Bellbird now does brunch @ Casula Powerhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Other options include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bellbird Dining and Bar at Casula Powerhouse

phone – 02 8711 7123

address – 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170

 

 

 

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

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

It’s all about the spice @ Urban Tadka

Located in Terrey Hills, Urban Tadka is what we would describe as fine dining Indian.

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If you’re from the Eastern Suburbs like us or anywhere on the southern side of the Harbour Bridge, you’ll almost need your passport and a VISA for the journey. If you love Indian food and curries, it is well worth travelling for. You’ll need a car to get here and as you travel through Terrey Hills, follow the directions closely and you’ll pull into a large car park and on this huge site amongst a few galleries is Urban Tadka. The art in the opening foyer is absolutely incredible.

Be sure to ring and book ahead as when we were there it was almost full and we also know they do lots of weddings and also have a huge catering business.

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The restaurant is more a venue than simply a restaurant, it is in a lovely bush setting, it has a huge outdoor space, plenty of room indoors for dining, a large bar with a cushioned couch area and a function space.

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The food can be described as authentic Indian with a modern twist. Food is plated beautifully and popping with colour and cooked with a diversity of flavours and spices. Cooked in a variety of methods; smoked, slow cooked and wok tossed. Drinks wise, there’s a fully stocked bar or you can order a typical Indian non alcoholic drink, a mango lassi which went down smoothly!

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We began with papadums and a 3 dip colourful platter of tomato/onion dip (kachumber), salsa and beetroot yoghurt. A great start to prepare you for the culinary adventure ahead.

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The Mahararja Kebab Platter was recommended by the staff, and like its name, this amazing tandoor mixed meat dish is fit for a King. This dish was served on a cool home made display stand, crafted from copper pipe. The meats all tender and juicy with a good amount of spice;

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The lamb cutlets are flavoured with garlic, ginger, yoghurt and tandoori spices (Adraki Champein)

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The Tandoori smoked shelled prawns are amazing – seasoned with garlic and spices (Zatar Lasooni Jhinga).
The (Donalli Seekh Hazaarvi) a kebab meat roll of chicken and lamb mince are rolled with herbs and spices

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The chicken tandoori fillets (Murgh de Tikka kararee) were so succulent.
Sitting on the bottom of the frame was the tandoori marinated barramundi fillets with ginger, lemon, dukkah and garum masala (Dukkah machi Patrani) and this was a great addition to the platter.

There were a good range of mains to choose from including chicken, lamb, pork and seafood options as well as vegetarian selections. This made for a tough decision and it’s probably best to go for a banquet if dining in a group.

It is pretty much obligatory to order a curry when you’re at an Indian restaurant and the Kesari Lamb sufiyana – made with tender slow cooked pieces of lamb in a beautifully rich creamy cashew sauce with mace and cardamom is a good choice. The curry sauce has a nice sweetness and a good spice kick.

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The show stopper, as extravagant as a Bollywood blockbuster, was the Urban Agari Lobster – the sweet lobster meat wok tossed in a pan with a combination of special spices and ingredients that are aromatic and compliment the sweetness of the lobster. Presented nicely with the shell of the lobster tail. It was incredibly flavorful, so much so, there was not a skerrick of sauce left on the plate.

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You couldn’t be at an Indian restaurant and not have some naan. We had the cheese naan and ordered a serve of basmati jeera rice, for mopping up the tasty curries and sauces. Urban tadka also sell biryani and roti.

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If you’re here in a large group, the Banquet “Dawat” would be great, for $49.90 pp, you receive the Papadums, dips, 5 entrees, 4 mains, breads, rice and dessert. For $60.90, they add in an extra entree and main. Dawat means a festive or joyous meal, and the food here is certainly something that will provide that.

The meal finished with another highlight, an enormous Dessert platter with Chocolate, Mango and a stunning pistachio kulfi.

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There was also the Mango mousse cake with coconut, cream cheese and raspberry, so light and fluffy and not overly sweet.

Another light dessert on the platter was the chololate and pistachio mouse served as a dome with a light green glaze. This dessert was nice and airy, perfect to follow the rich spicy food we enjoyed beforehand.

The platter also includes the Urban Tadka version of the Black Forest cake served on a crisp chocolate biscuit base of cereal.

We had an abundance of food with unique flavours and this culinary journey was one we very much enjoyed.

Urban Tadka 

321 Mona Vale Road
Terrey Hills
New South Wales 2084

We dined as guests of Urban Tadka. Thank you to Spooning Australia http://www.spooningaustralia.com/ for extending the invitation.

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

Bellbird – great food and even better value @ Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is located in a repurposed power station in the heart of Liverpool and is a cultural facility to showcase a range of exhibitions, theatre, music, performance and events. Although the place is not easy to find, we definitely recommend the trek there. There’s also a train station right on site so it’s easy for anyone to get to. This is our third visit specifically to visit the restaurant and we loved it just as much as our previous visits. 

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The Casula Powerhouse Arts restaurant is called “Bellbird dining and bar”, open 7 days a week from 10am – 3pm.

It is in a small kiosk area that looks like a small cafe, yet they’re pumping out fine dining inspired food from the kitchen, offering seasonal dining, using farm fresh ingredients, the restaurant is promoting sustainability, seasoning their foods with an array of the plentiful herbs and vegetables from their own garden.

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Our visit this time was to celebrate my mother’s birthday and the whole family joined for a big lunch. We called and booked prior to visiting, since we had a big group. There was another large group there and the restaurant dealt well with so many guests. 

Since our last visit, they’ve added an outdoor area with roof and covering so you get a nice bit of sun, whilst still being protected from the elements. Although the dining space is comfortable, we understand they’re also renovating it with new chairs and more. 

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The menu here is excellent, not only are the prices amazing, but this combined with beautiful plating and an amazing display of technique makes for a truly special dining experience.

On this visit we pretty much tried everything that was on offer: 

The Chorizo, chickpea and Chimichuri dish was light and full of flavour. 

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Cured salmon pastrami, poached chicken with eggplant, pork belly and cabbage.

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We loved the risotto and also the amazing fluffy gnocchi. 

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The okononiyaki fries as well as the lightly fried cauliflower were also a winner on the day and we also ordered a salad to cut through the heavy carbs. 

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One of our party is vegetarian and the menu was great for her, she could have the risotto, gnocchi and she also enjoyed a portobello mushroom and haloumi burger with fries.

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We were at a birthday, so had to get desserts. We opted for a brownie, ice cream with poached pears, creme brûlée and a cheese platter. We were surprised with an amazing quince dish that all members of the party enjoyed. 

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With meals approximately $16-18 and $10-$12 desserts, even a $5 creme brûlée, it’s totally worth a visit. You won’t find good this good, this cheap, anywhere. 

We love this restaurant, for its amazing food, lovely staff and great value.

Bellbird

1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170

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

101 Kissa Cafe

This quaint little cafe is just off Abercrombie St in Chippendale. It is simple in its decor, but bright and open with nice little decorative touches, like a bike on the wall and small succulents on each table. It is a cafe that could be described as Japanese and Asian fusion with some super interesting menu options.

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We love good coffee and read that 101 Kissa serves ONA coffee, this is something that encouraged us to visit. There’s a range of other hot drinks like turmeric and matcha lattes as well as milkshakes, frappes smoothies.

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There’s outdoor seating and suitable to bring your puppy for your weekend brunch.

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We tried the tender poached chicken (a very decent sized portion), sitting atop broccolini and with a smear or edamame and wasabi puree. To decorate it (and eat) was a tuille. We enjoyed this dish as it was not only presented beautifully, but it was super tasty and very healthy.

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The second dish was the Mushroom Garden, perfect for vegetarian diners, as well as those trying to stay healthy. A variety of dainty mushrooms: oyster, shitake and enokitaki with radish, kale, snowpeas and a an onsen egg (remove for a vegan dish), cauliflower puree with slice or two of bread.

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Honestly, this is just touching the surface, with each dish on the menu looking as quality as the next. We’re keen to try more sometime.

Lovely staff and efficient service and we really liked the atmosphere.

101 Kissa Cafe

94a Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, Sydney

101kissa Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wholesome and beautiful food @ 5 loaves 2 fish

5 loaves 2 fish might be in a quiet laneway in Neutral Bay, but it’s already made a name for itself. It’s a place that you wouldn’t pass through unless you were purposefully looking for it. However, you most definitely should be looking for it. A large bright open cafe, contemporary styling with white walls and greenery, it’s very welcoming.

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Chef Andrew and staff are brilliant. It was super busy the day we were there, and with customers ordering custom items, it could have been a long wait. However Andrew was amazing, pumping out the menu items from scratch (that’s impressive) and covering the diners meal when they ran out of their first preference. A+ class service right there. Wait staff attended to us quickly, delivering our coffees almost as quick as we ordered them.

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The menu here is superb, and right up our alley. Wholesome, healthy food and they cater well to dietary requirements. We could have ordered anything, it sounded so good, but we rested on a breakfast item to share and a brunch/lunch dish each.

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We tried the Honey Roasted Pistachio & Almond Granola w/ Organic Coconut Yogurt, berry compote, fresh berries and Canadian maple syrup.

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The slow roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad, served with sweet potato hummus was divine! We added the turmeric spiced chicken (keep this off and it’s a vegan dish) this was incredible.

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We admired the fish tacos from a afar, so they were a must order for us too. Small soft tacos, filled with spiced grilled barramundi and cabbage slaw, herbs, lime cream and tomato salsa.

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The kitchen takes so much care with their flavours and presentations. We absolutely love this place and are excited for our next visit!

5Loaves 2Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hulu: a progressive Chinese restaurant

Hulu Restaurant is a progressive Chinese restaurant, recently opening their second restaurant in Darling Harbour in the King St Wharf precinct. It is a large waterfront space, freshly renovated with quality wood finishes. The space is nicely styled with leather chairs in black and teal and large round marble tables with gold centerpiece and, to keep partly with tradition, a lazy susan to complete the show. Perfect for a group dining experience whethere it be a work function, family get together or a catch up with friends.

We start with our drink orders and they have a list to suit all. We decide on the mojito and berry crush cocktails.

We are soon also fronted with some of their signature dim sum, the tasty pan fried Mushroom and the cute little nemo dumplings filled with prawn and fish, a school of clown fish looking dumplings, served in the steamer. Then the deep fried pork buns: a true revelation. We love the usual fluffy steamed pork buns, but these are next level and made fresh in house.

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After whetting our appetite with the dim sum, the meal continued with a seafood offering of Garlic king prawn, the sweetly toasted garlic enhancing the flavour of the prawns, giving added texture. Hulu also specialises in crab, with the chef continually experimenting until reaching perfection. Utilising his French cooking background and Malaysian influences to create the Hulu green crab in cream. The perfectly cooked crab presented in a bowl of decadent and rich cream and served with mantou buns to soak it up.

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Lucky we were dining in a group, as sharing the meal allowed us to sample much of the menu. The cashew chicken was served in in a fried taro bowl, the tea smoked duck with an intriguing smokiness we haven’t experienced with duck. The home made tofu with enoki mushrooms and eggwhite suace another option rich in flavour.

It was a spectacle when the pork belly arrived, wrapped in leaves, foil and backed in a clay casing. This pork dish with all of its layers would be perfect for a foodie pass the parcel. The outer clay casing opened up at the table, the pork unwrapped and carved in front of us at the table. The flavor of the pork intensified by the 8 hour cook time.

With plenty of food sampled, a light dessert was in order. The osmanthus cake was a jelly dessert with a tea flavour. The sago and melon dessert impressed with its freshness, a great palate cleanser.

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We enjoyed our visit to Hulu King Street Wharf. A great location, plenty of space and some tasty modern Chinese food. Thanks for the dining experience and hospitality.

Hulu at King Street Wharf
19 Lime Street
King Street Wharf
Sydney
Ph: (02) 9299 9889

Hulu at King Street Wharf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MY PUPPY and new dishes @MasQue, St Leonards

We’ve been to MasQue in St Leonard’s before, and we lucky to be invited back to try the new winter menu options. They’ve kept some of their original items such as the awesome Wagyu Tataki and Soba and the duck wrap, but have added some items perfect for winter. 

 

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Their Congee is a superb one. It is absolutely stunning in appearance and delicious in taste. It is a thick congee made with dried seafood, cordycepsmilitians, split mung beans, shallot and topped with a salted duck yolk golden crisp. This makes the top crunch and means the crunchy soft shell crab remains crunchy and protected. A lot of thought has gone into the production of this one and they aren’t copying other styles. 

 

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We tried some Taiwanese chicken bites too. They are nice and tender inside, coated with a sweet potato flour.

 

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Another new addition is the Flaming bowl with truffle Kombu sauce. This is a decent sized rice bowl, topped with your choice of salmon or wagyu. We chose the pan seared marble graded Wagyu graded sirloin. It comes served atop the rice and staff sear the meat infront of you. The meat certainly is high quality and it works well with the accompanying sides. These include Japanese ginger and pickle, a soft boiled egg, crunchy salted egg duck crumb coated tofu and a handmade truffle and soya sauce. This dish is perfect for winter / it is warm and filling.

 

They have a range of drinks like “emoji” bags, full of bubble tea and soda. I chose to try the black tea latte, which the taste was a nice mix between a chai and a latte. I chose this because it comes with flavours and tools to produce your own latte art. 

 

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 And not to mention MY PUPPY! This is what you have got to try. My video has been going mental on instagram. It is a puppy, theft is made from Nutella mousse and it legitimately looks like a little puppy, cut it open if you dare! But you must – filled with honey orange sponge cake, garnished with biscuit crumb and fruits. It’s so good to eat! But get in early, they’re limited.  

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The cafe is open for lunch and dinner late on the weekends. It is quaint, spacious and open and decorated with bright masks. Lots of character. Staff are extremely friendly and hospitable and it’s an enjoyable.

 

Mas.Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Super tasty chicken, burgers and more @ Il Pollo

Il Pollo in Five Dock has the tag line “more than chicken” and that is certainly the case. They do do chicken and they do it very well, however there is more to this joint than just the chicken. This store is part owned by Rob, who we met on our visit and his Moroccan background is the inspiration behind his passion for food. Food is a way of life, he explained. His passion and enthusiasm are second to none. He loves his food, and local community, and the feeling is mutual.

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Rob is an ideas man and not only does he have great ideas, he has the passion to follow through. His range of burgers are reflective of this, we shared the range including Ollo, Pollo, New Yorker, Casablanca, Southern Belle, BLAT. They were all very good, but the Casablanca lamb burger was our favourite.

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The chilli sauce here is unreal, made with their own recipe. They also do Chilli-naise chips, which I think may be unique to Il Pollo. Chips smothered in mayo and topped with the Il Pollo chilli sauce, so good you will not want to share. This will now be on our mind as a constant for a cheat meal.

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For something quick and exremely tasty, the Empanadas are highly recommended (Spicy chicken and chorizo; Spicy beef and mushroom; Chicken and mushroom; Beef and mushroom)

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Then there is the chicken, so juicy and tender. With a range to choose from; Marinated chicken with smoky BBQ and chilli (new dish), Marinated Portuguese style chicken or Smoky BBQ chicken ribs will have you finger lickin. We were lucky to take some spare home and enjoyed it just as much the next day. 

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They also have a salad bar for a healthy option. If you are clean eating, these salads are great to combo with some chicken. The salad line up includes Greek salad, Brown rice and quinoa salad with vinaigrette, Tabbouleh and a few other choices. 

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If you’re in Five Dock or Birkenhead stop by for a feed, there are plenty of great options and the food is quality. If Rob is around, say g’day and have a chat.

Il Pollo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato