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

Sydney Festival at Casula Powerhouse: Suppression Dam

Three internationally-renowned art music ensembles will unite at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) for a world-exclusive performance:  Suppression Dam. Ensemble Offspring (Sydney), International Contemporary Ensemble (New York/Chicago) and Ensemble Adapter (Berlin) will present a surround-sound experience in the vast Turbine Hall, for Sydney Festival’s first ever visit to CPAC.

Featuring ARIA award-winning percussionist and Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring Claire Edwardes, the performance sees the three avant-garde heavyweights uniting to perform two vital, transcendent pieces from forward-thinking Australian composers: The Dam by Kate Moore, and Cleave by Natasha Anderson.

“We are beyond thrilled to present Suppression Dam here at Casula – the only place in the entire world you’ll catch this incredible supergroup of art music titans!” said CPAC Director, Craig Donarski.  “This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the opening weekend of Sydney Festival, complete with a glass of wine on us, or make it a meal with our in-house bistro Bellbird Dining + Bar serving up a special dish of smoked beef, pickled cabbage, confit baby onions and jus, to reflect the combining of the talents of Berlin, New York and Sydney,” he said.

The performance is prefaced by contemporary choral composer Alice Chance’s communal sound art project Audience Choir. The interactive performance calls on audience members to download an app to unlock a sound file, contributing to the soundscape. The audience is then taught simple canonic melodies, birthing an evolving and immersive music experience.

Opening the performance will be award-winning industrial chamber composition The Dam, by composer Kate Moore – the first woman to win the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Award. Showcasing her inimitable swirling rhythmic sound world, the piece draws from the rhythms of nature, from crickets to birds and frogs, to create a fascinating tapestry of not-quite-polyrhythmic sounds.

Experimental ensemble work Cleave byAustralian composer and installation artist Natasha Anderson will close the performance. The piece harnesses spatialised electronics, processed samples and live instruments to create a soundscape of refracted sonic mirrors.

Event Details:
What: Suppression Dam
When: 12 January 2019, 5-6PM
13 January 2019, 2-3PM
Where: Casula Powerhouse, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170 (don’t forget, Casula has its own train station!)
Price: Performance only – Adult $45 / Concession $25
Performance and Meal Deal – Adult $70 / Concession $50

Joseph Lloyd, Contributor
Photo Credit: Casula Powerhouse

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

Our ‘best of’ foodie experiences 2018: Sydney and Surrounds

2018 has been a busy year, we have been fortunate enough to travel much of this wonderful world and all over this beautiful harbour city. We’ve written over 200 blogs, as well as reviews on multiple platforms and are appreciative of all venues for having us well as the support provided from our friends and loyal followers.

We are very lucky to have such a multi-cultural influence in Australia which makes Sydney rich in culture and it also means we are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options. We have compiled our ‘best of’ list, reflecting the range of cuisines on offer. We hope this list will provide some guidance when you are sitting at home in the new year procrastinating about where to go for breakfast, a coffee, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or something sweet.

Whether looking for a coffee on the run or somewhere to catch up with friends for brunch, Sydney certainly delivers, with most Sydney suburbs having quality offerings.

Coffee

Our favourite way to start our day is with a good cup of coffee and there are plenty of places that come to mind. At the top of this list is Artificer on Bourke St Surry Hills and this humble little corner shop is a specialist coffee roaster which does only coffee and no food, so they have to be good.

A new one up there in the coffee stakes is Ona Coffee. Having opened their cafe in Marrickville this year, these guys have gone from strength to strength and they do offer food too. We also continued to enjoy Mecca, which always do a quality coffee roast and have a great selection of interesting food. We will also have to give props to the quality Baristas at our local Panivore in Pagewood who pump out the Mecca coffee and do it justice. There is also Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville, so popular, even David Beckham paid them a visit when in town.

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Image – Ona

Cafes

For good cafes in Sydney, there are so many to choose from and you pretty much see a new one open up every other week. However, at the top of our list is Edition Coffee Roasters, who have a sleek new space, close to what was once the Entertainment Centre. Edition do a nice cup of coffee and a sophisticated Japenese inspired cafè menu. The Sokyo Breakfast at the Star was very impressive and we suggest doing the double, ordering a la carte and the buffet. We also enjoyed At Neutral and also  5 loaves 2 fish in Neutral Bay for a quality breakfast offering, the Mews in Mosman also putting out a creative Breakfast menu. Girdlers stores in the Northern Beaches producers some great healthy food options. The Reuben bagel at Lox, Stock and Barrel and in Bondi also impresed. Buku, a new opening in Zetland also up there, with coffee by Artificer, quality pastries and a top notch food menu.

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Image – Edition coffee roasters

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Image – 5 loaves 2 fish

Cheap eats

For cheap eats under $20, you must venture west to the Casula Power House and go to Bellbird dining. The quality of meal on offer is amazing comparative to price, food fresh from their garden and great technique on display. Forever at the top of our list is Suzuya on Devonshire St Surry Hills. This place serves quality Japanese, with fresh ingredients, big portions and reasonably priced. For Thai, Spice I am is a great option with interesting dishes and the spice levels are through the roof. Charcoal Kingdom in Rockdale is geat for your fix of Lebanese Charcoal chicken with garlic sauce and across the road is an awesome Lebanese Patisserie called Ibrahims, making for a great dinner and dessert combo. We also love a good pie and sausage roll, so Bourke St Bakery are on the list. You simply cannot do a cheap eats list with out Bahn Mi and there are two that rise above the pack, Hong Ha for their chicken Bahn mi and Marrickville Pork Roll for their Pork Roll. Butter in Surry Hills great for some fried chicken booze and their cinnamon doughnut is simply ridiculous. We will also add some sweet – Gelato Messina always has a special place in our heart and we have now added Ciccone and sons to that list.

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Image – Bellbird

Dining

There are also plenty of great eating experiences around town. Sashimi Shingensumi was an amazing experience in Crows Nest. A small restaurant run by a husband and wife team, serving a beautiful sushi and sashimi degustation feast with masterful knife skill on display all for $70 and, it is BYO too. Although it is very difficult to secure a spot, the phone only open for booking once every three months, it is worth the wait.

Another great experience was the Basque Club Gure Txoko, which we found out about this gem through SBS food. This social club in Darlinghurst representing an ancient culture from the North of Spain and South of France, rich in culture and famous for their cuisine. Open every Sunday, putting on a delicious 3 course lunch for $30. There is also a good selection of booze and it is super cheap too.

There are also plenty of great reasonably priced meals to be had in Sydney. Peppercorn at the Civic being the pick of the bunch, you’d be hard pressed to find a meal with more flavour and it is a great fusion of Laotian and Thai cusine. Da Mario’s is good for some authentic pizza and Pino’s Vino e Cucina for some great pasta. We will also include Ho Jiak for some quality Malaysian food.

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Image – Ho Jiak

Bars

Big Poppa’s is a great spot for a drink with a bite to eat. Then there is Mjolner for a hearty feed and a great whisky list. The GPO cheese room for both their cheese and wine experience. Our favourite new bar is Redfern Surf Club for their party vibe and creative cocktails.

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Image – Mjolner

Fine dining

For something fancy, and on those special occasions, Fujisaki was a favourite with their classy display of Japanese cuisine and it is also great value. We revisited LuMi and it again makes the list, we love the sophisticated flavour combinations. Cirrus at Barangaroo is a great new addition, keeping up to those hats with a high quality seafood dishes by the water. Aqua dining in Milsons Point another great waterfront dining venue and we love that it is BYO. A classic, Macleay St Bistro has made the cut with a great offering of classic French food, done very well and some charismatic service.

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Image – Fujisaki

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Image – Cirrus

Out of Town

Out of town there have been a few standouts. A late visit to Canberra really suprised us. We knew they had some great cafès, however the number of quality establishments is understated. In fact, Canberra could quite possibly challange Sydney in this regard. We had a beautiful brunch at Urban Pantry, a great atmosphere and so many top menu items. It has been one of our favourite cafes of the year.

Image – Urban Pantry

We also had a wonderful meal at Raku, a phenomenal Japanese Restaurant with a Robata grill and a top class sushi and sashimi station. Raku is a classy establishment and has a great Japanese drinks list.

Image – Raku

We also ventured to Wollongong on a number of occasions and quite enjoyed Lily J cafe, they had quality coffee on offer and some great healthy brunch items.

The Press cafè in Bowral was another revelation with good coffee and quality cafè fare was elegantly presented.

We also headed North to Newcastle Habesha Ethiopian restaurant was a pleasant suprise, the food and atmosphere were equally excellent.

Image – The Press Cafe

We hope this list helps you to also enjoy some great dining!

Kurt and Sarah

 

Rolling Stones Exhibitionism

Attention all fans of the Rolling Stones! Australia is lucky enough to have an exhibition of the famous, brilliant and influential British band that is the Rolling Stones.

Known as a band that were pushing the boundaries in a Beatles dominated period, they evolved into somewhat of an “anti-Beatles” image, with music and lifestyle that was a bit edgier, breaking from the pop field of the day.

Held in the ICC, Darling Harbour, the exhibit features so much of the pop culture: fashion items, movie posters, instruments and full replicas of their original apartment and music studio.

With over 500 pieces, it really is a superb demonstration of their life and career.

They’ve got a range of their clothes and costumes made by iconic designers such as Alexander McQueen and Gucci to name a few. These are on display so you can see a range of designs from their years of performing.

It’s a fully immersive exhibit and we loved the interactive components where you can mix their songs and heighten or lessen instruments featuring in the song, being your own producer in the recording studio. You can then enter the 3D space and feel like you’re at their concert with your 3D glasses and dance away!

It has really been done very well and extremely educational and interesting to visit.

Buy tickets through Ticketek and it is on display until Sun 3 Feb 2019.

Exhibit Times:
Sun-Wed: 10am-5pm
Thu-Sat: 10am-8pm

https://m.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=ROLLINGS19&utm_source=RSE&utm_medium=Organic&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=ROLLINGS19&USER_ID_=

ICC – 14 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour

Hurricanes – waterfront venue @ Brighton Le Sands

Hurricanes is a bar and grill famous for their ribs and BBQ meat selection. The Hurricanes menu is that popular, they have a number of venues around Sydney, including the original venue in Bondi, and newer venues in Chatswood, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. They also have a stores in Qld and a couple of express stores around Sydney.

We visited Hurricanes at their Brighton Le Sands location. Brighton Le Sands is one of the lesser known waterfront dining areas in Sydney. Hurricanes has a prime spot there, right on the waters edge, boasting views of our historical Botany Bay. It also has views of the airport and aeronautical enthusiasts can enjoy watching the planes taking off and landing over the bay.

Hurricanes Brighton Le Sands is spacious venue with floor to ceiling glass to take advantage of the views. It is extremely large with plenty of tables, 2 bars and open plan so you could easily host a large party. We were informed they were booked up with 350 people for New Years Eve.

We arrived right on noon and it was just opening. We were promptly taken to our table, right at the windows with a lovely outlook. We perused the menu and staff updated us with the daily specials.

Hurricanes are famous for their ribs and steaks and they use a unique basting sauce to provide a lovely flavour to their meats. Meat cuts are all halal certified from their suppliers and can have no sauce upon request. They may not be known first and foremost as a seafood restaurant, but there’s plenty of seafood options too.

Our visit to Hurricane’s saw us try some of these seafood options, beginning with the scallops. Perfectly cooked, the scallops were served in the open shell, atop sweet potato purée, resembling the look of roe. We thoroughly enjoyed this start to the meal.

Following on from this, we ordered one of the specials, the grilled whole barramundi. It was soft and flaky, with the flesh falling from the bone. We enjoyed this with lemon and a side salad.

We couldn’t go past ordering a steak, which Hurricanes are notorious for. There’s numerous meats and cuts to select from. Whether it be the rump, strip stirloin, fillet tenderloin or T bone, you will find your perfect match. Wagyu, dry aged or long fed beef, Hurricanes sure know their meats. We went for the dry aged beef, aged for 21 days, served as a strip loin on the bone (400g), the flavour was lovely and it was cooked spot on to our request. Meats come with your choice of fries, salad or baked potato and you can order a sauce to accompany it.

Hurricanes also serve other main menu items like beef cheeks, lamb cutlets, pork knuckle, grilled chicken, burgers and more. If you are super hungry or a couple wanting to share a meal Hurricanes have a number of combo deals like steak and ribs or meat or seafood platters. There’s desserts and cocktails to top off your dining experience. The menu is certainly extremely approachable so we imagine it would satisfy any dining party.

We enjoyed our visit to Hurricanes Grill and would like to thank the restaurant and staff for their hospitality and Spooning Australia and Food Shot Sydney for the invitation to dine.

https://hurricanesgrill.com.au

95 The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW 2216

Hurricane's Grill Brighton-Le-Sands Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato