Bellbird now does brunch @ Casula Powerhouse

Bellbird restauraunt at Casula Powerhouse has got to be the best value dining in Sydney. This initative is the result of the talented chef duo; Federico Rekowski and Shephen Pham, with Liverpool Council providing them with creative freedom to show off their skills.

Bellbird dining also has their own vegetable patch on site which enables them to adhere to their sustaiable and farm to table philosophy. This garden means they can source the freshest of ingredients. The fact it is grown onsite means costs can be kept low, making it accessible.

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Casula Powerhouse and Bellbird Restaurant are in a decomissioned powerstation, converted into a museum and dining space. It is in a nice setting by the Georges River. It’s easy to get to, Casula train station is right on its doorstep. The powerhouse iself has a gallery and rotating exhibitions, and free entry makes for a great day out.

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The dining space is modern and a little rustic with comfy leather chairs and vases of flowers on each table. There’s an enclosed balcony space with heating to keep you warm. There’s an outdoor pizza oven soon to be used, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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The food on offer is Modern Australian and is influenced by cultural diversity. The technique on display is of a high level, as are the beautiful plating skills of the chefs. It is contemporary food with a fine dining feel.

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Bellbird are now serving a brilliant Brekky menu (until 11:30) and have plenty of vegetarian options too. Their breakfast offerings include an array of delicious flavour combinations and you are sure to find something to your liking. The current breakfast menu consists of the below options and it does change seasonally to ensure the freshest ingredients are utilised.

There are some classics done very well including the Bacon and egg brioche with tomato relish and the Baileys and brown sugar French toast with caramelised figs and double cream (vegetarian), sure to be a popular choice. We went for the sourdough, streaky bacon (normally comes with proscuitto but we asked for bacon) corn and spinach as an accessible brunch choice. We’re sure diners will like this too.

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There are two great salmon dishes on the menu and the pickled fennel imparts a unique elegant sweetness to the dishes.

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A new menu item – proscuitto and figs with blue cheese was a masterpiece of art – like a woodlands display on show. We thought this was creamy, super tasty and it had the freshest of ingedients.

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Other options include:

– Smoked salmon, poached eggs and toasted rye (without Salmon can make it vegetarian) served with pickled fennel, zucchini

– Lightly smoked Atlantic salmon with scrambled eggs and pickled fennel croissant

– Sautéed corn, tomatoes, confit garlic, prosciutto, poached eggs and rye

– Streaky bacon, confit field mushrooms, spinach, eggs and rye

If you sleep in and arrive a little later, the brunch/lunch options are superb including; burgers, vegetarian options, and a bunch of well curated and beautifully prepared menu items. The Cured SA Swordfish with charred Baby Onions, Crispy shallots and Japanese Mayo is a lighter, healthy option, with beautiful plating and we thoroughly enjoyed this.

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A popular choice amongst diners is the Gnocchi, figs and prosciutto which we had on a previous visit.  Ticks all of the boxes with house made Gnocchi and delicious ingredients, an enticing dish that will ensure food envy, but you will not want to share. This time, we had one of the new options, the falafels with smokey eggplant, labneh and tabouleh, served with crispy flatbread.

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Another quality dish is the pan fried free range chicken breast, served atop sweet potato puree, field mushrooms and jus.

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The desserts were spot on and we really enjoyed the Chocolate Brownie with Dulce De Leche, Peanut Powder & Cream, a soft and gooey brownie that we devoured in seconds.

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The absolute winner on the day was the Mandarin & Almond Cake, Lime Curd, Lemon Myrtle Powder & Pistachios. A moist and fluffy cake with a superb flavour combination. You cannot beat this, especially with a small $10 price tag.

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You can also enjoy a boozy beverage if it tickles your fancy. With craft beer, cocktails made from Australian artisan distiller Archy Rose, there is also a selection of wine on offer. Otherwise order a coffee your way, T2 tea of even hot chocolate made with callebaut chocolate.

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We’d like to sincerely thank the wonderful chefs at Bellbird dining, who not only produce amazing food, but make it priority to come and speak with customers. We appreciate the hospitality shown. We also thank Original Spin for the invitation to dine.

Bellbird Dining and Bar at Casula Powerhouse

phone – 02 8711 7123

address – 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170

 

 

 

Ampersand Bookstore and cafe

As you walk down Oxford St, Sydney in Paddington, you’ll find yourself passing by Ampersand cafe & bookstore. Make sure you step inside.

Downstairs, it looks like a familiar cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating, but make sure you head upstairs in one of the three levels and find a seat amongst the floor to ceiling bookshelves.

Set into three rooms, consisting of books aplenty, organised into their themes with comfortable seating, this is somewhere you could absolutely sit for hours. Order your food at the front, and it will be delivered to you as you immerse yourself in the books.

Whilst it is only a small menu, the food is interesting and they also have some daily salads, sandwiches and pastry goods.

A couple of options using black rice, we chose the brekky bowl with Bircher and sticky black rice with figs, cinnamon and fresh fruits. We really liked this as it was quite different to your normal Bircher.

French toast is an option, baked or poached eggs and smoked salmon is on the menu but we opted for a familiar favourite – the eggs Benedict with crispy bacon and creamy hollandaise.

We were hungry so we also shared one of the fresh Reuben Bagels. It was filled with a super flavoursome pastrami, cheese and sauerkraut and this was the winner on the day.

For those wanting lunch, there’s a burger, steak sandwich and even a black risotto or polenta chips.

Coffee is by Little Marionette and the mocha was a good drop, complete with Lindt chocolate. We also had a cold drip which we certainly enjoyed. Smoothies and teas are also available.

Pop in for a nice meal and a good read.

Ampersand Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Izu Village

Where to get your Japanese hot pot, Just off George St, not far from Town Hall, keep your eye out for the signs and make your way up the stairs to Izu Village.

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It’s a spacious restaurant with wood tables complete with a modern hot pot stove in the centre. There’s also a number of Japanese themed booths with tiled roofs, to give you the feeling of streets of Kyoto.

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We were visiting for the Japanese hot pot experience. For 90 minutes, we are treated to the full experience. The cost of this hot pot buffet is $68 pp. This includes fresh sashimi, which has some amazing scampi!

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Diners then order from the menu, Sashimi can only be ordered once. We then selected a mix of sushi and really enjoyed this.

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Then, select a broth for your hot pot. We thoroughly recommend the Sukiyaki a traditional Japanese broth, which is super flavoursome and served with a side of raw egg to dip your meat in. We also had porcini mushroom, there us plenty of variety, including chilli based broths if you like it spicy or tomato broths, if chilli is not your thing.

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Fill yourself a bowl of veggies, noodles and tofu from the self-serve buffet and put the ingredients in the hot pot and let the cooking begin. We really enjoyed the wide range of mushrooms available for the dish.

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There are plenty of quality cuts to choose from – wagyu chuck, wagyu shoulder, pork shoulder and lamb. The thin slices of quality meat only needs to short dip in their hot broth Jacuzzi, before being ready to eat. It is fool proof, anyone can do it.

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There’s also a refillable drink station for your non alcoholic drinks, which is included, you may need all the refills of soft drink, Calpis and juices if you go for the spicy broth.

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If you want alcohol you can order it at an extra cost, there’s sake, umeshu, Japanese whisky, beer and wine.

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The staff were super efficient and helpful and food came out really fast. Japanese is our favourite cuisine and we really enjoyed our visit to Izu Village for the hot pot.

Izu Village 伊豆野菜村 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Inspiration Coffee, Bankstown

Southwest Sydney coffee lovers can rejoice with the opening of Inspiration Coffee in Bankstown.

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Single Origin is the bean of choice, providing a welcome injection of quality caffeine with the bonus option of cold drip coffee. With a gleaming La Marzocca espresso machine taking pride of place in a dedicated takeaway window, you know they are serious about servicing their customer’s coffee needs.

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The quality extends beyond the bean with everything on the menu made fresh; this is no where more apparent than the freshly ground Wagyu in the beef burger, with a flavoursome patty served with egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, caramelised onion and sauce.

