Thursday, 31 October 2013

West Juliett - Marrickville, Sydney

With the abundance of cafes popping up in Marrickville, I jumped at the opportunity to go and try West Juliett, as we were in the surrounding area for the Mak Mak macaron class. I'm so glad we did, as this is the loveliest cafe.

The building is an airy non-descript and open space, which I probably would have walked right past it, if not for the fact that it was teeming with people, both waiting for a table and those already enjoying a beautiful brunch in the sun on the tables outside.

Amidst the chaos, there is a system - find the girl that is taking down names for the table wait and then find a standing spot outside and you will get called when there is one available.

As you walk into the cafe, the above delightful sight greets you, with the array of sweets, including their famous pink salt chocolate chip cookie, amongst other tasty baked goodies.

West Juliett menu

As we are rushed for time, our method for deciding what to get pretty much consists of 'that sounds fab' and order. I would love to go back for a leisurely brunch and try out more of the items.

Watermelon lime mint salt slush

If you want a refreshing drink, you can't go past this icy concoction. The salt is very subtle and surprisingly enhances the flavours.


With locally roasted White Horse coffee

Soft scrambled eggs with cured salmon, sorrel, yoghurt and fennel on toast

I try a bit of miss V's scrambled eggs, and I have to say, it is flavoursome and creamy, one of the best scrambled eggs I've ever tried.

Haloumi egg roll, aioli, wilted greens and chilli marmalade

This haloumi egg roll is equally as delicious. I love the generous addition of healthy greens - lovely way to up the daily intake of veggies.

Could not resist taking away this bad boy for later. It lived up to the hype!

This is definitely one of my favourite new cafes. It is worth the lineup, which isn't so bad on a beautiful day, plus there is always the option of grabbing takeaway to enjoy in the park across the road.

West Juliett on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Salt House Restaurant - Cairns, QLD

Cairns is one of those fabulous holiday destinations where there is so much natural beauty, between the crystal clear waters, great barrier reef and the amazing Daintree rainforest area. There's also a relaxed vibe up there, where nothing feels rushed, which makes for a very relaxing time away!

Our last lunch, before heading on the plane, was at Salt House, which came highly recommended by a couple of Cairns locals. We had previously walked past at night, and as it has both a bar and restaurant, the place was packed during the evening. 

To enjoy the beautiful views, I would recommend coming during lunch time. Salt House is located right on the esplanade with waterfront views. We arrive at 11:30am for an early lunch since we have to head to the airport in a few hours. The service is friendly and attentive, and though the kitchen doesn't open until 12pm for lunch, we are promptly given our pick of a seat, and menus to peruse whilst we wait.

Garlic & parmesan pull apart

Served with Australian olive oil and balsamic reduction, dips & olives. The garlic and parmesan bread is served warm, just fresh out of the oven.

Sand crab carbonara

A delicious and creamy mixture of pancetta lardons, leek cream, chives, parmesan and truffle oil with fettuccine pasta. This dish was packed full of flavour without being too heavy. A generous serving of the sand crab too.

300g wagyu rump served with paris mash, steamed green vegetables, mustard jus

A perfectly cooked to medium-rare piece of 100 day grain fed steak from Casino, NSW. 

Salt House gives the option of choosing your plating option with the side dish selection of your choice, from 5 choices. I choose the mash and vegetable option, but there were some other tempting options too - like wild mushrooms with soft polenta, chives and porcini jus. Choices, choices, choices!

Palm glazed pork salad

This dish has a distinct asian flavour with green papaya, peanut relish, chilli, sprouts, coriander, shallots, nahm jim. The pork belly is crisp and absolutely delicious!

Since we still had a bit of time to go, I couldn't resist getting some desserts to share.

Ginger creme brulee

Caramelised pineapple, petite meringue, lime zest and coconut. The shallow dish allows for maximum toffee to custard ratio. With a tap of the spoon, the top layer is cracked through to reveal the ginger infused brulee. It pairs exceptionally well with the coconut sorbet and zesty fresh pineapple.

Macadamia baklava roulade

Local figs, honey mousse, orange segments and cinnamon

A fantastic meal to end our time in Cairns. Highly recommended!

Salt House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spring Fling high tea at Soiree at the Wentworth - Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney CBD

I have to admit that October has flown by in a blink of an eye, and I haven't managed to do many of the Good Food Month events.

I did however, make it to the special Spring Fling high tea at the Sofitel Wentworth. Being a major fan of anything floral and fruity flavoured, this topped my GFM hit list.

Spring Fling high tea menu

Tea selection

Jasmine pearls tea

Keeping with the floral theme, I went with the light and fragrant jasmine tea. 

Service was attentive and the high tea came out fairly quickly, though they did get the numbers mixed up and brought out enough for three, instead of four. Staff were apologetic about it, though it did take a while for the tier to come back out.

Pretty spring fling high tea

The tier that stood out most were the desserts, so bright and pretty!

Savoury tier

We started off with the savouries, including:

Roasted spring vegetable sandwich and a severely undercooked mini quiche (not pictured) and some of the tastier offerings:

Lemon chicken and rocket in a wrap

Cucumber, cream cheese and mint coriander

Scones with cream and jam

Unfortunately the scones were very dry, which was marginally improved with the jam and cream. The only redeeming feature of this tier were the fresh berries.

Onto my favourite part, the sweets!

Mango cheesecake

Now this cheesecake on the other hand, was heavenly. Sofitel Wentworth are known for their cheesecakes, and it's not hard to see why. With the addition of one of my favourite fruit, I could have easily eaten a few more of these!

Lavender creme brulee

Berry tartlet

The gorgeous eclair, mango cheesecake, berry tartlet, lavender brulee all signal that spring has well and truly arrived. 

Soiree on Urbanspoon
Sofitel Wentworth on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bao Town pop up - Vella Nero, Sydney

Bao Town is the latest in pop-up to have hit the Sydney dining scene. A collaboration between Theresa Nugyen and Vella Nero.

With tempting flavours such as:

Coconutty pork belly
Beef Bo Kho
Yellow Chicken Curry
Miso Eggplant
Lemon Polenta
Molten Chocolate by Marou

The remaining pop-up dates are:

Saturday, 2nd of November
Saturday, 7th of December


Vella Nero - 259 Clarence Street, Sydney (between Market & Druitt street)

I was lucky enough to score an invite to the preview event, but wasn't able to attend due to a overseas relative visiting. K attended on my behalf, and I got to sample some of the things from the lovely goodie bag, including this refreshing Strange Love ginger beer. Will definitely make my way to the November event!

Looking forward to trying the Marou molten chocolate bun! 

A snippet of the feast at the preview.

Can never resist an vietnamese iced coffee either!

 Love that the flavours are a bit different from the regular choice, I'm most looking forward to trying the lemon polenta and coconutty pork belly. 

Bao Town pop-up details
DATE:  Saturday 2nd November
Saturday 7th December 
TIME: 10am - 4pm
VENUE: Vella Nero, 259 Clarence St, Sydney between Market St and Druitt St

Saturday, 19 October 2013

MakMak Macaron Masterclass - Newtown, Sydney

As part of Good Food Month, MakMak macaron are offering a Rekorderlig and macaron masterclass. It sounded like fun, and only having ever attempted macaron making via a packet mix, wanted to see how it was done properly. 

After over ambitiously going to brunch at West Juliett, V & I quickly walked over and made it just in time for the 12pm start.

The masterclass was held by Carlos (the founder & owner of MakMak) & Daniel, who firstly went through how it all started, and what macarons should look and feel like.

We then received a sample to taste test - Smooth shell, check. Perfect feet , check. Just the right amount of filling, check!

Carlos went through the whole process, from sifting and mixing process of the icing sugar and almond meal, to adding the egg whites, colouring and how the consistency of each stage should be.

Then it was time for us to break into teams and give it a go (with some great guidance, of course!)

Getting the piping bag ready

My piped macaron shells, ready to go into the oven after some seriously whacking on the bench.

Passionfruit filling

Ta-da! So proud. Carlos boxed all our macarons for us to take home in our goodie bag filled with instructions, TPT (the sifted and combined almond meal and icing sugar), sugar thermometer and some piping bags. 

Could not resist getting some additional macarons to take home.

Overall, a fantastic and fun class. Carlos and Daniel were great, and helpful with any questions we had. MakMak make some of the best macarons, so not a bad place to learn! I still need to work up the courage to attempt this at home though.

Classes are on Saturdays in October for Good Food Month- 19th and 26th 12:00-2:00pm. 

MakMak on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bruschetteria 102 - Surry Hills, Sydney

Bruschetteria 102 is one of those cafes which I've always walked past during my numerous strolls and jogs around Surry Hills. With it's cute little white picket fence and enticing signs promising nutella coffee, it was riduculous that I had not visited earlier.

Miss V & I head for a weekday lunch (our last Surry Hills lunch date since she now no longer works in the area!) The place is not too packed during lunch, and we are quickly greeted by the friendly staff and pick a seat inside.

The cafe has a eclectic mix of furniture inside, and feels very homely. The menu is mainly focused on their speciality, you guessed it - bruschetta. It also features some pasta dishes, along with some salads, and the specials on the board.

Of course we had to try the well-advertised nutella coffee.

Hot nutella coffee

A must order for fans of nutella - a decadent and rich version of a mocha

Iced nutella coffee

The iced version of the above, which was highly recommended by the waiter, even going as far as saying this was life changing! Perfect for those hot days.

Pollo bruschetta

After umming and ahhing over the menu for a while, I went with the chicken schnitzel bruschetta. As soon as the waiter brought this out, it smelt amazing. The schnitzel is paired with roasted vegetables and basil pesto, making this an extremely satisfying and filling dish.

FAT bruschetta

The good kind of fat -  feta, avocado and fresh tomato

Though it is on the pricier side, I really enjoyed the simple, fresh and great quality ingredients used in the bruschetta, not to mention those delicious nutella coffees! 

Bruschetteria 102 on Urbanspoon