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Archive for the ‘Cafes’ Category

It’s been a nasty 10 months, and I hang my head in shame for neglecting my beloved food blog for so long. Spent the last six and a half months in Paris & travelling Europe, dining on good bread, fine wine, and ….reindeer !

More about that later, though …
Because the call of food photography and dessert has coaxed me out of my lazy shell to blog about what may possibly be the best thing since sliced bread – Oliver Brown !!

In my humble opinion, dessert ice cream is quite possibly the greatest invention known to mankind. So you can only imagine my excitement when my darling friend told me about a cheaper Max Brenner-esque place, with delicious waffles and tasty ice cream!


Hot Chocolate (dark) – $ ? 

As an avid non-drinker of hot chocolate, steering clear of dark chocolate as well, it is a testament to how delicious a dark hot chocolate is if ….I can stand drinking it. Either that, or it’s very sweet.
And I have a sweet tooth … sooooooo..:)

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Belgian Waffles for 2 – $14
Waffles, banana slices, strawberries & whipped cream with melted chocolate 

After visiting Belgium and feasting on Belgian waffles for three days’ straight, you can imagine my reluctance to try Australian-Belgian waffles again…

Unfortunately, Belgian waffles are renowned for a reason, and despite this café’s claim to be a Belgian chocolate café, one does well to remember that chocolate ≠ waffles.

But that’s okay !! Crusty, crunchy warm waffle (a bit on the dry side) drizzled with delicious hot chocolate, fresh bananas and strawberries …with a side of whipped cream (eek)!

Nevertheless, it was still good enough to seduce me into coming back just under 2 weeks later, and boy am I glad I did !

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On my second visit, the first beauty we saw was this :

A friend’s dessert – $ ?? (to be updated)
Vanilla, strawberry and mint ice cream, with Oreos, fruit loops & a wafer stick 

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And although this dessert is a sight for sore eyes (and I can only imagine how delicious), the real kicker is below ..:

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Ice cream fondue for 2 – $18
Strawberry, vanilla and mint ice cream; marshmallows; bananas; strawberries; and two dipping pots of dark and milk chocolate

Orgasmic! The very first time I saw ice cream fondue was at Häagen-Dazs on the Champs-Elysées ..and from that point in time, I vowed I’d find somewhere in Australia to try it. And whaddya know !!
I don’t know about you, but all the other fondues I’ve had just aren’t as …amazing as this one. The fondue stays warm with a small candle burning merrily away underneath, but I must say I do prefer the milk. :)
You use one of those long-stemmed utensils with a spoon on one end and a fork on the other (anyone know the name ??) to dip your ice cream in the chocolate fondue ….which hardens within seconds Ice-Magic-style :).

And of course, this was so delicious, I just had to go back less than a week later.   


Ice cream fondue for 2 – $18
Vanilla, chocolate, and mint ice cream with strawberries and bananas (no marshmallows!!); with milk & dark chocolate fondue

Helpful hint: don’t leave the ice cream next to the burning candle if you’re going to eat another dessert first. …unless you like ice cream soup.

 

Belgian waffle for One & ice cream – $9.50

And of course, who can resist another waffle if there’s a side of ice cream ? :)

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Oliver Brown Chocolate Café (visited 20/04/11, 01/05/11, 06/05/11)
Top Ryde City Shopping Centre
Level Street, Shop F1, Cnr Devlin St & Blaxland Rd
Ryde NSW 2112
Ph: (02) 9809 7007

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The quest for the perfect French restaurant has been a long withstanding goal of mine for the past year or so, and so you can imagine my glee when I heard of The Red Snail, the newest French restaurant to hit the suburbs of Sydney.

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The problem with finding hidden gems is just that – they’re hidden, and so after hitching a ride to a train station, catching a train to King’s Cross, and walking in a circle around Darlinghurst Rd & Roslyn St rather than walking 500m straight down Bayswater Rd, one would hope that the trek was well worth it ! :)
…Especially considering their $35 for 3 courses special for dinner !

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Despite being situated in King’s Cross, one should abandon all sleazy, dodgy preconceptions when visiting. A glowing red atmosphere was awaiting us (as well as their $10 cocktail happy hour from 6pm – 7pm !!), with the opportunity to dine al fresco or to eat inside and be catered by the waiters and waitresses donned in matching uniforms of red and black.

