Archive for the ‘North’ Category

As always, it’s been a pathetically long time since I last updated, and I must apologise for the quality of my mobile photos – next pics will be prettier, I promise !

So if you’ve ever been to Eastwood, you’ll know it’s a melting pot of Asian cultures – and by melting pot, I actually mean hot pot – and by hotpot, I mean that there’s approximately 2 sides to Eastwood: the Korean side and the Chinese side.

It was a Monday night and a craving for Japanese food quickly translated to Korean, thanks to reminiscing over a recent trip to Madang – hence the choice of Tudari BBQ Korean Restaurant.

Although I’ve been to this side of Eastwood (the Chinese side – or to be more politically correct, the library side) a gazillion times, I’d never actually ventured into Tudari BBQ – despite a window display plastered with pictures of food and a rather enticing display of the complimentary Korean side dishes on offer.

And let me just say …I have never been to a Korean restaurant that offers as many complimentary side dishes as this one:

Spinach, sweet & sour pork, creamed corn, pumpkin soup, apples & carrots, sardines, mushrooms, potato noodles, vegetable omelette, kimchi, radish, honey fried potato & potato

I must admit that there were second thoughts after every side dish under the sun had been whipped onto our table for two approximately 5 seconds after ordering our 3 mains …but food is food, and who can ever say no ? :)


Sizzling Stone Pot Bibimbap – $13

Within a few minutes, this steaming pot was placed in front of us. The rice was crunchy and warm and was decorated with beansprouts, mushrooms, spinach, egg and –wait, no meat ?

When we asked the Korean waiter where the meat was, he told us we couldn’t see the meat because it was in such small pieces — before he realised there actually wasn’t any meat…

…Only to return five minutes later, despite the kitchen already being closed, with a small, steaming dish of beef, and a bowing, profusely apologetic owner.


 Set menu with Bulgogi on a Hot Iron Plate – $12

The beef bulgogi came nestled on a bed of lettuce and, despite being a bit soggy, was deliciously sweet. There was a subtle sesame flavour but it wasn’t drowned in soy sauce, the way some bulgogi recipes can be (like my own failed attempt ..hahah).


 Steamed Dumplings – $12

I’m sure I’ve tried Korean-style dumplings (mandu) before, but this was a pleasant surprise because it was definitely not what I was expecting! Small pockets of dumpling skin stuffed with vegetables, pork, and what might have been a variant of thin rice noodle – and a soy sauce dipping sauce.

The dumplings itself were a tad dry but that might just have been because it took us so long to eat it !

All in all, the food was on par with typical Korean cuisine, not to mention the continuous humming of Korean music, which lent to the authenticity of the restaurant, despite being deceptively placed on the Eastwood Chinese side.

And as Monday nights go, the restaurant was quiet with few customers – which just means faster service & a real hidden gem ! – and the food in Eastwood is usually decent so I’ll definitely be coming back for more.

Not to mention – despite coming in at around 8.30pm (when the restaurant closes at 9pm – 9.30pm), the owner was extremely hospitable and sat at another table learning English, while we s l o w l y finished our meal (unlike other restaurants that give you the bill and try and kick you out).

The incredibly cheap bill – given at the very end upon polite request of the patron :)

Think one of the marks of a great restaurant is the service & the service here was definitely 5 star :)

Tudari BBQ Korean Restaurant (visited 08/08/11)
8 Hillview Rd
Eastwood NSW 2122


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IT’S OCTOBER, EVERYONE ! :) And you know what that means – Crave Sydney (formerly known as Good Food Month) has begun ! Sydney’s international food festival includes the night noodle markets, outdoor  art exhibitions, the Darling Harbour fiesta (Latin American dance festival), the comedy festival, island hopping, seven bridges walk, and BREAKFAST ON THE BRIDGE.

Not to mention the coveted Enliven Your Senses deals (think buy 1 get 1 free deals at Wolfie’s Grill, Golden Century, Kobe Jones, Din Tai Fung, The Corn Exchange, Ice Cube Seafood Grill …the list is endless!) has been extended by Pulse until 31 October to their members, this time also including buy 1 get 1 free Avenue Q and Dendy cinema tickets and much, much more :)

I’ve had my Pulse card since I was in Year 8 – I think because I spent $20 at Diva – so I don’t exactly remember how to become a member :( ..but if you check out the website you should be able to find out how !



ANYWAYS ……. :)

I was never a fan of meat, and if not for my mum’s force feeding habits when I was younger, I’d probably be a vegetarian today (I’d also have a really tiny appetite and never finish my plate).
So when one of my friends mentioned Ribs and Rumps, a “new” steakhouse that had opened just five minutes away from Macquarie Centre, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be trying it out.


As it turned out, Ribs and Rumps is now one of those steakhouses that I wouldn’t mind going to ..again & again & again.


With cute napkins like these, and radio ads with tribal men drumming out the slogan “RIBS. AND RUMPS”, assif you wouldn’t go !



The Caesar – $11.95 (Side, or table for $18.95)
An old time favourite – cos lettuce, egg, crispy bacon, fresh croutons and shavings of Parmesan cheese, tossed with a traditional Caesar dressing

When most people go to steakhouses, the first thing that they’d be inclined to order would be steak. Same goes for Pancakes at the Rocks – you’d go there to try their pancakes ! But a shared entree of salad is always a good thing :) Especially when they taste as nice as the ones at Ribs and Rumps ! The lettuce was fresh, the cheese was tasty (not old and mouldy – yuck!), and the croutons were crunchy :)



My companions all bibbed up :)

Aside from the salad, we had to try the ribs and rumps ! :) As soon as we ordered the ribs, our waitstaff came back to our table with a wooden bowl (for rib bones), as well as four bibs. Tehehe, wearing bibs are such a novelty !  


The 500g hide of rump – $39.95, and creamy mushroom sauce – $2.95
A mammoth rump, for the real man or woman!

Pictured above is a 500g rump steak – my camera doesn’t do it justice as to how big it should be – but then again, from memory, I don’t remember thinking the steak was particularly big. Ours was done medium rare, so it was a little chewy, but I think that’s the way it is when you get MR.

The waiters were sneaky too – our dedicated waiter asked us if we wanted sauce – neglecting to mention it cost a sneaky $2.95 ;) . Haha, you also get a choice of fries or baby potatoes and sour cream with your dish.


Pork Ribs (1kg rack) – $47.95
Lean and tender

I don’t believe I was really a fan of ribs until this fateful day. Same deal with the steak – you have a choice of either fries or baby potatoes – but these ribs were just soooo good. Succulent and juicy, they are very easy to eat with civilised OR uncivilised – if you like using cutlery or not.

But I have a bone to pick with you –  my sister says that she has a friend who has a friend (lol) who works at Ribs and Rumps – and apparently their ribs “stay on the floor” for ages. She told me this with the thought that it would deter me from eating them, but alas :) They are just too good ! This place could even be blacklisted on the Name ‘n’ Shame and I would go back and eat them :)


Half rack of lamb ribs – $24.95

True to my word, I did come back a later day and order a half rack of lamb ribs for myself :) Lamb is definitely nowhere near as good as pork, but it was still deliciously tasty :)

Ribs and Rumps’ marinade is amazing imo, and the way they grill it is never overdone or chewy. The meat is always thick and juicy – but I wouldn’t suggest getting any more than a half rack – you’d get sick of eating a kilogram of the same stuff !


Dessert Menu

The dessert menu at Ribs and Rumps is also a sneaky marketing tool – simply a dessert platter with all their cakes on display – no prices included ! The selection above included tiramisu, chocolate cake, strawberry mousse, ricotta cheesecake, apple pie, passionfruit ganache …and I forgot the rest.

And so after the waiters have gone to all the effort of bringing the platter out to show you, you feel compelled to make a purchase !


Ricotta Cheesecake – $9

IMO the presentation is pretty good for a steakhouse. In addition to chocolate sauce and a small bowl of vanilla ice cream, you’re also given a side of whipped cream and strawberry. I don’t remember being blown away OR feeling utterly disgusted by this dessert – so let’s just be neutral :)


Passionfruit Ganache – $9

Strawberry syrup :) I think it was passionfruit ganache ? Or maybe it was coulis ..who knows, it was so long ago -_-


Way back when, I was always one of those people who would prefer spinach to steak, and cabbage and brussels sprouts to fish and lamb. Needless to say ..my eating habits have changed ..immensely.

