Ruby’s Diner ….

 

I fell in love with this place as soon as I drove past it hunting for a close car park on a rainy Saturday morning. A few steps below ground level, I knew it would be the perfect place to hide from the hideous weather and refuel for a day on the couch. Although it has a very cosy vibe, the space itself is completely open on one side with the rest of the walls painted with 50’s diner nostalgia inspired art and filled with retro furniture that looks like it has been ripped from the set of Grease.

But, it is unlike a diner in many ways – the food is gourmet and of course, being close to beach, has an organic twist for the more image and health conscious. Amongst the bacon and eggs, benedicts and burgers there are things like pistachios crumbled over yoghurt and fruit and “super food muffins” which I was told sell like hot cakes, speaking of which they have buttermilk ones of those on the menu too.

Given it was a rainy day and a kale muffin wasn’t getting my motor running, I opted for some comfort food. And what is more comforting than a croque monsieur? It was everything a French toastie should be, buttery and crisp on the outside and gooey and warm on the side, and the optional poached egg on the top was a great addition to top off the meal. My friend’s bacon and eggs didn’t look overly inspiring but he was more than satisfied with it, and his banana smoothie wasn’t too  shabby either.

Despite the dismal weather, there were people still willing to stand around and wait for a table, so be prepared to wait. Or if you’re an impatient pig, you can get a take away coffee and some famous Iggy Bread and feast at home while the crowd dies down.

Ruby’s Diner – Shop1/173-179 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction, NSW

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Ruby's Diner on Urbanspoon

Tin Pin Bakery ….

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Tin Pin Bakery is more than just a bakery, it has a plethora of gourmet goodies that are perfect for breakfast, lunch and even dinner all of which can be enjoyed inside their cosy little cafe space. Their bread comes in all shapes and sizes and they make one of the best gluten free options I have tasted to date.

The cabinets boast a large range quiches, pies, bread sticks and more which you can take home or enjoy inside their cafe and watch the world (Bondi Road) go by. Some highlights include the lamb, sage & red wine and prom, fennel and apple sausage rolls or the ham and Brie baguette. They also do a killer coffee so if you’re on a budget or looking to binge on more bread than you can poke a baguette at, this is the place for you.

Tin Pin Bakery296 Bondi Rd, Bondi, NSWwww.tinpinbakery.com.au

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

The Tin Pin Bakery on Urbanspoon

Best Restaurants in Southbank ….

Remember the days when Soutbank was once a place hated by locals and visited only by tourists? I remember those painful Sunday shifts I used to do in 38 degree heat at Cold Rock Icecreamery, mashing up Tim Tams into a litre cookie dough icecream at a time for the families visiting out of town, showing their  kids the ‘big smoke’ and swimming at the man made beach, they were not fond memories.

But these days, Southbank has become a trendy hub for locals wanting to indulge in some amazing food any time of day, and be entertained by the diverse people watching at hand or of course, enjoy a drink at one of the numerous bogan-less bars around the place. As a result, over the past few years I have done plenty of market research, and here is the short list of Southbank’s Best:

Piaf:


When it comes to food and wine, you can rely on the French to nail it. And Piaf looks taste like it has been teleported from Paris as they believe in fresh produce, butter and operate under the philosophy that less is more. The seasonal menu provides you with a few options for each meal, all of which are on the smaller side when it comes to portion size, but leaves you feeling satisfied rather than stuffed. The breakfast menu’s stars of the show are the Avocado on sourdough w with roasted sweet corn and coriander salsa and the porcini omelette with truffle oil. Or if you’re looking for a meal later in the day, the dinner menu is ever changing and inclusive of rich orange infused duck dishes and perfectly cooked steaks with buttery sides.

Piaf on Urbanspoon

Sardine Tin:

If you’re looking for a night cap and cheese board dessert after a meal at Piaf, you can head to their sister bar Sardine Tin, the optimum place to set up shop and watch the world go by once the sun goes down. You can get a tasting plate full of cheese, quince and crisp breads and team it with a selection of cured meats and house marinated olives. If that doesn’t do the job, the Soy braised pork belly sandwich with kimchi and a bowl of the kipfler potato fires with chipotle mayo will certainly do the job…. beats going to Cold Rock, that is for sure!

Sardine Tin on Urbanspoon

Ole:

The first thing I think of when someone says Spain is TAPAS and the second thing that comes to mind is SANGRIA. Thankfully I don’t need to travel across the world to find them, I can just head to Ole and enjoy some lethal but delicious sangria (concocted with either red or white wine) and some delicious small, overpriced dishes to share with friends. But I would head here for the amazing drinks, atmosphere and stuffed olives rather than a full meal.

Ole Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Popolo:

Inspired by old roman romance, Popolo has certainly seduced me. At the moment I don’t think there is any better place to enjoy a long, lazy lunch with friends on a weekend. The best place to start is with one of their perfectly shaken espresso martinis or Mojitos to ensure you have the energy to power through the lengthy lunch, then of course the share plates, the stand out being the pork and beef meats balls and aranchini balls. For the main, you can’t go paste the suckling pig share dish with apple peach compote – it will fall apart in your mouth and leave you wanting more. If you have a large group, fill in the gaps with their perfect potatoes (uber crunchy out, super soft inner) or wafer thin pizzas topped with only the most gourmet toppings. You will be amazing by how cheap the bill is at the end of it once you have eaten and drunk the day away.

Popolo on Urbanspoon

Bestie Burgers:

I may not be an expert of wine, coffee or caviar, but I know my way around a burger and consider myself quiet the expert when it comes to gourmet burgers. Bestie Boys have led the way the likes of Grill’s pale in any comparison. The burgers are everything a burger should be – a parcel of juicy, beefy goodness topped with the best ingredients you can imagine. The highlights are the The frenchie burger which are loaded with a melted rocqueforte cheese and onion jam, or the Spice Route burger which is layered with spiced sweet potato, haloumi and hommus. You will return time and time again, trust me.

Beastie Burgers on Urbanspoon

 

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

Brisbane’s Best New Bars …

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On a few recent trips to my old stomping ground, BrisVegas, I was blown away by the amount of change there has been over the past six months since moving to Sydney. Naturally, I made a concerted effort to try all the newest places for cool cocktails and delicious dishes. Here is the list of all the hottest new bars around town:

Riverbar and Kitchen:

Once I found out Boardwalk Bar was shutting down, I was disappointed as I loved the river-side drinking on an afternoon down there. But it was a blessing in disguise because now Matt Moran has waved his magic wand and converted this prime real estate into a sleek new watering hole for Brisbane-ites. The name is self-explanatory – the venue pays homage to its water front location, the theme is boat shed beauty and they have buckets and prawns and cocktail jugs to match.
Riverbar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Alfred and Constance

Nothing screams Brisbane more than a Queenslander conversion. This old house on the corner of Alfred and Constance street has been revamped into a thriving tiki themed bar where all the ‘cool kids’ are now hanging out. The space is huge, but not big enough to accommodate the crowds that are flocking here for the cocktails and suckling pig. It takes forever to get a great, but has a great vibe. I can’t wait to return when the crowds have died for a lazy roof top session in the sun.
Alfred and Constance on Urbanspoon

At Sixes and Sevens

Another stella house conversion of Brisbane’s most fashionable strip, James Street. The Cru Bar crew are responsible for this little gem, and you can tell by their sleek and sophisticated fit out and wine-adorned walls. You will also find a great bar menu perfect for sharing that includes pork and fennel sausage rolls with apple sauce and cheese boards (up to three varieties) accompanied with quince and flat bread.
At Sixes and Sevens on Urbanspoon

Pony Lounge and Dining

The name of name sense as soon as I stepped into the ranch inspired space filled with furniture and fit out made from beautiful timbers, leathers and hides. The outdoor bar and terrace has unrivalled river views and is the perfect place for an after work drink to settle into the weekend. Try the William Wallace cocktail, it is completely orgiainla and made from gin, grape fruit, orange and vanilla, perfect for those without a sweet tooth (like me!).
Pony Dining Eagle Street Pier on Urbanspoon

Loft

I have spent a few fateful nights in this space before when it was Uber, a rowdy uni student haunt, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it is now a NYC-style bar with an impressive wine and cocktail list. It is conveniently located above on of my favourite bars, Archive, but if you want to get away from the crowds or not a fan of craft beer, head here.
Loft West End on Urbanspoon

Green Becon Brewting Co.

The craft beer craze isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as more and more microbreweries are popping up all over the place. This isn’t a ‘place to be seen’ scene, but a great post for those that appreciate a good brew, because the beers on offer are brewed right there in front of you in revamped old industrial space, to add the Teneriffe’s old-to-new charm.
Green Beacon Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

Next Door Kitchen and Bar

Once a flavourless tourist trap, Southabnk has come into its own in recent years with great new bars and restureants taking reign. The newest addition to the clan, Next Door Kitchen and Bar, offering a range of premium ciders and quirky cocktails. If that doesn’t get you excited, the parmesan and truffled fires will… YUM!
Next Door Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle pig.