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Trattoria La Vigna

Today was my first time at Camden which is in South West of Sydney (past Campbelltown), we saw some farms and country scenic views on our way.

The atmosphere of this restaurant was lovely. The restaurant has an overlooking vineyard. I knew it was going to be a special, memorable lunch already ๐Ÿ™‚

I havenโ€™t made pasta in the last few weeks, so I was pretty excited to try some authentic Italian food. We were welcomed by a friendly staff with a very strong Italian accent, almost made us feel like we were in Italy!

The garlic prawns we tried for entrรฉe were delicious, and prawns were cooked well. It was nice to have some tomatoes in there (the only vegetable in our meal). The olive oil was great for dipping the bread.

Gamberi all โ€˜aglio- Garlic Prawns ($20)

However, I was slightly disappointed with the mains. The gnocchi I tried was swimming in a plate of creamy pesto. Donโ€™t get me wrong; I love basil pesto. But there was just too much of it. It kind of makes reminded me of the old saying of โ€˜less is moreโ€™.

Gnocchi Gamberi e Pesto โ€“Gnocchi prawns and pesto ($27)

Ravioli di mare ย โ€“ Seafood ravioli ($29)

Similar case with crab ravioli, there was too much of the rich heavy sauce (as you can tell from the pictures). But other than that, it was delicious. There was good flavour balance in the pasta itself. I wouldโ€™ve enjoyed it far more with a dash of sauce, rather than what they provided.

To end on a good note, we had their tiramisu for dessert. It was so very delicious. We werenโ€™t able to finish it as the portion was large but left feeling very satisfied.

Tiramisu ($13)

Overall, I had a wonderful time coming out to the country and loved the Italian vibes of this place. The staff were pretty friendly and attentive. In terms of price, it is more on the expensive side, but great for special occasion celebrations like we did today.

Trattoria La Vigna
3 Argyle Street, Camden
NSW 2570
http://trattorialavigna.com/

Parramatta Lanes


I heard a lot about Parra Lanes last year so I thought I’d make a time to see out this year. At first, we had a lot of trouble finding out where we needed to go. I’ve heard Parra Lane gets spread across over multiple stations to distribute the crowd. However, the problem was that the places aren’t always easy to find. After walking around for some time, we managed to get hold of a map from a security staff.

My main reason for coming was to try some knafeh; I’ve heard so much about this dessert from people who came last year. But we realised this particular shop was furthest out from our location.

First stop was Koi Dessert Bar but there as a long line. While waiting in line, I decided to try the strawberry watermelon gelato from N2. I’ve always been a huge admirer of the strawberry watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry. I thought it’d be an interesting combo to have it in a gelato form. It surely was, I quite liked the gelato cake, it had a very strong flavour of the original. It felt very light to be eating it, much like the cake. The pistachios and rose petals added further reminders to the original cake. But one thing I really hated was the syringe; I’m so glad I squeezed a little bit on one side of the gelato to try it first because I did not find it palatable. It completely ruins the taste of the gelato!
Black Star Pastry’s famous strawberry and watermelon cake smashed with vanilla gelato ($8)
SWC Smash ($8)

By the time we finished eating the gelato, we had gotten closer to our line with Koi. As usual, this place has too many beautiful divine looking desserts so it’s always hard to make up your mind, plus you all know how indecisive I am when it comes to ordering food! I ended up trying a new flavour called Berry cheesecake. It was absolutely beautiful; I loved the cheesecake part of it. It was so soft and just melts in your mouth. The middle of the cheesecake had a berry sauce filling which I did not like. I felt it ruined the flavour of the cheesecake. Thankfully there wasn’t too much of it for me to hate this dessert. Another thing I did like was a biscuit base at the bottom. I found this hard to break and eat.

Berry cheesecake ($9)
We continued exploring for a little while until we walked past a pretty donut place. They had some nice looking donuts. We tried their Golden Gaytime, but it was awful. There was barely any flavour from the original ice cream; it was dry to eat, and the outside coating was too sugary. There was nothing good about this donut.
Gaytime filled donut ($5)
We knew our last food going be knafeh so we followed the map closely and found it close to the Emporium Cafe. However, there was a ridiculously long line. The vibe was very different on this end with loud music, bearded men singing and dancing while making knafehs. It was enjoyable for the first few mins, but soon the waiting got boring. At one point, I even regretted ordering the knafeh. Finally, after a long wait, we received our knafeh.
It tasted nice, but it wasn’t anything special. Nothing stood out to me in terms of flavour; it tasted a bit like a pudding. Sad to say, I was very disappointed with this dessert, I donโ€™t understand what the hype is about? I reckon I could have made a similar dessert at home. So it must be the singing/ dancing thatโ€™s making this place popular than it should be?!
  
Knafeh ($8)
Overall, I really enjoyed coming here and seeing the transformations Parra has undergone for this event (see pictures below).

My fav ๐Ÿ™‚

Deux Bar + Kitchen


We came here based on a friendโ€™s recommendation who liked one of their desserts. I could feel the funky hipster vibes as we entered. We were not hungry as it was early in the afternoon; we decided to go with a light snack.

