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Archive for the ‘CBD’ Category

If you have an Asian bun craving, Sydney CBD is definitely the place to be !

From Barby’s to 85 Degrees, Saint Honore to Savoy, buns and cakes are raining down on you everywhere and it would be well worth your while to dash through this bun storm with an open mouth raised to the skies.
(NB: Mentioning 85 Degrees George St is a bit of an exaggeration :( If you want more than cake and drink you have to go to the one in Chatswood !!)

Franchises and sole traders litter the streets of Sydney, and it was only a few years ago when Breadtop suddenly appeared one day and then began popping up everywhere.

 

One of the interesting things about Breadtop is the peek-a-boo kitchen, so if you manage to bypass the temptation that is Miracle Supermarket and Shu Shin Bou (the mochi house in World Square!), you will get a glimpse of the bakers making their breads and pastries in the shop :D so fingers crossed that the food is always fresh and tasty

 

From the East Asian take on ham & cheese croissants and mini danishes and burgers, to the more exotic flavours of seafood hash brown and seaweed pork floss buns, you can always find something super special to tickle your tastebuds

 

Much like this, the new bamboo charcoal bun:

Bamboo Charcoal Bun – $2
Healthy nutritious bun made of bamboo charcoal, topped with a slight butter touch and garlic paste

is anyone game enough to try it out ? Grace says it tastes like a croissant, but it sure as anything doesn’t look like one !
 

 

Also, which Breadtop would be complete without selling bread ?! Think chocolate chip buns, milk bread, and even sourdough bread at an exorbitant price ! I haven’t tried the sourdough (so the bread may very well warrant its price), but the chocolate chip buns are a flavour hit for a cool $3 for a bag of 6.

 

Freshly stocked cake display

 

Cake display at the end of the day

 

Mango Gateau – $31

This is indeed tasty cake ! It doesn’t come with chocolate Maltesers or a gummy snake mouth, but it does come with strawberries, mango, glaze and generous servings of fluffy cream and sponge.

 

Packaging advertising their pastry and bun offerings

 

Strawberry Tart – $3.40

I love Asian desserts ! For $3.40, I daresay a lot of Asians will find this expensive as tarts go, but compare them to other bakeries! For the freshness of the strawberries, the crisp yet sturdy shortbread base, and the melt-in-your-mouth custard, ’tis a true bargain to be reckoned with.

 

Fruit Tart – $3.40

Possibly one of the gems of Breadtop.

A wide selection of fruits including rockmelon, pear, pineapple, grape, strawberry, orange, honeydew and lychee, Breadtop gives you 2 of almost everything (one ring of pineapple and a melon apiece) so you can share it with your lover and best friend :D and no fighting over the lychees !

I usually find Asian custard quite lumpy and powdery, so to find Breadtop’s thick custard with smooth consistency is like a dream come true :D
The only problem is that not every Breadtop has nice custard – but if you’re not a picky person you can try all their cakes and tarts at every single Breadtop to find the best custard in the world :D

 

Breadtop 包店 (visited 23/06/09)
World Square
Shop 9.22
644 George St, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264 1383
http://www.breadtop.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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If I said “an internationally renowned dumpling chain”, it should bring to mind only one place: Din Tai Fung.

 

Ever since I tried their xiao long bao in July last year, I’ve never been able to forget them (lameee, I know !!). Sure, there are those who claim that Din Tai Fung is overpriced and even overvalued (although I’ve never heard anyone say that), any place that gives a guide to eating their dishes gets a big thumbs up in my book ;)

 

There is an art to eating xiao long bao – not that I would propose to know.
But Din Tai Fung prepares you well – equipped with a small dish of ginger strips and another empty sauce dish, you’re free to mix a combination of vinegar and soy sauce for dipping your xiao long bao :)

 

Not only are you paying for exemplary food, but the waiters are well-trained and polite, providing everything from a cover for your jacket to a hamper for your oversized uni bag (and replacement chopsticks in ten seconds flat if you so happen to drop them on the floor). I’d say that it is a testament to their attentive service that Din Tai Fung still has a sizeable crowd even at 2pm.

 

What I do enjoy is their method of service. If you have to wait outside for a table, a waitress will give you a brochure with dishes so you can choose what you’d like to eat (and sneakily enough, with no price tag attached).
You can also choose what dishes to come out when, and as they arrive, they are marked off on the receipt given back to you when you’ve placed your order.

What we ordered

 

Strawberry Italian Soda – $4

For ultimate hygiene purposes, the strawberry soda straw comes with a little paper cover that you slip off when you’re ready to drink it.
Despite the abundance of ice and carbonated water, you can taste the sweet yet tangy sensation of strawberry pulp sitting at the bottom of the glass. Also comes in red plum, green apple, and blue coral (think lemon, honey, and blue curacao ..yuckkk)

 

Hot Soy Bean Milk – $3

  

Pork Dumpling (8 pieces) – $10.80

The only thing I love more than xiao long bao is Din Tai Fung xiao long bao.
The only problem with having such thin, delicate xiao long bao skin is the MAJOR ISSUE of accidentally tearing it with your chopstick and wasting your precious soup =[ …which I accidentally did :(

 

The xiao long bao murder =(

All this from one small dumpling =[ It looks like a baby soiled its nappies =(

 


Vegetable & Pork Won Ton with a Tangy sauce (5 pieces) & spicy noodle – $10.80 ? no idea.

The dumpling skin was deliciously fresh and sturdy, neither too fragile nor too thick. Encased was a pinch of crunchy spinach and pork, nestled on a bed of texture-y noodles bathed in chilli sauce  ….which was VERY SPICY.
The tagline on the menu labelled this dish (and its cousins) as “A little spicy” – whattt a liiiie omg ! If we changed ‘a little’ to ‘a lot’, it might be a tiny bit closer to the truth.

 

Prawn & Pork Parcel (Shao Mai – 4 pieces) – $9.80

Thanks to the Enliven Your Senses deal I found on KG’s, it was a Buy 1 Get 1 Free dumpling meal, so this Shao Mai dish was the ‘free’ one. Lucky us ! Shanghainese presentation of their Shao Mai is always a feast for the eyes !

 

The prawn acts as a plug on the small packages of pork pieces, ensuring that the broth stays wrapped tightly inside the soft dumpling skin

 

Triple Strawberry Crushed Ice – $9.80
Freshly cut strawberry, strawberry ice cream and strawberry puree served on top of crushed ice

THIS was the king. Despite UNCALLED for comments that this dessert resembled a piece of male genitalia (although how, I genuinely have no idea), it was just sosososo delicious =9
Ever since I watched my friend order a “crushed ice” at Cha for Tea, only to be presented with a block of ice and a scoop of beans, I’ve been put off a little by the idea of crushed ice ..but I must sayyyy ..this was NOTHING like it at ALL.

Rivulets of strawberry puree drizzled down a pyramid of soft, crunchy pieces of ice infused with a sweet vanilla-y liquid.. I thought it tasted like vanilla ice cream but Grace was convinced it was condensed milk (and she was probably right – and this just means that you aren’t munching away on plain old ice, either!)
There were fresh strawberries swimming in the creamy puree, soaked in condensed milk and topped off with a single scoop of strawberry ice cream. Although I thought this strawberry ice cream was a little too artificial, and a little too sweet, this was definitely the first time I actually wanted to eat more ice. The dessert comes in mango as well, and for $9.80, it is a steal ! I am definitelyyy going back for it.

 

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) (visited 07/06/09)
Shop 11. 04 Level 1
World Square Shopping Centre
644 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9264 6010 / 6012
Fax: (02) 9264 6013

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Ice cream is one of those foods that I could eat everyday, and after every meal (ice cream party, anyone?)

After finishing exams on Tuesday night, the contingency plan for a half-hour wait at Sunshine Crepe led to the four of us trooping to Coles in the cold weather and buying two boxes of ice cream (twelve bars all up), where we just sat outside, pigging out.

Would it be embarrassing to admit that my heart beats just that little bit faster whenever the word “ice cream” comes up (must be from all the fattiness clogging up my arteries ..hahaha) – and ’tis the same with Passionflower and their self-proclaimed dessert culture – a place where ice cream and fruit join together in holy matrimony and make sweet, sweet loooove.

Desserts here rally around the $14 mark, which some may think is a little pricey, but if you’ve got your student ID card, you can get 10% off at the George St store (dno about the Capitol one though) ….and if you’re a UNSW Law student ..well, you get discounts just about anywhere -_-”

 

Lasting Luv – $14
A combination of strawberry & mango ice cream, dressed with a mix cocktail of peaches, cherries & strawberries, dazzled with strawberry syrup

do you see the “dazzling” ..haha, the fruit ice cream here is reallyyyy good :) But I think you can still get the same quality of ice cream at Baskin & Robbins, Gelatissimo …or even your local grocery store !

 

Playmate – $14
three scoops of lychee & rose petal ice cream, with hard coconut and lychee jelly, and lychee strawberry syrup

Albert had been raving about lychee & rose petal ice cream for weeks, and so I hadddd to try it. I gave Justin the first bite though ..to my mistake.
As soon as he had a lick, he burst into raucous peals of …laughter? pain? God knows.. :\ hahah and it all stemmed from the flowery taste of the ice cream. If you’ve never tried it, the first thing you can taste is lychee (duh)….but then a subtle rose flavour creeps up and hits you. Justin had a good giggle about this for agessss

 

Final Fantasy – $14
black sesame & coconut ice cream accompanied by cool refreshing pieces of black jelly, drowned in a shot of evaporated milk

The one thing I don’t really like about Passionflower is their jelly. It is always sosososooo hard, like the ones you get at yum cha or buffet. I’ll take soft Aeroplane jelly anyday, thanks !
I do like how they actually give you a shot of condensed milk separate to the ice cream, though, so you can put in as little or as much as you like (or none, if, like me, you’re also not a fan of condensed milk ..although I did put a little on for comparison’s sake, and I musttt say, everything is so much better WITHOUT it!)

 

Durian Milkshake – $6 ?

what looks like an innocent glass of milk is actually a noxious durian shake ! “Tastes like heaven, smells like hell” ..but I would just say that it’s hell all over. >:(

Passionflower may have the classic strawberry, vanilla or chocolate, but it’s renowned as the hotspot for Asian cravings ;) you can get green tea, black sesame, taro, and red bean all at the one placee !
..and the ice cream flavours at Passionflower even go so far as to include durian (yuck!), jackfruit, sticky rice and a new flavour, cherry blossom . I do remember that ages ago, they had wasabi-flavoured ice cream …but it appears to be written off the menu now :( ..I wonder why ….

 

Quick & Fast scoops of ice cream

 

Clockwise from top:
Mango, lychee & rose petal, durian ..and a scoop of sticky rice underneath – $15

 

Clockwise from top:
White chocolate hazelnut, lime sorbet, cookies & cream ..and a scoop of Japanese green tea below – $14

 

Hot waffles – $12.80
Freshly baked made-to-order Belgian waffles with thick chocolate syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a side of strawberries.

I think they ran out of maple syrup, so Philip made do with chocolate syrup. You can also get orange chocolate, apple, banana, chocolate mousse ..the possibilities are endless (or are they).. But because they make it when you order, the waffles are always nice and hot :)

 

A lot of people also don’t know that Passionflower has savoury crepes (think chicken, mushroom, etc) and cheese melts as well – I think around $10 for each one – and they are deliciouslyyy tasty when it’s a cold day (or even when it isn’t) . If the desserts are too sweet, there’s always the choice of coffee, or you can get water – the option of a self-service jug of water at the Capitol store, or asking the waitress/waiter for a few cups at the George St store.

ALSO …if your birthday is coming up, you can get a free dessert on your birthday at Passionflower (with photo I.D.), if you register your birth date here: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=51405631007&topic=8590

Unfortunately, I only just found out about this, which means I have another 359 days to go before I can claim my free dessert ! :(

 

Passionflower (visited 16/04/09 and 28/05/09)
580 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9267 0075
http://www.passionflower.com.au

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I don’t know if you all feel the buzz that comes from grand openings and free food (speaking of which, did anyone try the KFC Cayan Grill Fillet burgers at the burger giveaway today at George st ?!), but talks of a new German bakery opening up in the Central Station tunnel was enough to pull me away from my virgin plans of trying a KFC pocketful (and hash brown!!).

 

The first time I heard of Lüneburger was last year, when I was working at Challenger. The EY kiddies there were raving about a fabulous German bakery down in QVB, and of course, for lunch we had to try it ! Not only do they do bread rolls and pastries, they’re well renowned for their sandwiches – which were sadly NOT on display at the Grand Opening in Central.

 


Free coffee was the lure of today’s grand opening.

I just realised the sign said that the world’s barista champion of 2003, Paul Bassett, was on duty ! ..but he must have been on a break when we got there, because sadly enough, my mocha was possibly the most terrible coffee I’ve ever had (and that includes machine-bought coffees) :( .

We reasoned that this was probably because the attraction of today was the baked goodies !!, and not the high quality coffee – not to mention that I saw someone mass-steaming jugs of milk – and someone else pouring the milk into the various coffee cups filled with expresso coffee and chocolate syrup.

 


Then again, it IS free coffee ! So can’t complain

And I expect it’s hard to continuously produce quality when pouring cups of coffee for hundreds of customers (especially since Lüneburger is situated in the Central thoroughfare – i.e. the tunnel going from Central to TAFE – so lots of passersby itching for their daily coffee fix).

 

Butter croissant – $2.50

And in the corner, what I think is butter croissant with nut-nougat filling, topped with hazelnut kernel semolina

Phone photo focus is a little soft at the front =[ I should really get into the habit of bringing my camera around with me, haha

 

Apple triangle (apfelecke), Cherry-hazelnut pastry (L-R) ..not sure what the last one is

 

Rhubarb buttercrumble (Johannesbeer Butterstreusel) – $3.50

This was extreeeemely tastyy ! Sweet and crumbly, and I really liked the textured icing on top. Apparently it’s a wheat roll (which means it’s healthy! haha but you can’t even tell)

 

Pudding danish with jam – $3.50

Grace had a pretzel – solid, and lightly salted – kind of like the Pretzel World pastries, and I think Tim had a chocolate croissant (Buttercroissant mit Schokocreme) …which he probably fell in love with after. yumm :)

 

Lüneburger German Bakery (visited 28/05/09)
Henry Deane Plaza (Central)
Shop 14a1 14-18 Lee St
Haymarket NSW 2008
http://www.luneburger.com.au

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Jai Ho!
I got fever running like a fire,
For you I will go all the way,
I wanna take you higher
Jai Ho!

 

Gia Hoi, the newest Vietnamese restaurant to hit George St, makes me think of the Pussycat Dolls’ interpretation of the A. R. Rahman’s Slumdog Millionaire song.

 

If you ever get a terrible fake tan à la Lindsay Lohan, Gia Hoi is definitely the place to seek refuge while you wait for the orangeness to go away.
From the glaringly bright neon orange sign to the classy orange chopsticks, you could blend right into the walls and no one would notice! Everything is the colour of an oompa loompa: orange walls, orange uniform, orange chairs, orange menus, orange bowls, orange tables …but funnily enough, they had a yellow Grand Opening sign.

 

Gia Hoi’s street sign, and the charming display of its nearby vendors in the background

 

Grand Opening: 10% off!

 

mmm.. Play-doh!

 

My fellow food companion and I had spent the day (or the previous three hours) slaving away in the library over our Chinese assignment, so come 4pm, the perfect time to indulge our stomachs: well after the lunch rush had ended and just before the dinner rush would begin.

We were ushered inside by an eagerly awaiting man (I’m guessing the boss?), and an orange-clad waitress itching to take our order, pen and paper at the ready!

 

Special Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Dac Biet) – $9 (med)

This is one of the house specials of Gia Hoi – so much so that it’s even permanently advertised on the signage outside!
Tender slices of beef and beef balls, as well as onions, shallots, tripe and your all-favourite pho! :D

 

Accompanied with a dish of beansprouts and a wedge of lemon ..brings back childhood memories of eating at Flemington

 


Grilled pork and spring rolls with rice vermicelli (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio) – $9

Nuts, lettuce, and pork-jerky-tasting grilled pork (yummm), and the spring roll pastry tasted like biscuits!

 


Orange side dishes of chilli and nuoc cham

Don’t know how most people eat it, but I usually drown the vermicelli with nuoc cham and munchhh away :D

 

Chè ba màu (Three Colour Sweet) – $4
Shaved ice and sweet coconut milk, with green cendol, yellow mung beans, and red azuki beans, with a dash of peanuts on top

Superr sweet and super tasty! …it’s the SUPER drink for SUPERmen (according to Grace, it even beats the ice kachang at Market City)

 

Cam So da Sua Hot Ga (Orange, Soda, Milk Egg Yolk) – $4

This was possibly one of the strangest combinations I’d ever heard of, butttt Yes Men say yes!
Thick, creamy, egg-flavoured liquid flecked with orange; the first thing you can taste is condensed milk and carbonated soda, with a slight eggy aftertaste (Fear Factor, anyone?). Even though it was pretty nice, I don’t think I could drink more than a glass at a time ..verrrry s l o w l y as well (just because the idea of drinking egg yolk freaks me out)

 

And for those of you who missed the grand opening, never fear! I walked past Gia Hoi again today, and the banner was still there so CHANCES ARE the 10% discount is still on!

So hurry hurry hurrrrry! And even if it’s not, GO ANYWAY! and try some delicious phooo =9

Catch me, catch me, catch me, come and catch me!
I want you now!

Jai Ho!

 

Gia Hoi (visited 13/05/09)
709 George St
Sydney 2000
Tel: (02) 9211 0221

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