Few food-centric visits to Melbourne are completed without a trip to Cumulus Inc. Andrew McConnell’s restaurant café is widely regarded by locals and visitors alike.
When backed by a bevy of solid recommendations, it was only a matter of time for me.
Though I find that the crowd is generally correct about the quality of Melbourne establishments, Cumulus Inc surprised me in ways I did not expect.
Date Last Visited: 27/11/13
Address: 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000
Recommended Dish(es): Grilled Lyonnaise sausage, smoked hock, braised beans & 65C egg
Chef Simon Ward and front of house Dennis Ferreira. You may not necessarily know their names yet but the name Vue De Monde might just strike that bell. In the continuing trend of fine dining chefs downsizing, the ex-VDM duo has set up an ostensibly nondescript cafe in Fitzroy by the name of Hammer and Tong 412. For the time being, the following edict stands: this is my favourite cafe. Anywhere. Yes, the venerable Kepos Street Kitchen takes out the crown of my favourite cafe in Sydney, but Hammer and Tong takes out the national championships. We’re talking about fine dining-esque food, with the best produce, but at cafe prices. It only gets better from here.
Date Last Visited: 7/6/14
Address: Rear 412 Brunswick St Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Recommended Dish(es): every dish in this post Continue reading
Does anyone still watch Masterchef? Sure, the show’s taken a bit of a ratings tumble in recent years, but the dramatic showdown between Poh Ling Yeow and Julie Goodwin in season one is likely fresh in the minds of over 3 million Australians.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy that Poh didn’t win, but that was a personal bias as I absolutely adored her personality. Cheery, bubbly and full of charisma, it was no surprise that despite her runner-up status, she still became just as well-known as Julie, and also has her own SBS food show.
Cue Malaysian hawker food – fiery, aromatic, varied, and sumptuous. It came as no surprise that this bombastic cuisine would one day be represented by Poh’s recent ambassadorship to the PappaRich restaurant chain. Admittedly, despite my undying love of Malaysian, I’ve been a bit slack in blogging it – my last Malaysian-themed post was back in 2013! If I’m going to change this, I’m going to do it in style – at PappaRich, and heck, why not meet Poh herself while I’m at it?
Date Last Visited: 26/7/14
Address: 1/63a Archer St Chatswood, NSW 2067
Recommended Dish(es): steamed chicken, roti canai, teh tarik, har mee
Sydneysiders have little to be envious of when it comes to breadth of food experiences, such is the diversity of our cuisine.
Yet, the term “underground dinner” may be unfamiliar to most. The concept is as enigmatic as it is enjoyable. Either by the happenstance of word of mouth, or you stumble on the website, you find out about one. Then, you have to try and obtain the chance of a booking. If you can get the booking, you will be kept in suspense until the day before, when you are finally made privy to the location.
Such is the process for the Minus 8 Underground Dinner. It’s only a pop-up, in the sense that it will end in October. So if you’re interested, be quick!
Date Last Visited: 25/7/14
Recommended Dish(es): N/A – menu changes
If you’ve ever had a bento box before, then you have already had a brush with teishoku cuisine. It is a Japanese way of eating constituting of multiple little dishes, along with a main which together, make an entire meal. The result is that very spice of life so many of us crave – variety.
A semantic digression: bento boxes are a great example of teishoku-style dining, but the two are not equivalent. A bento box involves one box with compartments where food goes. A teishoku meal is simply many elements (in bowls, plates, cups etc.) which are part of the same meal, often served all at once.
For what it’s worth, proper teishoku dining is fairly rare in Sydney. I can’t actually recall a restaurant that does it. Enter Yayoi – Japanese Teishoku Restaurant.
Date Last Visited: 17/7/14
Address: 38 Bridge St Sydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): Yayoi Gozen
Controversial content is seldom posted on this blog. At a basic level, I try and visit eateries for which I have reasonable confidence in their quality. Anyone, not just food bloggers, would either have some seriously poor taste, or posses some kind of iconoclastic zeal, to seek out poorly-rated locations. Thus, reviews on most food blogs there are overwhelmingly positive.
That said, who would have expected that I would end up mooting a less-than-starry review of Devon Café? Twice posted, twice loved; The winner of the Good Food Guide Cafe Guide “Best Food Café”.
Well, on July 3, Devon Cafe opened its doors for the first time for night service. Aptly named “Devon By Night”.
In my experience, I understand that they would need some time to get the hang of night service, as well as ironing out any kinks in their menu. It was with this thought that I visited two weeks after their official opening. The results surprised me, more than anyone.
Date Last Visited: 17/7/14
Address: 76 Devonshire St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Recommended Dish(es): Aunty Yulie’s pork ribs
Perched on the corner of South Dowling street and Taylor street, in upper-east Darlinghurst is a quaint little café trading by the name Bootsdarling.
A tender new addition to Darlinghurst’s café scene, Bootsdarling has already figured out what kind of an establishment it wants to be.
Its unofficial mission, as I see it from my experience is to serve great coffee and hearty food (at least, for now in winter), backed up by some smooth tunes in the ambiance. Easily the next hotspot for café explorers.
Date Last Visited: 13/7/14
Address: 333 South Dowling St Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Recommended Dish(es): Slow cooked pork & pea hash w/kale, poached egg & dijon
There’s an easy way, and a hard way to introduce Kepos Street Kitchen. The easy way is that it’s my favourite café in Sydney. Well that was easy. The hard way? That’s to explain why it’s my favourite cafe.
Opened in November 2012, so KSK isn’t even two years young. Yet, it’s already earned a chef’s hat, making it one of only a handful non-fine dining establishments to do so. I vague recall predicting, somewhat smugly, that KSK will receive a chef’s hat after my first visit. Yes, the food is most toque-worthy, café or not be damned.
KSK’s owner, Michael Rantissi, possesses experience as sous chef @ The Bathers’ Pavillion, and possesses a Middle-Eastern cooking repertoire that’s richly ingrained in KSK’s fare. It’s delicious, and you will queue for it. Thing is, you won’t mind, after you’ve had a taste.
Date Last Visited: 13/4/14
Address: 96 Kepos Street Redfern, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): southern fried chicken “sandwich”, middle eastern coleslaw, chermoula mayo
Biota – the animal and plant life of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
Such is the motto, the philosophy behind two-toqued Biota Dining, located in Bowral, of the beautiful Souther Highlands. Chef de cuisine James Viles has taken on one of the most onerous culinary challenges possible – to create groundbreaking modern Australian cuisine, but while remaining true to locally-found ingredients and traditional cooking styles.
When done half-heartedly, the results can be…disappointing. But do it well, and you end up getting into the World’s 50 Best list.
Then again, Biota Dining isn’t just talking the talk – that they are NSW’s regional restaurant of the year gives much credence to their potential. It was therefore no surprise when I had to make a trip to let my own taste buds decide. Read on!
Date Last Visited: 26/4/14
Address: 18 Kangaloon Rd Bowral, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): Veal & tuna, gathered local weeds
Hey readers! I don’t really do giveaways, as there’s usually a string or two attached, but I felt compelled to share this offer from UBER, a fairly well-known ride-sharing service. If you’ve no idea what UBER is about, this post offer probably isn’t for you :P.
You might be wondering what this has to do with a food blog. Pretty simple – why commute to your next dinner, when you can arrive in style, like a boss? Enough said.
Without any extensive marketing to get into, here’s the brief:
The process is simple:
1. Download the UBER app on an iPhone or Android device, and create an account. You can redeem from a desktop or through the app here.
2. Enter the promo code “IMSTILLHUNGRY” when prompted.
3. Check the ETA, ‘REQUEST’ when you need a car, and enjoy the ride!”
Remember guys, you can only use it once, so try not to spam
Holy moly! That sure was simple, wasn’t it? That’s it! No Facebook like, no retweet or regram required. Just go for it. Many thanks to the folks at UBER for providing this :)
Sydney’s bustling city centre is home to a surprisingly high number of heritage buildings, as anyone who’s frequented the area is well aware. Stately, well-aged architecture from years bygone stand proudly next to their glassy, shiny, and often taller counterparts. It’s not often you see this kind of juxtaposition at this frequency, but Sydney somehow manages to pull it off with aplomb.
At its very heart lies the historic Gowings Building, which has been around since 1868. It used to be a department store. Now? Well, it still kind of is – the lower levels anyway. Most are familiar with David Jones, Topshop/Topman taking up the ground real estate.
But what about up there? That’s where Gowings Bar & Grill takes the stage. Its personality is as chic as the building its housed in. Read on for the scoop.
Date Last Visited: 24/5/14
Address: 49 Market Street Sydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): grab a steak Continue reading
[UPDATE] Ippudo Sydney will open a new, second location at Central Park: Level 1 RB07, 28 Broadway Chippendale 2008 in the middle of September.
Having been to Ippudo Sydney about six times now, I can say that I’m intimately familiar with its menu. While there have been detractors here and there, I do earnestly believe that Ippudo is one of Sydney’s best ramen joints – and I’ve eaten at almost all of them.
So why not celebrate by opening a second store? YAY!
Some time in August, Ippudo will be opening a second location in Central Park (exact location TBA), as part of the “Japanification” of the area. As part of a “pre-celebration”, so to speak, Ippudo has cordially invited I’m Still Hungry to sample their Westfield store’s menu one more time, in advance of the new store’s opening.
While the Usual Disclaimer does apply, long-time readers of this blog already know that I’m a fan of the chain – evidence here, and here.
Date Last Visited: 10/6/14
Address: Level 5 Westfield Sydney 188 Pitt StSydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): pork buns, any ramen
I think it’s safe to say that in this day and age, the zeitgeist of eating healthily and its association with stigmas of severe compromises in taste and enjoyment is long behind us. Most readers are probably well aware of many ways in which they can improve their eating, with minimal to no consequences to its recreational aspect.
Restaurant menus have become more health-conscious, salads have become more attractive, with more thought put into their creation that can sometimes even make signature dishes. Many cafes promote healthy eating, but then you have Bread and Circus.
Quite possibly the epitome of great tasting food that doesn’t bust another notch on the belt.
Date Last Visited: 18/4/14
Address: 2-3/21 Fountain St Alexandria, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): daily plate
Envision a pile of wood – arrange them in random fashion without vision, and you get…a pile of wood. But get a master builder (*snicker* Lego Movie reference) to get in on the action and you could build a plane out of it. As with many things in life, the cumulative whole is often greater than the sum of its parts.
Yes, this totally relates to banh mi (Vietnamese rolls). After all, what is it, other than just an arrangement of bread, vegetables, pate, and select meat choices? But then, the number of quality banh mi eateries in Sydney is staggering, with no clear winner as to which is the best. This is where mastery and vision matters, especially for such a cheap, readily-available commodity. How else are you going to stand out?
Well, you could try making a banh mi that tops the ones at Marrickville Pork Roll, but I would start practising yesterday if I were you. Read on for what is arguably the best banh mi in Sydney.
Date Last Visited: 29/3/14
Address: 236a Illawarra Rd Sydney, NSW 2204
Recommended Dish(es): *raises eyebrows*
As a food and culture hub, few suburbs can pull it off better than Newtown. With an eclectic mix of Thai & Chinese cuisine, backed up by a café culture as strong as that of Surry Hills, it’s no wonder that people will travel just to spend a few hours here. I myself require two trains and 40min of travel time to get to Newtown, yet I am willing to do so frequently, even if it’s for something like a slice of cake.
Even if I lived in Newtown, I would be hard-pressed to keep up with all the change that’s going on. The place is abuzz with activity; wouldn’t have it any other way.
Though it’s been around for a few months now, Brewtown Newtown is a newer addition to Newtown’s café scene. The downside of rapid change is that places can get left behind and close too quickly, so you know the places that survive are the good ones.
Brewtown is likely going to stay – read on to see why!
Date Last Visited: 24/1/14
Address: 6-8 O’Connell Street Newtown, NSW 2042
Recommended Dish(es): beetroot-cured trout, Elvis burger