Pho An @ Bankstown Restaurant Review: ‘So Pho, So Good!’

What a way to spend a Monday evening!

After a whole day of house cleaning and re-organising my wardrobe, changing over the Winter clothes for the Spring, I was tired but pleased that I had used my day off very productively and managed to burn off some calories from working the vacuum – that I was ready for our ‘Food Safari’ adventures with Hubby in the evening with our fellow Food Safari hunters/organisers – Lambo and Maz.

Tonight was ‘Pho Night’ and Miss Maz, whose is from a Vietnamese background, has been telling me forever about this ‘best Pho place!’ and that I just had to go try it out. (A rave review from a Vietnamese native who has sampled Pho in Vietnam and also makes it So having our Monday evening set aside, Hubby and I was looking forward to this place where it was so highly spoken about ….especially from someone who knows and loves her Pho!

After several ‘adventurous’ incidents on route to Bankstown – we thank God that we made it there in one piece, as we were craving for a large hot bowl of Pho! :)

Parking was very handy as there was a large parking lot next door to ‘An Pho’ and later discover that whilst we did drive quite a long way to get there, to actually consume a bowl of Pho was probably the same amount of time to walk to and from the car park… VERY FAST! ( So just a hint readers: This place is not for you to dwell and hang around if you know what I mean – especially during the ‘peak’ lunch times! )

We had so much anticipation on eating here – as Lambo and Maz kept raving on how good it was and that this drive out on a Monday night was well worth every litre of petrol! ( Which I might add made Lambo do all sorts of crazy driving getting us there, such as making a right turn but ignoring the speeding on coming traffic – argh!)

As we turned onto the street where the restaurant was, I noticed a large building with a brightly lit restaurant which had a sign outside reading ‘ Pho An ~ So Far So Good’ I thought to myself ‘ How cheesy is that!’ to my amusement, that Maz exclaimed ‘ Oh thats where we are eating!’ ”Oh ~ ” I thought…. and giggled inside.

Upon entering, I noticed that there was two doors – ‘Entry’ on the left and ‘Exit’ on the right. ‘Wow ~ how organised’ I thought.

Next thing we knew, we were escorted to our table and had the waiter shadow behind us and from the corner of my eye, I saw that his PDA was ready and finger in hand – poised. He was ready.

Having already discussed in the car on our way over, we were organised and decided what we had wanted to eat. Maz said that they are fast and serving nothing much other than Pho ( pronounced ‘ Fur ‘ ) in it’s specialty and acclaimed ‘secret’ soup, ‘Traditional Northern Style Vietnamese special rice noodle soup’ we just had to decide whether I wanted the ‘small ‘ or ‘large’ size and which part of the ‘beef’ I had wanted in it…
I went for the ‘original’ which was just the rare beef which I liked to cook in the hot broth to keep the flavours and tenderness of the meat. My Hubby went for the ‘duc bit’ which contained ‘no duck’ but just the ‘special’ beef bits – such as: brisket, beef roll, flank and tripe. Very special indeed. He also of course added in his favourite Vietnamese cold drink/dessert : Three Colour Bean Sweet in a Parfait Glass with shaved ice. I personally love this drink too – always reminds me of happy childhood days, especially with the tri-coloured syrup over the ‘igloo-sque’ ice crush with the squiggly green chendol and red jelly swimming in the coconut milk. Happy times!

What was also renowned here at ‘An’ apart from their delcious and simply addictive soup (urban myths saids their secret ingredient is of a ‘herb’ of an addictive kind which Amesterdam would have approved….) but what I was also amused upon my visit was the efficiency of this place. Food and service is made at LIGHTNING speed – worthy of a good ‘F1′ pit stop for all you F1 fans out there..

After ordering and seeing our speedy waiter tap it all in his PDA, my Hubby turns to get the camera out of his bag and after only fiddling the aperture and settings, he turns back to find that his large bowl of ‘Duc Bit’ or known as ‘ Beef Combination’ noodles and all our orders has arrived steaming hot to the table! Amazing! This is why they are also called ‘ McPho !’ :)

Snapping our food quickly before our soup goes cold ( My pet hates: Luke warm coffee and luke warm soups – hence I wanted to dig in as soon as I can and dunk my rare beef straight below the steaming hot broth.)

