Hey you guys, have you heard about Two-Bit Villains? I am probably a bit slow to catch on, but this soda bar & diner (est. in 2011) is secreted away in the upper balcony of the Adelaide Arcade – and it’s vegan! I was fascinated to try one of their ‘beef’ (soy) burgers and see how it measures up, so on the waitress’s recommendation I ordered the Baron, with the soy patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese and smokey BBQ sauce – plus I added pickles ($12, plus 50c for the pickles). The burger came with fries, and let me tell you, the herbed seasoning they use is actually amazing! When I asked what was in it, I was told it’s the chef’s special, so they’re not giving up any secrets! First bite of the burger is all about the BBQ sauce – yes, it is smokey and has that rich, savoury-sweet thing that a good BBQ sauce should have going on. Yum. The soy patty was delicious, and I’m not just saying that. I really enjoyed the lighter texture, which matched well with the fluffy bun. All the ingredients were fresh and the portion was perfect for lunch, not to mention the friendly service. A lovely experience all around.
Two-Bit Villains, Adelaide Arcade Balcony Level, Rundle Mall Adelaide SA, http://two-bitvillains.com/
I’m not the most outgoing person, but I was really looking forward to meeting Bec from Inexplicable Wanderlust in person, after months of reading one another’s blogs. We had breakfast at 7th and Bake, which was drenched in autumn sunlight despite the chilly air. Perusing the menu, I landed on the Hot Smoked Salmon ($19.90), served with smashed avocado, a hash brown, poached eggs, watercress and a honey and lime dressing. The plate was beautifully presented, and we both spent a good few minutes photographing our food unashamedly, as only food bloggers can. The salmon was indeed hot, although the heat seemed to mask some of the smoked flavour. The meat was perfectly cooked, flaking into soft pieces, and the portion was quite large, making it great value for money. The eggs were poached perfectly, and ran nicely into the crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside hash brown, one of my favourite breakfast things. The avocado was the only disappointment, tasting more like a lemon-drenched avocado dip than fresh avocado, but otherwise I enjoyed every bite of this meal, not to mention the great conversation. Worth a visit – I hear their pastries are excellent too.
7th and Bake, 144/41 Eastlake Parade, Kingston ACT,
Not being a coffee drinker, Red Brick wasn’t too high on my foodie list, but a friend invited me there for a catch up and so off I went. The brunch menu is actually quite good, with a few breakfasty options and a few lunchy options. I chose a classic fried egg and bacon roll ($10.90), mostly because it was served with kewpie mayonnaise! We sat inside, admiring the texta-art scene drawn on the wall, showing the local shops. I also drooled a bit over the danishes and pastries at the counter, but decided to be good. This time. The roll came out fairly quickly, and I was very happy to see egg yolk oozing down the side (yay!). The toasted brioche bun was quite substantial, and I was pleased by the amount of bacon included in the serve. The bacon was a bit fatty, but there was enough crispy bits mixed in to not be a problem. Rocket is my favourite ‘leafy green thing’, particularly when paired with creamy kewpie, which brings out the sharp bitey flavour of the rocket. Overall this was a nice breakfast, although nothing particularly outstanding. I’d come back to try the lunchy options.
Red Brick Espresso, Shop 4/35 Curtin Place, Curtin ACT, http://redbrickespresso.com.au/
Gelatiamo is a lovely little cafe, offering a great range of gelato with about half of the flavours being sorbets (yay!). There’s plenty of seating inside, so we decided to dine in, and were served our choices in cute sundae glasses with long spoons. Listed as one of the top 10 gelaterias in Sydney, this was my first visit, so I picked a flavour that can be hard to find – mandarin sorbet ($4.90 for a single scoop). I was surprised by how huge the serving was (dine in is highly recommended) – I would have easily thought of this as a double serve, but Dad’s double was piled up even higher! I had a quick taste of his hazelnut and pistachio choices – both were creamy and nutty, with perfectly smooth textures that didn’t have ‘bits’ in them. I then got stuck into my sorbet. Don’t order this flavour if you like sweet sorbets – the citrus flavour in this sorbet is really intense, but also quite bitter. I found this really refreshing, and the flavor screamed MANDARIN! I could imagine this being a great palate cleanser after a heavy meal – fresh, sharp and delicious.
Gelatiamo, 362 Pacific Highway, Lindfield, NSW, http://www.gelatiamo.com.au/
79 & Fine has recently opened in Hobart Place, bringing a flavour of the Hamptons to Canberra. The space is warm and inviting, and I was drawn to the pastry display like a bee to nectar. Mmm. Pastries. Instead, I did the grown up thing and had a bacon and egg roll ($10), plus an orange and apple juice ($7). The staff were really friendly and welcoming, bringing over the concise menu (two breakfast options) on a board for us to choose. When my friends’ orders of smashed avo ($16) came out, I had a bit of order envy (so beautifully presented), but my roll was huge when it arrived. Served on a toasted brioche bun, the roll has “double bacon” and plenty of egg scramble, plus lashings of BBQ sauce and aioli. The ingredients are simple but they work well together in a hearty, comforting way – there’s just enough sauce without it oozing out and the bacon was cooked with the right balance of crisp and tender. I really enjoyed my juice too, with plenty of froth and a crisp, clean orange and apple flavour. I can’t wait until they add the lobster roll to the lunch menu – I’ll be back soon!
79 & Fine, 1 Hobart Place, Canberra ACT, http://www.79andfine.com.au/
On an unexpectedly warm autumn day, I found myself craving juice. I always enjoy stopping in at Pressed Juices, with their pretty display fridge and fun, fresh flavours. I hadn’t tried any of their new autumn menu, so the lady kindly allowed me to sample a couple of flavours. The Pink Lemonade had a really zesty flavour, with a strong buzz of lemon and ginger overlaying the strawberry flavour, which I really enjoyed. But I was sucked in my the ingredients list for the Antiox 2 ($9.50) – hello orange, raspberry, pomegranate and tumeric! Orange and raspberry and two of my favourite flavours, and, really, who can go past pomegranate? I took this juice home and devoured it pretty quickly – the serve was two full glasses. The citrus zest of the orange is smoothed out nicely by the tartness of the raspberry and pomegranate, making a surprisingly even flavour profile. The tumeric was hard to split out, but I think it definitely contributed to the well-rounded flavour of the juice. I love the freshness of the juices here – there’s nothing artificial, so you need to drink them within a couple of days of purchase (if you can wait that long!). Once again, Pressed has impressed.
Pressed Juices, 14-16 Franklin Street, Manuka ACT, http://www.pressedjuices.com.au/
All good things must come to an end – here’s the last post in what has been a fun #sweetweek. Sadly, Zumbo has closed his Rozelle store, but luckily the tiny outlet at Balmain remains open. We stopped by and tried one of the newer additions to the dessert selection – the Hazelnut Forest, with a hazelnut dacquoise, hazelnut crunch, cherry jam, milk curd, hazelnut mousse and hazelnut spray. Phew. That’s a lot of hazelnut. Firstly, I loved the presentation of this one – something about the sprigs on top reminded me of coral. The fresh hazelnuts and dollops of cherry on top were delightful, as the entree into the perfectly soft hazelnut mousse that surrounds the cake within. For me, this dessert was just like a lighter version of a black forest cake, without the chocolate but with the delicious cherry flavour inside. There’s a lot of mousse surrounding the smaller dacquoise, crunch and jam inside, which was definitely the best bit. I enjoyed the textural contrast here, from the soft mousse to the thick jam to the crunchy base. Mmm. I was surprised at how the lovely tartness of the cherry matched the nutty hazelnut, but also how light the whole dessert was. Highly recommended.
Adriano Zumbo Patisserie, 296 Darling Street, Balmain, NSW, https://adrianozumbo.com/
#sweetweek continues with this grand adventure! When my best friend decided she was going to surprise her husband with goldfish for his birthday, she and I set out at lunchtime to pick up the fish, so they could be waiting for him when he got home from work. Yes, she’s a mastermind (that’s why she’s my best friend). Anyway, this plot took us very close to the elusive Flute (only open on weekdays), so we couldn’t resist the chance to pop in. I picked a cake I haven’t seen there before – Apple Strudel cake. Um, yes. The ‘apple’ was a dome of vanilla mousse/cream, glazed in apple-flavoured sweetness, sitting atop a cake that had all of the beautiful apple strudel flavours I feel in love with in Austria. The top was decorated with a spiced crumble, which was lovely and rich, with pieces of (poached?) apple layered inside. I was actually surprised by the subtlety of the whole cake, which probably could have had slightly bolder flavours for my taste, but everything was perfectly executed, as usual (and, incidently, like my friend’s birthday gift plan. I told you, mastermind).
The Flute, 8 Barrier Street, Fyshwick ACT, http://www.theflutebakery.com.au/
#icecreamthurs AND #sweetweek – oh yeah! Oh Scroll. You lovely thing. From the fun menu, we tried the ‘Nutter Butter’ ($9 or $8 with Facebook check-in), with peanut butter, Nutella, Tim Tams, served with wafers and crushed peanuts. I love watching the Scroll ninjas spreading the liquid icecream ingredients on the chilled teppan, then delicately scraping them into long rolls, that are then stood up in the cup. You have to be careful when walking with your toppings, which are precariously balanced on top of the huge serve of icecream – we shared two between three people and to be honest, it was still a lot to eat! With fresh ingredients, Scroll’s icecream is one of the creamiest I’ve tried, and with such a lovely peanut butter flavour this icecream is really up there with the best. I like the textural contrasts brought by the nuts, the wafer, the Tim Tam segments and – oh my – the adorably cute Minion biscuit! The whole combination is incredibly moreish and the flavours stay strong throughout. The Nutella isn’t overdone, so it complements, rather than overpowers, the other flavours. Oh yes, I’ll be ordering this one, again and again and again…
Scroll, 35 York Street, Adelaide SA, http://www.scrollicecream.com.au/
#sweetweek continues in Sydney! The Rabbit Hole is such a delightful place – offering a huge range of organic teas, plus a cabinet full of sweets and a brunch menu, there’s something here for everyone. I started out with a cup of choc orange fudge tea (with soy milk), which was served in the cutest little cup, with a white rabbit etched into it – the handle was the rabbit’s fluffy tail! Adorable. Given the scent was so sweet, I added sugar to the tea so that the flavour matched my nose’s expectations – with this tweak, I enjoyed the quite large cup. The first sweet was a piece of lavender shortbread, iced and topped with edible flowers. The shortbread was so thin and crumbly that you could almost imagine all of the butter within. The icing added another level of sweetness, although I didn’t really pick up any lavender flavour. To match with the tea, I also had a chocolate orange whoopie pie (kind of like a soft Butterbing), which was the perfect pairing. The chocolate cake-bit was so soft and spongy, and the orange-flavoured cream inside had a great citrus flavour. Certainly not your traditional desserts, but lovely nonetheless.
The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, 146 Abercrombie Street, Redfern, NSW, http://www.therabbithole.com.au/