The menu we got handed out was very short. I remember I had seen a broader range online, but I realised later that their menu is time specific (ours was 4-6pm). We decided to try the battered chickpea eggplant and chicken crackling.

The chickpea battered eggplant was probably a better deal. It had a very strong eggplant flavour. It tasted pretty good, but nothing stood out in terms of flavour.  I really enjoyed the smoked chilli mayo though (helped me eat the food).

I was quite disappointed with the amount served for chicken crackling and felt it was overpriced. The raw kingfish tasted quite nice but very salty! Iโ€™m not big on raw seafood (except for salmon), but this was prepared well with smoked eggplant, caper and togarashi.

Overall, Deux cafรฉ was a bit of letdown and did not live up to my expectations. I probably wouldnโ€™t return here unless it were to try a different menu (lunch or dinner).

Chickpea battered eggplant $12

Chicken crackling $14

Deux Bar + Kitchen
98-104 Parramatta Road
Camperdown
NSW 2050

El-Phoenician Restaurant

My homie just got back to Sydney so we caught up for dinner! We haven’t had middle eastern food together so we decided to go with Lebanese cuisine.

It was pretty light because we went on a weeknight. As usual, we took a very long time to decide what we wanted to eat. The staff kept rushing us asking if we had made up our mind. We did not like this one bit because we always take our time to order, and we felt it was unnecessary to pressure us into ordering because the restaurant was almost empty!
 
Eggplant dip was the best; it was smooth, soft and creamy. It was my favourite. I could literally eat this every meal; eggplants are one of my favourite vegetables (yes, I have too many favs when it comes to veggies!)
Hummus and Lamb was an average dish. It didn’t really stand out to me; I didn’t hate it, nor did I love it. It turned out to be our least eaten dish from the night, and it’s one dish we wish we didn’t order.

Mixed platter was pretty good, seasoned well – the lamb was quite tender though I personally preferred the chicken strips.

Salad and Pickled olives-  this was an excellent choice because it added more veggies on our plate. We loved the variety in this. My favourites were the radish and pickled turnips.

Halloumi stacks-  we loved it, it’s one of those things that I hate the saltiness of but enjoy the taste at the same time.

Tabbouleh- this has been one of my favourite Lebanese dishes for a while. It was fresh and seasoned well. I really enjoyed it. I probably could’ve eaten more of this, but I was trying not to fill up (so I could save space for dessert).

Overall, we had a great time; we would’ve liked it more if the service had been a tad friendlier. But other than that, we enjoyed the food. We would definitely order less next time.

Grilled haloumi stack: Served with mesculine salad, tomato and a balsamic reduction $18

Chick Pea (Homous): A puree of chick peas blended with tahina and lemon juice with lamb  $19

Eggplant (Baba Ganouje): Smoky chargrilled eggplant blended with tahina and lemon juice $13

Mixed marinated pickles (Kabees): A plate of kalamata olives, pickled cucumbers, turnips, and whole chilies $17

Tabouli: Parsley, tomato, shallot, crushed wheat and mint mixed with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil $17

Combination (Shawarma): Chicken and lamb. Served with mixed pickles, tahina, chilli and garlic $30

Same as above, from a different angle ๐Ÿ™‚

Dinner minus the shawarma

El-Phoenician Restaurant
328 Church Street, Parramatta
NSW 2150 
http://www.el-phoenician.com.au/

The Vogue Cafe

I’ve been thinking about going here for a while now but somehow never end up going because Macquarie is far and out of my way. I’ve seen so many Instagram posts displaying their ever so fine looking drinks which always gets me drooling!

I took my time to pick a drink, trying to choose between Nutella, peanut butter and Oreo. I decided to go with Nutella as a safe choice because Nutella is one of those things you can’t go wrong with.

The veggie AF dish looked great but I was slightly disappointed after I tasted. The dish had multiple ingredients- falafel, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, rocket, Spanish onion, cashews, quinoa, poached egg, garnished with mint, lemon and olive oil.
The combination of quinoa, cashew, rocket and falafel wasn’t as satisfying as I was expecting it’d be. It wasn’t bad, but at the same time, it did not stand out to me. I found the falafel flavours a little dull; it wasn’t as authentic as the Lebanese ones. 
Veggie AF ($17)

The salmon slice looked stunning. I enjoyed it because anything that has salmon and avo are my all-time fav combo ๐Ÿ™‚

Salmon Slice ($16)
 
Chips with aioli and tomato sauce ($7)

I finished eating early so I have space for my gorgeous Nutella milkshake. It was very chocolatey and oh-so-delicious. Maybe I enjoyed it even more because I haven’t had Nutella in months! It was such a beautiful, satisfying dessert. I munched through most of the cone but left out the snakes (not a fan of party snakes). I left the macadamias in the drink till the end which allowed me to end my meal on a happy, nutty note!

The infamous Nutella milkshake ($9)
Nutella milkshake + Ginger beer
Ginger beer ($7)
Rustic chair vibes in the background!

