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, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Pu’er

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Inspired by the great Chinese tea-houses of the world, Pu’er is situated in the trendy inner city suburb of Waterloo, offering patrons with unique dim sum and share dish menu, complimented by a large variety of Oriental tea and tea infused beverages.

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The restaurant has a nice ambience, with Chinese styled porcelain tables and wooden chairs. There is an open kitchen where kitchen staff prepares the fresh and wonderful food from their menu.

We dined there on a Sunday night and the service from the staff was very attentive.

The name Pu’er is actually a variety of fermented dark tea produced in China. To reflect the name of the restaurant, the menu, sitting on a wooden board, consists of a wide range of tea-based drinks, from traditional teas to tea infused beverages. The food menu, however, is more concentrated.

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Organic Misty Cloud $9

We ordered a pot of this tea, and this was served with a pot of hot water warmed by a candle, with the tea brewing in a separate flask, all served on a wooden tray. The wait staff explained how the tea ceremony worked and informed us that the best flavour from the tea would come about after the third infusion. The tea had a fresh nutty sweet flavour which became more subtle and delicate through further infusions.

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Peaches and Phoenix $17

A blend of peach iced tea with phoenix tea, along with a kick of alcohol, this drink was slightly sweet with some wooden undertones, which was very refreshing.

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Mushroom Pot Stickers $7

This pan-fried medley of shitake, champignon and straw mushroom dumplings had sticky skin with subtle mushroom flavours inside. The soft skin contrasted well with the crunchy fillings of mushroom and bamboo. They were lightly fried and were not oily at all. A nice entrée choice.

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Pork and Peanut Dumplings $7

These dumplings were filled with Teo Chew style spiced pork, roasted crunchy peanut and shitake mushroom. The infusion of flavours and textures from these little gems were awesome – we were able to taste the spiciness from the chilli, feel the crunchiness from the nuts, and experience the softness from the skin which absorbed the saltiness from the pork. The skins on the dumplings seem thicker than traditional Chinese dumplings, but we thought this was done on purpose in order for the skin to absorb the flavours of the sauce from the filling. A very enjoyable dish.

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Caramelised Berkshire Pork Belly $24

This main dish appeared small but was really tasty. The first thing we noticed when the dish was brought out was the smell of tea in the air from the dish. The pork was soft and easy to chew, and its meat just melted in our mouths without falling apart. The crackling was crispy and light. This dish had the taste of traditional Chinese tea and spices, which went down well with a bowl of rice. The inclusion of tea eggs was a nice touch and reminded us of Chinese marbled tea eggs. We thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
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Twice Cooked Shandong Chicken $29

This consisted of free range chicken and shitake which was slow cooked and pan fried. The sauce, which had a heavy vinegar flavour, was served on the side. This was a modern rendition of a classic Chinese dish, with the sauce on offer being more sweeter than the sauce from the traditional dish. The chicken was cooked to perfection, with the meat being soft and the skin being crispy. Jono found this dish delicious, but I thought the sauce was too sweet for my palate.

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Lemongrass Pannacotta $10

This pannacotta was served with black sesame soup and smoked melon. The watermelon which was smoked with lemongrass had a weird taste, but apart from that, the texture of the pannacotta was perfect and it went well with the black sesame. This was a nice dessert to end our meals.

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Coconut and Kaffir Lime Leaf Sorbet $10

The sorbet was served in a coconut shell from a young coconut, with coconut water and black sticky rice on the side. The whole dish carried out the coconut theme well. It was subtly sweet and delicious.

Pu’er is a great place where people can enjoy great Chinese food in a setting that is comfortable and open. It is interesting to see how traditional Chinese dishes have been modernised here, and with a pot of tea and a few dishes, we can imagine people sitting here for hours chatting away and enjoying life (as well as the great food and drinks). For the novice in Chinese cuisine, Pu’er is a great place to begin your experience in the variety of flavours that Chinese cuisine has on offer.

Pu'er on Urbanspoon

Pu’er

Website: www.puer.com.au

Address: 20a Dank Street, Waterloo

Phone: (02) 8399 1331

Opening Hours: Tues to Fri, 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to late; Sat to Sun, 12pm to late

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

By Greg

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner West

The Hub House Diner

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Located on the main road in the inner west suburb of Dulwich Hill, Hub House Diner is a trendy little café selling American diner inspired food. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the place was full with people of all ages.

After sitting down, a wait staff quickly asked us for our orders. The food came out relatively quickly. However, the bottle of water on our table was not filled, and because it was so hard to get the attention of a wait staff, we ended up getting up to grabbing a bottle of water ourselves.

Since most people there ordered the burgers, we also tried the burgers. We tried the Double Beef Cheese Burger and the House Beef Burger ($19 each).

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The Double Beef Cheese Burger had double beef, American jack, onion, gherkin, mustard and ketchup, while the House Beef Burger had American jack, lettuce, onion, tomato, bacon, egg, beetroot relish and smokey BBQ sauce. Both were served on a specially designed wooden board with a serving of chips on the side.

The burgers were quite flavoursome, but unfortunately the beef patties were a bit dry. Maybe they were overcooked or there were not enough fat contents in the patties. However, the rest of the ingredients in each burger provided good balance of flavour. The buns were traditional burger buns, and they were firm enough to hold, yet soft to the mouth. However, the buns on one of the burgers we ordered were cold.

The chips were very crispy and was topped with some chicken salt. We devoured them quite quickly.

In conclusion, for the price we paid for the burgers, we expected better quality burgers than what was served. Maybe we should have tried other food here instead.

The Hub House Diner on Urbanspoon

Hub House Diner

Website: www.hubhousediner.com.au

Address: 410-412 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill 2203

Phone: (02) 9518 1887

Opening hours: Tuesdays to Friday, 7am til late; Saturday, 7:30am til late; Sunday 7:30am – 8pm

Accepts MasterCard and Visa for bills over $20

By Greg

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)