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The sexiest all-day breakfast you’ll ever eat

November 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

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It’s no secret that Newtown eateries can whip together a mean brekkie. Ryan Auberson-Walsh fesses up as to why Hoochie Mamma Cafe is the perfect amount of naughty. 

Strategically positioned opposite the Sydney University Village, Hoochie’s ample space (with over 100 seats) serves the bustling student population very well come lunchtime.

Featuring the likes of an ocean trout salad garnished with heirloom tomato and horseradish, you’ll struggle to choose something from the impressive menu. It, along with incredibly an rich classic Caesar, are definitely at the top of Sydney’s salad options. But as tasty and creamy as some of the salads, pastas (one can never say no to the prawn linguini) and sandwiches are, Hoochie is all about the ultimate breakfast.

Dished out between 7am and 3 in the afternoon, anyone from uni students to all night partiers (though we could suggest they’re one and the same) can roll out of bed and still chow down effortlessly crisp bacon or toasted muesli.

Standouts on the menu include the lumberjack omelette (chorizo, mushrooms and fetta), sweet corn fritters (bacon, baby spinach, avocado and tomato relish) and the Big Hoochie (2 eggs, bacon, mushrooms, roast tomato, hash browns and pork sausage).

Chocolate berry muffins. Source

Chocolate berry muffins. Source

Yet vegetarians should not despair – around half the choices are suitably overloaded with fruits and frijoles instead of being crammed with meat. Give the ricotta hotcakes (topped with sour cherries, vanilla bean mascarpone and toasted almonds) or brekkie bruschetta (ricotta, field mushrooms, roast tomato, avocado and parsley) a whirl – both are plated to perfection, and just as magnificent in your stomach as on your plate.

Fully-licensed, anyone up for continuing a potential bender-breakfast can sip on a wine, beer or cider. Though we strongly encourage you to choose a hot coffee – they’re ideal to have with one of the daily baked muffins that in the past have ranged from fig, walnut and mascarpone to boysenberry and white chocolate.

Be a little wicked and treat yourself.

Eat like an Italian at Bertoni

November 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm
Carbonara. Image by Paula F Machado

Carbonara. Image by Paula F Machado

Typically Italian from the food to the facade, Bertoni’s Farrer Place restaurant is one of the greatest city spots for easy pasta. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

We’ve mentioned before that we love Bertoni’s restaurateur talent – their original Balmain venture a dear friend whenever we want to opt for some hearty Italian. But we’re yet to introduce you to their most recent establishment that’s opened up on the northern end of the Sydney CBD.

Sitting underneath a busy office tower on the corner of Bent and Phillip Streets, the pasta palace has been given a rustic Bertoni branding. With glossy white tiles covering the walls contrasted against elegant black wooden bench tops, the décor is subtle and not overpowering, leaving the quality and colours of the food to stand out.

Upon entry you’re greeted by friendly staff smiles and the cheeky odour of pastries splayed out in the counter display. The welcoming smell of brewing coffee (we all know Italians can whip together the greatest coffee) punctuates the nostrils and the aromas of the open kitchen waft throughout the restaurant.

Marinara. Photo by Paula F Machado

Marinara. Photo by Paula F Machado

Separated by a sleek shelving unit dotted with vino bottles and glasses, patrons can see, hear and smell their orders being freshly prepared – the one sense it leaves you without is taste, but the intimate atmosphere of the lunch crowds puts you at ease while you wait with anticipation for your dish (Take note, they’ll be staying open later for dinner very soon).

And what dishes they are! Prosciutto paninis and the famous favourite, the wonderfully cheesy lasagne burger, are all on the menu. It’s also worth trying the Pasta Bertoni for a delightful blend of baked pasta with smoked ham, salami, peas, mozzarella and Napoli sauce.

You’ve got to give it to them – as much as your Italian pals insist their mother makes the best pasta, Bertoni certainly sets a new benchmark.

 

Sweets just a Flour and Stone’s throw from Sydney

November 20, 2014 at 10:39 am
Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake. Image by Sihan Lee

Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake. Image by Sihan Lee

Sadly not everyone loves a good slice of cake or chocolate tart, but Ryan Auberson-Walsh thinks that even carbophobes can’t resist a cheeky nibble at Flour and Stone.

Strawberry honey & rosemary brulee.

That is just one of the many amazing sweet options on today’s daily menu at Flour and Stone, a quaint Woolloomooloo cafe providing the best of Sydney’s baking.

Sitting countertop beside the brulee are berry pavlovas, hazelnut torte, salted caramel and chocolate tarts, old fashioned vanilla cake, and chocolate, raspberry and buttermilk cakes. We could go on…

At the helm is master baker Nadine Ingram who has garnered skills from experience at Le Gavroche, Bourke St Bakery and London’s the Ivy, every morsel of food from the sandwiches to her famous lemon drizzle cake is exquisite. From preparation to plate, her work is utterly perfect – and delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it all.

Pulling all sorts of sugary things out of the oven isn’t the end of the story. Today’s menu also consists of asparagus, mint and pea galettes, chicken, leek and tarragon pies and zucchini, chilli and gruyere buns – among many other wholesome goods.

Image by Sihan Lee

Image by Sihan Lee

But her signature sweets are what keep locals flocking back, with her trademark pannacotta lamingtons, rustic cookies and hand-iced gingerbread (there’s enough cute cutouts of monkeys, foxes, pencils and cat to break the internet) often selling out before the city crowds can ready themselves for a lunchtime feast.

Nibbled upon with the accompaniment of finely brewed Alchemy coffee and Rabbit Hole tea, Ingram’s delectables are highly praised citywide, and if you’re not 100 per cent sold on throwing your sugar-free diet out the window just yet, we think it best you swing by the inner-city café and just try not to purchase anything. Best of luck – You’ll have ordered a takeaway tart as soon as the incredible smells wafting from the countertop hit you in the face.

 

The 5 best things about southwest Sydney

November 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Sure, it might be slightly hotter and drier out west during summer, but there’s so much to love about Liverpool and its surrounds. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

1. Asian food

Apart from a few ethnic enclaves such as Haymarket, Chatswood and Ashfield, there really is nowhere as authentically Asian as Cabramatta. Food bloggers consistently rave about the tremendous quality and presentation of the dishes served here, and cuisines range from Vietnamese and Thai to Chinese and Cambodian.

It’s also where you’ll find the best pho and banh mi (pork rolls) in Sydney, with endless choices lining the bustling streets. Scattered among colourful fabric shops, electronics stores and bakeries, the abundance of amazing Asian food here is really something worth experiencing – and it’s a solid example of how deliciously multicultural Australia is! Two favourites include Pho 54 and Pho Tau Bay, with many dishes under $10.

 2. Op-shopping

Who’da thunk it? Liverpool has some of the greatest op shopping in NSW, and there’s really no mystery as to why.

As part of a more traditionally working class suburban area, there are a great number of charity organisations that set up shop here providing affordable clothing for the thousands of families living on a tight budget. That trend caught on and second hand boutiques began springing up around the suburb over a decade ago.

Now you’re essentially spoilt for choice – it’s an op shoppers dream, with vintage Levis and Ben Sherman shirting a fairly regular find in the men’s sections of each store. Moore St is home to one of the oldest and greatest (One Moore Time), the shop owner clearly blessed with excellent pun skills.

Monika’s Pre Loved Clothing on Railway St is also just a short walk from the station – a great starting point for any spending spree if you’re coming from another part of Sydney – and from there you’ll find a number of regional second-hand stores including Vinnies, Salvos, Anglicare, Lifeline and Big Heart Op-Shop.

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A hearty Ristretto salad. Source

3. Ristretto & Co

When it comes to a good cuppa, Liverpool has more of a burgeoning coffee culture, but that doesn’t mean a few existing cafes don’t whip up a solid cappuccino.

Enter Ristretto & Co on Northumberland St. It brings an inner city Italian flair that would be more commonly associated with Paddington or Newtown.

Featuring everyone’s favourite Campos coffee, the menu is warm and homely, complimenting the Italian heritage of the cooking. On offer are tasty paninis, enormous salads and eggs in every shape and form. We also encourage you to try the Big Brekky – it may very well be the most wonderfully plated dish on the menu.

Rachel Park's 'At the time it didn't resonate' (2014), as part of the 'Subject to Ruin' exhibition. Image supplied.

Rachel Park’s ‘At the time it didn’t resonate’ (2014), as part of the ‘Subject to Ruin’ exhibition. Image supplied.

4. Casula Powerhouse

An outstanding gallery and performance space housed in a gentrified 1950s power station, works featured rotate constantly, showing off the wonders and talents of western Sydney and beyond. Funded by Liverpool City Council, the building contains two artist studios, six gallery spaces a 326 seat theatre and outdoor areas with gardens and an amphitheatre.

First opening its doors as an arts centre in 1994, this twenty-year old space is the pride and joy of the local art scene.

This coming Saturday (November 22), it will host a Vintage Fashion Fair, and even the in-house Bellbird Café will be dishing up meals from the pages of the past century’s cookbooks.

Image by Jay La Photography

Musicians entertain the market crowds. Image by Jay La Photography

5. Liverpool Night Markets

Sydney City’s well-known Night Noodle Markets come alive every October for Good Food Month, but what many people outside of south-western Sydney don’t know is that out here we’ve got something splendid all year round.

Held on the first Saturday of every month from 4pm, the Liverpool Night Markets boast a melting pot of cultures and colours, with craft stalls, live music, clothing and food, glorious food. In the past, the markets have played host to talented chef Amina El Shafei from Masterchef and Fred’s Bush Tucker – a unique indigenous food experience.

The next market is to be held on December 6 and is all about Christmas, with carols, a tree lighting ceremony and stalls serving up all kinds of holiday treats. Here’s to hoping that gluhwein’s an option.

This ain’t your ordinary bistro

November 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Fish of the day. Source

Fish of the day. Source

An impressive list of restaurateurs has made Southbank’s fare synonymous with high quality dining, and our introduction of Downstairs Bistro & Lounge is no exception. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Binge eat through Balmain

November 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen

The Cottage Bar & Kitchen. Source

Sitting proudly along Balmain’s blossoming tree-lined streets are a generous number of dining spots pouring some of Sydney’s best coffee, and plating up tender treats for their patrons.

Many among them are already local institutions, but we think it’s time the word got out for people far and wide to swing on by, enjoy a cuppa and chow down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any naughty snacking in between. We’ve done the intense work (if you call eating your way through two suburbs a life-ruiner), and come up with our favourite dining order – but that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to a future return for any other mealtime munching. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh

Copo load of this joint

November 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm
House smoked trout baked eggs with creme fraiche, herbs and toast

House smoked trout baked eggs with creme fraîche, herbs and toast. Image by Eileen Kha

We have finally tracked down a Sydney brunch spot worth taking your mother-in-law to. A round of applause to Copo Cafe & Diner in Drummoyne. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh