Tag Archives: breakfast/brunch

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda – A World Heritage gem

Olinda, Brazil\

Without a doubt, the colonial town of Olinda on Brazil’s northeast coast would have to be one of the most colourful places we’ve visited.

Built on hills straddling the turquoise ocean, this UNESCO listed town ought to be on anyones itinerary, should they consider travelling though this part of the country.

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Home to loads of colonial dwellings, Baroque churches, chapels and convents, this was also once the beating heart of the sugarcane industry.

Today it has a thriving arts and crafts community, brimming with galleries, workshops and studios that dabble in a variety of mediums. It drips with character as well as tropical humidity, and it sure deserves at least a couple of days from anyone that chooses to visit.

Aside from the colourful facades on many of Olinda’s 17th-century houses, what stands out the most is the abundance of murals just about everywhere you look. It truly is like an open air gallery.

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Is that coffee I smell?

There aren’t many cafes in town, but one that’s worth dropping into can be found in the rear of Estação 4 Cantos Galeria, inside an 18th-century townhouse. The front of the shop is an eclectic collection of handmade glassware, sculptures, paintings, jewellery and clothing – not enormous, but definitely worth a poke around.

Olinda, Brazi

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Opening at 2 pm, the cafe at the back is semi-indoors and wraps around a small grassy courtyard, complete with fishpond. There’s a bunch of stuff on the small menu if food is what you’re here for – think bruschetta, soups, quiches and sandwiches – but coffee is good enough for us. And it was good enough for this fussy pair of coffee snobs.

  • Estação 4 Cantos Galeria & Cafe
  • Rua Prudente de Morais, 440
  • Facebook

 

Olinda, Brazil

Eat & Drink.

A stones-throw from the galeria is one of the more popular eateries you can find in this part of town; although it probably is more about the drinks, to be honest. Some may call it a pub, others could call it a lanchonete. One thing for sure is that the locals love to hang around here for hours – sipping on anything cold and alcoholic, chatting at the tops of their voices and nibbling on a plate of whatever’s going – way into the night.

Olinda, Brazil

Food-wise, there’s a bunch of pratos do casa (plates of the house) as single or double portions and petiscos (small plates) up for grabs – all of which are your typical Brazilian staples. We did the carne do sol com fritas (34) – sun-cured beef that’s pan-tossed with onions, served with fries topped with cheese powder and eaten using toothpicks. There’s always some kind of pimenta (chilli sauce) either on the table or up at the counter for a bit of a spicy kick.

  • Bar do Peneira
  • Rua Prudente de Morais, 167
  • Facebook

 

Olinda, Brazil

Igreja do Carmo Olinda

Olinda, Brazil

He may not have substantial food on his menu, but the chirpy dude that owns Rei do Coco across the road from Igreja Santo Antônio do Carmo sure does satisfy the açaí lover on a hot day. It’s not all about açaí, either, as you can get your fill on fried snacks like croquettes and pastels; all washed down with a fresh coconut straight from the fridge.

  • Rei do Coco
  • Corner Avenida Liberdade & Rua da Bomfim

 

Olinda, Brazil

If having lunch whilst being surrounded by original art is more your thing, then I’d probably take the few steps up off Rua Prudente de Morais and choose one of the few tables in this cafe-cum-gallery.

Most of the paintings are done by resident artist Cipriano Sánchez, and his partner Valdir Brito (at least we think it’s his partner) is the chef of the house. The menu is a business card wallet filled with hand-written cards describing each dish – about eight savoury dishes and one dessert, plus a few ice creams.

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

It may be a small menu, but it does have some decent choices – like cannelloni filled with broccoli, shrimp and palm heart or couscous with chicken and beef jerky.

We were both very happy with our dishes, especially the tortilla Espanhola (22) with onion and oregano. My bobo de camarāo (25) – mashed yucca with shrimp – was very delicious and beautifully golden from dendê oil.

  • Atelier Lautréamont Cafe
  • Rua Prudente de Morais, 249

 

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Sleep.

The several nights we spent in town were based at Pousada dos Quatro Cantos – a 19th-century neoclassical mansion transformed into a very comfortable place to stay.

Guests can splash out and move into one of the suites, lux or super lux rooms fitted-out with antiques, but one of the economic double rooms was good enough for us.

Small swimming pool, beautiful terrace gardens, free wifi and breakfast included.

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

Oh, that breakfast! One of the best we encountered thoughout our entire Brazil travels. Many regional dishes are part of the beautiful buffet such as tapioca, rice pudding, fried cassava and angu – a polenta-like dish.

And those caramelised bananas in sugar syrup! We couldn’t get enough of those.

  • Pousada dos Quatro Cantos
  • Rua Prudente de Morais, 441
  • website

 

Olinda

Walking the streets of Olinda is the only way you can get a feel of what it’s all about, despite the undulating cobbles and sometimes very steep hills. Your legs sure do get a workout, so comfy shoes are probably the way to go.

One of the steepest hills has to be the part of Rua Bispo Coutinho just below Igreja de Nossa Santa da Misericordia. It’s a killer! All is rewarded when you reach the top and take in the stunning architecture along the road. Then there’s the view over Olinda and wall of skyscrapers in Recife about 8 kilometres away.

Igreja de Nossa Santa da Misericordia, Olinda

Olinda, Brazil

Olinda, Brazil

There’s a bunch of touristy stores selling the usual tat, plus many religious figurines. Cool down with an ice cream or açaí beneath multi-coloured umbrellas, or continue along Alto da Sé to the imposing Igreja São Salvador do Mundo that looks down over the old town.

