Australia’s Convict Past in Tasmania

There’s 11 convict sites around Australia that are heritage listed and 5 of these are in Tasmania. In Tasmania they include Port Arthur, Coal Mines Historic site, Woolmers Estate and Brickendon, Cascades female factory and Darlington Probation station. Visiting a few of these will give you great insight into the nations past. If you can’t visit them all, certainly consider at the very least Port Arthur, as it is well worth the visit.

Convict history is certainly interesting and often difficult to understand that people were transported from Britain to the colony (Australia prior to it being Federated) for something as small as stealing a loaf of bread, handkerchief for example. But England was poor, people were struggling to get by and stealing was rife. Gaols (or Jails as they’re often known today) were overcrowded and the decision was made at the time to transport criminals to Britain’s colonies around the world, one of which was the land now known as Australia.

Port Arthur

A scenic 1.5 hours drive from Hobart you will find Port Arthur, which is a famous site in Australia’s history and also identified as a world heritage site. Tasmania originally began as a penal settlement and Port Arthur was one of the largest sites in Tasmania where the convict prisoners lived and worked. It is one of 11 convict sites around Australia.

It was originally used for convicts to gather timber and later became a punishment station for convicts from around Australia who repeatedly committed crimes. It became an industrial area, producing a range of goods for the colony.

The site also housed the military personnel and officers, as well as their families and free settlers. There was also a church for the families who lived there and also designed to reform convicts. A school was there to teach the children of the settlers and also some of the convicts.

Although it as a penal colony in 1877, shortly after it became a museum and settlement. One of the largest buildings is the penitentiary.

The site today is amazing, not only for its historical significance, but how it has been transformed and reconstructed into an open air museum with over 30 historic buildings, reconstructed interiors and buildings, as well as beautiful grounds and gardens.

Your entrance ticket gives you entry to the site, a guided tour and a short ferry ride around the bay, by the Isle of the Dead cemetery and Point Puer Boys Prison. There’s an interactive museum and living history demonstration. It’s an enormous site and if you do all the activities and visit each of the buildings, it could easily occupy a whole day. But your ticket is useful for three days so you can come and return as you please. At dusk you can also do a ghost tour.

Whilst on the site you can also eat at the cafe with fresh food and coffee or in the restaurant.

There’s good access for those with mobility concerns, including lift, flat areas and ramps, as well as courtesy buggies with a pick up and drop off service.

The drive to Port Arthur is picturesque and you can stop at wineries, distilleries, the Tasmanian Unzoo and plenty of beautiful stops along the way.

The Historic site management authority should be highly congratulated for such a fabulous display of the nations history. It’s been done very well.

www.portarthur.org.au

Open 9:30-6:30pm daily.

Cascades Female Factory (or prison as they are known now)

This site is where numerous female convicts were transported in the 18th-19th century. Three of the five original factories remain.

It is a much smaller site than Port Arthur and only ten minutes from Hobart. It is more of an interpretive site, as the site is basically empty and lacking signage. You can read through the brochure, or it would be recommended to have a guide. There is a tall stone wall surrounding the site and is a museum in the old cottage or Matron’s quarters.

What was once a house with a bedroom and kitchen, is now is the only remaining building with replicas, artefacts and information about the site.

There’s some interesting signage about women who were on site, as well as some bonnets they wore whilst there.

Some parts of the site were used to send women into solitary confinement for disrespectful behaviour.

The factory was made a goal in 1856 (when the penal colony ended and it was sold off in parts in 1905. Between the 1970’s and 2008, it was repurchased by various groups and made into the historic site.

www.femalefactory.org

These are the two sites we visited and if you’re interested in the nations history, these are worth checking out.

The Bored Monkey @ Narrabeen

The Bored Monkey is a large restaurant located over two floors on Pittwater road in Narrabeen. The restaurant downstairs is spacious and suits either a dining pair, larger groups and even a party. If you’re looking to have a function, there’s also a function venue upstairs. What a great place for a function, particularly when there is no minimum spend.

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The Bored Monkey operates for breakfast on a Sunday, lunch from Friday-Sunday and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. They are soon to open a cocktail lounge upstairs with tapas to suit the early cocktail hour crowd.

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The decor is casual and the restaurant feels comfortable, with a varied crowd of differing ages. Staff are warm and friendly and service was extremely efficient.

We would describe the menu as very approachable. All diners can find something that meets their taste. Whether it be a burger, steak, nachos, salad, pasta and meats, or something from their amazing range of seafood options, you will leave satisfied. There’s some dishes that would suit those with dietary requirements and also a kids menu. Kids under 12 eat free!

There’s a lunch menu for $29.95 or $25 for seniors. This is very good value for two courses (main and dessert) with a glass of beer, house wine or soft drink.

We really enjoyed the dinner menu, and feel that the food here is high quality. It would be categorised as modern Australian, featuring selections from the land, sea, grill and garden. On our visit, we had a few from each category.

For entrees, we began with a few Sydney Rock oysters, sampling a few flavours, the natural Kilpatrick, lime, soy, ginger and eschallots. The oysters were so nice and creamy and it is hard to pick a favourite.

These were followed by the sake scallops, which were cooked perfectly – three Victoria Bay scallops sitting in their shell, cooked with garlic, negara sauce, soy sauce and shallots, the were full of flavour and we just wanted to keep going back in for that sauce.

We also shared the Skull island prawns, grilled and served in their butterflied half shell, they were flavoured with a mild kick of chilli oil, basil, flakes of salt and freshed herbs.

Other entrée / tapas style dishes for you to select from include arancini, tequila poppers, pork belly, zucchini flowers and haloumi, to name a few.

For our mains, we decided to share the surf & turf which we chose Moreton bay bug as the seafood addition. A lovely piece of seafood beautifully cooked and flavoured, accompanying the grain fed premium sirloin.

We also enjoyed the Humpty Doo Barramundi , served with roasted capers, olives, fennel and noisette sauce. The barramundi had a lovely crispy skin and the fish was soft and flaky, just as it should be.

They also have salmon, mussels, marinara pasta, chicken and battered flathead, as well as a seafood platter amongst their extensive menu.

A variety of wine from the right regions and good range of beer on offer including craft beer on tap, with one of our favorites stone and wood pacific ale. There are number of inviting cocktails with many classics listed and a couple of interesting twists including the lychee martini and the salted caramel espresso martini. We had a refreshing mojito to accompany our seafood selection.

1304 Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen NSW 2101, Australia

0299989899

theboredmonkey.com.au

We’d like to thank Josh and the staff at the Bored Monkey for the hospitality and to Blacker Media for the invitation to dine.

The Bored Monkey Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Quality Indian fare @ Manjits King St Wharf

Manjits Indian restaurant is a Sydney dining institution and a family run business which was established in 1984. Manjits has since branched out to include a number of locations including Balmain, King Street Wharf Darling Harbour and further south to Wollongong, and one of its northern suburbs, Corrimal.

We visited Manjits King Street Wharf and were informed that this location is known for its innovative menu, building on traditional classics to create modern masterpieces.

Manjits King Street wharf, as the name suggests is a waterfront restaurant with a cool outlook over the vessels on display at the Maritime Museum. This restaurant is large with classic white linen set tables and private dining spaces enclosed by curtains. It is a fully licensed venue which is great for a seaside beverage, as well as a meal.

The entrees at Manjits were all exceptional. The masala prawn pakora bites, crispy fried in chickpea batter and spiced with dried chili and curry leaves were incredibly moreish.

The Bharrah lamb kebab was perfectly cooked and spectacularly flavoursome, these cutlets disappeared very quickly off the plate. All of the meat dishes were done very well; the fish malai and the baniare chicken both vibrantly colourful in appearance and taste.

At Manjits Lime Street Wharf, innovation is on display with a twist on the street classic – the gol gol gappa, a crispy pastry shell, filled with spiced chickpea and potato and pomegranate. Pour in the tamarind sauce and this will certainly further target the taste buds. This was also the case with the amazingly tasty crab uttapam (rice lentil pancake). The pancakes topped with sweet blue swimmer crab meat, cooked with green chilli, corriander, split peas and topped with orange beads of fish roe.

It is a must to order Naan bread when enjoying Indian cusine. OMFG Manjits produced the biggest NAAN we have ever seen. Even better, it was a combination of plain and garlic. This was perfect to accompany the mains and soak up the delicious curry sauce.

We love the bold flavours that are associated with Indian cooking, in particular the curries. The Kochin Balmain Bug Curry, a highlight not to be missed. This dish is a Southern Indian curry having a bit of heat, but it combines well with the coconut milk and seafood sweetness of the balmain bugs and the meat will pretty much melt in your mouth.

The next dish was a bit of a suprise it looked like a pot pie, but when the pastry top was removed it revealed the Dum Ki Biryani. A traditional fragrant spiced rice dish with sweet sultanas to counter the spice, dig to the bottom of the dish and you will find tender cuncks of nicely spiced chicken to gorge on.

Full as a goog, relax, enjoy the view and peruse the dessert menu. The food is hearty and the potions generous, you will need to summon your dessert stomach. But it will be highly worth it, for a dig at the mango and pistachio kulfi. Served in a cone shape this frozen yogurt dessert was great to cool down on, after a spicy meal.

For something a little different, try the rasmalai, a traditional dessert consisting of condensed milk dumplings soaked in saffron and cardamon milk and topped with a pistachio crumb. This dessert has a subtle sweetness and the saffron and cardamon hit the sense of smell with their exotic aromas.

Manjits is a restaurant that ticks all of the boxes, great service, location, views and most importantly great food. Such gracious hosts, this family run restaurant, has been well established for over 30 years. This alone is proof enough that Manjits are producing the goods, to further re-enforce this, the Good Food Guide has awarded Manjit’s with a chef’s hat.

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

https://manjits.com.au

 Manjit's @ The Wharf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Speciality Coffee and inspired menu @ Single 0, Surry Hills

Over the holiday period, we finally had the time to just chill out and visit some cafes that we’ve had on our list for a while now. We do enjoy Single O coffee, and have had it a lot when the roaster was previously in our local area. Since it’s departure, we’ve enjoyed it at a few cafes around Sydney. Recently we opted to visit its popular specialty coffee cafe in Surry Hills. In a side street that’s not too busy with vehicles.

Whenever you drive past, it’s always busy, evidence of it being a quality cafe. We arrived and had our name on the waiting list, but not for long, we were seated fast. Staff are obviously experienced in high turnover of customers, taking our coffee order as soon as we sat down to enjoy whilst selecting and ordered our food.

Nice smooth milk based coffees, which use only 3% milk but they also have filter, pour over, batch brew and iced drinks too.

The menu is extremely appealing and the majority of the menu items are healthy and made with using ethical produce, interesting flavours and Australian native ingredients.

We had the avocado and beetroot hummus, as well as the mothership bowl, with poached eggs, avocado, roasted mushroooms, roasted pumpkin, fermented cabbage, kale, turmeric cashew cheese, mixed grains and hazelnut dukkah. We often order this sort of dish if it’s on the menu, but this was one of the better ones we’ve eaten. The flavours are really lovely, a nourishing brunch dish we enjoyed a lot.

The coffee spiced beef brisket burger sounded extremely inviting and looked superb, however new year new me and went for a healthier but also appealing meal, the native nori toasted tomato with black rice, edamame, tempeh, asparagus, sesame dressing and a poached egg.

We’re also good authority that this place does a great bacon and egg roll, one of the best in Sydney. We’ll be back to try some of the other menu items in the near future.

Single O

60-64 Reservoir Street

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Phone: 02 9211 0665

Mon – Fri 6:30am – 4pm

Sat 7:30am – 3pm

Sun 8:00am – 3pm

Food ’til 2:30pm

Single O Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

AYAM Noodle Pop-Up, Lunar New Year

As the city turns red to celebrate the 2019 Lunar New Year celebrations, AYAM™, Australia’s number one leading Asian food brand, will be offering Sydneysiders and festival-goers one dynamic and inspiring culinary journey.

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Launching on Friday 1 February, AYAM™ will be delighting crowds with a unique Lunar New Year experience, where curious families and food lovers can discover their destined Asian dish and revel in the delicious flavours of Asia at the AYAM™ Hub.

The AYAM™ Hub will feature the brand’s famous Zodiac Roulette Tuk Tuk and legendary food truck. Creating the ultimate spot to enjoy great food, relax and enjoy the beautiful lantern displays and entertainment, the AYAM™ Hub is a must-see for your festive celebrations.

Consumers can begin their experience by stepping inside the famous AYAM™ Zodiac Roulette Tuk Tuk, using world-first technology, the AYAM™ Zodiac Roulette combines your Chinese and Western zodiac signs to uncover your ideal Asian dish.

Once the match is made, the Tuk Tuk will automatically dispense a relevant AYAM™ product down a chute, which you can use to whip up your destined dish. The AYAM™ Zodiac Roulette will also look into its crystal ball to deliver a personalised horoscope prediction for 2019.

Once your destiny has been revealed, continue your journey and stay for the delicious food at AYAM™’s tasty food truck. Serving up a selection of authentic Asian flavours, crowds can enjoy AYAM™ Malaysian Beef Rendang, AYAM™ Chicken Satay Sticks, AYAM™ Chilli Jam Stir Fry and AYAM™ Sago Dessert priced at just $5 each, which can also be washed down with AYAM™’s refreshing and rehydrating Coconut Water for $1.

LOCATION DETAILS

Date

Time

Location

Activation

Friday 1 February

4pm – 11pm

East Circular Quay

AYAM Hub – Zodiac Roulette & Food Truck

Saturday 2 February

4pm – 11pm

East Circular Quay

AYAM Hub – Zodiac Roulette & Food Truck

Sunday 3 February

12pm – 7pm

Dixon Street Mall, China town

AYAM Zodiac Roulette

Saturday 9 February

12pm – 7pm

Dixon Street Mall, China town

AYAM Zodiac Roulette

Sunday 10 February

Joseph Lloyd, Contributor
Photo Credit: Dwi Prayoga, Andy Lipkan

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

One Drop Brewing Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Calabur Cafe & Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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