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Music | Posse

Black Star, the new cafe Powerhouse

February 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Indie

The name Black Star has become quickly synonymous with some of the most popular pastries in Sydney; and their new cafe is set to become yet another culinary powerhouse, literally.

The fresh Black Star institution is situated just next door to Sydney’s renowned Powerhouse Museum, making it a prime attraction for exhibition enthusiasts and Ultimo office workers alike. But don’t let the cafe’s status as the latest edition of a relatively young company fool you into thinking they haven’t got the staples down pat.

The bacon and egg roll is perfectly cooked and brought to life with a tangy twist in the tomato style sauce; coupled with some consistently good Little Marionette coffee, it’s a pretty snazzy start to the day. Particularly if that start is on the run into a solid day at the museum.

Inside

The edgy new cafe’s layout

The colourful, modern layout gives everyone heaps of space to chill out and enjoy some of the famous treats prepared by Christopher The and his crew of talented pastry chefs. The large, open kitchen provides a cheeky view into the intense inner workings of the cafe’s talented chefs; and it’s nice to see where all the food is coming from.

Most importantly, there’s no let down on quality. The pastries are just as good as we’ve come to expect from the Newtown and Rosebery establishments. Personal testament can be paid to the Custard Tart which, even at 9am was a superb way to round off breakfast.

Drop by or stay up to date on Instagram or Twitter.

The Vegetarian Guide to Suckling Pig

January 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm

sign

The vegetarians among us will understand that there are a few times on your travels when you will have thrown your hands up and let the meat eaters do their thing. In Ubud, Bali, this situation is unavoidable as the lure of the famous Babi Guling draws travellers in.

The Babi Guling, or suckling pig is a traditional Balinese cuisine that was brought to the world’s attention by travel and food writer Anthony Bourdain. Ever since Boudain visited Ibu Oka in 2007 and claimed that he had reached “the mountaintop of pork”, foodies everywhere have flocked to get a piece of the meat. As the years have gone by however, the word on the streets and amongst the backpackers is that there is a new kid on the block who follows the same traditional recipes that has made the Babi Guling such a sought after dish.

201008_34_baliThe Babi Guling is prepared by hand at each step of the process

You would almost think that you had read your map wrong or stumbled into someone’s house when you enter Jalan Raya Mas. Amidst plastic chairs, a crate of Bintang and a few warm bottles of Sprite sit beside the women who prepare the delicacy. It’s a friendly welcome, but vegetarians beware: the only thing meat free is the beer.

Like many things in Bali, the pig is prepared entirely by hand. An entire pig is stuffed with chilli, ginger and salam leaf before being stitched up and roasted on a spit over an open flame. This six-hour-long process is only interrupted for the women to rub sweet coconut water on the pig’s skin to start the caramelisation process.

babi guling porsiTender pork, wafer thin crackling and a cacophony of Balinese flavours

The (from what I’m told) extremely tender meat is served with rice, a spicy shredded pork soup and for the daring, a slab of pork blood sausage. The crowning jewel of any pig dish however is the crackling. The sound alone is enough to answer a pork lovers prayers as the skin cracks and crunches into shards like a layer of thin toffee.

Babi Guling is certainly an experience to withhold, whether you’re an omnivore or not. This tiny restaurant takes you away from the crowds and into a world of food that is truly, utterly, uniquely Balinese. But vegetarian to vegetarian? Use it as leverage to drag the meat eaters to the Indian joint down the road for a yummy and cheap vegetable curry!

 

 

High Tea, Bali Style

December 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm

biku outside

If you are a hungry traveller, you are spoilt for choice once you step into the heart of Seminyak. The streets are filled with bars and restaurants which all boast delectable dishes from around the world. If you wander a little further however, past the Crab Shack and newly renovated restaurants, you will discover Biku.

Tucked away under a leafy canopy and away from the busy streets is this cafe which aims to reinvigorate their patron’s love for high tea. You could choose to order from their breakfast menu (trust me, it’s good) but to really experience what Biku does best, grab a friend to share the Asian High Tea for Two. This $19 feast will see you work your way through a fusion of Eastern and Western flavours, starting with your choice of Biku’s house made tea, ice cold to cool you down or as hot as you like it.

high-tea-biku-21Choose from the traditional high tea (pictured) or the Asian High Tea for Two

The bottom layer of this impressive spread offers Samosas, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, curried egg sandwiches and an interesting flavour companion in the form of Ayam sisit (shredded Balinese chicken) with Sambal Matah Tart. The top layer gets a little sweeter with everything from free standing pineapple jelly to date scones with homemade Biku jam. The flavours seem so different that they shouldn’t work, yet the beauty of Biku is that everything is thrown together to make a fusion that keeps you longing for more.

It’s becoming one of Seminyak’s worst kept secrets, so if you want a table it’s best to book in advance. For something a little different you could throw in a tarot card reading on top of that reservation because that’s just another part of the Biku experience.

A Day at the Circus

December 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm

seacirucs

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Sea Circus Seminyak is some kind of acrobatic based tourist attraction. It’s just so much better than that. Sea Circus answers the prayers of weary, hungover travellers who are in search of a good breakfast and a strong cup of coffee.

The team at Sea Circus offer up a lot things with their perfect coffee. Each pastel coloured cup comes with a fortune cookie-type-note giving words of wisdom for you to mull over while you peruse the menu.

If words of wisdom are not enough to sooth your throbbing head however, you could always opt for the ‘Sin City’ breakfast which provides you with the standard fare of eggs and all the sides, but also throws in a panadol and berocca shot to make the hangover pass a little quicker! If your neck is sore from a long flight, the ‘Liver Love’ breakfast can soothe you with a plate of poached eggs, tropical fruit salad and herbal tea, all to be enjoyed with a complimentary massage.

eggsThe hunt for the perfect yolk begins and ends at Sea Circus

This place might sound a little quirky, and it is, but it’s definitely unmissable. The walls are covered inside and out with pastel murals and the long tables are the perfect place to share a meal with friends. Top of the list in the beverage department has to be the two scoop vanilla milkshake which is served in a tall frosty glass, with flecks of black vanilla pod floating from top to bottom.

coffeeeeWise words delivered with each coffee

Certainly strange, certainly quirky but certainly wonderful in every way.

The Li’l Darlin of Darlinghurst

December 12, 2014 at 10:37 am
Prosciutto that literally makes the mouth water... Source: Li'l Darlin

Prosciutto that literally makes the mouth water… Source: Li’l Darlin

Located in the heart of Darlinghurst, and just a five minute walk from Kings Cross station, Kieran McKinn found Li’l  Darlin to be a welcome change, breaking the monotonous trend of usual joints that he and his mates usually end up in.

After jogging through the rain, I would be forgiven for having to do a double take to find this inconspicuous bar. Shaking my rain sodden hair, I was welcomed with a chorus of chatter as vintage lamps and lanterns bathed a series of stone tables in a golden glow. To my surprise, half of Sydney had braved the weather and the venue was bursting at the seams.

My visit to the cocktail bar was for a friend’s 21st and without wanting to waste the bar tab (as good friends do) we sampled some of the finest cocktails Sydney has to offer. Not only did they taste exceptional, but they were presented in a pleasantly unique manner. Step back into your childhood with the hundreds and thousands cocktail, a refreshing mix of homemade apple and strawberry juice, infused with lemon and vodka (and of course the topping that turns any slice of buttered bread into fairy goodness).

If you’re not too worried about your waistline, my drink of choice for the night was the pomegranate sour, a combination of white rum, apple juice, lemon and lime, with a crusty exterior coated in vanilla sugar.  After walking into Li’l Darlin, positively anti-rum, my taste buds were easily overwhelmed and were constantly thirsty for a follow-up jar.

Little Darlin_002

Pamper yourself with the fairy floss cocktail. Source: Li’l Darlin

The variety of food at Li’l Darlin compliments the extensive range of cocktails on offer. Whilst the kitchen provides pastries, pizzas, salads and sides, the tapas made for the perfect snack. The Bocconcini cheese platter filled with chargrilled vegetables and an assortment of dips were a huge hit and didn’t last long at our table. Whilst I didn’t get a chance to give the pizzas a crack, it appears the chefs really know their stuff.

For those with a sweeter tooth, give the desserts a shot, especially the vanilla & orange panna cotta with berries & mint compote. If you don’t want anything too heavy, then nibble on a li’l dried fruit, nuts, water biscuits and a selection of imported cheese (a perfect light meal for two).

How's the serenity - there's plenty of room to move around at Li'l Darlin

The open space bar facilitates for both food enthusiasts and those looking to sample a range of cocktails. Source Lil’ Darlin

The best part is that a night out at Li’l  Darlin isn’t going to hit your back pocket too hard. Offering all the luxuries of a quintessential bar, the cocktails are reasonably priced at around $17 each. The smaller sides and tapas are the best option and you can get away with bread, olive oil and balsamic for $5 or share a platter with friends for a bargain $28.

Li’l Darlin is ideal for those wanting to head out for a few quiet drinks with friends, date night or as I found out, a great opener for a hen’s or buck’s party. Open from 4pm till late, make sure you pencil it in for your next post-work drinks. I’ll see you there with a pomegranate rum in hand!

Say goodbye to food regret at Mexicano

November 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Let’s be honest, one of the most stressful parts of ordering a meal is the ever present “food regret”. You think you’re choosing the right dish and when everyone gets served, you get that sinking feeling. Thankfully, you can avoid this dining disaster by visiting Mexicano, another addition to Neutral Bay’s restaurant scene that encourages groups to share and try each dish. Problem solved.

mexicanoNew digs in Neutral Bay for Mexicano

Even though it’s tucked between the slew of new small bars in  Waters Rd, you’ll be able to spot Mexicano straight away with the huge skull that marks the spot. Step inside, and you’ll be welcomed by long community style share tables with mural style art splattered across them. Sharing is the aim of the game so the best way to start is with a plate of fries with Valentine sauce. Next for appetisers? Anything with chipotle mayo.

friesThese hand cut fries are made daily in Mexicano’s signature potato press

As you move to main course, your food regret anxiety might begin to kick in. But don’t worry. The best way to play it is to order a round of tacos and quesadillas for the table. If you’ve got a vegetarian in the group, the triple cheese quesadillas are the way to go. For the carnivores amongst you, it’s certainly worth ordering the slow cooked beef brisket tacos with Mexican slaw. Throw in some fish tacos for good measure and everybody will be happy.

The only time you might want to keep a course to yourself is dessert. The team at Mexicano have put together a dessert menu that goes from the humble ice-cream sandwich to salted caramel and ancho chilli chocolate truffles (there’s four to a serve but maybe you should keep that information to yourself).

Mexicano may be the new kid on the block but the locals are already flooding to get their fix.

2a Waters Rd, Neutral Bay

8969 6366

Opening Hours:

Tues-Sat from 6pm

Weekend bookings essential

Fully licensed 

 

 

A Priceless Day in Sydney

November 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm

glebe

Sydney locals will tell you that spending a day and a night out in the city is not a cheap task. It’s time to plan your summer days around a few Sydney secrets that will keep your friends happy and your wallet full.

Amidst the jumble of cafes and bookstores on Glebe Point Rd you can find the Glebe markets, the perfect place to start your day with a search amongst the bric-a-brac and some seriously yummy food. The stalls are spread over the local public school and guide you on a windy path through handmade jewellery, second hand clothes and original artworks. You can grab a Turkish coffee or homemade lemonade to tide your over until you have picked through the trinkets and clothes, all to the soundtrack of the live bands that set up their instruments in the far corner of the school. It’s the vibe of the place that makes a day at the markets a relaxing start to the weekend.

glebe marketsSoaking up the sun with some live tunes is the best way to enjoy a tasty market lunch.

After you’ve scored a few good finds, it’s best to sprawl out on the grass with a spot of lunch. The yard stick of good market food seems to be the good old Gozleme, which is freshly rolled and fried in record time by the seamless crew behind the stall. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter to munch on in the sunshine, the salads with vegie balls are a market favourite. This is part one to your cheap and cheerful day in Sydney. It’s best to take your time and enjoy the ambience before moving onto phase two.

australianyouthhotel

As afternoon sets in and the tired stall owners pack away their colourful wares, the next step is an evening drink in the beer garden at the Australian Youth Hotel. The dappled sunlight serves as some cooling relief on a warm day. Sharing a bottle of rose is surprisingly cheap but if you’re more of a beer drinker, there are plenty of on tap ales and lagers to choose from. You can settle in here all afternoon is you want but by dinner time you might want to save a little cash and head out for a cheap feast.

eggplantSoy braised eggplant is a Cho favourite (Source)

When you’ve spent your day idly wandering from one place to the next, you’ll definitely be woken up with a trip down the road to the outskirts of China Town. Appearances can certainly be deceptive when you’re choosing a place to grab some dumplings with friends but don’t be fooled. The only way you will be able to tell how good Cho Dumpling King is from the outside, is by the line that snakes out the door. While you queue up, send a friend to the bottle shop for some wine and beers before you get ushered over to a group table. It’s best to come prepared with some meals in mind as the service is quick. The soft and sticky fried eggplant is always a hit (especially to soak up some of that afternoon drinking) and obviously a generous few rounds of different dumplings are in order. You’ll be shocked to find that this variable feast will barely cost you more than $10 and it’s some of the best Chinese food Sydney has to offer.

So there you have it. A few new knick knacks to add to your collection, a great summertime pub and deliciously cheap meal to round it all off. Sydney’s perfect day, for a perfect price.


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