozas come in all different varieties, and the best place to witness this is Harajuku Gyoza. Not only do they specialise in the fun size treats, but the atmosphere is electric. You are always greeted with a belting “MOSHI MOSHI” and if you order sake (which you must), you enjoy an entertaining song and dance with it. The best menu item is definitely the grilled chicken gyoza, and for those with a sweet teeth, they even have nutella and banana dessert gyozas. Food aside, this place is fun the perfect place to enjoy some drinks and food with friends before a night out.
Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

3. East Ocean

Imagine an ocean full of yum cha… well that image in your mind is very similar to East Ocean itself. Although very unassuming from the front, once you step inside you are ushered by the friendly staff all communicating by very serious looking headsets to your table which will be about 1 of 1000, the venue is seriously huge. The dumplings are plentiful and the menu is lengthy to say the least. But I can highly recommend their Shanghai style dumplings filled with pork or their seafood with snow pea dumplings. East Ocean is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late into the night, so no matter what time of the day you are craving dumplings, you can always rely on East Ocean.
East Ocean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

4. Kam Fook

Kam Fook’s popularity in Chatswood was so positive the friendly people there decided to open up shop in Bondi Junction (hoo-ray!). Kam Fook has fulfilled many a hangovers and cravings I have had over the past year since moving close by. I think there is no better way to start the day than with their traditional chinese broccilli with a table full of dumplings. There is plenty of yum cha options to choose from, but I always order two or more servings of their prawn and chive dumplings, even better when washed down with some tea of Sing Tao (hair of the dog).
Kam Fook Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

5. Wagamama

Before you turn your nose up at this chain restaurant suggestion, hear me out. This western spin on traditional Japanese is an old time favourite of mine, mainly for one reason and that is their duck gyoza. The deep tried bag of gyoza-goodness is filled with succulent duck and spring onions and is accompanied by a sweet batch of hoisin sauce.
Wagamama - The Galeries Victoria on Urbanspoon
Wagamama on Urbanspoon

6. Din Tai Fung

Some might say this renowned dumpling hut is the dump-King of the dumpling scene. This king originated as a humble little street stall on the streets of Taipei and is now a global business with an unrivalled committment to dumpling precision. Aside from their attention to detail, the taste is what brings me back here time and time again. My favourite is the Jiao Ze (steamed pork and prawn). You can enjoy these dumplings in Style at their George Street or Star restaurants or grab the on the go at Westfield Sydney.
Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon
Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Do you think you know where to get the best dumplings in Sydney? Well send your suggestions my way… always happy to do this type of market research… the things you gotta do!

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Cheap Eats Bondi – Meals under $10 ….

Cheap Eats Bondi – Meals under $10 ….

Nachos – Amigo Jims
Who doesn’t love nachos? They make eating corn chips acceptable at lunch and dinner, and for that, I am eternally grateful to them. I often indulge in my favourite nachos from this Bondi Road hole in the wall. Homemade corn tortilla chips topped with a slow cooked shredded beef stew, cheese and sour cream. Don’t let the $9.50 fool you, this meal is HUGE!
Amigo Jim's on Urbanspoon

Amigo Jim’s - 200 Bondi Rd  Bondi NSW 2026

Hand rolls – Myoko Sushi Bar
Tucked away in the quiet end of Gould street, Myoko is home to some to the freshest, tastiest sushi in the Eastern suburbs. The hand rolls are huge and you even have the option of having them made to order with brown or white rice. You can get prawn tempura, perfectly battered with avo, fresh or cooked tuna and teriyaki chicken. You can get two rolls for $10, and if you’re feeling adventurous I recommend forking out the extra $2 for a miso soup too.
Myoko – 72 Gould Street, Bondi Beach 2026
Myoko Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Chicken Pad Thai – Bangkok Bites
Hungry at lunch and pinching the pennies has never tasted better. Bangkok bites has various lunch time specials including a generous helping of chicken or beef pad thai for only $9.90. The noodles are thick, the chicken tender and the sauce a perfect blend of sweet and spice. Grab a seat outside and enjoy the sunshine, people watching but don’t expect a bucket of Redbull and vodka… unless you go to White Revolver.
Bangkok Bites – 95 Hall St Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Bangkok Bites on Urbanspoon