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Fruit Bellini (mango) – $13, or $10 during happy hour
mango, mixed berry, strawberry, passionfruit
Fruit pulp of your choice mixed with vanilla, peach schnapps & champagne with a fruit garnish

Despite my initial excitement over their cocktail happy hour, whoever mixed my drink put in waaaay too much alcohol. The bellini tasted like an overdose of champagne with the aftertaste of schnapps, and the occasional hint of mango pulp. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like my cocktails tasting like shots – not to mention the cocktail itself wasn’t served on ice so wasn’t cold or anything – and I felt like I was having a heart attack with every sip.

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Honey Roasted Vegetable Gateau with ricotta, pinenuts & balsamic $14

It’s been awhile since I’ve ordered vegetables alone, but the idea of a honey roasted veggie gateau was too tempting to refuse. There was a strong waft of honey at first (which I must admit I’m not very fond of), but the vegetables were roasted to the point they weren’t crispy nor soggy. The ricotta was rather plain, but if you’re not a fan of overpowering cheese, it’s perfect :)
The entree itself was a sizeable portion, and I can hardly remember the last time vegetables made me feel so full.

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Duck confit and orecchiette salad – $14

This was one of the specials of the day. I don’t know about you, but whenever meat is in a salad I think it always tastes better as a cold cut – and this was just it ! The duck was cool, tender, and super tasty :)

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Mussels Provençal, rich tomato, garlic & fresh herbs – $14

This would have been my second choice had I not ordered the vegetable gateau. The mussels were soft and fleshy, and there was no strong seafood flavour that you usually get when ordering oysters/mussels and the like. Also loved the tomato :)

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Duck breast fillet, double cooked with sweet & sour cherry glaze – $31

When eating this I was trying to figure out the perfect way to describe the glaze ….and it really was sour ..and sweet. I’m beginning to really appreciate fruit flavours with meat, and I must say the sauce was really delicious =9.
The duck was a little chewy, which I would expect from being double cooked, and as much as the mussels didn’t have that seafood flavour, did the duck have that ..duck flavour (I’m really very coherent with my descriptions today, hey?)

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Whole trout roasted with lemon & parsley sauce – $25

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Kangaroo fillet, served rare, with native plum sauce – $25

The first time I remember trying kangaroo fillet, it was so soft and tender. Perhaps it was a one-off, because the second time I went back to the same place to eat it again it was nowhere near as nice.
Those who might condemn those who eat our fluffy native Australian fauna – well, I could say the same to you for eating ….the native American fauna …… (yes, the cow.. haha, unless you’re vegetarian!). Nevertheless, the outside of the fillet was really nice, and plum sauce again made the meat just that more juicy.
It was a little chewy this time, and despite requests to cook the fillet medium rare, the taste of blood was permeating.

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Mixed vegetables (side)

Steamed vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, beans, and cucumber. Apparently all the mains come with a free side of vegetables, which does appear on the menu as an additional $7 if you order it. A nice surprise, considering the ice cream with my sticky date pudding came at an extra $2 – a hidden cost no one bothered to tell me about :(

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Sticky date pudding – $11, plus ice cream – $2

This was amazing :D I don’t remember ever liking sticky date pudding but FATE was calling me out to order this tonight ….and I didn’t regret it at all !
I don’t know if it was exactly pudding-like, but it was so soft and moist and delicious, and with the sauce … mmmmm foodie heaven.
Would go back here again just for it (and yes, for the range of flavours, the vanilla ice cream was well worth the additional $2) !

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Poached pear with cardamon anglaise – $11
I’m not exactly sure what cardamon is, but the dish had a distinctly alcoholic taste. The pears tasted a bit like canned pears soaked in cinnamon and alcohol ..which was alright, but I probably wouldn’t order it myself.

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Crème Brûlée – $11

If you’re looking for a non-sweet dessert, this is probably the closest you can get, short of ordering the cheese and crackers.
It was a little too creamy, and the glaze on top was a bit stiff as well.

I unfortunately did not get a photo of the garlic bread, which was a m a z i n g ! Definitely recommend it (but only when it’s hot).

As for the French authenticity of these dishes, I cannot vouch for them, but at $35 a pop it’s value to be sure !
If you go on Sunday for lunch or dinner, I hear the prices are reduced to $25 for three courses, so definitely worth a visit.

And if the meals sound reminiscent of Pyrmont’s The Little Snail ? Well, apparently the owners are the same, but the prices are cheaper and some believe the quality of the food is better :)

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The Red Snail (visited 17/07/10)
Cnr Kings Cross & Ward Ave
Darlinghurst 2010
Ph: (02) 9357 4919
http://www.redsnail.com.au

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African food? A friend suggests.

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
..but not before including “bugs” under the description of what exactly comprises African food.

Despite this politically incorrect statement, the rest of my companions are (for the most part) open-minded about trying new cuisines, and it was with an anxious trepidation that we made the ten minute bus ride to Newtown to try African Feeling Cafe & Restaurant.


The five of us spent well over half an hour poring over the menu, looking at the exotic things we could try …seeing as none of us had ever tried African food before. So drinks were to begin with …

Karkadeh (hibiscus fusion & guava) – $4
hibiscus juice is combined with exotic guava fruit to make this tropical drink refreshing

We actually ordered the karkadeh (hibiscus fusion) and the karkadeh (hibiscus fusion & guava). Karkadeh is meant to be a traditional Egyptian drink made from the Hibiscus flower – popular in Africa, from Senegal to Egypt – and “addictively healthy”.

The makers of Ribena should rename their syrup line to “Karkadeh”, because that’s exactly what karkadeh tasted like – Ribena syrup with zero water. The karkadeh and guava tasted slightly better – definitely not as sweet – with a hint of guava, and although as a sugar addict I did enjoy the karkadeh (more so than the karkadeh and guava), I can’t imagine many people willingly drinking Ribena syrup.


Taste Bud Safari for 2 – $15.50
A personalised selection of any 3 African delights above ..
of which we chose:
Pepele – $10.50 plantain chips – seasonal (nigeria)
Kpoff-kpoff – $10
African cigar – $10 (smoked in Cuba, eaten in Africa) Sauteed beef minced and ground with herbs and spices wrapped in a light pastry (4pcs)

We actually ordered a Taste Bud Safari for 2, which was upgraded to a TBS for 5 ..but unfortunately the waitress didn’t inform us of the price increase. Nevertheless, we did “enjoy” the pepele (which tasted like hard apple chips), the kpoff kpoff (the spring roll lookalikes where spring rolls taste a lot better), and the African cigar (which wasn’t bad – but that might just have been in comparison to the rest of the meal).


Vegetarian Jungle – combination of any 3 of the above vegetarian dishes – $20.50
Galkora (eggplant in a sumptuous sauce – ghana) – $16.50
Egwein – exotic sauce of black-eye beans cooked with palm oil, tomatoes and seasonal vegetables – $16.50
Pumpkin stew – pumpkin cooked in onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and mixed vegetables (west africa) $16.50

To be able to try a selection of all three vegetarian dishes for the cheap price of $20.50 would have been a steal – if not for the size of the plate. The galkora wasn’t bad – I do like eggplant, although the ratio of eggplant and sauce did leave little to be desired. The pumpkin stew was also relatively tasty, and although I’m not a fan of black-eye beans, the egwein was pretty good, and I suppose I wouldn’t mind eating this dish again.


Kuku Na Nazi – $18.50
chicken breast seasoned in herbs & Kenyan spices cooked in coconut milk (East Africa)

For the amazingly CHEAP price of $18.50, we received a soup bowl filled with about six pieces of chicken and soaked in coconut milk. For some reason, I thought the sauce would be a lot creamier, but it would have been more appropriate to call it coconut skim milk (nothing short of water). The chicken itself wasn’t bad, but I must say we were all really surprised at the size of the dishes – for almost $20, I’d expect a bowl that would maybe cover the palm of my hand.


Almond Beef – $18.50
Based on the traditional Egusi soup. This favourite from West Africa contains diced beef cooked in Spinach with palm oil and ground almond meal (West africa)

Apologies for the terrible quality of the photo – but you’re really not missing much. To be fair, this dish didn’t taste terribly bad at all ! The beef was in shredded pieces, but aside from that, it was flavoursome, and went quite nicely (or would have gone – if we had got it) with the rice. Again, I think our disappointment was just at the serving sizes, and the exorbitant prices charged.