Just near it is Caixa D’Agua, an unusual looking water tower built in 1934. Pay a few reais and you can take a glass elevator to the top for some pretty smashing views up and down the coast.

Igreja São Salvador do Mundo, Olinda

Olinda

Street Food.

As the afternoons near sundown, Alto da Sé transforms into an open-air food market that runs right into the night. Families, teenagers and tourists all mill about creating a buzz as the vendors do their best to lure you in to try whatever they’re offering.

Loads of tapioqueiras sell an assortment of savoury and sweet tapiocas, or you could try the acarajé or skewers of meat.

Acaraje

acaraje

acaraje

For my first ever acarajé, I sample the one served up at Barraca das Morenas Marelene Axé. They’re basically black eye pea fritters that have been slowly fried in golden dendê oil. A slit is cut into it, then it gets filled with caruru (thick stew of okra, nuts, dried shrimp and other bits) and then vatupá (a thick concoction of coconut, beans, spices etc). To finish it gets topped with some kind of salsa as well as tiny whole shrimp.

Eating it is a bit of a messy exercise and the taste is rich, salty, a little oily and completely stodgy.

acareja

tapioca in brazil

Tapiocas are just as prevalent at the night food market, and the only challenging part is choosing which one. It was the puppy dog eyes we received from Dona Maria when walking past her barraca that made us turn around and sample her food. I bet she does that to everyone!

Her menu is as extensive as the next person and she’s pretty heavy handed with the fillings. They were so good that we returned a couple of nights later.

Coconut, coalho cheese and condensed milk, anyone? Or how about banana and Nutella?

Yep, they’re pretty good.

tapioca in brazil

banana & nutella tapioca

street food

A few of the barracas also do char-grilled skewers of calabresa sausage, chicken and beef; so if a cheap dinner is on the cards – this is the place to come.

If meat isn’t an option, then maybe cheese is? We couldn’t go past Mira Lhait, a jovial woman full of energy and up for a dance whenever the mood strikes. Check this link to see it on my Instagram feed and you’ll see for yourself.

As for that cheese, the one they use is coalho, which is similar to haloumi. It grills beautifully, although Mira didn’t char it enough for me. So while she wandered off somewhere, I sat down and gave my skewer of cheese a little more heat.

So good!

street food

street food

Olinda Brazil

olinda

drinks barracas

Drink.

Olinda comes alive late in the day and well into the night. This is when you see many bars and restaurants open their shutters and doors from a day of slumber, transforming quiet streets into lively and vibrant places. The choice of bars isn’t endless, so let me make a few suggestions on where you can wet your whistle.

There’s always Bar do Peneira which I mentioned earlier, a corner locale that can party until the wee hours over different nights of the week.

For some of the cheapest drinks in town, I’d say head up to the row of drinks barracas next to the Observatory at Alto do Sé. See above photo. These guys specialise in caipirinhas and variations of them; mixing them up with exotic fruits and even condensed milk. There’s nowhere to sit other than the wall on the edge of the terrace or the few plinths beneath the trees. Perfect location, though, as there’s all the street food adjacent to the barracas.

Cheap drinks and cheap street food equals a great night out!

Bodega de Véio

Bodega de Véio

If you want to hang with the locals – or should I say get cosy with them? – then a drink or two at Bodega de Véio needs to make the agenda. This tight little space is a popular haunt with local writers, journalists, artists and other boho types – sipping on something cold whilst chatting and nibbling on shaved prosciutto, croquettes and other small plates of goodies.

The appeal of this place is the way it looks, as it’s really a tiny grocery store that so happens to sell booze and charcuterie. Along with hundreds of grocery items which line its walls – including broom heads, violins, talcum powder and carpenters plums.

  • Bodega de Véio
  • Rua do Amparo, 212
  • Facebook

 

Na Ladeira Bar e Comedora

In the Upper Town are a couple of places that open their doors at night and pack them in with the younger locals. Na Ladeira Bar e Comedoria takes corner position in a townhouse, with a few tables on the pavement and a lot more upstairs via the spiral staircase.

If food is needed, these guys have you covered with a menu that’s a little different from the norm.

  • Na Ladeira Bar e Comidoria
  • Rua Treze de Maio, 03

 

A Venda de Seu Biu

A couple of doors away is A Venda de Seu Biu, a funked up traditional bodega with pumping beats, plenty to drink and even a bite to enjoy while people watching from one of the beer keg tables on the pavement.

  • A Venda de Seu Biu
  • Rua de São Bento, 410
  • Facebook

 

How we got to Olinda (via Recife) from Praia de Pipa.

Got a regular taxi from Pipa down the coast to João Pessoa (3 hrs R$200), where we stayed at CLH Suites João Pessoa in Tambaú for the night. Not the most exciting city so there’ll be no mention of it here.

Following morning got a cab to the bus station (R$30). Buses to Recife leave every half hour, the trip takes about 2 hrs and costs R$35 pp).

The bus terminates at the Termainal Integrado de Passageiros (west of town in Recife) where you then get the metro train from the same terminal to Central Recife. The metro takes about 30 mins and costs R$1.60 pp. Then it was a taxi from Central to Olinda R$30.

Planning to go? Why not pin it?

Olinda Brazil

Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta

Fig & pancetta crostini with sage ricotta

Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta

A recipe that isn’t quite a recipe. That’s all that I have for you today. I mean, there’s no point in telling anyone how to toast a few pieces of bread or griddle a little pancetta and fig, is there?

Grilled figs and pancetta on Chasseur sun grill duck egg blue

The most work you need to do with this non-recipe is toss a good scoop of ricotta into a bowl and stir some thinly sliced fresh sage, virgin olive oil and black pepper through it. As much or as little as you want – bearing in mind you do want to taste the sage.

While the bread’s toasting, get a griddle pan on, sear some thinly sliced pancetta on both sides, cook the cut-side of the fig in the glorious fat that came out of the pancetta – and you’re done!

Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta

Lay the toast on a plate or fancy marble platter like mine, drizzle over some virgin olive oil, slap on the ricotta, fig and pancetta as artistically as you like, drizzle over a little more oil if you like – then shove it down your gob.

Feel free to garnish with leaves and dried chilli.

Oh, and I served mine with cooked and uncooked pancetta – just to mix up the textures a bit.

Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta

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Fig & pancetta crostini with sage ricotta
A few simple yet tasty ingredients result in this delicious breakfast or brunch crostini.
Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Fig crostini with pancetta & sage ricotta
Instructions
  1. Toss a good scoop of ricotta into a bowl and stir some thinly sliced fresh sage, virgin olive oil and black pepper through it. As much or as little as you want - bearing in mind you do want to taste the sage.
  2. While the bread's toasting, get a griddle pan on, sear some thinly sliced pancetta on both sides, cook the cut-side of the fig in the glorious fat that came out of the pancetta - and you're done!
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Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo cooked in Pyrolux pyrocast round gratin

Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo

Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo cooked in Pyrolux pyrocast round gratin

Baked eggs have always been a favourite of mine. Dipping a fork into a pan filled with steaming deliciousness, piercing a yolk and watching its golden innards spill out.

It’s up there with being one of the ultimate breakfast indulgences. Not that I’d turn it down at lunch or dinner time, either.

Global knives Sai series 19 cm Santoku knife sai-03

My homemade Mexican chorizo has been a close friend lately, making its way into a bunch of dishes I knock together at home. Such a versatile ingredient, especially since a certain spice mix now has permanent residency in my spice cupboard.

I guess what I’ve made here isn’t far off huevos rancheros – only sans the refried beans, peppers and Mexican-style rice. What I love is that it’s all pretty much in the one pan. The spiced meat, the eggs and those glorious crispy bits of tortilla poking out the sides.

The cooked meat filling is perfectly fine on toasted chunks of bread, as well – like savoury mince with loads more spice and flavour. A fried egg on top crowns it perfectly.

But you already knew that, right?

* Pyrocast Round Gratins supplied by Pyrolux and Santoku Knife supplied by Global Knives

Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo recipe

Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo cooked in Pyrolux pyrocast round gratin

 

Print Recipe
Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo
These baked eggs with Mexican chorizo are sure to put a bounce into your morning.
Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo cooked in Pyrolux pyrocast round gratin
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Smashed avocado
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Smashed avocado
Baked eggs with Mexican chorizo cooked in Pyrolux pyrocast round gratin
Instructions
  1. Start the recipe 1 day before serving. Combine the beef mince and Mexican spice, mixing very well with your hand. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame. Sauté the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes, or until opaque. Add the chopped green chilli and the mince, breaking up the meat as it cooks. You don't want any big chunks of mince so keep chopping and mixing it around until it's no longer pink and is cooked through.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, mix for a few minutes until it has softened. Season to taste then toss through the chopped coriander.
  4. Preheat the oven grill to high and adjust the rack to about 12 cm below the grill.
  5. If you're making one large pan of baked eggs, decant the cooked mince into a large bowl, scraping everything out. Lay the tortillas into the skillet (don't wash it out), allowing the tortillas to come up the sides and above the edges.
  6. If you're making 4 individual portions, lightly oil gratin trays and lay the tortillas into them. Scoop the cooked meat and any juices into the gratins, spreading it evenly. Using the back of a spoon, make hollows in the centre (or evenly spaced if you're making one large one).
  7. Crack an egg into each hollow, scatter over as much or as little grated cheese onto the mince as you wish, then place beneath the grill. Grill until the eggs are nearly cooked, yet the yolk is still runny.
  8. Meanwhile, scoop the avocado flesh into a mixing bowl. Smash it roughly, crumble over the feta and mix through the lemon juice and mint. Season with freshly milled black pepper.
  9. Serve the baked eggs and mince while still hot, with a good scoop of smashed avocado.
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Cheese, leek & sucuk toast - chasseur sun grill duck egg blue

Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie

Cheese, leek & sucuk toast

Five years ago I fell in love.

There we were wandering about the Borough Market in London when I spotted a cabinet stacked with ready-to-cook cheese sandwiches. Poilâne sourdough, Montgomery Cheddar, Ogleshield, leek, onion and garlic. Such a delightful collection of ingredients.

Snaking away from the small vendor was a constant line of hungry punters, waiting their turn to bite into cheesy nirvana. I had to join them. Wise move as the line of people grew to about 15, and every time the aroma of the toasting sandwiches hit me I knew I was in for something special.

Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie recipe

The first bite wasn’t the most pleasant. That bubbling cheese burned my lips, but I couldn’t stop. This thing was freaking amazing! The combination of cheeses was so sharp and delicious, slightly mellowed by the leek and onion mixture.

It’s taken several years, but I’ve made my own version of this toastie. I stuck by the sharp aged cheddar idea as it’s this that really makes the sandwich shine. To ramp the flavours even more I’ve thrown in some beautiful Turkish sucuk.

I adore it every time I have it in restaurants. It’s heavily spiced and intensely aromatic, but the problem is that it’s only available at specialty suppliers; most of which are too far from home.

Then I remembered the MFC Supermarket in Rosebery. Close enough to home and they stock it constantly.

Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie recipe

Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie - Chasseur sun grill duck egg blue

I’ve gone the old fashioned route and toasted the sandwiches in a pan. No sandwich press in this household, you see, so a griddle pan did the trick perfectly. Lots of sizzle, lots of cheesy smoke, a gentle flip and a little more sizzle.

I cooked the slices of sucuk on the pan first. Not only does it grease it up when the oil releases from the sausage, but the delicious oil soaks into the bread when it’s time to do the sandwiches.

Hello flavour!

*Duck egg blue Sun Grill supplied by Chasseur

Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie - chasseur sun grill duck egg blue

 

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Cheese, leek & sucuk toastie
Not your average cheese toastie - this one will seriously rock your palate.
Cheese, leek & sucuk toast - chasseur sun grill duck egg blue
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cheese, leek & sucuk toast - chasseur sun grill duck egg blue
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium flame and sauté the leek in the olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, a pinch of salt, and continue cooking until soft and opaque. Set aside.
  2. Lay two slices of the bread on a board and divide the cooked leek evenly over each slice. Season with lots of cracked black pepper. Top the leek with half of the grated cheese.
  3. Heat a griddle pan over medium-high and cook the sucuk on both sides. Lay the sucuk over the grated cheese on each half of the sandwich, top with the remaining cheese, then lay the other slice of bread on top.
  4. Lightly butter the top of the sandwich, carefully flip over and butter the other slice.
  5. Gently lay the filled sandwiches onto the hot griddle, pressing down gently with a spatula. After a couple of minutes, or when golden on the underside, use the spatula to turn the sandwich over to cook the other side.
  6. If you want, you can scatter more grated cheese over the cooked sandwiches and put them beneath a grill until bubbling and golden.
  7. Serve immediately with caperberries or pickles.
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Romanesco cauliflower recipe

Romanesco & soya bean bruschetta

Romanesco cauliflower recipe

Here we are revisiting a vegetable that I consider to be one of the most beautiful around. My previous encounter with it involved a bit of spicy heat, some crunch from fried capers and almonds, with pops of colour from pomegranate and native Australian riberries.

What I’ve created here is another play on colours, textures and flavours. There’s nothing like mixing things up, right?

I’ve kept things on vegetarian side with this one, although some crumbled crispy prosciutto would take it to another level.

Romanesco cauliflower recipe

My freezer has a bag of soya beans in it pretty much year-round. Handy to have, really, tossed into stews and curries, quickly pan-fried with some bacon; they’re quite the resourceful ingredient. All I’ve done is make a simple purée with the soya beans; nothing too glamorous as I didn’t want it to compete with the other layers.

That stash of beet & blueberry chutney I made recently came in use with many things I knocked together in the kitchen – namely with meaty concoctions, mind you.

I’ve topped the purée with the chutney, then crowned it with wedges of the gorgeous Romanesco that I’ve briefly steamed and pan-seared with spices. There’s crunch, there’s salt, there’s sweet and there’s sour. A great little canapé idea, as well!

Romanesco cauliflower recipe

Romanesco cauliflower recipe

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Romanesco & soya bean bruschetta with beet & blueberry chutney
These romanesco & soya bean briskets are the perfect for brunch, lunch or made in miniature as a canapé!
Romanesco cauliflower recipe
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Romanesco cauliflower recipe
Instructions
  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Carefully toss in the soya beans and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Place the warm soya beans, water and ground coriander into a jug or small bowl. Using a stick blender, blitz them into a smooth paste. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  2. Steam the wedges of romanesco for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the cumin and mustard seeds until golden and aromatic. Do not burn! Put the spices and pinch of salt into a mortar, and pound to a powder using the pestle. Alternatively use a spice grinder.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and carefully lay the wedges of Romanesco into the oiled pan, turning over to coat both cut sides. Immediately sprinkle over a little of the spice-salt mixture, turning when the underside is golden. Sprinkle over a little more of the spice-salt. Set aside as you toast your bread.
  5. Lightly oil the bread and either grill or griddle it, until toasted.
  6. To assemble, spread the soya bean mixture over the toasted baguette, top with the chutney, then the cauliflower. Garnish with a few sprigs of chervil, a few blueberries and soya beans.
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Du Liban Bakery interior

Du Liban Bakery & Roasters

People sitting at Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

Warm, creamy tahini flecked with soft fava beans, a few chunks of fresh tomato, some parsley and good splodge of olive oil. This is the ful madames (8.5) – an earthy breakfast dish that’s bound to get the constitution working.

A good dunking with torn flatbread, sip of coffee, I’m in love.

Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

Here we have Du Liban Bakery & Roasters, another relatively new eatery in the heart of Marrickville’s industrial neighbourhood. I had no idea this place existed until it was spotted when looking down the side street after lunch at nearby Roastville Coffee.

“Du Liban”- French lingo for “of Lebanon”.

Kinda fitting, really, considering one of the first things you see upon entry is racks of manaqish with a variety of fillings and toppings. The French bit covers the likes of baguettes and pastries, all available to take away or eat in.

Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

Breakfast at Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

It may be in a relatively vast warehouse, but front-of-house doesn’t have an abundance of seats. A couple of communal tables inside, a few window bench seats and a handful on the footpath. I love that there’s repurposed wood almost everywhere you look – the doorframe, the shelving, tables and benches – even old bakers trays have a new lease of life as table tops.

Breakfast is a step away from the mainstream, as you can guess from the ful madames I mentioned earlier. The kareem little weekend breakfast (8.5) is a shredded omelette, of sorts. It’s delivered room temperature and served with generous slab of cream cheese and toasted baguette. Decent enough, though I’m wondering if the eggs were meant to be on the cool-side.

Coffee at Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

Breakfast at Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

The same eggs come with the Du Liban big weekend breakfast (16.5) – again on the cool-side, with baked tomato, a spiced mince and some rocking potatoes sautéed with butter, lemon and garlic. The menu does mention sausage, not mince, so perhaps it gets broken up in the pan before plating or there was some kind of mix-up. Flatbread and pickles come with it.

The savouries from the cabinet are definitely worth a try. You’ve got to love fresh-baked Lebanese bread, right? A spinach & feta fatayer (4.5) is simple in flavours, yet moist and enlivened with fresh lemon; its open-faced counterpart of fried potato & egg (5.5) also goes down a treat.

We’re yet to try the sweets, but something tells me the knefeh, almond tarts and atayef are no slouches in the flavour department. As for the coffee – blended and roasted off-site somewhere in Marrickville, it gets two thumbs up. So good we grabbed a kilo of beans to take home.

Du Liban Bakery and Roasters in Marrickville

Du Liban Bakery and Roasters

  • Du Liban Bakery and Roasters
  • 14 Chalder Street
  • Marrickville 2204
  • 02 9550 3569
  • website
  • Click to add a blog post for Du Liban Bakery and Roasters on Zomato
Breakfast at Cortado Cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains

Cortado, Lawson

Cortado cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains

Ever since some friends moved to the village of Lawson in the Blue Mountains, Cortado has become our coffee go-to by default. We’ve sussed out the local pub – the Blue Mountains Hotel – with its rustic food offerings, and this time around I made sure the camera was handy for our revisit to this relatively new cafe on Staples Street.

The widening of the highway led to the demolition of Lawson’s Mid Mountains shopping centre, but with the replacement building now complete and slowly filling with tenants, the village centre is slowly coming back to life.

Cortado cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains

Breakfast at Cortado cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains - feature by heneedsfood

Music producer Tom Charuk (aka The Silent Titan) is the owner of this small village cafe; a Wentworth Falls local that’s been on the cafe scene for 15 years. There may be construction right next door, but nothing appears to be stopping the steady stream of locals dropping by for their morning takeaways or leisurely breakfasts and lunches.

Alto Familia Specialty Coffee is the bean of choice at Cortado, a micro-roaster that happens to be another one of Tom’s babies; roasted here in Lawson. Crafted blends of arabica beans and single origins make for a gutsy drop that shines when there’s not too much milk involved.

Cortado cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains

Aside from the cakes, pastries and rolls that appear on the counter display, a simple sheet of wall-mounted black perspex is where the rest of the edibles are scribed. Not much, mind you, just a few sandwiches, salads and brekkie dishes that are knocked together in the small kitchen behind the counter.

Breakfast for this pair was a relatively speedy affair – toasted sourdough with avocado & smoked salt (10), with some added jamón and feta for a few extra bucks. Nice, simple and satisfying.

What I was expecting to be served bruschetta-style ended up in toasted sandwich form – the smashed egg, chorizo and chipotle mayo (8) on sourdough. A pretty decent sandwich, especially that chorizo which so happens to be made in Marrickville, Sydney.

I’d love to see more choice on the menu, but with the lack of a fully-functioning kitchen, I guess they’re doing what they can. Who knows what we’ll see down the track?

Cortado cafe in Lawson, Blue Mountains

  • Cortado
  • 11 Staples Street
  • Lawson 2683
  • 0422 081 569
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  • Click to add a blog post for Cortado on Zomato
Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Roastville Coffee

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Will our humble Inner West suburb of Marrickville ever feel the fatigue of having too many coffee roasters? I mean, how many are there within the boundaries of 2204? At least five, I’m sure, so the more the merrier I say. Quite often when I’m at St Peters station I notice the smell of coffee being roasted; wafting from somewhere about a kilometre away in Marrickville. The problem is you just don’t know who’s responsible for it.

No complaints, mind you.

When the better half told me about a relatively new roastery and cafe in the thick of warehouse-ville on Victoria Road, I went in for a little investigating when I had the chance. Opening such a business in what’s pretty much an industrial area means nothing to us city folk. People work there – they need food and coffee. People live nearby – they have the same requirements. The average caffeine addict doesn’t give a toss about location.

Muffins at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

The guy behind Roastville is George Choutis, a bloke with something like 20 years of industry experience under his belt. His hard work has truly paid off in transforming 157 Victoria Road into a place where you can grab a coffee, a bite and take a sneaky peek at how a boutique coffee roaster operates.

You’re first greeted with a small, open-air courtyard scattered with tables and benches. Perfect place to sit and up your intake of vitamin D. Inside it’s a mood board of glazed green tiles, parquetry, chipboard and amber lighting; with recessed shelving displaying preserves, sugar, local honey, coffee accoutrement and packets of roasted beans.

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Pastry chef Libby does a fine job in filling and topping the chiller cabinet with her sweet temptations. Slices, cakes, muffins – you name it. As for the savoury stuff, chef Rumil Binas has put together an all day breakfast and lunch menu that has some little beauties well-worth trying.

Green eggs (15.9) is one of them. When I think of green eggs I imagine scrambled eggs mixed with basil pesto. There’s none of that going on. This is a celebration of many things green – kale, sugar snaps, broad beans and chervil cream – lovingly pan-tossed and topped with two 65° eggs, a light touch of chilli powder and hunk of toasted Brickfields sourdough.

Green eggs at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Dirty bird benedict at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

For those that like a bit of fried chicken with with their eggs, this one’s for you – the dirty bird benedict (15.9). Golden, crispy and moist, the chicken sports two oozing eggs and mild harissa hollandaise. Wowsers.

The lunch menu is a medley of sandwiches, salads, burgers and two mains we couldn’t resist. Yes we’ve all seen the chicken and waffles thing, but how about fried chicken and kimchi waffles? (17). As if that isn’t enough, Kewpie mayo and sriracha come to the party, as does a generous grating of parmesan. The kimchi is already in the waffle batter; something that does render it soggy if you let it sit too long, but dive in quick and there’s no drama.

12-hour slow braised beef cheek (19) is another winning menu entry, and not overly rich as one would expect. The collagen-rich meat melts pretty much as soon as you stick it in your gob, and as you dive into the celeriac purée, mushrooms and baby carrots, it’s happiness central in the mouth.

There’s no denying these guys have become a welcome addition to the Marrickville scene – weekdays and weekends – and good to see there’s some very decent grub to go along with that great coffee.

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Fried chicken & kimchi waffles at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

12-hr slow braised beef cheeks at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville

  • Roastville Coffee
  • 157 Victoria Road
  • Marrickville 2204
  • 02 9560 4802
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Flour Drum Newtown window display

Flour Drum Newtown

Flour Drum Newtown

It may not be the farm he dreamed of building one day, but the spanking new Flour Drum on Newtown’s King Street south is a damn fine effort by Newtown lad and co-owner Johnny Ageletos. Together with his partners Christopher Heaps and Victor Li, they’ve transformed 531 King Street into a cosy eating space that also offers us jams and relishes from Johnny’s Pantry – made by none other than Ageletos himself.

Each of them brings something to the table. Christopher with his previous stints at Bel Mondo, Wharf Restaurant and A Tavola – Victor is well seasoned in marketing, thanks to being creative arts director at an advertising agency; and Johnny’s done the hospitality thing since being a teen.

Flour Drum Newtown

Shredded pancake at Flour Drum Newtown

Corned beef hash at Flour Drum Newtown

Aside from the giant mural that’s commissioned by local artist Scott Marsh, the walls act as chalkboards – displaying the breakfast and lunch edibles that are knocked together by chef Michael Gorski and his offsider Jason.

One of his signatures is the shredded pancake (11.5), an ensemble that’s made for easy one-handed eating. It’s creamed-up with vanilla mascarpone, with juicy strawberry compote and caramelised pistachios.

I was a tad besotted with the corned beef hash (14), a hefty lump of goodness that’s packing in the flavour department. It could be a little rich for some, but coupled with a poached egg and tangy kale salad, it’s a winner in my eyes.

Victor Li at Flour Drum Newtown

Flour Drum Newtown

Baked beans at Flour Drum Newtown

Aside from the relishes and jams, there’s a whole lot of “house-made” going on. All the cakes, pastries and pies, the milk buns, toasted muesli, peanut butter and these insane baked beans (15.5). Johnny takes credit for the beans – and rightly so. Chunks of smoked ham hock and confit tomato with toast from Brickfields.

Flour Drum Newtown

Pulled pork bun at Flour Drum Newtown

The seasonal lunch menu features the likes of soups and salads, burgers, pies and anything else they feel like whipping up. A petite slow-cooked pulled pork (11) burger is juicy and not overloaded, with good crunch from an Asian slaw.

Incase meat doesn’t float the boat there’s a wholesome quinoa & roasted pumpkin salad (12) dressed in tahini with fennel, carrots, cauliflower and pine nuts.

The counter has a small selection of sweet offerings like cakes, tarts and something I couldn’t resist – Mums baklava – made by Johnny’s mum that lives just down the road. Nice one, Mrs Ageletos.

Quinoa salad at Flour Drum Newtown

Flour Drum Newtown

Window display at Flour Drum Newtown

  • Flour Drum Newtown
  • 531 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9565 2822
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Newcastle Ocean Baths photography

40 hours in Newcastle

A lavish lunch at Bombini prompted this pair to make a weekend of it. Sure a rental apartment or hotel room in nearby Avoca or Terrigal would have done the trick for a city getaway, but heading further north to Newcastle made the cut.

We touched on the port city very briefly when we did lunch at Saluna earlier this year, vowing to return to see what else went down in this gritty town.

Darby Lane, Newcastle

Sports car in Darby Street, Newcastle

I probably shouldn’t make comparisons to Sydney, but Darby Street reminds me of parts of Surry Hills. Its village atmosphere, its collection of boho stores, buzzing eateries and galleries. Something for everyone, as they say.

Darby Lane prayer flags, Newcastle

Newcastle sunset

Taking its name from one of New York’s earliest street gangs, The Bowery Boys on Darcy Street is a beacon for all things pickled, smoked and cured. Plus a little more, mind you.

Co-owner and chef Steven Zielke has done stints at Table for 20 and Buffalo Dining Club in Sydney, amongst others, teaming with Ethan Ortlipp and Ryan Hawthorne; a couple of fella’s that made names for themselves at the Ivy and Sticky Bar, also in Sydney.

The Bowery Boys, Newcastle

Smoked trout at The Bowery Boys, Newcastle

Good food and decent booze is what The Bowery Boys is all about, and for us, a start on some mighty fine smoked tidbits. Zielke tries his hand at making his own pepperoni, but the bulk of the smoked goodies come from Quattro Stelle and the salumi from Pino’s Dolce Vita, both in Sydney.

The charcuterie selection (21) is a taste-fest of speck, truffle salami, jamón, pepperoni and the most divine ‘dnuja – a spicy, spreadable pork sausage that packs a real punch.

From the protein list, the hot smoked rainbow trout (32) is probably the best I’ve come across. It’s warm, aromatic served whole. A little work is involved, but not much. Simply peel back the skin and dive in. Bloody beautiful.

The Bowery Boys, Newcastle

Should any gents require some grooming, the communal “wet area” provides a tub of beard balm – something for the bearded urban gentries that simply must have their facial growth coiffed at all times. Makes me wonder if it’s also a jar that’s a communal gathering of hairs from different blokes.

Back to something much more appetising, a farro & roasted plum salad (15) is about simplicity, taste and texture. Creamy labne is a nice addition, something that’s much needed to cut through the rich fattiness of the Sichuan lamb ribs (29). Lined up like soldiers, the melting meat and fat is complemented by pickled eggplant and a little black garlic.

Sichuan lamb ribs at The Bowery Boys, Newcastle

  • The Bowery Boys
  • 5/107 Darby Street
  • Cooks Hill 2300
  • website

 

Newcastle street scenes

Blue Door cafe, Newcastle

Spanish breakfast at Blue Door cafe, Newcastle

First breakfast venue on this fleeting visitation was at The Blue Door, down in the civic precinct in the CBD. Early opening times mean early breakfast; a wise move as these guys are heaving by 9am.

Decent coffee and a rather hearty Spanish breakfast (24) served in a small cast iron skillet. It’s a celebration of tomato, beans and chorizo; topped with poached eggs and a side of kipflers.

A much lighter smashed avocado (18) on toast is spruced with feta, cherry tomatoes and spritz of lemon.

Full tummies, it was time to hit the markets.

Blue Door cafe, Newcastle

Breakfast at Blue Door cafe, Newcastle

  • The Blue Door
  • 363-365 Hunter Street
  • Newcastle 2300
  • 02 4929 4988
  • website

 

Fred C Ash Building, Newcastle

Newcastle mural

Newcastle City Farmers Market

Sunday morning, sun was shining and Novocastrians were out at the  farmers’ market stocking up on all things fresh, tasty and hand crafted. Local wines and produce from the Hunter Valley seem to be the highlight, along with a whole gamut of jewellery, clothing, accessories and stuff for the home and kitchen.

Newcastle City Farmers Market

The market sprawls much more than we’d expected, filling two pavilions as well as the areas around them. Wafts of food being cooked fill the walkways; bacon, grilled meats, fried pastry and fresh coffee draw you in to taste and buy.

Held every Sunday 8am-1pm.

Newcastle City Farmers Market

Newcastle City Farmers Market

  • Newcastle City Farmers’ Market
  • Newcastle Showground  Griffiths Road
  • Broadmeadow 2292
  • website

 

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

McGourty's, Newcastle street scene

Fortunate Son, Newcastle

Yes, the farmers’ market had a sizeable selection of food stalls, and yes we could have grabbed lunch there, but I wanted to try a place back in Hamilton.

Tucked beneath the Boulevard on Beaumont, Fortunate Son wears a smart outfit of browns and blacks, almost feeling like you’re in a hotel lobby.

The morning crowd is looked after with a very decent spread of breakfast and Pablo & Rusty’s coffee, whereas the lunch punters have bar snacks, smoked and cured meats, baguettes and lunch plates available. The dinner menu looks mighty fine, as well; taking a step up from lunch with the likes of confit pork belly & cured cheek or Pyrenees lamb with sweetbread.

If I was a local I’d be making repeat visits to try just about everything on the menu. Yes, it’s that good. For some reason I kept my gluttony in check and ordered just two dishes.

Fortunate Son, Newcastle

The house black pudding (9) is like none other that I’ve tried. Served in a small terracotta ramekin, there are no defined slices of the pudding. It just seems like one mass of pudding, injected with a fruity purée (peach or apricot?) here and there. Some heavily buttered toast is the only accompaniment, and man, that gorgeous pudding is almost as fine as the purée; far from the granular stuff I’m used to.

The other half tucks into one of the baguettes (16), loaded with rocket, pickles, mustard and house-smoked chicken. That chicken packs a smokey punch.

From the “Grilled & Braised meats”, I head for the bbq beef short rib (26). The great lump of meat tears away with very little effort, is smokey and incredibly rich. A few brassica greens inject a bit of colour and a very tasty cheese & cauliflower “cobbler” has me quietly wanting more. Oh man, those juices and that cobbler. Magic.

Fortunate Son, Newcastle

  • Fortunate Son
  • 131 Beaumont Street
  • Hamilton 2303
  • 02 4961 0512
  • website

 

Newcastle waterfront

Subo review, Newcastle

A few quiet sundowners by the waterfront got us in the mood for our final meal for the day – at Subo, a contemporary dining room on a part of Hunter Street I wouldn’t expect to see a restaurant of such calibre.

Chef Beau Vincent has done stints with Tetsuya Wakuda, Guillaume Brahimi and Warren Turnbull, so you can imagine what kind of edibles turn up on the five course menu. Front of house is managed by Suzie, Beau’s wife, and with years of experience between them, they’ve created a stylish and intimate venue that celebrates seasonal ingredients.

The front room of the restaurant feels a tad gallery-like; pretty much bare walls except for a couple of sculptured wire animal busts and oversized wooden pegs that serve as coat hangers at the bespoke front door .

At the back of the restaurant, past the kitchen, is a detached pavilion-style dining space where things are a little more intimate.

Subo review

When Subo first opened there was the choice of a la carte or five course set menu (82). They’ve done away with a la carte and made it easier for themselves; a simpler process for the diner, as well.

Special mention needs to be made about the bread. It comes from Baked Uprising in Maryville, about five minutes from the restaurant. Served with house-churned butter and dusted with nori, it’s probably a bit dangerous that you can have as much as you want.

Subo, Newcastle

We start with roasted brie that features three types of cabbage – savoy, Chinese and Brussels sprouts; strewn over the creamy cheese with a touch of beurre blanc, dill oil and crisp potato curls. The cheese is the clear winner in this one, dominating the other more neutrally flavoured elements with its buttery richness.

Next is the ika shime calamari that’s sourced from Port Lincoln, very lightly roasted over charcoal and served with squid ink crisps. A black pool of squid ink, lemongrass and kaffir lime sauce spills away from the squid tube, with a splodge of deep green nettle purée and light dusting of powdered codium seaweed.

Subo, Newcastle

Grown near the Riverina town of Junee, this small hunk of lamb has been slow-cooked for two days. It’s an exceptional piece of meat, given the glaze treatment with caramel, star anise, coriander and chilli. A creamy parsnip purée and shaved daikon in chardonnay vinegar are the only accompaniments. As great as that lamb was, it was the daikon that stole the show for us. That dressing was incredible.

The first dessert took me back to the early 90’s, ordering one of those frozen desserts from a flip menu at a mediocre Italian restaurant. You know the desserts I’m talking about? The Subo frozen orange is nothing like the rock hard ones I remember – it’s filled with orange ice cream, topped with orange granita and powdered with crushed milk crisps. So refreshingly beautiful.

Finally, we get a tarte tatin like no other.  Butternut pumpkin, to be precise. The pastry is thin and slightly crisp, and chunks of soft pumpkin huddle together beneath a coat of maple syrup and pepitas. An almond milk & chestnut ice cream freshens the earthy sweet-savoury pumpkin. Definitely an intriguing combination.

Subo dessert, Newcastle

  • Subo
  • 551D Hunter Street
  • Newcastle 2302
  • 02 4023 4048
  • website

 

One Penny Black, Newcastle

An early wake-up call saw us at One Penny Black, lining up in the freezing cold to order some rocking coffees and food to boot. Inside was already full – not that it takes much – so beneath fleecy blankets out on the mall it was for us.

Check this for a breakfast plate – wild black rice & quinoa porridge (15). No, I haven’t gone all vegan on you, but you must admit, it looks pretty damn tasty. This is a porridge that requires a bit more chew-time and what makes it shine is what’s happening around it. Poached pear and rhubarb, coconut cream and coconut panna cotta. Kinda like dessert for breakfast, sans the high levels of sugar.

A much more conventional bacon & poached eggs (21) was the other choice, served over grilled sourdough with feta, sautéed mushrooms and tufts of rocket and pea tendrils. Massive quantity of bacon, I should add.

Breakfast at One Penny Black, Newcastle

One Penny Black, Newcastle

Breakfast at One Penny Black, Newcastle

  • One Penny Black
  • 196 Hunter Street
  • Newcastle 2300
  • 02 4929 3169
  • website

 

Doughheads, Newcastle

I thought 7am was a tad early for a busker to be belting out folk tunes on a mall that had only two places open. We were quick to learn that it was the first birthday of Doughheads and the musician was there to set the mood. Talented girl, whoever she was.

I reckon these guys would do fine without the live soundtrack, as the line of 20-odd people trailing out the door was indicator enough that there was something worthwhile inside. Time to jump in and see what all the commotion was about, methinks.

A handful of crafted doughnuts and nothing much more. For our post-breakfast sugar hit it was a vanilla glaze and sticky date, plus a complimentary buttercream because it was their birthday. As far as a doughnut goes, they’re pretty special, and with varying levels of caffeine and sucrose bouncing about our bodies, it was time to hit the freeway.

Thanks, Newcastle, we’re outa here.

Dough heads doughnuts, Newcastle

Dough heads sticky date doughnut with syringe, Newcastle

  • Doughheads
  • Shop 17, 200-212 Hunter Street
  • Newcastle 2300
  • 0408 424 500
  • website