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

LuMi for a brilliant degustation

LuMi is one of those fine dining restaurants you can return to time and time again, and we’ve done just that. In fact, it is one of our favourite fine dining restaurants in Sydney. The chefs here combine two of our favourite cuisines, Japanese and Italian in a delicious fusion of ingredients and techniques.

Situated on the wharf in Pyrmont, across the road from the Star Casino, it is in a quaint little spot by the water. LuMi restaurant is pretty much a glass box, which provides for some nice setting with water views, with luminescence of tea lights from within, and from the Neon lights from the casino dancing and reflecting off the water’s surface. The setting also adds to the dining experience, as most dishes are seafood based. 

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We dined on a Wednesday night as a group of five, celebrating a friends Birthday and were seated in a booth. The booth always makes for a comfortable setting when dining out. The restaurant was full which is a good reflection of this quality restaurant and its ongoing popularity. The restaurant caters to a number of couples out for an intimate dining experience, and like us, a number of groups catching up for a special occasion.

The meal started with a tuna tartare in sweet potato crisp and is in a cone shape, much like a Japanese hand roll. A tasty morsel with some nice contrasting textures.

CE14FBE6-987C-47B1-88A0-BE7E1D1CBA61We all loved the Jerusalem Artichoke crisp with Swiss Brown mushrooms.

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Next up was a Chawamushi: a cold Japanese version of pea and ham soup, made with a parma ham base.

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This had a savoury custard of spanner crab a beautiful textural dish with a silky mouth feel and plenty of umami.

Then there is the Japanese staple, sushi. This was sushi with an Italian twist, with Tasmanian sea urchin roe, nori and an Italian cheese that we didn’t quite get the name of. This to be eaten in one mouthful. The roe had a lovely creamy texture and that decadent sweet seafood flavour.

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Next is a fan favourite, one everyone raves about when visiting LuMi and why it has cemented itself on their menu. The Bread, yes the Rye and spelt Brioche and koji (fermented rice) butter with onion powder. The Brioche has a flakey outer crust and pillow soft centre. The texture reminds us of a delicious croissant. Quite possibly the best bread you will ever eat.

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Then there is a tasty vegetable based dish of Asparagus, macadamia milk, roasted macadamias and golden raisins. The asparagus has a nice crispness and anything macadamia is always a positive.

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The Snapper civiche comes with jalepeno shiso oil, celery and mint. A nice palate cleanser. Super fresh, the jalepeno flavour very apparent, but they have magically made the heat disappear.

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The Ravioli with slow cooked pork and fennel is a standout dish. This is a classic flavor combo magnified, with the addition of candied orange, this adds a nice delayed flavour kick. They get so much flavour in to those little parcels. They are literally a flavour bomb that explodes in your mouth.

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The hapuku, making for an incredible fish dish, a nice white flakey flesh, that literally melts in your mouth. This is served with a delicious creamy barley, koji(fermented rice) and pickled kohlrabi. The candied orange peel also makes another appearance, providing a flow on effect to the menu. 

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Another substantial dish is the Smoked quail, Lumi serving up different parts of the bird, including the leg with feet on, giving this dish a rustic Italian feel. The quail is accompanied by a sweet roasted baby beetroot and an earthy yellow beetroot puree.

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Yum dessert! Sudachi is a Japanese citrus highlighted in this dish. Coming out with an amazing roasted white chocolate crisp. Some kaffir lime powder, adds familiarity to intensity of the sour citrus flavour of the sudachi semifreddo. This provides an interesting contrast to the caramelised white chocolate crisp.

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Liquorice is always polarising, you either love it or hate it. For a hater, a liquorice dish was something we were not looking forward too. However, the Liquorice meringue  was suprisingly pretty nice. For the most part, the liquorice mousse provides a lovely creamy texture with a unique sweet tartness, which, combined with coconut ice cream and a passionfruit sauce worked together for a harmony of flavours.

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This meal finished with what seemed to be a simple Frangipani, kombu, pineapple cake. It looked pretty with piped butter cream on top.

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One of the party isn’t a huge fish eater and LuMi adapted the menu to suit, with primarily vegetarian dishes and the beef dish for the main. It was extremely suitable and we were happy for the adaptions.

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The service was professional and unobtrusive, they did a good job of delivering the meals to the table.

In all, a great degustation, with great technique on display from the open kitchen and on the plate. Japanese and Italian might be a. odd couple, like Arnie and Danny Devito in twins, but it also works. Lumi cleverly combines both in harmony and providing sophisticated, thought provoking dining experience.

LuMi Bar & Dining

56 Pirrama Road Pyrmont

A Japanese Gem in Cremorne@Toshiya

​Toshiya, a quaint Japanese restaurant in the heart of Cremone, on Military Road. This restaurant is very popular with the locals, be sure to make a booking. The restaurant is dimly lit giving an intimate feel and has the friendly, attentive Japanese service we love.

The menu is exciting with a mixture of fusion and traditional dishes, all presented like works of art. The drink menu has plenty of options including local and Japanese with beer, wine sake and umeshu. The Yuzu Umeshu is a favourite, nice and refreshing – this place makes their own. Depending on how you feel, you can order ala carte or a banquet which allows you to sample more of the menu. The special Christmas and New Years Banquet for $49 is amazing value with a number small bites full of flavour which having your taste buds lighting up like a christmas tree.

We ordered a couple of items from the specials menu and shared the banquet.There were a few options on the specials that stood out, in particular the seared salmon sushi with thinly sliced prosciutto. A fusion dish with great flavour combinations. The delicate 40 degrees slow cooked salmon with saikyo miso was art on a plate. The plate decorated with sauce smears of sweet miso, chilli mayo, soy as well as a parsley walnut sauce.

The banquet was impressive, starting with the usual edamame. It got way more exciting from there, next came the Salmon Carpaccio with truffle oil, Sashimi tacos, Grilled scallop, soft shell crab and duck dumpling; all nicely plated with well thought out flavour and texture combinations. All of these dishes were visually appealing and so tasty.

This was followed by some larger dishes including a creative sushi plate which comprised of an aburi seared salmon roll and a tempura scallop roll which was coated in a tempura batter.

Next was a choice of Fish or Meat. The options being teriyaki grilled fish or wagyu beef or Pari Pari Chicken. We went with a tasty  dish we haven’t tried before and sparked our interest,the pari pari chicken. This dish is a large spring roll pastry parcel filled with succulent chicken, vegetables, tartare sauce and melted cheese. I absolutely loved this.

Although full and satisfie, we manged to fit in the dessert which was a choice of red bean, sesame or green tea ice cream. This was a nice way to finish the meal.

No wonder this place is so popular, great food, service and value. Thanks for having us and we’ll definafely be back again.

http://www.toshiya.com.au/

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

Food Philosophy @Aristotle’s

The legacy that Greek philosopher Aristotle’s left was to the world was in the realm of science, Mathematics, physics, logistics and linguistics. At Aristotle’s restaurant, this restaurant’s philosophy is producing Greek food at its finest. Beautifully and delicately plated food, bursting with flavour, combined with a sophisticated feel of the restaurant and top notch staff, makes you feel like you’re in for a high quality dining experience. 

Mary, the experienced owner and manager takes on a role much larger than than that. She architecturally designed contemporary interiors, high ceilings with rope and glass lights, mirrors throughout. She is also evidently hardworking on the floor, greeting the guests, delivering food and checking in on people’s meals. It is a very well run establishment. 

Historically, Greek food and dining has been a shared experience and thus, Aristotle’s has its menu with this in mind. There are meze plates, small plates, larger plates, salads and sides. Perfect for a birthday or any celebration, you can also order the very reasonably priced ‘Aristotle’s Table’ banquet with a range of favourites for the whole table. 

Our waiter Miguel, quite possibly one of the most engaging waitstaff I have encountered made us feel welcome from the outset, suggesting some options to think about whilst we perused the menu. Miguel helped us select some cocktails from the wide range. There were so many interesting choices named after greek notables, and one in particular even came out decorated in fairy floss. For the non drinkers, you can also get mocktails which looked, and tasted just as good.

I had my eye on some of the menu items and ordered those along with some suggested items. We begun with the seared scallops which we sitting in a shell atop marinated and pickles kohlrabi, with cauliflower purée, fennel and pastourma (air cured dried beef). These were a great combination of flavours.

Then came out the cured hiramasa Kingfish, a beautifully presented plate of cured kingfish with ouzo cucumbers, greek yoghurt, black garlic, lemon, mint and parsley. Delicate flavours and very fresh. After this was one of the highlights, ‘Aristotle’s Haloumi’ which came out in a hot plate to retain the beautiful consistency of the cheese. It was dosed in honey, balsamic, oregano with a topping of walnuts, pomegranates and red grapes – this is quite possibly the best Haloumi we’ve had.

We also got the chargrilled octopus which was well cooked, they boil and then marinate and bbq it. It is nicely styled on the plate with garlic, chili, parsley and preserved lemon. 

After this we were deciding whether to order a large plate as they do some ‘greek spag bol’ or spit roasted meats of your choice, however we decided on a few more small plates as we were intent on dessert. From the small plates menu we got the delicately tempura battered zucchini flowers that made the taste of the flowers obvious and sprinkled with grated Kefalotyri cheese, truffled honey and lime. Followed up with our last dishes the Barbequed Cypriot sausages and the Greek Village salad. The sausages came out flaming and seasoned with lemon and tzatiki and it was good to pair with the traditional salad.

We had been very keen for dessert and trusted the advice of the waitstaff, and tried the Walnut Katafi that cane with clotted cream, yogurt sorbet and red fruit. We also had one of my favourite things, the classic loukoumades (or Greek donuts) that were sitting in a bowl with cinnamon honey syrup, walnuts and vanilla bean ice cream. 

Overall, this was Greek food at its finest. The ambience was buzzing, lots of guests enjoying their Saturday night and the wait staff made for an extremely pleasant experience.

http://www.aristotles.com.au/

Aristotle's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Absolute waterfront – Echo on the Marina

Take a journey to Echo on the marina located on the serene Roseville water front. A licenced restaurant, as the name suggests situated on the marina. This place is what we have been looking for: a great location, food and service, not too expensive or pretentious

The beautiful setting making this restaurant suitable for any occasion, be it a nice breakfast, family lunch, a catch up with friends or for an event.  The restaurant is child friendly with kids menu’s and food for them to feed the resident fish and ducks.If you drive, there are two locations to park, both with a short but scenic walk involved. If you aren’t so mobile take a ride on the travelator. Take a boat if you have one or if you want to work up an apetite you can also kayak or SUP(stand up paddle) in, just take note of tidal movements.

On this occasion we visited echo on the marina for a fabulous Sunday lunch. The service is attentive, yet relaxed. The staff enjoyed their work and had a good dynamic which adds to the great dining experience.

They cater to allergies and dietry requirement, just let them know in advance. To start we enjoyed the fresh flavours of the seared tuna tataki with a celeriac and caviar salad with a fluttering of beetroot leaf. An ideal way to start the meal.

We followed this with something substantial. We odered an amazing rib eye and smoked duck with a side of parmesan crusted, pesto green beans.
The rib eye cooked to perfection, served with roasted baby beets, heirloom carrots, green beans and mushrooms sauced with a jus and a side of horseradish cream.

The smoked duck was succulent and has me salivating just thinking about the dish. Accompanied by sweet potato mash caramelised pear and green beans.

Although the desserts sounded inviting we passed on this occasion due to the generous portions size of the meals we ordered. Enjoyed a meal by the water in a tranquil setting surrounded by the boats moored on the marina. We will definitely return.

Price $15-$32 

https://echoonthemarina.com.au/

Echo on the Marina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sticky Fingers an interesting name for an intriguing cafè

The location of Sticky Fingers has a bit to do with the name, being located around the corner from Police headquaters in Surry Hills. The cafe has a contemporary industrial feel which seems to be rage these days. The cafe has an open kitchen and open floor plan and outdoor seating. Sticky fingers is a licensed venue is currently opened for breakfast as well as lunch and there is talk the restaurant will soon open for dinner.

The staff are relaxed and personable. Billy the barista makes a great coffee using golden cobra and is profficient with latte art which is an added bonus.

We ordered mainly from the breakfast menu was exciting, with bit of south east asian inspiration. The sriracha mac and cheese burger with maple bacon and a poached egg was a hit. A great burger with a chilli kick and maple glazed bacon. A great combination of ingredients.

The truffled eggs with beetroot kimchi on sour dough another great breakfast option. Combing many ingredients that we like beetroot, kimchi, eggs and truffle.

Pete’s pancakes with were put on the menu for a regular Pete who would continually asked for pancakes. A beautifully decorative meal with a small stack topped with fresh fruit, black sesame ice cream and miso caramel.

Speaking of miso caramel: the miso caramel affogato was a revelation. Do order if you visit.

The pandan panacotta was a favourite, a great looking dish with beautiful textures and flavours.

A trendy  cafe with great coffee and an innovative menu.

http://www.stickyfingerskitchenandbar.com/

Sticky Fingers Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Möbius @ the Pullman – Hotel dining back in the lime light.

The Pullman in Mascot is a new 5 star hotel very close to Kingsford Smith Airport with a great restaurant.
As you enter, it opens to a huge lobby, there are lounges, computers and space to wait for the bus or other friends to arrive. There’s also a large bar, restaurant and café. Décor is stylish, contemporary with a sophisticated feel.

The restaurant, Möbius bar and grill is not just a hotel restaurant but a signature restaurant you could go to for a wonderful evening dinner for a special occasion. As you enter, there are small tables to sit and have a drink, I had a sparkling moscato on arrival as well as the local signature oysters which they shuck just before serving, topped with a shao zing mignonette, very fresh. There is also a fully stocked bar.

The restaurant space is quite large with an open kitchen, you can sit and watch the chefs cook. The have a seasonal menu prepared by executive chef Daniel simpson devoted the spring menu features fresh seafood cooked with great flavours. 

To start select from the grazing menu of marinated olives, artisan bread from Sonoma with Pepe Saya butter and some nicely marinated and lemon scented octopus as well as some flywheel sliced charcuterie, salami and pickles.

Next is a beautifully arranged salt roasted heirloom vegetables (beetroot, carrot and turnip) with quinoa, goats curd and hazelnut dressing. Followed by my favourite dish; the kingfish ceviche, beautifully flavoured with bottarga roe and tigers milk. The full blood wagyu carpaccio with quails egg, black and white garlic was also very nice.

The mains were cooked to perfection, the mulloway from palmers island beautifully arranged with XO clams
atop sautéed Asian Greens.

The desserts were a spectacle; A torched pandan meringue with citrus curd, raspberries and a persian fairy floss! I absolutely loved this one. The other option was the passion fruit semifredo. This came with a gorgeous fruit salad arrangement of lychees, strawberry, rose as well as a turkish delight.

Möbius the Pullman Sydney’s signature restaurant, put hotel dining back on your hit list. With an added bonus, you always have the option of booking a room. The Rooms are large comfortable and bright. The linen is crisp and white. Styled with classic tiles and wood in the kitchen. Rooms have small bars, gowns, slippers, wi-fi access and 48 cm square inch TV’s. Why not make a night of it.

http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-9522-pullman-sydney-airport/index.shtml

Next door restaurant and bar – Comin straight outta Sicily

Next door restaurant and bar – coming straight outta Sicily

Category: Bar/Italian

Food: $8-18

Close to Wynyard station is a restaurant called ‘Next door’, a bar that has been set up next to, and works in collaboration with ‘Made in Italy Pizzeria’. Both are set up in York Lane, ‘Next door’ has a street hip hop feel, featuring a large mural of Ice cube and Smokey from the movie Friday. They were also playing cool throwback tracks.

We were met by the charismatic Fabrizio who showed us to the table and provided great service during our visit. We ordered a couple of great cocktails from the drinks list, the passionfruit caprioska and The Southside of Sicily, both very nice. They also had a range of beer, cider and wines to choose from. They also have a great happy hour running from 5pm-6pm perect for grabbing a bite to eat and for afterwork drinks.

From there we moved on to the food, excited for the carb loading ahead. We feasted on a couple of tasty thin base pizzas to start ‘the Gamberi’, topped with delicious prawns and the Capicciosa with ham mushrooms, Italian sausage, oregano and chilli.

Next the pastas; you choose the pasta and then the sauce, all served with parmesan and fresh parsley. We went with some classics the fettucini polpette (meatballs) and the Lasagna. Italian Homestyle cooking with large portions. Some chunky meatballs, fettucini (al dente) with a rich tomato sauce. My favourite of the visit being the big hearty serve of lasagna.

Visit for a beverage, grab some food and enjoy the tunes. #invited Thankyou to Next Door for having us.

http://www.nextdoorcbd.com.au/

Next Door Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast Ramen @The Rising Sun workshop cafe

Category: Cafe/Japanese

Coffee: $4-8

Food: $6-17

Rising Sun Workshop is located in a side street off King St, Newtown. This innovative cafe is attached to a community funded garage that runs workshops where people can learn how to fix their motor bikes. It is a cool space with all sorts of bikes parked out the front. When you enter there is an open space with a garage totally separated from the cafe but allowing you to see all of the action.The cafe has a insustrial feel with a few bikes displayed and some cool artistic pieces. The staff are relaxed, friendly and provide excellent service.

We stopped in for breakfast and there were a number of dishes that got our attention. The coffee by single O was nice, including a cold drip. For our meal, we ended up ordering the breakfast ramen and the Hokkaido bacon and egg milk bun. The breakfast ramen was delicous, not just a gimmick. Buttered toast broth with bacon, eggs and tomato. We also heard that they have previously done a mac and cheese ramen on a specials menu. I would have loved to have tried this one.

The Hokkaido bacon and egg milk bun with kimslaw was also very tasty. A Japanese/Korean take on an Aussie favourite(the bacon and egg roll) soft milk bun, bacon poached egg and a kimchi/slaw hybrid for an added flavour kick.

We loved this cafe, the concept and their innovative menu. If you are after something a more exciting than the norm, this place is definitely recommended.

https://www.risingsunworkshop.com/

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Rising Sun Workshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato