The Alexandra Hotel – Leura

Fancy a getaway only 1.5 hours away from the Sydney CBD in the picturesque town of Leura? Look no further as we have the tips for you!

It’s hard to visit Leura without spending a small fortune, as there’s a number of extremely expensive lodgings and restaurants in the town and surrounds. However, we will point you to somewhere that is extremely good value for money at high quality.

The Alexandra hotel, established 1903 is the only licensed hotel in Leura and a short stroll from the mall. It is an old quaint boutique building with ornate trims and stained glass windows.

The hotel is sectioned off into a number of areas, with a sports bar and lounge bar (with floor to ceiling bookshelf). There’s also plenty of space for a party or function.

There is also plenty of outdoor space to enjoy.

The hotel is right beside Leura train station, but the noise isn’t obvious at all. The hotel aptly has has a railway theme to it, with the outdoor bar in the beer garden called “platform 3”, and a Leura Rail sign featuring in the dining room.

We also stayed in the hotel. It was a comfortable heritage room with vintage furniture, double bed and modern bathroom. The rooms have old world charm with some modern convenience including the addition of a/c and tv. The room opens onto a balcony with a nice outlook of the hotel’s backyard beer garden and out to the valley below.

The hotel is a great spot to dine, whether it be lunch or dinner, pull up a stump at either of the two beer gardens for a causal vibe or for proper sit down meal book a table in the dining room, named “Redfern Bistro”.

There’s something for everyone, casual food including burgers and pizzas, with the pizzas made in the wood fired oven in a traditional manner by Marco Marano.

The summer menu, prepared by chef Anna Borna features modern Australian gastro pub food, beautifully cooked and presented.

We were seated in the dining room and ordered a glass of bubbles.

Their Garlic bread made on a house baked baguette and is topped with melted garlic and parsley butter an ideal start to the meal.

This came out with the confit mushrooms dish, a tasty vegetarian opttion. Pan fried portobello and button mushrooms cooked in olive oil with rosemary and lemon with feta, almond and coriander dukkah (gf).

Other entrees on offer include oysters, pate, calamari and baked haloumi.

For the mains, the Pan roasted duck breast instantly piqued our interest. The meat was cooked to perfection, skin nicely seasoned, served with duck fat potatoes and rustic heirloom carrots. It’s accompanying home made Peking duck citrus sauce was brilliant and kept us searching the plate for more of it.

From specials board, we couldn’t go past the pan fried and seared ocean trout. This was a splendid fish dish, the skin salted, nicely rendered and crisp. The flesh was perfect; a lovely pink orange hue, flakey and melt in the mouth followed by the beautiful flavour of the fish. The sauce was a delicious combination of smoked paprika dill and grapefruit veloute, served with roasted potatoes, charred leeks, broad beans, peas and cherry tomatoes. Perfect Bistro fare and one of the better fish dishes that come to mind, highly recommended.

Whilst we were extremely satisfied at this point, we had to go with the dessert option on the specials menu, the banana spilt. Here it is the classic dessert that has been pimped up with two bananas, deep fried in a Moreish crisp salty batter. This has been placed atop a butterscotch sauce and served with vanilla bean ice cream. So tasty, it was irresistible .

It is worth driving up to the Blue Mountains for the charm of this beautiful old pub alone and the scenery in the area is an added bonus.

The Alexandra Hotel is well located a short stroll from the boutique town of Leura and a short drive to the tourist sights in the area. Book a room and make for a short getaway.

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

https://www.alexandrahotel.com.au

Alexandra Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rosenbaum and Fuller @ Bondi Beach

This cafe is in a busy area in Bondi off Hall street where there’s heaps of cafes to try. Rosenbaum and fuller has only been open a few months and trying to pave their way in a busy industry. We visited after finding this via Instagram and liked the idea of its vision with an ethical and sustainable supply and use of fresh organic ingredients.

It is a cafe by day and restaurant by lunch and dinner, they often have live music in the evenings with some dinner specials.

We like the set up of the space, it is nice decor, ambience and the kitsch features, like the hanging bouquets and alcohol bottles. The pottery cups are also a nice touch.

The service was excellent, the waitress was very helpful and personable and dealt well with our many questions.

We really enjoyed our meal, although only 2 of the party ordered since the menu online differed to what is actually on the menu when you arrive (and some of us decided what we wanted before we arrived and they didn’t have it). In addition, the printed menu is a bit vague, ie “avocado on toast or mushrooms on toast”. In reality, the food is far more creative, interesting and enticing than the menu suggests. So we recommend taking a punt and giving something a go because it is better than it sounds.

We had the gnocchi with mushrooms, kale, potato and a poached egg which was super delicious.

The roasted granola was lovely and came with a huge serving of coconut yoghurt and berry compote. Quite a good choice for vegan diners.

The coffee is good – they use edition roasters. There’s tea and other drinks and well as some brunch cocktails and alcohol at lunch and dinner time.

We like the cafe and hope to see them do well.

13 O’Brien St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

rosenbaumandfuller.com

Rosenbaum & Fuller 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

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

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

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

XS Espresso @ Prestons

The new XS Espresso store is in a large space in a shopping complex featuring a new Woolworths off the Camden Valley Way.

It is styled similarly to the other stores and an open coffee window for people ordering take aways.

The young girl front of house was lovely and took us to a table. It it was extremely busy and buzzing with diners so took a while to get our order taken and served. However the manager was extremely helpful and generous. On our visit, it was only a few weeks old so they’re understandably busy and learning the ropes.

The menu is pretty much the same as the other stores, known for their freak shakes, over the top sweet dishes like pancakes and waffles, and a number of burgers. Don’t come here if you’re worried about your waistline. It is certainly a place to indulge.

We shared three dishes between us: The New York, New York – normally 250 g sirloin, but they had run out so we got the lamb – with roasted chat potatoes, asparagus, tomato and sweet potatoes with chimichurri. A super big serving and all components were very tasty.

I’m always keen for a healthy dish and there was only a handful of this category, so we ordered one of them. The “Happy Bowl” was bright and colourful and filled with nourishing goodies like quinoa, mashed sweet potato, kale, beetroot hummus, boiled egg, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and radish. We added some chicken to it for the protein and polished this meal off quickly between us.

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The other members of my party wanted a sweet option, and so opted for the absolutely beautiful ricotta hotcake. Extremely light and fluffy, it’s one of the better ones we’ve had. Topped with summer fruits and vanilla cream – we’d thoroughly recommend this.

They have Campos coffee, which we enjoyed, as well as smoothies and shakes. We tried the lovely banana smoothie and it was presented so nicely too.

You can’t visit XS Espresso without a freakshake. We opted for the XS Surprise / a Nutella and crunchie base, topped with fairy floss and a waffle cone, complete with a kinder surprise and covered with honeycomb and hundreds and thousands. Your family will go crazy for this! (And afterwards 😉

When you’re keen to indulge, pay XS Espresso a visit – it’s in a convenient location and very spacious. Enjoy!

XS Espresso

Shop 5/1975 Camden Valley Way, Prestons NSW 2170, Australia

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

Where cafe meets craft

The Press Shop is locates inside a Bespoke letterpress shop in the stunning town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

 

Locally owned, they source and prepare quality food and focus on using small farmers, producers and local supplies in order to best highlight what the Southern Highlands region has to offer. With fruits and vegetables from Moonacres farm, Piccolo Farm, Highlands organics, Brillig Farm, Living Earth Farm to name a few. There’s truffles from Robertson truffles, olive oil from white chapel grove, mushrooms from Li-Sun, meats from maugers and Robertson village butchery, eggs from Taulca Park, honey from the Honey Collector, this café really shows respect to their local area.

Head chef Nathan West has put together a delightful menu using these fine ingredients, and the meals tasted so fresh and were absolutely beautifully presented on the plate.

Lunch is served from 12 – 3pm. As we were in a group, we were able to sample a few of the menu items. We would describe this as simple food, done in a very elegant way, showcasing the skills and vision of an inspired chef.

The Waffles were served at a nice lunch size, not overbearing like many cafés these days. Topped with a refreshing coconut sorbet, peaches, mint and a white chocolate crumble. This dish is vegan and dairy free.

The local greens frittata was laid beautifully on the plate atop a goats curd and decorated with herbs and lovely thin slices of potato crisp.

 

 

The potato gnocchi was incredible. Served with new season tomatoes, roast onion puree, vino cotto and herbs, this dish is perfect for everyone, including vegetarian and vegan diners.

 

Something more filling and very approachable is the Taluca Pork free range Cuban Sandwich with pickles. Fresh bread, great meat and served cut in half with cheese and a side of cucumber and herbs.

 

There’s also a roasted carrot dish, zucchini salad, beef brisket sandwich, eggs benedict and even a kiddies menu. I’m presuming this menu would change seasonally.

Drinks wise, the coffee was great too. Speciality coffee, using beans from Cultivar, who source these from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Costa Rica. You can have a regular milk based coffee, filter coffee, or a flavoured one like turmeric, matcha, velvet (beetroot) or a hot choc. Organic teas, wild-grown herbal teas, house made iced tea, kobmucha and milkshakes are also on the menu.

 

 

At the back of the café is a beautiful letter press shop selling handcrafted papers, cards and other lovely gifts. You can also see the letterpress machines and can understand the work that goes into making products of this quality in the old fashioned way. It’s lovely to see them preserving this century old art form.

 

Come for a few meals, coffee and leave with a satisfied belly and a few handicraft purchases.

 

The Press Shop

www.thepressshop.com.au/

391-397 Bong Bong Stret Bowral, The Southern Highlands, 2576 NSW

Healthy food and store @ Hills Organics

Hills Organics is a cafe inside an organic food store. As soon as you walk in you can’t help but go straight to the shelves and have a peek at all the various healthy products in the store. 

After we’d finished browsing the shelves, we sat down and had a look at the menu. Everything sounded so inviting. 

We decided to go for the Keto Breakfast Plate as we were quite interested to try the keto bread. This dish was (gf,df) and consisted of an in-house made macadamia keto bread (gf). avocado, kaleonaise sauce, organic mixed salad leaves, smoked salmon, cashew cheese and organic poached eggs. The bread and the cashew cheese was super tasty! 

The sunshine bowl was very refreshing and was served in a cute coconut bowl which made us feel like we had escaped to somewhere tropical for a bit. 

Staff were very friendly and looked like they enjoy working there which could be because it is operated like a family orientated business. Overall a good vibe and lots of wholesome goodness to enjoy. Although it is located in a business area, the atmosphere is so relaxed you don’t even realise that it is. 

Another thing to note is that if you’re into all things healthy and organic, you most likely won’t leave this place without a thing or two. We ended up getting some Kombucha and a few protein snacks for the road.

Hills Organics Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato