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    “Legacy is a health conscious café set in the heart of Camberwell, a leafy suburb 15 mins out of Melbourne’s CBD”

    Legacy Camberwell

    We purposely arrived at Legacy (click here) at 10am to miss the morning and lunch rushes, which we’ve heard this place is accustomed to. When we arrived at the hole-in-the-wall cafe in Camberwell there was no queue but by the time we sat down and placed our order, the place was full and buzzing.

    The cafe’s long industrial & minimalistic dećor was very welcoming. Legacy’s mood is relaxed and homely thanks to the very liberally used red exposed brick, (which is in featured in just about everything, the walls, the floors, the benches and even the communal table) and the glimpses of timber and polished concrete that peep through the bright red bricks.

    With a decent selection of raw smoothies, chia puddings and superfood bowls for the health conscious customers or the house made donuts and butter-milk fried chicken for anyone wanting to indulge a little, you can see why this café is destined to be one of Melbourne’s hot spots.

    What we ate:

    AVOCADO FETTA MASH –  w/chilli, heirloom tomatoes, radish & black sesame seeds with rosti (this was an optional side)

    MANGO & VANILLA CHIA PUDDING – edible flowers, strawberries and macadamias

    ROYAL REECE – Peanut butter, raw cacao, banana, chia seeds, coconut shavings and almond milk

    PICCOLO* – one of the best coffees i have had in Melbourne

    Mango Chia Pudding At Legacy Camberwell

    The chia pudding was light and the mango puree at the bottom was a great touch. Our Avocado & Feta Mash was good, but not great, lacked a little bit of a flavour. The Royal Reece smoothie was pretty epic, along with my salted peanut butter cookie!

    *The coffee is worth making a special mention – my piccolo was one of the best coffees I have had in a while.

    Overall:

    A big thumbs up for this hot spot.

    Legacy Camberwell
    347 Camberwell Rd
    Camberwell VIC 3124
    (03) 9041 1796

    Have you eaten at Legacy Camberwell before? Did you enjoy the coffee us much as I did? I would love to hear all your thoughts and comments below.
    K x

    “There was a genuine happy vibe at Hunter Gatherer”

    Hunter Gatherer

    The masterminds behind The Corner House and Panama House have teamed up alongside Michelin trained head chef Paul Micklewright to create the ultimate relaxed bar and eatery on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, Hunter Gatherer (click here).

    Get ready for a menu that is on constant rotation to reflect quality, in season produce based around local and sustainable ingredients. Being the only table service licensed venue in North Sydney, Hunter Gatherer is perfect for after work drinks, nibbles or a full-blown feast.

    Danish Pendant Lighting

    Positioned on the roof top terrace of the Greenwood plaza, you are welcomed by the very lax outdoor seating that flows straight into the light filled dining space inside. The décor blends the charm and warmth of a rustic farmhouse with contemporary Danish design and an abundance of pendant lighting, wooden and copper features and greenery spilling out onto the rooftop terrace. The restaurants main focus is a feature wall that illuminates the venue with an Italian designed LED panelled wall with a hybrid of calming landscape imagery with a psychedelic twist.

    Very Light & Airy

    HG’s versatile seating plan caters for every group. Large booths located in the heart of the lodge turned over copious amounts of suits bustling in and out the door at lunch, while the lounges and high stools were also full with customers enjoying a relaxing afternoon nip. Sydney provided a beautiful warm Autumn day and patrons were making full use of the outdoor seating underneath the heritage listed Morton fig trees of the Greenwood Plaza creating a genuine happy vibe for all that were there.

    Ever Changing Menu

    The staff were extremely knowledgeable, attentive and friendly. Being served by the charming maître d’ Steven, we were given a full run down on the ever-changing menu. The hearty carte du jour’s small and large ‘grazing’ plates provide a diverse variety for plant eaters and carnivores are ideal for sharing and are accompanied with an extensive drinks menu.

    The attention to detail using only fresh, locally sourced, sustainable and ethical produce is a large focus. “We like to champion cheaper cuts of meat to make affordability a priority. There’s not a lot of places in North Sydney where you can sit down and get a quality main and side for twenty-four dollars” Steven says.

    Charcuterie

    What we ate:

    OLIVES – House marinated olives
    CHARCUTERIE – Charcuterie plate of quattro stele, salumi, Kurobota ham, house pickles & bread
    * the Kurobota ham has got to be one of the best hams I have had

    PRAWNS – Marty’s Hawkesbury River school prawns, crisp smoked paprika fried with lime and aioli
    PORK – Darling downs slow roasted pork belly, picked Windsor cabbage, roast apple
    FRIES – House fries with rosemary salt
    SALAD – Sackville mixed leaf salad with pecorino and aged balsamic

    OUR AMERICANO – Bitter orange, sweet wine & grapefruit soda
    HUNTERS LEMONADE – Dickel #8 whiskey, sour apple & PS smoked lemonade
    ROB’S YOUR UNCLE – Cocoa nib monkey shoulder, sweet wine & bitters
    BURNT BY THE STORM – Bundy small batch rum, caramel ginger beer & lime

    Olives
    Salada
    Hand Cut Fries
    Slow Roasted Pork Belly
    School Prawns

    Stand out dishes: The succulent slow cooked pork belly accompanied with pickled cabbage with roasted apple. The pork was moist and tender; while the cabbage lifted the dish to the next level and the crisp roasted apple added a slight sweetness to the dish. The salad was perfectly dressed with creaminess of the pecorino cutting through the sharpness of the dressing.

    Hunter Gatherer Feast

    The drinks menu offers a range of local spirits, craft beers, cocktails and places a large emphasis on natural wines. Our cocktails were as they were described on the menu and came recommended by our waiter.

    Sticky Date Chocolate Torte
    It Was Heaven

    Overall:

    Hunter Gatherer is a fantastic new addition to the North Sydney dining culture making it the latest destination for a relaxing and social sitting. The venue does breakfast and lunch every weekday, lunch and dinner Wednesday to Friday with a licence until midnight on these days. Hunter Gatherer is only open for private events and functions on the weekend which is perfect for special occasions.

    *Also on a side note, since the menu is on constant rotation and a different menu is produced nearly every day, you might not find the exact dishes we ate. But with the quality of the cooking and the produce I am excited to see what else they have in store.

    Hunter Gatherer
    Greenwood Plaza, 36 Blue St,
    North Sydney NSW 2060
    (02) 8920 0780

    Have you hunted or gathered at North Sydney yet? Did you enjoy it a much as I did? Let me know below!
    K x

    “Indu makes Indian food sexy”

    Indu

    The opening of Indu (click here) has transcended Sydney’s subcontinental taste buds to a new culinary level. Located at Angel Place just underneath the Ivy and just before China Lane, a dimly lit fire escape that doubles as Indu’s entrance a is placed. As you walk down each step of the narrow industrial staircase the air becomes heavier with the familiar scent of rich aromatic spices. From the moment you walk in there is a sensory explosion. The entrance is lined with large terracotta pots filled with India’s staple spices, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Clove & Chilli fills the air, while Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and the Beatles softly plays in the background.

    Deep Green Booths Contrast The Red Brick Walls

    Heading to our table, we passed the ‘Dosa Kitchen’ a front of house separate grill where you can watch the chef whip up some traditional delights and a heavily stocked bar. Lavish semi circle embroidered banquettes and wooden tables are intertwined while the private dining, and romantic nooks are tucked away to the side while at the back end of restaurant the hustle and bustle of an open kitchen energises the room.

    There is almost too much to take in at first but once we got seated and settled with our first drink underway, we began to really appreciate the superbly appointed décor. The P/D and romantic nooks are carved out of the heritage listed building while being softly lit with candles on the table and copper fixtures that make for a very luxe setting.  An eclectic mix of; mud brick walls, textile designs, ceramic patterns, rich hues of green and gold that look ‘spray painted’ and an exposed 120 year old deep composite terracotta ceiling have been handcrafted and preserved that make up the rest of this restaurant giving a type of ‘village’ feel that the team of Matt Woods, Project Z and Ash Keating have so wonderfully created.

    At the beginning of the meal, and inline with Mejico’s process of guacamole (which is another one of Sam’s restaurants), the coconut sambol is made right in front of us. This spicy mix of coconut, lemon juice, red chilli, roasted cashew nuts and many other delectable ingredients is served with a soft warm Indian milk bun and can be eaten on its own or used as a topping for any of the other meals we ordered.

    Coconut Sambol & Milk Bun

    The menu crafted by head chef Bimal Kumar, is a reflection  Dr. Sam Prince heritage and of the time he spent doing aid work across Sri Lanka and India. Kumar shows a sense of creativity and flare that Sydney has been crying for. Using traditional techniques with a modern twist and an emphasis on light, wholesome and fresh ingredients that is common amongst the villages of south costal India.

    I assure you, no butter chicken heavily thickened with coconut cream and greasy naan will be on the menu.

    Fresh Paratha

    What we ate:

    COCONUT SAMBOL – red chilli, red onion, devilled cashew nuts. Served with an Indian milk bun (V, HM)
    SMOKED GOAT’S LEG –  w/ zucchini ribbon raita, pomegranate, chilli & bacon jam 18
    SEARED SCALLOPS – tempered curd, smoked coconut (G)

    GOAN PORK BELLY CURRY – coconut milk, poppy seeds, cashews, cardamom, cinnamon bark (G)
    “THE GREAT” LAMB RAAN – marinated & tenderly slow roasted over 48 hours w/ fresh mint chutney & lunumiris
    LEMON RICE – crispy lentils, smashed peanuts, green chilli, fresh coconut (D, G, V+)

    AMMA’S DAAL – red lentils, mustard seeds, fresh ground coconut (D, G, V)
    HOUSE-MADE PARATHA – A North Indian unleavened bread (V)

    WHITE CHOCOLATE – coconut cream, caramelised pomegranate & fig (G)

    KERALA KOLADA – Spiced rum, coconut & chai syrup, pineapple, coconut sorbet
    THE CHENNEL CHILLER – Gin, mixed berries, basil, curry leaves, lemon juice, agave
    ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – Whiskey, pomegranate chutney, lemon juice, egg white
    THE GINGER KING – Gin, fresh lemon, INDU gingery syrup, Kingfisher lager

    Seared Scallops
    Goat's Leg Dosa - I Wish This Came As A Main

    My top pick was most certainly the Goat’s leg dosa. A south Indian lentil dosa (think savoury pancake/crepe) it was cooked to perfection and was accompanied by a zucchini raita, pomegranate and chilli bacon jam (which we were told wasn’t actually bacon, it was coconut that was smoked).

    “The Great” Lamb Raan
    Pork Belly & Lamb

    Other favourites were the pork belly curry, which was very light and had a delightful undernote of nutty creaminess and a good punch of heat. It had a generous amount of tender pork throughout and also had snippets of crispy flakes of crackling which added extra layers of crunch to the dish.

    Secondly the Signature lamb (which you can get either in a half or full serve) is wonderfully succulent and had been slow roasted for 48 hours in rich spices and yoghurt. The mint chutney served on the board complimented the complexity of the lamb and topped with lunu miris, sweet chilli and salt to balance the meatiness of the dish.

    (The dahl was also light and creamy for you vegans!)

    Amma's Daal, Light & Fluffy
    White Chocolate My Fav!!

    To finish the night off, we made the tricky decision to get only one dessert (we were so full by this time!) With the help of the waiter we decided to go for the white chocolate and coconut cream. This was smooth, velvety and surprisingly light that was perfectly matched with caramelized fig and the right amount of pomegranate.

    The drinks menu is full of classic cocktails with exciting twists, my favourite of the night being the Kerala Kolada ( a delicious playful twist on the ever popular Pina Colada). It was quite refreshing from the heat of some of the dishes.

    The Chennel Chiller

    The only downfall was that the staff were a little slow at the very beginning but after our first drink order was placed the new waiter was extremely tentative and enthusiastic. After our first order was taken, the meal was out to the table in a shockingly speedy time, which made up for the lag in the beginning.

    Also that our favourite dish (Smoked Goat) was that good we would have preferred to have seen it as a main rather than a smaller serve.

    My New Favourite Indian In Sydney

    Overall:

    As this is one of Sydney’s newest culinary hotspots I would suggest on getting indu* it quickly as you might find in the upcoming months it will be harder to get a table.

    *sorry for the pun 🙂

    Indu Dining
    350 George St,
    Sydney NSW 2000
    (02) 9223 0158

    Have you eaten at Indu before? What was your favourite dish or drink?  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
    K x

    ” Tokyo Tina is the smaller, edgier Japanese-inspired sister venue to Melbourne’s Saigon Sally & Hanoi Hannah “

    Essentials

    Located just opposite Windsor Station in Melbourne, Tokyo Tina (click here) offers a smaller yet playful eatery to entice your Asian fusion delights.

