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Cherrybite – The Shortlist

20 Feb

Sometimes the hype of a new place outweighs the quality of the food; and although we’ve all seen that good food alone isn’t always enough to cause a stir, there is no point going to a beautifully adorned cafe if the food is just short of bangers and mash.

The Shortlist is by no means beautifully adorned, in fact, it is warn down in an ironic and hip way. The tables are always full, the barista is faced with a long line each morning, but somehow, it doesn’t meet the hype I see on my daily commutes.

Upon entering it is a little disconcerting on what you are meant to be doing;  not being greeted was a big tick in my naughty box, and then not being told to order at the counter while I had been sitting at a table was immensely rude in my books.

Cafe Latte

Finally when I had figured out the workings of this narrow little nook, we received coffee’s we did not order, and then our waiter took away our table number even though we were still waiting for food.

Fetta & Potato Hash with Jamon $15.50

Alas, I never like to judge a place off insignificant details, but finally when my breakfast arrived (my friend decided not to order from the sheer confusion) it was pretty disappointing and bland. I ordered a potato and fetta hash, with oven roasted tomatoes and added $3 for Jamon. It also came with some undressed baby spinach, and was totally unseasoned.

I was chatting to the owner who seems very new in the game and she was lovingly apologetic and amenable enough for me to look past some of the more subtle misgivings. What I do not understand, however, is the way in which a cafe with medicore food, and barely decent coffee and barista staff, can have such a huge impact on the little suburb of Darlington. I’m sure any discerning cafe goer would not return here after their first visit.

The Shortlist – 258 Abercrombie Street, Darlington, 2008

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Pasta Vera – Pyrmont

8 Feb

Eating pasta in public is messy. Sauce flies, cheese oozes, chins adorn the battle scars. But we all do it, because pasta is one of the world’s most treasured dishes, and if it isn’t messy; it isn’t worth eating. I can remember as a child, the only thing I wanted to eat was spaghetti, and although I’ve added a few more beloved dishes to my repertoire, nothing beats a good pasta.

Pasta Vera epitomizes freshness through its homemade pasta and pastries. This little cafe in Pyrmont makes all its pasta on the premises, and also stocks many of its pasta produce to good quality stockists like Norton Street Grocer.

Assorted pasta and sauces

Assorted homemade cakes and pastries

I have been to Pasta Vera countless times, and this is one place you will always get consistently good service, a fresh and diverse menu that caters to availability of products, and amazing food presentation. I could go on, so I will; their coffee is also a serious contender for top cup of coffee. The flat white I ordered was nice and strong without being bitter, normally I am a mocha girl so this is a big deal for me.

Flat White $3.50

Cafe Latte $3.50

I got the Sirloin Steak Sandwich, but firstly I need to confess; when I order a steak sandwich, I expect it to be cheesy, saucy, and pretty much just unhealthy all around. This sandwhich was the polar opposite to what I normally like, but it was still a work of art. The steak was tender and juicy, and the caramelised onions added an immense sweetness that converted me from the dark side.

Sirloin Steak Sandwich $14.50

The Chili Spaghetti  came with cherry tomatoes, king prawns and chorizo; there is no better combination. This pasta had the perfect balance of spiciness, it was enough to keep your senses going, but not so much that you break out in a chili sweat. The pasta itself was al dente, and as usual, napkins were required.

Chili Spaghettie $19.50

Pasta Vera  is definitely one of those places you feel pleased with having been to, and pleased that you have discovered. If more places made good quality food, compared to the price that Pasta Vera offers it, we’d all be a little bit more messy, but very content.

Pasta Vera
186-188 Harris St
Pyrmont 2009 NSW
Mon – Sat 9:30am-10:30pm

Cherrybite – Ms. G’s

14 Dec

Ms. G’s describes itself as decidedly asian, but it is also a nifty little place to pop in for a quick dinner and a few cocktails. Underneath the overt oriental exterior, it’s quite easy to see that a lot of the charm of Ms. G’s comes from the fusion of some great asian recipes with a few conventional western ingredients.

The Mini bánh mì with crisp pork belly $6

The Mini bánh mì with crisp pork belly can best be described as a gourmet pork roll in burger form. It has quite a strong pate flavour, so it’s quasi size is surprisingly fulfilling.

Egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck, soft poached egg $18

The Egg Noodles are designed to be mixed with the XO sauce and the soft poached egg giving the dish an immense creaminess and slight kick. Personally I found the taste of shrimp paste a bit overwhelming and would have preferred a bit more spiciness.

Unfortunately my visit here was quite brief, but from what I tried, I definitely am wanting to go back and try the sea scallops with guacamole, and the summer noodles with zucchini flowers.

 

Ms. G’s
155 Victoria Street, Potts Point
8313-1000
Mon-Thurs 5pm-11pm
Fri 12pm-3pm / 5pm-11pm
Sat 5pm-11pm
Sun 1pm-9pm

Cafe ish

10 Dec

I follow Cafe ish on Twitter. Through time I’ve gotten to know head chef and owner, Josh Nicholls, as having busy Twitter fingers, while also being on the slightly quirky side. Amid all the tweets about his lack luster staff, and why not to put rubbish in his store, there was an amazing little gem about one of the first owners of his current location. Although Cafe ish had moved from Albion Street to Campbell Street, it’s newer location is in a converted house that you can see coming up from Central. Apparently this quaint little cafe used to be owned by a little old lady who’s family used to run a fruit shop: http://yfrog.com/h2a16fzoj

So, I got to know Chef Joshua through the twitter-verse, and had also heard through the grapevine that he is quite pedantic about people taking photo’s in his cafe. With a few wines under belt, I approached Cafe ish and asked if I could take some photos, and the rest is all history.

Edamame with Murray River pink salt $5

The Edamame with Murray River pink salt probably needed more salt, but it came to the table the perfect temperature, and were nice and firm.

Lotus root, mushroom & shallot gyoza $10

The Lotus root, mushroom & shallot gyoza  were an amazing variation to the traditional pork and vegetable gyoza. They have an intense ginger flavour that does not over power, and the lotus root adds such an amazing texture.

Ai’s freaking awesome fried chicken $14.5

One of my favourite dishes on the menu also has the most interesting name I’ve ever seen on a menu; Ai’s freaking awesome fried chicken. It is freaking awesome. This incredible fried chicken is light and crispy. It’s coated in a vinegar dressing and large chunks of caramelized garlic. Indescribably good.

Free range wagyu rump tataki $19.90

The free range wagyu rump tataki came with sake hollandaise and trussed cherry tomatoes. The wagyu itself was great quality and cooked to perfection, but some people might say it was slightly chewy.

Kara age crab omelette $24

My second favourite dish of the night was the kara age crab omelette with ginger dressing. It is hands down the best soft shell crab I have had, and it is lathered with avocado and this deliciously sweet dressing; it may not be the most attractive dish I’ve seen, but it’s definitely one of the tastiest.

Cafe ish
82 Campbell Street
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
(9281-1688)
Monday-Wednesday 7am-4pm
Thursday-Friday 7am-10pm
Saturday 9am-10pm
Sunday 9am-2:30pm

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant

1 Dec

Overcoming many of the firsts in life can be momentous. I, on the other hand, would like to compare this post to a more obscure first time; the first time I made a cake. The fledgling baker that I was, butter cake was by no means a hard feat to conquer, but apparently I was awesome at making cakes with a gooey centre that dipped in the middle. Feeling like I’ve come a long way since then, Xanthi Bar and Restaurant is my new, gooey first.

We knew that Xanthi was going to be a delight when we got there; it was a Tuesday night, and at 7pm the restaurant was booked out and the space was alive with the pulsing energy of a busy restaurant. The restaurant itself really isn’t all that large, but its decor has quite a Middle Eastern theme going with creamy curtains, and mosaic lamps, so the narrow space became quite cosy.

We kicked off the night with the complimentary sourdough bread, and olive oil which was a vibrant green, and incredibly fresh in taste.

Complimentary Sourdough Bread

BBQ Haloumi $10.00

The BBQ Haloumi was the best haloumi we ever had. The cheese itself is the most perfect texture, and did not have that rubbery feeling that haloumi can sometimes have. It was lathered in oregano, lemon and diced tomato; the perfect addition to the lightly charred flavour of the cheese.

Vine dolmathes $9.00

Sheftalies $11.00

One of the big standouts of the night was one of the most common Greek foods; the Vine Dolmathes. These little parcels of rice had an amazing glutenous texture, and were drenched in the most delicious egg-white like sauce. My favourite thing about it was that they were not suffocated by mint, which can sometimes over take the dish.

Luckily, my Greek friend helped to choose the mains, otherwise it would have been incredibly difficult to whittle down some of the amazing choices. We settled on the Lamb Skaras and the Chicken Avgolemono.

Lamb Skaras $30.50

The lamb was incredidbly tender, you could pull it apart with your fork. It tasted very much of oregano, but the potatoes, string beans, and a salsa-like sauce on the bottom really brought the dish together.

Chicken Avgolemono $29.50

The chicken could have had a little more flavour, the sauce was amazing, but on its own it was a bit bland.

Plate of Hippocrates

Lastly the Plate of Hippocrates was the ultimate dessert for those with a sweet tooth. The waitress told us it was a trial, but I definitely think it should be on their permanent menu. It was a tasting plate of chocolate sponge, pineapple, pomegranate and lemon sorbet. The sponge was very light and moist, and it went incredibly well with the pieces of pomegranate and the sauce which was thick and slightly tart.

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant:
Corner Pitt Street Mall & Market Street, City
Level 6 Dining Precinct
(9232-8535)
Fri-Sat 8am-Midnight, Sun-Thu 8am-11pm