Knafeh Bakery – Jerusalem Street Food

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The joys of having such a diverse group of friends is that I have been introduced to an array of different food cultures but for this post, I will be thanking one person in particular my very good friend Claudia (better known as “Khalbeh”), who is of Lebanese descent. In the many years that I have known her she has attempted to teach me very basic Lebanese, like “how are you?”, or more importantly, “Can we get the bill?” but after ridiculous failed attempts I just stick with “Shu”. Anyway…I’m blessed to have Claudia  in my life because she has introduced me to traditional middle eastern dishes like Sambousek, Kebeh kbeb, fried lebanese bread that I cannot pronounce or even spell and now, my new weakness…’Knafeh’. 

Knafeh Bakery, is a mobile bakery that is run from inside a redesigned shipping container by a family of three siblings and their lovely mother. The place is designed with creative light fixtures, a simple colour scheme and fantastic ‘street art’.

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I’ll get to the good stuff in a second, but can I just mention how large the crowd was. From when I got there till the time that I had left there were lines and people continuously flocking from all different directions! The atmosphere around the bakery was so chilled, even while people waited for their little bowls of heaven, they had the Middle Eastern music pumping and all the brothers were very welcoming and bubbly to every customer. It was nice to see how much pride they take in what they are doing.

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And now, to explain what knafeh actually is. I’m not going to lie, it took Claudia a good 10 minutes to explain what it was because I just didn’t understand. “So it’s a creme brûlée? No wait, so is it dessert or savoury?” Ahh, bless my poor little head.

From what I understood, knafeh is a traditional dish that originated from Jerusalem (thanks to the big honking sign on the back of the shipping container). A traditional filling for knafeh is Ashta, which is a clotted cream that floats on top of fresh milk when you boil it and then give it time to cool. Once it is cooled it is mixed with a little sugar and orange blossom water. There is also a cheese knafeh (the one that Claudia terribly explained) and then the knafeh that was available at this hotspot. ‘Mumma Nabila’s’ knafeh is quite a lighter take on the two traditional versions.

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it is rich and velvety with a subtle flavour, dangerously moreish, served warm and incredibly fresh.

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Drown in it in the many bottles of the sugar syrup that are on hand, and voila!

IMG_5729For our first order we were given “#smilz” obviously because we’re a bunch of bloody hilarious people and were delirious at how excited we were to try the middle eastern dessert but I don’t muck around, my next order needed some ForFoodsSake luvin!
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A very successful first attack at my new favourite middle eastern dessert.

Until next time! (and I mean that seriously, because I forgot my camera)

Alex Squadrito

V.B.A

*Knafeh Bakery just finished their run in Strathfield, EDIT: They can now be found at ‘BATMAN WALK, Parramatta, 70 Macquarie Street. 

Knafeh on Urbanspoon

Sydney Night Noodle Markets

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The ‘Good Food Month’, the perfect excuse to eat like a glutton and have it be celebrated. October, besides being the month I decided to make my first appearance on this earth twenty-seven years ago, is also home to a month-long festival celebrating all things food, different cuisines and varying locations.

The Night Noodle Markets run for almost three weeks in Hyde Park and is one of the most popular attractions of the month long food celebration.

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Last year was a calamity of errors and total amateur hour on our part, buying dishes on a whim without proper research (my middle name). Alex went once before our visit together so this will be a bit of a mish mash post…..like his brain.

So we were well prepared this time around with a list of stores and dishes on our hit list.

Read on to hear all about Alex and my eating adventure..

So, I (Alex) first ventured to the noodle markets on a very quite wednesday evening. The popular stalls were on my list for that particular evening because I knew we’d get it fairly quickly. As I walked around I scoped out the park to get my bearings and can I just say, I was very confused as to why anyone would get “korean” chips on a stick when there is such a vast amount of food to try from. Cmon’ guys! Be adventurous!

My first stop was Hoy Pinoy’. I actually had heard nothing about this place but was drawn to its vibrant smell and smoke that was enveloping the far right area of the park. (Because it makes sense to follow smoke right?) Luckily my senses are amazing and brought me to an army of chicken and pork skewers. I was feeling adventurous tonight so I went for the ‘Inihaw Na Baboy': Barbecue pork belly with banana ketchup glaze. $10 for 2. Amazing flavours that seemed to mesh so unusually well together, I did find that the pork was quite chewy and a bit rough to eat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy pork. _MG_7554 _MG_7573For some odd reason I get these unusual cravings for dumplings every time I have a break at work in the city, so I always get my fix from Din Tai Fung, but as I’ve heard so much about New Shanghai’ I couldn’t discourage fate.

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The dumpling gods worked their magic and alas I had found myself eating possibly the bestXiao Long Bao’ (Steamed pork dumpling) I’ve ever had!

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My friend and I also got a serving of thePan Fried Pork Buns buns’ and oh my lord! I could eat a box of these bad boys. The contrasting textures, the perfect seasoning. Such a moreish dish that begs to be eaten.

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I also tried out a yum cha food truck? Don’t remember the name but it was right next to Izakaya Den and got the pork buns. Unfortunately I am now turned off pork buns for a while. Not only did I find a hair inside my pork bun but they were cold, overcooked, and tasted as though I was eating rubber. Not even drowning it in soy sauce could save them which was a shame. Rookie mistake…

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The last meal of the night was the Satay roll from Chinta Ria. Was I blown away? Not really, It tasted okay, If it was a soft roll I think it would’ve went a lot better texture wise with all of the ingredients, but I wasn’t disappointed, I always love a bit of satay.

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Amazing artwork been drawn at the noodle markets

First up for mine (Bianca) and Alex’s eating fest at the Night Noodle Markets, were the Melbourne juggernauts ‘Wonderbao’, with their traditional and not so traditional bao’s. Those pillowy bites of heaven won’t be forgotten soon. We shared the ‘Twice Cooked Pork Belly’, ‘Braised Pork Belly’ and the ‘Fried Silky Tofu’ $7 each. This is where we disagreed and when we disagree, I generally take it as a sign that I am right and Alex is wrong. He preferred the Pork which I did enjoy, however the pork was slightly tough. My heart belonged to that tofu bao, crispy with a little bit of a crunch on each bite. Texturally it kept my brain interested with every bite. I’m planning to hit up Melbourne early next year and a date with Wonderbao will be on the cards…they just don’t know it yet.

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silky tofu and twice cooked pork belly

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braised pork belly

And with the gods all aligning we hit the trifecta our next three stops were virtually all next door to each other and right near an exit…because there is nothing a fatty likes more than minimal movement, an easy escape and a quick purchase to mouth turnover. Yep…I just said that.

With a division of resources I dispatched Alex to ‘Poklol’ where he was buying our Korean tacos. We got two because we’re greedy. A ‘Chilli Chicken’ and ‘Chilli Pork’ 2 for $12. I kind of wanted to snatch these off Alex and eat them behind a tree somewhere, they trumped the bao’s. They both had a decent handful of fried crispy onions which contrasted really nicely with the soft tortilla and succulent pork/chicken.

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I was tasked (by myself) to get the ‘Char Kway Teow’ from ‘Jackie M Malaysian’, I missed out on her restaurant before she shut up shop on Majors Bay Road, around the corner from us. So I made sure I got in here. I enjoy my hearty noodle dishes and this one was very satisfying, whilst it was on the steep side at $16 with Chicken it was a generous serve. And an added bonus I went with the side of Sambal, having yet mixed it in, Alex dived right in and got a big ol spoonful. He probably didn’t appreciate my laughing as loud and heartily as I did. My bad.

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And lastly for our haul, the ‘Den Fried Chicken’ from ‘Izakaya Den’ there was no-one at their stall when we walked past with our CKT and taco’s and I’m not going to argue with fate so we picked up ourselves a small serving $8 and headed to our shameful eating corner. Another highlight – the exterior batter was crunchy while the inside was perfectly moist. We also loved the addition of the kewpie mayo.

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We decided (or so I thought) to skip Gelato Messina at the markets but found ourselves at the Darlinghurst Dessert Bar forty minutes later….sorry not sorry.

And that concludes the Sydney Night Noodle Markets, I’m already looking forward to next year. (and so is this little guy I think!)

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Bianca & Alex

Photos by Alex

V.B.A

Wok Chow – Concord

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The Majors Bay Road restaurant strip, for the most part has ticked every general cuisine one could desire. Thai, Lebanese, Italian, French but the one thing we didn’t have for the longest time was Chinese. Until now…

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Wok Chow opened up almost one month ago in a space occupied by a former deli and a revolving door of failed restaurants, here’s hoping the script is a little different this time around.

Wok Chow is a collaboration between Red Lantern’s Mark Jensen and head chef, Lee from Da Lin in North East China. One thing for sure, Wok Chow is not your local Chinese. There’s no sign of a honey chicken or Mongolian Lamb, instead there is an emphasis on clean flavours without the stodgy over powering sauces.

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Madre and I stopped by for a quick bite to eat on a Friday for lunch. Whenever we eat together we tend to be quite restrained so this will be a short and sweet one.

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We started with the ‘Chilli Chicken Dumplings’ – w/ red vinegar and ginger sauce (4 pieces) $8. It’s pretty nice knowing that I don’t have to go too far for dumplings now, as Wok Chow have a number of different options. These were tasty but the chilli was fairly mute and understated, I could have done with more heat.

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Mum and I then shared the ‘Singapore Noodles’ – w/ Pork & Prawn wok tossed with curry powder, capsicum & bean sprouts. $17. Whilst we enjoyed this we couldn’t help but feel it was a little dry, so much so we added most of the sauce from our second main to the noodles. The prawns were plump and flavoursome and we loved the crunchy vegetables and the perfectly seasoned egg tossed into the noodles.

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Lastly we shared the ‘Oven roasted Hoi Sin & Black vinegar Marinated Pork’ w/ Chinese broccoli, red peppers & onions with steamed rice. $27. This was a heavenly concoction with a potent sweet and sour sticky sauce, which we happily used to toss in the Singapore noodles. If I were to nit-pick it would be that the pork was slightly chewy.

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This was more of an introduction to this new local restaurant, so it was hard to get an impression just from what we ordered. It will be interesting to see how Wok Chow settles in the Concord dining scene.

Bianca

V.B.A
Wok Chow on Urbanspoon

Tuckshop – Glenhaven

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For months, Bianca and I  have been trying to plan a day that we could venture to our old neighbourhood back in the hills and finally, last Friday was that day! The reason for our little trip down memory lane was to check out the popular ‘Tuckshop Cafe’ “where it’s not city and you couldn’t care less.”  

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I don’t know why, but I imagined Tuckshop to be a large cafe with heaps of outdoor seating and some sort of grass area, in reality, it’s the furthest thing from that and that’s not a bad thing! Set in a small ‘town-like’ shopping mall, fronting the street. I think the size is perfect considering they pride themselves in good quality takeaway food.

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The menu is geared towards more portable items but it is quite diverse and offers something for those that are looking for some hearty dude food to beautifully light salads, so… por qué no los dos!

_MG_7678First up was the famous ‘Cheeseburger’ – Beef patty, pickles, cheese, onions, mustard and ketchup with old bay seasoned chips $12 I think it was safe to say that I kept nodding my head and mumbling “mhm, mhm” after every bite. The soft brioche bun was deliciously good and the american cheese just made everything ten times better. With even the perfect amount of ketchup and mustard. Patty to bun ratio was top-notch, so it’s no wonder the cheeseburger at Tuckshop is at the top of every foodies list. It definitely got Bianc’s tick of approval and she is pedantic about her burgers.

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Just look at that cheese and mustard combo.. Ahhh!!

For some extremely odd reason I had a craving for a salad that day which never happens,  so we also shared the ‘Cous Cous and blood orange salad’ -with pearl cous cous, pumpkin, orange, labneh, tomato, cucumber, herbs, flat bread, and dukkah $11.  Bianca didn’t seem to be blown away but I was in love! The salad had a great punch to it from the citrus and the herbs. As well as an array of contrasting textures from the pearl cous cous to the pumpkin and so on. The addition of the tortilla’s down the bottom with the dukkah was ingenious(for two reasons). Why eat it as a salad when you can roll it up and turn it into a veggie taco? And considering it is takeaway, you want something that is relatively easy to eat. That dukkah by the way. Damn! This is a must order.

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We were originally going to order the pork roll but I felt like something I don’t have often so the ‘Brisket Roll’ w/ smoked brisket, bbq sauce, slaw and fried onions $11 was calling my name and just like everything else it did not disappoint. While it was extremely messy and slightly awkward to eat, the flavours were impeccable. The brisket was tender and succulent, and the barbecue sauce enhanced that great smoky flavour. The crunchiness of the slaw was a great combination with the soft roll.

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Cheap and extremely tasty takeaway food without the hustle and bustle of the inner west food scene. I was worried that I’d hype this up too much, but I was in no way disappointed!

Until next time!

Alex Squadrito

V.B.A
The Tuckshop on Urbanspoon

Chiswick – Woollahra

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Because I am amazing at suggestions, I decided for Bianc’s birthday we should go to the beautiful and iconic Chiswick Restaurant’ in Woollahra. With a 2 hour seating from 6-8 we arrived a little after 6 and the restaurant was in full swing, with staff frolicking around crazily in order to keep up with the eager customers.

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To start off our feast we decided to have some “nibbles”. The first being the ‘Prawn popcorn’, spiced mayonnaise, lemon $16An absolute winner. The crunch of the juicy prawn was heightened by the golden batter that enveloped the little morsel and the spicy mayonnaise left a tingle on the tongue but wasn’t overbearing at all. A great way to get the appetite going.

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TheOregano, garlic, wood fired bread’ $7 was very small and is really only enough for two people. We should’ve gotten another, as there were seven of us and everyone was not able to try it. The flavours were there. The dough itself was perfectly cooked  and nice and crispy which is always a bonus.

IMG_8007The ‘Snow Crab Slider, lettuce, kewpie, gherkins’ at $10 each is a bit of a stretch so as they were placed at the table we had high expectations. As you might have noticed from previous posts, I am not a big fan of fish so I was slightly anxious trying the crab slider but it was undeniably addictive. While I did find that it had quite a fishy taste (obviously?) It wasn’t overpowering and didn’t make me feel as though I was eating something that I know I don’t enjoy. They could have benefited with a bit more of the kewpie mayo as they were a little on the dry side.

IMG_8011Of course as soon as the mains came out, they dimmed the lights making it impossible to not use a flash of some sort! Anyway, the first of the mains was the ‘Mushroom Ravioli’, asparagus, cornichon $32I didn’t get to try this one but the pasta looked fresh with some really vibrant veggies to match. Not being a fan of mushrooms (I’m picky I know) I feel as though this would’ve had an interesting texture, similar to a puree. Something I will definitely have to try next time.

IMG_8042I’ve been to Chiswick a few times and the ‘Battered flathead fillets, chips, tartare sauce’ $31 has always been ordered and enjoyed at the table. I think a lot of people tend to avoid fish and chips (well me anyway) because I find them to be too sickly and oily after a couple of bites but not these ones. I could go back again and again for these golden beauties. The flat-head itself, was extremely soft and just melted in your mouth.