    Formerly a bong shop, Tokyo Tina is the edgy Japanese inspired sister to Melbourne’s Saigon Sally & Hanoi Hannah. Sitting amongst the hustle & bustle, the venue is filled with Astro boy pin up posters, Japanese pop art, crumbly walls and slatted timber transcending you into a fluorescent alleyway in downtown Toyko.

    Cucumber & Yuzu Sour

    The menu is predominantly Japanese but also dabbles slightly in Korean & Peruvian cuisines. All dishes can be accompanied with a great selection of cocktails, Japanese whiskey, sake or beer. Offering a vast variety on the menu, you can find delicious morsels of kingfish cones and a three types of Bao catering for those who want a light lunch or for the hungrier folk a hearty ramen or poke (pronounced po-kay).

    What we ate:

    KINGFISH CONE – Wasabi, Apple & Charcoal Cone
    KARAAGE CHICKEN RIBS – Hot Gochujang Sauce & Lemon (gf)
    PORK BELLY – Pickled Daikon, Teriyaki Sauce, Kewpie (2pc) (gf*)
    SPICED EDAMAME (v) (gf)
    SEARED DUCK BREAST – Orange Miso & Carrot Chips (gf)

    MATCHA BRIOCHE BUN – Crunchy Brioche Bun Filled With Matcha Soft Serve

    BlOODY TOKYO – Belvedere Vodka, Tomato, Japanese Spices, Sancho Salt
    CUCUMBER & YUZU SOUR – Belvedere Vodka, Elderflower, Yuzu, Cucumber, Honey
    SHIMO SOUR CHAIRMANS – Spiced Rum, Cointreau, Mandarin, Cranberry Bitters, lime

    Kingfish Cone
    Extra Crispy Pork Belly
    Karaage Chicken Ribs

    The stand out dishes were the Karaage Chicken Ribs and the Duck breast. The Karaage Chicken batter was extremely light and crunchy while the Duck was cooked perfectly.

    Seared Duck Breast
    Duck Breast & Beans

    Overall

    Our dining experience at Tokyo Tina, was fun, tasty and exuberant. The staff were really helpful with their tips on what they thought the best dishes were and matching drinks. I Highly recommend Tokyo Tina for an Asian fusion meal in Melbourne.

    Tokyo Tina
    66A Chapel Street
    Windsor VIC 3181
    (03) 9525 2774

    Have you eaten at Tokyo Tina? Did you like their Food & cocktails? What did you think of my review? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
    K x

    “Set over 4 levels, each with its own unique charm. The Royal Hotel Paddington has something for everyone”

    The Rooftop

    Located in the heart of the iconic Fiveways in Paddington, the Royal Hotel Paddington (click here) is helping shape the posh pub grub scene in Sydney.

    An establishment rich in history, this 1888 building has recently undergone a $4 million renovation transforming into a multi levelled hospitality operation. Set over 4 levels, each with its own unique charm. The Royal Hotel has something for everyone. If you are after a relaxed sports pub scene, the first level “The Royal Bar” is the perfect spot for you, there is ample space for large groups and the room boasts cosy leather lounges and has live streaming of all sports.

    Royal Hotel Paddington

    On the second level, the Verandah is clean cut white with splashes of navy throughout. This level is split into two sections by sliding doors; the sit down ‘al fresco’ dining area and inside bar area with communal high tables. Sitting within the ‘restaurant’ section* was warm and cosy with the sky roof open and the fire crackling in the corner.

    *The only downfall of this area on the night I went, was I would have liked to see how this level opens up, the restaurant area was boxed in with the sliding doors being closed, which then created a bottleneck for the people walking to their tables or to the restroom with the patrons lining up for a drink at the bar (which unfortunately is smack bang right in the middle of the room). On the other hand if you are after a private section for an event/function, the versatility of this level works out perfectly.

    Up on the third level is the Elephant Room, which is colonial inspired with it’s deep reds and burgundy tones throughout and many plush features and seating arrangements.

    Through to the fourth level, the rooftop area is rather small and was very packed by the time we went up for a look-see (8pm Saturday night) however, the views of the city are quite picturesque.

    Refreshments

    The mastermind behind this newly revamped menu is Ben Varela, a seasoned Sydney chef familiar with the pub scene. Ben has combined traditional pub classics with his own personal twist.

    Beef Carpaccio

    What we ate:

    TRUFFLE FRIES – self-explanatory
    CHARCUTERIE BOARD – cured meats, house pickles & sourdough
    BEEF CARPACCIO – olives, green tomato, rocket & sourdough toast
    SPANNER CRAB LINGUINI – peas, garlic, lemon & chilli
    LAMB SHOULDER – smoked eggplant, herb coulis & macadamia crumble
    180g EYE FILLET – Gippsland VIC 150 day grain fed, mashed potato
    250g RUMP – MSA3 Riverina angus, cumin roasted tomatoes mash & fries<

    RHUBARD BOMB ALASKA rhubard gelato with vanilla meringue

    CHERRYWOOD LANE – bourbon, cherry bitters & port soaked cherries
    LAVENDER BRAMBLE – gin, Chambord, lemon juice, lavender monin & lavender
    5 WAY G+T – hendricks, St. Germain, lime, basil , mint, cucumber & lemongrass

    180g Eye Fillet
    The Lamb Shoulder

    I had two standout dishes in this meal, the lamb shoulder was extremely succulent and tender, the pomegranate and macadamia crumble gave the dish a nice added crunch. The crab linguini was a nice comfort meal perfectly balanced and fresh.

    Crab Linguine At The Royal
    Bomb Alaska

    Overall:

    If you are after a place for afternoon drinks to carry on into the night with somewhat upmarket pub food, the Royal has you covered.

    Royal Hotel Paddington
    237 Glenmore Rd
    Paddington NSW 2021
    (02) 9331 2604

    Have you been to the Royal Hotel in Paddington? What were your thoughts? Leave any questions you have below.
    K x

    “Mejico brings delicious home-styled Mexican fare from Mexico City to the Yucatan Penisnsula to Sydney’s Pitt Street”

    Mejico

    Mejico (pronounced meh-he-co) brings “market to table” goodness from Mexico City to the Yucatan Penisnsula. Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD Pitt Street, and now Miranda. Mejico (click here) is renowned for it’s fresh modern twist on Mexican classics. Oh and did we mention that it has Sydney’s largest tequila selection? Arriba!

    Another restaurant under the Dr Sam Prince banner has set its sights on establishing itself as one of Sydney’s best Mexican hot spots. By focusing on sourcing some of the freshest ingredients direct from producers, the seasonal menu combines traditional classics with a modern twist. Don’t expect to see any tex mex style dishes on the menu. Instead anticipate slow roasted beef brisket, fresh ceviche and burnt jalapeño hummus.

    The venue has quite an industrial feel to it, exposed brick, concrete beams, geometric shaped wall patterns and pops of colour set the tone for an exciting and somewhat engaging meal. Mejico’s atmosphere was buzzing on the Friday night we went. It’s not a ‘quite, sit down, romantic dinner’ type of restaurant. It’s loud, energizing, entertaining and most of all fun! Not to mention a killer sound track was playing in the background.

    Takes The Work Out Of Guessing

    If the very large selection of tequila is slightly a little daunting, you are in luck! As there is nifty little tequila picker on your table, which is essentially a lucky dip type spinner.

    I have dined here quite a couple times, and the staff always blow me away with how friendly they are and knowledgeable of not only the food menu but the extensive tequila/drinks menu.

    One of the many novelties that comes with dining at Mejico is the ordering the guacamole which is assembled right in front of you at the table (comes with a full detailed run down of the ingredients and why they use them) and is accompanied by tasty platain chips, that really go down a treat ! This has always been a winner when I’ve dined at Mejico, although this time, it could have done with a little bit of extra spice.

    Fresh Guacamole Made At The Table

    What we ate:

    GUACOMOLE – Avacado, serrano chilli, Spanish onion, coriander, pistachios & plantain chips
    BURNT JALEPNO HUMMUS –  Smashed chickpeas with scorched jalapeños, served with hand cut tortilla chips
    CORN LOLLIPOPS – 3 lollipops of corn, topped with chipotle mayo, queso fresco, coconut & popcorn
    COCHINITA PIBIL TAMALE – Traditional tamale stuffed with slow roasted pork & topped with pink pickled onions

    TUNA (RAW BAR) – Tuna with avocado, ginger & capsicum, topped with spiced tapioca pearls & served on tortilla chips
    SNAPPER (RAW BAR) – Fresh line-caught snapper, pickled ginger & pomegranate tossed with jalapeño & creamy goats cheese

    SlOW ROASTED PORK (TACO) – Slow roasted pork, chilli caramel salsa, aioli @ crispy pork scratchings
    6 HOUR SLOW ROASTED BEEF BRISKET – Ancho & coffee crusted brisket, smokey chipotle sauce, chilli mac & cheese
    PATATAS BRAVAS – Smashed garlicky potatoes topped with paprika & chipolte aioli

    Burnt Jalapeño Hummus
    Corn Lollipops
    Cochinita Pibil Tamale

    Standout dishes were: Cochinita Pinil Tamale, this was very soft and the pork melted in your mouth, the pickled onions balanced the dish out really nicely, think (soft polenta/baked omelette/frittata) with shredded pork throughout. Pork Taco, this was hands down my favourite dish of the night, I am a sucker for a good taco. The pork was perfectly cooked, with the nice crunch factor of crackling on top, the subtle cinnamon note made for the perfect sweetness to this juicy taco.

    Slow Roasted Pork Taco
    Snapper Ceviche

    Tuna tacos were incredibly fresh, Half spicy and peppery, half lemony, slightly sweet and packed full of flavour & the Patatas Bravas, these bad boys are a serious side dish, caramalised to perfection with the right amount of outer crispness and inner softness that perfectly accompanied the extremely tender Brisket.

    Mejico's 6-Hour Beef Brisket
    Bite-Size Margarita Cheesecake
    Ice Cream Sandwich

    The only downfall from the night was as the team at Mejico recited our order, one requested dish  missed making an appearance at the table. Besides this slight mishap, the service was practically faultless.

    Ariba!!!

    Overall

    Dining at Mejico has always been a great experience for me. The restaurants buzzing atmosphere, the food & drinks are certainly crowd pleasers, but what really makes this restaurant stand out from the rest, is the staff. On every occasion they have been quite simply, fantastic. Mejico is great option for after work drinks or the perfect ‘south of the border’ culinary destination.

    Mejico
    105 Pitt St
    Sydney NSW 2000
    02 9230 0119

    Have you one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor @ Mejico before? Would love to hear about your experience below!
    K x

    Where to eat in Australia

    “The Pullman Quay Grand has opened its doors with the newly appointed Hacienda”

    Hacienda's Very Friendly Staff

    Hacienda (click here) is a lavishly appointed “vista bar” situated in the gorgeous Pullman Quay Grand above Circular Quay.

    Applejack Hospitality (think The Butler, Bondi Hardware & So Cal) have joined forces with AccorHotels to create this delightful harbour-side bar setting.

    Hacienda is inundated with stunning panoramic views of the city and harbour but even with these gorgeous views, the bar is a view in itself. Inspired by the grand plantation architecture of Cuban and Miami vintage hotels in the 1950’s. The glamour and glitz of Miami has been combined with the more relaxed, fun and colourful influence of Cuba.

    Hacienda

    Featuring brass detailing, lush greenery and pastel lounges, this Harbourside setting is a great place to unwind and relax or to start the beginning of a night out on the town.

    What we ate

    EMPTY EMPANADAS – beef empanadas with guacamole

    VACA FRITA – Charred skirt steak w/ chimichurri

    PORK NECK MOJO – Pork neck marinated in garlic w/ pineapple & parsley

    JAMON CROQUETTES – served w/ cheese sauce

    BUENA VISTA CLUB – Banana infused pisco, Tio Pepe, lemon, honey, egg white

    HACIENDA BOTTLE MOJITO – #2 20 Havana especial rum, vanilla syrup, yuzu juice, mint soda water

    Pork Neck
    Croquettes
    Skirt Steak
    Empty Empanadas

    For us, it was more of the atmosphere, the location and the drinks that made our evening enjoyable. Our top picks for the food would have been the Jamon Croquettes and the Pork Neck Mojo, while the other items were a little bit of a miss. The pre-mixed drinks (such as the mojito) were a great touch to the menu and made service extremely quick considering how busy it was.

    Overall

    Hacienda is a fabulous place for a drink (or two) and enjoy some nibbles while enjoying the stunning view of Sydney’s harbour and CBD.

    Hacienda Hangs

    Hacienda
    61 Macquarie Street
    Sydney NSW 2000
    (02) 9256 4000

    Kx
    Have you been to Hacienda before? Where is your favourite bar with a view in Sydney? I’d love to hear any questions or comments you have below.

    “Walking into Brooklyn Depot, old school hip hop was playing and everyone was in a great mood”

    Brooklyn Depot

    Brooklyn Depot (click here) has made its way down from the sunny Gold Coast to Surry Hills, Sydney. The American style burger joint is bursting with atmosphere and has an abundance of burgers, fries, drinks and nibblies to choose from.

    Having just opened up on the Gold Coast only a year ago, Brooklyn made a name for some of the best burgers around town, the owners decided to break into the Sydney market, where burgers and loaded fries are so in trend right now.

    Brooklyn Depot

    Walking into Brooklyn Depot, the beats and vibe are pretty in your face (in a good way), old school hip hop was playing and everyone was in a great mood. The diner is a mix of catch phrases, booths, neon lights, novelties, painted murals of some of New York’s finest and was filled with heavy American influences (even down to our bubbly waitress who had a thick American voice).

    We took a seat in one of the booths, which for myself was fine, but my significant other who is quite larger said it was a tight fit. These are definitely better suited to couples as I would not be comfortable sitting here for a group of four.

    At first glance of the menu I noticed there was a lot to choose from and everything sounded so good. So we decided to go for the signature burger and the special.

    * I don’t know if having so much on a menu is a good thing or a bad thing. My preference in any restaurant is having fewer items on the menu and really nailing them rather than having lots to choose from and being mediocre.

    What we ate:

    MAC N CHEESE – Macaroni & 3 cheeses (gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan) baked in béchamel sauce served with crispy bacon bits, garnished with spring onion

    BROOKLYN BBQ BOARD – selection of chicken wings, BBQ pork ribs, pulled lamb shoulder, depot slaw, cowboy caviar, served with toasted brioche slices.

    BROOKLYN CLASSIC + BACON– grass fed beef, American cheese, oak leaf lettuce, tomato, depot special sauce

    FUGGEDABBOUTIT – grass fed beef patty, beef chilli, American cheese, onion rings, chilli relish and a choice of lethal injection hot sauce

    Mac + Cheese
    BBQ Board

    Standout dish would have had to be the Brooklyn Classic, the burger was as you’d expect, it’s a classic, with a soft grass fed patty, dripping with sauce and just enough cheese to melt in your mouth, the bun itself was slightly more dense so it held integrity while eating and of course you have to get it with bacon. The ribs from the bbq board were good but not great, the pork was soft and had a sweet, sweet bbq sauce which was a nice change but I could only eat a few without getting sick.

    Brooklyn Classic + Bacon

    I wanted to make a little side note about some of the other meals that we had. The mac and cheese was extremely underwhelming, with little to no flavour coming out of the actual dish itself. With the only slight flavour coming from the snippets of spring onion and bacon garnish on top. The Chicken wings were soggy as well, the sauce they were in was tasty but the skin had a quite unpleasing texture.

    We were eating during rush hour at lunch, so I question whether these might be cooked differently or longer normally?

    Fuggedabboutit

    This “burgers and more” trend is really taking Sydney by storm at the moment, while Brooklyn depot is a great location and a great atmosphere for after work drinks and a little snack to eat on the side, the menu is quite over-indulgent. For me personally I’d only have a full-blown meal here once in a blue moon.

    One In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

    Overall:

    Brooklyn Depot and it’s New York attitude is a really fun and social venue. Whether you’re feeling indulgent or just want a few brewskis after work with friends the Brooklyn gang has you covered.

    Brooklyn Depot
    65 Holt Street
    Surry Hills NSW 2010
    (02) 9211 2255

    Do you have a favourite burger at Brooklyn Depot? Have you tried one of their shakes? Have you got any questions? Let me know below.
    K x

    A dimly lit, New York style venue, Nieuw Amsterdam is home to some pretty tasty American food and an even more extensive drinks menu.

    Original Hardware

    Set within a converted double storey 1880s red brick building and down the quieter end of Hardware Street in Melbourne, sits Nieuw Amsterdam (click here).

    Spread over two levels in a converted hardware factory, Nieuw Amsterdam’s upstairs offers a classic New York/French bistro style restaurant with long leather booths, dark timber floorboards, a fully loaded wooden and marble bar, large windows and exposed red and white brick façade. While downstairs is your classic dimly lit basement;  dive bar, with loud music, intimate corner booths and that’s open until early morning.

    Naturally the first thing you do when you go to a whiskey bar is order a stiff drink (and boy were they stiff), we had a quick glance at the menu ordered a ‘Poor Tom Old Fashioned’ and a ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Rum’*. Now I’m kind of a lightweight when it comes to drinking and after a few sips of both cocktails I was a little tipsy. Luckily I was with a more ‘seasoned’ drinker and after noticing the early warnings of a little giggle and chuckle in my voice he quite happily finished my drinks for me.

    *Note, The drinks menu is vast and separated into categories such as “stiff” and “spritz’d”. I foolishly was too eager for a drink, opened to the middle of the menu and picked out CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RUM and not realizing that this was a stiff drink! However, I did really enjoy the taste of the cocktails once the chunks of ice had melted & diluted them.

    What we ate:

    WAFFLED MAC & CHEESE – bacon jam, cheese wiz
    PORK TROTTER AND HAM HOCK NUGGETS – burnt onion jam, sour apple
    PORK & PARMESAN MEATBALLS – napoli, basil, sage
    RANGERS VALLEY BEEF BRISKET – onion, mushroom, blue cheese, red wine jus
    ROAST BROCCOLI – garlic, chilli

    NY CHEESECAKE – vanilla ice cream, honeycomb, laphraoig marmalade

    CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RUM – Goslings Black Seal Rum, spice syrup, angostura bitters, topped with a spicy ginger foam
    POOR TOM OLD FASHIONED – Poor Tom Gin, french earl grey syrup, bitters, strawberry, Vietnamese mint
    NY SOUR – sour rye whiskey, cognac, lemon, egg white, absinthe rinse

    Pork Trotter Nuggets
    Waffled Mac + Cheese

    To start we had the PORK TROTTER AND HAM HOCK NUGGETS, these little breaded nuggets of soft tender chunks of pork and ham were seasoned perfectly, had a nice touch of sour apple placed on top to cut through the pork and were completely moreish. On the other side of the spectrum was the WAFFLED MAC & CHEESE, If there is mac and cheese on the menu, it is a must for me to order, so with the mac waffle I was expecting something pretty tasty. The waffled macaroni was quite bland and the bacon jam was a little overpowering, with a coffee taste through it and the cheese fizz had a sour cream tang and consistency. I felt like the concept was good, but it wasn’t pulled off.

    Roast Broccoli
    Brilliant Brisket
    Mouth Watering Meatballs

    My favourite of the night was the BRISKET, it kept it’s shape perfectly while being soft and tender and without being too fatty, it was paired perfectly with the button mushrooms, blue cheese and red wine jus; and to top it all off the roast potatoes it came with were crispy on the outside while being light and fluffy.

    The MEATBALLS were also really good, they were firm but not dry and were complimented by a rich tomato and basil sauce with pappardelle.

    Nieuw Amsterdam Spread
    Possibly The Best Cheesecake Iv'e Ever Eaten

    I also wanted to make a special mention to the cheesecake. This heavenly dish comes deconstructed and is faultlessly balanced. The cheesecake itself is decadent and rich (yet fluffy) and comes with the added bonus of sweet honeycomb that adds crunch to the dish, along with a laphraoig orange marmalade that gives the sweet dish the perfect amount of ‘smokeyness’. A perfect 10/10 for me.

    Out The Front Of Niuew Amsterdam

    Overall:

    Nieuw Amsterdam not only offers a great after hours eatery and bar, but it also is home to some great American inspired meals with a little modern refinement that goes a long way.

    Nieuw Amsterdam
    106–112 Hardware Street
    Melbourne 3000
    (03) 9602 2111

    Do you prefer  upstairs or downstairs at Nieuw Amsterdam? Have you had a better cheescake? I’d love to hear your questions or thoughts below
    K x