Mixed Plate – Sabbaba
The beach might be hot, but the Middle East is even hotter. You can combine both by grabbing a mixed plate from Sababa with falafel, tabuli, grilled meats, salads and dips for under $10. The ingredients are fresh, healthy and most importantly, dirt cheap. This place is so popular there are franchises everywhere, so if you’re skint around town, check out there other locations.
Sabbaba Bondi Beach – 82 Hall St Bondi Beach NSW 2026 Sydney,
Sabbaba on Urbanspoon

Jaffles – Neighbourhood
The new kid on the block in the Bondi neighbourhood is, Neighbourhood. The team here are as trendy as they come and are making the good old fashioned jaffle sexy again, god bless them. You won’t find baked beans and spaghetti here though; combinations include pulled pork with BBQ sauce and baked beans and my favourite the Philly cheese steak. A party in your mouth for only $10… Winning!
Neighbourhood - 143 Curlewis Street Bondi Beach, NSW
Neighbourhood on Urbanspoon

Bircher muesli – Bru Coffee
Broke but fanging for a tasty breakfast? Never fear, Bru is here. This hole in the wall is a local favourite and constantly has Bondi’s beautiful people. The food is beautiful too, thankfully. For only $10 you can reward yourself with a regular coffee and bowl of nutty bircher muesli which is arguable the best you can get anywhere!
bRu Coffee – 4/101 Brighton Blvd, Sydney NSW 2026
bRu Coffee on Urbanspoon

Rice Paper Rolls – Miss Chu’s
The self-proclaimed queen of rice paper rolls set up shop in Bondi over a year ago and has taken the beach by storm. Her rice paper rolls are the taking the beach by storm with gourmet combinations including prawn with green mango, roast duck and banana flower and vegetarian with avocado, omelette and caramelised onion. All that goodness for only $7.50… you’re pretty much making money.
Miss Chu Bondi Tuckshop – 178 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Miss Chu on Urbanspoon

Panino from La Macelleria
This butcher slash heaven on earth is a food snob and meat lovers dream, with prices to show for it. But never fear, lashings of organic prochitto is in reach for the tightest of wallets. Here you can choose from 11 different paninos which only cost $9.00. Some menu favourites include the warm beef brisket, the herbed chicken with mayo and chilli and the roast pork with fruit mustard. If stoned baked buns aren’t your thing (freak!) then try the quarter roast chicken with roasted veggies – only $10.
La Macelleria - Shop 14, The Beach House, 178 Campbell Parade
La Macelleria on Urbanspoon

Pizza from Gourmet Slice
Pizza is a friend and a faux to me, I love the crispy cheese deliciousness of this Italian staple but find it hard to stop after a couple of slices (I have empty plate syndrome). But thanks to the genius behind gourmet slice I have enjoy a huge slice of pizza for a fraction of the prize and with the guilt of eating a large pizza all to myself. All slices are under $10 and favourites include pepperoni, garlic mushroom and spicy lamb.
Gourmet Slice - 87a Gould St Bondi Beach Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Gourmet Slice on Urbanspoon

Lock’n'Load from Lox, Stock & Barrel
Lox Stock & Barrel brings a little bit of Manhattan to Bondi’s sunny shores. The menu is filled with NYC classics like bagels, pastrami sandwiches, smoked wagyu brisket and rueben sandwiches. If you’re feeling skint, you can enjoy your choice of bread (sourdough rye, challah, panini or GF) or bagel (plain, sesame, poppy, seeds & spices, onion) and a delicious potato hash with lashings of smoked salmon with a lime and creme fraiche
dill dressing. Perfect way to start the day, and only 10 big ones.
Lox, Stock & Barrel – 140 Glenayr Ave, Bondi 2026
Lox, Stock & Barrel on Urbanspoon

Pork Po Boy from Panama House
It may not look like much, but this po boy will have you returning to Panama time and time again, I promise you. It is a super soft and sweet sesame seed bun filled with lashings of tender, juicy pulled pork teamed with shredded lettuce, tomato salsa and a tangy chipotle mayo. But wait… there’s more… every table at Panama has 4 homemade salsas to choose from ranging from sweet pineapple to blow-your-socks-off habanero, and it will only set you back $9.50.

Panama House – 251 Bondi Rd, Bondi 2026 – Full review here.