Dalak Prawns – $24
Prawns seasoned and cooked in coconut cream (East Africa)

Although the prawns were nice and chunky, I wouldn’t say they warranted their cost of nearly five dollars apiece. As for their being “seasoned”, the dish was extremely salty, and I couldn’t tell what made the difference between the prawns bathed in coconut “cream” and the aforementioned chicken drowned in coconut “milk” – both had the same viscosity akin to water.


Bua – Tender goat meat cooked with palm oil in a spinach sauce (Ghana) – $21.50

Again – feeling a little rorted having paid over $20 for a soup bowl! The goat meat was very soft and tender – possibly to the point of turning into mush – and I’d say the description of spinach sauce was v. accurate.


Fufu, Ugali, Pap, Sadza, and Sima – $8 per head
This stable food is found all over Sub-Saharan Africa and is known by a variety of different names. Ground cereal, steamed or boiled, and served as a ball and can be eaten by hand!

After our proclamations of trying new things, we decided to forego the usual rice and try “fufu”, an apparently very popular African staple. At eight dollars per head, and after already ordering six dishes (and not knowing that each dish would be the size of my fist), we thought that we should only get enough servings for three people. Little did we know that we would receive a lump of clay the size (and taste) of a soccer ball.
We didn’t even get a quarter of the way through that mini mountain of dough, with Grace even making a play-doh-esque mountain of food afterwards.


To be honest, I would definitely have to say that this restaurant is a perfect case of sounding way better than it actually looks. They always say don’t judge a book by its cover – but we shouldn’t judge it by its words, either. The people at African Feeling clearly have a brilliant marketing team because their food sounded really delicious, but its taste left little to be desired.

I’m always up for trying new things, and I might even be open to trying African again ….but probably not for a very, very long time.


The tip jar

Would it be terrible of me to say that the only time I would ever come back is if I was feeling tipsy (or to be more accurate, completely inebriated)?


As for the size of the dishes ….


Pictures speak louder than words. The snapshot above came to almost $200 between 5 people. Worth it? I think not.


African Feeling Cafe & Resturant (visited 07/01/10)
1/501 King St
Newtown
NSW 2042
Ph: (02) 9516 3130
http://www.africanfeeling.com.au

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Hidden away in a quiet street in Surry Hills, the entrance to the creatively named Cafe Lounge looks more like the door to a flamboyant artist’s home. In fact, the atmosphere inside is pretty much just that.

Instead of the ordered rows of tables in a typical restaurant, Cafe Lounge has couches and benches spread out around. The decor is warm, cozy and inviting, with murals painted on the walls and weird and wonderful art hung all around the place. Cafe Lounge also hosts events such as art exhibitions and live music in support of local artists.

Also, apologies for the crappy quality of the photos – the lighting inside was too ambient. This is what I get for not bringing a camera and having to rely on my phone.

Cafe Lounge has an eclectic menu of food and drinks. With no idea what to order, we spied on the table next to us and speculated as to what looked nice. We ended up ordering the same drink they had, which was this bottle of rose wine. I’m not really a big fan of wine and can’t really discern what’s good and what’s not unless it’s really, really crappy so I can’t really judge, but I thought the wine was pretty alright (that’s a professional wine tasting term right there, kids).

Rose Wine – La Vieille Ferme cotes du ventoux, France. $32 per bottle or $8 a glass.

Unfortunately, the cocktails we ordered later on weren’t very nice nor creative.

Mandarin daiquiri $16

The highlight was definitely the food. Originally, we were going to order two entrées and a pizza, but we ended up ordering more and more.

Zucchini & sweet potato balls $8

The sweet potato balls had a crispy skin and a mushy centre with a deliciously creamy and herby dipping sauce. The chilli & coriander octopus was a favourite, even for Helen who hates coriander. The octopus was cooked to the right tenderness (not the difficult-to-swallow degree that they sometimes are cooked to), and the chilli & herb sauce was mouthwatering.

Chilli & coriander baby octopus $11

Like all good pies, the duck confit pie had a crispy pastry and a warm and gooey filling of duck, potatoes and carrots. The filling was slightly sweet and peppery.

Homemade duck confit pie $12

The only dish that I’d complain about is the kangaroo meat – perhaps we’re just not kangaroo meat people? We took a chance and it didn’t pay off, I guess. The flavour of the meat was too strong and tasted too raw and metallic, and the sauce was kind of sour and weird. We felt obligated to finish it off so we ended up doing scissors-paper-rock, where the loser would have to eat a piece.