Flatlay of everything ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, we loved our visit to this lovely rustic cafe. The staff were extremely friendly which is always nice ๐Ÿ™‚ the drinks are a little overpriced but it’s still worth it. I’d definitely come back if I’m ever in the area again, perhaps for another fancy drink!

The Vogue Cafe
Level 2, Macquarie Centre
109 Waterloo Road
Macquarie Park
NSW 2113

Lindt Chocolate Cafe

I’ve wanted to try Lindt for a very long time. I’ve made plans of coming here but somehow got turned off. I was really excited when I entered and being surrounded by all the chocolate felt pretty amazing. It took me some time to decide what I wanted (I think you all know about my indecisiveness by now). 
We ended up ordering a lava cake and waffles. In the meantime, I looked around and ate with my eyes ๐Ÿ˜›
Sad to say, I was quite disappointed because the flavours were heavy, even for a chocolate lover like me. The ice cream was great, but there wasn’t enough ice cream to balance the intense flavours from the lava cake. I think I would’ve liked it more if there were less cake and more ice cream. 
Chocolate Lava Cake ($12)

The waffles were a let down as they were ordinary and did not come with any fruit either. We were not happy with this as most places offer same waffles, including fresh fruits at a better price!

Waffles with ice cream ($15)

Overall, we had a pretty good time but not as impressed as we thought we would have been. If I were to come back again, I certainly wouldn’t order what we got today. The good news is that they’ve still got plenty of other things I’d like to try.

Lindt Chocolate Cafe
Shop 104 -105, Cockle Bay Wharf, Cockle Bay NSW 2000

Pizza Design Co.

Presenting the deep fried Mars bar with ice cream *drum rolls * 
Deep fried Mars bar with ice cream ($9)
I know what you’re thinking, it doesn’t look that great?! I must say I was initially skeptical to the combo because I’m not fond of Mars bars (couldn’t remember the last time I had a Mars bar), and I don’t like deep fried foods either. 
And then, I reluctantly had my first bite…
I was surprised at how good it tasted! I know the picture doesn’t look as appealing, but it was very delicious!
The outside layer was crispy, and the inside was soft and chewy. It just melts in your mouth with the ice cream. It’s the kind of dessert you could have during summer and winter- because it was hot and cold at the same time! 
I’d come back here for this again, and also to try a custom made pizza, I’ve heard they’re very yum as well. 

Khaybar Restaurant

Two of my friends recommended this place, it was my first time trying Afghan cuisine so I was quite excited. I was told they have really nice eggplant and meat dishes.

There weren’t many people as we went on a weeknight but I have heard that they are really busy and often hard to get a table.

We started with their famous eggplant dip. The ‘Buranee-Badenjan’ came with large naan bread. The dip was rich in flavour but it was just too oily. I did not expect there would be this much floating oil. The bread tasted quite nice with the dip but it was hard to tear and manage. We would’ve liked if it had been cut in smaller pieces.

Buranee-Badenjan as an entree ($6.90)

For mains, two of us ordered the ‘Qaboli Pallaw’ (one chicken and one lamb shank). The chicken was soft and cooked well. The rice was topped with carrots, raisins and pistachios. I enjoyed the combination of sweet and savoury in this dish.

Qaboli Pallaw Chicken ($14.95) 

Buranee-Badenjan as a main ($19.95)
Qaboli Pallaw Lamb ($16.95)

Overall, we had a great time. Unfortunately we ended up wasting a lot of food (mainly rice and bread) as their carb portions were huge! I probably wouldn’t travel all the way to eat here but I would definitely come by if I am in the area again.

Khaybar Restaurant
64 Auburn Road
Auburn, NSW 
http://www.khaybarrestaurant.com.au

The Emporium

This cafe has a great welcoming atmosphere with options to dine in or outside. We went on a weekday so it wasn’t that busy.

I wasn’t that hungry so I ordered a side. It was filled with Dutch, purple and orange carrots with Harissa dressing. It was great in the beginning but after a while, it got boring. It would’ve been better if they had one or two other veggies (rather than just carrots).

Roasted Dutch carrots, cashew dukkah, harissa dressing $9

Chocolate cremeux, honeycomb ice cream, chocolate soil, dulce de leche, espresso gel $16

The dessert however, was delicious. It had lots of crunch, texture and flavour. There was lots of bits and pieces like bread, chocolate, ice cream etc. The amount was good in terms of portion control.
Yes, I know the photo doesn’t look as appealing as the lighting was poor but it looked way much better in person.

Kensington Street, Chippendale (Hong Kong Diner + Koi Dessert Bar)

I caught up with an old friend today. We were in the Central area so ended up going to Kensington Street again. If you’ve read the previous blog, you’d know I only just went there last Friday. I knew there was a lot more left to explore but I didn’t think I’d return so soon.


We walked around Spice Alley and picked Hong Kong Diner. We ordered a prawn dumplings and fried calamari. It was very busy as it was peak hour and getting a table was a bit of a struggle.