IMG_8038‘Handcut Chips’, black garlic aioli $9 Not much to say about these, simply because they were enjoyed by everyone. The black garlic aioli had a distinct smoky flavour that complimented the seasoning of the chips so well making them ridiculously moreish. So in saying that, I could easily stuff my face with a whole plate.

IMG_8034Now we come to the reason why most people come to Chiswick, besides wanting to be seen of course… ‘Wood roasted Moran family lamb’, artichoke, Hawkesbury broccoli $75. So…this was good. I’ve had it before and I enjoyed it. Obviously it’s a great dish to have as a shared meal but in saying that I was slightly under whelmed. After being spoilt from having Mum and Nonno’s delicious lamb, it’s hard to compare this to their’s. Yes it fell straight of the bone, but I just felt like it lacked something. Everyone on the table had to repeatedly add seasoning.

IMG_8015The ‘Roast pork belly’, toasted barley, shallot dressing $36 on the other hand was by far the stand out of the night. In fact we demolished this before the lamb even came out, so it is possible that we were just too impressed by the pork that we then were under whelmed by anything that followed. The thin layer of crackling on the top added that layer of texture to the rich pork belly that instantly won me over. I would go again and again to Chiswick JUST for the pork belly. A must order!

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As some of the family got coffees, we were given some complimentary Orange and dark chocolate, very nice, so I thought it deserved a photo!

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We were tempted by the dessert options but we had a delicious albeit slightly melted ‘Gelato Messina’ ice-cream cake at home waiting for us. Bianc, nuts for anything peanut butter related chose ‘The Block’, a smorgasbord collection of peanut butter tastes and textures.

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It’s pretty obvious that Chiswick is a fantastic restaurant and while the food is great, it is also a social hub in which people wish to be seen (fair enough). We did find that it was ridiculously noisy, and came almost to the point where I couldn’t even hear the person next to me without leaning right in, so be aware, if you’re looking for an intimate dinner for deep and meaningful conversations, this is probably not the ideal place.

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So happy birthday B! you’re another year older, may you continue to grow old and fat with me,

Love from your favourite brother

Alex

V.B.A

Chiswick on Urbanspoon

Beautiful Burgers – Glebe. When comics and burgers collide….

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So my relationship with burgers sometimes borders on the inappropriate, so much so, my good friend and co-worker Mark (Job Dun) has christened me Scarf Juice after a burger spillage incident in Glebe many years ago. He still hasn’t let me live it down.

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So when Mark told me about a recent burger addition to the Glebe dining scene I knew I had to have a looksie. This is ‘Beautiful Burgers’ second location in Sydney, the other being not too far away in Chippendale. Fitted out in prominent green colours, it is a rather small shop with limited seating. Enough for perhaps 10 or so people. It wasn’t particularly busy the Friday lunch time we visited but there was a steady stream of people placing takeaway orders. I loved the diner photographs on the wall – giving it a bit of old world charm.

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The menu is a bit of a mish mash of burgers ranging from traditional beef burgers to chicken, kangaroo, eggplant and tofu. Really a burger for everybody. There did seem to be some emphasis towards ‘health’, whilst it wasn’t stated anywhere, any burger joint with Acai Bowls and power shakes is definitely saying something. And I’m all for it, I hate the fact most people deem hamburgers unhealthy – it’s all about quality of ingredients and of course moderation. So shush ya’ll.

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Job Dun and I were clearly on the same wavelength, with both of us opting for the ‘Yankee’ – beef or chicken (we went beef), iceberg lettuce, mayo, tomato, bacon, cheese, dill pickle, ketchup and mustard. $13.50. This was a behemoth of a burger, almost the size of my head. I don’t think the photo’s do it justice. With a soft flour dusted roll, packed with a thick minced beef patty. I must have had a blinder on when I ordered because I didn’t actually realise it came with bacon so that was a nice little surprise. The beef mince on its own was incredibly tasty and moist, always a common issues with burgers. Having a premium top quality patty does more than half the work for you. I’ve never been one for large amounts of mustard on burgers but I think I may be a convert now. Looks wise it’s sort of the opposite of a beautiful burger, taste wise it’s on point.

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We also shared a serving of ‘Chips’ $4.00. They do offer hash browns which I found interesting but couldn’t go past the classic. These were crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside, in other words pretty darn good chippies.

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Pretty solid recommendation from me here, if you like your burgers check this place out.

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For those that enjoy a bit of nerd in your life, I whole heartedly recommend checking out Mark’s comic ‘Job Dun’. You can purchase it online from:

https://www.comixology.com/Job-Dun-Fat-Assassin-1/digital-comic/131778 

http://jobdun.bigcartel.com/  

As well as in store at the following locations:

Sydney – The Comic Shop

Melbourne – All Star Comics

Brisbane – Ace Comics and Games

Adelaide – Pulp Fiction Comics

Canberra – Impact Comics

Because surely we’re sick of superheroes in ridiculous costumes? Who wouldn’t want an overweight anti-hero roaming the streets?

Bianca

V.B.A

 

Beautiful Burgers on Urbanspoon

*Urbanspoon link for Chippendale store*

The Butcher’s Block – Wahroonga

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I’m an adventurous man when it comes to food, I’ll travel pretty much anywhere if I’ve heard good things, so my trip to ‘The Butcher’s Block’ was no exception.

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About a 45 minute drive from the Inner West on a bustling cafe strip lies, The Butcher’s Block. I went on a Wednesday for lunch with some close friends from uni and I was gobsmacked at how busy it was! Upon our arrival we had requested a table on the outside terrace (I like my natural light okay, plus it does my photos justice!). Anyway, we were turned down as there was no “available” tables… Liieeees! I saw a few, but I wasn’t going to cause a fuss, plus it turns out the table we had been given inside was right next to my mate Sonia Kruger… I’m a big brother fan (shameful I know) so I was a little starstruck.

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For those that have heard of The Butcher’s Block, it might have been about their famous Waffle Burger. This was pretty much the only reason why I went there and as I frantically scoured the menu I was told that they no longer serve them. Literally heart-broken. Shame on you Butcher’s Block!

It took me a while to decide what I wanted so I’ll leave myself till last. Gillian and “Girl Alex” as she is graciously called at uni thanks to my presence (mwuahaha) ordered the Pulled pork Quesadillas’ – with tomato, capsicum and black bean salsa with Chips. A rather lacklustre meal agreed by all. The actual tortilla was nice and fluffy with a crisp bite that added some  texture but it’s contents were disappointing to say the least. The pulled pork was flavourless, and needed some refining in terms of seasoning and the chips were extremely dry, and undercooked. The dish could’ve possibly been saved with a nice subtle sauce.

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Bronte, or Bronson as myself and Girl Alex know her by, ordered the winner of the day. ‘Wagyu beef burger’ – with American jack cheese, bacon and crispy onion rings. I believe this is what would have been on the Waffle Burger sans waffle and it was bloody delicious! The patty was wonderfully juicy with a nice soft bun, so the contrast of texture between that and the onion rings was ear shatteringly good (heh, see what I did there). When this first came out, Bronson noticed a hair in her food, but the staff were more than accommodating, quickly removing it and making a new one in an extremely fast manner. So customer service is A-OK! Again though, the chips were a let down so they were left alone. Not even a plethora of salt could save them which is upsetting.

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In an attempt to satisfy my broken heart, I ordered the Pulled pork burger’ – with crackling and Sweet potato chipsI knew this one would be a hard one to write about because there was both good and bad things about it. So let me break it down. Sweet potato chips, great. Definitely a lot better than the regular chips that my friends unfortunately were stuck with so they ended up picking from mine, add some tomato sauce and they were almost at perfection. The addition of the crackling…amazing. Something that The Butcher’s Block was able to do perfectly was create a dish that had contrasting textures that worked great with the dish as a whole. The pulled pork, unfortunately was the let down. I believe it was prepared differently than the pulled pork form the Quesadilla because my one had a more smokey, BBQ flavour, but still was lacking even when combined with all the other ingredients. Perhaps the burger needed more sauce? But in saying that, it was still a relatively enjoyable meal!

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Sitting us (or me especially) next to a window of cakes is generally not a good idea so, knowing it was going to be a long day I decided to get a muffin for the road!

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The muffin was a Gluten free blueberry and coconut muffin and it was actually really good! I’ve never really had anything gluten-free before, so I was a little confused by the texture of the muffin. The inside seemed raw but I believe that was due to ingredients used.

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So… an interesting experience.

If the butcher’s block gets those waffle burgers back, I’ll be there in a heart beat, but until then… I can wait.

Until next time!

Alex Squadrito

V.B.A
The Butcher's Block on Urbanspoon

Pizzeria Italiana – South Wentworthville

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Growing up, most of our exposure to food was typically 80% Italian. I cannot recall a single meal without the obligatory loaf of bread, both Nonno’s homemade wine, pasta on Sunday nights with the family. Sometimes Nonno would even let us pick our favourite pasta to cook that night – mine was always penne or spaghetti.

As we got older we got more experimental with our food, mum would regularly make curries, stir-fry’s and Roasts and when we would eat out we’d try to avoid Italian. This is especially the case the last 10 years or so. Why pay for something that is most likely never going to be as good as Nonna or Nonno’s.

Nevertheless, sometimes you just feel a little nostalgic and want some of those familiar tastes and smells and despite my badgering growing up, no-one has ever bought me my own pizza oven. Which is why we made the trek out to South Wentworthville late one Friday night.

‘Pizzeria Italiana’ is just a few minutes’ drive off the Cumberland highway exit on the M4, a typical old school pizzeria, one you used to be able to find in many pizzeria’s along the Norton Street strip back in Leichhardt’s hey days.

We all decided to start with a ‘Bruschetta Pizza’ (small) – Fresh chopped tomatoes, onion and basil. $12.00. Great punchy flavours, perfectly seasoned. Sometimes a bruschetta can be hit and miss depending on the quality of tomatoes but these were beautiful. The only letdown was in the actual base, the drippings from the tomato mixture made the base quite soft and soggy.

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We then shared a serving of ‘Rice Croquets’ (4 in a serving) $16.00. While these were tasty, we felt they could have benefited from an accompanying sauce, a tomato based dipping sauce would have went nicely.

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For myself, now I can honestly say it’s been more than four years since I have ordered a pizza eating out but sometimes you just get that hankering. I also went for a half and half, one half ‘Pepperoni’ – mozzarella, tomato, pepperoni, capsicum and olives. $15 for a large. The other half ‘Santa Maria’ – mozzarella, tomato, chilli paste, fresh chilli, hot salami, olives, anchovies. $15. I don’t mind some spice but some may balk at the heat factor, just getting a whiff and taking a glance it looks fiery. Besides mum, the others found it a little too hot. I’ve always gravitated towards pepperoni and I enjoyed this rendition. I did find an olive pip on the pizza which can be dangerous for those that tend to just delve right in.

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Alex always a fan of schnitty decided to get the ‘Chicken Schniztel’ with salad. $19.90. We’re pretty adamant that our mum makes some of the best schnitz around, so our standards are pretty high. But Alex was pretty impressed with his meal.

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Dad being a big lover of seafood went with a half and half pizza. One half ‘Marinara’ – mozzarella, tomato, prawns, clams and calamari. $15 for a large. The other half being ‘Aussie’ – mozzarella, tomato, bacon, egg and onion. $15. Dad enjoyed his pizza hybrid, always being a sucker for egg on a pizza, harkening back to his days working in my Nonno’s Norton street pizzeria back in the day.

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Our older brother John went with a combo meal, opting for ‘Fettuccine Boscaiola’ and ‘Chicken Schnitzel’ $24.90. Snagging a bite, the fettuccine was perfectly cooked al dente and the flavours were typical of a traditional boscaiola.

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Mum decided to go for a special of the day, my memory is a little hazy here but it was a white fish with pesto, she then committed the cardinal sin and smothered it in parmesan.

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We were all pretty stuffed at this point but owners Lenny and Maria insisted we order dessert. How could we argue? We decided on the traditional ‘Tiramisu’ $9.90. Always a weakness in our family, this one did not disappoint, we loved the addition of the chocolate cigar, giving it some differing texture. It disappeared fairly quickly, John seemed to have snaffled this one up and very quietly polished it off.

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We also shared the ‘Mixed Berry Panna Cotta’, two ‘Cannoli’ $3.50each and ‘Ricotta filled turnovers’. We were struggling at this point but I made it a point to try each, the Panna cotta was silky and moreish, it was slightly on the wobbly wobbly side, as if it didn’t have enough gelatine but this is nit-picking. I liked the idea of the dual cannoli meaning you get the best of both worlds – chocolate and vanilla in one. Being a chocolate gal, I have to say I was surprised I kept going back for the vanilla side. Very dangerous! Lastly the ricotta ‘turnovers’, these reminded me very much of a cinnamon doughnut and doughnuts are virtually my Achilles heel. Unfortunately, Maria told us, they will no longer offer these.

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All in all a fairly rustic and unassuming, casual place. Great for a night out with the family, with no airs just good pizza and smashing desserts.

Bianca

Photos by Alex

V.B.A

Pizzeria Italiana on Urbanspoon

Three Williams 2.0

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As Three Wiliams quickly becomes an iconic household name in any foodie family, they surprise us yet again by creating a new spring menu that is perfect as the days start to get warmer.

I shouldn’t have to explain Three Williams to anyone because if you haven’t been yet, you clearly have no life…or maybe you do and I should just shut up and keep eating my salty, caramel popcorn as I type this (It’s called food research).

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Upon our arrival we were greeted with a beautifully vibrant Lime and Raspberry seasonal house made soda $12 A strikingly fizzy and refreshing drink that was the perfect way to cool us down on this exceptionally sunny day.

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I then heated myself right back up with a skim mocha. The perfect pick me up before our meals were brought to the table. The coffee was good, still doesn’t compare to my regular cafe spot in the CBD but it’s definitely up there and did indeed wake me up.

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The first dish to hit the tables was the ‘Sautéed Wild mushrooms’, marinated ricotta, truffle balsamic and parmesan on toast $17. Firstly, I’ll say that I have never been able to eat mushrooms. The texture, taste and smell turn me off instantly, but as this was placed in front of me all I could smell was the strong truffle balsamic that left me salivating. The ricotta was decadent and smooth and created a distinct texture once eaten with the crusty bread. I did try a mushroom and they were actually quite pleasant. No funky taste, smell or texture here folks!

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The second dish was the beautifully presented ‘Pan baked Eggs’ with spicy beans, cucumber salsa and feta, $16.  A surprisingly refreshing and light dish, no doubt thanks to the cucumber salsa which seems to just lift all the flavours and create a perfectly balanced breakfast meal.

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Next up was my favourite savoury dish of the day. The Corn fritters, bacon, Nuremberg sausages, tomato and capsicum salsa, crushed roasted potato and sour cream $18. Yes, it was heavy, and fattening and clearly very bad for you but this was a big breakfast like no other. The tomato and capsicum salsa on those crisp corn fritters was probably the most amazing thing I had eaten in a while. Add in those roasted potatoes and ding, ding ding, we have a winner! Each element complimented the next almost too perfectly. This definitely is a must-order!

