A few weeks back Team FFS assembled at Westfield Eastgardens on a Tour De Force eating mission. That mission: to sample as many restaurants in the ‘Food on Banks’ dining precinct, so you know exactly where to go next time you’re nearby!
The dining area opened in November 2013 and plays host to a variety of cuisines. Restaurants include Kingston & Co, Lang Suan, Bondi Pizza, Ribs & Burgers, Sedap and San Churro. The recent refurbishment of Hoyts cinema last year made for a great opportunity to combine some of our favourite things… eating and watching movies!
So that’s exactly what we did a few Saturday’s back. Four restaurants with a brief movie interlude.
We began our eating adventure at 10:30am at Kingston & Co.
Vanessa: With french tunes playing overhead, on-trend pendant lighting and french style seating, the fit out creates a charming atmosphere. As someone who has a penchant for breakfast dining, I am continually striving to find new places with unique menu offerings. Kingston & Co certainly hit the mark in terms of creativity of its dishes and we chose a range of options from their breakfast menu to share.
The Farmer Joe Granola ($18) is a lighter option of twice cooked granola, fresh fruit, chia seeds, walnuts, honey and the most delicious coconut yoghurt I have ever had. This dish provides the perfect blend of ingredients with a well-balanced mix of sweet and tart flavours. This is something I would not normally order but I was really impressed by the flavour, the substantial serve and the creamy, light texture of that yoghurt.
The eggs benedict ($18) had all the standard offerings you would expect of this dish. Two poached eggs, smoked ham, spinach and of-course hollandaise sauce. There were two standout items that make this dish unique. First of all the brioche, it was fantastic, it had a really buttery flavour which meant it tasted just like a croissant and who doesn’t love a croissant! Secondly, the hollandaise sauce was perfectly light, creamy and not at all overpowering. It complimented the dish well and again I wouldn’t normally order eggs benedict but I would recommend giving this one a go.
The Kingston’s bubble and Squeak ($17) brought the creativity to a new level. This dish consisted of pan-fried pea & potato hash with 12 hour braised brisket, a poached egg, capsicum relish and a serve of sourdough. The hash had a wonderful flavour, almost mexican-like and really held its form even sitting underneath a substantial serve of heavy brisket. The brisket was tender, juicy and delicious. It was a winning combination both on flavour and texture. I felt the poached egg wasn’t necessary as it detracted away from the strength of flavour of the hash and brisket. This was a definite standout across the board!
Lastly the french toast sandwich ($18) is an absolute delight for those with a sweet tooth. A perfect combination of nutella, caramelised banana, brioche praline and ice-cream. Quite rich for my palette, but I could definitely see the appeal of the dish if you like a sweet start to the day. The combination of nutella and banana goes so well together, coupled with the rich, sweetness of the brioche it makes for a delicious combination.
Keeping in mind this was stop one of a mammoth eating day, we tried our best to exercise some form of control and not eat everything in front of us. It was difficult with such terrific options and empty stomachs.
We managed to do a lap of the Westfield before our next stop where we would experience the tastes of Thai street food at Lang Suan.
Manny: The first thing you’ll notice when walking into the vicinity of Lang Suan is the authenticity of the decor. A lot of attention has been paid to smallest details, giving life to the surrounds and the feeling that you’re approaching a string of stores in a busy street in Thailand. Luckily for us, that authenticity didn’t just stop with the decor…
We began our second meal of the day with two of the five dishes that we would be indulging in for the next hour, the Soft Shell Crab in Creamy Sauce and Deep Fried Crispy Morning Glory with Prawn and Chicken Mince.
Unusually, and as the name suggests, the Soft Shell Crab was brought out sitting atop a small pool of sauce resembling (in both taste and texture) an indian style curry. The crab itself was exceptional, incredibly crispy, salty and full of flavour. The portion itself was also incredibly generous. The creamy sauce, whilst having a nice curry flavour in its own right, wasn’t a great match with the crab, and only served to reduce the crunchiness of the crab that sat within.
When the Deep Fried Crispy Morning Glory arrived at the table we were all very intrigued, to say the least. Not only because of the rarity of this dish on most menus in Australia, but also because the name itself doesn’t necessarily conjure up imagery of a vegetable… Suffice to say, we were all very impressed with the dish itself. The batter, which resembled a tempura, gave the vegetable a lovely light crunchiness that complimented its soft natural texture and spinach-esque flavour. Accompanying the Morning Glory, was a thai style prawn and chicken mince salad that you could pretty much call a larb gai without the chilli hit. As a huge fan of larb gai, I enjoyed it but felt it lacked the zest and chilli that a traditional larb is famous for.
Next up on the menu were the Chicken Pineapple Fried Rice and Thai Grilled Pork Salad.
The Chicken Pineapple Fried Rice brought a smile to Vanessa’s face, served within the half hollowed out pineapple that was diced throughout the rice. It was reminiscent of what we’ve received and experienced in our trips to Thailand, and it, along with the intoxicating smell, the lovely contrast of the sweet/sour pineapple and saltiness of the chicken rice, brought back some very fond memories. A winning dish.
The Thai Grilled Pork Salad was another winner. A fresh and zesty salad that was accompanied by some exceptional slices of grilled pork which had been marinated in a sweet sauce and char grilled to perfection. I’m not a lover of burnt food, but there’s something about burning sweet marinades on an open flame which drives me a little bonkers!
Finally, to finish up the second meal of our experience, a Whole Deep Fried Barramundi with Home Made Sweet Chilli Sauce.
For me, this was the standout dish that we tried at Lang Suan. Tasty bite-sized pieces of barramundi fillet, lightly dusted in seasoned flour and fried to crisp without an oily residue whilst leaving the flesh inside tender and juicy. The sweet chilli sauce had a mild heat and added a different depth of flavour to the fish… though I happily gorged on the fish itself without it, it was that good. The presentation itself was incredibly eye-catching, the entire fish carcass, head to tail, was also fried and lay upright on the plate… though maybe a bit confronting for those who don’t deal well with a whole animal laid out before them.
We were given a brief respite when we made our way up to Hoyts. Alex and I to see Bad Moms (watch it… the scene in the bathroom with the jumper OMG) and Vanessa and her husband Manny, to see The Shallows. Two hours watching Blake Lively in a bikini…could be worse. But really the main draw-card for the cinema? The new recliner seats in every cinema! A huge coup but be wary if you’re a snorer, these are comfy and no doubt you’ll doze off.
Alex: After a little R & R at the cinema we headed back down to somehow eat more food. Pizza to be precise, from Bondi Pizza. Now, this place has a lot of nostalgia for me and it’s fair to say that I have a soft spot for one pizza in particular. Back in 2011 when my friends first got their licence it was a regular thing for us to drive down to Bondi weekly. Order take away pizza and eat it on the grass overlooking the beach.
Of course, deterring from our original plan of only getting pizza’s we started with a serving of the Arancini balls, risotto balls with Fontina, tomato, herbs & fetta, served with a garlic aioli $10.95. Nice and crunchy but I did find them to be a little on the dry side so lathering the accompanying garlic aioli was a must!
We also decided to get a classic pizza, the Margherita, Roma tomatoes, italian buffalo mozzarella, shaved parmesan & basil. $20.95. Generous with the cheese which was a bonus, but I feel like the only let down was the pizza base itself. It wasn’t as soft and fluffy as we would have liked.
Knowing full well that we were about to waddle on over to another restaurant we still decided on dessert. The Oven-baked apple crumble pizzette, cinnamon apple & raisin compote, honeyed ricotta, & toasted crumble pizzette, served with vanilla ice cream $11.95. This dessert was very similar to an apple pie except it was served on a little pizza base. Clever. Flavours were good, but again I found the base to be a little hard. I also would’ve preferred the dish without sultana’s but that’s just personal preference. Bianca and Manny loved it.
Bianca: And our very last stop, Ribs & Burgers. Let’s face it. This was always going to be my favourite stop. At 6:30pm the place was heaving and by 7:30pm there were lines out the door. We had been eating for a solid 7 hours by this point but we soldiered on.
Despite all the delicious food during the day this was always going to be my splurge stop…and boy were we ambitious. I’m fairly familiar with Ribs & Burgers as they have a store nearby in Rhodes. They’re typically pretty great for a reliable burger. But a recent menu overhaul had me rather excited. They’re more of your traditional burgers, no stacked creations.
To share we had the Onion Rings $6 and their Famous Chips $6.5. Still some of our favourite onion rings in Sydney, not your usual thick heavily battered rings. They’re the sort you grab a handful and go to town. The chips were crispy and incredibly moreish. The Chilli Chook Wings w/ranch dip $12.50 packed a wallop, with Manny being the sacrificial taste-tester. Some places advertise spicy but they really did deliver. These were fiery!
The Old School Cheese -w/ a beef patty, American Cheese, onion, mustard, pickles, BBQ sauce and aioli w/ added bacon $14 is a classic cheeseburger style. The main point of difference being the BBQ sauce giving it a slightly sweeter flavouring. The beef patties at R&B do have that identifiable charred flavour, similar to that of Hungry Jacks and the beef patties across the board were cooked medium rare with a slight pink centre.
The Pair of Pockets w/chips $18.50 is a great little sampler. With the beef being the stand-out. The grilled chicken was juicy and the creamy pink sauce was the perfect accompaniment to jazz the burger up.
The Pork Baby Back Ribs $35 (full rack) were melt in the mouth tender, falling effortlessly off the bone. These are sticky and messy but that’s half the fun.
And with that we bid adieu to the Westfield dining precinct. It was a great opportunity to experience this dedicated dining destination which offers diversity and caters to a wide audience. You can easily forget that you are dining within a a shopping centre as each venue brings its own unique atmosphere and appeal. So next time you happen to find yourself at Westfield EastGardens, why not tailor your visit around one of the many dining options in the precinct!
Bianca, Vanessa, Alex and Manny
Photos by Alex
Keep an eye on our instagram for your chance to win 2 Westfield Eastgardens dining vouchers.
*For Food’s Sake were guests of Westfield Eastgardens and Hoyts. All opinions however are our own and independent.