Finally, we settled down and started on our food. I was really excited to dig into my calamari because I rarely eat fried foods or calamari. However, my excitement faded after I took the first few bites. It was too salty. I know the description says salt and pepper calamari but I didn’t think it’d be splashed with salt like this! Then I figured it would be less saltier if we soaked the calamari with tissues. It was much better after wiping with tissues as this wiped some of the salt and excess oil.

Salt and pepper calamari dim sum ($10)
The dumpling was delicious, no complaints there. The inside filling was chives and prawn and it wasn’t salty at all so I felt it complemented well with the other dish.
Prawn and chive dumpling dim sum ($7.5)
We were satisfied but were left with a very salty tongue so we decided to get dessert. We went to Koi again. I was looking to get one I didn’t get last week.


This Nomtella looked gorgeous with glittered hazelnuts sitting at the top. The middle layer was soft and had a beautiful texture. It was a good balance of chocolate and espresso. The base however, was too chocolatey and heavy. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate.

Overall, I enjoyed it even though I may have exceeded my sodium levels. Even if I did, it doesn’t matter because today is International No Diet Day (INDD). It’s an annual celebration of body acceptance and body shape diversity. It’s also about having a happy healthy relationship with food, which means you should be able to eat whatever you want, in moderation.

Anyway, I’ll end here for now. Have a good weekend everyone!


Nomtella ($9)

Lal Qila


This was my first time trying Pakistani cuisine. I’ve heard strong recommendations about this restaurant from a friend so we decided to give it a try.
I was told their kebabs were one of the most popular items. In addition to this, we ordered an appetiser and a side.

The appetiser arrived fairly quick. I was amazed at just how delicious it tasted! It was a combination of spinach, lentils, potato, puffed rice, nuts, raisins and finally, topped with yoghurt, tamarind and mint. The combination of sweet, sour and chilli was absolutely beautiful. There was so much flavour and crunch in this dish. I could’ve left this restaurant happily without trying anything else!

Lahori Chatkhare ($11.9)

Bihari kebab ($16.9)

The Bihari kebab came next, I’ve heard of many places that don’t make it the right way (either use minced meat as a shortcut or don’t marinate it enough). This however, was done really well. The meat was so soft that it almost broke while transferring to another plate. It was very soft and succulent. The meat melted in your mouth without you having to do much chewing!

Lazeez Keema Naan ($4.5)

There was also the kheema naan, it was probably my least favourite. It was hard to chew and slightly burnt. But I didn’t mind as I was overly satisfied with the two dishes.

Overall, we loved it! I’ll definitely remember this place for the chatkhare and kebab. Those are the two things I’d come back for!

Lal Qila Restautant 
351-353 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
NSW 2010
http://www.lalqila.com.au

Kensington Street, Chippendale (Lower Mekong + Koi Dessert Bar)

We explored a very special secret place this weekend. I say ‘secret’ because it is relatively new and it’s not easy to find unless you know about it as it’s tucked away right next to Central Park. I recently heard about this place from a friend and coincidentally, one of my other friend’s planned our group dinner there.

It is the cutest lane ever, full of modern Asian vibes.

We dined at a Vietnamese restaurant called Lower Mekong. Their food is seriously amazing. All of their dishes sounded so good on the menu, we had trouble deciding what to eat.

Vietnamese Noodle salad ($14)
Vietnamese pancakes (bottom)

I ordered the Vietnamese noodle salad and I absolutely loved it! There aren’t many restaurants where you get a good veggie serve in a meal and this is where dish was an exception. It was wholesome and satisfying. It is the kind of light meal you’d eat at home.

I also tried the spring rolls for entree and enjoyed it. My friend’s had really positive comments about the Vietnamese pancakes and duck in betel leaf.

After dinner, we walked around the street and explored other restaurant places. There are so many good eatery places.

Pretty lanterns

For dessert, we had plans to try Koi Dessert Bar. I was really excited for this one because I remember watching Reynold Poernomo in Masterchef last year and loved his aesthetc creations.

*Drools*

We stared at the display while we waited in line to be served. Each dessert looked beautiful than the next. We decided it’d be best if we order one each and share them. There was seven of us so we chose one each:

  • Banana chantilly cream ($9)
  • Naked chocolate hazelnut ($9)
  • Tiramisu ($12)
  • Mango Yuzu ($9)
  • Prince Popcorn ($9)
  • Coconut dome ($9)
  • Bailey’s espresso hazelnut ($9)
Happiness in a box! ($66)

My favourite ones were banana chantilly cream and coconut dome one. The others were okay too but it wasn’t my kind I guess.

We were fully satisfied and devoured all of it. It costs more than other places but well worth it.

Overall, I loved dining at Kensington street. I’ll definitely be back here to try the other Asian places.

Picnick View Cafe



We actually had plans to somewhere else but spontaneously decided to come here (as we were running late). I remember reading about this somewhere last year and wondering where the location was. I used to do volunteering here with Cancer Council and did one of my placements here last year so I knew the area well but I had no idea this cafe was hiding here the whole time (itโ€™s because you 
can’t see the name of the cafe from the street). It’s completely hidden, all I could ever see was Campos coffee.


We sat down after ordering food and looked around at all the hipster elements of this cafe. They have a lot here, it’s pretty much packed with stuff. We waited for a while and started wondering why the food wasn’t coming. We found it quite difficult to sit outside (it was a really hot day) and there was no arrangement inside (it’s a really small cafe).

Seating area


Word!


Soon after, one of the staff came and told me my dish would take another extra 20 mins because they need to roast it. I was getting a little impatient but then again, I thought it’s a good sign at the same time as it means they’re preparing it fresh?


The other dish we ordered came right after this but my friend refused to start without me so we ended up taking a million pictures and โ€˜shooingโ€™ flies. There were just way too many!

Filo pastry with spinach and feta with salad ($14)
Finally, my food came, after what seemed like forever in the heat! We took some obligatory pictures and started eating. I ordered roast vegetables which had pumpkin, eggplant, capsicum, carrot and mushrooms. The good thing was, it tasted delicious so we kind of forgot about the long wait. I wouldโ€™ve liked it a notch better if the egg was poached (I find boiled eggs boring and old fashioned!)

Roast vegetable salad with boiled egg ($16)
But the other problem was we needed to be โ€˜shooingโ€™ flies while eating (only if we had a swatter on us!) Multitasking while eating wasnโ€™t easy but we managed to keep almost all of the flies off our food (we saw this as a great achievement considering how hot it was!)


The filo pastry was done well, spinach and feta make a beautiful combo and it was no different here. 


Add caption
Overall, we had a pretty good time, wouldโ€™ve been better if we could be inside on a hot day like this (without the flies). I reckon we couldโ€™ve eaten more peacefully. It’s a nice little cafe with reasonable prices and good food, I would definitely recommend a visit if you happen to be in the area. 





Mamak

Had my first proper food adventure of 2016 at the famous Mamak! This has been on my ‘must visit’ list for too long. I think I’ve avoided it longer than usual because of the crowd. I remember walking past this place in the past and planning that we’d eat here someday. We’ve tried planning spontaneous meet ups to come here but it’s just kind of far, then there’s the long wait.

We were secretly hoping the line wouldn’t be as bad today because it’s a weeknight. Even though it’s Thursday night, you’d hope that more people are going shopping (than coming to eat out). Anyway, the luck was on our side this time. The line was quite short compared to what we’ve seen/ heard of. We patiently waited to go in. We felt a real sense of excitement thinking about what it might be like inside, it looked super busy. We were finally taken inside and shown our seats. It was a cute little set up with stools and small tables. It’s actually quite a small place as well, but it was packed with people in every direction we looked. 


Finally, we got to the ordering part. As usual, it took us a while to order (you probably know how indecisive we are when it comes to food).
We started off with Roti Canai, this was really soft, crispy on the outside tasted nice with the curry dips.

Roti Canai, served with two curry dips and spicy sambal sauce ($6) 


Next we had one vegetarian and non-vege dish. I ordered the nasi lemak, I kind of felt obliged to seeing this is the national dish of Malaysia and a popular one too! As we started taking photos of the food, we could smell the beautiful scent of food, it certainly raised my appetite.
I started nibbling on the dried fish and it was so crispy and fresh. I’ve had dried fish at other places but I never liked it as much. The chicken was soft and tender, the spice balance was just right. The fragrance rice, curry chicken, chilli paste and dried fish together made a deadly delicious combination.

Nasi lemak ($9.5) with curry chicken ($3.50)
The other vegetarian curry was quite too. It was filled with lots of veggies like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and carrots. The spice flavours were quite subtle in this one, but still tasted great.

Kari Sayur ($15) with rice ($3)
Overall, the food was delicious. By the end, we could see why Mamak has gained the popularity it has! I would strongly recommend it for anyone who is happy to wait for good food and  doesn’t  mind a loud atmosphere. Oh, I forgot to mention to mention, it was super noisy inside! We are really loud people when we are together so you can imagine what the volume would’ve been like but I think you kind of get used to it once you’re inside and start raising your voice ๐Ÿ˜›
Anyway, finishing off with a summary picture ๐Ÿ™‚  we had such a great time, we’ll definitely be back to try more dishes!

Mamak
15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket

Black Star Pastry (Strawberry Watermelon Cake)

Some of you might know about the desperate attempt I made last year for the Strawberry Watermelon Cake (see previous post at Black Star Pastry). 
Yesterday I had the privilege of tasting this cake at a party. I got super excited as Iโ€™ve been wanting to try this for almost a year now. I was so tempted to just skip the mains but I patiently waited for dessert time and made sure I left space for the cake ๐Ÿ˜›
In the meantime, I went to take a close look at the cake (could not resist, for obvious reasons) and I was amazed at how magical it looked. It was constructed beautifully starting with a layer of almond dacquoise followed by cream, then a slice of watermelon with cream, almond dacquoise and cream again. Finally, it was topped with strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petals.


It was a quite a delicious cake but unfortunately, it did not meet the expectations I had. I liked certain elements, such as the lightness of the cream layers, fresh watermelon and the nutty base. The topping however, did not taste as good. The gelatine had kind of separated and did not taste nice with the rose petals and strawberries (I felt).
One thing I did like was the lightness of the cake. With the other two cakes I had at Black Star Pastry, I felt full after a few bites but this cake felt light as a feather. I could have easily continued eating more if I had enjoyed the taste.
Overall, I was quite disappointed because I did not get the delicious kick I was hoping to get. I have heard people tell me that this is the best cake they have ever tasted so I came up with some explanations to convince myself to try it again (any reason to eat more cake is good, right?) ๐Ÿ˜›
1) The orders come in a bit earlier and the cake wasn’t as fresh as it would have been if you had it at the store? (someone at the party mentioned this)
2) My appetite hasn’t been too well lately (been sick) so that could have been a reason why I did not find it as delicious as I normally would?
3) Maybe, (just maybe) I unconsciously hold a grudge against this cake because we did not get it that day after multiple attempts so my taste buds have secretly decided not to accept the cake?
Well, I’ve got some good imaginary reasons there. 
I think I’ve got enough for now to give it another shot. But till then, I’ll have to live with my mixed feelings on the Strawberry Watermelon Cake. 

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia Street
Newtown

The Grounds of Alexandria

Today I paid a visit to The Grounds with two of my best mates. I’ve been wanting to go to for a while but it’s really difficult to fix a time when the group is available. With my school friends, we have a long tradition of catching up after every semester but it’s getting harder as we have more commitments now than we did as 5 years ago.

Anyway, we picked The Grounds this year because we’ve all seen too many pictures from this cafe on Instagram and other social media so we wanted to see what the raving was all about.

We arrived around 1pm which looked like a very busy peak hour. There was a bit of queue for the tables so we followed suit. Soon after, we realised the line was for people wanting to eat inside and there was a shorter line if you ate outside. The weather was nice and cool so we figured it’d be better to sit out rather than waiting for a table inside. So we got takeaway-

Smashed avocado with feta, tomato and mint ($9.50)
Roast marinated chicken breast ($11)
Falafel wrap ($10.50)
Pineapple, watermelon and passionfruit smoothie ($8)
Super chocolate, hazelnut shake ($8.50)

I went for the falafel because I’ve never had falafel before. The mint yoghurt kept the wrap soft and moist. It felt like a really huge wrap to finish but it left you feeling satisfied ๐Ÿ˜›

Lunch was quite short compared to the time we spent walking around, as you can tell from the pictures below ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Overall, great place to hang if you have a spare couple of hours. It’s definitely worth a visit because it’s more than a cafe, it’s got the green, flowers, water and even animals! Now I know what the hype was all about ๐Ÿ™‚
We’ll be coming back for sure, but I would probably eat in next time because menus are slightly different.
The Grounds of Alexandria
7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
NSW 2015

Last day of uni (Black Star Pastry + Grill’d)

Last Friday was our last day back at uni, it was kinda sad but more exciting at the same time! We had made plans to celebrate afterwards at Newtown. 
I’ve seen so many people raving about the Strawberry Watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry so that’s we decided to settle for dessert.
We finished uni at 4, got a little speech from our lovely coordinator, took a year group photo and set off on the walk to Newtown. It was kind of early for dinner so we decided to have dessert first. We got to Black Star Pastry at 5:01 and were devastated to see it had already closed! We were late by a minute (they close at 5). Despite our efforts of knocking on the door, the staff inside did not open up to apologize. But while looking at the door we realised there was another pop-up store at Town Hall. We had to decide whether we would chase it or leave it, and we chose to do the former, for obvious reasons! We desperately wanted that cake!
We went to Town Hall and took a while to find a place because it was hidden in a corner next to bookstore Kinokuniya. We were so incredibly excited that we had finally reached, only to hear that it had been just sold out. We were very much devastated. We decided to try other flavours instead because that Strawberry Watermelon cake was obviously not meant for us, at least not today.
Zen Cake AKA the Pistachio Lemon White Chocolate Torte ($7.50)
Amadei Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte ($7.50)
I loved the Zen cake, I’ve never had the Strawberry Watermelon so I don’t have anything to compare to but the pistachio and citrus power of the cake was absolutely delicious! For the Amaderi however, I felt a sugar rush which was overpowering the chocolate. It left me with a strong aftertaste which I did not like. 
The original plan was to go have dinner at Newtown but since we were at The Galleries, we just decided to dine there.
All of us decided to order the same burger at Grill’d. There was definitely a lot of veggie goodness in this burger- veggie patty, beetroot and avocado. The texture was quite creamy thanks to the cheese, relish and herbed mayo.
However, the portion size was way too big! By big, I mean gigatic. I could only eat just over half of it, I hated having to throw it away (I hate wasting food!)

Garden Goodness ($11.50)

The chips were super yummy! We got a combination of potato, sweet potato and zucchini chips. For me, the zucchini chips were a star because I didn’t think you could do chips with them. The sauces were quite flavoursome too.
Chips to share ($13)

Overall, it was a wonderful celebratory dinner! Some things did not go as planned unfortunately, but I’ll definitely go back for that watermelon cake someday!

Black Star Pastry
Level 2, 500 George Street
The Galleries

Grill’d
Level 2, 500 George Street
The Galleries

Bodhi Restaurant/Bar (vegan) + Le Pain Quotidien

I had a reunion with some of my old uni friends. The perks of meeting up with old friends is, it feels like time hasn’t moved at all when you meet them! I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I saw them properly. It’s crazy how quick time flies! We have been trying to meet up for sometime now, but everyone is busy with either work or study so it’s really difficult to fix on a date.

We set this date back in early July and we all kept our word ๐Ÿ˜€

We chose this place so we could accommodate for a friend who is vegan. This was my second time eating a full vegan meal so I was quite excited to see what vegan dumplings would be like!

The staff were very friendly and organised. We were served with water and sauce soon after we sat down. Bodhi works just like any other yum cha place, the food keeps coming around and you pick what you like. However, the downside is you can’t say yes to everything so you have to turn down some.

I started off with satay salad wrap, this was quite fresh and healthy.
Next, I tried the flaky ‘prawn’ and this was absolutely delicious, it tasted just like prawn to me, it was very crunchy, packed with coconut flavour.

Satay Salad sprouts, mint, carrots in a tofu packet ($8.50), sweet Japanese Pumpkin dumplings ($6.50) and flaky ‘prawn’ taro ball ($8.50)

The corn and ‘chicken’ dumplings were quite nice and creamy, with a hint of coconut.

Cream corn and ‘chicken’ dumplings ($6.50)
I did not try the mushroom or pumpkin dumpling but my friends said they enjoyed it. I tried the sticky rice wrap, the filling was rice and tofu which I thought was yum!
Australian field mushroom dumplings ($6.50) and savoury sticky rice in lotus leaf wrap ($8.50)

I did not like the radish cake but some of my friends loved it. I thought it was too bland and lacked flavour.

Pan seared white radish cake ($7.50)

Shitake mushrooms and asparagus dumplings ($8.50)
In addition, we also tried pan seared stuffed sweet potato slices ($6.50) and iced tea but I did not try these. 

For dessert, we ordered a passionfruit doughnut and jelly. Personally for me, the desserts were a bit of a let down after the delicious food we ate.

The coconut agar jelly was nice and soft but it just added to my overdose of coconut. However, the majority of my friends felt otherwise and enjoyed it. 
None of us liked the passionfruit doughnut though. I thought it was too sugary and would have tasted nicer without the extra outside coating of sugar. We had to waste this one unfortunately.

Passionfruit Chinese doughnut and Coconut agar jelly ($6.50) 
Overall, we thought their service was great and loved their food! Most of the dishes come in a set of 3 so it’s great for sharing around. 
I’d definitely come back for more dumplings but I’d think carefully before ordering dessert. 
Initially, we thought we’d be too full to eat anything else after the huge meal we had. But this soon changed after we got into the food court at Pitt street.
Well, they say there’s always room for dessert ๐Ÿ˜‰
We ended up at Le Pain Quotidien and ordered juices, coffee and waffle.
The waffle was quite rich with the Belgium chocolate. It gave us the dessert kick we were after. The only thing we didn’t like was the extra charge for a very small scoop of ice cream because normally when you get waffles, ice cream is included in the price. 
Belgian Waffle with bananas and Belgium chocolate ($9) and added ice cream ($3)

Overall, a day well spent with some good food and even better company!

Bodhi Restaurant/ Bar

2-4 College Street, Sydney 2000

Le Pain Quotidien
CBD, Level 4 Westfield
Pitt Street Mall, Sydney 2000




Sculpture by the Sea

My homie and I took off to Bondi today.  It has been raining all week but today’s weather looked promising.

Unfortunately the beautiful weather did not last as long as we would have liked, but we managed to get some pretty good pictures.

For lunch, we had plans to eat at The Grounds by the Sea but it had started raining and there was no place to sit indoors. So we started exploring and ended up at Mojo’s Tapas Bar.

We discovered this place by accident but it turned out to be fabulous! Both dishes we ordered were vegetarian. Shown below is a potato and onion omelette, served with a side of aioli.

Tortilla Espanola ($9)

The cous cous dish was quite different to what we had expected. The inner filling was cous cous mixed with roasted vegetables, parmesan and spices. The outside crumbed layer definitely added the to the presentation, along with the yoghurt and cucumber salsa on top.

Bolas De Cous Cous ($10)

Overall, great value for money and definitely a place worth visiting twice!

Mojo’s Tapas Bar
32 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Sculpture by the Sea ends this Sunday, 8th November 2015

Post-thesis celebration

So I handed in my thesis today!!! After three months of solid hard work, it’s finally all done!

I’m so excited because I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time. I know I shouldn’t get that excited because I technically haven’t finished my degree yet (got a presentation next week) but it kind of feels like I’m done! The thesis does make the bulk of my marks so that’s definitely an important milestone and worth celebrating ๐Ÿ˜›

So now let me give you a rundown of what I did today-

I started off my day skimming my thesis one last time. Then I nearly killed off a forest printing about 140 pages (poor trees!) Next stop was binding.

My stomach had started grumbling from all the waiting around so we hit Ralph’s Cafe for a celebratory lunch. We had to wait a while because it was lunch hour. But that was okay because we know their food is worth the wait!

The Ralph’s burger with chips (~$14)

After this came, we just went silent as we devoured peacefully. It was delicious, definitely makes one of the best burgers I ever had!

Then, it was time to hand in and goodbye our babies. We took a bunch of obligatory thesis shots like these.

Fast forward couple of hours, I went out for dinner with another good friend. It felt rather weird to be going out twice a day because socialising with humans suddenly seems hard ๐Ÿ˜› (yes, I think I have spent way too many hours locking myself away to write this thesis!)

Anyway, after walking around in usual indecisiveness mode, we just ended up going to our usual Thai place. I wasn’t that hungry after that massive lunch, so we kept it simple.

Tom Ka Kai
The usual fried rice

Initially, we had plans for dessert but no space today!

I was actually thinking of not eating anything for the rest of the night but after I got home, I had to change my mind. My dad brought me a cheesecake as a post-thesis treat, he’s the sweetest! I had to wait a couple of hours before I could eat this; it was absolutely amazing, made my day even better!

White chocolate cheesecake 

Overall, I had the best day catching up with some of my favourite people and definitely a day I’ll remember in years to come! :’)

Brewtown Newtown

So I realise I haven’t written here for a while, I’ve started my research semester so I sort of got bogged down with uni. It’s been quite full on because it’s meant to be 35 hours a week but I’m loving it so far because this is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve kept the best part to the end ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, just recently we’ve submitted our research proposal and after that we felt like we needed a treat so decided to hit a hipster cafe somewhere. We visited the famous Brewtown Newtown.

Iโ€™ve heard that often thereโ€™s a huge waiting period to get into this cafe (as itโ€™s quite popular), but thankfully we didnโ€™t have to wait long. 


We started off with drinks. The weather was quite warm so I got iced chocolate (which was just their hot chocolate from the menu but with ice). I found the drink to be pretty average but my friends really liked the drinks they ordered. One of them ordered freshly squeezed orange juice and found it to be quite different compared to the juice youโ€™d drink at other places (you can see it in the background). 


I ordered a vegan burger- chickpea and quinoa pattie, tofu, spicy BBQ sauce, crunchy salad ($12)


I was quite reluctant to go vegan because I rarely ever have a main meal where I donโ€™t eat fish or meat. However, this particular vegan burger took me by surprise. It was pretty amazing, the chickpea and quinoa pattie had a curry flavour to it, which played well with the tofu. I liked the way the tofu was served differently โ€“ had I not known this dish was vegan; I would have mistaken it for egg or cheese! I never wouldโ€™ve thought of putting tofu and BBQ sauce together, but they actually go really well as a combo I realised. 

Lastly, the beautiful crunchy salad- I absolutely loved the different textures and colours, particularly the radishes. It was super yummy and filling ๐Ÿ™‚

Final thoughts
Overall, we found it delicious.
Brewtown Newtown is famous for two things โ€“ coffee and cronuts. I canโ€™t comment on the coffee part as Iโ€™m not much of a coffee drinker. Unfortunately we didnโ€™t have space for dessert plus they were closing soon but Iโ€™ll definitely be back to try some of their famous cronuts! ๐Ÿ™‚

Brewtown Newtown
6-8 O’Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042

Sautรฉ Thai restaurant

My homegirl has returned to Sydney for a visit so we planned for a dinner. Every time she visits we do first catch up over Thai or Malaysian, so we wanted to continue our usual ritual. ๐Ÿ˜›

We knew we wanted Thai. We came across Saute Thai restaurant in Parramatta. None of us has been on Church street for a while so we don’t know when this opened up or if it was always there and we’ve just been blind! 

Anyway, we took our time to order because we are both very indecisive (you can see why we usually end up going to the same place because we’d rather talk and catch up on life rather than decide what to order ๐Ÿ˜›

For entrรฉe we ordered Tom Yum soup. It was absolutely delicious, perfect acidic balance of lemon, ginger spices. 



Mains: Panang curry with roast duck, Singaporean noodles and jasmine rice 








Roast duck was juicy and tender. Noodles were a big portion- we had plenty of leftovers. 

Their service was wonderful, the waitresses walk around and fill your drinks which we thought was quite cute! Price is also reasonable – we paid about $50 for the two of us. 

Final verdict: definitely recommend to anyone, we’ll definitely be coming back for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

https://www.zomato.com/sydney/saut%C3%A9-parramatta

Saute Thai Restaurant
18 Phillip Street, Parramatta
NSW 2150