Our slurping and silence was the indication how good the noodles were and the soup was – as advised I first taste the soup without adding the addition sauces to sample it as a ‘pho purist’. It was very flavoursome and hits the comfort spot square bang in the middle! *Sigh* Nothing like a bowl of Pho on a Monday night with friends…. and adding more of the hoisin and chilli sauce to adjust the taste of my soup with a squeeze of lime, I was in a ‘happy place’ ( Wondered if the ‘special happy herb’ had anything to do with this natural high….) ;)

Thanks also to Lamb, who suggested that I MUST try dipping the beef with the self made Sate sauce. It was just so sublime – the rich tang of the chilli with the mellowing chilli oil was just a perfect condiment with the slices of ‘just cooked’ beef. I was in love!
Best still – this stuff was on sale for about $3.00 a jar at the counter!

Overall, the Pho An experience which I could say was enjoyed with a smile and a tummy full of noodles. It was indeed well worth the drive and God forbid an addiction to An’s … for it is a LONG drive from the North to here!

Tips:
Sharing is not allowed at this joint – ( no pun intended) but as we discussed it would be possible to share a large bowl of Pho between friends, you will find that this will cost you an extra $3.00 for a bowl. Unless of course you are super close with your friends and family and do it cheap communal style… or just avoid being cheap and get your own bowl! ;)

Free parking lot next door – plenty during the time when we were there on a Monday night. Not too sure if it is during the day!

This delicious 'Pho An Sate' did wonders to my Pho and taste buds..... Soooo tasty! Reminds me of the 'hawker styled' chilli sate served at Macau/HK eateries. So good!

This delicious 'Pho An Sate' did wonders to my Pho and taste buds..... Soooo tasty! Reminds me of the 'hawker styled' chilli sate served at Macau/HK eateries. So good!

The entry, arranged with 'exit' and 'entry' for precision logistic flow.... Guess this is handy during the mad peak lunch feeding frenzy....

The entry, arranged with 'exit' and 'entry' for precision logistic flow.... Guess this is handy during the mad peak lunch feeding frenzy....

Almost at Formula 1 driving precision - the kitchen and drink bars are prepared for a split second 'order to table' service at lightning speed....

Almost at Formula 1 driving precision - the kitchen and drink bars are prepared for a split second 'order to table' service at lightning speed....

The array of 'cheng do' ( green jelly) and iced bean drinks with tri-coloured drinks all prepared and ready to go....Service is at neck breaking speed here!

The array of 'cheng do' ( green jelly) and iced bean drinks with tri-coloured drinks all prepared and ready to go....Service is at neck breaking speed here!

The two different sizes ~ $13.50 for the large or 50c less for the small.... I thought it was better deal to get the large, even if you don't finish it. My Hubby cleaned up the large bowl in less than 10 mins!

The two different sizes ~ $13.50 for the large or 50c less for the small.... I thought it was better deal to get the large, even if you don't finish it. My Hubby cleaned up the large bowl in less than 10 mins!

Hot, brothy, coriander and loaded with tender thin slices of beef, swimming in a jumble of silky white rice noodles...... Slurpin' silky goodness!

Hot, brothy, coriander and loaded with tender thin slices of beef, swimming in a jumble of silky white rice noodles...... Slurpin' silky goodness!

Pho An Sate

Pho An entry

Pho An 4

Pho An 1

Pho An Restaurant
27 Greenfield Parade
Bankstown, 2200
Website: http://www.anrestaurant.com.au
Telephone
02 97967826

Kazbah On Darling Review: Balmain Breakfast Food Safari Moroccan Style.

I just love the occasional catch up with friends for breakfast on weekends. This Saturday was just one of those perfect starts to the weekend with Mrs E, whom I believe is a ‘Au Natural’ Food Blogger arranged for a Breakfast Food Safari at ‘Kazbah’ in Balmain. ( One of my all time favourite suburbs in Sydney – so quaint and so close to Adriano Zumbos…*sigh* Oh to wake up each morning and have a macaroon….)

