Beachfront @The Pantry

The Pantry, catering to both locals and visitors to Manly Beach has a prime location. So close, the water is less than 50 metres from the restaurant. In fact, you will not find a closer dining spot unless you bring a picnic blanket and a packed lunch. The Pantry has a rustic interior which is set up for you to comfortably enjoy a meal whilst taking in the scenic Manly beach. Not at all pretentious, the staff are friendly and attentive, adding to the relaxed Australian manner of this beachside dining experience.

We were here on a nice Autumn night with the soothing sound of the waves lapping against the shoreline. Why not order a drik from their menu, which has a great range of beer, spirits and cocktails. There are many classic cocktails on the menu with the Pantry adding their own beach side touch to the name of the cocktails. The cocktail of choice this evening was their version of an old fashioned, called ‘the Old South Steyne’ (South Steyne being the area in Manly which the restaurant is located). The perfect drink to start on this occasion. It was a nice traditional old fashioned made using Makers Mark.

The dinner menu has many options including tapas/small plates and mains, perfect for a relaxed catch up by the beach or a special occasion. With a fair amount of deliberation, but help and recommendation by the staff,  the tapas/small plate menu took our fancy.


With many tasty options available, what topped off our list at this beachside location was the seared yellow fin tuna served with a warm salad, a great dish using quality fresh tuna. The tasty garlic and chilli prawns served with a warm French baguette to soak up the garlic chilli oil also a good option.

Ordering from the tapas menu, we went with some classics including the grilled spanish chorizo, the charcutterie board  (a meat lovers dream) and another seaside favourite was the grilled octopus. The beer battered zucchini flowers were ordered as we felt we were lacking in vegetables and lets face it, these crisp fried morsels are delicious.

To finish the dining experience, we browsed the drink menu as well as the dessert menu and no better way to finish the meal than ordering a digestive or nice single malt from their great selection of whiskies and pairing it with one of their amazing desserts, as convinced by the host The Laphraoig 15 perfectly matching with the rich chocolate mousse. My dining companion for the evening ordering the cheesecake, which I was informed was another great choice. 

We thank Wasamedia for introducing us to The Pantry and thank the staff of this venue for their hospitality and great service.

The Pantry Manly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smash it up zorba style @Platia Greek restaurant

Platia Greek Taverna is amongst an array of restaurants in the dining precinct of Top Ryde Shopping Centre. I do love Greek food and was keen to check out what Platia had to offer. I have now been on two occasions, which shows how much I enjoyed it!

You can sit indoors or alfresco. I quite like being ‘alfresco’ but still indoors, as you are in a shopping centre. I went mid-week and also on a Friday night and the Friday had a big line of people, and the place was full – probably due to the zorba music and plate smashing (I will get to this later!). 

Out with a group of friends, we were there to try out the new menu which had some additions to the entrée bites. We began with the flat bread and dips which suit a shared table – don’t fill up too much though, so you can leave space for the other things on offer! We tried the beautifully cooked chargrilled octopus, haloumi drizzled in oil.

For the mains, I had the lamb for the second time – probably their best dish. It is melt in your mouth meat, that just falls off the bone, served with a lemony sauce and vegetables. The moussaka was another crowd pleaser – a beautiful bechemel and tomato sauce with this eggplant. We also shared the Chicken Santorini – baked chicken filled with spinach, peppers and in a creamy sauce. You can’t go to Greek and not have a Yeeros/Souvlaki, so that we did. It was the pita, with a chicken and lamb skewer and chips which I really enjoyed. 

All night, we were entertained by the duo playing zorba music which made for a perfect atmosphere. After the mains, it was plate smashing time! We received a plaster plate and stood in a circle throwing our plates on the ground in true Greek style, as well as dancing zorba around the venue with any new friends we’d made on the night. So much fun! I would highly recommend this. 

Just when we thought we were done, out came the dessert platter – you name a Greek Dessert, it was on there: galaktaboureko, baklava, poached pears, as well as ice cream and fairy floss. The owner came out with shots for everyone too!

Thank you to Kat and her family from Platia Greek Taverna for the invitation and my wonderful dinner guests; WeekendFoodEscapes, Andy Quan and the one and only Random Din Dins for an enjoyable evening.
Platia Greek Taverna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spice up your life @ Xi’an Grill

Xian grill, can be found in a huge space upstairs on Dixon street, Chinatown. Full with diners, it seems to be a popular place. Greeted by the owner, we joined a table of liked minded foodies and we were treated to a night of some top Chinese food from the Xi’an region of China well known for cusine with plenty of spice.

Decor has a street vibe to it, a casual feel and prefect for couples, families and groups of friends. 

They brought out a huge array of food including the lamb skewers (spicy or not), cabbage salad, Shan dong chicken, marinated pigs ears, a stewed beef tripe hot pot and the famous barramundi with spicy noodles, and the chilli Level of your choosing. The fish was perfectly cooked and nicely flavoured. This was the most popular choice of the group and the other diners were all ordering this too.

The beautiful Cooked yabbies were also outstanding and we devoured these after some serious shelling work. 

A great night had by all and very flavoursome food. Thanks to Xian grill for having us and to Dion Woo from Wooevents for inviting us.

Xi'an Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Simple and interesting @Saltie cafe

On the run looking for a bite to eat? Saltie in Surry Hills is the place. Just up from central station on Devonshire St, is this great little takeaway. Saltie a simple, clean modern style with the coffee machine at the window, some bench seats and a selection of salads in view at the back of the shop.

Yass and staff are a friendly crew producing good coffee with some innovative options including the whippet and the coconut coffee. The coconut coffee is a coconut that has been cracked with an espresso poored in for a supercharge. Takes a few sips to get use to, not bad. Get your caffine kick and hydrate at the same time.

The food is good, keeping it simple with salads, poke, burgers and bacon and egg rolls.The salads all looked the goods, if you are on a health kick. The super bowl was super healthy and tasty. A bowl of super foods including kale and quinoa with a nice sweet soy and sesame sauce topped with an egg sunny side up. Great if you are into yolk porn.

There also is a range of burgers including a burgers for vegetarians. Although a little different, the chip burger bringing back childhood memories of the chip sandwich. A brioche bun filled with fries cheese, lettuce and a big mac sauce.

A great innovative cafe doing good stuff, well worth a visit if you are after something new and fresh. Thanks to Yass and the crew for the hospitality and thanks to CPM marketing for introducing us to Saltie.

Saltie. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

@Vivaldi moves into Matraville

Vivaldi is a welcome and much needed addition to the dining scene in this area, surrounded by residential areas of Malabar and Little Bay, aswell as near the industrial areas around Port Botany. It is great to see this quality Italian restaurant pop up in the area. We visited for a group dining experience. Such is the service, we were welcomed like one of the family, as was eveyone dining there. The restaurant space is slightly industrial and quite large with high ceilings, but the center piece being the magnificent wood fired pizza oven. 

The chefs at Vivaldi are of Italian heritage with many years experience. There are plenty of classics on the menu, with all food made to order guaranteeing freshness. Fresh handmade pasta and woodfired pizza. For added excitement, there are weekly specials from diffent regions of Italy. They also have great Italian boutique beer and other beers on tap.

To start, we got a great garlic pizza straight out of the woodfired oven. Accompanying this with the antipasto, which is a must, containing an assortment of quality cured meat, including pickled anchovies(actually quite nice), house made marinated veg and cheese.

The woodfired pizzas then arrived at the table. A couple of masterpieces. The de avola is the hot pick, with hot sardinian salami with black ligurian olives, spanish onion and chilli. The Toscana is another classic topped with prosciutto, rocket and parmigiano reggiano.

Then the spaghetti di mare, with fresh seafood and house made pasta in tomato sauce. The housemade gnocchi, fresh cloud like pockets it a tasty tomato sauce.

The finale: a revelation, cannoli with a crisp pastry filled with creamy ricotta, mixed with candied orange. Originally made for a family birthday and luckily for us it is now on the menu.

A local gem with great food, the staff displaying the welcoming nature and hospitality the Italians are known for. Thanks to the guys at Ompty for the invite and the great company. As always great to dine with the talented Jason King from spooning Australia.

Vivaldi Italian Kitchen & Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunching New York style @Dead Ringer

Dead Ringer Surry Hills has long been known as hot spot for drinks and dinner. It has now opened its doors to a New York style brunch of small snacks and larger meals, complimented by cocktails of bottomless Mimosa’s. 

Sit up on bar stools inside or alfresco in the balcony, soaking up the sun and you’ll have a pleasant brunch feast.

The starters include chilled mussels in their shell, duck rillettes or the dish that we consumed was the incredible king prawn dish in a bisque emulsion with kaffir lime and crunchy topping that was prepared to perfection with a wonderful combination of flavours. 

The main dishes have a good variety of vegetarian, seafood and meat options and the huge tomato and ricotta tart looked so bright and fresh. We were taken by the sound of the ocean trout tartare, diced and sitting atop a celeriac remulade and a slice of toasted brioche – this worked well together. We also tried a lovely plate of large pine mushrooms and faro with cress and pickes. Our favourite of the main dishes was the crispy roasted lamb ribs, accompanied with buttered spinach and fried capers. 

These dishes have certainly been incredibly well designed and presented and makes for a sophisticated brunch experience. I really could have selected anything on the menu. There are plenty of gluten free and vegan options to suit any dietary requirement. 

They do have a cold drip, served with a glass of ice, from the cabarito coffee traders or you can get a coffee delivery from the nearby neighbours. However, this place is about the cocktails! Bottomless mimosas, made with cold pressed juice, prosecco and liquor for $20 is amazing! I also tried a eureka spritz, with lemon, apricot and sparkling wine – an interesting and different combo which I haven’t tried before! We were also tempted by the beautiful ‘el gringo’ – tequila, citrus, cucumber and jalepenos – extremely spicy and flavor hits the mark. 

You can also get wines or breakfast beer if that’s more up your alley. 
Staff were extremely welcoming and knowledgeable and we would recommend this for your weekend brunch fix.
We have also tried this place for dinner and also worthy of a visit.

Dead Ringer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thai with a twist @ohbar

Situated on Oxford St across from Hyde park is Ohbar Thai restaurant. The restaurant serving traditional Thai cuisine with a slight Japanese twist. With Chef Oh having prior experience at Thai Pothong and Chef Kit at Sokyo. The restaurant is decorated to give a slight street feel. With repurposed furniture and stools. The staff were extremely welcoming and provide incredibly friendly service that the Thai’s are known for.

Ohbar has a range of drinks available including some innovative cocktails that will help ease the heat from the chilli. The refreshing watermelon Mojito was great, as was the popcorn pina colada.

With a lot of passion and planning going into the menu, this was clearly evident in their dishes. The chefs travelling to all corners of Thailand searching for recipes that are local favourites, then bringing them to us here in Sydney and adding a Japanese twist for some added excitement. The menu offering more than your usual Thai, you will be sure to find something that excites your tastebuds.

Thai cusine is known for its explosion of flavour and Ohbar definitely delivers on this. To start Mien goog is a great option, with this tasty moresil said to have 8 distinct flavours in 1 bite. 

A favourite was the Moo hong (Stewed pork belly) this dish had nice flavour and melt in your mouth texture. The blossom salad is a great option with a flavour bomb, with a mixture of all of the Thai cooking elements.

A dish you probably wont find elsewhee is the Jumbo crab lump in thai basil sauce. We were informed that the crab lump is shoulder of the crab. In this instance all of the hard work already done with the shell already removed. Just enjoy the prized sweet crab meat and the flavours of the sauce.

Oh and don’t forget dessert. I know you wouldn’t usually associate tiramisu and Thai, it has a light fluffy consistency and not too rich. Named the tiramisu plant terrarium, the presentaion is fun with a spring of mint planted in the middle, making the appearance of a pot plant. 

Not your regular Thai, but thai with a slight twist and some great dishes to choose from. Top that off with the welcoming staff and you have the recipe for a great Thai restaurant. Be sure to check Ohbar out.

THE OHBAR Thai Cuisine 1982 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A match made in heaven- Stone and Wood @Mordeo

Matching food and drink is a thing, but you usually associate food and wine. How about matching food and beer? No I’m not talking kebabs and pies, rather a more refined experience. The good people of Mordeo Bistro and Bar with Stone and Wood teamed up to bring such an experience. Mordeo located on the corner of Phillip and Hunter St in the vicinity of Chifley towers. Making Mordeo the perfect location for this event to take place. Mordeo has a stocked bar with beer on tap and is a great spot for after work drinks. There is also space for dining including a separate space for a group or an intimate corporate dining experience.

We are familiar with the quality award winning boutique beer produced by Stone and Wood. We are now thankfully familiar with the amazing southern European Bistro style cuisine that Mordeo has on offer. On this occasion, Mordeo chefs masterfully created a 5 course menu that encompassed flavours associated with beer and its ingredients, presenting details of each dish to all in attendance. This followed by Oscar from Stone and Wood also interacting with the diners, providing an education on the brewing process, ingredients used and tasting notes of each beer.

The meal starting off with seafood dishes. The amuse-bouche was a snapper cevice seved with fresh seaweed, salmon roe and lime. This dish paired beautifully with the green coast lager with a full malt flavour and a subtle hops finish. The next dish the sweet seafood flavour of seared scallops with toasted almonds served atop of a the rich silky galaxy hop smoked cauliflower puree, so good it should be bottled. This almost being the case with this dish being served with one of our favouite ales the pacific ale brewed using Australian Barley, wheat and the same galaxy hops used in the cauli puree. 

For the next part of this dream pairing moving to protein sourced from the land. With a duck ragu tagliatelle slow cooked with the garden ale, juniper, wild mushrooms and bay leaf. A full flavoured dish made with handmade pasta Mordeo is known for. Paired with the malt of garden ale with a flora- citrus aroma which was also used in the dish it was served with.

Then came the Berkshire pork belly sourced from Byron Bay where Stone and Wood is located. The pork was melt in your mouth slow cooked with the cloud catcher ale and served with braised fennel hearts and a rosmary hop jus.

The meal came to a perfect finish with a decadent dark chocolate tart with burnt honey, laveder and dark malt Gelato. This paired with the dark rich malty Jasper ale.

A big thanks to Wasamedia for inviting us to enjoy a perfect evening of food paired with beer. Thanks to Mordeo for hosting the event, the amazing food, great service and hospitality. We hope Stone and Wood continue with these events and we recommend keeping an eye out for such events by signing up to the Stone and Wood newsletter.

Mordeo Bistro & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawker Style @ Kreta Ayer

Kreta Ayer Restaurant is great for Singaporean Cuisine. Even better, they have a number of locations around Sydney. Whether you are after something quick and tasty like roti canai or a laska or if you are after a seafood feast or one of Singapores most famous dishes the Singapore chilli mud crab, Kreta Ayer has you sorted.

We were welcomed and served by the wonderful staff. We were dining in a group and indulged in a variety of Singaporean delights from the menu. We were told that the seafood was sourced fresh and decided to test the waters. We ordered the Singapore Chilli Crab and as per tradition, the live Mud crab was paraded at the table.

To start the ginger and shallot scallops were sweet and yummy. To mix it up we also ordered a Singaporean favourite, the roti canai, the stir fry noodles Char Kway Teow and the hawker style cereal prawns all of these taking us back to our recent visit to Singapore.

What came next was the piece de resistance, the whole steamed coral trout which was literally melt in your mouth. This was followed by the amazing Singapore Chilli mud crab. The crab beautifully cooked and served in the mouth watering sauce with the mantou buns to soak up the sauce.

For dessert we shared the soybean curd a simple dessert, add sugar cane syrup to taste. We also shared an Ice kachang which is always a favourite, a randomly delicious mix of shaved ice, multicoloured syrup, red bean, corn, conensed milk and jelly.
We love this place for our Singaporean Hawker style food fix. Thanks to the staff of Kreta Ayer for an amazing meal and hospitality. Thanks to Ompty for arranging the visit.

Kreta Ayer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato