To all my food-loving buddies !!

Although I have been a horribly negligent food blogger of late, I thought I’d inform you all of the inaugural return of VIVA SYDNEY!

For those of you unfamiliar with what Viva Sydney is, it has come around under various other names such as Enliven Your Senses and the Pulse deals!

It’s pretty much a wonderfully awesome opportunity to try some of the amazing food, wine and attractions Sydney has to offer – including but not limited to spas and events and hotels! and of course FOOD ..because I can never say that enough ! – for buy 1 get 1 free offers!

The beauty of this little deal is that you can try places such as La Mint, Din Tai Fung, Jordon’s Seafood, The Corn Exchange, and more !! for essentially half price ! :) There are lots of different cuisines on offer such as Italian, French, Australian, Vietnamese, Shanghainese ..the list goes on and on!


So guys, go to http://www.sydney.com/viva to check out the deals! All you need to do to access these offers is print out one of the little cards (available on the website) OR get a text message sent to yourself and quote ‘VIVA’ at the restaurants (text message also available on the website).

If any of you decide to try out one of these places I’d love to hear from you! Because my bank account will be broke if I try them all! Gah! So excited ! :D


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
NSW 2042
Ph: (02) 9516 3130

Cafe Lounge, Surry Hills

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

If you love pineapple and you love chicken and you LOVE Nando’s, then you should definitely try Nando’s new Tropico burger for Buy 1 Get 1 Free! For $9.95, you can get 2 of these tasty burgers on a crunchy Portuguese roll and your own choice of super spicy peri-peri sauce or lemon & herb.

I tried it last week with my friend at work, and even though we bought the burgers at 2pm and had had all of 2 bites by 5pm (due to hectic work rush), the three-hour-old burger was still pretty gooood :) so props to Nando’s for their chicken lasting the test of time !

Just remember you need to print the voucher, and you’d better hurry ! ‘Cos this offer is only around until 26/12/09 I think!



Spending 5 minutes outside a restaurant deliberating whether said restaurant merits a visit based on its menu is to no avail when you’ve already decided to dine there based solely on the fact that its name is the namesake of your friend’s.

And that was how it pretty much went down on a sunny evening at Nick’s (the sun is still out at 8.30pm nowadays in Sydney, which is wonderful!)


Dining alfresco gives a completely different sort of atmosphere to eating – especially being able to eat dinner in plain daylight. Weather on Cockle Bay Wharf is almost always nice, but if you have an aversion to sunshine and daylight, there’s always the option to eat inside.




Heineken – $7.80

According to Nick, the waiter here really knows how to pour beer ! I don’t pretend to know anything about the art of beer pouring, but because he poured the drink in two or three goes, he gave the beer “life” apparently …hahah, who knows.

Summer Lychee – $14
Paradisio Lychee Liqueur, Peach Schnapps, Malibu and Honey

This was delicious, and as cocktail prices go, standard fare. It might be because I love sweet things, and the drink had a smooth lychee consistency with a hint of peach. Luckily enough, there wasn’t an overdose of alcohol, although the aftertaste always hit you – you could tell that the alcohol content in the drink was pretty strong.

Golden Fried King Prawns – $32 (with a side order of chips or salad)
Snow pea leaves, tomato salad and mango mayonnaise

Took us about ten years to decide between the chargrilled prawns (with palm sugar dipping sauce!), or the golden fried king prawns. Glad we picked the fried prawns, because the mango mayonnaise was divine, with a definite balance without being too thick (like mayonnaise can sometimes be) or overly watery (like mango juice can be).
The prawns gave a solid bite and the prawn batter was light and crunchy – not too much flour, which can really be overkill sometimes.


Chips weren’t spectacular, nor were they really hot either (but that might have been because we left them for so long until we decided to eat them).


Blue Eye Cod Fillet – $38
Pan seared on creamy mash, dill cream, sauteed fennel and leek

“The edge of the mashed potatoes is really hard, which I don’t like ..but the texture of these potatoes are really consistent …i’ve made better mashed potatoes at home..” my companion’s attempt at food blogging, but then again, we do not come to Nick’s for the quality of their mashed potatoes.

No idea how I could possibly describe the taste of the cod, although the quality of the searing was evident.
Although the dish doesn’t look too big, to hear from somebody whose appetite is almost as large as mine that he was full after this plate is a wonnnderful thing !

The Special Dessert – $14

If you ever go to Nick’s looking for this dessert, I have nooo idea how you could possibly order it. We saw two other tables being given this and decided to order it just because it was so aesthetically pleasing.

Definiiiiitely the best part of the night – as described by the waiter as the “special mango dessert”, it’s pretty much a creamy passionfruit custard beneath a thin layer of mango jelly and sago, topped with passionfruit coulis and chunks of pineapple, and a deliciously orgasmic scoop of mango sorbet on top.



Not to mention the service at Nick’s was exemplary and extremely hospitable and friendly – so despite the potatoes not being on par with the rest of the food, no worries ! – kudos to the waiter who was doing a funny jovial dance while serving one of the patrons. ;)


Nick’s Seafood Restaurant (visited 03/12/09)
The Promenade
Cockle Bay Wharf
T: (02) 9264 1212
F: (02) 9265 8686

Chatime, George St

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.


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)

Blogging on three hours of sleep – had an exam today :(. Still have a major backlog of blog entries so not posting in any kind of chronological order.

So the occasion was my sister’s 22nd, and the food was Mexican (coincidentally the same restaurant we came for either my eighteenth or nineteenth birthday).


Tequila’s on Main!

How cute is that little ..grub, thing, wearing a sombrero?

Not sure if Mexican restaurants always gives you gargantuan servings, but last time we had large portions of everything, so only ordered one ‘entree’ this time round.


Curly Chips – $6.50
The potato tasted fresh and crispy, just like Hog’s Breath Cafe fries, with salt and pepper shakers on the table so you can add as much or as little condiments as you like.


Tostada Compuesta – $22.50
Like two Aztec Pyramids, a crisp whole corn tortilla, one with beans and chicken, the other with beans and beef on a mound of lettuce, diced tomato, shredded cheese and a dollop of guacamole and salsa

This was under the ‘Specials’ section of the meal, and is literally IMPOSSIBLE to pick up and eat – you don’t even know where to begin!

The tortilla is also impossible to find because it’s covered by a mountain of toppings .. which they are clearly verrrry generous with (see if you can spot the tortilla).
Chicken (on the left) had a good flavour but the texture was a little stringy, and the beef (on the right) was like mince. I liked the chicken better, just because there were onions on the beef side, which cleared out my nostrils …and I don’t really like onions, either!
Also, the servings are huge! It doesn’t make you stuffed (or it didn’t make me stuffed, haha – but then I eat quite a bit), but for the price, the servings are unexpectedly large. Photos don’t really do it justice, but if you come here and you’re partial to leaving food on your plate, it’s suggested you share with a friend – because I’m betting the both of you might only just be able to finish it. ;)


Closeup of the beef  and beans ‘tortilla’

Looks like a messy lump of ..tomato, lettuce, and cheese on beef. Haha



Half an hour later and my sister’s plate still looked untouched. Succch a look of pain on her face! She didn’t end up finishing hers :(


Mango Delight – $24.95
Char grilled whole chicken breast damped in black peppercorns and covered in mango sauce.

Tried the mango sauce, which was a little watery with a mango-y aftertaste – peppercorns weren’t peppery at all (which in my opinion, is a fabulous thing – unless, of course, you’re a pepper fanatic). Chicken was pretty chunky, and noo idea about the rice.


Rump – $27.50
All steaks are served with creamed potatoes and fresh garden salad

For less than $30, I’d say this is pretty cheap. You also get your choice of either pepper, dianne, mushroom or adobo sauce.


Not only is Tequila’s on Main a very aesthetically pleasing place, but they don’t skimp on the serving sizes either! There’s a dedicated bar where you can wait it out if the lines are long, and they have a somewhat extensive selection of cocktails on offer. 

The staff are also friendly and helpful, and I can imagine people coming here for the service and serving quantities rather than the quality of the food. Food wasn’t drop dead amazing, but worth a try if you’re hungry and in the area.


Tequila’s on Main (visited 28/10/09)
Shop GR082 Main Street
Rouse Hill Town Centre
Rouse Hill 2155
Tel: (02) 9629 5055
Fax: (02) 9629 5355

Khao Thai, Haymarket

My first experience with mi goreng was when a certain acquaintance of mine cooked it at a friend’s birthday, and let me tell you – it. was. terrible. Out of loyalty, I tried to eat the dish, until the cook himself tried it and proclaimed, “Why are you poisoning yourself!? Stop eating this!”
I swore off mi goreng for the next two years …until a road trip down south earlier this year reignited my love for the noodle.

Despite the universal love for instant mi goreng, I know a lot of friends (and by friends, I mean ‘Asians’) who have NEVER bought mi goreng at a restaurant. Why?
Probably something to do with the fact that you can have your own tasty mi goreng for 79c and some hot water, so why bother paying $10+ for the same thing when you’re eating out?

But as you know, curiosity always kills the cat (or the waist line, in my case), and after bypassing mi goreng in favour of laksa at Temasek, we decided to order it this time round.


Mee go reng – $9.80
stir fried Hokkien noodles with soy sauce, curry powder, egg and vegetables

Let me just say now that comparing instant “mi goreng” to restaurant style “mee go reng” is like comparing a walrus to a turtle.
COMPLETELY INCOMPARABLE. Not only do they use noodles from different sides of the universe, Khao Thai’s mee go reng was neglecting the chilli and spice you come to expect of insta-noodle.

Not to say that this wasn’t passable – the chicken was sweet, and although the broccoli, capsicum & carrots were standard and Helen deemed it salty, it was still nice …but I’d still prefer mi goreng.

If you’re looking for Malaysian fried noodle, then HIT the dish (if we’re talking about ‘hit-or-miss’, haha) ! But if you were weaned on 2 minute mi goreng and looking to satisfy THAT craving ONLY, then this dish would be a miss. But naturally, that makes sense, since “mi goreng” means “fried noodle”, and instant mi goreng is …anything, but fried.


Som tum – $9.80
Green papaya salad
peanuts, chilli, garlic, lime juice, sugar and soy sauce

“Hey, there’s this other Thai place nearby .. it’s called Moo Cow or something, the one with tom yum lunch specials! Maybe they sell papaya salad..”

Khao Thai and Satang Thai are both a stone’s throw from UTS library, but the latter doesn’t serve papaya salad! :(

Nevertheless, the one we found was tasty! ..in small quantities only. Although I’d still prefer eating the scent of The Body Shop’s papaya lotion, this salad was deliciously crunchy – but an overdose of fruit in a salad makes you extreeemely full, and will probably kill your palate for anything else :(.

The crunchy strips of papaya were juicy, and the peanuts sprinkled on top provided an interesting texture. The menu said that the dish had lime juice and sugar – the former of which you could taste, and the sugar didn’t make the salad overly sweet at all. Definitely worth getting to share as an entree.



Black sticky rice with custard- $3.50

For $3.50, this dessert is an absolute steal! It’s actually advertised on a piece of paper plastered on the wall, and it was fate that we saw it :D. Although it was advertised as ‘black sticky rice with custard’, the rice was more reminiscent of red bean, and the ‘custard’ was like a gloppy version of Chinese steamed sponge cake covered with condensed milk. To be honest, I’m not a real fan of either, but put it together and this dessert is heaven :D Or maybe it’s because of the super cheap price tag…


My deepest apologies for the dodgy photos – was using my old old phone camera ‘cos I had nothing else! :(


Khao Thai (visited 08/10/09)
Shop 10
37 Ultimo Rd
Haymarket, 2000
Tel: 9212 1080