Tag Archives: Sydney

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

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!)

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.

Café Giulia Review – A delightful discovery for a Happy Saturday breakfast / brunch delight.

Cafe Giulia
On a gorgeous Saturday morning like today ( and after a beautiful ‘sleep in’ ) it was time for Hubby and I to trek off for our ‘Breakfast Food Safari’

Today’s destination is ‘Café Giulia’ at Chippendale. I have read so many positive reviews about this ‘renovated butcher shop turned cafe’ on the corner of Abercrombie Street and have wanted to visit ever since, but because it doesn’t open on Mondays, Saturdays is the only day to go!

I was warned to head over early as this place serves some of Sydney’s top breakfast fare as recommended by The Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out Magazine and rates very high on www.eatablilty.com, that it gets packed out quite early.

Selection of sweets and cakes to tempt you while you order from their extensive blackboard menu. Just make sure you are lining up against this... its the rule! :)

We arrive at a little after 12pm and as we stepped into what appeared to be a small cafe – was really quite spacious and packed inside. We were surprised at the amount of people here already and the lively buzz and energy was really exciting with happy weekend people and staff carrying around the food up along the narrow cafe. The huge blackboard menu that immediately grabbed my attention on entry, was scribbled ‘choc-a-block’ with choices and my eyes could not make out what was written as I was scurried along by the waitresses carrying around dishes which looked AMAZING and kindly, yet abruptly asking us to ‘step aside’ as to keep the traffic of people moving. Although it was slightly chaotic inside with people looking for seats, ordering along the counter forming an orderly queue to staff walking around with plates serving – it seemed somewhat controlled with the professional and friendly staff helping us locate a table.

The kitchen bench where everything coming out looks so delicious! Impressive logistics too!

The kitchen bench where everything coming out looks so delicious! Impressive logistics too!

Love the artwork on the wall available for purchase at Cafe Giulia.

Love the artwork on the wall available for purchase at Cafe Giulia.

Thankfully, apart from the huge blackboard that first catches my attention, I also managed to spot a familiar face inside the cafe near the window. It was my friend ‘Chezza’ whom I haven’t seen since a wedding we have both attended of a mutual friend. We have been meaning to catch up for the longest time and it was here on our ‘random Food Safari Breakfast’ that I should see her and her friend at a table! I say, ‘Thankfully’ – because as the cafe was packed to the brim with people and with no free table in sight – we were able to share the table with Chezza and her friend David. It was truly a ‘divine appointment’! :) God’s timing is hilarious and most awesome – especially today!

After getting over how ‘random’ our meeting was ( as if we had planned to do breakfast together the entire time!) Chezza and I get up to inspect the gigantic blackboard menu while David and Hubby chats away and minds the table. ( Later we were to laugh at how people in Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore – people would use packets of tissues to ‘reserve’ seats at tables. Packets of ‘Tempo’ tissues would mean a sign of authority while in Australia, items of clothing on seats would be the same thing….although if you did that in Asia, you would most likely be missing your jacket or have people take your table in a blink of an eye!)

So, as I was saying, Chezza and I queue up along the counter as instructed by the staff – as if we were to stand anywhere to look at the menu, we would be mowed over by the efficient staff with their hot plates of food and coffee, as well as be blocking the herd of people flowing in from the entrance and spotting for a seat before they can order. That is the system – stick to it! :)

Love this crammed up blackboard filled with delicious decisions...... oh and the cute random octopus drawing in the middle :)

Love this crammed up blackboard filled with delicious decisions...... oh and the cute random octopus drawing in the middle :)

Our eyes scanning the endless scribbles on the menu – I was determined to order something that would satisfy this long awaited visit. Brain ticking, tummy rumbling, noise of people around us buzzing, coffee machine churning, bacon sizzling and the breakfast smoke aroma rising and happily soaking into our clothes and hair as I tried my best to concentrate to decide….

‘What would you like honey?’ asked the staff at the counter. I was seriously impressed with her calm composure as she waited for my order while a mile long queue was behind me. *Ok – so it wasn’t a mile long, but you get the idea…* ‘Take your time….’ she assures me as stumble my words of ‘Haloumi …

Spinach and feta omelette with toasted sourdough. This one was HUGE! Good for sharing!