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There is plenty on the menu to surprise and delight; As well as the eight burgers, wraps and sandwiches in the aptly named “Hands On” section, there’s a comprehensive all-day breakfast menu as well as salads, pastas, and sweet and savoury waffles galore.

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As well as the burger, we enjoyed a salad and sweet waffle. The Grilled Salmon Salad features a beautifully cooked piece of Tasmanian salmon served with two halves of a just-set boiled egg, lettuce, Spanish onion, cherry tomato, broccoli, olives and sprouts with a zesty dressing and topped with super crispy ribbons of sweet potato.

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The blueberry waffle was presented with a variety of colourful, sliced fruit, with plump blueberries bursting with each mouthful.

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Inspiration Coffee cafe sets a new standard in cafe dining in Bankstown, and its popularity will soon see extended weekend trading hours for those long, lazy Sunday brunches.

Inspiration Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shakesbeer – plays in a pub!

Shakespeare is not just for old theatres or the year 12 English Curriculum. It is for the masses to enjoy in a pub whilst having a few beers and dinner!

Developer by Chris Huntly-Turner and James Haxby, and supported by a range of quality performers, the folks at @bardwork have put together a modern version of Much Ado about Nothing.

They travel around Sydney’s pubs and perform their plays in and amongst the beer drinking crowds. The Oaks was the perfect venue for this and we liked that throughout the play, people were served food, you could head to the bar and grab a drink and this did not distract them in any way.

The performers were brilliant and we love how the play was adapted to suit the venue and also the modern world. They included the crowd in their interactions and we loved the additions of music to keep in engaging and fun!

We thoroughly enjoyed it! Keep an eye out this and if you get a chance – check it out! Get in fast though, historically, they’ve been sellouts! The Oaks hotel often host great events from wine or beer tastings, cocktail making or even food pairings.

https://bardwork.com

The Oaks Hotel

118 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW 2089

oakshotel.com.au

(02) 9953 5515

Stanton and co turn 1

Stanton & Co is a stunning new venue in a revived warehouse in The Cannery, Rosebery. The space has an industrial feel to it, and the team of designers took inspiration from New York’s Meatpacking District. You certainly get that vibe with its exposed brick walls and pipes, velvet chairs and deep cedar tables. It’s a huge space and can seat 240 guests, so it’s also perfect for an event. There’s a large bar, open kitchen and outdoor space to enjoy your dining experience.

We were lucky enough to attend celebrations for Stanton and CO’s first birthday with a bunch of foodies and we certainly had a great time.

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The night kicked off with cocktails, wine and beer from Frenchies out in the spacious bar outside on the balcony of Stanton and Co. The ‘Bramberry cocktail’ with Roku Gin, yuzu juice and blackberries is a must try – very refreshing and a nice accompaniment to the food.

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As we were at the first birthday, it was appropriate to to have a variety of party style food that could be shared canape style. We tried some beautiful oysters; both smoky and soy on arrival as well as the spanner crab mini taco, served with avocado and tobiko was super cute and a great little dish to share’.

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We sat down and were kindly greeted by the staff who served drinks and started to bring out entrees. We shared a variety of small plates including the highlight – some deliciously crispy Jamon mozzarella croquettes with aioli.

We’re always fans of Salmon ceviche and the Stanton and Co. version was great, served with creme fraiche and potato crisps, this was a great starter. We can also thoroughly recommend the creamy Burrata, green tomato and salsa verde.


If you plan to visit, it’s great for a dinner date or a group catch because you can share with small, medium, or large plates. In particular, from the large plates, they have a twice-cooked chicken, slow cooked lamb shoulder, 800g dry aged T-bone, or what we tried: the absolutely incredible 1.2k pork knuckle. This was incredible. A moist inside, crispy crackle, served with seeded mustard.

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If you’re ordering a meat to share, be sure to order some sides too – some charred seasonal vegetables, fried kipfler potatoes with spiced rosemary butter, shoestring fries and house mayo or like on our visit we had a super flavoursome and creamy truffled mash. Another highlight of the menu.

For our dessert, we were grateful to try the butterscotch mousse with cherries and banana ice cream. This was super nice and certainly would pair well with a dessert liquor. You can also order a number of other desserts, including chilled pineapple parfait, chocolate crumble, cheese plate or affogato. There’s even a dessert plate you can share.

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We’d like to thank all staff at the venue for their hospitality and to original spin for the invitation

Opening hours

Wed-Fri 5pm-6pm for $1.50 oysters

Happy hour 4:30-6:30

Closed Monday & Tuesday

Wednesday to Saturday 12pm to late

Sunday from 12pm to 5pm

Stanton and co.

34 Morley Ave, Rosebery 2018

Level 1 of The Cannery

02 8339 0580

Stanton & Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

XS Espresso, Bondi Beach

For the best cheat day destination on the east side of Sydney, look no further than XS Espresso.

For the healthy folk amongst us, sure they have smashed avo on toast, an açai bowl, or a quinoa nourish bowl as well as cold pressed juices….But, why would you with the siren call of shakes, crepes, waffles and pancakes? On the savoury front, there’s pizza, pasta, burgers, fried chicken and loaded fries.

The signature XS Espresso shakes have to be tried to be believed. The original cronut is a salted caramel shake with Oreo, Tim Tam and Belgian chocolate blended throughout, and topped with a cronut filled with Kit Kats, M&Ms, wafer sticks, Maltesers and Caramello koala, and these are desserts in their own right.

Great flavours and contrast of textures made the Chicken and Waffle a standout dish; crispy buttermilk fried chicken is perched on a sweet waffle, and served with a creamy slaw and crispy sweet potato tendrils.

The Two in One does double duty as a dessert with a warm, chocolate soufflé on a waffle, and garnishes that transform it into a feast for the eyes.

Dine al fresco or take a seat inside. A stylish interior features white vertical cladded walls and bentwood chairs, grey replica marble round table tops and black banquette seating along the entire length of one side of the cafe. It’s contemporary, welcoming and distinctively beachside.

There truly is an excess of delights at XS Espresso so indulge and enjoy the experience!

XS Espresso, Bondi Beach

99 Hall St, Bondi NSW 2026

XS Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Padma Resort, Legian

Padma Resort in Legian, Bali (Indonesia) is a luxury resort and a great place to stay, whether it be a couple for a honeymoon, a family or simply some friends travelling together.

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We chose this because of its facilities and lower price point than Seminyak, whilst still being close to Seminyak. It’s a sanctuary with plenty of greenery, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded streets. Architecturally designed to replicate a garden landscape with Balinese decor, it’s beautiful and peaceful.

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The resort is so big and you could easily just hang out in the hotel if you wanted to.

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The buffet is brilliant. Donbui Restaurant is where you will find breakfast served. It has a variety of cold options; fruit, cereal and antipasto. There’s an egg station, waffle and pancake station, hot food and also traditional Indonesian fare. Tea and coffee is served and fresh juice. It’s super popular, so get in early to avoid the crowds. We thoroughly enjoyed our daily buffet. At night, they rotate themed dining evenings.

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A range of other eateries are also on site including Tenkai, brilliant Japanese menu, offering A’la carte and also an interactive Teppanyaki experience. There’s also two cafes by the pools or you can order food straight to your deck chair. If you’re feeling hot, the Deli cafe at the front of the hotel is great to eat in an air conditioned space.

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We made good use of the pools and split our time between the lagoon pools, just outside the rooms, the main pool and our favourite – the infinity pool, right on the water and reserved for adults only. We liked the option of a peaceful pool. The deck chairs provided ocean views and it was lovely to hear the splashing of waves.

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We liked that there was an activity program and we made use of the Aqua aerobics which was good fun! They also have a very good fitness centre with plenty of treadmills, bikes and weights, as well as a sauna. They also run yoga in the mornings down by the pool and a suitable standard for experienced people or beginners.

The property also has a tennis courts, a conference centre and a wide variety of rooms to choose from. Whether it be a deluxe chalet, premier or family room, you’ll find something to suit. Comfortable beds, large bathrooms, air con, free bottled water and fridges in each room.

The staff are absolutely delightful, there’s always plenty of staff around and it feels super safe. We thoroughly recommend this resort to stay for a relaxing holiday.

Address: Jl. Padma No.1, Legian, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

We return to the Galley @ Sydney Boathouse

We returned to The Galley at Sydney Boathouse, a beautiful spot, right on Sydney Harbour marina situated between Rozelle and Glebe, and under the ANZAC Bridge. The nearby car park gives 1 hour free parking so it’s easy to pop by for brunch or lunch. It’s a lovely view of the city scape and boats in the harbour and you can enjoy your breakfast up on the deck of the converted waiting hall /  shipping container, or on a lounge by the water. This time we opted for the couches and made friends with a nearby diners French bulldog. It’s certainly a dog friendly spot. 

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You can also sit inside if the weather isn’t suitable with beautiful styling, nautically themed with blue striped cushions, decorative ropes and anchors.

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We loved this place last time, so we were keen to try their new menu. 

The menu has a more varied amount of choices at brunch. There’s sweets, salads and some regular and ever popular choices.

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The mozzarella with avo was perfectly placed on sourdough with greens and pomegranates, heirloom tomatoes and and a soft poached egg.

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We enjoyed the roast pumpkin salad with grains, Persian feta, heirloom salad, avocado, confit onion, pepita dukkah and herbs is the kind of dish I’d enjoy every day. Super healthy and refreshing and the pumpkin was perfectly cooked. 

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For a sweet finish, we really liked the poached pear on brioche, toast with salted caramel, passionfruit cream, candied pistachio and lemon zest. We imagine this will be a very popular menu item. 

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Drinks wise, you can order a milkshake or juice or a range of teas and coffee. We like campos so we’re happy to see that’s the blend on the menu.

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The Galley at Sydney Boathouse

2 Waterways Court

Rozelle

NSW 2039

Directions – James Craig Road off The Crescent and then right onto Waterways Court at the first roundabout

Mon to Fri – 7 am to 3pm

Sat & Sun – 7:30 am to 4 pm

https://thegalleycafe.com.au

Holy Duck! Regional dinner series

Peking Duck always draws crowds to a Chinese restaurant and Holy Duck! have taken it to the next level, with their whole duck feasts that will serve the masses at a reasonable price. Not only this, you can order an array of Chinese meals, primarily duck based but plenty of other quality dishes too. This highlights them to be one of the masters of modern Chinese Cuisine.

In addition, they are now offering diners a journey through China with their regional dinner series. To keep the dining experience exciting, the specials menu will change every two months to focus on a different province. Holy Duck! aim to highlight the distinct characteristics of each region. This month it is highlighting the flavours from Sichuan.

The Hainan Chicken was superb, beautifully poached, soft and tender $22. So good, we wish we ordered a double serve and would love to try this again!

From this menu, we also tried the incredibly Moreish crispy battered golden shrimp, stir fried with dry long chillies, Sichuan pepper, celery and broad-bean sauce ($28).

The duck at this restaurant is a must and we obliged, with a serving of duck pancakes, that left us praising Holy Duck! The roast duck is mouthwatering and succulent. What better way to enjoy the duck than rolling a few pancakes and filling them with generous portions of the delicious duck, greens and hoisin sauce.

Some of our other favourites from the dinner menu were the pork and prawn dumplings as well as the scallops on zucchini medallions.

We loved all of the food we tried and we are keen to return again soon. As the regional dinner series is rotating, we can try some new things then. Don’t miss out on the regions still to come, focusing on Cantonese (Apr/May), Hunan (June/July), and finally Shanghainese (Aug/Sep).

The restaurant is hip, buzzing with diners. It’s a great place to enjoy a shared meal and a few drinks, right in the heart of the vibrant Kensington St.

Holy Duck! Kensington St.
Address:
10/2 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008

Phone: (02) 9281 0080

Stay in touch with Holy Duck!:
Website:
www.holyduck.com.au

Facebook: facebook.com/holyduck.au

We’d like to thank the venue for their hospitality and to originalspin for the invitation to dine.

Holy Duck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato