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.

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

678 Korean BBQ Sydney

We love a good BBQ – whether it be in our own backyard with a sausage & a few prawns or at a restaurant, we’ll be there. So, of course we were keen to visit 678 Korean BBQ in the Sydney CBD for a feed.

Attending with a group of foodie pals, we were able to try a range of dishes amongst us, beginning with the ban Chan (appetisers).

The meat cuts arrived ready for us to cook to our liking. There’s oyster blade, beef rib, beef tongue, brisket to name a few.

The wait staff brought out a bucket of hot coals to cook the meat on the grill. We tried a number of beef cuts, and also some pork.

Although it doesn’t require to be on BBQ, the beef tartare was a great dish too, served with an egg yolk and a Korean marinade. We also were served a number of the usual Korean favourites kimchi, omelettes, rice and noodles.

The new menu item, the seafood pancake was also a winner for our dining party.

Other substantials including Bibimbab a Korean classic rice dish served in a heavy stone bowl topped with egg yolk, meat, nori and mixed vegetables. Be sure to get to the end and you will be suprised with the crispy rice at the bottom of the bowl.

678 is great for socialising in a group or an individual booking to enjoy a tasty Korean meal. Another positive, you know the chef will be awesome because it’s you.

Thanks to Danny from Qtix(online restaurant booking system) for the invitation to dine and for the great company during the meal.

We loved the Korean BBQ experience at 678 and thank them for the great food and hospitality.

Level 1, 396 Pitt corner Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000

02 9281 8997

http://678sydney.com.au/sydney-cbd/

678 Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

International Eats – Best of 2018

This year, we were fortunate enough to have a few months off travelling the world. Whilst we primarily tried to do this on budget, we feel that travel is also about the whole experience, tasting local cuisine and restaurants. Thus we budgeted and kept some money aside for some top dining memories. We’ve arranged our highlights below in their respective countries.

Peru

Lima

The top of our dining experiences to date (ever) comes from none other than Centrale Restaurant, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. It is a Gastronomy standout in South America, offering a 12 or 17 course dining experience. This place amazingly reflects Peru’s altitudes and microclimates on a plate. The entire menu was creative and flawless.

Astrid y Gaston made the list for the World’s Top 50 restaurants. Offering a tasting menu and ala carte menu, we chose the latter. We loved all the dishes, in particular, the chocolate dessert ball. A thin tempered chocolate ball, which, when cracked reveals a dessert full of beer ice cream, caramel and more surprises. You must pay this place a visit if in Peru.

Ollantaytambo

The highlight of our visit to Ollantaytambo was our visit to El Albergue and experiencing the Pacahamanca lunch. This was a farm to table experience, learning from the ground up, cooking the meats underground under heated rocks, producing a simple yet exquisite meal. Served with potatoes, salad and breads and we ate in the surrounds of the Andean snow covered mountains, it was fabulous all round.

Argentina

Buenos Aires

Argentina is known for a few things: futball, wine, steak and Dulce De Leche. We certainly experienced these things in spades.

La Cabrera is a steakhouse with a range of amazing meats at superb quality. Massive servings at inexpensive prices kept us going back for more. Accompanied by plenty of sides and red wine, it was easily one of our favourite places in Argentina.

Don Julio is another winner on the steak front. An upmarket steakhouse with the best steak we had in South America, maybe ever. The beef ribs were a tasty option, but the rib eye was out of this world. We could eat here everyday.

You absolutely have to visit the cafe Pani for their phenomenal dulce de leche desserts. The dulce de Leche cheesecake with Oreos is an absolute winner.

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USA

New York

New York probably has some of the best restaurants and cafes going around. However, since we were only there for 2 nights, it’s a bit hard to see much at all. Milk bar is always a must visit for their birthday cake ice cream, but their alcoholic shakes (found at the Brooklyn store) are superb, in particular the “Russian” – cereal milk ice cream and vodka.

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Dominique Ansel is also high on our list. A patisserie where people line our the doors all morning for their Cronuts, we preferred their frozen s’mores on a stick and chocolate chip cookie shot with milk.

You also can’t visit NYC without getting a Reuben sandwich on rye at Katz deli – loaded and filled to the brim. You’ll struggle to eat it size wise, but you will because it’s so damn tasty.

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Ecuador

Galápagos Islands

Whilst you might not visit the Galápagos Islands for food, but being on the water, good food, in particular, the seafood is in abundance. On San Cristóbal, the Kioskito puerto lobo is a great local joint set up in a small hut and here you can try some tasty seafood including lobster. The langosta (lobster) is well priced between $15 and $20, for a whole lobster, depending on the flavours and toppings of the dish. The Langosta del marisco, which is lobster served in its shell with a seafood sauce containg fish, octopus and prawns is delicious.