Kangaroo carpaccio with rosemary reduction $12

Cafe Lounge has a variety of odd-sounding but delicious pizzas. We actually ordered two but my photo of the other one was so shitty that it’s embarrassing to put up (yes, even more so than the current ones you see).

Tiger prawn & banana pizza
with fresh coriander, roasted peanuts, chilli flakes & parmesan $17

Yes, it’s prawns and banana. We actually got half with banana and half without since Helen is allergic to bananas. If you think the combination is too strange, you can’t actually really taste the banana unless you bite into it. Other than that, the pizza was full of flavour and herb-y and tomato-y goodness.

Why is there a photo of an empty plate, you ask? Well, this is because the dessert we ordered was gone so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to take a photo. It was that good!

The remains of the macadamia & rum brownie with vanilla ice cream $6

Seriously, if you ever go, you must must MUST order the macadamia & rum brownie. It will be the best brownie you have ever eaten – it’s warm, chocolately and melts in your mouth, accompany by a serving of cold and creamy vanilla ice cream. Mmmm…

Cafe Lounge (visited december, 2009)
277 Goulburn St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9356 8888
http://www.cafelounge.com.au/

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Word on the street is that there’s a new tea store trying to muscle in on the monopoly that is Easyway. If you’ve been down George St any time over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed Chatime – the latest tea store to hit Sydney.

Their selection of teas are interesting – amongst them Yakult Lemon Juice, Ichiban Roasted Tea, Lemon Yoghurt Smoothie and Brown Rice Green Tea ……….but do they really beat Easyway?

 

Since Chatime had a Buy 1 Get 1 free promotion until the 13th November, I was naturally tempted to try their new range of drinks.
Grace had bought a Hawaii Fruit Tea (M – $4.20) the day before, and it had tasted suspiciously like breakfast juice in tea form …but hey! New things might always surprise you :)

 

Grapefruit Green Tea (R) and aloe vera – $4.70 &
Chatime Roasted Milk Tea (R) with pearls – $4.70

First up on the list of drinks to try was the recommended grapefruit green tea and the interesting sounding Chatime roasted milk tea.
The prices are a little dearer than Easyway, which is often justified with the random inclusion of toppings in some of the drinks (not in this case, though).

I asked the staff if the grapefruit green tea would be sour, to which I was told it would be bitter =[. Had a slight bitter aftertaste, and the aloe vera texture was a little mushy (Easyway’s is definitely better), but if you like grapefruit it’s definitely worth a try.

Chatime roasted milk tea, which is supposed to be green tea based, just tasted like watery coffee. Like, SUPER watery coffee. -_-  The pearls were very chewy though, which is good I suppose, if you like chewy pearls.

Verdict? Grapefruit > Roasted milk

Despite not being blown away by these 2 drinks, Helen & I decided to give Chatime another try with:

Brown Rice Green Tea (R) with pearls – $4.20 &
Tokachi Red Bean Milk Tea (R) included with pearls and red bean – $4.50

Was not really a fan of the brown rice green tea. Tasted like the hot green tea they give you in Japanese shops – the ones that taste like sesame tea instead (which apparently isn’t sesame or green tea at all, but rather the brown rice..so I guess the name is rather accurate). In Helen’s words, is it “infused with smoke” ? =\

The tokachi red bean milk tea came with a serving of pearls and red beans. Red beans were really nice – not overly sweet (Easyway’s milk tea is a thousand times sweeter – although you can adjust the sweetness), and rather small. The milk tea had a red tea aftertaste that could potentially be amazing if you love milk tea.

Verdict? Tokachi red bean > brown rice green tea

Unfortunately, despite trying four different drinks, we still hadn’t found the WOW factor of Chatime ….so one more time.

Longan & Red Date Juice (L) – $4.20

One thing I can say about Chatime is that the descriptions for their drinks are pretty accurate. Although a refreshing drink, there was a definite longan aftertaste that could very easily be overwhelming if you don’t like longans that much. There was a strong date flavour as well (which was only accentuated further by the small sweet date pieces floating around in the drink).

Figured that I haven’t really liked anything from their energetic healthy juice range .. =[ (which this drink came from)

Fairy Vanilla Milk Tea (L) and pearls – $5.20

The WOW factor.
This was definitelyyyy my favourite drink so far! Not much to say other than it’s a vanilla milk tea, and if you like vanilla, you’ll looove this!

As for comparison with Easyway, I suppose it all comes down to whether you have a tolerance for sweet things, and whether or not you’re obsessed with milk tea. While Easyway has a large variety of different drinks, Chatime differs in that they have a few of the populars – e.g. milk tea, green tea – and then a few variations of the same thing.

But speaking of Easyway, did anyone see the episode of the Simpsons where all the shops in some megamart turn into Starbucks?
That’s pretty much the same case with Easyway and George St, with a new Easyway opening up opposite the World Square one and diagonal to the Goulburn St store.

 

Grand Opening

Oooh, competition, considering this new Easyway store opened up in the same time frame as the Chatime store.

…a store which uses masking tape to hold its sign up.

Hahahah.

Anywayyy. If you’re adventurous and really like milk tea, then maybe Chatime’s gazillion different types of milk tea will appeal to you!
If anything, the tea is worth a try at least once – and if you’re not game, you should swing by Easyway Castle Towers for the best Easyway around :D

Chatime (Visited 13/11/09)
Shop 181, 569 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
(Summit Arcade, opposite World Square)
http://www.chatime.com.au

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French Riviera, Sydney

It is shameful and embarrassing that it has been over a month since I last blogged ! But I’m blogging with eight minutes to spare of not having a single September post :)

Anyways, if any of you know me at all you’ll be well acquainted with my love affair with ice cream.
And if you’re any sort of ice cream junkie, a trip to French Riviera is well in order !

 

Even though some of the flavours are hit or miss (do NOT try the hazelnut one!!), any ice cream lover can’t miss out on a visit to French Riviera!

The array of flavours and the tasty combinations make it a place well worth visiting, and there are a million and one things I could say about their servings of epic proportions.

 

So before we start, we’re given glasses of room-temperature water. It proves a blessing for those who don’t have a sweet tooth ..and boy, do I have a sweet tooth.

 

Rainbow Gastronomic Surprise (2-3 people) – $32
Available in Super [4-5 people @ $37] or Maxi [6+ people @ $45]

If there’s only one reason to go to French Riviera, this is it. Scoops upon scoops of coconut, yoghurt, redcurrant, hazelnut, raspberry and mango ice cream, as well as your regular strawberry and chocolate as well. There are more flavours besides the ones I mentioned – the list is endless!  And ohhh so good =9
Some of the flavours are generally better than others (redcurrant gelato, anyone??), and I’m reaaaally NOT a fan of the chocolate sauce…but each to their own!

 

Maple Syrup Waffles – $9

The Gastronomic Surprise wasn’t quite enough for me so we got waffles :) Which were freaking deliiiicious. The maple syrup comes in a small glass so you can put as much or as  little as you like. 
Not only warm, but they were crunchy and thick – just the way I like them :)

 

Waffle – $3.50

Soo good were they that I had to order another ! LOL, I didn’t know you could order a waffle by itself for $3.50, so you’re not paying an extra $5.50 for 2 scoops of ice cream & whipped cream.
They give it to you plus icing sugar, and I had maple syrup left over from the first one. I’ve also been wanting to try the waffles at Smile Mart on George St! Hrmm…

 

One scoop – $5
vanilla & chocolate sauce

A second visit to French Riviera prompted us to try the different sundaes they have on offer (and coincidentally my companions for the third visit ordered the exact same sundaes)…

Delice – $16
Chocolate, Walnut, coconut, hazelnut, whipped cream & crunchy nuts

 


Banana Split – $26
vanilla ice cream, banana, chocolate sauce, whipped cream & crunchy nuts

 

Gastronomic Surprise – $32

Couldn’t resist getting another one of these, if not just for the novelty :)

 

Fraise Melba – $16
Vanilla, fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce, whipped cream & crunchy nuts

Helen wanted to get chocolate sauce instead of the strawberry sauce, and was it the BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER or what! I am reaaaally not a fan of their chocolate sauce – it just tastes so …fake.

 

Third visit :)

One scoop – $5
walnut

Usually, when most places say ‘one scoop’, they mean one meagre scoop of ice cream on a waffle cone or perhaps a small plate.  At French Riviera, ‘one scoop’ equates to a single scoop of ice cream …on a base of more compacted scoops of ice cream. I looove places that are generous with their servings :)

 

Delice – $16
Chocolate, Walnut, coconut, hazelnut, whipped ream & crunchy nuts

Kim decided to order alone because the thought of sharing ice cream with someone else (“indirect kissing”, as Lawson puts it) turns her off. But as we should all know by now, a serving for one equates a serving for 2 (or 3, if you have a small appetite), and I think she nearly cried when she saw how big her sundae was :p

 


Fraise Melba – $16
Raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry, fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce, whipped cream & crunchy nuts

Putting a more berry-themed spin on the Fraise Melba saw the replacement of three scoops of vanilla ice cream with a scoop of raspberry, redcurrant, and strawberry. Strawberry tasted like the typical supermarket variety, and raspberry wasn’t really that different from strawberry. :s Redcurrant was deliciiious though ! Probably because it was gelato ..
Upon first serving us, though, they forgot to give us the fresh strawberries !!

NB: strawberry sauce is waaay nicer than the chocolate :)

 

Tahitienne – $26
Mixed Ice-cream, Banana fruit, Rum/Chocolate Sauce, Whipped Cream & Crunchy Nuts

A nutty chocolate twist on the Tahitienne, Hashan chose chocolate & walnut ice cream for his sundae. The rum is a subtle flavour – not strong enough for him, but definitely enough for me – and apparently they use real rum!

Although the regulars (e.g. chocolate and strawberry) aren’t the best ice creams I’ve had, props to French Riviera’s accommodating style in personalising the sundaes to your fancy. You can pretty much choose any sundae on the menu and replace the flavours of ice cream/sauce at no extra charge :) 
The servings are also amazingly generous, although I’m thinking it’s the novelty of the place and the portion size that keeps me coming back for more, rather than the ice cream itself (although you can get pretty weird flavours here too!)

Service is generally pretty good, down to pulling up extra chairs & tables for us, to opening up the second level for our group of nine when there wasn’t enough space downstairs. On my last visit though, they tried to overcharge us with an extra sundae, so it’s probably easier to pay as a group rather than split!

 

French Riviera Ice Cream (visited 03/07/09, 30/07/09 & 29/09/09)
Shop 5
68 Liverpool St
Tel: 9264 2932
http://www.frenchriviera.com.au

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So there’s this relatively new business complex on George St (near Town Hall station) called Regent Place, which houses a variety of new and hip restaurants and the most confusing floor plan they could fit into this little space. I’ve walked past Mid Town Cafe before and being the shallow person I am, the first thing noticeable about this place is the cute decor (chandeliers, pink walls, lots of glass…) and the general friendly atmosphere of the place.

Kind of hard to take discreet photos; this is behind the front desk/coffee bar.

Tables near the front entrance, they also have tables closer to the back with a more moody atmosphere.

I’ve had coffee from this place before which wasn’t spectacular, but we decided to give their meals a try. Midtown offers a lunch special menu (mainly or all Italian food I think) at $9.90 which has a large selection of mains from meat, fish, pasta to salads.

Lunch menu (one of the pages only), I believed they had a large selection of pastas on other pages.

The menu sounded like a pretty good deal as a $9.90 steak or fish at a nice sit-down restaurant in the city is pretty rare to come across.

Risotto Pollo Ai Fungi – $9.90
Risotto with chicken fillet and mushrooms cooked in a creamy white wine sauce

Despite having a not so attractive name the flavours were quite nice. I guess it’s hard to go wrong with chicken and creamy sauce but it was rich though not overbearing. The chicken was quite dry unfortunately, but the main complaint was that the risotto was undercooked and hard, which kind of ruined the whole dish.

Rump Steak with pepper sauce – $9.90

Presentation seemed to be the highlight of Midtown Cafe as all the dishes looked really nice (which extends from having nice decor, I guess). The steak was nice on the outside and the sauce was wonderful, but I can’t say the same for the meat itself. The meat was quite tough and hard to chew (and it was cooked medium-rare) and I don’t think there was enough sauce to give the meat enough flavour.

Perch Del Giorno – $9.90

This dish got no complaints. It looked really nice which a tasty and colourful salad, and the fish was cooked perfectly and full of flavour.

Overall, Mid Town Cafe and Restaurant is a really cute and cosy place to sit down with friends, but the food is only so-so and kind of hit-and-miss. They do also have a delicious looking display of desserts as well, which I need to go back one day and try.

Shop 10.05. (next to KFC)
Regent Place
501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9269 0262

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