Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Kansas City Shuffle

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The phrase “Kansas City Shuffle”, made popular by the movie “Lucky Number Slevin”, is used to describe a deception move characterised by causing the victim to look one way as you attack the other way.  What kind of deception should we expect in a cafe that takes on this phrase as its name?

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The cafe is located near The Rocks area.  You may expect the area to be full of tourists or workers, but if you think this is the case, you have been deceived.  The cafe is actually located in a quiet street, with the closest office buildings being a block or two away.  It is housed in the former Cadbury Chocolate factory, where the space is divided into two, with the cafe and an open kitchen to the left, and a function area to the right (which is close to completion).  There are also two open windows in the front to allow people to order take away food or coffee.

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The interior incorporates some of the old items from the factory, including the door from the factory.  This pairs well with the simple furnishing in the cafe.  However, the interior is actually quite stuffy as there seems to be a lack of air flow inside.  It was more comfortable for us to sit on the smaller tables outside on the street.

The menu is also deceptive at first.  We came to the cafe for breakfast, and was presented with a menu that included items such as Fried Chicken Sandwich and KCS Cuban Sandwich, items which we would expect to see in a lunch menu.  It turns out that the menu is correct, and that they offer their full range of item menus for breakfast and lunch.  This is a great initiative, as on some mornings, especially after a big night out, people would actually want a heavier breakfast than most cafes would offer.

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Cold Drip ($5)

The cold drip came in a small bottle, and we expected it to be subtle in flavour.  However, this was again a deception, as the sweetness of the coffee was quite pronounced, and not as subtle or clean as we would expect.

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Pancake, Lemon Curd, Blueberries, Cream Cheese Parfait & Smoked Almonds ($17.50)

The use of the word “Pancake” for this dish in the menu is a deception.  To us, pancake is either a English style pancake, which resembles more like a “crepe”, or an American style pancake, which resembles more like a “hot cake”.  However the pancake in this dish is very dense and thick, and resembles more like a large donut without the hole in the middle.

We did not enjoy the pancake.  Although it was crispy on the outside, the inside was dry and crumbly.  There was too much lemon curd on the pancake, and the flavour from the lemon curd overpowered the other more delicate elements of the dish, and we were not able to taste the freshness of the berries.  The addition of the cheese parfait (which deceptively looked like ice-cream) and the smoked almonds was thoughtful though, and they gave a level of depth and complexity to the dish.

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Toasted Pumpkin Bread, Avo, Whipped Feta, Heirloom Tomato and Toasted Seeds ($18.50)

This dish screamed “freshness”.  The flavours of this dish were well integrated and each element was complimentary to each other.  The sweetness of the bread contrasted well with the sourness from the tomato and the saltiness from the feta, while the addition of the avocado and the seeds provided some contrast in texture.  However, the big drawback of this dish was the pumpkin bread – it was way too dry for our liking.

The dishes were all presented very beautifully, and looked very delicious and mouth-watering.  However, the presentation may be the ultimate deception of this cafe as the dishes still needed more improvement.  Overall, this place has potential, and if minor tweaks are made to the dishes, our experience here would have been vastly different.
Kansas City Shuffle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kansas City Shuffle

Website: https://www.facebook.com/kansascityshufflesyd/

Address: 195 Gloucester Street, Sydney

Phone: 0415 362 038

Opening hours: Mon to Sat 7am 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

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Krimper Café

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Tucked away in a small lane in the centre of Melbourne city is this little gem. This café is hidden behind two big wooden doors, which when opened, reveals a warm and cosy café.

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The interior of the café is filled with history – from the exposed wooden walls, to the use of an old lift car to create a dining booth, to the scattering of old machinery parts in various parts of the café. The kitchen is an open kitchen where customers can see the chefs busy at work.

This café is named after Schulim Krimper, a famous furniture maker, which we presume the owners of this café have great admiration for. However, we did not notice any furniture inside the café that were designed by Krimper.

Upon walking into the café for lunch, we were greeted by friendly staff who quickly sat us down and gave us our menus.

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The coffee ($3.80 for white or $3.50 for black) served here was from Proud Mary, and the house blend had a nutty flavour that was brewed to perfection.

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The dish that every table ordered was the Beef Parmentier ($21), which was slow cooked beef, on a bed of mashed potato with red wine jus. When the dish came to our table, we understood why. The presentation of this dish was very nice, with everything stacked up in a neat and orderly manner. The inclusion of salt on the side of the plate was a nice gesture. The meat was soft and tasty, with infused flavours of onions and carrots, which literally just melted in our mouths. The mash was delicious – light, soft and fluffy. This is a must try dish for anyone who visits this café.

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We also ordered Mr Shank ($22), which was braised lamb shanks with paprika, cumin, coriander and chilli served with romesco sauce, squash, zucchini, currants, feta, spinach and salsa verde. The diverse mix of ingredients resulted in a very colourful presentation. The vegetables were well seasoned, but unfortunately, the lamb was overcooked which made it hard to swallow. However, the flavours of this dish were a delight to our palates – with a combination of different elements of sweet, spicy and nutty flavours all intermingled together.

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Overall, we had a very enjoyable time at this café, and we will definitely be back next time to try the other items on the menu.
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Krimper Café

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

Address: 20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9043 8844

Opening hours: 7am to 5pm, Mon to Fri; 8am to 4pm, Sat and Sun.

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Masu Izakaya

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Masu Izakaya

An izakaya is a casual Japanese drinking place where people can go after work to grab a few drinks while chewing on yakitori skewers. To find a place in Sydney where there is a friendly vibe, with a good variety of drinks and food, is not easy, but we think we may have found the place.

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Located in Chinatown, Masu Izakaya has only been opened for a few weeks. It has a really nice atmosphere with bright lights creating a warm hue, exposed brick walls giving it a rustic look, and comfortable leather chairs. The inclusion of a chandelier near the stairs gives some class to the venue.

The wait staff was very attentive during our visit, and the provision of wet towels on the table was a nice gesture.

The drink menu was amazing, with a vast variety of Japanese sake (which ranged from $6.50 to $13 for 100mL) and Japanese whisky (which ranged from $10 to $17 for a glass). They even have some different types of soda drinks that we have not seen in other Japanese restaurants. The drinks menu is really worth checking out.

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One thing to note is that the bottle of soy sauce provided on the table contained very thick soy sauce, which gave the food a more robust flavour. This was a nice touch.

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Assorted Sashimi $22.80

This contained salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallop sashimi. All the sashimi was fresh and sweet.

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Dragon Roll $10.80

A lightly seared eel inside out roll with cream cheese, cucumber and avocado. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the eel did not contain any fishy taste. A nice dish.

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Scallop and Ebi Fry $9.80

A lightly seared scallop inside out roll with ebi fry and cucumber. The ebi fry (prawns) were crispy, with very subtle scallop taste. The added sesame gave this dish a touch of depth in flavour. Very enjoyable.

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Eihire (dried sting ray fin) $7

Nicely flavoured but a little bit tough, this is the perfect dish to devour while downing a few beers or sakes. The mayo was a nice little touch.

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Grilled squid $12

The squid was soft and tender, and yet it had the nice smoky tarry taste from the grill. Another perfect dish to accompany some nice Japanese beer.

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Skewers

The yakitori skewers are their speciality and we tried a few different types. Apparently all the chicken used in the yakitori are from local farms which makes them fresh and tasty.

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The Mushroom ($4.50) had two mushrooms stuffed with chicken meat, and it had a nice Asian flavour going for it.

The Nankotsu (chicken cartilage) ($3.50) was nice and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Some chicken meat seem to have been intentionally left on the cartilage for customers to taste the chicken flavour.

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The Sasami (chicken breast) and Momo (dark chicken meat) ($3.50 each) provided a contrast in taste and texture. Greg liked the Momo as he found it tender and flavoursome, while Jono found it too peppery. However, Jono liked the Sasami as he could taste the natural real chicken flavour from it, but Greg found it a bit too dry.

We also had a number of other skewers.

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The Wagyu Beef ($7.50) was soft, tender and tasty. It was simply divine!

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The Butabara Pork ($3.50) had the right amount of fat, making it soft and tender, which contrasted well with the crunchiness of the spring onion. Furthermore, the saltiness of the pork, with the spiciness of the sauce, and the sweetness from the onion created an explosion of flavours in our mouths.

The Quail Egg ($3) had the smokiness of the grill and when mixed with the sauce, it just oozed through our mouth.

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The Rice Cake Maki ($3.50) divided our opinions. Greg enjoyed it, as it was full of flavour with the outside being crunchy and inside being soft. However, Jono was disappointed with this dish, as the flavour from the sauce was too strong, making it taste like some sticky fat filled with sauce.

Overall, we loved this place, and we will be back on a regular basis. The drinks are special, the food is great, and the vibe is friendly and relaxed. This is the perfect place to wind up after work and chat with your friends or colleagues.

 

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Masu Izakaya

Website: http://www.masuizakaya.com

Address: Shop B1, 35-39 Liverpool Street (corner of Liverpool and Dixon Street), Sydney

Phone: (02) 9261 3011

Opening hours: Mon to Fri and Sun 11:30am to 11:30pm, Sat 5pm til late

Accepts MasterCard and Visa only for bills over $30