Archive for the ‘Surry Hills’ Category

During the truffle season, Devon Cafe has been serving up truffle specials on their weekend menu, most notably their luxuriant ‘ultimate toastie’. A toasted sourdough served with grilled mixed mushrooms, melted fontina cheese, fried egg that is topped with lashings of black truffles. As if it wasn’t already popular enough, this ‘toastie’ gained incredible notoriety after a SMH review. Lines quickly began snaking it’s way down Devonshire street and disappointing customers by selling out by 10am.

I’m back at Devon Cafe and I’m here to get my last bit of truffles before the season is out. This is my second visit to date (see previous post) and I am have been dying to taste my way through their truffled treats.

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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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Darrell Felstead at Foveaux Restaurant (One Hat) puts forward a weird and wonderful menu to suit the adventurous diner. You have a nose to tail philosophy, a creative flair for reinvention and a pairing of unlikeliest of food types. Surely that should pique anyone’s interest? The menu challenges you conceptually and can be confronting if you’re not quite game. There’s the pepper nachos and sour cream ice cream which is said to quite popular or the duck cheese served with smoked duck and cuttlefish. What… is that all together? Or perhaps the veal tail is more to your taste? No matter where you turn, you can’t hide. It is not for the faint hearted and I like that. A lot.

With a Groupon voucher I was able to sample the menu at a reduced cost and for two people we received an entree and main for $59.

Prices quoted below are at al la carte prices.

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Brought to you by a husband and wife team, Devon Cafe is lead by a formidable ex-legion of Guillaume chefs right at the helm. Stirring double the trouble, Devon has two ex-Guillaume chefs. One from Guillaume at Bennelong and the other from Bistro Guillaume, Melbourne.

Meeting with Derek (husband) & Noni (wife), you quickly begin to understand their passion and love behind their food. They intend to push if not, merge the boundaries between fine dining and casual cafe culture, turning their food-baby-love-child (Devon) into something really special. food collage - thin border fpn

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gnome space

Gnome is located just moments away from the main hustle and bustle of Crown St. It’s a great spot for breakfast, brunch & lunch. It operates as a cafe by day and wine bar by night. So you can wine and dine on Wednesday to Saturday nights if you fancy.

Food is cheap and cheerful, which is great given that the produce is locally sourced, sustainable and organic but it comes without the price tag. Staff are switched on and personable in their approach,  that when you order your next round of coffee, they remember your coffee order to the letter – no questions asked. You really can’t go wrong.

coffee

Brazil takes on the ocean trout sandwich ($12). Served with capers, dill, mascarpone & watercress. At $12, I am really impressed with the quality of ingredients and serving size of the sandwich not only in its entirety but also with the generous helpings of ocean trout and subsequent fillings.

ocean trout

I opt for the ultimate self destruction and take on the super grilled cheese ($12). It’s stuffed with cheddar, gruyere, buffalo mozarella & prosciutto. The cheeses are fit for purpose and are served at melting point. Again, at $12 I more than impressed with the variety and quality of cheeses. And more so, at the amount of it that is served.

So much so, that the sandwich had this pulsing white buffalo centre, which I had to squeeze and pop open. Which was pretty spectactular. And to top it all off, there are these beautiful prosciutto layers on top that blends remarkably well. Adding a meaty saltiness against all the other creamy and crunchy textures of the cheese and bread.

super grilled cheese

Welcome to Gnome Espresso & Winebar, for a great little find.

Gnome Espresso and Winebar on Urbanspoon

Al Aseel, Surry Hills

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Lebanese, Surry Hills, Sydney City

al aseel mixed plate

On my way home from the office one afternoon, I find myself deep in discussion with my cab driver around food.

He’s originally from Lebanon and it’s not long until I beg him to tell me where to find the best lebanese food in Sydney. I insisted I wanted the real deal, the stuff that you would find back at home and throughout the Middle East. As my most vivid memories of the Middle East were of how spellbinding the food was.

So… with pen in hand, note pad on my lap. I furiously took notes and made a list.

Al Aseel was one of the restaurants that came out on top.

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Porteno is 2 years in the running and already it has risen to the stars. Having recently been crowned at the Good Food Guide awards with the best chefs of the year (Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz), Porteno is also brimming with a 2 hat rating to boot.

Ideal for meat lovers and big groups. It’s Argentinian fare, brought to you by a traditional Parilla (barbecue) and Asado (pit of fire) with carcasses splayed and spinning for your viewing pleasure. This is expertly tended to by Elvis’ dad (Adan Abrahanowicz) and served to you by hot to trot 50’s pin up waitresses.

bbq eggplant

First up, Ensalada Palermo Viejo. Kind of like your pizza look-a-like and is covered in a tahini base with all the roasted trimmings nestled on top it with a gooey quail egg added for good measure.

Emma G ceremoniously did the honours of slicing and dicing (cos she always does this so immaculately) to reveal a delicious resounding crunch of the hard base and it only seemed fitting as she was London bound for an indefinite length of time. Naturally we had to make her pay for it and dish up everything in sight!

tuna

The tuna is cooked to expose a luscious pink in the middle centre and is rested upon this glorious garlic sauce. It is so tasty you could lick the plate and even your mum couldn’t hate you for it. And it all comes covered with asparagus, capers and jalapenos all smokey and charred to give it that added flavour and crunch.

blood sausage

I was pretty impressed with my food eating crew. We all leaped at the opportunity to hack into the blood sausage. Most people get put off by the thought of it. Not us… we practically hoovered it down, not even with the slightest hesitation or an afterthought. It was meaty, smokey and incredibly juicy on the inside.

pig

The 8 hour woodfired pig is justifiably famous and rightfully so. Its moist centre glistens with its own juices and with the fat shining just as bright. It tastes just as sweet. And of course, you can only judge a pig by it’s crackling. With a rock hard blistering exterior and indisputably emphatic crack against your jaw line, there is no arguing that this is the perfect pig.

lamb ribs

While tasty, the 8 hour woodfired lamb but didn’t quite hit the same note as the woodfired pig. I guess I’m just a die hard pink in the middle or (red raw if you will) kind of girl when it comes to my lamb.

polenta

This is so… good, that it has to be bad! The polenta comes out luxuriantly silky and rich that a couple of heaped spoonfuls is just right.

fennal salad

The fennel salad is tasty, textured and wonderfully fragrant.

brussel sprouts

Considered another non-negotiable must have item among Porteno fans.

If you’re not a fan of brussel sprouts, try their fried up and nutty version and it is likely to change your tune. It still has that distinct bitter brussel-ness to it but I can assure you most of the aftertaste subsides.

quince gorgonzola tart

This is not for the faint hearted, it boasts rich and powerful flavours. The quince sits within the gorgeous crumbly base while the gorgonzola cheese is whipped through the muscat ice cream. This is then piped on the tart’s surface. I personally loved the cross between sweet and savoury and find that all the flavours are a perfect accompaniment to one another. But this definitely had a lot of love-hate chit chatter going on at our table.

pav

Probably the best pavlova I’ve ever had and was an easy crowd pleaser among the group. And again, its considered a favourite of Porteno fans.

Unfortunately, the burnt milk custard, orange jam & chocolate ice cream didn’t quite do it for me. I’m not a fan of chocolate orange, so the battle was already lost before it had even begun. And the chocolate was just too rich for me. So really, I’m not really in a position to comment.

burnt milk custard and ice cream

Welcome to Porteno, for Argentinian fare served with Argentinian flare.

Porteño on Urbanspoon

Porteño

02 8399 1440

358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills, NSW

porteno.com.au