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 to go for a casual catch up with mates @ Howard’s Cantina

It’s been just over a year since Howard’s Cantina first launched their bar and fine dining space on the upper levels of the Rose of Australia. There has been a few changes to the menu since then, but the charm we remember is still there.

Howard’s Cantina is a cool spot named after the patriarch of the Leach family who have been at the helm of the Rose for over 20 years.  It’s now under the leadership of son, Scott.  Tactful accentuation with art pieces and minimal work has been done to the space allowing the brickwork and fireplace to emanate the 86 year old history this art deco building has with the community.  Greenery creates a whimsical setting reserved for the fine dining area which is cleverly sectioned within the main relaxed areas of the cocktail bar.   Long share tables, casual stools and outdoor settees fill the main area that were entertaining a number of large group functions at the time of our visit.

The culinary prowess of Executive Chef Chris Bell shines through with some elegant deconstructed desserts and modern fusion flavor bombs that have creeped in from the fancy dining side of Howard’s menu.   It’s quite interesting as there are two very different experiences on offer here with very distinct menus.

Their grill items are very reasonably priced. Ranging from $15 (T-Bone Steak) to $28 (Rump & Sirloin), add-ons start from $4, mac & cheese ($5) or 3 prawns to surf your turf ($8).   For families the kids menu per dish ranges from $6-$8.

Soft Shell Tacos are packed with filling (2 for $10 / 3 for $15).   With 5 options to choose from the assembly of Japanese / asian ingredients piqued our interest. The tuna filling is cured in sesame oil adding a soft nuttiness to the fish.  This base allows for quite an interesting flavour symphony with red onion pickling offset by the iceberg crunch.  A wasabi aioli binds it all together evoking a sense of freshness which will appeal over the coming summer.

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The house ribs are still there thank goodness (Half Rack $20).   Nothing unnecessarily over the top, just simple seasoning and fall off the bone smoking, having absorbed the simple flavors of lemon olive oil, chill and oregano win us over every time.

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The Rajun Cajun Burger ($17) consists of a 100% angus beef patty, pickled jalapenos, house smoked jalapeños, cheddar cheese, tomato, cheese, lettuce, chipotle aioli.  Serious burger lovers should instead aim for the Tripple Bypass ($22) – Three 100% angus beef patties, three rashers of bacon, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, stuffed with onion rings, pickled zucchini, cheese goo, rose secret sauce.

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The Meringue Dessert ($13) is an art sculpture of whipped vanilla cream, anise poached pear and fresh mint. Such a delicate sweetness that’s put together here.

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The great thing about their menu is the versatility in design.   The hero protein or vegetable is easily accessorised with a wide range of add-ons to suit your personal taste and a strong selection of share plates are very generously portioned.  It’s also worth noting that there is no minimum spend or function room hire fee for their private spaces for groups smaller than 40.

Function Spaces:
https://www.roseofaustralia.com.au/functions.html

Vineyard: 32 people
Rose Garden: 36 people
Terrace: 30 people
Howards Bar: 34 people
Semi Private Dining: 14 people

Howard’s Cantina

Location:
1 Swanson Street, Erskineville NSW 2043

Phone: (02) 9565 1441

Contributor: Joseph Lloyd

 

One of the best airport lounges – Plaza Premium First Class, Hong Kong

The plaza premium First class lounge at Hong Kong International airport is a new addition. For access, it costs 700 HKD and they give you a little takeaway thermos to keep as your momento. We happened to be passing through on opening day and there was a special deal on until October 5. We are an American Express customer with a priority pass and were fortunate enough to take advantage of their 200 HKD upgrade offer that was well worth it.

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As you arrive, you are provided with a lovely welcome drink, perfectly apt, called ‘wake me up’ – TWG Paris Singapore Tea with Orange Juice, Thyme and mixed spice.

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You can sit at their dining room and eat from The A la Carte Menu and there is also a buffet. If you are hungry why not do both. Order off the menu, they make your meal fresh and delivered to your table.

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The options all looked magnificent – we viewed them all, but went with the Maine Lobster and Capellini with a lobster volute which is quite delicious for an airport lounge meal.

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If this isn’t to your liking they have a thai green chicken curry, marinated goose with egg, beef bibimbap, beef burger with sweet potato fries or an all day breakfast.

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There are vegetarian options and gluten free selections too. If you’ve got kids with you, they do a few kids meals as well, like spaghetti. The staff in the dining room were absolutely superb.

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The buffet has a good selection where you can make own plate of food. There’s granola and yoghurt, as well as pre-made salads or you can make your own. There’s a selection of meat to be carved, and even a bar to make burritos or nachos.

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Some local food is on offer such as the fish ball noodles, chicken congee and steamed rice rolls straight from the chef.

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There’s also a dessert and coffee station where you can get an espresso, latte or cappuccino, complete with some cute latte art. Grab yourself one (or 5) little patisserie items to go with your coffee – they are great.

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Drink wise, there’s a huge bar. They have fresh juices, tea mocktails and barrel aged cocktails like the old fashioned. We also had a classic coffee cocktail, the espresso martini using lavazza coffee, kahlua and vodka. This bar is also a complete whiskey bar.

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The whisky selection was impressive, you can order by the glass or choose one of their tasting selections. The bar staff are knowledgeable and will provide you with information on the whisky available.

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The lounge has comfortable couches, complete with charging stations and the lounge is super quiet and relaxing. Entry also includes a 10 minute massage – make sure you book it as soon as you arrive. There’s also showers should you need one.

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Make sure you visit this lounge when leaving Hong Kong, thank us later.

Wayward Brewing Co team up with The Oaks

What an absolute pleasure to experience an event of Wayward Brewing Co teaming up with the Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay for a four course meal matched with beers. With our foodie friend where_do_i_eat_pete, this was sure to be something right up our alley. This is a great venue in the Oaks, a comfortable space indoors with a beautiful outlook on the iconic oak tree.

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Wayward head brewer Shaun Blissett and beer brigadier Jackson Davey were fantastic in hosting and narrating the Wayward Brewing journey, as well as how each of their beers tasted on the evening were created.

Of the four beers, two of the beers were limited releases, and all of them matched perfectly by the sumptuous menu prepared by the chefs at the Oaks Hotel.

 The starter dish was the beef cheek slider with rocket and vegemite aioli, which matched with the Acre Pilsner with Yuzu. The slider provided a slight, however beautiful vegemite after taste, and I think it took only a few minutes to easily down the Pilsner. This Pilsner was 4.5% ABV (Limited Release).

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For entrée, we were served the irresistibly refreshing and delicious king fish ceviche with jalepeno, dried shallots, coconut cream, ponzu and lime, and this dish matched with the Sourpuss raspberry Berliner Weisse. If the ceviche were served at a fine dining restaurant, I would be very happy with it, even more so at a pub! The coconut and lime brought out incredible flavours. The sourpuss beer was interesting as it neither tasted like a beer or a cider, and with its low 3.8% alcohol content, made it a very easy drinking beverage. 

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The main dish was absolutely outstanding with the smoked lamb shoulder with roasted potatoes, heirloom carrots and brussels sprouts, shared amongst 4. Perfect for this style of event. This was matched with the Charmer India Red Ale. The lamb just melted off the bone, and the India Red Ale had incredible “hoppy” content with great flavour. 

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By the time dessert came, I was quite content and full, however there is always room for dessert, especially when it included Messina gelato and a soft centred chocolate pudding, matched with the limited release Slapshot stout beer. 

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A warm thank you to Amy Fourro at The Oaks for the invitation to attend this food and beer matching master class. As well as a big thank you to Shaun and Jackson of Wayward Brewing Co for hosting an informative and entertaining evening.

For those considering attending in the future, The Oaks always have superb events at good prices

 

Aqua Dining – waterfront views

Aqua dining is located on Milsons Point, next to Luna Park. Not the easiest place to find – but make your way towards the stairs leading down to Luna Park and you’ll find the entrance to the restaurant above the pool. The restaurant leads downstairs, but there is a lift if you need it.

The waterfront restaurant is long and has dual rows of tables, one against the wall with couch style seats, which is where we sat, and the other near the windows. Both have incredible unrivalled views of the harbour and it is really pleasant to simply sit and admire the beautiful location. You can see the ferries travelling by, as well as the stunning harbour bridge. It simply is a marvellous location.

The day we were there, it was freezing cold, and they had the heat pumped up (slightly too much), but it felt very comforting.

We had a party of 9 and they took us to our table, presented us with menus and shortly took a drink order. The service here is A class. They were extremely attentive, filling up glasses, removing plates quickly and presenting the food promptly and it was completely unobtrusive. We were extremely grateful for this, and they didn’t seem to mind us handing around presents and staying there for about 4 hours. We also note the venue suits all crowds. A family had a small child there, there were business workers and a large group like ours.

We went on a Sunday which is thoroughly recommended as they offer three courses for $75 (normally 2 courses for that price) and you can also BYO your own bottle of wine at $15 corkage which is a big saving for us as the diner.

We like fine dining and so does my father, but our other family members such as my sister and mother are quite traditional eaters, and a vegetarian in the group and we found the menu here suits a range of eaters. It is fine dining food that isn’t too outrageous for the diner who doesn’t take a lot of risks. The food here was absolutely incredible, both in taste and presentation. They describe themselves as contemporary Italian, though to the unknown, you’d probably think it was modern Australian.

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Given we had a party of 9, we tried a range of different dishes. Plenty of the options are gluten and/or dairy free and some are also vegan. We sampled the outstanding sashimi version of Moreton Bay bug with chickpea and mint as well as the chilled oysters with freeze dried raspberry, white balsamic. Both beautiful seafood options.

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We also shared the impressively presented baked onion with tomato and smoked cheddar (gf/v) as well as the salt baked beetroot, pomegranate, goat’s milk, Szechuan pepper (gf/v). Absolutely lovely.

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Given it’s an Italian restaurant, there’s a number of pasta dishes on offer. We tried the Risotto, with nettle, pine nuts (gf/v) and it was thoroughly enjoyed. You can select a pasta as either one of your entrée or main dish selections.

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For mains, we enjoyed the amazingly tender dry-aged duck breast, red witlof with pickled blackberries as well as the ever popular, melt-in your mouth beef cheek with roast pumpkin, sage, port. We had a few bowls of the crunchy roast potatoes with rosemary as well.

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All meal options were delicious and we could not fault anything.

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Desserts were also of a high standard and we sampled most including the salted caramel vacherin, chocolate sorbet (gf), the White chocolate & ginger panna cotta, lime & coconut, miso sablé and my favourite, the Pearl barley ice cream, coffee crumble, caramel. So delicate and creamy.

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We also loved the cheese platters. Just when you think you’re finished, they bring out some sweet petit fours!

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We loved our visit to Aqua Dining and certainly will be back!

www.aquadining.com.au

Corner of Paul Street and Northcliff Streets, Milsons Point New South Wales 2061

02 9964 9998

Aqua Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s all about desserts @ The Last Course

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The last course is a newly opened dessert bar in Enmore opposite the Enmore theatre. The chef Sue, formerly of Suez kitchen in Windsor is passionate about the dessert coming out of the kitchen. Quality is key and there are no corners cut. The Last Course is colourful establishment with a risque mural painted on the wall, R&B music to provide ambiance and a range of desserts to suit everyone.

 The last course is a licensed venue with a range of cocktails and wine to enjoy with you choice of dessert. There is also coffee, hot chocolate and tea. 

A super tasty option was the blueberry cake with a sour cream crumble adding texture and a vanilla anglaise further enhanced this dessert. 

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The banoffee pie is another dessert that was very popular and did not last long. The knafeh was also very tasty and was up to standard of some of our Lebanese foodie friends, comparable to their favourites made by relatives. 

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There are a number of other desserts available including brownies, panacotta, deconstructed cheese cake, sticky date pudding and many more.

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Make sure you check out the last course if dining in the area or after a show. The staff here a very friendly and will be sure to make you feel welcome.

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The Last Course

175 Enmore Road, Enmore, Sydney

The Last Course Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Song Kitchen is cooking for a cause

We love our food and when we hear anything is supporting a good cause in any way, we are interested. Raising money, providing resources for the needy or donating profits, we consider all of this amazing! So when we heard that SONG KITCHEN has a social conscience, offering 100% of their profits to support the YWCA NSW – an organisation that helps women experiencing domestic violence, we were there in a heartbeat. 

Located on Elizabeth street, Sydney, it is a hotel restaurant in the city end of Surry Hills. Song Kitchen is somewhere city goers may walk past everyday. Don’t just walk past, head on in. Open for less than a year, Song Kitchen is run head chef, Charlotte Gonzales. She comes with a wealth of experience, having been a chef since the age of 18 having worked in a number of well known restaurants, including a number of Merivale venues.

The menu at Song Kitchen offers a quality dining experience at a reasonable price, showcasing fresh food that is European Bistro inspired. There is also an extensive wine and cocktail list. Song Kitchen is also giving back to diners, offering a free wine with dinner as a promotion.

We were in a group and were fortunate enough to sample much of the menu.This included the Rabbit terrine with apricot, pistachio and chargrilled bread as well as the Kingfish ceviche. The charcuterie board, which is always a great share option for a group and had a quality selection of cured meats, house pickles, and chargrilled bread and very enjoyable with a glass of wine. A fresh light option was the tomato and melon salad with prosciutto. Our favourite was the grilled king prawns, perfectly cooked and plenty of flavour provided by long red chilli, garlic, coriander, lime & romesco salsa.

The corn fed chicken, super tender, served with potato mash, broccoli and a lemon salsa. A number of our group went for the beautifully cooked grain fed scotch filler (250g), served with a generous amount of nicely seasoned shoestring fries, red wine jus and a side of Bearnaise. If you are in the mood for pasta the waiter recommended the Pince all’Amatriciana tomato sauce.

Despite the fact we were extremely full, a few of us wanted dessert too and shared some classic including; Crepes Suzette, Creme Caramel and profiteroles with hazelnut icecream.

A beautiful menu with so many awesome options! Make a booking, dine with your friends and know you’re helping a good cause!

https://www.songkitchen.com.au/category/whats-on/

Best of 2017 @Sydney dining scene

2017 – what a year for dining in Sydney, with a number of new restaurant opening and a whole new dining precinct in Barrangaroo. Many new venues are continuing to improve the Sydney food scene. A few of our favourites are Meet Mica, Labl’d, Silly Tart, Kusuka, Chimichuri, Strings premium noodle bar, LoLuk Bistro, Born by TapaVino, 12 Micron, Mjolner, Source Brewery and Zephyr Bar.

A number of old favourites have maintained or upped their game, and on this list, we have Bennelong, LuMi, Black Bar and Grill, to name a few fine dining establishments. Bondi Trattoria is under new management and this restaurant was very much enjoyed. Kindred continued to produce quality fare and earned a chefs hat this year. Other notables include; Suzuya – one we always return to for Japanese weekly, Vizio – good for a meal anytime of the day, Welcome Dose and Harry’s Bondi – also good spots to start the day. The Oaks, The Alfred and Archie Rose, all great for a drink. Coffee wise: Panivore gets me through the week, Frankie’s beans is doing great coffee, as is Roastville, Coffee Alchemy and Mecca.

Below are listed our top pics for the year gone by.

The Top fine dining restaurant for 2017

Bennelong and LuMi were our favourites for the year. The food at both restaurants is superb, demonstrates great technique and the service is impeccable. The stunning outlook and the architecture inside Bennelong is alone is worth seeing, and a must if in Sydney.

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LuMi, the glass box on the water, another great dining spot and the food is incredible.

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Best Pub venue for 2017

The Oaks in Neutral Bay is a top pub venue. This iconic Sydney venue delivers in many areas: a great beer garden, with that big old oak tree, a number of small private rooms to enjoy a drink with friends, the Saloon bar great for a great atmosphere and to watch sport. The restaurant serves up a quality pub feed, the steak is top notch. Amy and the crew at the Oaks also put on some great events, be it beer or wine matching dinners, cocktail making, whisky tastings or their current promo for beer off the wood.

The Hotel Palisade is a close second with amazing views and a good list of drinks. The Alfred in Camperdown also serving up a quality pub feed and the Tennyson Hotel at Mascot, purely because Merviale has converted the drive in Bottle shop into a cool restaurant called Mr Liquor’s dirty Italian Disco.

Coolest venue of 2017

Mr Liquor’s dirty Italian Disco is a converted drive through bottle shop with the coolroom used as a walk in wine fridge, how cool is that!

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Side note: If in Bangkok you have to pop into Namsaah Bottling trust, a large pink colonial house with white shutters and it is very eclectic inside, with leopard wall paper and Ostrich feather Chandeliers. They serve quality food and cocktails at this joint.

Best Cafe for 2017

Meet Mica is our favourite cafe of 2017. The food here is impressive, using fine dining technique and applying it to the cafe scene. Meet Mica is also producing progressive menu items. The matcha lava french toast a clear stand out, the brioche filled with macha lava and that viscose condensed milk syrup was one of my favourite things of the year, it was like pouring the liquid in slow motion.

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Other notables are La Provence in Lane Cove,  The mews in Mosman – a husband and wife team serving up quality food and coffee. Silly tart, new to Potts Point also served up a quality breakfast.

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Best Coffee 2017

We’re going to go with the local, Panivore in Pagewood as the top pick. They serve up a quality cup of coffee day in day out. This joint has kept me caffeinated throughout the year. Other notables include Roastville in Marrickville, who do it all on site including roasting and barista courses, Frankie’s beans in Potts Point with FAB (fractional atmospheric brew) and Coffee Alchemy also serving a top cup of coffee.

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Best Cheap eats 2017

This would have to be Suzuya in Devonshire street Surry Hills run by Husband and wife team Ryoji and Susan. We regularly pop in for a Japanese feed at this restaurant. The portions are huge, the food is great as is the service.

Other notables include Crayz cafe in Matraville who do a $10 coffee and breakfast. $10 for a coffee and a good shakshuka, you cannot go wrong. Isabella’s in Randwick do a range of breakfast options for under $10. Betawi Indonesian in Maroubra junction, Hong Ha, Vinata’s and Marrickville Pork Roll continue to bang out quality Bahn Mi on the cheap. Charcoal Kingdom in Rockdale, serve up Lebanese BBQ chicken is a regularly frequented.

Best bars for 2017

This is a tough one with so many good bars in Sydney. We have chosen two, Mjolner and ‘This must be the place’. Mjolner is just cool, a Viking themed whisky bar and restaurant. This must be the place is a small trendy bar with an interesting cocktail list inspired by Native Australian flavours.

Zephr in the Hyatt Regency does good cocktails (albeit pricy) and an amazing view.


Best dessert for 2017

At the top of the list is the 12 micron dessert bar. Sit at the bench around the impressive dessert kitchen and have a chat to the head dessert chef Ashley Smith about his creations and local produce used. You can also do a dessert degustation. Make sure you don’t eat too much for your mains, and keep a lot of room for their awesome desserts.

Other notables include Ibrahim’s Lebanese Pastry for their pastries and a ridiculously good Fatayer. We will also include Messina on this list, we love their weekly specials. Aqua S is always good for an ice cream (and it’s pretty instagrammable too) and we also enjoyed Honey Crème for a takeway dessert.

On a side note our favourite dessert of the year was across the ditch in Christchurch. An amazing Bombe Alaska from a bar called O.G.B. This dessert was a spectacle, a literal mountain of goodness.

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The most Instagrammable of 2017

People flock to these places to get an awesome photo that will receive the love on instagram. When one orders, they often point to the Instagram pic saying “I want this one”. For us, it needs to look good, but also taste good. Bello the Shelter in Burwood grabs our top prize this year. All of the dishes are beautifully presented, popping with colour and are very whimsical, reminding us of a bygone era in our youth. Not only are the meals highly instagrammable, they are tasty too. You must try anything there to do with unicorns.

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Other notables include Chimichurri in Chatswood, also serving up tasty photogenic cuisine and Kusuka an Indonesian coffee house serving up a range of cool drinks and tasty food. Mas.que in St Leonards appeared on the scene for us late 2017 too with the crème brulee latte and fondue set.

Mas.que

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Kusuka

We hope this has inspired you all for your food adventures. We look forward to trying many new cafes and restaurants in 2018!

Kurt and Sarah

Best buffet in Patong @Grand Mercure

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How did we find out about an awesome seafood buffet in Patong, Thailand? It was more by luck than our usual method of putting in time researching. Whilst in Phuket Thailand we stayed at the Grand Mercure Patong, where this buffet was located.

 

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We were enjoying some cocktails by the pool where the mojito’s were amazing. Made with local award winning rum distilled at the Chalong Bay Distillery, a place you can visit, enjoy a bite to eat and tour the facilities. The chocolate and mint mojito a clear standout, made with Hershey’s sauce and the passion fruit mojito, also very good. 

 

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Whilst lapping up the beautiful weather with beverages in hand, we were starting to research and discuss options for a seafood dinner. Whilst in discussion, we noticed the Taste of Asia buffet and seafood BBQ being set up for the evening, with the stations including cuisine from Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, and India. 

 

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We further investigated and discovered the price was THB 999 which converts to roughly AUD $40. There was also a promotional 25% discount for downloading the Accor hotel group App. Done and done, easy decision. This option not only convenient, it had a clean and hygienic set up and the food was beautiful displayed and prepared. We were chomping at the bit to get at some fresh seafood and were into it as soon as the buffet opened at 6pm.

 

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The spread was out of this world with a Japanese sushi and sashimi bar prepared whilst you wait, with top quality salmon, tuna and octopus, and this was our first check point. There was a salad bar and cold seafood section including NZ mussels and fresh prawns which also made the first plate.

 

 

This plate of food was conveniently finished, just in time to sample the fresh seafood that was being served straight off the BBQ. There were large river prawns, whole fish, squid and blue swimmer crab charred over hot coals. This was the perfect way to enjoy the natural flavours of the seafood. There was also a range of tasty sauces to accompany the seafood to add even more flavour.

 

The hot food bar could not be passed up with a range of local specialties including curries, the pad thai freshly prepared, as well as tom yum kung. In addition to this there were also satay chicken skewers served straight from the BBQ. With a enticing selection of Chinese BBQ meat including succulent duck and chicken, which had our mouths watering.

With so much delicious food it was going to be a case of our eyes being too big for our stomach. However we did manage to spare some room for dessert. There were many bite sized custard filled Chou pastry profiteroles, tiramisu, creme brulee, a fruit salad selection, a station preparing freshly made fritters and local specialty desserts made with sticky rice.

 

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The buffet at the Grand Mercure is must visit especially if you are after a seafood feast. You are spoilt for choice with delicious, freshly prepared food. The buffet  is one of the best we have tried and it was also great value.

 

Grand Mercure Patong

 

Indonesian Coffee House @Kusuka Cafe

Kusuka Cafe is a Warung Kopi (coffee) House. Kusuka translates from Indonesian to ‘I Love’, and we do love Kusuka cafe. So much so, we will certainly return again for more. This quaint trendy Indonesian inspired cafe is hidden down a laneway in Haymarket. Despite the conspicuous location, it is a busy little cafe. Kusuka is open for breakfast lunch and dinner, serving extremely Instagrammable Indonesian food and drinks. 

Having seen a number of impressive pictures on Instagram we were excited to receive an invite from Zomato to visit Kusuka. Visiting on a Monday night we found our way using Google maps. We were greeted by the friendly owners Liz and Mario. 

Provided with not one but two menus, there was a really good amount of choice. The impessive beverage and dessert menu is our instant focus. With a range of Kopi (coffee), different types of colourful lattes, smoothies, dessert shakes, juice, teas and some colour changing drinks. The disco princess is first on our hit list. This refreshing lemonade is not your standard lemonade, this drink has more colour changes than the Opera house during Vivid lighting festival. Presented nicely, it starts out a Lavender purple, with a bit of sorcery add some mystery liquid, it then becomes pink in colour, pour in a different serum and it finishes morphing, ready to drink and orange in colour. We also earmark the interesting avo/coffee/chocolate drink, the hypovocado which we enjoyed after our meal.

The Genesis is another cool drink offering, an impressive berry elixir. Pour in some of their magic potion give it a stir and you will be holding a drink that looks like a glittering galaxy. 

The fact that Kusuka opens all day, means it has a range of food available and it is great if you are after a cheap eat. The savoury beef and cheese pancake called the Ultimate Martabak, an Indonesian style fried crisp pancake was full of flavour, the chili taichan providing a punch of spice.

Staple of Indo cuisine are the mie goreng and the nasi goreng(fried noodles and fried rice) with ketsup manis (sweet soy sauce) as the main flavour component. Kasuka offers a variety of these staples served in a bowl. The Super Bowl a must if you enjoy mie goreng and meat. A double dose of noodles topped with an array of mouthwatering meat including pork belly, corned beef and sausage, for additional flavour there is the chili matah. Another tasty street food option is the double chicken rice bowl topped with their fried chicken and satay chicken skewers. This dish had us clucking for more. 

Having saved room for dessert, you know the hypovocado was happening. Usually associating avocado as a millennial favourite of smashed and served on top of toast, this drink has opened our eyes to the unknown diversity of the humble avo. This was a standout with this bizarre sweet combination of flavour strangely working very well. We also tried the pink latte, which was a refreshing watermelon and rose water flavour. They also do red velvet and matcha.

Another great sweet option for dessert is the ropang delight, a thick Indonesian sweet toast smothered in nutella and topped with toasted marshmallows, an Indo style smores. This was outstanding! 

A great little Indo Warung Kopi, with a playful menu. A fun cafe to visit, with reasonably priced Indonesian street food and some cool beverages. Thanks to Mario, Liz and their staff for their hospitality. We enjoyed chatting to Mario and the service provided was impeccable. We really enjoyed our visit and will return.

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