June 25, 2015

My Best 10 Food Memories of Sydney 2014

[Sydney, Australia] Oops this post came a year after my visit to Sydney last June haha. But as the purpose of having this blog is to share my dining experiences, so it's never too late for what's on my heart right? And I'm happy to be leaving for Sydney again in two day's time (hello winter!)

The main purpose of the trip last year (and this year as well) is to attend the Hillsong Conference. I must say I'm incredibly blessed with the best travel mates. I've never taken a trip more purposeful than this and came back exceedingly well fed, both spiritually and physically. #thankyouJesus

Here's sharing with you just 10 of the food places I've visited in Sydney last year, which are certainly worth remembering and revisiting (if time/location/tummy space allows haha). Perhaps it can give you an idea of where to go if you're unfamiliar with the city. I'm also excited to check out more good food, and promise not to wait another year before writing about it again :p

See you in Sydney (if you're there!) or follow PinkyPiggu on Instagram (#PinkyPigguInSydney) :D

Bourke Street Bakery

Address: 633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Sydney (corner of Devonshire and Bourke Street)
Contact: +612 96991011 / +612 96665777
Website: http://bourkestreetbakery.com.au/project/surry-hills/
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm / Sat & Sun 7am-5pm

Founded in winter 2004 by bakers Paul Allam and David McGuinness, Bourke Street Bakery has since made a name for itself as a purveyor of artisanal bakes. Many say it’s the best bakery in Sydney, so it is by this fame that we took a morning walk up Surry Hills and joined the queue for a piece of reputed yumminess. My first bite into the Ginger Creme Brûlée Tart (A$5) had me thinking, what nonsense tarts have I been eating all my life? Within that crisp tart shell was a filing of thick creamy custard kissed with the subtle aroma of ginger, contrasted with a top layer of caramelized sugar and finished with a sprinkling of pistachio. To say it’s life-changing is an understatement. The Lemon Curd Tart (A$5), Carrot Cake (A$5) and Beef Brisket Pie (A$5.50) with mushrooms and red wine also left a deep impression. Definitely a place which I must must must return to.

Chat Thai

Address: 20 Campbell Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000, Sydney (opposite Capitol Theatre)
Contact: +612 9211 1808
Website: http://www.chatthai.com.au/
Opening Hours: Daily Lunch 10am-5pm / Dinner 5pm-10pm / Supper 9.30pm-2am

Wow, very hip place! That’s what we all thought as we finally got into Chat Thai after an hour’s wait. The restaurant was buzzing with energy coming from all corners, which seemed to put me in a favourable mood to want to eat more and more. Everything on the extensive menu sounds enticing, all our perennial favourites such as Green Papaya Salad (A$12), Prawn Cakes (A$14.90), Char Grilled Pork Shoulder (A$14), Green Chicken Curry (A$15), Tom Yum Goong (A$20), and Phad Thai (A$14) are there. Taste were better than expected, keynote flavors were present, and portions were substantial. Chat Thai is also a good supper place as it opens till late at 2am with some dishes going at a lower price.

The Entrance Lake House

Address: 1 Oakland Avenue, The Entrance NSW 2261
Contact: +612 43325253
Website: http://www.theentrancelakehouse.com.au/
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun Brunch/Lunch 11am-3pm, Dinner 6pm onwards / Sat & Sun Breakfast 8am-11am

We were en route back to Sydney after visiting Hope Unlimited Church on a Sunday morning when we decided to take a detour to The Entrance Lake House at Central Coast (an hour north of Sydney) and make a pit stop for lunch. The bright and airy restaurant is housed in a heritage building with breathtaking views over the stunning Tuggerah Lake. So gorgeous, we just had to go outdoors and take a few more shots than usual. Dining here is very affordable too, with 3-course Set Lunch (3-5 options for each entrée/main/dessert course) going at A$48. Combining fresh seasonal produce with Asian-inspired flavors, the few items which we tried such as Whole White Asparagus, Salt & Szechuan Pepper Baby Squid, Palmers Island Gold Band Snapper, Roast Thirlmere Chicken Breast and Cinnamon Braised Apple Crumble were all delectable. And all the good girls love their Bad Boy Chips ($8.80) served with aioli and chilli salt. Haha!

Four Ate Five

Address: 485 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW2010, Sydney
Contact: +612 96986485
Website: http://fouratefive.com/
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-3.30pm / Sat 7.30am-3.30pm / Sun 9am-2.30pm

With the abundance of cafés in Surry Hills, Four Ate Five is one of those which slipped through our radar. But when we walked pass their alfresco area and the platter of poached eggs did its wobbly dance in front of us, we knew we just had to get our teeths into one of those. My Egg Benedict ($16) with smoked ham served on a toasted croissant smothered in rich hollandaise sauce did not disappoint. The Sticky Pancakes ($16) served with grilled bananas, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream had my friend exclaiming that it was his best pancake ever. Coffee was good with pretty latte art. A nice place to enjoy breakfast and people-watch along the street.

The Grounds Of Alexandria

Address: 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria NSW 2015, Sydney
Contact: +612 96992225
Website: http://thegrounds.com.au/
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm / Sat & Sun 7am-3.30pm

The Grounds Of Alexandria is a café like no other. What used to be a pie factory is now transform into a tiny town of sorts, housing a coffee academy, café, bakery, patisserie, bar, garden, florist, weekend market and even a mini-farm (hello Kevin Bacon the pig and Bradley the sheep!) within its compound. The place buzzes with activities and a lively convivial atmosphere. Being popular means the café is almost always packed, and the wait for a table within can be quite a downer. Our group managed to grab a table and some chairs in the gardens, and enjoyed our takeaways of Roast Beef Sandwich, Grilled Corn, Beer Battered Chips. Nothing fancy, but we were blown away by the freshest of the produce and how such simple fare can taste so delicious. I had better pastries though, and would skip those when I next visit.

Gumshara Ramen

Address: Eating World Harbour Plaza, Shop 211, 25-29 Dixon Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000, Sydney
Contact: +614 10253180
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gumshara-Ramen/257609477284
Opening Hours: Sun-Mon 11.30am-8.30pm / Tue-Sat 11.30am-9pm (Tonkotsu broth not available between 3pm-5pm)

The rumoured “Best Ramen In The Southern Hemisphere”, Gumshara, is hidden away within an unassuming foodcourt in Sydney’s Chinatown! Though the queue was perpetual while we were there, it was rather fast moving. Their soup is made by traditional Japanese way using only fresh pork bone and water with no MSG, and available in light, mid-thick or thick consistency. The typical choice would be their BBQ Pork Ramen Noodle (A$14) in thick tonkotsu broth, or if you’re in the mood to indulge, go for the Super Mega Ramen Noodle (A$25), a deluxe version luxuriating with all the trimmings: Spare rib, BBQ pork slices, BBQ pork skewer and egg. My Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen Noodle (A$11.50) came with noodles that was a tad too thick and lacked springiness for my liking, and I do find even the mid-thick broth resting too heavily on the tummy. Flavor was gorgeous though with generous amount of aromatic fried garlic sprinkles and not too salty in taste. I can also imagine the amount of beauty-enhancing collagen present in that rich soup. Overall not too bad a bowl, but not one which I’d crave for anytime soon.

Madang Korean BBQ Restaurant

Address: 371A Pitt Street, NSW 2000, Sydney
Contact: +612 92647010 Website: https://www.facebook.com/Madang2006
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-1am

If there is only one restaurant in Sydney that I can return to again, make that Madang. Its Korean BBQ somehow tasted so much better than all others I’ve tried. What got me hooked? Could be that delicious So Go Gi Jabchae (A$13), stir-fried starch noodles with seafood, or piping hot Kimchi Jjigae (A$14), kimchi soup with pork, tofu, rice cake & vegetable on a cold wintry night, or freshness of BBQ Modeum (A$59 for 2pax), a combination of marinated beef, ox tongue, chicken, pork, king prawn, octopus and mussel, or the fiery shiokness of Bul Dak ($42), extra hot and spicy chicken with pineapple and rice cake topped with cheese, or all of the above! First timers might find the restaurant a tad hard to locate though. Just look out for the overhead signage as you walk down Pitt Street, turned into a small lane and that’s where you will find Madang. That’s where you will find this PinkyPiggu too :p


Address: 15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000, Sydney
Contact: +612 92111668
Website: http://www.mamak.com.au/
Opening Hours: Daily Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm, Dinner 5.30pm-10pm, Supper till 2am (Fri & Sat)

I didn’t expect to have my best-ever Maggie Goreng in Sydney, but I did. The visit itself was somewhat strange, I mean, Malaysian food in Sydney when we can have it anywhere closer to home and at a much lower price? Well, I guess we want a taste of familiarity and Mamak is famed for its hawker-style fare. Expect favourites such as Chicken/Beef Satay (A$9 for ½ dozen, A$16 for a dozen), Rojak (A$14), Nasi Lemak (A$9) on the menu, of course there is the Maggie Goreng (A$12), Maggie instant noodles tossed with eggs prawns, fish cake slices in spicy sauce and kissed with the coveted breath of wok (wok hei). The Roti Bom (A$9) was truly impressive: Thick, fluffy, wonderfully crisp and flaky on the outer with a caramelized layer. I’m salivating already. Be prepared to queue for a table though.

Pancakes On The Rocks

Address: 4 Hickson Road, The Rocks, Sydney
Contact: +612 92476371
Website: http://www.pancakesontherocks.com.au/
Opening Hours: Daily 24 Hours

One can only imagine what Pancakes On The Rocks serve: Pancakes! And please may I add: A mind-boggling array of pancakes in sweet as well as savory offerings topped with all the fancy works! Between the two, the sweet version gets our vote. Indulgence is the only word to describe our Hot n Troppo (A$13.95) featuring their renowned soft buttermilk pancakes stacked with grilled banana, walnuts, cream, chocolate ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce. What’s pleasing too was the Macadamia Madness (A$11.95) with fragrant macadamia pancakes topped with vanilla ice cream, roasted macadamia nuts and maple syrup. Serving is huge and it can get a tad too sweet after awhile so it may be wise to share it with a few friends. Besides pancakes, this casual joint also serves crepes, pizzas and grilled items. Pancakes is also one of the few places which are opened 24/7 in Sydney so if hunger strikes at unearthly hours, you know where to go :p

Single Origin Roasters

Address: 60-64 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW2010, Sydney
Contact: +612 92110665
Website: http://singleoriginroasters.com.au/
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 6.30am-4pm / Sat 7.30am-3pm / Closed on Sun

I heard much about Single Origin Roasters even way before my Sydney trip last year, mostly about how my friend Kenny insisted on going there every morning for coffee and giving all other cafés a miss. Is it really that good? Well, it turns out Single O is located just a short walking distance from the hostel where we were staying, so a visit (and a few more visits after) was imperative. The guys at Single O takes pride in sourcing ethically and environmentally sound beans, products and produce, roasting on solar power and having a hand in creating the world’s first purpose built café milk on tap system. I do not profess to be a coffee expert, but I can tell you their smooth and full-bodied Latte (A$4) is one of the best I ever had, and the coffee art was always beautiful. They do serve a breakfast menu too, with their Banana Bread with Espresso Butter (A$6) as our top choice. You can be sure I’d be back for more.

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