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Chile

Santiago

99 Restaurante – “I got 99 problems but this restaurant ain’t one”, especially if you’re dining here for lunch. Their three course lunch, which will set you back roughly AUD $25 is extraordinarily good value. The lunch menu consists of 6 items, you have the 6 item tasting menu or a half serve. We had the three dishes; a potato and yam foam, served with an egg yolk and crisps as well as the beef tongue and cheese sandwich/slider. For the main, we both opted for the papada de Cerdo y lentejas. This was essentially Jamon and lentils. The desserts were a standout including the peanut butter brownie nicely presented with a chocolate mouse and a sorbet and the Bavaroise frambuesa y marscapjone.

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Hong Kong

Michelin star restaurants are all over Hong Kong, and many of them are at next to nothing prices. Try Yat Lok for their famous roasted duck, Tsim Tai Chi for their wonton noodle soup and Lee Kum Kee for snake soup with duck liver sausage and rice.

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A Michelin star was also awarded to I love you dessert bar for their incredible Soufflé pancake. One of the most incredible pancakes we’ve ever had.

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Whilst our Hong Kong experience was mostly on the inexpensive side, we also tried the other end of the spectrum. Whilst Mizunara the library has cocktails that will set you back over $50 a glass and almost every whiskey under the sun at similar prices, it’s definitely worth a visit. Winner of the World Championship Cocktail competition at the all world Open Cup of 2015, this cocktail was super impressive and thus making our best of list.

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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

Regent Place

Regent Place, located right in the heart of the CBD, just off George St, offers a range of eateries and boutiques for you to enjoy.

We’ve been numerous times to try the different eateries, showcasing a multicultural flavour. On this occasion we visited to watch the Taiko performance, some brilliant drummers who were playing around the centre alongside a visit from Santa.

On the lowest level, level 9 you’ll find Assembly Bar and Restaurant, Daiso store, Nail art and more. We ate at Yakinuku Yokocho and had dessert from Fujimi Doriyaki and a pearl tea from Coco.

On level 10 you’ll find lots of dessert options such as Oh! Matcha by Chamona, Uncle Tetsu and Aqua S. But there’s also restaurants like the ever popular Chefs Gallery, Yakitori Yebisu, as well as some clothing stores too.

On level 11 is a medical level with a variety of practitioners to suits many needs.

As you can see, it’s really a one stop shop!

Below are some of our favourites!

Desserts

There’s plenty of places to enjoy some Asian inspired desserts. We enjoyed the Matcha ice cream with a mochi from Oh Matcha.

There’s also the famous sea salt ice cream at Aqua S! We have popped in just a few times. On this occasion we had the white chocolate macadamia and sea salt flavour. You can also get a range of exciting add ons like popping candy and fairy floss!

We also enjoyed some delicious Fujimi Doriyaki Japanese sweet pancakes that come with a variety of fillings; Nutella, red bean, peanut Nutella and many more, take your pick.

Coco Tea have arange of milk pearl based teas with heaps of flavours. We tried the Bubble ‘Gaga’. You can select your own amount of ice and sugar to your flavour preference. The flavour of it was passionfruit which was a nice change from a milk tea.

Restaurants

We love Chefs Gallery for dumplings! You can get sweet or savoury. We especially love the emoji custard dumplings! It’s always busy so you may need to line up, but it’s worth the wait.

Yakiniku Yokocho is a great little bbq place on the bottom level of Regent Place shopping centre. You may have to wait a little while for your table but you can browse the shops whilst you wait. It’s a touch screen order menu and with a good selection of meat and sides to cook yourself on the bbq grill in front of you. You receive an array of sauces to flavour your meat, though with such good quality meat, it isn’t really needed. We ordered a few sides and enjoyed the salad as well as some sashimi. You can order highball cocktails and also beers. A great little Japanese dinner location.

Yakitori Yebisu

When you’re in Japan, it’s a must to visit Izakaya to sample all the marvellous food it has to offer. It also gives you the opportunity to taste many different things when there are small plates to pick from. Yakitori Yebisu is a taste of Japan. Japanese memorabilia adorns the walls and it feels like you’re in Japan.

We begun with a wagyu hot pot, tender beef in a beautifully flavoured soup with vegetables and tofu. We also got some ramen to go with it. This was a great meal for a cold winters night. When you’re at an izakaya, you can’t go past yakitori – pork, seafood, chicken, your choice! We had some juicy chicken thigh, nicely seasoned.

There’s plenty more to eat, do and see – so be sure to check it out yourself

Regent Place

501 George St

Sydney NSW 2000

9am til late, 7 days a week