Spinach and feta omelette with toasted sourdough. This one was HUGE! Good for sharing!

‘ I want something with haloumi… ‘ ‘Can I have the Kefte with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, haloumi and mint…and the French toast with extra side of bacon please’ I ordered. ‘And two mochas – one skim and one regular.’
Phew! I ordered under pressure ( not because I was hurried…but because there was SO much to choose from and so much I wanted to try!) and I walk back to my table looking forward to our food.

Delicious Kefte with Scrambled eggs and tomatos and chunks of haloumi on sourdough toast. This was delicious and definetly for huge appetites or for sharing!

Delicious Kefte with Scrambled eggs and tomatos and chunks of haloumi on sourdough toast. This was delicious and definetly for huge appetites or for sharing!

This dish was so delicious! The ‘Kefte’ was minced lamb with herbs and made the perfect compliments to the fluffy scrambled eggs packed with grilled tomatoes and my all time favourite cheese – halomui and I happily bite into chunks of it burrowed within my tasty eggs. I could go on forever! The sour dough toast soaks up all the flavours from the egg and the kefte just have a party in my mouth! This is a ‘Happy Meal’ for breakfast on a plate!

As we all giggle about how delicious all our breakfast choices is – the French Toast with bananas, cream and a side of bacon ( an extra $4 was worth it!) – comes with maple syrup for your pouring pleasure in a recycled ‘San Pellergino’ glass bottle. (Loves it!) This dish wowed the Hubby as he LOVES french toasts – and the sight of this dish just brings a smile to his face from ear to ear. He digs in and lovingly cuts some off for me and places it on my plate – and can I say that this combination of banana, soft pillowly french toast drenched in maple syrup with bacon and a smear of cream is worth the queue for a table on a packed weekend here alone! :)

Maple French toast with grilled banana and side of bacon and cream on side. This was SOOO delicious!

Maple French toast with grilled banana and side of bacon and cream on side. This was SOOO delicious!

Mmmmm.... maple syrup and bacon on french toast.... pillowy bread and soft grilled bananas drenched in maple syrup with the saltiness of bacon and dash of cream. So naughty yet nnnnice!

Mmmmm.... maple syrup and bacon on french toast.... pillowy bread and soft grilled bananas drenched in maple syrup with the saltiness of bacon and dash of cream. So naughty yet nnnnice!

I really can't get enough of this french toast... Mmmmm to the max! :)
Strong and hot coffee brought out the same time as the meal ~ perfect! :)

Strong and hot coffee brought out the same time as the meal ~ perfect! :)

While waiting for our food to arrive – our creative brains went into overdrive ( possibly from the excitement as we wait for our yummy breakfast and that we had just happily bump into old friends for a random breakfast catch up!) Our funny conversation with Chezza and David started when we talked about bacon with french toast and how much we all love our bacon. ‘Bacon completes the meal!’ David exclaimed. And so went our silly conversations to saying how there should be such ice cream flavours with bacon chips in it, such as,  ‘Apple crumble with bacon chips…or Wasabi ice cream with dried beef jerky…’ Mmmm…bacon chips with ice cream… hehehe!

After our silliness, we suss out what we each ordered… Chezza ordered the Spinach and fetta omelette with a Pineapple Apple Ginger & Mint juice. (Mmm… fresh juices.) I was contemplating why I didn’t order a fresh juice….David: Field mushrooms with scrambled eggs and tomatoes plus a Watermelon juice with mint. Mmmmm!

Scrambled eggs with tomato and spanish onions with a side of field mushrooms.

Scrambled eggs with tomato and spanish onions with a side of field mushrooms.

Freshly squeezed juice - watermelon and mint.

Freshly squeezed juice - watermelon and mint. An old butcher shop now turned into a cosy 'diner' cafe ~ best kept secret ( or not) in Sydney.

An old butcher shop now turned into a cosy 'diner' cafe ~ best kept secret ( or not) in Sydney.

An old butcher shop now turned into a cosy 'diner' cafe ~ best kept secret ( or not) in Sydney.

After today’s visit – we were so impressed that Hubby and I are bound to be back to sample more of it’s delicious goodies! It reminded us alot of this diner we visited while in New York last year – loved the simplicity, ‘no fuss’ attitude of this place and the food served within the chaos and still manage to have happy smiling people enjoying their food – hopefully means this establishment will stay for many more years to come!

Love

Eve x

Cafe Giulia Take Away Menu can be viewed here: http://www.cafegiulia.com/storage/caf__giulia_take_away_menu.pdf

Cafe Giulia

92 Abercrombie St
Chippendale

Ph: 9698 4424
Fax: 02 9698 1415

Hours
Tue to Fri

6.30am to 4pm
Sat & Sun
8am to 3pm

Closed Mondays and long weekends.

Be sure to check their website for special ‘dinner evenings’

Gumshara Ramen – Voted Top 5 Noodles 2009 in Sydney by Time Out Magazine.

Gumshara Ramen at Eating World Food Court, Harbour Plaza, Chinatown.

Gumshara Ramen at Eating World Food Court, Harbour Plaza, Chinatown.

As a result of an incorrectly scheduled event in my diary, my Thursday evening was free and my Hubby and I had a spontaneous date night in ‘downtown Chinatown’ for dinner.  What a treat!

After ‘studying’  my latest copy of  ‘Time Out Sydney’ Magazine all day and reading up on the features of  the ‘Food Awards 2009′ – I was armed  and informed with enough food recommendations to try out for tonight, and being around Chinatown – I suggested we try out ‘Gumshara Ramen’ for a ‘thrifty’ and easy meal as we were both pretty tired from our day.

I gave my Hubby the challenge of parking – considering it was on a Thursday evening, that if we fail to find a parking spot in Chinatown, we will have to go home and eat the left overs that he made the other night… ( He did this Moroccan Lentil Soup from a ‘Food Safari’ receipe on the SBS website! heheh and we still had PLENTY left over. The Hubby didn’t know how much lentils can ‘expand’ whilst cooking! heheh)

So as we both shuddered at the idea of eating more lentils… we hoped and prayed for a parking spot.

And THANK GOD that after only circling once around Liverpool St, we found a spot nearby on Dixon St. (Yay! No Lentils!)

Eating World at Harbour Plaza, Dixon Court... opposite from the Sydney Entertainment Center.

Eating World at Harbour Plaza, Dixon Court... opposite from the Sydney Entertainment Center.

We walk towards ‘Eating World’ Food court ( a place which I have not been to since high school…days long ago when catching a bus from the North to the City was the thing to do!) On our way, we walk pass ‘Mamak’ and the queue outside was starting to grow all the way around the newly renovated restaurant front and near to the dumpling place on the corner. (Note to self: Must come back and try Mamak again soon.)

Walking into Eating World, we immediately spot the raved-on-about place of ‘Gumshara Ramen’. It is the first thing you see as you walk through the electronic slide doors. A modest little counter with a huge cardboard sign of pictures showing the various ramen in ’100% Real Australian Pork’ stock.

( I am also informed that ‘Gumshara’ means ‘ The Chronic or ‘The Strong one’ in Japanese and the soup takes about seven days to make with 120kg of pork bones, water and miso…….Nice!)

'Essential to maintain smooth skin' I'm sold! Gimme a bowl please! :)

'Essential to maintain smooth skin' I'm sold! Gimme a bowl please! :)

Most, if not all reviews I have read about this place has been saying how ‘thick and gluttonous’ the stock is. I read a sign at the counter that saids: ‘If you prefer less salty or thick soup, please inform staff’ ‘ Okay! ….but we didn’t :)

Chef Dan Hong in action

Chef Dan Hong in action

So my mouth and lips were prepared to be ‘collagen’ and inside of my mouth ready to be ‘glued’ together…..sounds great already. Hmm.

Seasoned Egg with slighty gooey yolk - $1.50, Rice $1.50, Chilli Pickled Cabbage $1.50....however we thought this was classified as our 'Order Fail of the evening' :) Priceless.

