Thursday, 31 December 2015

Space Kitchen - Woden, Canberra

Space Kitchen opened several months ago, and I've been itching to get down to Canberra to try it after seeing all the amazing dishes on social media. The cafe is housed in the mammoth Skypark building.

The venue itself is light filled, spacious and industrial. It's a casual cafe, with a order at the counter system which works well. 

Space Kitchen is the second venture by Rick De Marco, the master behind the sweet creations at Ricardo's in Jamison. Even though there is a stunning display of cakes here too, the focus is on the creative all day breakfast menu.

Space Kitchen menu
It's a hard decision when faced with such a tempting array of dishes on the menu. 

Cake cabinet
As always, I check out the sweets first and make a mental note of what I'd like to order for afternoon tea later. Priorities. 

Breakfast fritters

A tasty mix of corn, zucchini and haloumi fritters, poached eggs, feta harrisa yoghurt, beetroot hummus and corn cous cous. 
Space Benedict
Loved the presentation of this dish! A pulled pork croquette on a stuck made to look like a Gaytime ice cream, served with poached eggs, beetroot hollandaise, pork crackling brioche crumble and pea puree. 

The pulled pork was so tender, and the eggs were perfectly poached. There were also small pieces of delicious pork crackling throughout. 


This was my pick and it was amazing. Perfectly stacked boysenberry hotcakes served with blood orange curd, freeze dried raspberries, white chocolate crumble, coconut mascarpone.

The hotcakes are such beautiful dish, served with toasted coconut and purple edible flowers. It's almost too pretty to eat! The hotcakes are packed full of berries, yet still remain fluffy. I'm especially drawn to the sweet and tangy blood orange curd. 
Cucumber, pineapple and elderflower juice

Space Kitchen also has a freshly squeezed juice and shakes menu worth trying out. My cucumber, pineapple and elderflower juice is super refreshing. 
Pineapple jelly, coconut mousse, mango and passionfruit curd & coconut crumble
Being a total glutton, I come back later on in the day for a pot of tea and dessert. I pick the dessert that looks like tropical summer in a jar - the tart pineapple jelly is a great contrast for the sweet coconut mousse and crumble.

Overall, I was very impressed with the menu at Space Kitchen - all the dishes we tried were excellent. 

Space Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Glider KS - Chippendale, Sydney

Chippendale is getting livelier by the day, thanks to a swathe of new additions in Kensington street. Glider KS is one of these new spots, a great little cafe with a Thai inspired brunch menu. The staff here are absolutely lovely too.

The coffee is from Single Origin Roasters and is excellent. How gorgeous is the cup and spoon?

Pan fried marinated pumpkin on toast
The pan fried pumpkin is served in a mash-like consistency. It's quite fragrant and flavoursome, with plenty of Thai herbs. 
Traditional duck rice paper rolls
The duck rice paper rolls are from the lunch menu - having spotted them on a breakfast visit, I knew I had to come back and try these! The flavour of the rolls are subtle; the roll consists of lettuce, vermicelli, crisp coconut pancake, duck and herbs. It's served with a Thai style chilli dipping sauce, which adds a spicy kick to the dish. 
Coconut sticky rice with mango and berries
Following on the theme, The sweet offering at Glider KS is inspired from a popular Thai sweet - mango sticky rice. This version sees the addition of berries too. It's a delicious and very filling dish.

Glider KS Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Smalltown - Avalon, Sydney

Merry Christmas! Hope everyone has a fantastic break spending time with loved ones. I love this time of the year; and am definitely looking forward to these holidays to hang out with family + friends, relax, and eat lots of great food.

Last week, I took a little scenic road trip to Avalon. The weather was a tad grey and windy, but it was still a nice getaway.  Of course, I had to stop past Smalltown, as I've only heard great reviews.

Coffees and doughnut

The coffee is by Single Origin Roasters, which never disappoints. The doughnuts are made in-house by owner, Katrina Smith. The flavours are always changing; get in early to nab one as they tend to sell out pretty quickly! 

On this particular day, the doughnut is a fruity and tropical coconut and lime. I take it away for later, which might be the cause of it being a bit on the dry side. One the other hand, the coconut and lime glaze + topping is absolutely divine; definitely up there on the list of best doughnuts.

Lemongrass and star anise bircher

The lemongrass and star anise bircher is a stunning dish, with a perfectly carved lemongrass + star anise poached pear and edible flowers. The bircher consists of organic buckwheat, sorghum and rice puffs, coconut yoghurt and almond ginger praline.

Smalltown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Minus 8 private dining - Yakitori-Ya October 2015

One of my favourite dinners of 2015 was a pop-up that has been on my hit list for a while. Chef Anton Verplak is behind Minus 8, a Japanese private dining experience that is hosted between the months of March to October. 

On this particular night, it's all about yakitori, and showcasing every part of the chicken. The location of the dinner is kept a secret until the day before the dinner. Drinks are BYO; there's a bottle shop that is conveniently close by to the location.  

The fun of the dinner is it's a small group of 12, and you never know who you might be seated with. The group we had were a hoot, and it got quite rowdy by the end of the night. 

We start off with a few smaller dishes of yakitori with different condiments:

Leg with Umeboshi and Shiso

Thigh with Yuzu Kosho

Parsons nose and oysters with Moshio
Belly and skin with Moshio

Thigh with wasabi salt

The wasabi salt in this dish adds an addictive kick; the couple opposite us asks Chef Anton for some more of the wasabi salt, and he happily brings over the whole shaker, and we all take advantage and use it liberally. 

Daikon and cucumber pickle

The pickles are a nice dish to cut through the richness and provide some refreshment. 

Middle and shoulder wings with Shichimi Togarashi

Tsukune with chives, aged shoyu and warm hen's egg yolk

This was definitely my favourite dish of the night. I love tsukune, and this is absolutely delicious with the runny hen's yolk and chives. 

Tenderloin, Yakionigiri, wild Japanese parsley, Bubuarare, Wasabi, Toasted seaweed and chicken collagen tea

This was an interesting dish for me, as I have never eaten chicken cooked rare. Served on top of a yakionigiri (grilled rice ball), the tenderloin was so silken and tender. 

This dish is served in it's seperate components; you then pour the chicken collagen tea (not pictured) over the tenderloin and rice, which cooks the chicken further. The next step is to add the condiments, such as toasted seaweed, to your bowl. 

Castella cake with Hojicha ice cream and Kuromitsu syrup

The castella cake and Hojicha ice cream was a lovely finish to our meal - so very simple but tasty. 

A highly recommended dining experience, and I definitely have a keen eye out for the next series of dinners that will be out next year!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Automata - Chippendale, Sydney

Chippendale has really come to life over the past few months with many new additions, including Automata. The space is contemporary with machinery fittings being a regular theme throughout the restaurant.

The seating on ground level is mainly communal, so be prepared to get cosy with your dining neighbours. 

I never need much convincing when it comes to a good cocktail list. I can't remember exactly what this was called, but it was some kind of sour, and very good. 

Grilled gem lettuce with violet mustard and chives + fried fish skin
We start off with a plate of snacky things, including grilled pieces of gem lettuce and tasty fried fish skin.

Stracciatella, grilled peach, kelp oil and sea blite

I was torn on this dish; I loved the creamy and stretchy cheese and grilled peach, it was such a fantastic combination. The sea blite also added a nice crunch to the dish. 

However, I wasn't sold on the addition of kelp oil; it added a strong sea flavour to the dish, which unfortunately didn't do it for me. 

The complimentary bread served with whipped Pepe Saya butter + anchovy and chicken jus is absolutely delightful. We don't think twice when the waitstaff offer to bring out another serving.

Blue mackerel, red onion, kombu butter and dill

This was my favourite dish of the night; the mackerel is flavoursome and cooked to perfection. 

Lamb heart, green sauce, cumin and fennel

I'll be honest and say this dish was the least appealing to me from the get go, but I was willing to throw out my preconceptions and give it a go. Verdict? I did not enjoy this dish as I couldn't go past the rubbery texture of the heart. 

Wagyu intercostal, dill pickle and turnip

The wagyu intercostal was a nice finishing point for the savoury dishes. 

Walnut ice cream, aged mirin and blood plum

The walnut ice cream had a nice and nutty texture, and was served with freeze dried plum and aged mirin. For me this dessert was just okay; I didn't see how all the elements combined together.

Overall, I'd have to unfortunately say this meal didn't surpass my relatively high expectations of the place (from the glowing reviews). I love the space and the feel of the restaurant, but the food was hit and miss for me. 

You can book a table at Automata online here

Automata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 3 December 2015

White Taro - Surry Hills, Sydney

Another day, another newly opened Surry Hills cafe to check out. This time it's White Taro on Albion street; a lovely little spot with a menu offering cafe fare with a Vietnamese twist. 


The coffee here is from one of my favourites, Pablo and Rustys. My macchiato is smooth and full-bodied. 

Bo Kho baked eggs

I definitely feel that the breakfast menu does not compare to the dishes offered at lunch; I find myself wishing that White Taro offered it's lunch offerings earlier. (all day breakfast menu for the win!) Having said that, my choice for breakfast, the Bo Kho, was absolutely delicious. The hearty Vietnamese beef stew hybrid with baked eggs, was served with a warm and crusty baguette; the ultimate comfort food. 

Having salivated over the lunch menu, I end up paying another visit a week later. 

Energizer juice

White Taro have freshly squeezed juices, which is a bonus. I order the refreshing Energizer with beetroot, apple, carrot and celery. 

Deconstructed banh mi

The deconstructed banh mi consists of crispy roast pork belly, house made chutney, crunchy veggie pickles, spiced kumquat butter, kimchi, chicken orange pate, served with freshly baked baguette. Whilst this is a very pretty dish, there was nothing that stood out for me. 

Viet skewer chicken on brioche

The vietnamese skewer chicken burger on the other hand, was super tasty. Served with a choice of chips or salad (chips, of course!), the burger is served with juicy chicken skewers, green papaya and mango, herbs, grains and seeds on a black brioche bun.

Highly recommend getting in early for weekend lunch as there is limited seating, and it was packed during my last visit.

White Taro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Petal Met Sugar - Woolloomooloo

Petal Met Sugar is a gorgeous new cafe x florist in Woolloomooloo. The first thing you notice as you step foot in the shop is the beautiful blooms on display, along with a display cabinet filled with equally pretty cakes.

Vanilla bean croissant

The croissant is nice and flaky; it's filled with vanilla bean butter, but the vanilla flavour is quite subtle.


Definitely the prettiest dessert, with a clever use of the edible flowers. The Terrarium is a white chocolate dome with cocoa nib soil, passionfruit finger lime panna cotta, lemon balm and edible flowers. I enjoy the tartness of the citrusy panna cotta as it helps to break through the richness of the white chocolate.

The outdoor seating is limited, but once you grab a seat, it's a lovely way to spend a leisurely weekend afternoon with a good friend, pot of tea or coffee, and some sweets.


Salted caramel tart

I bought this tart as a takeaway treat. With 70% dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel mou, caramalised popcorn and gold sea salt. I love the glamorous  sprinkle of gold!

It's decadent, but not as heavy or rich as it looks. I devoured this all to myself one afternoon and didn't feel sick afterwards haha 

Petal Met Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato