Category Archives: Sydney Lower North Shore

Sashimi Shinsengumi Cover

Sashimi Shinsengumi | Crows Nest

When March bookings re-opened for Sashimi Shinsengumi’s new Crows Nest location at 9am on February 21, the entire booking period was snapped up in 70 minutes. Desperate callers still ring chef Shinji Matsui and his wife Tomoko as late as midnight to try and sweet-talk them into securing them a spot. A restaurant that attracts this level of demand is something most Sydney restaurateurs would kill to possess, but that’s exactly what Sashimi Shinsengumi has achieved – and all Matsui-san did was to do what he’s always done: make darn good sushi. I can’t help you secure a booking, but I can show you exactly what you’ll be missing out on 😉


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Sushi Omakase at Hana Ju-Rin | Crows Nest

You could say that Michael Phelps has won a “decent amount” of gold medals in his Olympic career. You could say I’ve eaten a decent amount of sushi in my lifetime. Guess which of the aforementioned two sentences is the bigger understatement? It’s safe to say that if the consumption of sushi was banned in Sydney, I would be packing my bags tomorrow.

Fortunately, Sydney’s Japanese scene is once again bolstered by a hidden gem of a Japanese restaurant in the Lower North Shore that has – despite all odds – escaped my radar. Say hello to Crows Nest’s Hana Ju-Rin!

Date Last Visited: 5/8/2016
Address: 300 Pacific Highway,Crows Nest, Sydney, NSW


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Cavalier Specialty Coffee | St Leonards

There’s a new coffee joint in the north end of town, and it happens to serve food too. “So what?” I hear you ask, the north is a literal bounty of fantastic cafe options (much to my south-contained chagrin), why is Cavalier Specialty Coffee any different?

Well, I’ll give you a reason; well, three reasons: the food, the food, and oh diggity, the beautiful, beautiful food. Chef & owner Harry George is cooking up something that you’d expect to see at an $80-a-head restaurant, but accessible to the masses. Throw in excellent coffee, an unassuming decor and cordial service and that’s the recipe for many a revisit.

Indeed, a cavalier intro, but you’ll see what I mean when you dig into the details of St Leonard’s newest, hottest joint!

Date Last Visited: 24/1/2016
Address: 34 Oxley Street, Crows Nest, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): oldskool newskool salmon, English trifle French toast, pumpkin hummus on rye


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En Toriciya | Crows Nest

The Japanese dining scene in North Sydney can best be described in one word as abundant. I am very envious of Northern Sydneysiders that can, within a short drive, have their fill of yakiniku, JBBQ, ramen, sushi, soba and tempura and be guaranteed a quality feed. One restaurant adding its own version of Japanese charm to the Crows Nest precinct is En Toriciya (煙とりしや), sister restaurant of Cammeray’s Toriciya. But, as mentioned, Toriciya’s in crowded territory, so Chef Fukada’s not just going to slap some fish on rice and calling it a day. If you’re going to stand out, you’re going to go all out. I’m liking this attitude already.

Date Last Visited: 18/11/2015
Address: 104 Willoughby Road
Recommended Dish(es): Tasmanian sea urchin sashimi, assorted yakitori, charcoal grilled miso cod, dashi chazuke


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[Updated] Tim Ho Wan Sydney | Chatswood

The year was 2010. The city was Hong Kong. People went about their day like it was any other, but foodies were waiting with bated breath to see what restaurants would take out stars in the 2010 Hong Kong/Macau Michelin Guide. Most expected 2009 winners like Amber and Lung King Heen to return with their stars. But then again, that wouldn’t be surprising – those restaurants are incredibly expensive, with impeccable service and you’d hope, exceptional food. They are far out of reach of the layman’s budget, to be saved for the most special of occasions.

And then, out of the blue, a bombshell. Chef Mak Kwai Pui’s Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok, only opened in the previous year of 2009, scored itself a Michelin star. This is a yum cha restaurant where the most expensive of dishes come out to less than $5AUD, where a meal for two comes in at less than $15AUD PP. Almost overnight, the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant took Hong Kong by storm. Soon after, foodies around world have all contributed to the queues that Tim Ho Wan is famous for, perhaps as famous as its dim sum.

And now, the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant is open in Sydney. Tim Ho Wan, say hi to Sydney. Sydney, say hi to queues longer than the Great Wall of China!

Date Last Visited: 25/4/15
Address: The District 436 Victoria Ave Chatswood, NSW 2067
Recommended Dish(es): baked BBQ pork bun, beancurd w/pork & shrimp, mango sago pomelo, osmanthus cake


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Ormeggio at the Spit | Stressless Sunday Dinner

You don’t generally associate the terms “value for money” and “two-hatted fine dining restaurant” in the same sentence, unless it’s to say that you can’t find the former in an instance of the latter. Basic economics unfortunately dictate that with the fame, comes the restaurant’s ability to raise prices to whatever that limit the “sky” is supposed to be.

But two-hatted Italian restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit has taken a different approach. Sure, they still have their usual 3-digit degustations and a la carte offerings, but on Sundays, they offer what is quite possibly the cheapest meal offered by a hatted restaurant.

It’s called the “Stressless Sunday Dinner”: 69 dollars, 6 courses, Sunday nights only. Why worry about Monday when you can instead worry about what you’ll do with all the money you save from paying so little?

Date Last Visited: 16/11/2014
Address: D’Albora Marinas The Spit Spit RdMosman, NSW 2088
Recommended Dish(es): veal tonnato, tagliolini,  45C egg, carrot cake


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Khao Pla | Chatswood

Can you really be a Sydneysider if you haven’t experienced its Asian side? I thoroughly dig this city’s multiculturalism groove. Having travelled to several cities in America, innumerable European ones and countless Asiatic cities to boot, I can confidently say that from a food perspective, we’re lucky to live here.

With all that said, there is always, always room for improvement. I never thought it could be that way for Thai food, given that the market is pretty saturated with some of the best Thai I’ve ever had. But there’s nothing more I love than being proven wrong when I become jaded about the quality and variety of food we have at our doorsteps.

Enter Khao Pla – my new and currently favourite restaurant for my favourite cuisine. I may just move to Chatswood for this…

Date Last Visited: 13/9/2014
Address: 370 Victoria Ave Shop 7 Chatswood, NSW 2067
Recommended Dish(es): pork ribs, banana blossom, Massamun curry


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PappaRich | Chatswood

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


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The Bathers’ Pavilion | Balmoral Beach

The weekend of the 10th & 11th of May was a perfect storm of food. On the night of the 10th, I visited Quay Restaurant with The Lady. This was in celebration my birthday. The twist is that my true birthday is actually on the 11th. Thing is, that coincides with Mother’s Day.

Given that your birthday is actually the day when your mum struggled the most, it only makes sense that Mother’s Day takes precedence. Indeed, you could say your birthday is a day to celebrate your mum!

Question is, where to go? The Bathers’ Pavilion popped up in my head, as it’s got the views, as well as the food to boot. Well, I had to trust opinions on the latter, but as it turns out I was most pleased with my choice. Read on!

Date Last Visited: 11/5/14
Address: 4 The Esplanade Balmoral, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): montagne au chocolate, mascarpone ingot