After ordering – Hubby ordered the No.#1 and I the No.#2 – he had more pork slices in his plus a ‘seasoned egg’ for $1.50 which we would share, thinking the golden yolk looked so rich in the picture. He also orders some ‘pickled cabbage’ for $1.50 – as he is a sensible eater and likes his veggies. ( Although I think this barely counts, but was the only thing available that looked green or resembled to vegetables…) We later discover this cabbage was a an ‘order fail’  The taste wasn’t what we were expecting and was some what disappointing. Not to worry – for a $1.50 we can except the strangely pickled cabbage with chilli flakes. :) Gumshara kitchen

An array of condiments: pickled ginger, salt(?), chilli powder, seasoning sprinkles, soya etc

An array of condiments: pickled ginger, salt(?), chilli powder, seasoning sprinkles, soya etc

While waiting – I take a sneak peek behind the red curtain and see the ‘Ramen Chef – Dan Hong’  was stirring away over his huge pot of stock with a large ‘stick’. He would stir and then with a small hand held ‘shovel’ – gather more pork bones from a nearby cardboard box into his stock and stir. I gather this was a separate pot of stock, as apparently each stock takes about seven days to make to ensure it’s heartiness and flavour. I am pleased to know that no MSG is added to this stock – so I will not be needing to down liters of water tonight before bed, as I would have to at another Ramen establishment over in the north …

I watch with much interest as Chef Dan Hong cooks his noodles in the individual noodle ‘hand held strainers’ – and  gathers a handful of ramen into the strainer, then quickly hand flick the water straight onto the floor… (mind you, he is  wearing wellies and the floor is quiet wet from the water….) My husband and I both watch in amusement – although the kitchen is small and appears clean and tidy, the floor is wet – and we now see why, as with each bowl of noodle made, the water is strained onto the floor……interesting.

We also observe the busy waitress helping both to take orders, collect money and then go and help the chef ‘measure’ the right amount of thick hot broth into the black lacquer bowls with a chopstick. She stands a chopstick vertically inside the bowl to make sure the same amount of soup is poured in… ( I think to myself ‘ the writer in Time Out was not kidding when they said they can ‘stand a chopstick in the thick soup..!)

Waiting no longer than 7 minutes or so, our bowls of ramen is ready and we eagerly take our order, smile politely to the Chef as he caught my eye looking at him and give him a Japanese ‘nod’ of appreciation. I like that. I respect a chef who can cook honestly with his heart ( especially when he announces that 100% pork is used and no MSG on his sign) and that he would also take the time to smile at his customers from inside the kitchen.

Eating World Food Court on a Thursday evening.

Eating World Food Court on a Thursday evening.

My Hubby and I find a seat in the crowded food court – funny how much this place has changed and gone into renovations since the ‘dark 90′s’ when the place was slightly dodgy and had food counters that was not as pleasing as the ones on offer today. ( Note to self: Must come back and try all the other stalls as well, especially the Asian/Cantonese food stand next to Gumshara where it was lined with people who looked mostly like uni students… great prices and long queues is a sign of only good food right? Also the other Japanese place looked pretty good too for Katsu Don with rice and miso for $7.50, Indonesian food and Thai food… oh so much to sample!)

Now …. back to the ramen.

From the looks – I could already sense how THICK this soup was going to taste. I could barely see through to the noodles as the ramen looked all tangled in this deep ‘blanket’ of saucy, brown, soup/sauce! I made sure that I was prepared with some complimentary salted pickled ginger in the condiments area – as I think I will need it to break up the ‘gluggyness’ of this broth!

Hubby's bowl of ramen....

Hubby's bowl of ramen....

....With the seasoned egg.

....With the seasoned egg.

So we dig in…. and the first slurp with the steam rushing up to our faces was just delightful! Just as expected for a cold night from a big bowl of comforting noodles, broth that soothes the tummy and makes our lips stick together from the collagen. ( I am thinking how my Mum needs to have a few bowls of this to strengthen her joints instead of taking her boring Glutamate tablets!) Also for a while as we happily pull up strands of the ramen goodness – I was reminded of our ramen hunting days while in Japan, especially in Kyoto after our 2 hour bullet train ride. It was very rich and flavoursome and not as ‘manufacturered’ as some other ‘franchised’ stores.

My bowl of Pork Ramen.

My bowl of Pork Ramen.

