Tag Archives: Inner West

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood 01

Roastville Coffee

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

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.

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

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 - feature by heneeedsfood

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood 09

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 and 65° eggs at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

Dirty bird benedict at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

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 - feature by heneeedsfood

Fried chicken & kimchi waffles at Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

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

Roastville Coffee, Marrickville - feature by heneeedsfood

  • Roastville Coffee
  • 157 Victoria Road
  • Marrickville 2204
  • 02 9560 4802
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Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

Flour Drum Newtown

Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

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 - by heneedsfood blog

Shredded pancake at Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

Corned beef hash at Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

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.

Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

Baked beans at Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

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 - by heneedsfood blog

Pulled pork bun at Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

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 - by heneedsfood blog

Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

Flour Drum, Newtown - by heneedsfood blog

  • Flour Drum Newtown
  • 531 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9565 2822
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  • Click to add a blog post for Flour Drum on Zomato
One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

One6Eight

There we were in Balmain, with me wondering why things were so quiet in the streets and why some restaurants weren’t even open. State of Origin night, I learned.

Football or food?

You can see how interested this one is in what the rugby league world is doing. When it comes to football and food, the former kinda doesn’t even exist.

There’s a time and place where I’d be happy knocking back a beer with a meat pie or hot dog, sans the footy, but this night kicked off on another level. Plus I couldn’t turn down an invite.

One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

Freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters (4 each) with Hendricks & cucumber granita, anyone? And how about a glass of Tuscan Poggiotondo Vermentino (12) to sip along the way? The granita, by far, is the hero with this one. Yes, a few of the oysters were still attached to the shell, but a bit of spooning fixed that in no time; and thanks, chef Leigh McDivitt, for leaving the brine in the little fella’s all the way from Wapengo on the South Coast.

As for that Tuscan vino, the crisp and dry finish feels like it’s made for such seafood. It’s perfectly matched by the vivacious Amanda; front of house extraordinaire with a damn fine nose and palate for booze and food matching.

One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

So this is One6Eight, the collaborative effort by Leigh and Amanda McDivitt and good mate Paul Hargrave. Once in the CBD, the newish location is opposite Gladstone Park on the Balmain peninsula. It’s awash with red from the wall and doors, to the seats and butterflies that flutter from the rear of the long and narrow space.

Leigh sends out a little teaser of kingfish ceviche; a few petit mouthfuls that are light on the palate yet enlivened by a deliciously cooling horseradish ice cream. Very noticeable horseradish, yet none of the familiar burn.

Seared scallops at One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

The seafood party continued with some plump seared scallops (20) resting beneath a copse of red mizuna and scattered with pork dust. Yep, sexy pork dust. A torched prawn flags its blackened uropods, beckoning you to grab hold and take a bite. What sets the dish alight is the burnt apple purée; yes there’s fresh apple in the as well, but that purée is pure magic.

Moriki Shuzo ‘Suppin Rumiko’ saké - One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

Leatherjacket cheeks & vongole popcorn at One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

Amanda poured me a glass of Moriki Shuzo ‘Suppin Rumiko’ saké (35) to complement the leatherjacket cheeks (18) I chose. The saké is traditionally handmade in a factory south of Osaka; it’s dry, a little sweet and packs a punch with its 21% alcohol content.

As for those leatherjacket cheeks, the flavours and textures are delicate and clean, spruced up by the chervil-heavy sauce and smokey avruga caviar. Can’t forget the vongole popcorn – crisp and lightly spiced on the outside, soft and yielding on the inside.

One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

Main courses turned from the ocean and landed on terra firma with two meaty options. The hop-smoked wagyu flap (36) is the first, served with grilled baby leek, carrot and golden ale gel. The other is New Zealand spiced venison leg (38), perfectly cooked with tiny king brown mushrooms, chocolate gnocchi and vibrant pea powder. The chocolate is barely noticeable in the gnocchi, but the tuile disc sure does have a sugary, chocolate punch.

A little vegetable action came in the form of Romanesco cauliflower (9), tenderly cooked and doused in burnt butter vinaigrette with a light smattering of toasted pine nuts.

One veg we simply had to try were the hand cut chips (12) cooked in aged beef dripping. Yes, as good as it sounds. Soft-yet-crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside; doused in a snow of parmesan.

One6Eight, Balmain - by heneedsfood

A line-up of raspberry sorbet and Jack Daniels “Tennessee Honey” ice cream (16) wrapped things up with a little sugar. An intense salted caramel fudge & pine nut praline with dark chocolate honeycomb made things a tad rich, but nothing a good macchiato couldn’t deal with.

The richness continued in the textures of chocolate (16); a swaying wedge of mousse cake with chocolate soil and chocolate tuile. Some much needed yuzu ice cream lightened the load with its zing; as did the yuzu gel.

hnf & co dined courtesy of One6Eight

  • One6Eight
  • 233 Darling Street
  • Balmain 2041
  • 02 9555 8750
  • website
  • Click to add a blog post for One6Eight Balmain on Zomato
Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

For over a decade the Fratelli empire has been providing Sydney with imported smallgoods, fresh produce and Italian fare at its Cafe Sopra eatery.

Ever since the Danks Street outlet closed its doors to relocate and fill the former Buckland pub digs in Alexandria, this pair has been paying them visits a little more frequently. Mind you, mainly to pick up fresh Iggy’s sourdough on the weekends as soon as they open.

I’d previously dined at Cafe Sopra on Bridge Street in town; the cosy basement eating space with decent Italian food offerings and an atmosphere that leaves a ringing in the ears; a combination of poor acoustics and people that can’t keep it down.

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

The menu is pretty much cloned across every Sopra outlet – Antipasti, primi, secondi, pizza etc – so something like that glorious plate of crisp polenta, mushrooms and gorgonzola cream (18) can be enjoyed wherever you choose to eat.

As for the pan-fried gnocchi (28), we’re told that’s it only at the Alexandria address that you can have it. The high price may not match the size so much, but the flavour and texture of these little darlings is something else. Spinach, peas, pancetta and goat cheese join a delicious lemon-scented sauce that works beautifully with the light dumplings.

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Some greenery came in the form of baby spinach salad (22) with burrata, roast pumpkin and pistachios.

All intentions were made to try the wood-fired pizza on another visit, but those golden fried hunks of polenta had to be consumed again. Just as good as last time.

The lamb ragù with orecchiette (22) sounded great on paper; obviously slow-cooked with tomato, chilli and rosemary, but sadly no love was applied. Watery, lifeless and none of the flavours that you’d expect from any kind of ragú. This was a “hand-me-the-salt” instance.

Things looked up with the pan-fried barramundi (28) adorned with juicy roasted cherry tomatoes. Creamy flesh – clearly freshwater barra with its earthy flavour – a little pumpkin purée, garlic crisps and fresh basil.

Considering the hits and misses, it’s still a decent choice for the neighbourhood.

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh, Alexandria - by heneedsfood.com

  • Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh
  • 52 Mitchell Road
  • Alexandria 2015
  • 02 8399 4777
  • website
  • Click to add a blog post for Café Sopra at Fratelli Fresh on Zomato
Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha’s Restaurant

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

With all the comings and goings along the ever-changing King Street south in Newtown, there’s a handful of stalwarts that have been consistently feeding us for many years.

Take these guys, for example. Pasha’s has had its fair share of owners, but how many Newtown restaurants can boast about being in business for 40 years? And the point of being Sydney’s first Turkish restaurant may be a valid one.

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

The rich and traditional décor is a real feast for the eyes. Mosaic lamps and table-tops, pottery, boncuk amulets and beads, rugs and handicrafts decorate almost every available space. And for the more flexible diners amongst us: the option to sit in the cushion room.

Meze is always a good place to start with a cuisine like Turkish. A little dangerous as I find it way too easy to focus on the hot and cold dishes, sip on vino and forget about the rest of the menu.

The karışık meze platter (26) is a taste-fest of hummus, spinach & garlic yoghurt, smoked eggplant, cucumber-garlic yoghurt and chilli-walnut. Bread comes with it, or course.

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

From the hot meze selection, it was the paçanga börek (14) that we dove into first. Thin, crispy and a tad on the oily-side, the golden pastry rolls are filled with aged pastirma and kaşar cheese.

One hot meze I’ve had in the past is the Istanbul style shrimp (16); juicy little critters sautéed in butter and basil with a final flourish of boozy rakı. Love them.

As if they weren’t enough to start with, a plate of wild vine leaves (15) and spoon salad made the meze spread as well.

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Lamb became the go-to meat on this particular visitation. The colourfully plated hünkar beğendi (29) features tender nubs of lamb stewed with capsicum and tomato, spooned over a delicious charred eggplant concoction. That glorious eggplant seriously stole the limelight.

My core love for dumplings was satisfied with the kayseri mantı (25) – a golden huddle of meat-filled dumplings treading in yoghurt and tomato sauce. This one deserves a gold star.

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

The final plate of savouries was the yoghurt kebab (28), served a little differently to the more familiar İskender variety. Drenched in tangy tomato sauce, yoghurt and butter, the chunks of tender lamb were coming close to defeating us.

What did defeat us was the künefe (18), a Turkish classic that’s a celebration of shredded kadayıf pastry, soft cheese and butter. To add to the richness it’s surrounded by a moat of creamy custard, with toasted almonds and ground pistachios.

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Something that’s still relatively new to Pasha’s is the Bosphorus Style breakfast they put on every Sunday from 9am to 2pm. For $30 you can partake in some a.m. feasting that’s bound to make you skip lunch.

A little cup of Turkish coffee jolts the senses as you scan the edibles and decide what to dig into first. A variety of breads – simit, lavaş and Turkish – fill baskets alongside sour cherry, strawberry and apricot jams. Another dish contains tahini pekmez, a lip-pursing concoction with nutrient-rich grape molasses; whilst another one holds bal kaymak – clotted cream and honey.

And then there are the cheeses. String haloumi, çökelek (air-dried cottage cheese), sheep feta with black sesame, a classic white and traditional Turkish cheddar (kaşar).

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Fresh tomato, cucumber, a variety of olives and pickled chilli. Plus two runny eggs cooked in butter and topped with pul biker – flakes of red pepper.

Some pan-fried sucuk – a spicy veal sausage – is served over leaves dressed in a sharp pomegranate reduction and walnuts. In case a little sausage action isn’t enough, a 40 cm long börek appears and joins the feast. Thin, crispy pastry and warm spinach & cheese innards. On top is a delicious coil of pastırma.

A variety of teas is available during the breakfast feasting, and to round it all off you get wedges of melon sprinkled with ground pistachio plus Turkish delight for a little more sugar.

Now that’s one mighty breakfast!

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

Pasha's Restaurant, Newtown, Sydney - by heneedsfood.com

  • Pasha’s Restaurant
  • 490 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9519 3139
  • website
  • Pasha's Restaurant on Urbanspoon
The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The Bach Eatery

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The closure of Newtown’s Spencer Guthrie late last year left us with one less eatery on the every-changing south end of King Street. When old doors close, new ones open, so it didn’t take long before the narrow space was stripped and a new one emerged.

At first glance, the name Bach gives the impression of a classical composer from the Baroque period; but those that are familiar with a certain piece of New Zealand architecture have another thing in their minds.

The bach is a small holiday or beach house. A shabby dwelling made from wood panels, fibro or corrugated iron; with a drop toilet out the back and the rolling surf just metres away. Although, some of the new ones are a tad jaw-dropping.

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

Owners Darrien and Philippa Potaka have created their own type of bach where one can step off bustling King Street and escape to a chilled place offering booze, food and a cosy atmosphere.

A bit of a change for Darrien, considering he was previously executive chef at Bistro Moncur and Bar 333; and those that remember Level 41, he was Dietmar Sawyere’s right hand man.

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

A visit to New Zealand without coming across Monteith’s beer would be a rarity, so seeing the brew at The Bach is another sign that the owners are fellow antipodeans. And as for the wine list, well, you could probably guess where most of the wines come from. There’s even L&P for those that like it fizzy, sugary and alcohol-free.

Food-wise, it’s evident that Darrien is behind the menu creation. It may be a tightly edited collection of edibles, but it’s in dishes like the 16-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder (20) that his French techniques shine through. In fact, it was the first thing we smelled as soon as we stepped over the imprinted “Good Times” threshold.

Juicy, melting and loaded with richness; the two blocks of lamb are complemented by carrot purée and brussels sprouts treated in two ways.

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

There are a bunch of small bites designed for nibbling with drinks: such as oysters, charcuterie and prawn & pea arancini (4). The prawn may not have shined through a great deal in the golden little orbs, but a faint hint of crab bisque did in the aïoli.

There’s a celebration of textures in the beet & heirloom carrot salad (14); all tangled with greenery, fried carrot, hazelnuts, ricotta and parsnip purée.

A slow-cooked egg sits camouflaged by a snow of parmesan in the pappardelle with broad bean velouté (18). Nice, simple flavours with pasta that’s flecked with broccoli. Pity the yolk was on the firm side and didn’t contribute much to coating the pappardelle.

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

The desserts are limited to a few choices, plus a cheese board for the fromage fans amongst us. The hokey pokey brûlée (10) drew us in immediately because, well, it’s only the Kiwi’s that do the hokey pokey thing.

It’s usually added to ice cream, but the honeycomb element is used to garnish the brûlée here in The Bach. Nice, thick sugary crust over a deliciously silky custard.

So get your jandals on and drop by the Bach, bro, and no need to bring the chilly bin!

The Bach Eatery, feature by heneedsfood.com

  • The Bach Eatery
  • 399 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 8084 4093
  • website
  • Bach Eatery on Urbanspoon
Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

It’s a little difficult to imagine having to line up for hours to buy a special type of cake or confectionary. And I’m not referring to the likes of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York.

Queuing for hours was a very common activity in the iron clad USSR, post-WWII. Hard times, methinks.

The government had control over everything, even down to the way a particular cake was to be made and sold. State run factories produced such food items from a single recipe, so no matter which town or city you were in, that cake was exactly the same and without any home-cooked or personal flourishes.

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

They may be vague memories, but owner of Izba Russian Treats – Olga Rogacheva – remembers what it was like in the years before the Iron Curtain came down.

Olga’s love for cakes and baked treats is pretty strong. It was not long after moving here from Russia’s second largest city of Yaroslavl several years ago that she opened her own bakery in Sydney’s Newtown.

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Olga’s two chefs, which so happen to be French, do most of the baking; knocking out a steady stream of sweet and savoury breads and pastries, cakes, pies and pirozhki. Whilst all the traditional Russian ingredients aren’t available in Australia, what these guys produce is still the real deal.

The blini is a staple to many Russian families and here at Izba there are two varieties to choose from. Made using buckwheat flour, the gluten-free, slightly-sour pancakes are filled with either stewed beef & caramelised onion or sweetened cottage cheese & sultanas (11). We can confidently vouch for the sweet version – soft and delicate and served with homemade cranberry jam and sour cream.

I couldn’t help but scoff a little sample of the gluten Putin (8.5), a triple layered creation featuring layers of flourless sponge, raspberry-chocolate ganache and gooey caramel. Talk about a sugar hit!

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

For a great value feed there are the few pies that are big enough for two. A chicken, a mushroom, and this salmon pie (9.5). It’s basically a cross-section cut from a much larger pie with hearty layers of buckwheat, chopped egg, spinach, goat cheese and hot smoked salmon. Those unfamiliar with the taste of buckwheat may find it a tad rich.

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

With freshly baked koshka, piroshki and poppy seed plushka peering at you from the top of the counter, it’s easy to get carried away with trying more than intended.

One of Russia’s sweet signatures is the honey cake (5) – a layered creation that dates back to the 1800’s, when it was made for the Empress that had an aversion to honey. The layers of soft biscuit-like honey pastry and whipped vanilla sour cream are surprisingly low in sugar, which to me, means you can try another piece of cake!

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Izba Russian Treats, feature by heneedsfood.com

Perhaps a tiny kartoshka (4.5) cone of buttercream and ground biscuits, coated in cocoa? Nah, I had to try the Izba (9).

It gets its name from the traditional wooden cross-log hut that was first built in the 8th century – an architectural marvel of old-time Russia.

The cake takes its cues from this traditional wooden hut with amarena cherries that are rolled in dough and stacked into an izba shape with vanilla-laced sour cream. The cream itself isn’t too sour, and instead the tartness comes from the juicy cherries. It has a very soft mouth-feel and is surprisingly not overloaded with sugar; reminding me of the elaborate torte I used to eat as a kid.

One thing, for sure, is there’s bound to be something to satisfy anyones sweet tooth at this little piece of Russia on King Street south.

  • Izba Russian Treats
  • 579 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9557 9437
  • website
  • Izba Russian Treats on Urbanspoon
burgerten01

Burger 10

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

“10 burgers. 10 countries. An unforgettable burger tasting experience.”

You’ve got to admire a place that sings its own praises.

For the handful of times that the suburb of Glebe sees my face each year, the more recent walks down Glebe Point Road saw me stopping at this joint to read the menu.

I’m not the biggest of burger consumers, but the sound of the offerings at Burger 10 finally drew me in. Even for a second and third visit to try more from the menu; a required task as my significant other, or “the non-burger eater”, wasn’t all that wowed on our first visit.

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

The first time around was a table for two, and when I say the other half wasn’t all that wowed, I mean it wasn’t all that memorable. A smoked chicken burger (10.95) that (thankfully) uses thigh rather than breast was moist, flavoursome and joined rocket and beetroot with aîoli in its Italian themed burger. Some very slight smokiness came through in the chicken, plus a little lemon, and the regular bun was substituted with Turkish bread.

My choice of braised beef burger (12.5) was the Australian representative of the multi-national burger menu; shredded chunks of meat with a slices of ham, sauerkraut, mushrooms and roasted garlic cheese sauce. It’s incredibly juicy. So-much-so that it dripped incessantly every time it was lifted; rendering the base bun to a soppy mess.

Admittedly, it’s a very odd collection of fillings for an “Australian” burger; especially with that sauerkraut. I think the average Aussie is more in tune with the beef, cheese, fried onion, beetroot and fried egg combination. Perhaps even pineapple, if you really want to push it.

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

One burger I can confidently vouch for is the barramundi burger (12.95). With the Thai flag displayed next to its name on the menu, the hefty chunk of divine fish is lightly crusted in coconut with a very light drizzle of barely noticeable satay sauce. Apparently the fish is marinated in red curry but none of those flavours really permeate through, which is fine, as the flavour of the barra is the absolute star here. Loved it.

Moving away from the burgers, there’s a bunch of sides that can be included with the burger action. Salads, moussaka, rissoles and fries. I kinda liked the chicken tandoori empanadas (6.5); visibly handmade and served with minted yoghurt.

Another one was the caramelised smoked bbq glazed pork belly (12.5). Chunks of tender meat and fat that are completely overwhelmed by a very jarring glaze so full of artificial smoke flavour that ruined it for me.

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

Alongside the barramundi burger, the pork & prawn burger (13.5) joined in as the other favourite. This is the Chinese representative on the menu; a well-seasoned patty of prawn and pork mince marinated in shoaxing and ginger, laden with cucumber, spring onion, soy mayo and hoisin.

It’s another difficult one to pick up and eat without making an absolute mess, but the flavours and textures went down an absolute treat. Especially with that steamed bun. It was like eating one big saucy Chinese dumpling, in burger form.

Burger 10, Glebe - feature by heneedsfood.com

  • Burger 10
  • 39 Glebe Point Road
  • Glebe 2037
  • 02 8283 3878
  • website
  • Burger10 on Urbanspoon
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Cuckoo Callay

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

With the impending Bacon Festival (yes, that’s right, in case you haven’t heard) kicking off at Newtown’s Cuckoo Callay on 9 February, I decided to drop in over several visits to sample a few bits from the regular menu before it gets temporarily modified with all things porcine.

All the exposure these guys have – be it from hundreds of people walking to and from the train station, word of mouth or the constant trickle of write-ups has created a perpetually busy cafe that seems to stand out from many of the others.

And they don’t even have a cronut hybrid on the menu.

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

Coffee-wise, it’s pretty decent, be it hot and milky espresso-based or chilled and temple-numbing cold drip.

My favourite plate of food has to go to the mother ducker (22). An earthy ensemble of lentils, sautéed spuds and shreds of tenderly warm duck topped with the most perfect poached egg. Pity the shaved asparagus was a no-show and the chilli jam was more akin to a chutney with no bite whatsoever. Negatives aside, this is one bowl of goodness I’d tuck into anytime, despite not getting everything the menu declared.

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

It’s all about cumin-spiced lamb in the beeting the sheep (19) – rolled in thin pastry and fried until golden and crisp. Some grated beetroot (I think it’s meant to be pickled) and goat cheese provide the condiment-factor, with a little extra crunch from shaved radish and snow pea tendrils.

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

With many innovative breakfast options, it can be a little tricky choosing without the risk of food envy when you spot something else go to another table.

Cured salmon is always a winner in my books, so I chose it with the #hashtag browns 2.0 (18). Bacon steak or grilled haloumi are the other add-ons. The salmon is absolute perfection and I’m chuffed with the generous quantity of it.

The let-downs? A poached egg that had way too much simmer-time, rendering it to a hard boiled egg. And a pity the bubble and squeak hash brown patty it came with was pasty and lacked any form of noticeable seasoning.

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

A touch of Americana is evident in the berets, stars & stripes (15) – a rather sexy collection of ingredients that get the tastebuds dancing. Brioche French toast weighed down with maple bacon, whipped ricotta and smear of peanut caramel. A light sprinkling of cornflakes sealed the sugary deal. This one’s a winner.

So too is the chorizo that comes with the speedy gonzalez (18) – strong porky and paprika flavours that, with the fried eggs and beans, make for two rockin’ breakfast burritos. And the lemon-marinated avocado zings up the palate in the process.

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

Cuckoo Callay, Sydney - feature by heneedsfood.com

  • Cuckoo Callay
  • 324b Newtown Railway Station
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9557 7006
  • website
  • Cuckoo Callay on Urbanspoon
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Black Betty BBQ at the Oxford Tavern

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Gone are the days of lads flocking to The Oxford Tavern to fulfil some kind of fantasy with bare female flesh and jelly wrestling. The pub had a late-2013 makeover, introduced some on-trend American fare and the devoted Inner Westies followed. Sydney still seems to be rocking with food from our across-the-Pacific neighbours.

Black Betty – that quad-drummed chamber smoker in the corner of the beer garden – debuted her full-time job in July of this year, and has been smoking her meats every weekend since. Brisket, pulled pork, smoked chook, ribs and more. It’s American barbecue, baby!

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The natural inclination for many-a-carnivore at a place like this would be to try a little bit of everything. And that we did at this particular gathering of bloggers and plus ones. Foregoing the supplied cutlery and using the implements we were born with; tearing away moist chunks of smoked chicken, shreds of pork, lean slices of brisket and rather dry pork and beef ribs. I’m guessing Betty can be a little temperamental from time to time.

The small bread rolls reminded me of the ones you get in the U.S. – very little substance, a little sweet and powdery to the touch. I got the impression that the smoked pork sausage was one of the favourites; all juicy and studded with fat.

Some much needed vegetation joined the mix and helped cut through the richness. Coleslaw and a kale, broccoli and edamame salad freshened the palate of its smoky intensity. Until, of course, you dove in and sampled some of the sweet-and-smoky burnt end beans.

Probably should have grabbed another one of those $20 jugs of peach mojito.

hnf dined as +1 of Grab Your Fork and as a guest of the Oxford Tavern. 

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  • Oxford Tavern
  • 1 New Canterbury Road
  • Petersham 2049
  • 02 9550 9900
  • website
  • The Oxford Tavern on Urbanspoon