Archive for the ‘Cheap Eats’ Category

collage - fpn

It’s a gorgeous day in Sydney and I find myself with founder of Wok On Inn and with the two lovely ladies from 6DC PR (Sara and Julie). All have accompanied me to show off Wok On Inn’s latest venue at the Rocks, tucked away just a hop, skip and away from the Lowenbrau. I have to admit I’m feeling quite inspired when I meet Ankur Sehgal, founder and owner of the Wok On Inn franchise. He shares with me his vision and what sets Wok On Inn apart. “It’s all about dishing up street food that’s authentic, bold and affordable”, he says. Wok On Inn is just like any street food you would find back in Asia. There’s no MSG, meat is chemical free or grass fed and they pride themselves on using the freshest highest quality ingredients. It is about being as real as it comes, with its hawker stands, outdoor communal seating and help-it-yourself cutlery. What makes it even better is that Wok On Inn represents 8 different flavours across 8 different regions. That’s Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Mongolian & Korean. Ankur (Owner) has also made every effort to preserve each origins inherent traditional flavours by going in so far as to create their very own authentic Asian sauces from each country of origin. All made with locally sourced ingredients.

We order three dishes to share. The Pad Thai, Bangkok Noodles and Uncle’s Drunken Noodles ($12.95 each) but during lunch this is ($9.95 ) with a can of drink/water but even at full prices it is still much cheaper than my local!

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Originating in NYC, Shake Shack is the all American food chain serving up burgers, hot dogs, shakes, fries and frozen concretes.
It is notoriously known for the following signature items: juicy burgers, concretes, gooey cheese and long windy lines taking it to 34 locations across the globe. Locally, it’s also known for being part in the burger wars with Five Guys in the ultimate burger off in who does the better all American burger?

But most of all, it is the only burger place where each burger served looks exactly like it does in the photo. It is picture perfect!! Follow them on Instagram @shakeshackuk, for your total viewing pleasure…

The secret to their juicy burgers is that it is made from a mysterious beef blend, taking different parts of the cow to make up the patty. The concrete is also widely known to be made from frozen custard and not ice cream! It is called a concrete because when you flip it upside down it stays put like a nice little concrete slab and doesn’t so much as drip.

The patty is 100% Angus beef hormone and antibiotic free, cooked medium unless requested otherwise. What’s not to love?

shake shack meal - fpn

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The Stuffed Beaver is an interesting spot. It’s a Canadian inspired joint that dishes up a mixture of Canadian and a Tex-Mex type menu. I’m talking fries, tacos, dogs, burgers and nachos. It’s not 100% Canadian through and through but the staff and the owner are. They do serve the classic poutine which if you’re like me and have never tried this before, is a speciality junk food originating from Quebec, a true emulsion of French Canada. It’s fries served with gravy and cheese curds and it is as it sounds, evil and glorious. The venue has your typical sports bar vibe, great for a cheap eat and groups wanting to share. Everyday they have a dam special. Wing half day Wednesday is their most popular item and I can totally see why.

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Chur Burger is all the rage now. It’s Kiwi ‘as’ and  serves up drunks and chups with delicious sides and milkshakes. It’s biggest drawcard? That $10 price tag. Which is a big one considering the burgers are made fresh to order sizzling and flipped right in front of you.

If you’re anything like me and were perhaps none the wise. Chur is slang for awesome in NZ and so far the place lives up to the name.

During one of our lunch hours, I was invited to join Tina (bitemeshowme) and Simon (theheartoffood) for a quick bite.

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We’ve all gone a bit ramen mad. Myself included. So it should be no surprise that I find myself at Ramen Ikkyu like the rest of the other mad hatters. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this place with us ramenites counting down the days until its launch, ready to dive in and test the waters.

It is now 4 weeks since its opening day and the aim of the game is to sell 150 bowls of ramen a day. If they sell out then they shut up shop. No matter what time of day it is. Noodles are hand made by Chef Haru himself and are aged for 2 days. Hurrahh… While their signature broth is prepared in 160 litre pots filled with chicken and pork bones – referred to as their paitan broth.

To back track, Chef Haru Inukai started serving ramen as a lunch special back when he was the Head Chef of BlancHaru. The ramen special was so popular it caught on to the likes of fellow ramen lover Chef Dan Hong who notably sung its praises. It was no sooner that the public caught on to the cult of BlancHaru’s ramen that there were lines forging its way down Elizabeth Bay Road. It was then Chef Haru decided to give it all up and go all guns blazing to open up his very own ramen house.

shoyu ramen 2 ramen ikkyu

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The Mexican Wave continues its way through Sydney and I don’t foresee an end in sight. Chica Bonita is a small bar first and restaurant second and is located on a dingy little lane way on the wharf side of Manly. During lunch they mainly serve burritos while during dinner service there is an entirely different menu of tacos, quesadillas & chimichangas. They also have an interesting drinks menu of beer, beer and tequila shots and cocktails that range from pink bits to a rim job. Too bad it is a Sunday lunch and too early for any of those things…

food - collage fpn

The carne asada with fries ($13) is godly but deadly. You have a stack of fries served with flame grilled steak, melted cheese, guacamole and salsa. Eating it was like a fight between foes, crash tackling for every scrummy morsel with fork in hand and your eyes on the prize. So good, we practically inhaled it, leaving not much room for anything else.

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cheese bratwurst

For any food lover, a visit to Melbourne always deserves a pilgrimage to the mecca for foodies – Queen Victoria Markets. Almost equals to the amusement parks lovers coming for the theme parks to visit in Melbourne.

Deep down it is like any market, with stall owners bellowing out their best price, urging you to buy, buy, buy!

But unlike no other, everything is all within reach, bringing together a massive hub of fresh meat, seafood, fruit, veges, delicatessens and desserts. It is so delicious to look at, the sight of it rarely gets old.

bratuwrst & co 2

Like all my visits to Melbourne, I always come back to the Bratwurst Shop & Co.

You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.

Even Anthony Bourdain knows it. It is that good.

bratwurst 3

With the sure fire signs of a popular eatery. The human frenzy swarming in front of the counter is something to manoeuvre with. Get your pointy elbows out, move with haste and make way to the front.

bratwurst 4

There is a real sense of urgency and everything is rushed. You’re in and you’re out.

Ordering is quite swift, to the point and goes something like…

Sausage? Sauce? Sides?

Your options include: Spicy Bratwurst, Mild Bratwurst, Cheese Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Chorizo, Black Pepper Pork and Chicken & Mushroom.

bratwurst 5

cheese bratwurst

I ordered the cheese bratwurst and piled it with mustard, onions, sauerkraut and cheese. This required a decent amount of compressing to fit it in my mouth. So far it is my favourite bratwurst to date. Loving the snap of the wurst with the nuggets of soft cheese concealed with each bite. It is the perfect combo – there’s the crunch of bread, the tang of sauerkraut, onions and the creaminess of the cheese.

Welcome to Bratwurst Shop & Co and get your wurst on.
Bratwurst Shop & Co on Urbanspoon

As part of the Sydney Festival, Justin Hemmes (Merivale Group) has partnered with Sydney’s Opera House to secure the iconic hot spot to bring us this cool little pop up restaurant-come-bar.

From the 4th – 28th January, Dan Hong (Mr Wong’s & Ms G’s) will be overseeing the venture where he will be dishing up a selection of the el loco menu along our beautiful Sydney shores. With a slight surcharge included… Que?

el loco pop up

The hot dog revealed a delicious grilled pork frankfurt nestled away in between a soft doughy bun.

Smothered in blinding amounts of cheese, I was unable to detail the other additions. It was only with each bite that brought the discovery of the pickled jalapenos, mayo and salsa. I even felt a slab of butter!

hot dog and taco 1

Unfortunately, the tacos were less successful. The beef tacos distinctively boasted of Asian rather than Mexican flavours which was subtle and kind of… not what I had in mind. Beef in black bean anyone?

In my surprise taco, they served up kidneys which I probably wouldn’t have ordered if it wasn’t a surprise. The battle was already lost before it even begun. Kidneys were served hard and rubbery, which wasn’t very palatable.

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For the ultimate dude food experience, make way to The Dip @ Good God Small Club.

As one of Top 10 Bar foods in the 2012 Good Food Guide, it also happens to be situated right next to a perfectly good watering hole, where jug after jug keeps going MIA and you’re the culprit.

A perplexing experience all round, it is part club, part bar and part diner.

With the music reverberating through your ear drums. Your wannabe Havana night club-come-diner is littered with fake ferns, fairy lights and neon signs dazzling you every way you turn. Its over-the-top and just beyond random, that you kind of can’t help but embrace it… and give it a whirl.

lining up 2

We unanimously decide on the chilli fries with beef and cheese and we feel like we’re no way near hungover enough to be here. But, what the hey?

Chips are thick, soft and borderline soggy which is my kind of chip.

Covered in minced beef and cheese, these fries are very good in that dirty dodgy kind of way.

chilli fries

Next up, Dylan orders up the dynamite chili dog and his silence really says it all. As soon as he comes up for air, he is quick to declare his satisfaction with the dog.

dynamite chili dog

The young cheezy is everything you could hope for in a dirty vile way. That I still yearn for it every single day.

It’s meaty, it’s soggy and my god is it cheesey… I would happily go there to be defiled all over again.

young cheezy

These wings taste exactly like the wings they have at Hooters. Is it wrong that I know that?

The wings are tasty, with a healthy dose of vinegar and a touch of spice for added kick. The ranch dressing also sits really nicely with it smothered on top and double dipped. YUM-o.

buffalo wings

While tasty, the Jug of Pimm’s just needed another decent glug (or two) of alcohol.

pimm's

The pulled pork nachos was easily the weakest link. The salsa was lacking in that fresh intensity you would normally expect.

While the promise of the 12 hour smoked pulled pork was disappointing. Not only in the amount that was provided but it was dry and was void of the smokey notes that one would expect from a pig being up in the big smoke for 12 hours.

pulled pork nachos

Overall, a fun experience. Great for a cheap hang out with your groupies. Food is good and chock full of carbs and fat. Which makes going to gym, all kinds of worth it.

Welcome to The Dip, for dude food that’s worth it.

The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club on Urbanspoon

The Dip @ Goodgod Small Club

02 9283 8792

55 Liverpool St Map.f8cd109
Sydney, NSW 2000

thedip.com.au

It’s been a year since my last visit and admittedly I was a bit hesitant.

I was brought back by another birthday girl and couldn’t bear to say no. We stopped for a quickie and mysteriously got in during the lunch hour.

Woo… and no lines too!

bread and olive basket

bread basket – complimentary
fat green olives on ice $6.00
Large green olives, black olive tapenade & crispy “music bread”

We were given a complimentary bread  basket while we grazed over the menu. I found that the bread this time round was a vast improvement since my last visit. Crusty and fragrant with a dash of olive oil and herbs.

The green olives were plump and delicious with the olive tapenade positively moorish.

prosciutto, pear and pecorino

It is said that the prosciutto has been hand picked by Jamie Oliver himself all the way in northern Italy. Levoni is rumoured to be dedicated to breeding and cultivating livestock of the highest grade up until its slaughter. With that kind of value proposition I couldn’t very well pass it up, now could I?

The prosciutto came salty, supple and gloriously pink. It’s delicious… yes. But it isn’t the best I have ever had but still… Jamie’s is tasty enough.

The salad was similarly tasty but we were disappointed to be only given 3 slices of pear.

spaghetti bolognese

spaghetti bolognese $12.50
entree size

The spaghetti bolognese was fairly tasty with the pasta al dente and the bolognese rich and meaty. It just had that distinctive tinned tomato aftertaste that made me smack my lips together in question and ask, “Is that aluminimum I taste?”

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