Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Fat Noodle, The Star

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We stumbled across this restaurant purely by accident. Located inside The Star, near the Baccarat action, this restaurant is associated with Luke Nguyen, the owner and chef of one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney, the Red Lantern. Naturally, we had high expectations of this place.

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The restaurant was set up with a long communal table in the middle, and a number of small individual tables on the side. At the back was a large open kitchen, where customers could see the chefs at work.

The service of this place was pretty average, and we needed to flag down a waiter to place our orders. We were also told that we weren’t allowed to use our cameras to take pictures of food as we were inside the casino, although the other customers who took pictures of their food or selfies with their phones were not warned or talked to. However, we still managed to take a few photos of the food for all you guys to see.

Now onto the food.

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Lemon Grass Chicken Rice Paper Rolls $15

This dish consisted of four fairly small rolls, cut in half, and served on a plate. The rice paper wrapping and the vermicelli inside were both dry, and the taste of lemongrass was virtually non-existent. Very disappointing dish.

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Fat Pho Noodles $19.50

The rice noodles came in Luke Nguyen’s signature beef broth. The broth was too smoky, and there seem to be an overpowering note of star anise in the broth. A lighter broth may have brought out better the flavours of the Angus sirloin and brisket pieces in this dish, instead of overpowering them.

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Angus Beef $19.50

The beef was wok tossed with lemongrass, herbs, peanuts and vermicelli. It was a tasty dish and all the ingredients worked well together making this dish full of flavour.

Overall, this is a good place if you are in the casino and are craving for some quick fast comfort food to satisfy your hunger before hitting the gambling tables again. For a dining experience, this place does not live up to the name and the hype of Luke Nguyen.

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Fat Noodle

Website: Fat Noodle

Address: Level 1, Casino, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont

Phone: Not available

Opening hours: 11:30am to 2am Sun to Thurs, 11:30am to 5am Fri and Sat

Accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards

By Greg

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Edition Coffee Roasters, Darlinghurst

Located at the quieter end of Darlinghurst, Sydney, is this little café whose food is best described as a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian.

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The setting of the café is simple, consisting of predominantly white walls and light coloured wooden tables. There are elements of Japanese influence scattered around the café, including jars of pickled vegetable and a small Japanese shrine near the top shelf in the open kitchen. Also noticeable were small pots of micro-herbs on the counter above the kitchen. The setting is comfortable and not overly crowded.

We visited this café at around 1pm on a Sunday for brunch and the café was nearly full. A look at the menu reviewed a menu that was very healthy and vegetarian friendly.

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Piccolo $4

I ordered my usual piccolo coffee to start off my meal. There was far too much milk in the cup. This was more like a three-quarters latte than a piccolo. However, the coffee did have a nice complexity, but was leaning onto the sour end.

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Cold Brew $4

Jono ordered a cold brew. The drink was refreshing and the flavour of the coffee shone through and was not diluted by the presence of the ice.

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Smorrebrod $19

Looking around at the other diners, this dish seem to be the most popular, and so I ordered it. It consisted of smoked king salmon on rye bread, surrounded by pickled vegetables and roe. The dish had a contrast of textures and flavours – the soft salmon was a great contrast to the dense rye bread, and the saltiness of the salmon and the roe contrasted well with the sourness from the pickled vegetable and the sweetness of the bread. Unfortunately, the salmon to me tasted more raw than smoked, and the bread was too dry for my liking. However, I was impressed by the contrast in textures and flavour that this dish was trying to achieve.

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Tofu salad $14

Jono opted for the healthy option and ordered the tofu salad. The dish came with fresh tofu, shitake mushrooms, pieces of nashi pear, wakame seaweed and daikon. There was also a miso soup that came as a side.

The first impression I had of this dish was the freshness of the ingredients and that this dish had a very distinct Japanese look to it. Jono couldn’t wait to dig into this dish and after a few bites, Jono had the following comments on this dish:

“The dish was flavourless. The tofu was very cold, and not tasty enough, even though the tofu was already split in the middle and soaked in soy prior to being served. But this dish had a very clean taste and would suit a vegetarian.”

I also tried some of this dish, and I felt that this was a very delicate dish, with very subtle flavours. To appreciate this dish, it should be eaten before drinking coffee as the heavy flavour of the coffee may have ruined our palate to appreciate the intricacies of this dish.

Overall, this café is serving very unique and distinct food, which makes it a worthwhile visit. However, the food at times may lack flavour and may not suit people that are used to eating tasty food or expecting a big substantial breakfast after a big night out. The kind of food being served certainly caught us by surprise.

Edition Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Edition Coffee Roasters

Website: www.editioncoffeeroasters.com

Address: 265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst

Opening hours: 7am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday; 8am to 3:30pm, Saturday and Sunday

Accepts Visa and Mastercard cards, but not American Express cards

By Greg

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Operator25

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This café is fairly close to the centre of Melbourne city, set inside a heritage listed building with a modern and rustic ambience. We were there mid morning on a normal working weekday and the place was so popular that we had to wait 10 minutes to get a table. But it was well worth it.

The waiters were all very friendly and helpful in explaining the menu. The coffee served was smooth with a great flavour.

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Balinese Pulled Pork Burger $20

The pulled pork had a slight curry flavour and this spiciness contrasted well with the sweetness from the sweet potatoes and the brioche bun. The pork was soft and it melted in our mouths, and this was a good contrast to the crunchiness of the sweet potatoes. A very delicious dish and a must try for everyone visiting this café.

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Pan Seared Scallops with French Lentils, Japanese Pumpkin Puree and Watercress $19

This dish was full of natural clean flavours. The scallops were fresh, and not overly seared, and therefore, they retained their natural fresh flavours. The pumpkin puree was lightly seasoned, and so we were able to also taste the natural sweet flavours of the pumpkin. The lentils and watercress provided some texture to this dish. This dish was full of contrasting textures, and along with the combination of the natural flavours from the wild, it was a simple but very enjoyable dish.

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House Benedict – Potato and Thyme Rosti, Grandmother Lamb Ham, Poached Eggs with Tarragon and Mustard Seed Hollandaise $16

This dish had the right balance of flavours. The smokiness of the leg ham balanced well with the sweetness from the potato rosti which had a hint of honey in them. This classic brunch dish did not disappoint and was very tasty.

Overall, this is one of the best cafes for brunch in Melbourne city, and everyone should come here at least once and try them out. All the dishes we tried were superb.

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Operator 25

Website: www.operator25.com.au

Address: 25 Willis Street, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9670 3278

Opening hours: 7am to 4pm Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm Sat and Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa, but not American Express cards