Micro brewery in Botany @ One Drop Brewing co

Botany is a developing area and is seeing new cafes and shops. This has now extended to a local and independently owned brewery. This micro brewery has opened in Erith St, an industrial area behind the main strip of shops.

We went during the first weekend it opened and it has a good vibe about it. Plenty of people having a beer or two, bar snacks and sitting around on the makeshift wooden pallet type seats and tables. It’s family and dog friendly and there’s couple of old school video games to amuse your kids.

In terms of the beers on tap, there’s IPA, a Botany Bay lager, sour, passion fruit sour (with nice fruity notes), a pale ale and a double IPA (watch out it’s 9%)

Food wise, they sell chips and pork crackling snacks and will have food trucks provide beer food. When we were there, they had a Schnitty van out the back on the lawn by “wholly Schnitt”. Unfortunately on our visit they were sold out.

Last Sunday they were roasting an XPA basted beast (ie a full pig on the spit) by Mr Wolf BBQ.

Worth checking it out if in the area.

5 Erith St Botany NSW 2019

Calabur cafe – hidden little gem in Bondi Junction.

Calabur cafe is super close to Bondi Junction Westfield and Eastgate shopping centre. Walking by, you would probably not notice it, underground off the Main Street. Definitely make it a destination to visit.

It’s a vintage, rustic style place, with exposed bricks, pipes, rustic chairs, succulent plants, and feels like some of the cafes we’ve seen in Bangkok. They hold a few events like live music and charity fundraise too.

On walking in, the waitress and waiter were super polite and were warm and friendly. We took a seat at a table for two, and they offered us a larger table if we pleased. Very nice atmosphere!

We ordered the granola fruit market which was delicious – greek yoghurt with granola, kiwi fruit, blueberries, kiwi fruit and passion fruit, there was also some honey to put atop the creation. It looked beautiful, a real work of art!

We also had the ‘spicy’ Onsen eggs, which actually were not too spicy, served with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, radish, carrot and mushrooms.

The ‘magic’ noodle salad of purple steamed butterfly glass noodles that are meant to turn a lighter purple with a touch of lemon, served with carrot, seaweed, cucumber, zucchini, radish and a sesame dressing. You can have this with raw fish, so we opted for the tuna. This is a lovely fresh and healthy dish.

The coffees were excellent and a nice smooth brew.

Thai food at any time of the day @ Boon Cafe

Cafe by day, thai street food style eatery restaurant by night. Located in “Thai Town” in the Haymarket end of Pitt Street, Boon Cafe is a winner in our books, especially for cheap eats.

The cafe has a good vibe to it and the decor is modern and has a market place vibe to it with exposed brick walls, a bicycle up on the wall and rustic flowers at each of the tables.

Inside the same building is an attached Asian grocer and fruit and veg market selling plenty of sauces, noodles, frozen foods and fresh items to cook with. The counter also has pre-prepared meals to purchase and take to work or home to reheat.

The cafe has a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. At breakfast you can grab a western meal, pan-baked eggs or congee.

At lunch time, some of their sandwiches sounded brilliant – basically it’s the typical thai meals on a Sandwich! Wow, like chicken cashew sandwich, mushrooms and holy basil sandwich or a fried chicken and papaya salad burger. It’s gotta be seen and ordered for sure!

We were there for dinner. The food is described as Isaan cuisine (from Northern Thailand), with Som Dtum, grilled and fried dishes, warm salads and fish, and rice or noodles. We ordered the larb soon sen / spicy glass noodles and minced chicken. I asked for mild, and it unfortunately came out way too spicy. The waiter was observant enough to notice and offered to replace the dish with a new, and less spicy one. We appreciate this gesture.

Our favourite dish of the night was the Padt Mee Kha ti – like a pad thai, this one has stir fried thin rice noodles but with tamarind, tofu, coconut milk, garlic chives and shredded omelette. This was super tasty and we’d easily order it again.

If you’re just here for dessert, there’s pandan croissants, toast with house smoked chilli relish and dried shredded pork or condensed milk and milo to name a few. Combine this with a coffee or matcha latte, homemade iced tea or traditional thai coffee, and you’ve got yourself a great combo.

The food here is super tasty, and the menu items are actually inspired and interesting! Prices are extremely reasonable too, and for $6, an entree sized soup is amazing.

Boon Cafe

http://www.booncafe.com

425 Pitt St Haymarket 2000

Boon Cafe Eatery & Grocer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Specialty coffee and barista training school @ Veneziano, Surry Hills.

Veneziano in Surry Hills is a specialty coffee shop, coming out of Melbourne. The Surry Hills store is its flagship store in Sydney. It is also a barista training site in roasting, barista work and latte art training. I visited here upon the suggestions of a friend and glad I did.

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The space is contemporary and chic, with minimalistic furniture and sleek concrete walls and counters and plenty of space to sit with some Scandanavian inspired chairs.

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Milk based coffees, pour over, batch brew or filter, you name it, they have it. I spoke with the barista regarding how I like my coffee and she was great, offering that if I didn’t like it, she’d remake it. My latte was lovely and a nice smooth blend. When you order your coffee, it comes with sparkling water, which is a welcome addition.

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They have coffee products on sale, beans, cups and more. They have some beautiful ceramics for sale “Sit Still Lauren Ceramics” which they use in store too. If I had more money, I’d grab a few of these for my house.

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The business is also promoting sustainability of their suppliers and I was pleased to see a recycling station for coffee cups and lids.

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They don’t serve food other than doughnuts and pastries, and when this is the case, it’s usually because the coffee is so good. Which it is.

352 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Veneziano Coffee Surry Hills Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jally’s Cafe @ Camden

We love that the cafe has a bit of history to it. In its previous days it was a garage owned by a chemist in the 1970’s. The cafe is opposite what once was a theatre, you’ll see reflections of Camden’s historic past on photographs on the wall. This is brilliant, considering Camden is one of Australia’s oldest towns.

This was turned into a cafe in early 2017 and it looks like a rustic garage with indoor and outdoor seating (made of light wood) and there’s also a backyard garden area.

Its vision is to serve wholesome food and great coffee. Open early, you can pop in for your morning coffee rush. They have plenty of varieties of milk if you have certain health requirements.

Food wise, the kitchen is open 7am – 3pm.

Whether it be smashed avo, bacon and egg rolls, pancakes or a brekkie bowl, we’re sure you’ll find something up your alley. It’s predominately a healthy menu. They’re pretty popular for their range of Acai bowls too.

We went for the brekkie bowl with quinoa , kale, mushrooms, roast pumpkin, avocado and 2 Holbrook eggs with almond dukkah . They were kind enough to replace the avo with feta for me, and add chicken. A super healthy dish and it was quite big, so I took a bit home.

We also had a gluten free dish – the zucchini, lemon and feta fritters, served with roast pumpkin and tomato, beetroot hummus, rocket and poached Holbrook egg. We both thought the pumpkin on both dishes was super flavoursome.

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Plenty of options are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free etc, so you will definitely find something for you.

There’s a heap of health based bars and sweets in the front counter, as well as pre made salads for those on the run.

Jallys also have a whole foods store in Whitemans arcade. It’s stumps me why it’s not next to the shop, but it’s worth a look. Selling grains, nuts and environmentally caring products, we purchased a few things. They give a card for a free coffee which is a bonus.

Jally’s Cafe

10 Larkin Pl, Camden NSW 2570, Australia

https://www.jallys.com.au

Jally's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Specialty Coffee @ Comoros Coffee, Mascot

Mascot have plenty of coffee shops and cafes and so when I saw yet another one was opening, I was extremely confused by this as a business decision. Especially when Comoros opened next door to another café. However, I was pleasantly surprised when this coffee shop opened as it is probably one of the only speciality coffee shops in Mascot selling quality coffee.

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Just off the main strip in Mascot, Comoros occupies a small space, not yet air-conditioned, but it’s not really that in need of one. A couple of stools at the window and a bench seat with a few tables if you wish to dine in. Minimalist décor, a couple of plants and coffee related equipment for sale. The place is only small and probably suits a high volume of take away orders.

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It’s not designed as an eat in café, but you can if you are up for a pastry. There’s Smoking Gun Bagels with your choice of spread or ‘smears’. From 11:30 after the morning coffee rush, you can grab a topped bagel such as a pastrami, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese bagel.

Coffee wise they’re using Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, and a range of other boutique beans are for sale. Sparkling water is given with your coffee.

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You can also get filter coffee, cold brew, nitro cold brew or an iced coffee. I’m quite a fan of the iced coffee here. Didn’t need a sugar in it (which I often do) so it’s a sign of a good coffee.

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Service is efficient, staff seem pretty quiet and a little hipster and the place will be popular with coffee goers after a good brew.

Shop 4, 1 Robey St, Mascot

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

Salmon and Bear @ Zetland

Salmon and Bear is a a casual eatery in Zetland, Sydney, across the road from the East Village shopping precinct. You can park in the shopping centre for 2 hours for free and head to the restaurant care free.

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It is a fish eatery which cooks the fish over charcoal in a Spanish Mimbrasa oven which gives the seafood a nice smokey flavour. This also gives you the sense of having your dinner at a campfire, and with the restaurant decor feeling like a log cabin, so it is very fitting.

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As we sit to peruse the menu, we are pleased to find they have a drink list with red and white wine by the glass or bottle, bubbles, beers and cocktails including aperol spritzers and a few Gins with home made tea and lemonade. We ordered the gin cocktails, perfect on a hot summer evening and helped take the edge of the working day.

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The menu listing Burgers and few classics. We begin with the trio of tacos; the sticky glazed salmon, crispy hoki NZ fish, and salt and pepper calamari, served on a soft corn tortilla with salsa verde, pickled pink onions and sriracha mayo. A good choice if you are after some variety.

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We also decided to order something different and went for the salt and pepper tofu as it looked extremely appealing. Nice soft little flavoursome squares with a crisp fried outer crust, flavoured with salt, pepper, shallots and chili, this was also served with a ponzu dipping sauce.

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One of their popular menu items is the Grizzly Plate ($27.95) for the original where you select a piece of fish (Ora King salmon, tuna, barramundi, hiramasa kingfish , or catch of the day) along with a choice of dipping sauce (salsa verde, peri peri, yogurt and dill, tartare or oyster and sesame) and any salads or side. For $32.95, you can add two sides. Sides include chips, mashed potato, coconut rice, sweet potato fries, corn salad, summer slaw, Asian greens or the garden salad.

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We opted for the Hiramasa Kingfish, cooked beautifully with a Smokey flavour and crispy skin. The salsa verde was the sauce of choice, the charred corn and the roasted veg for sides. Whilst veggies can sometimes be just veggies, the veggies at salmon and bear are on another level. They were boiled, grilled and then finished off again the oven, giving them a beautiful caramelised charred flavour. Topped with a honey mustard dressing and almonds, these a must order as your side dish.

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Poke seems to be the dish on everyone’s lips these days and thus we were happy to see this on the menu. For those not in the know, it is a rice and salad dish originating in Hawaii, topped with sashimi. It is a healthy and nourishing option. At Salmon and Bear, they have a few different options. Whether it be cubes of raw salmon, tuna, miso eggplant or the salt and pepper tofu, you can select your favourite . They are served atop salad or coconut rice, spring onions, avocado, seaweed and corn salsa, with a soy and sesame dressing or chilli and lemongrass, depending on your selection.

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Finishing off the night, we had to have the dessert. Just as you might have in wood cabin by the fire, comfort food is always good. A soft gooey brownie served with vanilla ice cream is certainly in that category.

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Salmon and Bear is fitting for the whole family as it has a casual vibe, reasonable prices and a menu with Cubs (or kids) choices.

The service was brilliant and the manager in particular was excellent, with her personable nature, thorough knowledge and efficient work ethic.

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We really enjoyed all the food here and have been here a few times now, and will certainly be back.

We would like to thank the restaurant and staff for their hospitality and Spooning Australia and Food Shot Sydney for the invitation to dine.

https://salmonandbear.com.au

Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raku dining @ Canberra, ACT

Raku is what we’d describe as contemporary fine dining Japanese. We were in Canberra for the weekend between Christmas and new year and had heard good words about this restaurant. We are so glad to have visited and it ended up making our best of list for 2018.

The restaurant is located in the main CBD precinct near the shopping centre and thus was easy to locate.

The space is large with table seating or right up at the chefs kitchen as well private dining spaces. It is dimly lit and has a romantic feel to it.

We learn that Raku is named after a Japanese style of pottery (fired in open flames), which is apt for a Robata style restaurant. Secondly, the ceramics here were absolutely beautiful and demonstrated different designs and techniques.

The robata method enables the flavour of the flame to shine through the meat, seafood and vegetables and the blue eyed cod has to be one of the best things we’ve ever ordered. You can watch the chefs prepare the meats on the grill over the flame and it is mesmerising.

Given our seats in front of the chef, we could watch the masters at action, preparing beautiful plates of sashimi and nigiri as well as maki rolls. The chefs were precise, fast and seemed to be so calm and thoroughly enjoying their job.

The menu is extensive, so much so we found it an extremely difficult task to decide what to get. The tasting menu sounded brilliant, and the price is appropriate for what it includes. However we thought that ordering ala Carte would allow us to spend the same, whilst enabling us to try more of a variety of the menu offerings.

We started with some miso followed by the loved the Bresaola with kingfish sashimi and a light but lovely truffle dressing $22.

The sashimi looked great and you can order this in the 3, 5 or 7 varieties. We opted for the 5 varieties, which included bluefin tuna, scallops, snapper, kingfish and salmon. It was lovely sashimi and sliced to a nice size, served with wasabi and soy $47.

The absolute winner on the night was the Alaskan black cod $38 with Saikyo miso and picked cauliflower. The Smokey flavour was beautiful and it was so soft and melted in your mouth. We added a side of Asparagus with a miso butter.

We were still little hungry and so added on a maki roll and we were glad we did, as this was another favourite. A South Australian Kingfish with yuzu, truffle, chives and fresh chilli.

We ended with a whiskey ice cream which was also superb.

Drinks wise, they have some solid cocktails with Japanese flavours, sake, beers and wines and ask for the waiters suggestion to match your meal.

It was an all round fantastic experience, with a clean and sophisticated aesthetic, prompt service and incredible food. Whilst it is quite upper end for the budget, it’s worth every dollar.

Raku

148 Bunda St, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

RAKU Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Three Blue Ducks @ Rosebery

The Three Blue Ducks concept began in Bronte and they’ve since expanded with stores now in Byron Bay, Rosebery and Brisbane. They also host weddings and functions and you often see them at other events off site. With a big team of staff, you will note one of them is an ex-Masterchef contestant.

Stores vary in look and menu, however their approach is the same. We went to the Rosebery store which could be described as an open kitchen, large dining space and rustic decor. The store also sells some homely products like chopping boards, keep cups and cookbooks.

The restaurant group likes to use ethically sourced and organic produce and generally from local suppliers, ensuring the menu has fresh food, and as such the menu continues to evolve.

We were pleasantly greeted, taken to our table and perused the menu. Entrees, larger plates as well as the weekly sandwich special (this day was a smoked lamb) and even a bottomless brunch are on the menu. We were visiting mid week so unfortunately a bottomless brunch wasn’t on the cards for us, perhaps another time.

We ordered the oysters, which were beautiful. served with a shallot and red wine mignonette, the flavour was very refreshing. The lamb kofta was incredibly tasty, served on a spread of romesco, parsley and accompanied with a flatbread. This was a very good dish, but probably a little pricy at $19 for the size.

The other dining partners chose the poke bowl, with the addition of kingfish. A good serving, quite fishy with all the seafood and kingfish too, topped with a poached egg. Again, a lovely meal, but well above your typical price range for a poke bowl ($27).

We also had the wood roasted kingfish. Perfectly cooked, with a crispy skin and served with charred broccoli and a macadamia cream, pickled chilli and anchovy vinaigrette ($35). Flavours worked really well and the wood roasting enabled the natural fish flavour to be retained.

Other menu options include BBQ prawns, porchetta, sticky chicken, pumpkin salad and a buttermilk chicken burger (to name a few).

The bar has a range of boutique beers and ciders, cocktails and a wine list, as well as tea and coffee.

It is a lovely place to dine, staff are warm and welcoming and service was prompt. The food was extremely delicious, but it’s probably a little overpriced. We would recommend this for a special lunch. There’s a brunch menu too which we’d be keen to try at some point.

Three Blue Ducks

1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018, Australia

Three Blue Ducks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Urban Pantry @ Manuka, ACT

We were in Canberra for a weekend and looked up cafes to visit via google & Instagram. This café caught our eye and we are glad it did. We headed down to Mankua area, which is thriving with cafes, which we were pleasantly surprised about given it was between Christmas and New Year’s.

The Urban Pantry occupies a corner location just by a small open arcade. Its big swinging doors greet you from the front and it’s interior styling has a white cottage chic vibe going on, very pretty, with plenty of greenery. You can also sit alfresco.

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It wasn’t too busy and we were seated quickly. The food being served to other diners looked fabulous and the menu is very approachable so we had a very difficult time deciding what to order. Breakfast is until 11:30 or all day dining on weekends – we were brunch visitors but the lunch meals also looked very appealing, in particular the house made gnocchi or meat skewers. This will be for another time!

For the breakfast choices, their sweet dishes include Brioche French Toast and buttermilk pancakes. There’s also plenty of amazing choices to make that are savoury. Whether it be the chef’s pan or urban avocado, mushroom bruschetta or an omelette, you will find something to suit. We decided on their spring onion crumpets, topped with campari cured gravlax, creme fraiche and a toasted grain panagratto. The crumpets were light and fluffy and the topping was a lovely flavour combination. We really enjoyed this dish.

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I had the summer fruits – a plate of mango, dragonfruit, kiwi fruit, watermelon, pineapple and a coconut yoghurt pancaotta with macadamia granola. It was lovely and refreshing for summer. Could have done with a more generous serve of the granola for the crunch factor, but that said it was a good dish.

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To be honest I’m slightly regretting not ordering an open toast; the option that had oven roasted maple pear, basket ricotta and Majura Valley Vanilla honey is still calling my name. At least, it gives me a want to return!

The coffees are good too – we enjoyed an iced coffee, on what was a scorcher of a weekend.

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We really like that this café is not one of the typical cafes we often see in Sydney with their run of the mill bacon and egg rolls or over the top sweet colourful insta worthy dishes. We like that they are inventive and creative, making delicious dishes with beautiful fresh ingredients in an interesting way. Everything was stunning and we are super keen to revisit when in the area.

Urban Pantry

https://urbanpantrymanuka.com.au/

5 Bougainville St, Griffith, ACT

Urban Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato