Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Cafe Oratnek

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Operating out of a little Victorian terrace house, in the inner city suburb of Redfern, Cafe Oratnek is the solo venture of Kentaro (Kenny) Takayama, the former Head Chef of Bills, Darlinghurst.  The cafe is an embodiment of Kenny, with the name of the cafe being “Kentaro” spelt backwards, and the food on the menu being Australian food with an Asian inspiration.

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The interior of the cafe has brick exposed walls, with subway tiles and  timber furnitures.  There is also a courtyard area where customers can sit among the flowers and herbs that are growing.

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Fizzy Oratnek lemonade ($6)

The homemade lemonade was full of fizz and had real lemon flavour.  A refreshing drink for the summer time.

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Sandwich – 200g pork fillet katsu, cabbage, Japanese bbq sauce, mustard ($12)

The pork katsu was done to perfection, with the crumbed skin crispy, while the pork was still soft and juicy on the inside.  The softness of the bread was also a good contrast to the crispiness of the outside of the pork fillet.  The flavour of this dish was a combination of the pork juices of the fillet, and the kick from the mustard, which made this dish very enjoyable.  The only slight disappointment to the dish was the cabbage, which was drenched in sauce, and this covered up its crunchiness and freshness.  But despite this, this is a dish that we would come back for again and again.

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Miso bbq boneless beef short rib, san choy bow, coriander dip ($21)

The dish was presented nicely, with an abundance of greens on the plate.  The meat was very tender and tasty, and it literally melted in our mouths.  Even though there were a lot of greens, the flavour of the meat still empowered the whole dish.  The addition of the kimchi and the sauce on the side provided a good kick to the dish.  The only drawback to this dish was the difficulty to eat this dish as a traditional san choy how, as the beef pieces were too large to wrap with the lettuce.  But despite this, the flavour of this dish was fantastic.

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Overall, Cafe Oratnek is a unique cafe, with its Asian inspired flavours, set in a trendy suburb.  The dishes we have tried were all very tasty.  This will do for us!

 

Cafe Oratnek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Oratnek

Website: http://www.oratnek.com.au

Address: 4 Pitt Street, Redfern

Phone: (02) 8394 9550

Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 7am to 4pm; Sun 8am to 4pm

Accepts all major credit cards

 

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Luyu & Yum Yum

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Walking up a flight of stairs into this restaurant is like stepping into the forgotten world of ancient China.  With its high ceilings, wooden panels and rows of tea themed ornaments, this is a recluse from the hustle and bustle of the main street outside.

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Located in Newtown, the restaurant’s name is inspired from the name of the person, Luyu, who wrote the first definitive work on cultivating, making and drinking tea, coupled with “Yum Yum” which refers to the dumplings, and this inspiration of the partnership of tea and dumpling is seen throughout the menu.

 

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We visited this restaurant on a Sunday night without making a booking, and the staff was friendly and was accommodating for our large table with adults and kids.

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Duck Pancake ($17.80 for 4 pieces)

This entree consists of pancakes wrapped with duck, spring onion and cucumber.  The pancake was a bit dry, but the duck was very tasty and had the right balance of fat.

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Manga Dumpling Hedgehog ($12.80 for 3 pieces)

The flour dough in these dumplings are baked with king oyster mushroom, Chinese mushroom, fungi, carrot and coriander inside.  When served, they looked like mini hedgehogs complete with spikes and eyes.  The pastry was sweet and soft, but the filling inside, being predominately mushrooms, was a bit bland.  These dumplings needed some dipping sauce to bring out their flavours.

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Caviar Dumping ($14.80 for 4 pieces)

The rice dough in these dumplings are steamed with prawn, carrot, coriander and celery inside, and some caviar is sprinkled on top of these dumplings.  Visually, they looked stunning, as they were in the shape of money bags, with the caviar on top looking like coins.  In fact, they looked alot like the money bags from the computer game “The Legend of Zelda”.  Taste-wise, these dumplings were nicely cooked and elegant, with the flavours of the prawns and caviar melding well together.

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Mr Luyu Mixed Steamer ($18.80 for 6 pieces)

This steamer consists of the Herb Dumping, Fungi Dumpling and Starburst Dumpling.

The Herb Dumpling is made from steamed rice dough filled with prawns and chives.  This dumpling was nicely done with a good ratio of prawns to chives, so the freshness of the prawns shone through.

The Fungi Dumpling is made from steamed rice dough with king oyster mushroom, Chinese mushroom, fungi, carrot, coriander and celery inside.  The texture of this dumpling was interesting, where in one mouthful, there were elements of softness, crunchiness and chewiness.  However, similar to the Manga Dumpling Hedgehog, the taste was a bit bland, which again required some dipping sauce to bring out their flavours.

The Starburst Dumpling is a modern take on the traditional Xiao Long Bao, replacing the pork filling with chicken filling.  The steamed flour dough is infused with fruit, with the filling being chicken and homemade soup.  Visually, this dumpling was impressive.  It literally looked like a large starburst, with different colours illuminating its wrapping.  One bite, and the soup inside bursted into our mouths, creating a wonderful sensation, and this was balanced by the subtle fruity flavours of the wrapping.  This is a must try for anyone coming to this restaurant.

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Mr Yumyum Pot Stick ($10.80 for 4 pieces)

This consists of chicken, ginger, shallots and Chinese cabbage in seaweed flour dough which was pan-seared.  This dumpling was very tasty, with a nice ginger flavour.

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Truffle Dumpling Skewer ($18.80 for 4 pieces)

This dumping is made from pan seared flour dough with chicken, prawn, ginger, shallot and truffle inside, served on skewers.  It is a modern take on the Siu Mai being sold on the streets of China, replacing pork with chicken and adding a touch of luxury with the truffle.  This was a very nice dumpling.  The truffle flavours was fused perfectly with the subtle flavours from the ginger and shallot.   Another must try dish.

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Salt & Pepper Squid ($24.80)

This consists of fried squid with spring onion, garlic and serrano chilli.  A fairly average dish with the texture of the squid more on the limpy side, but the serrano chilli provided a nice kick to this dish.

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Steamed Fish ($26.80)

This dish is an orange roughy fillet steamed in shallot and ginger.  The taste was spot-on, but the fish was a bit overcooked.  The sauce was really tasty and if we had some steamed rice, we would have mixed the sauce with the rice and gobbled it down.

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Mama’s Chilli Chicken ($22.80)

This consists of chicken, beetroot, serana chilli and honey coated walnut.  A modern take on the chicken stir-fry, the flavours were nicely balanced, with the spiciness of the chilli balanced by the sweetness of beetroot, while the walnut provided the crunch which contrasted with the softness of the chicken flesh.

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Mr Luyu Fried Rice ($17.80)

This fried rice contains duck, egg, asparagus, shallot, coriander, baby corn and mustard seeds.  It has great mouth-feel when we took a bite, with a variety of textures cumulating in our mouths.  However, the flavours from the asparagus and shallot were too overpowering, and we were not able to taste the other elements in this dish.

Overall, Luyu & Yum Yum is the place to be for tea and dumplings as their name implies.  However, their other dishes need to catch up to the high standards they have set with their dumplings.

 

Luyu and Yum Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Luyu & Yum Yum

Website: http://luyu.com.au

Address: Level 1, 196 King Street, Newtown

Telephone: (02) 9519 9888

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs – 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10:15pm
Fri & Sat – 12pm to 3pm, 5:30pm to 11pm
Sun – 12pm to 4:15pm, 5:30pm to 10:15pm

Only accepts credit cards as it is a cashless restaurant

Sydney, Sydney - Inner City, Sydney - Inner West

Jack’s Newtown

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This new burger joint has just been opened in Newtown, and each day, a long line of people awaits to try one of their infamous burgers.  Social media has hyped up this place, with a recent article in Good Food suggesting that this may be the best burger place in Sydney, comparing it with the legendary American fast-food chain, Shake Shack.  However, reviews have since been mixed about this place, so we decided to brave the queues and try it out for ourselves.

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Walking into the store at 5.15pm on a rainy Saturday night, there was already a long queue inside the store.  The store is very small, and can accommodate around 25 people.  It has a simple layout, with lots of small tables, and an open kitchen where you can see the workers at work.  The first impression we have of this place was the aroma coming from the open kitchen, with the smell of beef cooking on the open grill making us hungry as we waited in anticipation for our food.

The menu here is very simple, with a choice of Cheeseburger ($10), Bacon Cheeseburger ($12), Double Cheeseburger ($15) and a Vege Burger ($11).  Fries were also available for $5.  Unlike some other reviews we have read, there was no choice for us to add onions, so we presume their menu has changed.

Drinks offered at this place were termed “Sodas” and is $3 for a small cup and $4 for a large cup.  When asked further what sodas were available, we were told that the sodas were basically standard soft drinks, so we did not order any.  This was different to what we have read in other reviews, which suggested that they were offering their own sodas with 30% to 50% less sugar than standard soft drinks.  We also could not see any shakes on the menu, which we understood was offered on the menu previously.

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We ordered a Double Cheeseburger, Bacon CheeseBurger and a serving of Fries.  They were ready for collection, in a small metal tray, after around 15 minutes wait.

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The Fries were crinkle cut, which gave them some nice texture.  They were well seasoned, and were crispy and crunchy.

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The appearance of the burgers was quite rustic, and no attempt has been made to make them look more glamourous.  The size of the burgers were quite small.  The buns of the burgers were soft, yet firm enough to absorb all the sauces and juices from the filling.  This may be due to the addition of a special ingredient in creating buns, which we understood to be mashed potatoes.

The patties were made with beef mince from Vic’s Meat, with a meat to fat ratio of about 80:20.  The result was a very flavoursome beef patty, with the beef being cooked to perfection.  The cheese just melted in our mouths, and the special sauce that was used in the burger had a tangy savoury flavour which lifted the burgers to another level.

The soft buns, combined with the rich beef patties and gooey cheese, literally melted in our mouths.  The burgers were really well made.

The Double Cheeseburger, with its double beef patties, had a much more richer beef flavour, compared to the other burger we tried.

The Bacon Cheeseburger included an additional piece of bacon, and the smokey flavour of the bacon complimented well with the flavours of the beef patty.

Overall, as a fast food burger joint, Jack’s Newtown really satisfies.  The burgers, although a bit small, are rich in flavour, and is a place to be if you are in the area and want a quick no-fuss burger fix.

 

Jack's Newtown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jack’s Newtown

Website: https://instagram.com/jacksnewtown/

Address: 170 Missenden Road, Newtown

Phone Number: Not available

Opening hours: Tues to Fri: 5pm until sold out, Sat and Sun: 12pm until sold out

Accepts all major credit cards

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD, Sydney - Inner City

Pork’d

 

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Do you liked to get porked?  Well, if you enjoy pork in all your dishes, then Pork’d is the place for you.  Located on Crown Street in Surry Hills, in the same venue as where Red Lantern used to be, Pork’d is a casual dining restaurant, set up like a New York style cafeteria with small tables in narrow spaces, along with an open bar and an open kitchen.  On the walls are pictures with pig related themes, and this theme is carried through in all the dishes on the menu.

Pork’d is run by Pauline Nguyen and Mark Jensen, who has been inspired by similar concepts in the US, where a restaurant may specialise in one ingredient or only a few dishes.  Mark then transformed his love for pork into this restaurant.

Apart from the abundance of pork on the menu, the dishes also make use of special sauces from independent suppliers, which makes the flavours of the dishes more unique.  There is also a wide selection of craft beers to choose from so customers can wash down their pork dishes with a pint or two.

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We visited Pork’d as part of the Instafoodie gathering of around 40 people, and for a special price of $35, we were able to sample a number of dishes from Pork’d.  We have included the normal price for each item in our description below.

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We Rub You Burger ($12, or $15 with fries)

This burger consisted of pork pattie, roasted red pepper, jack cheese, McClure’s spicy relish, tomato, cos and We Rub You Korean hot sauce.  We were given a slider version of this burger to try.  Having pork pattie in the burger is quite rare, and immediately upon tasting this, we understood why this is not common, as the pork lacked the strong natural flavours of beef.  Therefore, most the flavours in this dish were from the sauce and the accompaniments, with the final result being a spicy and sour flavour with a nice kick from the hot sauce. The addition of lemongrass to the buns provided an element of surprise to this dish, making this an Asian fusion American style burger.

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Saucy Sugar and Spiced Belly Kebab ($12, or $15 with fries)

Char grilled cider belly, cabbage dressed in Lillie Q’s sauce, beer braised onions and sriracha mayo served in a charred pita, this was a lighter and more refreshing version of the kebab that we were familiar with.  The sauce gave this kebab a depth of flavour, however, the pita wrap was too dry for our liking.

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Pigsy Plate ($25), and Ribs served with Sauce and Salad ($27.50)

The Pigsy Plate usually contains a selection of pork cuts cooked low and slow, including Willie Smith Cider Belly, Smoked Porter Ham Hock, Hot Chilli Bacon, Cheese Stuffed Kransky, Pulled Pork Butt, Pickles, Beans and a Bread Roll.  However, we were also given a small serving of the Hoisin Hog Baby Back Ribs with it.

The ribs were the highlight – the ribs just melted in our mouths and the hoisin sauce really brought them to life.  The rest of the plate was also nice – the belly was soft and tender, the bacon was crunchy and cooked to perfection with a kick of chilli, the crackling was crispy but lacked salt, the other pork pieces were also tender and juicy, and the beans were tasty and well made (unlike the canned ones).  The inclusion of a choice of apple sauce and smoked BBQ sauce was very thoughtful.

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Maple Ice Cream with Bacon Jelly and Pandan Waffles (not on menu)

Who would ever imagine having dessert with bacon in it?  The combination of flavours worked well surprisingly, with the sweetness of the maple ice cream balanced by the saltiness from the bacon jelly, while the pandan flavours in the waffles provided a refreshing backdrop to this dessert.

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We really liked the innovative and unique concept from Pork’d.  We especially like how they are supporting small independent suppliers, through use of their sauces.  We are also encouraged by their attempt at promoting sustainable eating, by using most parts of a pig in all their dishes, so there is minimum wastage.  This is the place to try out if you are interested in trying something different from your average burgers, kebabs and roasts.

 

Pork'd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pork’d

Website: http://www.porkd.com.au

Address: 545 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Phone: (02) 9690 2298

Opening hours: Tues to Thurs 5pm til late, Fri and Sat 12pm til late

Accepts all major credit cards

 

Note: Special thanks to Pauline Nguyen for allowing us to take photos with you.  Also a great shout-out for two new up-and-coming bloggers, who are in the above photos with us, Michiellaneous Foods and Delicious Sydney.