If North Ryde is a bit of a trek for you, Ribs and Rumps can also be found at Campbelltown, Manly, and Sydney Olympic Park – and there’s even one in Africa and in Dubai !

If you’re planning on dining here, I’d suggest booking because the place is usually quite full. There’s a dedicated carpark surrounding the North Ryde branch, but that’s usually full as well. As for its comparison to other steakhouses? A little pricy compared to the likes of Hogs’ Breath, but I’d say that for me it poops on Hurricane’s by far! And they have a Frequent Diners’ reward system set up too ! But don’t take my word for it, you should try it yourself :)


Ribs and Rumps (visited 01/05/09 & 02/22/09)
11 Talavera Road
North Ryde
Tel: (02) 9805 1199
Fax: (02) 9805 0990

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This has definitely been the longest break I’ve gone without blogging – motivation waninggg – but I’m back ..again ! And hopefully for good this time :)

 I always hear about how there are lots of places to eat in Epping, but I never really see them ..I guess because they’re just too well hidden.

But for my birthday (which was, incidentally, a very long time ago), my darlings <3 took me to BORRELLI’S, an Italian restaurant only 5 minutes walk from the station.


At 6pm the restaurant is rather deserted, but it’s pretty much the calm before the storm – turns out they get a sizeable crowd at 7pm – and so by 7.30pm the entire place is packed.
At first glance, Borrelli’s looks teeny ..until you’re led to a private room in the back, perfect for intimate gatherings.


The lighting was dim and there was Italian music playing in the background – and I’d say the Borrelli’s owner is definitely attentive to detail – I remember he was fiddling with the aircon because he kept coming back to ask if the temperature was warm enough.


Risotto Funghi (vegetarian) – $18, or entree for $14
Trio of pan fried wild mushrooms with garlic, white wine and creamy Arborio rice

It’s nice that the menu pointed out that they use short-grain Arborio rice. From what I’ve heard, most places that make risotto try and use the Chinese long-grain, which doesn’t produce the sauce for risotto very well (Food for thought: did you know that you’re not actually supposed to add any cream/sauce/milk to risotto ‘cos it’s supposed to come from the rice itself!)

What makes a good risotto IMO is the creaminess of the sauce (and the texture of the rice), and this was perfect :) I’m not usually a fan of soggy, saucy risotto, but this rice wasn’t soggy nor was the sauce watery – and the amazing thing was, that the sauce all came from the rice !


Spaghetti Marinara – $23
Al dente spaghetti tossed with a medley of seafood, including fish, prawns, calamari and mussels cooked in a white wine, garlic and chilli tomato sugo

I’m really stretching my memory trying to remember what the food here tasted like. The sauce was a weak tomato, but the spaghetti was really good – it was firm but not overly chewy – sturdy enough to bite, but not hard and crunchy like undercooked spaghetti.


Cannelloni – $18, or entree $13
Home made crepes filled with a mixture of veal, chicken, spinach and herbs. Presented on a bed of rich tomato sugo and topped with creamy bechamel and mozzarella gratin

I love cheese and tomato, and this dish was pretty much cheese and tomato ! I don’t particularly like sugo, just because I find it a little too watery for my liking, even though this tomato sugo was a bit more like soupy tomato puree. The crepes were paper thin and drowning in tomato sugo, but definitely a winner if you like savoury crepes.


Melanzani al forno (Oven baked eggplant) – $22.50, or entree $13.50
A tower of grilled eggplant and zucchini layered with bocconcini mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil pesto and parmesan cheese. Baked in the oven and served on a bed of tomato sugo with a side of kumera crisps

I’m not used to eating such soggy eggplant, ‘cos my mum makes really nice grilled eggplant :)
Then again, I thought the whole dish tasted kind of bland, and the eggplants were all stacked on top of each other, making some kind of soggy eggplant castle on a tomato moat :s


Funghi con l’aceto ragu e Polenta (trio of mushroom with balsamic glaze and baked polenta) vegetarian – $21.50, or entree $13.50
A hearty trio of mushrooms ragout with red onion, garlic and balsamic glaze, presented on a disc of baked polenta (vego)

This polenta was such a disappointment compared to the crisp, crunchy one at Villa Moura ! Maybe because the ones there were polenta cubes, and not soaked in mushroom sauce, whereas Borrelli’s polenta resembled a mushy cake bathed in mushroom. Maybe that’s the way polenta is supposed to be served, but I like it a bit more crunchier. You’d also expect it to taste slightly acidic as well because of the balsamic glaze – but that’s the beauty of Borrelli’s, I guess – bar the sauce, everything else is subtle.


Capesante con radicchio e prosciutto crudo (Scallops with radicchio and prosciutto) – $19.90, or entree $15.90
Pan seared scallops wrapped in prosciutto and served on a bed of radicchio with a sweet lemon and seeded mustard dressing

I usually eat scallops Asian style, so to try Italian-style scallops was a refreshing change. The scallops were fleshy and sweet, with a tang of lemon. I’d definitely recommend trying these – I felt as if I was eating salad but in scallop form instead. Very tasty :)

 The one thing I can say about Borrelli’s is that they looove their tomato. Also, their use of herbs is sparing, so if you don’t like an overpowering taste of basil in your food, this is probably perfect for you. There’s also something about their attention to detail in terms of food and presentation that makes me say it’s genuine Italian cuisine (but what would I know?).

And a muchas gracias to my lovelies for taking me out that night ;)


Borrelli’s (visited 13/06/09)
3 Bridge St
Epping NSW 2121
Ph: (02) 9876 6563

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We seem to be on a Chinese food roll right now, so I’m just going to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.

Whether you’re Asian or not, I’m sure many of you have heard of the suburb of Eastwood and its (in)famous abundance of Asian restaurants (and not much else, let’s be honest). Eastwood has some of Sydney’s best Chinese and Korean restaurants, and there seems to be a new business popping up every couple of months. The Taste of Shanghai Restaurant is one of the newer restaurants in Eastwood and business is bustling. While I hate to say this, I personally think that Chinese restaurants are the best near the beginning of their lifetime and slowly decline from there, so we decided that if there is any time to visit, it’s now.

I recently (as in a couple of minutes ago on Google) just found out that there is another chain store in Ashfield, so perhaps the restaurant’s immediate popularity may partly be attributed to that.

When we arrived at 1:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, we expected the restaurant to be packed – and it was. However, when the waitress said it’d be a 5 to 10 minute wait she wasn’t lying, and we were directed to a table fairly quickly.

Taken discretely while I pretended to be using my phone

While the floor space of the restaurant is quite large, they did not waste a single inch of space. The tables were as small as they could make it without the plates falling off (and we had quite a few close saves), and the chairs were pretty much back to back. Despite this, the overall ambience of the restaurant was quite welcoming, and the wait staff were friendly, albeit a little stressed and disorganised.

Green vege & pork pan fried wonton (twelve)

Although I’m not really a fan of dumplings and related food, I do enjoy a well-made fried dumpling once in a while. These fried wontons had a nice dough that was a good blend of flour and glutinous rice, but I think the filling was completely devoid of salt. I don’t usually like to put any sauce on my dumplings either (yes I know I’m weird) so I would’ve preferred some seasoning.

Shanghai steamed mini pork buns, crab meat flavour (eight)

These buns was just your average pork bun and weren’t really special. While it says ‘crab meat flavour’, the only bit of crab was the orange tip that you can see on top.

However, it does seem like that all the doughy foods are freshly made in the kitchen, which I always appreciate.

Fresh fish head soup (white)

The fish head soup was on the Chef’s Specials menu, and another version with red (chilli) soup is also available. The soup is quite pricey, but the serving is massive, and at lunchtimes I believe it is at a special price of $19.80. I don’t usually eat seafood, especially fish, but I had seconds of this soup (although, it was partly because there was so much of it and I felt obliged not to waste it!) Usually, oilyness is a big problem with fish soup, but this soup had just the right amount. The fish flavour was refreshing and strong but not overbearing, and it was balanced nicely with fresh tofu and glutinous rice noodles.

Szechuan style shredded pork & golden buns

This was an interesting dish that I hadn’t come across before. What you had to do was stuff the pork in the bun, which had a hole at the bottom.

Stuffed bun

The buns had a really unique flavour that was kind of smokey & cocoa-y. The pork strings were tender and mildly spicy, but weren’t really interesting.

Chilli beef in hot wok

While I was told that chilli isn’t really used in Shanghai cooking, I always have to have at least one spicy dish. I prefer my meat dishes to be really strong and rich in flavour (loaded with soy sauce and spices, please), however, the chilli beef was way too salty, and considering my normal salt threshold, that’s quite a statement. Aside from that, the beef was tender and nicely cooked, but I’d prefer a little more beef and a little less tofu in there.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the experience. I’m a fairly harsh critic when it comes to Chinese food and Taste of Shanghai Restaurant passed the test in my book. However, one complaint is that although having been to the city, we weren’t really sure what actually constituted as ‘Shanghai food’. I hope they’d have some kind of marking on the menu to show the Shanghai specialities from the average Chinese dish.

Taste of Shanghai Restaurant, Eastwood
(visited 04/07/09)
200 Rowe St,
Eastwood NSW 2122
Ph: (02) 9804 0388

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For our lovely friend Carina’s birthday, we dined at Nick’s Diner in North Ryde. This marks the second time Eden and I ate together (the first being at Wagaya), but this time we actually sat together!

Self-proclaimed masters of burgers & pancakes – kind of an odd combination?

Previously occupying this space was another restaurant called Platinum Bar & Grill which may or may not simply just renovated to Nick’s. The restaurant is quite large and spacious, with the 40 or so people and 3 long tables there for Carina’s party only occupying a corner of the restaurant.

Our table arrived first, and being the hungry pigs we were, also started ordering first.

Calamari – $15.90
Marinated & slightly flowered, deep fried; served with fries, salad & lemon myrtle mayonnaise.

We wasted no time getting into starters. First there was deep fried calamari, which I guess is a typical Australian dish. Despite an embarrassing childhood experience of choking on calamari rings which prevented me from ever eating fried calamari again, the dish looked golden and delicious and I heard no complaints.

Moroccan Lamb Skewers – $16.90
Char grilled served with salad, fries & yoghurt dip.

Since I seem to astronomically fail at remembering dishes, I think this is Moroccan lamb from matching with the description. Nonetheless, the lamb was herb-y and flavoursome.

Grain Fed Rump Steak 250-300 grams – $22.50
Char-grilled served with rosti potatoes & salad with a choice of peppercorn, hollandaise or mushroom sauce.

Now I always love a good steak, and although steak isn’t a specialty at Nick’s (I believe there’s only one on the menu), I can’t deny that it didn’t look juicy and delicious. Jelli and Jeff ordered it and being the stick-thin people they are, I don’t think they finished it. The serving of potatoes was quite generous and I believe the sauce pictured above is mushroom.

Now, onto the main attraction – the burgers!

Traditional Aussie Burger – $13.90
200 gram beef patty char grilled, topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, tomato sauce & fries.

Sunshine burger – $14.90
Beef patty char grilled, topped with grilled pineapple, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, mayo & fries.

The New Yorker – $14.90
Beef patty char grilled, with crispy bacon, melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, tangy mustard mayo & fries.

Nick’s House Burger – $14.90
200 gram beef patty char grilled on a toasted sesame seed bun topped with roasted red peppers, tomato, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms & fries.

Are the pictures making you hungry? As you can see, the burgers look packed and juicy and colourful, and I was positively drooling when the plates finally came. However, I can’t help but feel I was a little let down. :(

I ordered the last burger pictured – the (falling apart) Nick’s House Burger. I can only speak for myself but I thought that while the description sounded irresistable, the burger, especially the beef patty was terribly bland…as you can see from the plate, I pretty much had to go crazy with the salt and pepper to give it some savoury flavour. Although it might be just the fact that this burger contained no sauce like many of the other ones, but I felt the patty could definitely be spruced up with more herbs/spices/seasoning, because it was really quite ordinary. :(

Black Cherry Forest – $11.50
Buttermilk pancakes dusted with cocoa then topped with a black cherry and kirsch compote and finished with lashings of warm Belgium chocolate ganashe, cream and ice cream.

While the burgers were slightly disappointing, I thought their pancakes were absolutely delicious! The pancakes were soft and warm, the chocolate sauce was delightful and the ice cream was delicious and not too rich or mild. They have sizeable menu of pancakes and we definitely had a tough time choosing which ones to order.

Nuts About Chocolate – $10.90
Buttermilk pancakes sandwiched with warm nuttela spread and drizzled with warm Belgium chocolate sauce, topped with cream and hazelnut ice cream.

Eden and I shared the Nuts About Chocolate pancake for obvious reasons :p (although our blog title out-puns and out-awesomes theirs).

Chocolate strawberries bouquet made by Claire!

Lastly, unfortunately these cannot be found at the restaurant but they really should be – chocolate strawberries! The batch was made by our talented friend Claire for Carina, and they looked (and tasted!) so delicious we all ended up having one and demanded that Claire make them for every birthday.

Nick’s Diner (visited 06/06/09)
Shop 404, Macquarie Centre
Corner Herring and Waterloo Roads
North Ryde, NSW 2113
Ph: (02) 9889 8801

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After spending an entire day sprawled on Daniel’s various pieces of furniture, the last thing I wanted to do was go out to eat – but alas! No choice.. and it was to my great displeasure that I was dragged out (in the rain!) to the Chinese side of Eastwood to feast on crappy pho.



I was the lone loser standing outside, taking photographs of the carniverous cow ! ..everyone else was already inside, ordering T_T

As soon as you step into Pho Nam Viet, you’re immediately given a huge silver thermos accompanied with boiling plastic cups of tea (which really just tastes like hot water ..but coloured), as well as menus thrown in your face.

The one thing that irked me was that the waitresses didn’t give us enough menus to share between the eight of us – which was pretty lame, all things considered. Although when Sidney spilt his tea all over the table, I’d have to give them credit for being super speeedy in bustling around and cleaning it all up XD

Since I was half asleep, I don’t remember how much everything was …but all the meals were about ten dollars anyway, give or take a dollar.


Crispy chicken and red rice – $10 ?


Vermicelli with stirfried beef and lemon grass – $9.50


Chicken fried rice – $10


Pork Chop red rice

I think the pork chops here were really tough and chewy, because Angela couldn’t finish it (but then apparently she says she never finishes anythinggg). Tomato rice is definitely one of my loves, though <3


Beef and rice ..?

Some beef and rice concoction that Goon ordered ..he had no idea what this was, either .. and can you believe that they actually served it to him, looking like THAT ?!
Definitely not winning any Masterchef food presentation awards with this dish!
Hahaha, no I kid. :)

After walking past another pho place on Rowe St, Sisi and I had a huuuge craving for pho. I didn’t really feel like eating meat, though, but unfortunately you can’t get plain old pho anywheree (or if you can, I haven’t found it yet =( ) ! Unfortunately, the waitresses were getting pretty impatient so I just settled on the first (or third) recommendation I was given.


Combination chicken noodle soup – $9.50

And can I just say (for want of a better word) …..it was CRAP.

It has literally been years since I haven’t finished a meal, and maybe it was because I was feeling really sick, or really lethargic, that I was too tired to finish this off …who knows.

Such was this anomaly that Rosy came up after everyone but me had finished eating, and immediately assumed that I’d ordered 2 meals instead ..when in actual fact, I was still slugging away over the first one

Then again, they say everything tastes better when you’re hungry ….so if we apply the inverse, it explains why I didn’t finish it!
I ended up leaving more than half behind –  IMO the chicken wasn’t particularly good (some of it was tooo soft, other pieces were too stringy), the soup was pretty bland (and oily!), and the noodles were nothing spectacular. As for the egg yolks, that chalky looking piece of plastic is enough to turn anyone off eating there, forever.

Not to say that this is a bad place to eat ! I’m sure lots of other people enjoyed their meals, and I’d definitely come again (when I’m not feeling like I’m about to faint) to see if the food is good or not! ..and also because I guess I’m just not a very picky person.

Pho Nam Viet (visited 22/05/09)
142 Rowe St
Eastwood NSW 2122
Ph: (02) 9874 0929
Fax: (02) 9874 0953

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