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One of the sides to accompany our dishes was the Crispy School Prawns $8. I’ve never actually had a prawn with the head and tail still intact and it was, to my surprise…delicious! Perhaps a little too salty, but the side of aioli helped to overcome that.

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As well as the Lime and Raspberry soda, we were also brought the ‘Super smoothie’ – kale, apricot, apple, LSA, banana, ginger and cinnamon (also dairy free) $8. As soon as you bring your glass to your mouth you automatically get the powerful aroma of the cinnamon envelop your taste buds. The smoothie is thick but it doesn’t feel like you’re drinking something that’s really good for you…which is great because who wants something that’s healthy, right? Not me! This was also a winner amongst everyone at the table.

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And finally, the coveted Narnies arrived at the table. The first being the ‘Herb rubbed free range Roast Duck’ – with roast pears, rocket, apple balsamic and aioli $16. The duck was moist and had quite a distinct flavour that contrasted well with the sweet flavours from the roast pear and apple balsamic. Definitely an ingenious idea. On a side note, it was completely impossible to eat unless you’re using your hands! Having to share it with a few people made it very difficult to enjoy in it’s full glory.

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All I’m going to say about the Beer battered chips $7 is that they were the best chips I have ever eaten in Sydney. That is all.

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The second Narnie to arrive was the Wild mushrooms, baby spinach, truffle balsamic, stracchino cheese sauce and parmesan $15 As I mentioned earlier, mushrooms are not my favourite food item but again I gave it a try, interesting flavours. They again had that gorgeous truffle balsamic and that cheese sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the baby spinach. I clearly preferred the roast duck, but this is a biased opinion, only because I don’t like mushrooms. Sorry!

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Thanks Chef’s!

 Crunchy Brioche French Toast with caramel bananas, hazelnuts and melted Belgium chocolate $16 Gosh, just re reading the name of it gets me excited! I’m pretty sure I was there for about 10 minutes taking photos of this beaut in all different angles and positions. While I don’t think this is as flavoursome and iconic as their traditional brioche French toast, it’s definitely a rich and ultimately dangerous treat that is best shared with another person.

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When I saw Homemade lime and coconut cake $6 on the menu I’m pretty sure I had nervous pee. I’m a cake man, always have been. This was (in my opinion) a hundred times better than the french toast! As I took a bite, an explosion of citrus enveloped my taste buds quickly followed by a refreshing kick from the coconut. The cake was almost perfectly moist with a nice crispy outer layer.

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Well, Three Williams…you clearly have not disappointed with your new spring menu. I’ll definitely be back to try some different cakes and to get that big breakfast that I am now officially obsessed with!

…And if you don’t know where the cafe is follow the yellow brick road! (Elizabeth street) until you find this golden encrusted into the matte grey wall and you know you’ve arrived.

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Until next time!

Alex Squadrito

V.B.A

Three Williams on Urbanspoon

*For Food’s Sake were invited to Three Williams by Wasamedia, all opinions however are independent and our own.

Bowery Lane – Sydney CBD

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Working in the city centre has always seemed like a nightmare to me, people everywhere, dealing with the argy bargy folk that are either on a mission and nearly knock you over. Or the kind that stop mid walk and you nearly knock over. Which is why I count my lucky stars I work in Surry Hills, were I’m blessed with both my personal space and some awesome café’s.

I do however, get a little bit of food envy when I hear about recent openings in the city – power lunches are a bit of a mystery to me. I only get half an hour at work to scoff my food, have a chit chat and race back to my desk so I’m always a little envious of those milling around at lunchtimes. Which is why I devote most of my Fridays (my day off) to food related adventures, coincidentally always in or around the city.

Bowery Lane was on my ever growing list of places to visit, I was drawn to its New York inspired menu consisting of Bagels, Boston Beans and Burgers. Opening initially just for breakfast and lunch, Bowery Lane recently expanded to dinner services on the 9th of September.

Walking into Bowery Lane you instantly feel transported to a swanky NYC eatery, with exposed rendered concrete walls, wooden floors, prominent black furnishings and snug booth seating. Not overly stylised but with a clear chic, industrial vibe.

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Plonking ourselves down on the large communal table we settled in along with 15 or so other Sydney Food Bloggers for what was going be a ginormous meat fest. First up, from the ‘snacks’ portion of the menu, were the ‘Char Grilled Lamb Ribs’ – w/ chimmi churri & rocket. $14. Delectably soft and easily pulling away from the bone, these were one of the highlights of the night. I generally dislike most things on the bone, predominately because I’m lazy but these were tasty little morsels. We all liked the addition of the chimmi churri adding that punchy herby flavour hit.

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Next were the ‘Manchego Croquettes’ – w/smoked chilli aioli’ $14.  Always a sucker for an arancini or croquette (general gist is fried cheesy goodness). The first bite was an instant hit of the smoked aioli, which I enjoyed. The aioli was quite strong  so it was a little hard to discern any manchego flavour but these were still delicious with and without the smoked chilli aioli.

