Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar

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A cafe without coffee in Sydney?  Welcome to The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar!

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Recently opened in the inner city suburb of Redfern, this place is all about tea.  All the tea here are blended in-house, with the theme of tea evident from the sculpture in the middle of the cafe that is made from teabags, to the installation of beer taps to deliver sparkling tea, and even to the food items on the menu.   The cafe is a conversion from an old warehouse, with white-washed, exposed brick walls and splashes of gold in its fittings, which makes a very contemporary and artistic setting.

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The artistic nature of this cafe is also reflected in the use of gold cutlery, a chemistry flask to serve sparkling water, as well as using playing cards as indicators for orders.  The cups all have a small rabbit tail on the side, which ties in well with the name of this cafe.  These are all very trendy and nice small touches.

We came here on a weekend during lunch time and the place was packed.  Food and drinks were ordered first from the counter, and a playing card was received which we have to place on our table to allow the wait staff to bring out the order for us.

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Rabbit Hole Chai Latte ($5.50)

This was made with their signature chai.  It was rich with subtle flavours from the spices, with a hint of honey providing an appropriate amount of sweetness.  Unlike other places, cinnamon flavours did not dominate the tea, and we were able to taste the other subtle flavours from the spices used in the tea.

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Matcha Latte ($5.50)

This was a bitter-sweet experience, with the right amount of matcha to provide the right balance between bitterness and sweetness.

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Green tea soba noodles with ginger-sesame chicken & pickled carrot ($16)

This was a nice Asian-inspired salad, with nice sesame and ginger flavours throughout.  The pickled carrot provided some vibrancy and freshness to the dish.  The soba noodles were cooked to perfection. We would have preferred more ginger flavours in this dish to give the dish some more “kick”.

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Pork with spicy mango, red cabbage and cucumber slaw on milk bun ($14)

The bun, with the use of mango jam, was sweet and soft.  The cabbage and cucumber slaw was fresh and crunchy, while the steamed pork provided the backbone to counteract the sweetness from the bun.  This dish was enjoyable, and although it was more on the sweet side, we felt that it was a healthy kind of sweetness due to their abundant use of slaw in the dish.

 

Overall, this place works.  The setting, the drinks and the food are all of a reasonable standard.  It is refreshing to see a different type of cafe being opened up in Sydney, and hopefully this place can help change the attitude of people towards tea in Sydney.

 

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar

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

Address: 146 Abercrombie Street, Redfern

Phone: (02) 9310 2207

Opening hours: Tue to Sun (except Thurs) 9am to 4pm; Thurs 9am to 6pm

Accepts all major credit cards

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - East, Sydney - Inner City

Waterman’s Lobster Co

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Lobster was once seen as a poor man’s food.  But nowadays, it is seen as an exotic delicacy.  Greg Elwell, writing for the Oklahoma Gazette, summed up the current social attitudes to lobsters perfectly when he wrote:

“Lobster is fancy. If you imagine a lobster talking, it probably has a British accent. Draw an animated lobster and I bet you’ll include a top hat, a monocle and an opera cape. That’s fancy.”

Even though lobster is now seen as a meal for the rich decadent, the best way to prepare it is still using one simple ordinary household ingredient – butter – and lots of it.  Now, imagine a place that serves up lobster, doused in butter, in a soft buttery roll.

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Waterman’s Lobster Co, located in a laneway in Potts Point, is that place.  With an option to sit outside on tables in the paved walkway, or sitting by a long bar near the window or at the bar area inside the restaurant, or on tables inside the restaurant, a meal at this place can be as casual, formal or romantic as you would like to make it.

Now let us review the food, starting with their specialty…

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Lobster Roll – Connecticut Style ($18)

The bread roll was lightly toasted, so it was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.  The roll was filled with large pieces of lobster warmed with butter.  The saltiness of the butter brought out the subtle sweetness from the lobster, and this was a very tasty and enjoyable roll.

Apart from lobster, scallop is also on their menu…

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Scallop Roll with Pea Puree and Pork Floss ($17)

The delicate sweet flavours of the scallops matched perfectly with the pea puree, while the saltiness of the pork floss added a layer of complexity to the flavours of this roll.  Again, a very tasty and enjoyable roll.

How about a side of chips to go with each roll…

Side of chips ($5)

The chips were crispy, nicely seasoned and spiced with a hint of paprika.  A good compliment to the rolls.

How about other dishes?

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Kingfish Tartare with Seaweed and Raddish ($17)

This dish was visually appealing and the fish was fresh, soft and full of nice citrus flavours.  The hint of spices provided a good kick to the flavours of this dish.  A classic dish that was done elegantly.

Now for a beer to wash down all the goodness…

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Sierra Nevada Rye IPA ($9)

A beer with strong malt flavour, with hints of citrus and herbs.  This beer had a strong aftertaste, which was too harsh to accompany the delicate food we ordered.

 

Watermans Lobster Co is a good place to go in the area at any time of the day.  Their dishes are of a high quality, using fresh produce resulting in tasty flavours in all the dishes.   With their reasonable prices, we can all experience lobster here without breaking the bank.

 

Waterman's Lobster Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Waterman’s Lobster Co

Website: http://www.watermanslobsterco.com

Address: 5/29 Orwell Street, Potts Point

Phone: (02) 9380 2558

Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 12pm to late; Sun 12pm to 6pm

Accepts all major credit cards

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Cafe Cre Asion

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“Matcha” green tea originated from Japan and because the entire leaf is ingested in powder form, it is known as the most potent green tea in the world.  Imagine a cafe in Sydney where matcha is put to good use.  Well, tucked away in a small lane at the edge of Surry Hills, there is a hole-in-the-wall cafe called “Cre Asion” that is doing exactly this.

The cafe has been opened for a few years already, but previously it was known for its macarons.  The menu has since been expanded to include other food items.

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The cafe is small, and there is only enough sitting for around 10 people.  The tables and chairs provided are quite low, so sitting  there for prolonged periods of time is very uncomfortable.   However, despite all of this, there is always a queue at this place, so we tried out the food to see if it lived up to its hype.

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Matcha Latte ($5)

The latte is milky and frothy, full of true matcha flavours.  It is not overly sweet like other green tea lattes in other cafes, but the taste of this latte is better described as a bitter-sweet flavour, which is very soothing and calming.

Matcha & Macadamia Cookies ($2 each, or $10 for 6)

These cookies are again full of the bitter-sweet flavours of matcha, coupled with the crunchiness of the macadamia nuts.  However, the texture of the cookies are a bit hard for our liking, and the cookies would be more enjoyable if they were of a more crumbly texture which would provide a good contrast with the crunchiness of the nuts.

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Matcha Muffin ($4.50)

The most surprising element of the muffin is the filling of cream cheese and red bean paste inside the muffin.  The combination really works – the sweetness of the red bean paste is balanced by the bitterness from the matcha in the muffin, while the cream cheese provides a layer of complexity to the flavours of the muffin.  However, the overall texture of the muffin is very dry, which makes the muffin not very enjoyable.

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Matcha fondant ($8.50)

This is Cre Asion’s signature dish.  It is very well made.  The outside is soft, while the centre is filled with warm molten dark chocolate and matcha, and you are able to taste a sense of intensive bitter-sweetness as the centre oozes out.  One of the most enjoyable dishes we have tried at this cafe.

 

Overall, the concept of this cafe is interesting, and it may possibly fill up a niche in the Sydney cafe market, as evidenced by the regular queues here.  However, this is not really a place designed for people to hang out or chat, and is more tailored for individuals who want a quick matcha fix on-the-go.
Café Cre Asion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Cre Asion

Website: http://www.creasion.com.au

Address: 101/21 Alberta Street, Sydney

Phone: (02) 8021 1629

Opening hours: Mon to Fri 8am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 4pm

Accepts all major credit cards

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

Orto Trading Co

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Orto Trading Co is a cafe situated in the quieter part of Surry Hills.  The cafe’s name, “Orto”, means “kitchen garden” in Italian.  The use of glass panels around the cafe, allowing natural light to permeate inside the cafe, makes the place look like a living greenhouse.  The theme is enhanced by having herb pots on the outside, and the placement of various plants and gardening tools on the inside.  The simple wooden furniture, with an exposed brick wall, gives the cafe a simple, down-to-earth vibe that is welcoming and inviting.

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Arriving here on a cool Saturday morning, the inside of the cafe was already full, so we sat outside on one of the tables.  The lack of heaters on the outside proved to be an issue, as we were quite cold from just sitting there.

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Southern Fried Chicken Bene ($18) – Orto’s English muffin, hollandaise

The star of this dish was the chicken – crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with nice seasoning and a good kick from the use of chilli powder in the marinade.  However, the rest of the dish was underwhelming – the muffins were too sweet and dry and did not compliment the chicken, while the eggs were overcooked and the texture was too dry.

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Brekky Joe ($16) – last night’s chilli beef, bacon, fried egg and brioche

Pure comfort food suitable for brekky after a big night out, the dish was dominated by the flavour of baked beans.  We expected more of a spicy kick to come from the chilli beef, and we had to add some Tabasco to achieve the spiciness that we were looking for.  However, the bacon was crispy and enjoyable.

 

Overall, this seems to be a nice place to hang for a long brunch, but their food was only “so-so” in our opinion.  Maybe we should have tried their vegetarian dishes instead.

 

Orto Trading Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Orto Trading Co

Website: http://www.ortotradingco.com

Address: 52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills

Phone: 0431 212 453

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 7am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 3pm

Accepts all major credit cards