Anyways, I was just so excited to wake up that morning knowing we were going to Balmain and to sample the Morrocan/North African food for breakfast. I had been intrigued to go ever since I had read on ‘Not-Quite-Nigella’s blog for the Breakfast Banquet Menu  ($20 pp to stuff you full of breakfast!) The amount of food seen on her blog was just insane… I was full just feasting on it with my eyes on the screen!

Kazbah's table decor - use of large white paper and some happy crayons. Keeps the diners happy and creative! Noticed that most people have drawn flowers for some reason on their tables... Interesting!

Kazbah's table decor - use of large white paper and some happy crayons. Keeps the diners happy and creative! Noticed that most people have drawn flowers for some reason on their tables... Interesting!

We arrive at 10.30am on a Saturday morning arriving to a bright and happily filled restaurant. There was a buzz in the air. I was excited for this Moroccan breakfast feast and the light and airy atmosphere of the decor only added to my excitement! As dining with Mrs. Tealily who is an extraordinary gifted photographer (www.tealilyphotography.com) she comments on the beautiful natural lighting that streams over us from the sky light on the roof. Perfect for food photography bloggers I say! :)

We pick up our menus and scan for the food. ( I had a peek on their menu online and sort of decided what I wanted to pick – thanks Lorraine @ Not-Quite-Nigella for the heads up!)

I order the freshly squeezed juices for both myself and the Hubby. I wanted to ‘clean’ my palate for the lamb tagine which was on the list of food to be ordered…. The pineapple, lime and ginger was very ‘zingy’ and had no trouble waking up my taste buds! Hubby’s Watermelon and ginger juice was sweeter than mine, although I examined the ‘freshly squeezed’ juice and discovered there was no sign of ‘fresh froth’ from the watermelon juice. We then assumed perhaps it was ‘pre squeezed’… Oh well.. it was minor, especially when the food we spied on the tables arriving next to us looked amazing!

Mrs. E arrives and we order. As you can see from the pictures below, we had a ball… Delicious!

Mrs. E slurpping her delicious Lemon and Rose water frappe ~ if only I knew, I would have ordered one of these beauties...although my fresh pineapple with lime and ginger wasn't too bad either :) This frappe reminds me of a frozen turkish delight!
A bird's eye view of the Lamb Targine. A change from an egg benedict.

A bird's eye view of the Lamb Targine. A change from an Eggs Benedict.

FrenchAlthough it wasn't the most 'Moroccon' dish on the menu, it was what captured my attention first...Mmmmm thick eggy bread with lots of goodies on top....French Toast, Bacon, Glazed Baby Figs, Double Cream, Apple Cinnamon Syrup

Although it wasn't the most 'Moroccan' dish on the menu, it was what captured my attention first...Mmmmm thick eggy bread with lots of goodies on top....French Toast, Bacon, Glazed Baby Figs, Double Cream, Apple Cinnamon Syrup

Lamb Tagine ~ a very moreish breakfast dish. Consists of: Lamb Mince, Sucuk, Spinach, Roast Capsicum, Roast Tomato, Caramelised Onion, Feta, Eggs, Turkish Toast, Lebanese Bread

Lamb Tagine ~ a very moreish breakfast dish. Consists of: Lamb Mince, Sucuk, Spinach, Roast Capsicum, Roast Tomato, Caramelised Onion, Feta, Eggs, Turkish Toast, Lebanese Bread

This was probably my favourite dish order of the morning... it belonged to Mrs. E who organised our Food Safari Brekkie at Kazbah. She is a veteran and knew the menu inside out. Delicious warm rice pudding with pear and cinnamon and crunchy hazlenuts.  I must order this on my next visit!

This was probably my favourite dish order of the morning... it belonged to Mrs. E who organised our Food Safari Brekkie at Kazbah. She is a veteran and knew the menu inside out. Delicious warm rice pudding with pear and cinnamon and crunchy hazelnuts. I must order this on my next visit!

Looking almost like a 'Salmon Alien' with tentacles, this was the Feta Potato Cake, Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Red Wine Onion Marmalade

Looking almost like a 'Salmon Alien' with tentacles, this was the Feta Potato Cake, Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Red Wine Onion Marmalade

Post food arriving at the table and food papparrazzi, the plate swapping frenzy began! Sharing is caring!

Post food arriving at the table and food paparazzi, the plate swapping frenzy began! Sharing is caring!

Mrs. Tealily working her photo giftings ~ love her work and the film camera too! Heart 'old skool' film!

Mrs. Tealily working her photo giftings ~ love her work and the film camera too! Heart 'old skool' film!

I have always loved Balmain. I truely would move here just to be closer to Adriano Zumbos… as I am sure I had mentioned endlessly before.
Balmain is a beautiful quaint suburb in Sydney, filled with cute little houses that line the quiet picturesque streets…best still, the quality of fashion boutiques, cafes, restaurants and eatery joints… is a Food/Fashion blogger haven! (Sure parking is a bit of a pain..but we had a funny incident with that too…where our parking meter was confused with a ‘pokie machine’ and instead of sucking our money from us, it decided to replenish our coin compartment…) Thank you God for making Balmain Council so generous towards us and for the ‘free breakfast’ we had at Kazbah! ;)
Now with sampling Kazbah, I can add an extra ‘ tick ‘ next to ‘Why we should move to Balmain’ in my ‘dream section’ on my brain.
In the meantime, I will just continue to pray and just make sure we plan our weeks with a bit of Balmain added here and there! ;)

Be sure to make a visit to Kazbah. Or grab a group of 8 people or more and get the $20 pp Breakfast Feast. Book in advance and make sure you go earlier to avoid the ‘peak traffic’ ( both on the road and in the restaurant) As I was advised it gets busy and waits can be long.

Kazbah on Darling
379 Darling Street
Balmain, NSW 2041
Sydney – Australia
PO Box 289
Balmain NSW 2041
Sydney – Australia

Phone: [02] 9555 7067
Fax: [02] 9810 5355

Website: http://www.kazbah.com.au

Our Opening Hours:
Breakfast – Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays – 9:00am – 3:00pm
Lunch – Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays- 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday – 6:30pm – Late

Jugemu & Shimbashi Japanese Restaurant Review: Slurppin’ good Soba and ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’ ~ Okonomiyaki!

I love Tuesdays.

Not only do I love these second days of the week  for it’s ‘Thriftiness’ ie) ‘Super Tuesdays, Tight Bum Tuesdays at the movies….etc’ but on this particular Tuesday our usual ‘Connect Group’ meetings had been moved to Monday and we had a Tuesday night free for the first time in ages.

Originally, wanting to make the most of the Super Tuesday savings, we decided to go and see a movie with Mrs. P and her hubby, Mr. D. However, after much emailing back and forth, our choice of ‘Young Victoria’ did not appeal much to both our Hubbies and the plans was scrapped and instead I suggested that we just go and enjoy a good meal together and just ‘chillax’ :)

Pretty Japanese plates and an 'upgrade' from the usual disposable chopsticks in a deeper chocolate wood ;)

I must say, writing this entry after eating at ‘Shimbashi Soba’ in Mosman is that I am so glad we had ditched the movie and slurped on some Soba instead!

Super tasty entree ~ Kingfish Carpaccio with avocado, daikon salad and the yummiest wasabi tangy mayo.... We wanted more of this and besides the price, the only thing I can complain about this is...portion was too small and leaves you craving for more!

Super tasty entree ~ Kingfish Carpaccio with avocado, daikon salad and the yummiest wasabi tangy mayo.... We wanted more of this and besides the price, the only thing I can complain about this is...portion was too small and leaves you craving for more!

Soba noodles in warm duck broth.... Mmmmm ~ Shame the duck was just a bit on the chewy side... perhaps undercooked or double cooked. Still, its tasty and easily looked over with the soba :)

Soba noodles in warm duck broth.... Mmmmm ~ Shame the duck was just a bit on the chewy side... perhaps undercooked or double cooked. Still, its tasty and easily looked over with the soba :)

Pouring the water that the soba was cooked with to dilute the broth ...apparently it is filled with buckwheat goodness. Well it sure tasted comforting and was a perfect ending to the slurrpy soba :)

Pouring the water that the soba was cooked with to dilute the broth ...apparently it is filled with buckwheat goodness. Well it sure tasted comforting and was a perfect ending to the slurrpy soba :)

'Slurp! Slurp! Ssssssslurp!' This is Mr. D... you cannot see his face because he is an Architect who loves his soba...' :) Kinda looks like an ad for a ramen place....starting with 'W' ;)
shimbashi 7

Tasty and crispy fresh tempura of vegetables and prawns. Mmmm!

shimbashi 10

Yummy Yakisoba noodles as the last dish of our meal ~ full of al dente noodles tangled up in pork and cabbage with just the right amont of pickled ginger on the side to cut through the greasiness....Delicious! Only thing was there wasn't enough to go around!

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable dining experience, considering it was a very ‘last minute’ decision to book here, first impression was welcomed with a restaurant that was happily filled ( considering some nearby restaurants was cold empty which my heart went out to…) The warm ambiance of the Japanese decor – I particularly loved the ‘traditional Japanese’ in-ground seating where you have to take off your shoes… (then again, you need to be wearing your best socks for these occasions! )

As I called to make a booking, I was asked ‘Which side would you like to sit in?’ Being confused about this question, I now understood as the restaurant is split into two different sides – one side for  teppanyaki and okonomiyaki (Jugemu) and the other which we sat was for Soba and sushi. ( Shimbashi)

The decor was simple and inviting and very welcoming. The service was attentive and we had the pleasure of being hosted by a lovely Japanese waitress whom had this interesting ‘English’ accent as she recommended what to eat from the menu. She was very helpful and suggested we try the Soba with the warm chicken broth as well as the green tea soba with the warm broth with smoked duck breast. She was so considerate for us who was two couples sharing – she suggested she would split up our soba into four separate portion so we could savour the different sobas. Sweet!

Would highly recommend this place for a feast of truely authentic Japanese fare on the North of Sydney.

Parking is available either on the main road ( Military Road) or I suggest the side streets for more parking.

Jugemu & Shimbashi Japanese Restaurant

246 Military Rd
Neutral Bay NSW 2089

(02) 9904 3011

(02) 9908 3820


Ching Yip Coffee Lounge Review: Hong Kong style cafe food in the heart of Sydney.

Love kitsch?

Love ‘old-skool’ H.K diners that seemed to have froze in time back in the late 80′s?

Then this awesome ‘hide-away’ cafe serving some authentic Hong Kong ‘fast food cafe’ style food is the place to be!

This funky little cafe sprung back into my mind as I was reading one of my favourite blogs ‘Grab Your Fork’ when it mentioned about this cafe I had forgotten temporarily. As I read the review, I was immediately transported back to my high school daze, as though it was  like an old MTV replaying in my head… I remembered those ‘cool’ days, rocking out my ripped Levi 501′s, Hound Dog t-shirt and Stussy skater shoes – when my besties and I would catch the L90 bus out from Dee Why and venture out to the City and make a day of it. I would of course also show them around Chinatown – and how I would introduce them to the retro HK food at ‘Ching Yip’ or better known as ‘Tim Tim’ in Cantonese ( meaning: ‘Sweet Sweet’) Sweet! :) Those were the days…. and revisiting this cafe was almost like stepping back 10 years into time -as nothing looked like it has changed much. Same was the neon pink lettering sign that gives the whole entry a soft and retro glow,same are ‘tacky’ plastic flowers for decor and best yet is the cylinder cake fridge which does not display any cakes – but an ‘artistically’ arrangement of lemons. ( I assume they ran out of space in the kitchen and could kill two birds with a stone by combining storage vs. art) With such a large amount of lemons stacked up – one can only assume these are gathered and used for the very popular HK cafe style drinks which always asks for slices of lemons: ceylon red tea, hot lemon coke and ever popular ‘lemon water’ ( Yes. Basically it is boiling water with a slice of lemon and you add the packet of white sugar…delightful!)

Ching Yip Lemon Tea

Infamous lemon display work of art...

Infamous lemon display work of art...

Now onto the food.

The food is awesome. Nothing spectacular but in every way, comforting in the sense that it appeals to my ‘Hong Kong cafe style food’ liking. It is non pretentious, it is not fancy but just tasty and ‘sloppy’ food. Sloppy, not in the way it is bad – but just how HK cafe style food IS good for and I love that. The Hubby’s order was a ‘Baked Pork Chop Rice’ This is the ‘safe option’ at most Chinese cafes – as it really should be a ‘no fail’ ( Or at least that is how you can test the cafe’s quality and authenticity) So in this case…. ‘Sloppy’ tomato sauce covered rice with all the ‘kitsch’ goodness of the slightly ‘baked/burnt’ marks over the sauce which covers a huge piece of fried pork cutlet that is flavour-somed yet tender and somehow a perfect compliment with the frozen peas and corn fried rice underneath. Genius!

Ching Yip Pork Chop Rice Ching Yip Cafe Soup Ching Yip Cafe 2

This is accompanied by the ‘Daily Soup’ which both The Hubby and I get with our meals. What I also love is the ‘Soup Of The Day’ that accompanies the dinner sets and makes the meal out in this cafe so homely. Tonight the soup is a Chinese styled broth made with generous amount of lean pork and pork bones and some ‘unidentified vegetables’ which was lovely with bites of soft pearly barley for texture. The colour is a bit dull, but this is the kind of soup that taste better than it looks. I love how something as simple as the ‘Daily soup’ can be comforting to me -growing up in a Chinese house hold and visiting my Grandma’s place, being offered a bowl of ‘home made soup’ as you come home from school or from visits to Grandma’s place – soup is like a ‘warm hug’ and that is so nourishing. :)

Although the soup at Ching Yip is nothing as ‘sweet’ or as nourishing as the way my Grandma and my Mum makes her soup – the bowl I was served on this rainy evening, warmed me up none the less.

My friends, a lovely couple from my church who came to dinner with The Hubby and I ordered some stirred fried noodles with lean pork strips and pickled cabbage and ‘Special Set Menu Of The Day: Chicken with special sauce on rice + daily soup. This was the same as what I ordered.

Ching Yip Noodles Ching Yip Chicken rice Ching Yip Chicken 2 Ching Yip Cafe 4

The stirred fried noodles with lean pork and pickled cabbage looked delicious as it arrived promptly to the table. It was indeed ‘ sloppy’ and the sauce glistened with the generous portion of chubby egg noodles scattered with pieces of pork. From the ‘MMmmmmm~!’ coming from Mrs P – she gave the smile of approval and ate the dish happily.

Mr. D’s and I ordered the same ‘Set Menu Of The Day’ and the Chicken with special sauce came out quick and fast.

Our crispy skinned 1/4  chicken with a good cover of a ‘mysterious’ brown sauce was served on a bed of fluffy white rice. The size was very generous and I was thinking I would not be able to finish – yet I dig in and curious to know what the ‘brown sauce’ was. ( We guessed it was most likely chicken gravy seasoned with the ‘Maggi’ sauce)  The taste was definitely as I expected – similar to something I would have eaten at Hong Kong’s most popular chain cafe franchise ‘Cafe de Coral’ ( Hubby and my favourite cheap eat’s in HK on a budget)

Mr. D loved his ‘brown sauce’ so much – he inquired for more from the kitchen. Calling out to the ‘party of waitresses’ standing by chatting, they happily gave us a full bowl of sauce – The Hubby thought he would be as ‘charming’ as people are in HK – addressing the lovely waitresses as ‘ Excuse me pretty lady!’ *cringe* but somehow a bit of flattery went along way, as the sauce we were given was in a large soup bowl, which I jokingly said to Mr. D ‘ I think they are expecting you to drink it like soup with a spoon!’ :)

Ching Yip Sauce

Overall – my re-visit to ‘Ching Yip Coffee Lounge’ was very pleasant and even had Mr. D and Mrs. P wishing to come back again soon to sample more of their kitsch menu offerings. Already we are happy to try out the cheap $6.00 breakfasts of toasts with a bowl of soupy macaroni and choice of hot or iced cold Ovaltine. This is VERY H.K and we all love it!

With our tummies full and smiles all round from our ‘HK cafe’ experience – both from the decent food at a very decent price ( $20 for Hubby and my meal and I think we even got change for it…) Our band of waitresses bid us farewell ( how polite!) and as we take our last glance at the lemon cabinet with a few jokes… we get in the elevator time machine and transport ourselves back to 2009.

For a visit back in time ~ be sure to give this cheesy H.K cafe a visit. ( Sense of humour and an appreciation of ‘sloppy’ HK style food required)

Enjoy!


CHING YIP COFFEE LOUNGE       
L2, DIXON HOUSE, 413 SUSSEX ST, CHINATOWN

Opening

7 DAYS, 9.00AM-8.30PM
P:9281 1591

(No bookings required ~ spontaneous rock up is best!)

Pilu Kiosk Review – Suckling Pig on Sonoma Bread Sandwiches/Panini’s with the gorgeous ocean view.

With my Aunt Carol, Uncle Ray and my little cousin Ian visiting from Hong Kong, I wanted to take them to a place for lunch where you can soak up as much of this beautiful weather we have been having in Sydney lately plus a place where we can take our Monday at a slow and leisurely pace…..

Beautiful ocean views of Freshwater Beach from Pilu Kiosk

Beautiful ocean views of Freshwater Beach from Pilu Kiosk

So with this in mind, it wasn’t very hard to decide that we should head down to Freshwater Beach ( one of my favourite beaches for a dip in Summer) but always a favourite even to just come and look out at the wide ocean, take in the warm salty sea air and to soak up as much sun for a fix of Vitamin E ( or whatever vitamin you get from the sun…!! Just make sure you have sun screen on!)

Freshwater Beach is already an ‘A-class’ beach in my books – but what makes it even more inviting is that one of the best Sydney restaurants, Pilu is also situated right on beach front.

With raving reviews of the high caliber of food created by Chef and owner, Giovanni Pilu ( his first restaurant was at Cala Luna where he introduced Sydney to Sardinian specialties like oven roasted suckling pig and linguine bottarga.)

Both my Husband and I have yet to try the actual restaurant ( we tried to book it once for Valentines Day, to our disappointment it was completely booked out!) Even my parents have sampled lunch there once with my Uncle visiting from Hong Kong and that they kept raving on about how delicious the suckling pig was for days!

So when I heard that Giovanni had opened up a smaller (and more affordable) cafe next door to Pilu – conveniently named ‘Pilu Kiosk’, I knew I had to get down there to sample the fare and I love how I could also turn up without needing to book! :)

We arrive at Pilu Kiosk at around 1.00pm on a Monday and found parking super easy as there was ample parking spots at the beach. ( We had a Warringah Council sticker which meant it was free! Yay!)

The little sitting area on the front deck of Pilu Kiosk.

The little sitting area on the front deck of Pilu Kiosk.

The cafe/kiosk was super cute in size – I had a feeling that I had just rocked up at my friend’s nearby beach house with simple design of an outdoor oversized porch dotted with a few small tables and chairs.
The layout is pretty ‘cosy’ – most people who was sitting were in pairs ( plus their puppy) as the size of the table and seating was not really catered for large parties or group of fives like us, however we were more than happy to do ‘take out’ and re-locate to more spacious settings at a picnic table/gazebo on the grass facing the beach.

pilu menu

Their chalk board menu was scribbled with some delicious delights… but my eye went straight for the ‘suckling pig panini’s served on some yummy Sonoma breads. ( Yum!)
What also caught my attention was the Salt & Pepper Calamari with chips and aioli ( Mmmm…) Honestly, I do not think our beach side lunch would be complete without a bit of greasy chips and fried seafood to complement our ‘healthier option’ of the panini’s….

As I was ordering the savories…. my eyes darted towards the sweets that was displayed directly above the panini’s…. ‘Nutella Tarts’ Without much thought I order two. ( One for my little cousin Ian and one for my Hubby and I to share….well kinda as I found out later I would want more than half!)

Delicious, buttery and chocolatey/Nutella tart pastry........Mmmm.

Delicious, buttery and chocolatey/Nutella tart pastry........Mmmm.

Pulling apart the warm Nutella tart...with the chocolately goodness oozing out....

Pulling apart the warm Nutella tart...with the chocolately goodness oozing out....

The suckling pork sandwich was perfectly moist with the wholegrain mayonaise and fresh butter lettuce all held together with the chewy and crunching sensation of the Sonoma grain breads. ‘CCCCcccrunch!!!…Chew! Chew! Chew! Smile’ was the eating order as my Hubby and I share our moreish Pork Panini. Feeling that one sandwich was properly a fail decision of under ordering, I run back up to order a ‘Roast Vegie Panini’ which the Hubby turned out loving even more than the pork with the generous antipasto filling of artichokes, eggplant and capsicum. Yum!

Suckling pig sandwich ~ delciously moist and crunchy with the Sonoma bread.

Suckling pig sandwich ~ delciously moist and crunchy with the Sonoma bread.

The only slight let down of this lunch was the overtly salty Calamari – while it seemed like the thing to order near the ocean, I expected this to be done exceptionally well, yet it turned out to be most disappointing when at first bite I thought I had fell face down into a pile of salt. Getting my Uncle and even my little cousin, Ian to sample – everyone had agreed that it was way too salty to be palatable.
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Thankfully, the manager did take it back ( at first reluctantly) and made me a new batch with no added salt. ( Apparently I was supposed to know to ask them not to add salt…(???) Great – accuse the customer for not wanting to eat super salty calamari… ) Surprised at how the manager would appeared a little annoyed that I took it back, she was quick to make me a new batch and suggested I sprinkle my own salt on, which ironically the salt she gave me in a separate container blew away not long after I had settled it back down on our picnic table. Oh well ~ who needs the added sodium intake anyways??

After a very enjoyable lunch, it was just about sitting back and enjoying the view. Watching my little cousin Ian, happy and playing by rolling around in the grass was a beautiful sight. Complete freedom and unquestionable joy as he just giggled each time he rolled and stood up dizzy. I love that pure and simple joy. Reminds me that we should all attain this more – simple joy and a sense of freedom to roll around in the grass after lunch… if you want to! :)
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Today was a beautiful day spent at a gorgeous place enjoying good food with the people I love – this day will definitely stand out with the many which I will cherish forever.

Love
Eve x

ps) Thought I would mention this place has a brekky menu too – and with a view like Freshwater Beach, it would be an ideal breakfast meeting place anytime of the week! They have freshly baked muffins which is always a winner! x

Verdict:

Atmosphere: With a gorgeous ocean view and laid back locals – this is a perfect ‘chillaxing’ place. BYO picnic rug during Spring/Summer for your own ‘private seating’ on the grass lawn outside.

Outstanding: Pork sandwich and the Nutella tart! I could easily eat 3! :)

Parking: Ample! Meter parking but free if you have the Warringah Council sticker.
Bring your puppy ~ it is pet friendly with water bowls for your four legged friends!

Tip: BYO picnic rug and swimmers + towel for a quick dip!

Address: ‘On the Beach’,
Moore Road, Harbord NSW 2096
Telephone: (02) 9938 3331
Fax: (02) 9939 1355

D’ough Expresso Cafe – Special offer to all ‘Eve Loves’ readers! $2.00 Coffee or tea :)

Hello ‘Lovelies’ :)

Just came back with my hot ‘T2′ English Breakfast and Raisin Toast at D’ough Expresso Cafe at The Galleria Victoria.

The very lovely people at ‘D’ough’ at The Galleria Victoria has a special offer to all the ‘Eve Loves’ Readers – that if you mention the blog ‘www.eveloves.com’ when you order your lovely coffee from Shaun and receive your coffee for $2.00!

So if you are in the area of Town Hall, The Galleria Victoria or just about Sydney – be sure to drop in to say ‘Hi’ and grab your favourite coffee or tea for $2.00! ( You will also get the added smile which comes from the staff there which is so infectious! :) )

Enjoy ~ and spread the word!

Love
Eve xx

D’ough Expresso Cafe

Lower Level – The Galleria Victoria

Sydney

George Street or Pitt Street entry.

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