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

Canton Kitchen – new to Castlecrag

A new modern Cantonese restaurant has opened in Sydney’s North Shore, in Castlecrag’s Quadrangle Shopping Village.  It offers a menu showcasing Cantonese classics with a modern twist, a new take on traditional Chinese food. 

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The dishes on offer have seen chef Jason Chan fusing together traditional flavours with new ones to give it that twist. You’ll find hot and sour, sweet and spice and we personally love that numbing sense, to be found in particular on those chicken wings. 

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The venue is spacious with Chinese poster art adorning the walls and hanging lanterns from the ceiling. It has a fun vibe to it, and a contemporary feel to its decor. They also take group bookings with two private function rooms, and 10 course banquet menus for groups of four and up. We tried much of the food on offer so we are testament to this being a good choice.

We tried pretty much all the food at the tasting, so good, we kept going back for more. The food is brilliant. Below is a list of the menu items we tried. The beef ribs are spectacular, worth the drive there for these alone. Our favourites were the beef ribs, chicken wings, mushroom stir fry, and of course the dumplings!

Entrees

Steamed dim sum platter – we loved the truffle mushroom in particular 

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Silken tofu with house made vegetarian xo sauce & shiso on a betel leaf – this was a crowd favourite

Steamed Venus bay blue tail prawns, garlic and vermicelli

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Hot & Numbing chicken wings – kept us going back and back for more 

Mains

“Typhoon shelter” style tempura vegetables – so interesting! A nice light batter over a variety of veggies

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Sweet & sour Kurobuta pork, pickled lotus root & pineapple / crispy skin and moist meat. Thoroughly enjoyed this one – their version of sweet and sour pork

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The Grandma’s sticky Mongolian lamb ribs were outstanding- melt in your mouth

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The Mushrooms, morel, tofu, sugar snap and truffle was a lovely stir fry. Great as a vegetarian option.

Singapore chilli king prawns, Fragrant sambal, heirloom tomatoes – the sauce is like that on a Singapore chilli crab

The Riverine beef short ribs, black bean sauce, pickled celery & onion was the absolute winner on the night – we would eat this every day 

Seafood Mapo tofu, Lobster, Alaskan crab, king prawns

Canton kitchen special fried rice, chorizo, squid, prawns & saffron – quite a strong seafood flavour to it 

Dessert

Fried ice cream, coconut caramel sauce – extremely generous serving!

Coconut sago, fresh fruit, lychee popping pearls & sorbet topped with Persian fairy floss 

We were so so full by the end, but loved it and and cannot speak more highly of the food on offer. Quality Cantonese food with inspired flavours.

Canton Kitchen:

Address: Quadrangle Shopping Village, 100 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag NSW 2068:

02 9958 3288

www.cantonkitchen.com.au

Opening Hours: 

Monday closed

Tues- Thursday 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Friday 12pm- 3pm / 5.30pm – 10pm

Sat 11.30am – 3pm / 5.30pm – 10pm

Sun 11.30am – 3pm / 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Canton Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Gardens, by Lotus

Lotus Dining have recently taken up residency in the Chinese Gardens of Friendship, Darling Harbour. It is a tranquil setting, surrounded by a beautiful Chinese themed garden with fish filled ponds and Chinese art, right in the heart of the city.

Relax and unwind in this oasis, perhaps order a tea from their extensive list, whilst listening to the pitter patter of the water fountain. Enjoy the serenity of the dining space, where there are plenty of great spots to select your table and enjoy a bite to eat. Make your preference next to the koi pond or by the fountain or perhaps in the garden beneath the trees.

The tea room itself is an intricate structure made up of wooden pillars and beams supporting a traditional Chinese tiled roof.

Hanging from the roof are decorated carved lanterns. It is the perfect surrounding to enjoy their aromatic, ethically sourced, loose leaf teas at $5 a pot. Mellow cream oolong tea, flavoured with mallow blossom, safflowers and almond pieces was our favourite, or the China lychee, black Chinese tea with mellow sweet lychee flavour was also lovely. There’s plenty of choice and the pot makes for a few cups to enjoy with your dumplings. If you are not into tea, do not fret, there is a range of wine and beer as well as hot chocolate, coffee and milkshakes.

The food at lotus dining is of high quality, with some of our favourite dumplings in Sydney. The steam baskets arrive at the table carrying dim sum delights including the ever popular har gao, these glutinous opaque white parcels give a glimpse of the delicious banana prawn filling inside, with a serving of three, there was a chopstick battle for the extra portion. Defeat was quickly forgotten as we had a variety of dumplings to choose from.

The steamed fresh scallop siu mai with three pieces were great, no hiding the filling within this dumpling, the scallop peeping out, enticing you to eat it promptly.

The steamed shitake mushroom dumplings were in a thin veil, so thin the tasty mushroom and corn filling could not hide from what was to come, satisfying our need for more of these culinary gems.

The most flavoursome of the lot was the Sichuan style prawn and pork wontons, the chili and sesame sauce providing that flavour kick.

Another dim sum crowd pleaser is the trusty spring roll, the king brown mushroom version will please all, especially the vegetarians.

There were plenty of great options to share on the light lunch menu and the prices are very reasonable. We sampled the vegetarian options, all full of flavour and generous portions.

The Salt and pepper classic tofu salad included crispy fried tofu, soft in the middle, with smoked chilli having the tastebuds tingling with joy, this was served with a fresh herb salad at only $13.

The refreshing cold noodle salad was neatly served with the individual ingredients portioned separately, egg noodles, seasonal vegetables, a variety of mushrooms and a soy and sesame dressing that you could add to taste $13 to mix or not mix that was the question?

We also ordered the steamed asian greens sauced with soy and sesame oil a big portion and a simple classic dish at $11

For those of you dining with your family, there’s a kids menu with meals from $8 including popcorn chicken, fried rice or a dim sum basket.

As I’m sure plenty of diners are, we were ready to finish with something sweet and a selection of macarons certainly did the trick. They offer flavour changes and on our visit it was passionfruit and chocolate, these took our fancy at only $8 for 3. The crisp outer shell and soft filling made for a lovely taste and texture.

We also tried the iced lemon mousse, with bits of granola. It’s a sharp cool dessert to settle the meal. This one is also vegan friendly.

Be sure to make a booking, this spot is ever popular with tourists and locals alike. Definitely the best spot in Sydney to enjoy some dim sum, a stunning garden setting with the city skyline as a backdrop. Include the amazing food on offer, and it makes for the perfect lunch outing.

We’d like to extend our thanks to the venue for their hospitality and to The Atticism for the invitation to dine.

The Gardens by Lotus

In the Chinese Gardens of Friendship

Pier st, cnr Harbour St, Sydney

Lotusdining.com.au

Soulara – plant based delivery service

I am not a vegan, I am not a vegetarian, however I do see the benefits of it. I am a healthy eater and believe in the importance of a fresh and clean diet. So why am I eating Soulara you may ask?

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There are many benefits to a plant based diet and I feel that eating plant based foods throughout the week make my diet have a really nice balance and I feel alive and healthy when eating nutritious foods.

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I’ve been ordering Soulara for a number of weeks now and there’s many things I love about it.

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  • 100 % plant based meals using high quality ingredients put together by experienced chefs
  • A rainbow of ingredients to boost your metabolism, increase immunity and fight toxins
  • Packed full of superfoods, grains, nuts, greens and vegetables
  • The calorie count is low and perfect for a lunch or dinner meal without overeating
  • It’s fresh and not frozen food, and is a lot tastier than brands I’ve tried in the past
  • It is a food delivery service, so it is conveniently dropped at my work (or home) on a Thursday, and well packaged with a frozen ice pack to keep it cool in an awesome silver box
  • The menu has a lot of variety; from patties, to soup, to salads and some of these change weekly so you can continue to order those you like, or swap it up a bit
  • There’s snacks too, like cacao balls, peanut butter cups, juice and kombucha’

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You can have meal plans prepared for you over 9 ($103.50 a week) – 18 meals ($171 a week)

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So whatever you are aiming to focus on, whether it be improved focus, weight loss, detox, meal prepping, find what works for you. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

https://www.soulara.com.au

Dining with a purpose @ Song Kitchen

We’ve been to Song Kitchen a few times and although we have enjoyed it each time, this visit was the best yet and has us singing its praise. With head chef Elizabeth Mason, putting in plenty of heart and soul, as well as knowledge and experience to curate the new menu. The menu choices are well thought out and are Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired. The cuisine on offer is of a high standard, great for sharing and highly recommend.

Another reasons why we love Song Kitchen, it has a social conscience, offering 100% of their profits to support the YWCA NSW – an organisation that helps women experiencing domestic violence. The profits are used for programs for women and children in the community and to help them have a safe haven.

Located on Elizabeth Street, at the southen end of Hyde Park, Sydney, it is a hotel restaurant which serves dinner Tues – Friday, as well as breakfast and lunch from Tuesday-Friday. Otherwise you can just pop in for a coffee or drink at the bar.

We visited on a weeknight for dinner and ordered a mix of entrees, mains and sides, as well as two desserts to share. We loved everything.

Although a good serving, we could not get enough Beef and lamb tartare which was nicely seasoned, topped with parsley, flavoured with aleppo pepper, and was accompanied by some cardamom crackers, which further added to the flavour and provided another level of texture $17.

This also came out with the roast duck salad, a light refreshing salad with interesting flavours it was delicious and certainly intrigued. The dish combining spirals of cucumber, barberry, chervil, and dates $18

From the mains list, the Spanish mackerel, poached in olive oil, was an elegant dish, that was beautifully cooked. The North African spiced chermoula marinade, enhancing the taste of the delicate flakes of the mackerel’s flesh, the celery and pomegranate further adding flavour to the dish $34.

One of the standouts was the crispy roast chicken. The chicken prepared to perfection and keeping in theme was served with a lovely tabouleh mix of spelt, sweet pea and preserved lemon $36

As for sides, we enjoyed the crispy fried potatoes with black garlic, this is a must at $10, as is the shaved cabbage, hazelnut, parmesan simple yet delicious and very moreish $8

The desserts phenomenal, for something not overly sweet; the house-made kaymak cream, peach, nuts, honey, saffron syrup $12.

For something sweet the ever popular Rosewater meringue & pistachio ice cream sandwich, salted caramel, fairy floss $12. An inspired dessert that will make you feel like you are in a Candy store!

If you can’t decide what to order, why not try their nine course shared tasting menu $75pp

If you’re keen to support Song Kitchen and the YMCA, why not visit on International Women’s Day on Friday March 8 for a 2 course menu at $45 a head or 3 courses for $55.

Whether it be for this event or popping in for a casual dinner, we thoroughly recommend you book and visit Song Kitchen soon.

https://www.songkitchen.com.au/

Song Kitchen
5/11 Wentworth Avenue
Sydney NSW 2000
P: (02) 9285 6244
E: songkitchen@songhotels.com.au

Song Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato