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Expresso Warriors: All Day Cafe

This is my first guest post from fellow blogger beauteafood.com.

Two weeks ago, I took some family members visiting from overseas to Westfield Parramatta. Having only gone there once or twice before myself, I wasn’t any the wiser about what was good there (Is this a good time to use the expression the blind leading the blind?). I tried looking for reviews online but not a single cafe in the shopping mall had a rating over 3.5 so that didn’t inspire confidence. We finally decided to go to the new one that had caught our eye at the cinema entrance on level 4.

It is found just after Roll’d and diagonally opposite Grill’d.

Window display no 1 Window display no 2 Eggs benedict, pancakes, burgers, pastas… Beverage menu Dessert menu Starbust (Strawberry, Apple, Orange & Pineapple) $6.5

This drink was a little disappointing as you could mostly only taste pineapple and orange. Those 2 fruits can be very overpowering so maybe they could rethink the proportions in which they use the different fruits. What was most puzzling about this drink is the lack(?) of strawberries. It wasn’t present in taste OR colour so either they forgot or ran out????

Pistachio thickshake (pistachio praline gelato, milk & pistachio rose crumb) $9

This was a decent pistachio thickshake but was expecting more because of the price. The “crumb” is purely for aesthetic purposes as the pistachios were neither toasted nor crunchy.

English breakfast tea $4

Super cute presentation but it takes up so much space so not very practical! When our meal finally arrived, it was awkward as the waitress had to take the wooden board away to fit the plates.

Ham, cheese & tomato toastie $6.5 Morning Hash (rustic potato rosti; topped with grilled broccolini, rocket, crispy streaky bacon and two poached eggs, dressed with salsa verde) $16

My favourite part of the dish was the potato rosti. It was super crispy and flavourful. The rocket and broccolini were nice. Bacon was definitely not crispy and there was a lot of it. Poached eggs were okay and salsa verde was under-seasoned but I guess the amount of bacon made up for it. I did enjoy the dish but what I was most disappointed about is that the food was not hot when I got it.

Overall, my experience was above average as the good service made up for what was lacking in the food department. Something caught my eye on the dessert menu that made me want to go back. So I dragged my cousin there so we could try the Dessert Board!

Knowing that we were about to have a sweet feast, we went there with empty stomachs. Just to give you an idea of how filling this dessert was, the 2 of us couldn’t finish the whole board!

Dessert Board (Ube panna cotta, deep fried oreos, a deconstructed matcha eggette topped with taro gelato and a deep fried golden gaytime coated with caramel sauce and vanilla crumble) $26

And here it is in all its glory!! It is visually magnificent and instagram-worthy.

My favourite was the golden gaytime found in the centre of the dish. It was super delicious and tasted a bit like caramel popcorn.

Second favourite has to be the matcha eggettes. It was my first time eating the eggette waffle. The centre was unexpectedly dense but the exterior was still crunchy and went really well with the taro gelato. The gelato didn’t really have a distinct taro flavour but it did taste nice.

Most disappointing item was the deep fried oreos. The batter was so dense and hard. The oreos inside were mushy.

By the time I got to eating the panna cotta, I was already at my limit so I couldn’t have enjoyed it even if it was good. I had also never had ube before so I have nothing to compare the flavour to.

Follow me on instagram @beauteafood

A post shared by Claudia (@beauteafood) on Jun 16, 2017 at 12:34am PDT

I would definitely go back for the golden gaytime, eggettes and coffee. They also had a variety of fresh doughnuts in the display window the last time I was there (which they didn’t have before) which I can’t wait to try.

People's Rating1 Vote1.9
3

The post Review: Expresso Warriors – Westfield Parramatta appeared first on unspoonsored.

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Chicken and Sons: More than Just Chicken

Chicken and Sons’ vision is to be the make the iconic Aussie Chicken shop relevant again. Some say they do the best chicken burger in town. They have branches in Chatswood and Surry Hills.

The World Square branch replaced the Thai restaurant on-looking the bull statue closer to the Pitt Street entrance.

THE SIGNATURE BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN BURGER

Buttermilk Breast, Red Cabbage Slaw,chipotle Aioli, American Cheese & House Pickles

I interpret signature as “This is my best burger”. I was disappointed with this roll. Reminds me of the Zinger I had at the KFC Concept Store (at Parramatta – now shut down). Breast meat was used for as the chicken patty  and it was deep fried similarly to KFC original recipe. It was quite dry – I am not a fan of breast meat in burgers but this texture reminded my too much of KFC. The batter was not crispy enough. The slaw – again not a big fan of slaw in buns made it feel more like eating a salad than a fried chicken burger. If I wanted that I would have gone to Grill’d. There was too much sauce even too much to counter the dry meat – if I wanted to be really picky – the sauce was placed cold although it did bring in some heat.

Overall, not close to the best chicken in Sydney – not in concept nor execution.

TRUFFLED MAC ‘N’ CHEESE, THREE CHEESE BECHAMEL

Side +$2 to 3

The Mac n Cheese was moreish and great add-on to the house beer battered chunky chips. No complains here – sadly this was the best food that night.

THE ROYALE WITH CHEESE

Hand Ground Brisket and Chuck Pattie,double American Cheese,Glazed Double Bacon, Secret Burger Sauce, House Pickles

Shortest way to describe this burger is that it tasted like a gourmet Hungry Jack’s Whopper. The beef pattie was cooked-through but still tender – since it was flame grilled, it had nice smoky flavour. The bacon was crispy and added the sweetness nicely balanced with the pickles. The difference between the Royale and the Signature (chicken burger) is night and day.

Conclusion

Chicken and Sons did not live up to its 4 to 5 star reviews on Facebook and Zomato. Not everything was available on the menu on that day. The dishes other than the chicken burger were actually above average and are worth trying. The Signature burger on the other hand made the experience lackluster.

Would I go again?

Yes.

Open Monday to Friday 7am-9pm
Open Saturday and Sunday 12pm-9pm

Shop 12/ 121 Liverpool St. World Square. Sydney, 2000 

(in the Hordern arcade, enter from the corner of Pitt and Liverpool streets. we are right in front of the Bull) 

People's Rating1 Vote1.3
3

The post Review: Chicken and Sons – World Square – Sydney CBD appeared first on unspoonsored.

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Fratelli Famous: The Subway of Pizzas

Fratelli Famous is basically Fratelli Fresh-lite with a compact yet customisable menu consisting of made to order pizzas and salads. Located across from Burger Project, Fratelli Famous shares the trendy indoor and outdoor seating area with The Bavarian.

Ordering

Ordering is exactly ala Subway. The ingredients looked fresh and even the dough was rolled freshly (flattened by machine). The queue moved very slowly for a weekday night. With five people in front of me, it took about 40 minutes to get food. 30 minutes of which was standing in line. I eventually observed that that they were doing Deliveroo orders (about 3) which explained the long wait time.

Regular pizzas/salads are priced at $10 and large at $14. Here is a list of all the options. This includes unlimited toppings.

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE $10

Meatballs – Fontina – Tomato Sugo – Oregano – Parmesan (Regular size) There are nine signature pizzas and I decided to opt for one of them the “Great Balls of Fire“. The first thing I noticed is the thin crust, despite it not being cooked in a woodfire oven, it was thin and a great base. The meatballs had the right texture and packed a lot of flavour. Although overall the pizza was slightly too oily and the toppings mostly fell off.

Conclusion

You cannot go wrong with fresh ingredients cooked with care – the customisation part is its greatest asset but as a dining experience waiting in line for 70% of the time for a so called “fast” meal will not be attractive to many. The time-share between dine-in orders and take-away needs to be addressed. Otherwise, for an above average pizza with only the stuff you like for $10 is great value.

Would I go again?

Maybe.

Level 1, World Square Shopping Centre, 644 George Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW
People's Rating2 Votes2.55
3

The post Review: Fratelli Famous – Sydney (World Square) appeared first on unspoonsored.

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Uncle Tetsu Sydney: Souffle? Spongecake?

It has been a while since a food place has gained so much hype on George Street. We are lucky that the streets are shut for the light rail construction otherwise many people would have got hit by traffic.

A photo posted by J.Lay (@jefflay7376) on Aug 2, 2016 at 7:36pm PDT

Uncle Tetsu offers two cakes: “cheesecakes” and madeleines. Japanese cheesecakes are more aerated compared to the western style which is more well-known here in Australia. There is a limit of 1 cheesecake ($18) and 4 madeleines ($15) per person. However you do have to buy madeleines in sets of 4.

A photo posted by Gk Abellera (@jigza) on Aug 1, 2016 at 3:58am PDT

CHEESECAKE $18 (serves 4-6)

Most people are recommending eating it hot as the best way to enjoy it. Those who have described it as having a more eggy-taste rather than cheese and less dense before it set. The packaging/size just does not allow for that at this store.

My tasting was done after 2 hours of refrigeration. First impression: damn it’s ugly, it does not look appetising at all.

It is more curiosity that pushed me to try this cake.

On the first bite, with the expectation of traditional cheesecake in mind, my taste-buds were a little confused for half a second. The texture is the first thing that threw me off and next; I was trying to decide whether to like it or not.

The flavour of the cake is very subtle: it tasted like spongecake with a hint of cheese. It is mostly bland and for a dessert, it does not have that moreish nor decadent factor I look for.

However, this might be an ideal dessert for people who are not a fan of rich and sweet cakes (i.e. Asian palettes which are 90% of the queue).

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake was soft and fluffy (or aerated) and made from Australian cream cheese as advertised. In simple terms, it another either you love it or hate it kind of cake. I found it overpriced and would only pay $10 max. To be honest, there are hundreds of desserts I would have instead including a Magnum ice-cream.

Uncle Tetsu will eventually expand its offering by adding different flavours of cheesecakes but I won’t be giving it another go.

Would I go again?

No

Regent Place Arcade, 501 George Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW
People's Rating2 Votes1.05
3

The post Review: Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cheesecake – Sydney appeared first on unspoonsored.

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New noodle soup option: Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang

Harbin Skewer Bar has fallen on Liverpool & Sussex Streets and Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang has expanded to its third location with the remnants of the defunct skewer bar still found in the room.

Nothing is better than a bowl of hot noodle soup on a cold winter’s day, it comes in many forms: laksa, pho, ramen and the fastest growing (from my observations) is Chinese-style Ma La Tang soup which is a spicy Sichuan base soup with “hot pot” ingredients such as meatballs, tofu, mushrooms, raw meat, noodles and veg.

Hot pot is more known as a communal experience, if you are not familiar it is comparable to Chinese fondue. Ma La Tang have converted what is normally an all-you-can-eat meal to a “create your own soup” where the price of the meal is charged by the weight ($24 per kg).

How it works?

It was pretty simple, grabbed a bowl and started filling it. The hot pot ingredients were displayed on tables buffet-style and ranged from fresh vegetables, meats, noodles to ready-made Chinese meat and fish balls. The contents were then weighed and paid for.

After 10-20 min the bowl of goodness was ready for collection. Just be aware that they call the order numbers in Chinese most of the time. On pick up you will be offered a selection of add-on sauces, take the lot except the chili one if you can’t take spiciness.

THE FOOD ($10-16)

Depends on weight $15 is plenty

The broth was the star as it should be for a soup dish. The Sichuan peppercorn taste was evident as it made the soup have that enduring heat without the burn. The level of spiciness without the optional chilli oil was mild and enjoyable. Compared to clear broth hot pot, this soup base was rich and much more aromatic with spices such as star anise were easily detected. The combination of the add-on sauces brought a strong garlic taste, nutty sesame and sourness and take the experience to the next level.

Rice glass noodles were a highlight!

The ingredients were ones you could easily buy at an Asian grocer/market but it is the broth and convenience that will make you regulars.

Conclusion

The soup base is one of those love it or hate it situations. The value is decent depending on your hunger. There could be improvements such as labels on ingredients and service to tables but with its current popularity, the owners will not find the need to. It is a strong alternative to laksa, pho, ramen, etc.

Would I go again?

Yes

345 Sussex Street, CBD, Sydney, nsw
People's Rating1 Vote3.9
4

The post Review: Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang – Sussex St – Sydney CBD appeared first on unspoonsored.

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Belly Bao: Asian Tacos and Fried Chicken?

The Good God club (now Plan B) didn’t survive but the Belly Bao kitchen located in this Liverpool Street night club did.

HANDMADE STEAMED BUNS ~$7 each

The bao dough was soft and had the right amount of give. Any sort of toppings would taste better on this foundation of goodness.

The toppings are up to the diner’s preference. The pork belly was the highlight with succulent meat and the deep fried soft shell crab with coriander and chili aioli was the most underwhelming. The slow braised beef rib was delicious too.

BELLY BAO CHICKEN ~$25 for 1 chicken

BBC crunchy Fried Chicken

The worst part of the meal was the fried chicken. Unlike the technique used for the baos, the chicken was very disappointing. The batter was too thin making the crumb very grainy instead of crunchy. The flavour was below-par.

Verdict

How many baos will you need to order? at least 3 to be satisfied. Avoid the fried chicken as it is average at best. Overall it is 3/5 experience considering it is kind of a dodgy nightclub, the value and the fried chicken disaster. If I had the baos alone, it would  have been a 4/5 rating.

Plan B entrance
53-55 Liverpool Street, CBD, Sydney

People's Rating0 Votes0
3

The post TLDR Review: Belly Bao – Sydney appeared first on unspoonsored.

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The Hub House Diner Express

After passing the proving grounds of Dulwich Hill, The Hub House Diner has now opened in near the Broadway Shopping centre to compete nearer to the CBD big boys. This place is a self-proclaimed triple threat (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The menu is an “express” and more affordable version of the Dulwich Hill branch and consists of breakfast rolls, burger, fries, fried chicken and milkshakes.

MEAT JACK $10

The burger was of a generous size for $10. It was a surprise, the simple looking burger contained meaty, juicy and medium rare pattie. The bun was slightly toasted and was of correct thickness, just enough to hold the contents of the burger. The condiments were in the wrong ratio for me: too much lettuce, I know they want to show off their fresh produce but they should cut the lettuce by half. There was also too little sauce. Other than that, the burger is just above average for the price. I would consider this a good attempt at a Mary’s burger, thicker but without the same judgement in ratios.

TWO DRUMSTICKS $6.5

Despite looking anemic, the skin was thin and crispy but no traditional buttermilk batter was used in this southern fried chicken recipe. The batter was well-seasoned with spices, salt and a signature sweet aftertaste that was used for the chips as well. The flesh was succulent but not the best. Would it beat KFC Hot & Spicy on a good day? Nope.

Sauces were $3 each, come on, get feck’d! (Sriracha lime aioli and secret sauce).

Are you a fan of fried chicken? Join this group for community reviews around town.

CHIPS $3 / $7 (PIMPED)

The chips lacked crispiness and the inner potato was not smooth and needed more cooking time. It sadly again got beaten by KFC chips. The pimped version was seasoned with Manchego Cheese and truffle oil, the base product is flawed so no seasoning could help it.

Conclusion

The Hub House Diner must have been a success to warrant an expansion. Comparing the menus, the Broadway branch offered a compressed version of their Dulwich Hill flagship store. Looking at the competition in the area, better options can be found within a 1 km radius. If you live around Ultimo, it is a good option for American food within walking distance but certainly nothing to shout about.

Would I go again?

Not out of my way.

13/185 Broadway, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW

People's Rating0 Votes0
3

The post Review: The Hub House Diner Broadway – Ultimo appeared first on unspoonsored.

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BBQ King: Chinese Royalty on Liverpool Street

BBQ King is back and improved. In its new location on (76) Liverpool Street, the set up is pretty organised. The take-away orders are serviced at the entrance and the dinning areas are upstairs. The staff were friendly and efficient despite the chaos.

Upon sitting, a complimentary bowl of soup was brought to this table of three.

BBQ Pork and Roast Pork w/ rice $15

The BBQ pork are very good. The best part was the texture, it had the right amount of bite for me. The flavour was not too sweet and well balanced. No complains.
The roast pork was one of the best I tried. The fat was delicious. I hate to have that cold fatty jelly feeling found at other similar places but the cooking of the fat was perfect. The same can be said about the crispy and smoky cracking, this is something unique to BBQ King. The inner meat was still succulent. The combination with the shallot oil and rice is both comforting and delicious.

Conclusion

BBQ King did deliver on excellent BBQ cooked meats. The roast pork and duck (tried a piece) were ones of the best in the city. Each were cooked very well and priced reasonably for a sit-down restaurant.

They do accept card payments and even Amex.

Would I go again?

Yes.

76-78 Liverpool Street, Sydney
People's Rating0 Votes0
4

The post Review: BBQ King – Chinese Restaurant – Chinatown appeared first on unspoonsored.

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Belles Hot Chicken – In time for a fried chicken revolution

Belles Hot Chicken pop-up at Barangaroo has been a success I would say. Work lunches have been changed forever. The Melbourne fried chicken shop has arrived just when Sydney-siders are hungry for some quality fried chicken or a step up from KFC.

If you are a fan of fried chicken like me. Join the Fried Chicken Appreciation Society.

DRUMSTICKS $16 + $2 sauce

(incl 1 side of chips)

This most amazing thing about these drumsticks was the skin. It was uncharacteristically thin but still extremely crispy. The texture was unlike anything in Sydney so far. It almost felt like skin was removed, pressed and fried then fused back onto the juicy flesh. The flesh remained succulent despite the level of crunch. The “Hot” level was tasty but it did pack a lot of heat not too much that it overpowered the overall flavour but extremely close to overdoing for me.

TENDERS $16 + $2 sauce

(incl 1 side of chips)

The tenders were the opposite of the drumsticks. On the positive side, the flesh was juicy even though it was a breast cut and the “Medium” level of chili was much more enjoyable than the “Hot” level for me. The most disappointing part however was the skin/batter, it was missing completely. Basically, it was like eating boiled chicken and chili powder. The fried chicken tenders were arguably over-salted and Blue Cheese sauce was welcome to absorb that taste.

On that day, the chips were better than the chicken.

CHIPS $5

The chips were of a very high standard. Crunchy and well seasoned with peri salt, they were morish.

Conclusion

Overall Belles is a great addition to the area. Belles Hot Chicken is worth a visit as there’s nothing like it anywhere else in Sydney. On your first visit, I would recommend drumsticks and chips at the “medium” level with the blue cheese sauce. Lost points for inconsistent tenders and long waiting times.

They only accept bank cards, probably because it makes admin to the Melbourne HQ easier.

Would I go again?

Yes, just for medium drumsticks and chips.

33 Barangaroo Avenue,Wulugul Walk,Barangaroo 2000

People's Rating2 Votes1.35
4

The post Review: Belles Hot Chicken – Fried Chicken – Sydney appeared first on unspoonsored.

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