Thanks to everyone for reading along this year, I can’t believe how quickly it has gone! I’ll still be blogging, but will drop down to 3 posts a week over the summer. Wishing you all the best (and excellent food adventures) for 2016!
I was pretty darn excited to see that Poh Ling Yeow, of Masterchef fame, has opened a stall at the Adelaide Central Market, one of my favourite places in the world. We stopped in for afternoon tea and I was in love from the get go – the stall fits perfectly into the Market vibe, but has so much character you can’t help but be charmed. We ordered three cakes – a raspberry and almond tea cake ($4.50), a chocolate custard, salted caramel and peanut tart ($5.50), and a ‘Milly Filly’ (mille-feuille) vanilla slice ($7), which Poh herself made up especially since they’d run out (awesome service!). The tea cake was the least rich of the three, with a lovely marzipan-almond flavour, great density, and a slightly tart kick from the raspberry. My favourite was the chocolate tart, which was super luxurious and had a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The vanilla slice looked like something from a French patisserie, it was so delicate and beautifully layered. The vanilla flavour was equally delicate and the pastry layers were crisp perfection. I snapped up a jar of strawberry jam to try at home too. Oh yes, I will be back.
Jamface, Stall 28-29, Adelaide Central Markets, Adelaide SA, http://www.jamface.com.au
There are quite a few restaurants around the Hamamatsucho JR station, but many of them are designed for quick churn (i.e. standing restaurants/izakayas). We were quite tired after a day of sightseeing so ended up picking Onomichi Ramen, as it had seats. Sure, the decor is nothing special, and it has a lingering smell of cigarette smoke, but once you’ve received your giant bowl of ramen those things fade into the background. I ordered the standard soy ramen and added on all the extras – pork and egg. They offer table service, and brought out edamame for us to start. The ramen didn’t take long (so a good spot if you’re really hungry!) and the broth looked rich and fatty. Research after the meal explained that Onomichi ramen is the local specialty of Onomichi, near Hiroshima, and uses a typical soy broth with added fish paste and melted lard. Whilst that may not sound appetising, I promise you, it was delicious, and if I’d had room to finish the bowl I would have. The pork was thick and tender, the egg gooey in the centre and the ramen had a great amount of bite. Yum, yum, yum.
Onomichi Ramen, Chome-30-11, Hamamatsucho, Minato, Tokyo Japan
Three friends and I adventured out to Cook in Belconnen to try Little Oink, known for its cute decor and pork-themed menu. We sat outside, and my seat had company – a lovely life-sized pig statue leaning on the bench, joining the conversation. We started with drinks – coffee for my friends, a soy hot chocolate ($5) for me. Whilst not Surry Hills-good, the hot chocolate did taste of chocolate rather than just soy and came with two marshmellows – yum! After admiring the fun menu item names (om-nom-nomlette, for example), I opted for the Jordo – a brioche roll with bacon, two eggs, cheese and tomato relish ($12), and added extra avocado for $3. The food took a while to come out, but they did serve all of our meals shortly after one another, so we didn’t mind. I had to chase up the extra avocado, and when it came out it was a reasonable serve, probably half of a small avocado. The bun was packed full – there was a lot of bacon inside and it had a really great flavour. The eggs were fluffy and cooked through, and the brioche was just the right amount of sweet. We lingered afterwards and weren’t rushed – a lovely quaint spot.
Little Oink, 22 Cook Pl, Cook ACT, no website
Merry Christmas! Here’s some #burgerweek goodness to help the celebrations! Little Brooklyn is one of those lovely places I always mean to spend more time at but rarely end up visiting, so I was excited to go back with friends for a catch up lunch on a Saturday afternoon. We started with a jug of sangria ($25), which was reasonably sized and packed full of fruit (oranges, blueberries and strawberries plus mint). I found it a little bit weak, given the amount of ice, but it was refreshing and tasty. For lunch I ordered the Big Brooklyn Burger, with angus beef, bacon, cheese, pickles, caramelised onion & brooklyn ketchup. I do love a good burger, and this didn’t disappoint. The beef patty was really thick and cooked to perfection (slightly pink inside, lovely!). Adding to the flavour, there were plenty of pickle slices (one of my favourite things), loads of ketchup and even more tastiness from the bacon. I also really loved the chips, which came with a small bowl of aioli, and the meal was so filling that I couldn’t quite finish my burger. The staff were friendly and the atmosphere relaxed – keep doing your good thing guys.
Little Brooklyn, 14 Jardine Street, Kingston ACT, http://www.cocu.com.au/little-brooklyn/
#burgerweek continues! After seeing the incredible burger Bec from inexplicable wanderlust created at Hoi Polloi, I had to stop in to try it! We went on a weekday for lunch (they’re open from 11:30am-2:30pm daily), and I went straight to the burger specials menu. There are three options, designed at Hoi Polloi’s media launch, each inspired by a former Australian Prime Minister. Bec’s creation had some of my favourite burger ingredients – beetroot, pineapple, caramelised onion, cheddar cheese, beef and lettuce, served on a milk bun. We did have a bit of a wait for our meal, so I would recommend visiting when you’re at leisure to enjoy your lunch. The Full Yard burger ($19.90), inspired by Bob Hawke, was beautifully presented on a chopping board, served with a huge pile of chips and tomato sauce served in a jar. The chips were heavenly – perfectly seasoned and just the right balance between soft and crisp. More, please! The burger was equally satisfying – I loved the combined flavour of the ingredients, although I felt like the beef patty was a bit thin and commercial for the price (especially compared to somewhere like Parlour). Overall the balance of flavours was brilliant and I couldn’t believe how much beetroot was packed in there! Yum.
Hoi Polloi, Old Parliament House, King George Terrace, Parkes ACT, http://www.hoipolloioph.com/
To celebrate this week of Christmas, I’m celebrating my favourite foodie thing – burgers! Welcome to #burgerweek! I adore Grease Monkey. I really do. When my friend came to visit from Adelaide I took her straight from the airport to Braddon for a solid Canberra burger experience. On my quest to try all of their burgers, I picked the Pitt Stop ($15), stacked full of BBQ pork brisket and apple cider coleslaw and spiced up with a habanero mayonnaise. As always, Greasy’s didn’t disappoint, with the food coming out quickly and obviously freshly prepared. There was a huge serving of their delicious chips, which I’m not ashamed to admit I devoured – yes they were salty, but man, that seasoning is so good! The burger itself was also perfection – the BBQ pork paired with the milk burger bun was surprisngly and delightfully sweet, and the pork just melted in your mouth. I’d added pickes to the order (an extra $1), and they were chopped up and mixed into the coleslaw, which was perfect. The coleslaw was actually really great to balance the huge amount of meat. Every mouthful was a bite of happiness, and I seriously wished for a second stomach to be able to eat more. Nom nom nom.
Grease Monkey, 19 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
Circular Quay on a summer night is a lovely place to be, but with the pop up Gin Garden at the Museum of Contemporary Art open from 4pm, it suddenly became even better! Shared with the MCA’s Graze restaurant, the Gin Garden is delightfully decorated with shrubberies, flowers and fairy lights, not to mention a sweetheart swinging chair. There are several cocktails on the menu; I chose The Rose Garden ($18), with Archie Rose gin, Earl Grey tea, ginger beer and Rose’s marmalade, all served in a gorgeous glass and topped with cucumber, rose petals and rosemary. I loved the light spritz from the ginger beer, the sweet-but-not-sweet twang of marmalade and the complexity of the gin and tea combination. The whole concotion was utterly delightful and not sickly sweet. I was surprised at how generous the serving was, and unless it becomes part of a bar menu somewhere else, I’ll have to give making it a go at home. I wish I’d gone when I was hungry – the food menu looked mouthwatering, with everything from grilled flatbreads through to more substantial fried calamari on offer. Make the most of the Gin Garden’s season – it’s only open for the summer.
Gin Garden, open all summer at MCA, 149 George Street, Sydney NSW