Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner West

Foodcraft Expresso & Bakery

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Foodcraft Expresso & Bakery is a huge social media sensation lately, thanks to their newly invented Tella Ball Shake. We just had to come and try this place out on an early Sunday morning.

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The café is located at the ground floor of the “Erko” residential complex in the hip inner-city suburb of Erskineville. The café is small internally, but has a large outdoors space for seating.

We arrived at 8am, and waited about 20 minutes before being seated down. The wait staff responsible for the waiting list got our name wrong and the number of guests wrong as well. When we finally sat there, the first wait staff asking for our drinks order was very enthusiastic, while the second staff asking for our food orders had a Gen Y “meh” attitude.

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Tella Ball Shake ($10)

We tried two flavours – the Nutella flavour, consisting of a Nutella filled donut with a Nutella milkshake, as well as the Salted Caramel flavour, consisting of a salted caramel filled donut with a salted caramel flavoured milkshake.

The donuts were very dense and was the perfect complement to the shake as we sipped the drink up through the donut. The donuts were very sweet, and it balanced well with the more milky flavour from the shake. This was the ultimate comfort food, and we enjoyed our drinks immensely.

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Bacon & Egg Panini ($10)

This consisted of free range eggs, crispy bacon, provolone cheese, topped with house tomato relish and aioli. A very standard staple food and nothing special to report. However the mix of tomato relish with aioli was quite special, as it tasted like a creamy version of BBQ sauce.

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Foodcraft Big Brekkie ($20)

This included bacons, eggs, Italian sausages, grilled tomato, hash brown, grilled haloumi and field mushrooms on organic sourdough. Everything was done right, with nothing burnt or smoky. However, there was no elements of surprise.

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Haloumi Stack ($16)

This consisted of grilled haloumi, balsamic glazed tomato, poached eggs, baby spinach and avocado. The menu actually stated that there would be an organic sourdough, but there was no sourdough on the plate. The haloumi was not grilled properly, and there seem to be an overindulgence of balsamic in the dish.

 

From the items that we have ordered, the only item that is special and worth coming here for is the infamous Tella Ball Shake. All the other breakfast items we have tried are very ordinary. If you wish to try the Tella Ball Shake, you need to be here early, as they tend to sell out quite quickly.

 
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Foodcraft Expresso & Bakery

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Foodcraftespressoandbakery/info

Address: 33 Bridge Street, Erskineville.

Phone: (02) 8971 8817

Opening hours: Tues to Fri, 7am to 4pm; Sat and Sun, 8am to 4pm

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - East

Top Paddock

 

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Situated in Richmond, 3 km southeast of Melbourne CBD, Top Paddock is a very popular venue with a long waiting queue most days of the week. The concept of Top Paddock is the intention for the produce to arrive from the paddock directly onto the customers’ plates. Most of the ingredients used in this café are sourced personally by the owner.

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We arrived here around midday on a Saturday and was greeted with a sight of many people waiting to get in. Even though there were lots of people, they had a good system of registering people and calling their names when a table was available. The staff was very attentive to their customers and always had a nice smile to greet customers.

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The inside is decorated in a modern manner, with the use of natural light and plants to bring the place to life. There is also an outdoor seating area.

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The coffee (mostly $4) was roasted by Five Senses. It was brewed perfectly, and the taste was a blend of nutty and smoky flavours, combined with a hint of subtle sweetness.

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The Rangers Valley Wagyu steak sandwich with beetroot relish, tempura beetroot shoots, fresh horseradish and wasabi leaves ($20.50, with an extra $2.50 for added fried egg) was a delight to our palate. It was a perfect blend of contrasts – the soft bread contrasted well with the crunchiness from the tempura, and the saltiness from the beef contrasted well with the bitterness from the leaves, the spicy kick from the horseradish and the sweetness from the relish. A fantastic dish.

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The Fresh Queensland soft-shell mud crab with a fennel and dill salad and lime mayonnaise in a brioche bun ($21) was all about re-creating the freshness of the ocean. The crab was fresh, well-seasoned and nicely cooked, sitting on a cushion of soft flesh. The freshness of the dish was further enhanced by the use of fresh herbs. The sweetness of the brioche bun provided some sweetness to the dish. This was a delightful dish and one that we would go back for again.

 

Overall, this café lived up to its hype, and is a place where we will come back again to try a few other items on its menu.
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Top Paddock

Website: http://toppaddockcafe.com

Address: 658 Church Street, Richmond, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9429 4332

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri, 7am to 4pm; Weekends and Public Holidays, 8am to 4pm

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

 

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Devon on Danks

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Late last year, the infamous Devon Café in Surry Hills opened another café in the hip suburb of Waterloo, called Devon on Danks. We tried their food at the end of last year, and had fond memories of the food. So on a gloomy Easter Monday, we went back to this café to try to relive our previous pleasant experience.

We arrived at the café around noon, and there was already a line waiting outside. We waited for around 15 minutes, which was a reasonable time to wait.

We requested to sit on a table outside the café, and when we sat down on the table, we noticed that the table was not cleaned at all, with food scraps left from the previous diners. Two wait staff came by, one to give us the menu and cutlery, and one to take our orders, but both failed to clean the table for us. We were forced to clean the table ourselves with the serviettes that were given to us. Not a great start. Tsk tsk…

We ordered a coffee each to start our meal, and the coffees were pretty standard. We then proceeded to order three plates to share.

Since we already tried their infamous Breakfast with the Sakuma’s ($25) previously, we order three dishes that we have not tried before.

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Spanner Crab Pasta ($28)

This was a homemade egg yolk pasta, with spanner crab, cherry tomatoes, garlic and parsley. There were also some beans thrown in which provided a good textural contrast to the other ingredients. The taste of this dish was unfortunately very one dimensional – full of tomato flavours and lacking in flavours from the crab and other ingredients. It has failed our expectations.

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Dr Seuss’s Green Egg and Ham ($20)

This dish consisted of thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63 degrees egg, green tomato ketchup, pea puree, soy beans, pea tendrils and jus. The green eggs were soft and silky and nicely flavoured. However, the rest of the dish was not as enjoyable. The potato was crispy but overly salty making it inedible. The bacon had a good smoky flavour but was again overly salty. Dr Seuss’s words seems appropriate to describe this dish:

“Do you like green eggs and ham?

I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.

I do not like green eggs and ham.”

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The Manny P Burger ($19)

This burger was filled with annatto spiced fried chicken fillet, chilli mayo, fragrant herbs and pickles, with a side of chips. The chips were thickly cut, crunchy and well-seasoned. The burger was delicious as the chicken fillet was juicy and soft and the mayo provided a good kick to the burger. The fresh pickles and herbs provided some light refreshing flavour and contrasted well with the spiciness from the chicken and mayo. A nice dish.

Overall, this experience at Devon on Danks was a disappointing one. Our pleasant memories from our previously experience has now been shattered. We were so unhappy with two of the dishes that we did not even want to order their infamous desserts, Danks-in-Donut ($7) or Cronnies ($6.50). Maybe we were just unlucky by going to this café on the wrong day, but this experience has really questioned us whether we should ever visit this place again.

Devon on Danks on Urbanspoon
Devon on Danks

Website: http://www.devoncafe.com.au/

Address: 2 Danks Street, Waterloo, Sydney, NSW 2017

Phone: (02) 9698 7795

Opening hours: Mon to Fri 8am to 4pm, Sat to Sun 8am to 3.30pm

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express (for purchases over $10, with surcharge for Amex)

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Brewristas Cafe, Glebe

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Located in the trendy suburb of Glebe in Sydney is this cool café. It has a sleek, modern interior and is also quite big, with tables by the windows or the side wall. There is also a small courtyard at the back with more tables.

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The first thing I saw walking into the café was the counter with a big coffee machine. Surrounding it were other coffee related equipment such as filters, which showed how committed to coffee this place was. The barista uses a horn system to notify the serving staff when the coffee was ready, so customers can enjoy their coffee at the right temperature.

The staff was very open, friendly and attentive. Their enthusiasm showed their commitment to the customers and their products. They were always smiling

I ordered a macchiato. The coffee had nice intense flavours, which were nicely balanced, with a smoky yet fragrant flavours.

Jono ordered an avocado shake. He liked this drink, as it was not overly sweet, with a milky flavour from the use of condensed milk in the drink.

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Porky Pigs Hotteok – Traditional Korean honey jam pancake with bacon, poached egg, spicy guacamole, rocket & mango habanero mayo $15

Jono found the whole dish too sweet – the pancakes were already sweet themselves, the jam filling made them sweeter, and even the mayo was leaning to the sweet side. He thought that maybe he should have used the lime to make it less sweet. The bacon did help in reducing the sweetness somewhat. The poached eggs, though, were perfect.

I thought this dish had too much going on. I would have loved to have eaten the pancakes with the jam filling by itself as a sweet snack. It reminded me of Korean red bean pancakes. The addition of bacon added some saltiness to the dish, while the mayo added some spiciness and the lime added a touch of sourness. They actually detracted me from the real star of the dish which should have been the pancakes.

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Kevin’s Balls – filled with roasted pork belly, tofu, kim chi, sweet potato, encrusted with shin ramyun $10

This dish is named after the owner, and four small balls were served in a small cup.

One bite of this dish took me back to high school days, where I would make shin ramen in the middle of the night to keep me sustained as I studied for the HSC. The spiciness of the shin ramen that I remembered were all captured by this dish, and the kim chi added a depth of flavour to this dish. The portion of pork belly in the balls was also very generous. The crunchiness of the outside contrasted well with the soft texture of the pork belly and tofu.

Jono thought the dish was well presented, but a little hard to eat. He thought that putting the balls on the plate would have made it easier for people to eat, as the balls tended to fall apart when you put a fork into them.

Overall, Brewristas is a neat little café with very innovative food that you would not find in normal cafes. The coffee here is their specialty.

Brewristas on Urbanspoon

Brewristas Cafe

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

Address: 73 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, Sydney

Phone: Not available

Opening hours: 8am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm, Mon to Thurs; 8am to 2pm, 6pm to 11pm, Fri; 9am to 11:30p, Sat; 9am to 9pm, Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa only, not American Express

By Greg