Panama House on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Sydney’s Best Pub Meals…

The Courthouse Hotel – New Town

I love new town it reminds me of being in London with the grubby streets lined with coloured terraces, people dressed in weird clothes and an eclectic mix of eating options and amazing pubs. The best one being The Courthouse Hotel, or “the courty” as the cool kids are calling it. If you’re from the inner-west, enjoy beer, pinball or look like a member of Kings of Leon, you will fit right in here. Home to a huge beer garden, a front bar, rooms filled with vintage furniture (one entirely dedicated to pinball) and some great pub grub! The steaks are great quality for the price, $16 will get you a big bit of beef, chips, perfectly steamed dreams and mushroom sauce. Other items include the stock standard burgers, nachos and chicken parmy, all can be enjoyed while playing bingo, watching crab races or connect four on different nights of the week.

The Courthouse Hotel – 202 Australia, St Newtown 2042

Courthouse Hotel on Urbanspoon

Four in Hand, Paddington

The Four in Hand is arguably Paddington’s best pub thanks to its bustling atmosphere, cosy interior but most importantly its renowned restaurant. Awarded with several prestigious ‘hats’ and always on Australia’s best restaurants lists, Four in Hand is not to be missed. If dining with a group, you can’t go past the delicious suckling pig served whole with all the trimmings and crackling that puts all other crackling to shame. If you can’t rustle up the crowd, never fear, the butter poached chicken with ham broth or licorice braised beef brisket will have you more than satisfied.
The Four in Hand Hotel – 105 Sutherland St, Paddington NSW 2021

Four in Hand on Urbanspoon

Grand National, Paddington

You go to the city to see sights, you go to Bondi to see a beach and you go to Paddington to go to a pub. The streets are lined with them and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to great pub meals while surrounded by lively atmosphere and cheerful drunks. The Grand National (Grand Nash) is on a cosy, tree lined corner of Underwood and Elizabeth Streets and is perfect for a rainy day, or any day you craving some substantial comfort food. You can never go wrong when ordering one of their succulent steaks or for something a little more adventurous there is a tasty traditional Irish stew or chunky steak and pepper pie.

The Grand National Hotel  – 161 Underwood Street, Paddington NSW

Grand National on Urbanspoon

The Beresford, Surry Hills

The Beresford is an unassuming Surry Hills venue with daggy, drab yellow tiles out the front and usually homeless, junkie rif raf out the front (it is close to a half way home). But inside in an oasis and one pimping pub! The front bar is large and looks like your everyday pub, out the back is sleek, dark, open and home to the restaurant and one of the nicest beer gardens I been too, and there have been to a few. There is greenery and pot plants adorning every wall, plenty of seating options, fairy lights and a great atmosphere. The restaurant serves fancy pub food with an Italian twist – thin crust pizzas, Tuscan style cured meats, cheese plate or a Wagyu Flank steak with parsley-garlic gremolata and polenta chips. The outdoor beer garden is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink, meal and a good time, especially now it is coming into summmer – get in early to get a seat!

The Beresford Hotel – 354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, 2010

The Beresford Hotel on Urbanspoon

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, The Rocks

This ye old English pub is tucked up behind The Rocks is on one of the prettiest corners of the whole city. Thankfully, it is right by my office, so you can find me here often enjoying a Friday lunch accompanied by one of their house-brewed beers on a regular basis. The menu isn’t filled your typical pub food although you will find a few old favourites. Other exotic items include the himalayan spiced kingfish curry or the pork and prawn momo coated in soy, lime and chilli. Who said going to the pub had to be unhealthy? …. Then comes the amazing beer list…

The Lord Nelson Hotel  – 19 Kent Street, The Rocks NSW

Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel on Urbanspoon

Watson Bay Hotel, Watsons Bay
Formerly a drap, run down pub is now one of the hottest spots to enjoy a meal, drinks and arguably the best view in the city stretching over the harbour with the city sky line, opera house and harbour bridge in sight. The Watson Bay hotel has come to life with a refurb, outdoor dining ideal for a sunny day and a delicious menu. Seafood is the leading lady of this menu featuring crowd favourites like a bucket of prawns, DIY fish tacos, Sydney Rock Oysters and good old fashioned fish and chips. For those meat lovers, never fear, The “Watto Burger” will keep those hunger pains at bay – this HUGE beast is a no frills cheese burger cooked to pinky perfection and served with beer battered fries. If all that food puts you into a food coma, you can check into one of the hotel’s newly renovated rooms… I can think of worse places to spend the night!