Gumshara ramen close up 3Gumshara Ramen close up

The sign reads: ‘ Our food is made by traditional Japanese way to cook which uses fresh pork bone and water, NO MSG is used.  The richness of the soup comes from the marrow of the bone and soft bone. It contains alot of collagen which is essential to maintain a good skin’ ‘Mmmm ~ good skin I thought…. I am totally up for that!’ :)

The ramen is quite ‘al dente’ and slippery as we slurp up more ramen + soup. The soup is also scattered with freshly chopped green spring onions which is nice to break up the richness of the soup. I would recommend to eat this quick and fast – as I was starting to see the soup ‘setting’ and a ‘skin’ of it was developing on the surface already from the air. *Slurp!Slurp!*  The few slices of the ‘cha siu’ ( pork) floats on top and the taste is pretty pleasant, not too salty or tasteless but just right. It was quite ‘fatty’ in the pieces and the first piece was welcomed however the pieces to follow with the heavy soup, soon became a little too much for my palatte and I needed more ‘pickled ginger’ and ‘pickled cabbage’ to break up the fattiness. Overall, the pork slices are well balanced in their flavour and is one of the better ones I have tried. The nori that comes stuck on the inside of the bowl was soggy – and not crispy or large as the one at Ryo’s ramen – yet I did not mind it too much, as it was all about the soup here anyways and the soup definitely delivered as one of the thickest, richest and unique of its kind here in Sydney. I can see how they would have secured their place as No#1 for Noodles as voted for in ‘Time Out’ Magazine (Issue No# 60 August – $3.95 at newsagency)

Order fail: Chilli Pickled Cabbage. $1.50 You be the judge and give it a go :)

Order fail: Chilli Pickled Cabbage. $1.50 You be the judge and give it a go :)

About the end of our bowls ( well, mine half way finished) where our lips were ‘sticky’ from the gluttony soup and our mouths heavily lined with collagen and our lips had to be wiped not once or twice but with much force to clean the remains off …. we were waving our ‘invisible white flag’ as to give up and leave our bloated bellies be. We were FULL and honestly, could not bare another spoon of the thick soup that have us both grasping our tummies and craving for a cold fizzy drink to wash it all down!

Overall, the ramen was satisfying – yet this may not be something I can find myself eating more than once a month as the actual meal itself is too rich for my liking and I would have been better off sharing a bowl between the two. I see this as a treat to have once in a while – kind of  like the comfort of ‘butter’ – it is tasty and rich and delicious in small portions, as well as the ‘naughty’ larger portions…. this Gumshara broth will be best appreciated in small doses.

Feeling very ‘pregnant’ with food and with soup – we were still determined to go check out the asian desert house that I also read up about on a few food blogs sites ( sorry ~ memory slips from me at this time of night…note to self: blog earlier) and on SMH about ‘LNC’ Desert House on Dixon St.

This was the place we ‘piked’ out on last week after our dinner at ‘Chat Thai’ and Japanese photo booths…. we were all too full last time from Thai and Passionflower, that we said we would reserve LNC for another Food Safari Day/Night… and so tonight…. was the night!

I was so happy that The Hubby agreed even though we were about to explode with ramen. ( Sorry for the gross imagery! Would share with you how we REALLY felt with the soup caught in our throats… but I better not! Oh I think I just did… opps!  heheh)

LNC Desert house is at Dixon Street in Chinatown – so our short stroll over was very welcomed as anything to walk off our bulge was a good thing.

To read about our post dinner desert at LNC Desert House ~ please visit again soon, I promise the pictures will be up and looking beautiful …. and I will also throw in a special ‘Japanese boyband MTV’ Hubby and I watched while scooping at our Red Bean Slushie with Coconut gelato and Green Macha Pearl Tea. It was pretty entertaining! So come back and visit soon!

Thanks for dropping by and reading!

Love

Eve x

Ps) We strolled past ‘Sushi Rio’ on the way to LNC – which is another place my friend has told me about and loves! It is actually one of their favourite sushi places and we can see why, with the long queues also parked outside waiting for seats. ( Note to self: Must bring the family here for a night out. Curtis would love it!)

Thainatown Review – “Going downtown to Thainatown and Japanese Photo Booths at Capitol Square’.

Thainatown 1

It is Friday night and Renee, Aiselade , Keith, Dee and I are meeting up for dinner to farewell our buddy Keith back to L.A. ( Boo.)

Our taste buds were hungering for some good and tasty Thai food – and we head over to ‘Chat Thai’ in hope to find a table for five on a Friday evening. Of course, we rock up to find that about half of Chinatown was also queuing up for a table there and we were told that our wait would be at least an hour. ( I guess ‘Chat Thai’ will be saved for another time…)

Not to worry, we head across the road to the Capitol Square Arcade and found another Thai restaurant,’ @ Bangkok Restaurant’  – although buzzing , it didn’t look as packed as their rivalry neighbours ‘ Chat Thai’ – we ask for a table of five and was also told we have a 20 minute wait. So taking yet another ticket, I leave my contact number and name and wait for them to call us once a table was ready. In the meantime, we all decided to check out the popular ‘Asian hangout’ of the Japanese Photo booths upstairs. ( It is one of Renee’s favourite past times, and it was also her idea that we all get in a booth and get happy snappy – and it was settled – that she, being the only Cauciasian out of all of us, she was the most Asian! heheh)

The upper level of Capitol Square is pretty amusing. I remember when it was first opened back in my mid-high school years and Japanese sticker photo booths trend were all the rave  – I have a little booklet still with all my ‘sticker photo’ collections in them! Looking back then to now, this whole top level has been transformed into a mini ‘Japan’ with machines the size of solarium’s and a small Asian unit – it is just as bright ( to ensure your skin looks picture perfect within the crazy photo shoots…) and just as tiny, but hilarious when you try and squeeze your whole entourage in while trying to strut 3 poses in 3 seconds – also to top it off, each machine comes blaring its very own ‘theme’ song. The machine we chose had the ‘Under The Sea’ theme with the Disney song sung in Japanese and English. Amusing. ( And darn – this song is still in my head!)

We chose a machine, we feed it $18 worth of one dollar coins, we cram in, we place our hand bags and coats in the allocated ‘ luggage space’ ( yes – they even consider this for every machine, how very thoughtful!) We then choose our ‘background’ settings and get ready for some manic moments of posing. The fun starts as you see the screen count down and instructs you to pose – it was chaos for the next 3 minutes as we pose and strut while laughing our heads off as we tried our best ‘asian ‘V’ poses + Zoolander’ This was all crazily manuovered within the small contained space with a green background ( this is so,cute and kitch backgrounds such as ‘ice creams’ and polka dot back drops can be added in our photo…as we pretend to ‘lick a giangantic ice cream’ and posing like Japanese school girls. In only a few moments of flurry, our photo shoot was over and we are all exhausted but had lots of fun! Good idea Renee! x

Japanese Photo Booth 31_7_09

Being a model, sure ain’t easy – as our  ‘photo shoot’ was exhausting yet  hilarious. Not satisfied with just the posing, we also get to spend at least 10 minutes decorating our photo in a separate booth on the side. We managed to give each other ‘bows’ in our hair and Keith even managed to get a ‘moustache’ while Aise looked like she was posing for an ‘R&B’ album with the added ‘bling’ to her smile. Gotta love these Japanese inventions – these machines are incredible, just imagine the ones invented for the future will actually get you looking like those ‘wided eyed and somewhat ‘manga-ish’ Japanese girls on the posters outside the booths’….scary.

About the time the photos were finished and printed – we were all hungry and ready for dinner yet still no sign of neither of the restaurants calling back.

So our final plan was to hit ‘Thainatown Restaurant’ a firm favourite often recommended by my Thai friends. Thinking the queues should somewhat be shorted as this is away from the ‘restaurant hub area’ – we find that we still had to wait for a table, but wasn’t as long as the other two. By now I have three different tab tickets …. I could start a raffle! :)

Thankfully the wait was not long – about 10 minutes and we were given a table just enough to squeeze all five of us on.

The set up is casual – a good old ‘fast and furious’ Asian restaurant – cafe style, without fussy decor but rather the focus seem to be on delivering your food fast, fresh and tasty to the table ( even if the table was struggling for space a little). Below the red neon ‘Thainatown’ sign displayed outside the front – the owners will proudly tell you that it was featured in ‘The Good Eating Guide 2002′ andThe Sydney Morning Herald Restaurant Review 2006′

I have been here a couple of times and each time the food has been spot on with valuable and authentic Thai food and given the high raving reviews and recommendations – I was confident that we were in for a good, fast and ‘happy wallet’ type of meal. My stomach rumbles.

We ordered the Tom Yum Soup with chicken. Aise was hanging for something soupy and this hit the spot with the right amount of ‘zing!’ chilli and sourness along with the chicken and mushroom, that makes this super comforting to start the palatte off for a meal. The button mushrooms floating on top also grabbed Renee’s attention as she scoops in for a bite and loved the taste. Tom Yum yum! :)

Tom Yum - Yum Yum! :)

Tom Yum - Yum Yum! :)

Daily specials on chalk board menu.

Daily specials on chalk board menu.

Papya Salad - Refreshing and spicy - leaves you wanting more!

Papya Salad - Refreshing and spicy - leaves you wanting more!

Next comes the Papaya Salad. Strings of papya is mixed in with a salty and tangy dressing laced with crunchy peanuts, dried shrimp, garlic and plenty of red chillis. We had asked for this salad to be ‘not too hot’ – as I was sharing the story of how my Hubby had lost his hearing temporarily while eating an ‘untamed’ Papya Salad on our honeymoon at Phuket as it was laced with not 3 chillis but 10! Apparently this is the normal number of chillis for a standard salad…… We have since learned to ask for ‘mild’ :)

This salad was delicious and fiery and definitely has a kick – so be prepared to eat a few mouthful of rice to balance the heat, but this is super addictive and leaves you wanting more as your taste buds goes from hot to sour and crunchy from the peanuts and papaya. I love it and enjoy it mixed with some white rice.

An old favourite - Chicken Pad Thai. Love this version of the skinnier noodles.

An old favourite - Chicken Pad Thai. Love this version of the skinnier noodles.

The Chicken Pad Thai was the table’s favourite. I love the version at Thainatown, as they use the ‘skinner’ version of the noodles and the sauce that it is stir fried in, is not over bearing but just right with the balance of salty and slight sweetness and crunchy from the bean sprouts and toasted peanuts. Renee happily orders a plate just for herself as she prefers not to share this tasty dish with anyone else – shows how good this is! She is a happy girl while eating this and adds in more dried chilli flakes for added kick.

Crispy pork belly with vegies. Tasty tasty pork bits.

Crispy pork belly with vegies. Tasty tasty pork bits.

Dee’s favourite dish is this – No# 55 (?) The Crispy pork belly with stir fried veggies. A simple yet tasty dish. Who can resist a plate of bite size crunchy pork belly with asian greens? This was delicious with the white rice and a good dish to balance the heat from the other dishes, giving the taste buds a rest from the chilli!

Crying Tiger - marinated beef, grilled and sprinkled with dried chilli flakes. Tender and smokey in flavour.

Crying Tiger - marinated beef, grilled and sprinkled with dried chilli flakes. Tender and smokey in flavour.

Last but not the least, is ‘The Crying Tiger’ Beef. Got to love the name by itself – but tastes even better, with tender pieces of steak marinated in a brown sauce, char grilled to a smokey sensation and sprinkled with dried chilli flakes.

The accompanied sauce was perfect with again a mixture of sweetness, saltiness and chilli to give the beef extra flavour and moisten the char grilled appearance of the beef. Aise seem to like this one alot and we happily fill our tummies and sit back full and satisfied as we enjoyed our hot Jasmine tea which everyone was pleased with.

In all, we had enjoyed our dinner at Thainatown thouroughly and as tempting as it was to order their yummy deserts, we had decided we will continue on our ‘Food Safari Dinner’ elsewhere with desert aimed at ‘Passion Flower’ ( as Aise, Keith and Renee had not been there before)

Passionflower Desert Safari…. to be continued.

Love

Eve x

Ps. We will miss you Keith! Safe trip back to L.A and see you real soon! xxx

Thainatown Restaurant

Shop 48, 91 Goulburn St
Haymarket NSW 2000

Phone (02) 9211 0090

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