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Being a big big fan of hamburgers, what could be better than full grown burgers?  Baby burgers!! I’ve gotten into the trap of thinking ordering trio’s of sliders totally cancels each other out and equal one regular sized burger. I like that illusion and will blissfully continue living in my happy place. A sight to behold for any food lover, boards full of sliders were then brought out to the large table. With trays of both ‘Yamba Prawn Sliders’ – w/ iceberg & fennel slaw. $16 and the ‘Rare Tuna Sliders’ – w/guacamole and pickled cucumber. $16. It was unanimous amongst the FFS’akers that the prawn slider was the favourite with the tuna slider having a pleasant taste but unusual mouth feel.

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Moving along to ‘entrées’, we then had the ‘Master Kobe Wagyu’ – 9+ inside skirt w/chermoula, lemon. $16. Another standout dish, the wagyu was a perfect ‘medium rare- medium’ and benefited from the forceful kick of the chermoula – a marinade consisting of herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt.

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We then sampled the ‘Jamon Serrano’ – w/ buffalo mozzarella, witlof rocket and shaved pear. $19. A really strong dish, having a bite with every element, the flavours balanced out nicely.

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The last dish from the ‘entrée’ portion of the menu was the ‘House Smoked Hickory Salmon’ – w/puffed wild rice, bottarga salad and burnet’ $17. Perhaps after all the heavy hitting flavours we had tried prior, this was a rather subtle dish that may have flown under the radar for many. I’m not the greatest fan of seafood anyways, so this didn’t do much for me.

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Vegetarians avert your eyes.

On to the shared plates. Between the table, one each of the four ‘shared plates’ were placed on the table, as we all did a  bit of to-ing and fro-ing swapping dishes back and forth. We happened upon the ‘Pork Collar & Scratchings’ – w/ apple, parsley & fennel salad and spiced pear chutney. $46. Juicy and tender, the apple and fennel salad added some much needed texture as the pork was very soft. And the crackling? Who doesn’t love crackling!

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We then sampled the ‘Whole BBQ Organic Chicken’ – w/ lentil & grains & smoked yoghurt. $48. The chicken was succulent and moist, I did enjoy the creamy addition of the grains, lentils and yoghurt tying it all together.

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Next was the ‘1KG Braised Wagyu Short Rib’ – w/ horseradish cream & roasted garlic $58. This was the shared dish I was probably most looking forward to, having a little bit of an obsession with all things slow cooked these days. Falling straight off the bone, these short ribs did not disappoint, getting a little too caught up in all the eating I didn’t try it with the horseradish so can’t comment on the cohesiveness of the dish, all I know was that short rib was dee-lish…

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The last of the shared plates was my pick of the bunch, the ‘Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder’ – w/ lemon garlic dressing & watercress. $55. A really well executed slow cooked lamb. I really could not fault any of the shared dishes, they were all equally delicious and would easily feed 3-4 people.

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My penultimate favourite of the night was the ‘Tempura Soft Shell Crab Burger’ – w/Asian slaw and miso mayonnaise. $22. Off the main menu, several were brought to the table for us to divide and share. Prior to Bowery Lane I had never had a fried soft shell crab, let alone one in a burger. Boy had I been missing out. Yes, while I’m not that keen on loads of seafood, generally battering it and throwing it in the deep fryer works miracles. One of the stand outs on the whole menu.

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And because we had hardly eaten anything all night……. We were given the option of ordering our own mains. We were told this earlier in the night so purposely left a little space in the tum tum, for myself I had my eyes on one thing and one thing only…the Cheeseburger! Devastation, is probably the word I’d use when we found out they were no longer available. I sucked it up because… well really, I think we’d all eaten enough at this point.  Vanessa opted for the ‘Pork Cotoletta’ – slaw, garlic aioli, lemon and sea salt. $27. Fancy talk for Schnitty and this was a good one, was a tad oily so it became incredibly heavy after a few bites but the flavour was there. We passed tipping point about 2 dishes earlier so we had a few bites and had our mains boxed. Alex and I shared the ‘Duck Ragu’ –w/pappadelle, chilli pancetta & parsley $26. I kind of blurted this one out when I was asked for a main, it’s a complete 180* from anything I would ordinarily order. Pasta was perfectly al dente, the duck was soft and plentiful and melted in your mouth but ultimately I found the ragu itself quite thin and a little bland.

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We also couldn’t resist the ‘Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake’ $7. We opted to get ours with skim milk because everyone knows when you add skim milk to anything you can totally add more chocolate and ice-cream. I’m a peanut butter fan from way back and loved the strong peanut butter flavour, I just wished it was a little thicker.

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Sadly we’ve all been cursed with a massive sweet tooth and despite being full to the brim we shared two desserts between us. The first being the ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ – w/vanilla bean ice-cream & macerated berries. One for those wanting to end a meal on a lighter note.  It was quite a refreshing way to end the evening. The very last dish of the night was the ‘Jar of Cookies & Cream’ – w/honeycomb, vanilla & dark chocolate. Our preferred dessert of the night, we loved the addition of the chocolate cookie crumbs. A much more decadent way to end a meal.

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We were pretty impressed with the food and venue and will now make it our mission to come back for that elusive cheeseburger.

Bianca

Photos by Alex

V.B.A

Bowery Lane on Urbanspoon

*For Food’s Sake were invited to Bowery Lane by Wasamedia, all opinions however are independent and our own.

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