sydney

Coogee Pavilion …

Coogee Pavilion …

 

Merivale have done it again – another stroke of genius and another stunning venue.

The Pavilion is HUGE and located right next to the beach at Coogee, a suburb desperate for a good restaurant and bar.

Whether you’re looking for a lazy brunch, a place to hang out with your kids or some cool afternoon cocktails, The Pavilion has it all. Out the back there is a floor to ceiling scrabble game, board games and ping pong tables – the ideal games room and kids entertainment area. Along the beach side of the restaurant there is a standing bar, to the left a huge open kitchen, in the middle an abundance of dining areas and an old school pizza oven, and the front of the restaurant is home to Sydney’s busiest coffee cart.

The menu features over 10 pizzas which are made from fresh dough served thin, crisp and full of flavour. Unsurprisingly seafood is also a big focus on the menu featuring fresh oysters, classic fish and chips, sashimi plates and lobster rolls. The salads read well, but were a little underwhelming.

There is  only one coffee machine being serviced by two manic baristas serving all the patrons dining in and taking away, so if you’re in a rush or desperate for a coffee I would go elsewhere as you will probably receive your coffee 30-45mins after you order it. The meals also come out when they are ready so you might be finishing your meal by the time others are getting started – not helped by the fact the the staff are likely to kick you off your table to make room for another booking. But they will be incredibly polite about it, the staff were incredibly friendly, end when they have red wine accidentally spilled all over them.

All flaws aside, Coogee Pavilion is the perfect place for a post-beach beer – I am definitely looking forward to more visits over summer.

The bitter: The wait time to get seated and then the wait for the food and coffee
The sweet: The interiors and set up – it is the ultimate place to settle in an afternoon after the beach
The damage: Pretty standard – main meals range from $20-$30 each.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Coogee Pavilion on Urbanspoon

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.

Mamak….

If you walk past Mamak in the morning you will think it is just another run of the mill drab Asian restaurant in Chinatown, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Come lunch or dinner time, Mamak has millions of pigs waiting patiently to taste the infamous Roti bread this Malayasian haunt has become famous (and hatted) for.

Thankfully, if you are brave enough to wait in the queue you can be entertained by the two roti chefs in the window flipping, folding, throwing and rolling roti in many different formations. Once we enjoyed the show and finally got seated it didn’t take us long to order the traditional roti with chilli sauce and a spicy lamb curry. The Roti is everything a good roti should be – warm, flaky, doughy and delicious. Despite all the hype, the real winner of the evening was the lamb curry which was light, tangy, hot and filled with fall-apart-with-a-fork lamb.

When it came to ordering dessert there wasn’t any doubt about what would be ordered… another roti but this time it was filled and fired with banana and perfectly accompanied with icecream and an iced Milo. After the curry I was no longer curious about how such a basic restaurant could be award with a prestigious hat. Do yourself a favour, wait in line, order the curry and enjoy!

The Bitter: The waiting….. waiting…. And more waiting…
The Sweet: I have had dreams about that curry… undoubtedly worth the annoying wait
The Damage: Cheap as roti chips – about $20 to leave stuffed<
Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.
Mamak on Urbanspoon

Queenie’s of the Forresters

The young pub gurus who we can thank for the Norfolk, The Flinders, the Abercrombie and the Carrington are also the brains behind Surry Hills hottest bar (and bar tenders), The Forresters. Women flock here to flirt with the tatt covered owners, while the men are attracted to the rare sight of a pub filled with females… and food – not sure which are better though.

The pub downstairs are a certain non-pub feel to it though, more like a classic Italian restaurant with plasma TVs, beer on tap and the quint essential smoking area filled with drunken fools out the front. But if you’re hungry, looking for an escape from the busy bar or place to start a big night out, Forresters restaurant is just what you’re looking for!

The menu is huge, casual and full of fun fillings. The pizzas are charred to perfection, thinner than Kate Moss and flavoursome. You can also get Rueben sandwiches made from the daily rosisster meat and a basket of crinkle cut fries covered in pulled pork and melted cheese… Just when I thought fries couldn’t get any better.

If Italiana pub food ain’t your thang, head on up to Queenies, the address’s new addition which is the equivalent to taking a holiday to the Bahamas with your grandma…. In a good way. The food is more tropical than a pineapple, and the décor is more retro than a record. But don’t bother packing your bikini on this holiday – the food is fried, plentiful and absolutely delicious.

For mains we shared the BBQ jerk chicken served with jungle slaw and sweet potato fries and the fried pork burger with pinable, both were HUGE, tasty and were washed down well with the tropical beer, Palmer Cristal. But the highlight of the meal was the cevechi made of snapper, avocado, mango and chilli – tangy, fresh, full of flavour and all devoured with accompanies corn chips – if this is what eating in the Caribbean is like, I need to book my ticket!

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

The Forresters, Surry Hills:

Queenies on Urbanspoon

Queenies , Surry Hills:

The Forresters on Urbanspoon