#sydneyweek ends with a bang! I’m heading off on holidays so the blog will be quiet for a couple of weeks. Keep in touch with my travels on Instagram – see you in September! So, when cake is dusted in gold, there’s really no way I can resist it. The Royal Cake at the gorgeous Grounds of Alexandria called to me through the cake display (which is saying something, as everything in there looks fabulous). The layers in this hazelnut dacquoise were simple but perfectly executed – the majority was milk chocolate mousse, which had the Goldilocks just-right balance of weight – not too light, not too heavy. The mousse clung to my fork and dissolved sinfully on the tongue without being sickly or too rich. Hazelnut and milk chocolate are a match made in heaven, and this was no exception. The hazelnut layers had a bit of crunch but a lot of flavour, lifting the mousse to the next level. The bottom layer was an almond crunch – this layer brought the textural balance, and reminded me of a Ferrero Rocher. The best mouthfuls had a bite of the fresh raspberry wedges on top – the tartness of the fruit cut through the chocolately richness and got my taste buds going. I couldn’t imagine more perfect surroundings to enjoy this delight in either. Definitely suited for royalty – I could get used to this!
The Grounds of Alexandria, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria NSW, http://groundsroasters.com/
More Sydney #icecreamthurs cross #sydneyweek goodness! Look at all that summery icecream. Yum. You guys! I have a public service announcement to make. Miss Dipity, at The District, sells Hojicha icecream!!! I know, right? My last taste of this delectable flavour was in Kyoto last year and I was super excited to find it available in Australia (if there are other stores selling it please let me know!). I ordered a small cup and was impressed by how large the serve was. But even more impressive was the delightful flavour of roasted green tea, complemented by the rich, creamy icecream. Mmm. What I particularly love about this flavour is the savouriness of it. There’s basically nothing sweet about this icecream at all, but it has such great complexity and takes me right back to Japan. The flavour stays strong (not fading the more you eat, like some more artificial flavours) and I could have happily sat there eating this all night. The stall also sells larger tubs of icecream, icecream sandwiches and ‘DipityPops’ to take away. Definitely stop by and check it out if you’re a green tea fan. Next time I might even try the Durian flavour…
Miss Dipity, Shop K1, The District, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW, http://serendipityicecream.com.au/
I couldn’t do #sydneyweek without a burger. I mean, come on… There are many things that make a good burger – a nicely charred patty, a killer combination of sauce and cheese, and a generous serving of pickles, just to name a few. Armed with this mental list, I found myself ordring the Classic (beef, cheese, tomato jam, mustard mayonnaise, and pickes, $12) to see if Chur Burger stacks up with the best of them. My first impression was “wow”. The burger was stacked beautifully and looked appetising and delicious. It took me a few bites to get to any filling – the buns were oversized proportionate to the filling – but once I reached the good stuff it was tick, tick, tick off my list. The patty was perfectly charred and whilst cooked through (the best are a tad pink), I was happy to sacrifice pinkness for charring. The sauces each added significant flavour and worked well with the melted cheese. I was particularly impressed by the pickles here, which are McClure’s, imported from the States. We also shared a plate of sweet potato fries ($8), which has such great flavour. They weren’t crispy, but they tasted so god you hardly noticed, and the aioli for dipping was perfect. Great burger, great service, great vibe.
Chur Burger, 48 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW, http://www.churburger.com.au/
I’ve been spending a bit of time in Sydney recently, so this week’s posts are all from our larger northern neighbour-city – hello #sydneyweek! When life gives you the opportunity to eat a pork belly and kimcheese burger before a three-and-a-half hour bus ride home, you should definitely take it. Located conveniently close to Central station, Haven was surprisingly busy for a weekday late afternoon. The staff were very happy to rush our order through (I only had 40mins until the bus departed!) and the food arrived in plenty of time. The signature burger ($20) presented a challenge to eat, laid open on the plate – it definitely required cutlery, and even then mess ensued. The pork belly was beautifully fatty and tender, and basically flavour heaven. I’m a huge kimchi fan, but paired with cheese (the ‘kimcheese’), the flavour and great kick of heat from the kimchi was diluted a bit too much for me. Having said that, all the flavours worked well together and the serving was so big I couldn’t quite finish it. The coriander really made the dish, adding a bite of freshness along with the texture from the radish slices. Next time I’m keen to try their Hong Kong-style egg waffles. But maybe with a bit more time before getting on the bus!
Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously, 30-34 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills NSW, http://havenspecialtycoffee.com.au/
I waxed lyrical about the smoothie bowl at Sweet Bones last time, so when I went back for a book club gathering, I decided to go the whole hog (so to speak) and order the Eileen’s Granola proper (i.e. minus the smoothie – $15). We sat outside for brunch, and to keep warm I started with a soy hot chocolate ($4.50). This was tasty, but certainly not to the standard of places I’ve tried in Sydney or Melbourne, where you can’t tell the difference between soy and regular milk. The granola arrived with a glass bottle of soy milk separately and was topped with a pretty pile of coconut whip and maple-soaked goji berries. The dusting of dessicated coconut and the fresh apple and strawberries on the side made everything look that much more appealing, and digging in, I’m very happy to report that it’s just as good as it was with the smoothie. The list of delicious things in this granola is astoundingly long: dried apricots, cherries, craisins, sultanas, macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. Phew. The real highlight were the macadamias and almonds, which were in generous supply. Sweet Bones, keep doing what you’re doing.
Sweet Bones, 8/18 Lonsdale Street Braddon, ACT, http://sweetbonescompany.com/
Instagram has exploded with pictures of the incredible icecreams at Good Times, and on a recent visit to Sydney I couldn’t resist stopping by. The store is a narrow, hole-in-the-wall place, so don’t expect seating of any kind, but do expect friendly, prompt service. I ordered the Ziggy Stardust ($10), with lychee, mint and coconut sorbet, topped with freeze-dried blackberries, pop rocks, strawberry powder and a white chocolate star. For me, it was the full combination of ingredients that made this special. I liked the sorbet, with its refreshing balance of lychee and mint, with just a hint of coconut (not too overpowering), but I loved the sorbet with the fun textures of the palatte-fizzing pop rocks and sweet strawberry powder. The freeze-dried blackberries were a highlight, and I would have liked more than three as they were unusual and had great, intense flavour. The serving size was large and it did take us a while to eat (mine started to melt a bit towards the end), but I felt as though $10 was a bit steep for what you got. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert and would recommend it for sure.
Good Times Artisan Icecream, 87B Macleay Street, Potts Point NSW, no website
I met a couple of dear friends for a catch up at The Tea Salon, although I was feeling a bit under the weather at the time. Luckily, the tea menu had something to cater for my cold-befuddled taste buds. While my friends ordered lovely-looking scones and sandwiches, I browsed the extensive tea menu until I struck gold – a ginger, pear and lime tonic ($5.50). “Loaded up on anti-oxidants and vitamin C”, the menu said. Exactly what my sore throat and tired immune system needed. The tisane was served in a gorgeous teapot, and the strong scent (mostly of ginger) was heaven to my blocked nose. Sweetened with agave syrup, the tea is a potent mix of ginger, pear and lime, although the ginger flavour is the real stand out. I was glad for the sweetener, given the strong flavours that could tend towards the bitter without something to soften them off. The pot lasted nicely as we caught up on news – I got a good 3 cups out of it. Whilst the wooden floor and busy vibe can make it hard to hear, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
The Tea Salon, Emporium Melbourne (Level Two), 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC, http://theteasalon.com.au/