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Sydney | Posse

Coffee by the horns

January 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

When passing through dense CBD corridors in Sydney, there’s a limited possibility you could stumble across some coffee action that’s as good as that in Melbourne. There’s the odd coffee shop bustling with caffeine-crazed commuters around the railway corridors, but buried in the northern end of the city is an iconic little place whose main focuses are coffee, coffee and coffee.

Cabrito Coffee Roasters is nestled proudly within the walls of history; the heritage building it’s positioned in teaming with regular activity behind the brick archway and pouring onto the sidewalk. With roaring chitchat from happy customers, owner Kit Cheong and his business partner Michael Cookson have stripped the building down leaving the original wooden flooring, rustic beams and patches of ‘historic paint’.

It’s a business design for success – but the Little Goat (that’s what Cabrito means in Español) would be nothing without the brewing talents of their baristas. Whether your poison is a full-bodied espresso or a rich and creamy cappuccino, they’ll work their magic and deliver every time.

For a spot not out in the open, being hidden away on Bulletin Place has served them well. Those who are in the know are treated as royal regulars and fresh faces are welcomed just as enthusiastically – it’s a comfort knowing their cosy location doesn’t leave them disadvantaged. Cabrito is basically just a Hispanic, goat-filled version of the Little Engine that Could.

With kitschy Keep Cups lining the shelves (in an array of sizes and materials, mind you), you’re well aware that they’re conscious about the planet’s waste. Though we feel it could, maybe, not likely, but possibly have something to do with the fact that if a takeaway cup is made of glass, not paper, any billy goats roaming down Bridge St would leave you the heck alone.

The cheesiest toasties can be found here. Image by Sheena and Thomas Southam

And food, glorious food… Well, there’s no hot sausage and mustard. But you will find some delectable sweet treats and savoury eats. From the famous cheese-loaded (ricotta, mozzarella and jamón) toastie and sandwiches to the rotating selection of contemporary LusciousKiki lamington flavours (think raspberry cocount, pink velvet or salted caramel) and pastries, there’s always something to accompany you on your journey to caffeine heaven.

If you’re having a downer of a day and in need of a pick me up, take action and swing on by. Grabbing the goat by the horns is exactly what you need to keep your spirits up.

Southwest Sydney’s cafe food of Angils.

January 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Bacon & egg brioche with provolone, aioli and smokey BBQ. Source

Bacon & egg brioche with provolone, aioli and smokey BBQ. Image by Katrina Pham

A lot can be said for a man who introduces great coffee to a region of Sydney long untouched by inner-west coffee connoisseurs in favour of something a tad closer to the city’s art-filled laneways and beachside barista hangouts. 

Frank Angilletta – who we believe to be an angel in disguise if his Italian last name isn’t enough – has successfully sculpted a café setup that suits the burgeoning southwest region of Sydney and become a mecca for Liverpool’s coffee-deprived residents.

Having grown up in the area, Angilletta says he “could see there wasn’t anywhere decent in Liverpool to get a cup of coffee.” And that’s how the idea for Ristretto & Co, his cosy Surry Hills-like terrace café that sits proudly next to St. Luke’s Church on Northumberland St, was born. He saw the opportunity, and like an angel, descended upon the narrow block of land with a plan to resurrect the area’s associations as a caffeine-dead-zone with that of abundant life.

Espresso Ristretto

Campos Coffee brewed to any bean-hunter’s top standards, every hot-drip beverage is a knockout. Flat white to foamy cappuccino, every cup is guaranteed to be a winner. And then there’s the rest of the drink menu – creamy hot chocolates, a T2 selection, and fresh orange juice, which we guarantee is 100% fresh – we witnessed a trolley load of the citrus fruit being delivered to the store room upon arrival.

Moving onto edibles, Ristretto is open for brekkie or lunch, but for anyone ready to take on the chef’s Italian cooking skills, lunchtime is where the menu has been weaved together from regions around Italia. There’s paninis and pastas of the day, traditional beef lasagne, pizza e toglio – and a vegetarian’s dream: bruschetta with grilled eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, Persian feta, rocket and pesto.

The ultimate bread board. Source

The ultimate bread board. Image by Katrina Pham

Despite the generous selection on offer after midday, breakfast is where the star players come out. From the simple, but sublime burnt fig and raisin toast to the extravagant bread boards layered with grilled truss tomatoes, poached eggs and a variety of meats or vegetables, there’s plenty to stress over when ordering. But the top dog is Angilletta’s favourite – “it would have to be our signature dish, the uovo in pomodoro,” which is free-range egg poached with chorizo, spinach & pomodoro sauce in a terracotta pot, served with toasted sourdough. The cost of this saucy monster? Less than $15.

Fig and raisin toast, Ristretto

Fig and raisin toast, with jam and butter.

Perhaps the greatest ensemble of coffee beans, Italian-esque delicacies and kitsch, mismatched furniture we’ve ever come across (you’ll also love the ferns dangling from the awning in the courtyard out back), guardian angel Angilletta has commenced construction on a second venture – and it’s almost finished.

Opening January 27 at 7am for the Monday rush, pop-up The Shed will bring new life to Bigge Park, servicing customers from the mega-sized Liverpool Hospital, TAFE and nearby transport interchange. “It’s a beautiful space on the grass,” Angilletta says. “The building is actually an old changing room that we’re fitting out.”

Opening soon... Source.

Opening soon… Source.

More of a tuckshop than hit Ristretto, the focus will be on easy meals and coffee. “But there’ll be sandwiches, salads and other produce made onsite at Ristretto and delivered daily,” he points out.

Regardless of the downsize to the amazing menu, The Shed will be a welcome addition to Liverpool’s café culture. Sitting on the grass, iced frappe in hand and munching on a grilled panini seems the perfect way to spend a lunch break, or heck – any time of day.

Being situated so close to the station, there’ll be no excuses from any inner-city coffee fiends not to pop by and revel in the new Liverpool that Angel-etta is helping create.

Something special in Canley Vale

January 12, 2015 at 12:27 pm
TK Something Octopus

They may have eight legs, but you’ll need eight stomachs to get through every dish. Source

Canley Vale is essentially the lesser-known, quiet underachieving brother of Asian cuisine behemoth Cabramatta. And he’s currently going through puberty, becoming more and more well rounded as the months go by.

About 1500 metres from the most popular eateries in Canley Heights, another hotspot for Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes, TK Something claims an all-you-can-eat throne. It’s here, for around $30 per person that the best of south-western Sydney is in the spotlight, the restaurant basking in a glow that lasts well past sunset and into the late evening before closing time.

Roaring crowds of local families from backgrounds that encompass much of South East Asia flood the restaurant on the daily. They come for the simplicity offered in a self-serve, buffet-style Korean BBQ restaurant.

Sweet or spicy - you're spoilt for choice with the sauce selection. Source

Sweet or spicy – you’re spoilt for choice with the sauce selection. Source

As an accompaniment to the classic sweet chilli, soy and sriracha, a range of Korean sauces are also perched on the large wooden table tops for those more traditionally inclined. But breaking traditions and blending cultures is what contemporary dining is all about.

Rather than being limited to a few choices of poultry or red meat, TK Something goes all out and offers a wider variety of meats than found on Old MacDonald’s farm. Ranging from pork belly and chicken breast to kangaroo and octopus, they’ve scoured their local supplier for the best picks for us to chow down.

Got s Source

Got beef? Or are you more of a chicken? Source

With the option of choosing as many plates as you want, the only ‘difficulty’ is that TK, like a number of barbeque restaurants, is not pre-cooked. You need to pick up a pair of tongs and rotate your own beef strips or calamari, grilling it to your own preferred standards.

But relax – you won’t go entirely hungry as your meat sears in front of you. Scattered between you and your dining companions are several side dishes to peck at – there’s boiled white rice, iceberg lettuce, cucumber strips and of course, kimchi.

Kimchi or Cucumber? It isn't all about the spice and rice.

Kimchi or Cucumber? It isn’t all about the spice and rice. Source

Once you’ve dunked your dishes in sauces and cleared your plates, make sure there’s room for dessert – it’s the first time the word buffet makes total sense – as you wander towards the small fridge in the centre of the restaurant and make your choice from numerous rotating desserts. Pana cotta, crème brûlée, fresh watermelon and sliced oranges feature upon last visit, each worth trying if you’ve saved enough space.

Ready to take on the blossoming teen of South-West Sydney? We hope so – Canley Vale’s sure to be a stud in the future with joints like TK Something dotted along their main street.

Popping tags in Sydney’s Inner-West

December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Anglicare Summer Hill

Sydney’s Inner West is an area known for its quirky vibe and unique fashion culture. There’s the popular, cool hubs like the vintage stores in Newtown (Cream or Holy Kitsch spring to mind), but there are awesome finds in other, lesser explored suburbs that only the locals seem privy to. Words by Larissa Shearman

The cool thing about thrift shopping is the excitement you get from rummaging through good quality clothes until you find the perfect piece. I’ve popped some tags in the area’s star thrift shops and they’re ready for your 99 cents. Oh and, we encourage you to play this in the background as you read – it sets the mood.

Leichhardt Vinnies

This bright, cosy shop has such a great selection of dresses – there is a particular wall that’s like a holy grail, dedicated to every variety imaginable. I also like the jackets here – you can find classic leather ones for a steal or go nuts with some funky styles. I was surprised to see luggage in really good condition – something that certainly isn’t easy to get for a great price. I stood in front of the book wall for ages, astounded by the amount and variety to choose from.

This is the type of place you hope to stumble into, and when you do, you don’t want to leave. I also like how organised the clothes are, it makes it easily shoppable and super inviting for everyone. Key take-away: If a novice like me can do it, anyone can find something here.

Summer Hill Anglican Shop

This is the real place (pictured above) I’ve been bragging about since I first visited. It’s the kind of venture where some experience in thrift shopping is necessary, or you’ll be completely overwhelmed. That, or a strong will to unearth something truly spectacular.

If you’re up for the challenge, the sheer amount of clothes in this place will get you excited. There are large tubs filled to the brim of mixed clothes – children’s, women’s and men’s. You really don’t know what you’re going to pull out. It’s because of this that you pay by the kilo – so get ready to rummage.

This kind of shopping is really appealing and it lends itself to the traditional idea of thrift shopping. You could find nothing, or anything. It’s super rewarding when you find something you really want.

For those who are looking for something more selective, there’s the ‘Marketplace’, a room attached to the main warehouse where clothes have been hand picked to impress. I scored a great (and as it turns out, designer) jacket from this special room, which didn’t cost a pretty penny as if it were still in mint condition. This is the place where your keen designer label senses will tingle, and you should enjoy everything it has to offer.

Something else I found interesting about this store is that they have a brilliant selection of kid’s toys and gift packs ready to go. This is worth a look if you have the need for something for children, considering how expensive children’s toys can be at retail price – and knowing what time of year we’re now in, it’s certainly a smart idea for some cheap and easy present shopping.

Salvos Tempe

Op shop salvation – sitting directly off the Princes Highway, the Tempe Salvos store is conveniently located and even has its own car park, so there’s no excuse not to swing by. It reminds me more of a department store, with so many other things on offer than just clothes – there’s furniture, home décor, electronics and other household staples.

If you do come for clothes you won’t be disappointed at all, with rows and rows of funky wear for all ages. The one thing I loved about this place is how ridiculously cheap some of the clothes are – there are different sales on particular days, so I was lucky enough to go when the cute shorts I wanted were one dollar! It really was like a fantasy turned reality. There’s a certain thrill about checking to see if the clothes you love have the sale tag on them, the sign of a discount on already crazy cheap clothes.

They also have my favourite policy in the world – No eftpos minimum. Those three magic words mean you could not have a more relaxed thrift shopping experience.

If you’re a long-time thrifter, you’ll love the choice and variety when you hit up these places. But to be fair – there’s nothing greater than the thrill you feel as a newbie on the scene. No place is like the other, and when it comes to the inner-west op shop scene, there’s few parts of Sydney that can boast the greatest collection of grandad-like garments.

Where else have you found a solid bargain? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter (see below)!

 

 

Tiny packs a large, hazelnut punch

December 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Bombs away - The Nutella Bomb's a taste explosion. Source

Bombs away – The Nutella Bomb’s a taste explosion. Source

After first visit to Piccolo Me, it’s difficult to determine whether they take their name from a translation of the Italian word for small – their adorable hole-in-the-wall setup and a pint-sized coffee hit both coming to mind – or that of the lesser-known woodwind instrument. 

Much alike the Pied Piper leading a trail of tiny beings behind him, the growing café chain’s specialties seem to wield a similar power, beckoning foodies near and far. Success for them is in the menu; their unique creations not found anywhere else in Sydney.

One key item reappears several times as you scan the menu for the most weather-appropriate sweet treat: Nutella. Deliciously rich and creamy hazelnut goodness whipped together in a family-run factory found in the hilly region of northwest Italy.

Every creature on this planet – I once saw a squirrel nibbling on some from a tossed-aside jar in Germany – is a fan of the good stuff. Its mother company Ferrero would probably win the title of ‘Best chocolate factory of all time’, runners up Lindt, Cadbury and the completely real Willy Wonka all kicking themselves in jealousy.

But down here in Sydney, titles don’t really matter – it’s all about the flavoursome qualities of a product, and this is where Piccolo Me have found a business winner, now operating seven citywide cafés that stretch from their latest shopfront on the CBD’s King St to Bella Vista in Norwest Business Park.

For the caffeine savvy, there’s the Esprookie – a store-baked choc chip and Nutella cookie cup sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts and accompanied by a hot espresso syringe. It’s ideal for those who mightn’t wish to fill their ‘mug’ to the brim.

Chocolate chip + nutella + espresso = happiness a.k.a The Esprookie. Source

Chocolate chip + nutella + espresso = happiness a.k.a The Esprookie. Source

Then there’s the equally delectable Nutella Bomb – a thick block of hazelnut chocolate on a stick plated beside a glass of hot milk, which can be made into a hot chocolate or mocha. Slurp this down with their latest creation, the Crotop (Nutella-stuffed mini croissant bite topped with peanut M&Ms or hazelnuts), which is bound to infuriate the most conservative Frenchman alive.

And for the affogato lovers? They’ve got you covered with two menu regulars – the Nutellagato or The Cookiegato (with that delicious choc chip and Nutella cookie base), both complemented with vanilla ice cream, double ristretto and chocolate flakes.

Is your mouth ready to give a few of these a go? You won’t even have to leave your office – a number of Piccolo Me stores do catering.

And then there’s the most important question for any brides-to-be – have you got your wedding catered yet?

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!

Wine and dine at Wynyard’s Panzerotti

December 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm
Panzerotti-Bar-96

Poached eggs for brekkie anyone? Source

The freshly relocated Panzerotti is back with a bang. And Ryan Auberson-Walsh is pretty happy with the new offerings.

A favourite restaurant contender for the busy CBD crowds, Panzerotti is generally open for breakfast through to late lunch weekdays, whipping up some of the most filling Italian-style dishes in Sydney.

Having recently moved to a new location with more room for the lunchtime rush, they’re now wedged underneath a heritage sandstone church with views opposite of Wynyard Park. But it’s also meant that their humble café has transformed into a new after hours bar and restaurant, becoming a hub to unwind and relax after a stressful day in the office.

Panzerotti bar snack

Lamb croquettes – part of the new bar menu. Source

With the move has also come a new menu – having been granted a liquor licence they’ve come up with some quirky cocktails that are just as delicious to taste than they appear on paper. The Bees Knees is exactly as it sounds, blending whiskey, pineapple, lime, honey and mint, while the Days End is something wicked to wind down with – bison vodka, basil, lemon and white vermouth.

Beers include the inevitable Peroni (what Italian bar is complete without this), Vale Ale, Stone & Wood, Balmain Pale Ale and Hop Hog. But for something a little fuller, there’s a neat selection of Italian, Australian and New Zealand reds, whites and rosés on offer.

Panzerotti-Bar-57

Super slider – one of many scrumptious dishes. Source

When it comes to food, it’s obvious from the lunch menu that Panzerotti take their pasta seriously – a highlight for dining in or takeout, there’s a choice of penne, linguine and homemade gnocchi with a generous selection of toppings and sauces. Alternatively, how down a wagyu burger with taleggio cheese or for the carb-conscious, the smoked trout or beetroot and feta salads are must tries.

It isn’t, however, all about pasta. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and here is where your choice won’t leave you feeling worn out by midday. Two favourites include the 3 egg omelette with king brown mushrooms or the French toast, doused with honeycomb butter, lemon curd, raspberry, mint and pear.

Panzerotti-Bar-14

Panzerotti’s Dessert of the Day. Source

Whatever time of day it is, the new Panzerotti Bar won’t leave you disappointed, and sitting in for an easy-going lunch is much more spectacular now that they’ve opened up to the world and offering an even snazzier food and drink selection.


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