The Watson Bay Hotel – 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay NSW 2030

The Local Taphouse on Urbanspoon

The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst
The Local Taphouse, or ‘The Local’ is a haven for beer enthusiasts, lovers and drinkers alike, and of course those looking to have a meal between drinks. With more than 100 beers available you won’t find it hard to find tasty ale to quench your thirsty, or a meal to eliminate those hunger pains. The bar menu is full of flavoursome snacks like buffalo wings with creamy blue cheese sauce, spiced apple baked pork crackling and sliders. For those wanting something more substantial there are classics like chicken schniztel, a bacon and beef burger or keeping in the beer theme there is a ridiculously good apple cider braised pork belly cooked for 8 hours and served with sauerkraut and roasted apples…. mmmmm……

The Local Taphouse – 122 Flinders St  Darlinghurst NSW 2010

The Local Taphouse on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

P.s this is an evolving list …. all pub food suggestions are more than welcome… and I am happy to do the market research!

Ventuno ….

Ventuno

Nestled into one of Walsh Bay’s iconic wharfs, Ventuno is a peaceful, alfresco Italian eatery removed from the concrete

jungle of the neighbouring CBD. With stunning views of the harbour, it is the perfect venue for a long, lazy lunch filled with authentic food, great wine and boutique beers.

Ventuno is only a hop, skip and trot away from the famous Circular Quay, a tourist trap known for the demise of piggy banks. But just around the corner from this tourist hot spot, you can find Ventuno which is a secret gem loved by locals and a rare place where you can enjoy a fantastic meal on the water’s front without the crazy price tag.

The atmosphere and service are relaxed thanks to the friendly staff and an abundance of outdoor dining where you can watch the world and boats go by. They can accommodate large groups, private functions, romantic dinners or a place for people to enjoy a drink or two while enjoying a platter of perfectly prepared food.

The menu epitomizes fine Italian eating with a huge range of anti-pasta boards to choose from which include crowd favourites like meat balls, aranchini, calamari, house-baked break, cured meats and Italian cheeses. For main course, pizza and pasta take centre stage. The pizzas are thin, crisp and topped with simple, quality ingredients. The pastas include classics with a twist like the carbonara tartufata made with handmade rolled fusilli pasta with pancetta, eggs and parmesan truffle paste.

The Bitter:
The Sweet: I am a sucker for carbonara, and this would have to be one of the best I tried (can probably attribute that to the truffle of course!)
The Damage: No more than $40 for a meal and a glass of wine.

Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.

Ventuno on Urbanspoon

Tales of a Truffle Pig – A Food, Travel & Lifestyle Blog Written by Hannah Lewis – Sydney, Australia

The Botanist….

The Botanist….

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The team behind Bondi Hardware have brought the small bar scene to the lower north shore with The Botanist at Kirribilli. The similarities between the two are blindingly obvious – exposed bricks, hanging pot plants and candling melting all over henricks gin bottles. But if the forumula works, why fix it? I love both venues, and has much as my friends who live ‘OTB’ (that is code for Over The Bridge for those non-Sydney folk) would hate to admit it, The Botanist is a little slice of Bondi on the North, and that is why it is so popular!

Globetrotting botanist Gerard Fothergill was the former resident of the venue and has been the inspiration of the name, logo, flora filled interior and menu which features dishes and drinks inspired from different corners of the world. The menus, both food and drink, are designed for sharing with cocktails made by the jug full and muddled with exotic ingredients from the garden such as  berry and cucumber pimms or “Grandma’s Vase” filled with grape fruit.

The stand out dishes are the tacos and sliders, both served in batches of four and are designed for sharing. Taco toppings include tender marinated beef with melted queso and grilled fish with a spicy baha sauce. The classic beef and pickle slider never disappoints but for those looking for a less traditional dish, you can’t go past the pulled pork burger with apple sauce and braised red cabbage. Other dishes include stir fried Szechuan prawns, build-your-own cheese board and a slow roasted lamb salad laden in hummus and minted yoghurt.

The Botanist is well loved by locals and visitors alike thanks to is bustling atmosphere, cosy and quirky interior and faultless food, so book ahead, you won’t be disappointed. The service is friendly, although a little frantic but were accommodating when I hadn’t

The Bitter: It is loud and a bit cramped

The Sweet: Beef tacos with melted cheeeese, yes pleeeease

The damange: a couple of cocktails and enough food to fill you will set you back about $50pp

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

 

The Botanist Kirribilli on Urbanspoon

Tales of a Truffle Pig – A Food, Travel & Lifestyle Blog Written by Hannah Lewis – Sydney, Australia