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 - 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, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Cuckoo Callay

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Located at Newtown station, this small café is like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the business of King Street beneath.  The small herb pots outside the café, with its friendly staff inside, is the ideal place to chill and relax when you want to be away from the crowds on the main road.

We have been to this café a few times, and below are some highlights from the menu of this café.

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The chemex ($5) was a rich flavoured coffee, which has been infused for a longer time, to achieve a smooth consistency.  It was served in a really nice glass flask, which looked like a wine decanter.  The taste was elegant.

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Everybody loves Ramen ($19) consisted of bacon and egg noodles with a 63 degrees egg, speck, shitake mushroom, bacon dashi and shallots.  This dish had a distinctive Asian style to it with an element of Western fusion with the use of bacon and speck.  The broth was very flavoursome but was not too strong as to overpower the other flavours of the dish.  The amount of broth was also adjustable as you had to pour it yourself.  The noodles, however, was a bit too soft. This was the perfect breakfast on a cold winter’s morning.

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Trout Pout ($22) came as a stack with smoked trout fillet, potato, leek and fennel cake, grilled fennel, horseradish cream, sorrel and a 63 degrees egg.  The egg fell off to the side as the wait staff served the dish to us.  There was a mirage of flavours with this dish, with nicely infused Eastern and Western styles.  The trout was nicely seasoned and not overcooked.  This is a dish that is worth trying.

Overall, we really like what Cuckoo Callay is trying to achieve with its menu, with inventive fusion breakfast food items that are different from the other cafes in the area.  A must try if you are in the area.

Cuckoo Callay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Cuckoo Callay

Website: http://www.cuckoo-callay.com.au/index.html

Address: Newtown Railway Station, Newtown

Phone: (02) 9557 7006

Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 6am to 4pm; Sat 8am to 4pm; Sun 8am to 3pm

Accepts MasterCard and Visa

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Moon Park

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A modern Korean restaurant, Moon Park is situated on the first floor of a building in Redfern. This place is quite hard to find at night as there is only a small sign outside the building. Inside, the interior is very sleek and simple, not overly fancy, with wooden floorboards, white painted walls, standard wooden tables and chairs, basic shelves, and minimal decorations. There is a small bar area, and also a large balcony overlooking Redfern Park. The place creates a casual atmosphere and relaxing vibe.

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We arrived here on a weeknight, and the wait staff was very hospitable, with good friendly service. They were attentive to us, with the use of good facial expressions and body gesture, and the use of appropriate language. They displayed great knowledge in relation to the items on the menu.

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Cucumber and Rose Lemonade ($8)

A delightful drink, which was not overly sweet, with the aroma of rose and a hint of cucumber. The drink had a mysterious element to it, as with each sip, we would not know which flavour would hit our palate first – the rose or the cucumber. However, these two elements were very complimentary to each other, making the drink very enjoyable.

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Othmanthus tea ($4)

A classic oriental drink, with a bitter-sweet flavour, which was a perfect compliment to the dishes we had.

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Homemade crisps (complimentary)

These crisps were thin, crispy and had a hint of spicy flavour. They were a great start to our meal.

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Ssambab: yangnum smoked eel, puffed wild rice in a big nasturtium ($7.50 each)

This dish was fantastic. There was a contrast of flavours in this dish – the smokiness and saltiness of the eel contrasted well with the freshness and softness of the leaf, while the rice had a crunchy, smoky and a little spicy flavour. This was a very elegant and modern take of a traditional Korean dish.

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Spanner crab and black garlic on seed biscuit ($7.50 each)

A very good dish. The fresh flavour of the crab was accentuated by the presence of the sesame and the garlic. All the flavours complemented each other well.

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Bibimbap: a bowl of rice with raw scallop, barley, peas and baek kimchi ($33)

Who would have imagined a humble bibimbap could be served in this way? This was akin to eating a whole bowl of the ocean, with the freshness of the scallop shining through. However, the dish also had other intricate flavours, such as the spiciness from the kimchi, the smokiness from the toasted barley and the sweetness from the peas. The contrast of textures, from the crunchiness of the toasted barley to the softness of the scallops, also really delighted our tastebuds. A wonderful dish that simply blew us away!

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Ssamgyeopsal: wessex pork belly, artichoke and carrot kimchi ($34)

The star of the dish was the pork belly which was soft, and melted in our mouths. It was well seasoned, so did not really need any sauce. There was a hint of doenjang flavouring in the pork, and a side of leaves for us to wrap the pork in. These elements demonstrated the traditional aspects of this dish. However, the reduction in the use of garlic and chilli for this dish and the use of artichoke in this dish, made this dish more subtle and refined than its traditional Korean counterpart. A very flavoursome dish.

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Brussels sprout, kimchi seasoning, pinenut ($8)

We recommend this dish be ordered with the Ssamgyeopsal as this complimented well with the pork belly. Eating the Ssamgyeopsal with this dish would give extra flavour to the pork belly. The dish was very tasty, and the use of the pinenuts was a unique addition, which enhanced the flavours of this dish.

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Moon Pie: prune, maesil marshmallow, ginger jelly, graham cracker and chocolate ($14)

This was an elegantly deconstructed version of an American Moon Pie with a Korean twist – the sweetness from the soft, silky and milky white chocolate and the partially torched marshmallow meringue was balanced with the kick from the ginger and the sourness from the prunes. A sublime dessert!

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Warm quince, makggeolli ice cream, puffed rice and orange ($14)

This dessert can simply be called “Rice Cream”. The lightness of this ice cream provided a good base for the flavours of the quince and orange to shine through, making this a nice dessert.

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Moon Park is one of the best modern Korean restaurant we have tried in Sydney, and we would no doubt be back in a heartbeat! The modern twist on traditional Korean food is done extremely well and our dining experience here has been wonderful.
Moon Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moon Park

Website: www.moon-park.com.au

Address: 34 Redfern Street, Redfern

Phone: (02) 9690 0111

Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5:30pm to late

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express (surcharge applicable for all cards)