Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kreta Ayer

I wonder if this place is normally as packed as the night that we were there or if they are only this packed on days when either Petaling Street and Albee's Kitchen are not open. Oh, that did not sound nice, did it? But I have to be honest with my tastebuds - I would choose those two places over this one any time.

From the outset, we mistook them for a Malaysian restaurant when in fact, they were Singaporean. Well, our two countries are just a causeway away anyway so culturally and in this case, gastronomically, we would be almost similar (to perhaps just some decimal points of a difference). However, since we trip to the island republic, I digress from that thought as I found out that I prefer the taste of the Malaysian versions of the same dish to the Singaporean versions. Somehow, I found food in Singapore more bland in comparison. Do not get me wrong - food was still good, just lacking in flavour, that's all.

This blandness was reflected in the food served here at Kreta Ayer. But this is only my personal opinion - other people may love their food and again, like I said, the food was not bad, it was just not 100% to my liking. Food we had are as follows:

Yam Cake

Chicken Laksa

Pork Mince Noodles

Boneless Hainanese Chicken Laksa

Crispy Noodles wtih Seafood

Milo Dinosaur (or was it Godzilla?)

Red bean soup

Positive points about this place would be that they have a huge menu and is conveniently located a stone's throw away from UNSW. Spoilt for choice, the uni students here.

Kreta Ayer on Urbanspoon

466 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, NSW 2032, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9663 3888
Weekdays 11:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Weekends 10:00am to 11:00pm

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mad Pizza E Bar @ Newtown

I am so glad that I do not live in Newtown or any where near there because if I did, I would run out of cash very easily and would just develop the mentality of "there is no need to cook because there is so much food around us". For me, Newtown seems to be one suburb I do not fail to bring my non-Sydneysider friends to for the vibrant cafe culture.

When a classmate flew in from Singapore, I allocated half a day for a walkabout in Newtown. I originally wanted to introduce her to some Thai food at Newtown Thai but they were not open at the time. Consequently, we ended up at Mad Pizza E Bar.

The place was empty, allowing us to receive undivided attention from the waitstaff. They were very friendly and helpful with the menu, and allowed us to take our time with our orders.

While waiting for our orders to be served, we could play with the crayons provided at the side of the table. More to keep children busy, but hey, no one said adults are not allowed to scribble with crayons to keep ourselves entertained, right?

I enjoyed their cup of hot chocolate ($3.00), which was not too sweet.

We were recommended the Positano pizza ($19.00), pizza with sweet Spencer Gulf prawns with calamari, NZ clams and tomato with shallots, garlic, flat leaf parsley and lemon. They did not recommend wrongly - the ingredients were plentiful and but did not leave us feeling bloated.

There was also ravioli on lunch special that day, and just plainly because I am a big sucker for ravioli, I ordered it. It was the best ravioli for $10 that I have ever had! Lovely texture of the pasta as I chew into each pillow. The flavours of the stuffing inside the pillow married well with the sauce on the outside.

Left feeling very satisfied and relieved that a random decision to walk into an empty shop turned out to be a good one.

Mad Pizza e Bar on Urbanspoon

Mad Pizza E Bar @ Newtown
135 King Street, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9550 6500, Fax: +61 2 9550 6599

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cafe Centro

Cafe Centro, a cafe I have walked past for so many years. It was a hub of activity when we walked in. I was immediately taken aback by the furniture they used. There were unique wire lampshades, recycled church benches and a bicycle.

I noticed that their theme colour was red, as their lampshades, the bicycle and their signature French doors up the front were red.

We often say that to draw us back to a place, they would have to serve good food. However, in addition to the food, the service also makes a difference. And this was what impressed me - their service. Although it was really busy, Henry (the cheeky and friendly chap flashing a peace sign in the photo below) made sure we had enough time to decide on our order and made sure that he delivered the orders quickly. We did not wait long at all.

The whiff of aromatic caffeine from the Mecca coffee beans they use was irresistible - I loved my cup of mocha. Was so tempted to get a second cup but was held back by my flatmate.

We both had Benedict but I had the Salmon Benedict ($15.50) instead of the normal one. Yes, I love my salmon and egg. The poached egg was done to perfection and I got all excited when I saw the Hollandaise sauce. I little thick but I love Hollandaise sauce - my three loves in one dish, I can have this every day.

Eggs Benedict ($14.00) had all the same ingredients except that instead of smoked salmon, it was bacon.

It turned out to be a very satisfying brunch. And I hear they have new items on the menu - time for another visit.

Cafe Centro on Urbanspoon

Cafe Centro
139 Rowe Street, Eastwood, NSW 2122, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9874 9624
Monday to Friday 6:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday 7:00am to 4:30pm

Friday, March 07, 2014

Grill'd Healthy Burgers @ Macquarie Shopping Centre

The shopping centre across the road from uni has been undergoing many changes in the past year. It still is but has not stopped us from frequenting the place for food.

One of the newer places is Grill'd, a healthy burger place that makes their burgers fresh to order on a flame grill. You are able to taste that slightly charcoal taste in the meat and is definitely a healthier way to cook the meat than using a hot plate.

We were contemplating on whether to share one burger (because their burgers are huge) but the bushwalking made our bodies tell our minds to order our own burgers. I ordered a Sweet Chilli Chicken burger ($10.50), which comprised of grilled chicken breast, beetroot, shredded carrot, salad, relish and sweet chilli mayo. I liked the sweet and sour taste of the mayo and was a happy girl to be chewing on crispy fresh greens. I also liked how I could tell that the chicken breast was grilled and how my wholemeal buns were still warm when served.

She ordered a Mustard & Pickled! burger ($11.50), grilled grass-fed lean beef, Dijon mustard, dill pickle, taste cheese, salad and relish. It took her a long time to finish it and she, too, liked the warm buns. She's a pickle person so naturally, she really enjoyed this burger.

They are visible from the main entrance of the shopping complex, situated on your left as you walk in, next to Max Brenner. Would be a hit with the students from uni.

Grill'd on Urbanspoon

Grill'd Healthy Burgers @ Macquarie Shopping Centre
Level 4, Shop 404D, Macquarie Shopping Centre, Corner Herring & Waterloo Roads, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9888 7700
Daily 11:00am to 10:00pm

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Roast duck rice @ BBQ One 阿一烧腊

I am a big fan of the dish you see in the picture above. In fact, almost every time I dine at this shop, I order this dish. XW would always takeaway half a duck to bring to her uncle's place.

In my opinion, this is still the best roast duck rice I have ever eaten in all my 11 years in Sydney. This huge plateful of tender duck with crispy skin and can-never-have-enough sauce (wonder if it is a secret recipe they use because I could just have plain rice drowned in that sauce!) used to cost only $8.00 when I first stepped into their original tiny shop on the main street. Now, I visit their branch located inside Eastwood Centre and the same plateful costs $10.50. The newer branch is more spacious and consequently, more comfortable. The queue is also shorter.

The service at their newer branch is slightly better than that at their original. However, still be prepared for typical Asian waitstaff attitude - not so friendly if you do not know anyone working there. I like the lady manning the cashier at the newer branch though - very polite, helpful and quick.

Where to find this awesome dish? Only at BBQ One! Dining in would also include a complementary bowl of soup (non of the bland, tasteless stuff, they serve flavoursome soup here!) and free-flow Chinese tea.

BBQ One on Urbanspoon

BBQ One 阿一烧腊 (original)
181 Rowe Street, Eastwood, NSW 2122, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9874 5332

BBQ One Kitchen on Urbanspoon

BBQ One Kitchen 阿一烧腊 (branch)
10-11/160 Rowe Street, Eastwood, NSW 2122, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9874 5323

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Cafe Topiary

For 5 years I have noticed this cafe and not once have I stepped in. I think it is true what people say that the nearer you live to a place, the less likely you are to visit it. The same concept as traveling out of the country more than traveling within, which is why so few of us have gone round Malaysia as compared to say Australia or New Zealand.

We chose a to be seated outdoors and under the shade of their large brollies, I ordered an Eggs Benedict ($17.40). The poached eggs, wilted spinach, Hollandaise sauce served on sourdough toast with smoked salmon (choice of ham or bacon also available) was delectable but would have been even better should the toast have been slightly softer. The sides were a little too tough for my liking.

Their Big Breakfast ($18.40) was really big. It was a huge serve of eggs, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, has brown, caramelised onion and buttered toast. Extremely satisfying.

The thing that attracted us the most was the coffee - Campos. Nothing beats the aroma of coffee by this brand. I thoroughly enjoyed my cup of Mocha ($4.60) to the last drop.

Cafe Topiary on Urbanspoon

Cafe Topiary
68 Rawson Street, Epping, NSW 2121, Australia.
Tel/Fax: +61 2 9869 4399
Weekdays 7:00am to 5:00pm
Weekends 8:00am to 3:00pm