Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman

When the Sydney dining scene changes so quickly, it’s easy to get so caught up in chasing the latest shiny new restaurant that you forget about the ones that have stood the test of time. Alessandro Pavoni has been serving up elegant Italian food for 6 years at Ormeggio, and has achieved two hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for the past 3 years.

Ormeggio is situated on the water at the Spit Bridge, making it a picturesque location for an early Sunday dinner. We’re indulging in Ormeggio’s Stressless Sunday Dinner, which includes 5 courses of the chef’s choosing for the princely sum for $69pp. It was kind of nice not having to make choices from a menu and let the chefs do the thinking for you – very stressless indeed!

Ormeggio bakery organic warm sourdough, homemade whipped ricotta

We start off with a house-baked sourdough. The bread arrives warm, with a chewy centre and beautiful dark crust, and a light whipped ricotta to spread onto the bread. This is some seriously good bread so when we’re asked if we would like another serve, we can’t say no!

Biodynamic veal tonnato
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Menya Mappen, Sydney

Back in 2010 when Menya Mappen first opened, the idea of a self-service udon and tempura bar was unheard of. But fast forward five years, and now there’s several Japanese self-service style noodle/rice bowl restaurants scattered around Sydney, but the original Mappen is still going strong with queues going out the door when we visit on a weeknight.

It’s literally been years since I last ate at Mappen, and while it’s still the same concept, there’s some nice additional options available. There’s a monthly special (this month is a beef yaki-udon style dish), and there’s also some new drinks including a non-alcoholic apple cider and a creamy green tea slushie.

Apple cider (non-alcoholic) – $1.90; Green tea slushie – $3.30

Move along the cafeteria line and you’ll be asked for your order. There’s lots of options, including a choice of noodles or rice, udon or soba, hot or cold, soup or sauce. Thankfully there’s a decent picture menu to help you decide what you like the look of.

Tempura bar

Keep moving along and you’ll get to the tempura bar. This is where it’s easy to go a bit crazy with all the deep fried foods, but I usually try to restrict myself to two extras otherwise I end up too full to finish it all.

Cold bar

I used to walk right past the cold section but that was before I realised what goodies lay inside the mini fridge! There’s chilled items to add to your noodles like wakame seaweed, kimchi, corn and bamboo shoots, as well as seaweed salad and daifuku desserts.

Ontama bukkake udon (regular) – $4.90
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ACME, Rushcutters Bay

As an avid watcher of Looney Tunes cartoons as a child, the word Acme conjures up images of dynamite, explosions and Wile. E. Coyote. But I found out that ‘ACME’ has other meanings as well – a Greek word referring to the best of something, and also a convenient acronym of the first initials of the owners Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr, and Ed Loveday.

I was keen to see if ACME lived up to its name. It delivered on the Looney Tunes front with cool dynamite shaped light fixtures, but what of the food?

Baloney sandwich – $8

I was insistent on trying the Baloney sandwich, after seeing it appear on my instagram feed several times with people gushing about its amazing-ness. At $8 a pop (when we visited), it’s definitely not your standard devon sambo, but there’s a delicate quality to the thin sheets of mortadella sandwiched between a fluffy bun. I can’t say it blew my socks off though, and certainly didn’t meet my expectations based on the hype.

Burrata, nectarine, basil – $26
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KIN by us., Macquarie Park

Kin means family. At newly opened cafe KIN by us, Uel and Shannelle aim to welcome you into their family by cooking Asian-inspired food with love, just like they did on My Kitchen Rules.

The cafe is tucked away on the ground floor of a new apartment complex in Macquarie Park. The area is so new the street barely registers on Google Maps, but when we arrived one rainy morning it was clear that half of Sydney knew about it, since there was a mass of people waiting outside for a table.

Menu

After a 45 minute wait, during which Uel was super hospitable, even offering those waiting some Easter eggs (it was Good Friday), we finally got a table and placed our order. We’d had ample time to look at the menu during the wait, so we ordered our food straight away and it all came out quite quickly.

Nana Fufu smoothie – $7

One of the most interesting menu items was the Nana Fufu smoothie, a banana, tofu and honey smoothie. At first sip, the banana flavour hits you, but then later on you get the slight creamy tofu flavour mixed in with the sweetness of the banana and honey.

Latte – $3.50

Coffee is sourced from Reuben Hills and each order comes with a cute little biscuity thing placed carefully on the teaspoon.

Milo mocha – $4

I tried the Milo mocha which was pretty much like a regular mocha but with the added malty goodness of Milo. You couldn’t definitely smell the Milo but it wasn’t so pronounced in the taste.

Snap, crackle, plop – $10
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Popcorn Macarons

I don’t like popcorn. People look at me weirdly when I say that, because how could you not like popped corn kernels doused in butter? But seriously, I just think that popcorn doesn’t really have much flavour apart from salt, and it gets stuck in your teeth, and it’s kind of just like eating air. Salty air.

When I was contacted by Planet Popcorn, a Taiwanese handmade popcorn chain, who offered to send me some popcorn samples, I was all ready to politely decline, but then I saw the flavours. Double Chocolate. Basil Chicken. CORN SOUP. I was officially intrigued and happily accepted the samples. This was a good thing, because this popcorn was pretty awesome – especially the savoury flavours. The basil chicken was peppery and slightly spicy, and the corn soup tastes exactly like the hot corn soup you get out of vending machines in Japan.

Even the original flavour was good, with a very light, sweet coating around each buttery popped corn kernel, ensuring that each piece of popcorn stays crunchy. I thought that the sweet and salty flavour was perfect to go in a popcorn-based dessert, so I decided to make these awesome popcorn macarons.

I realised I hadn’t made macarons in a couple of years, and I could definitely tell I was out of practice. It didn’t help that this was the first time baking macarons in my current oven, so despite using the same recipe that I’ve used numerous times before, the temperature was a bit off and they nearly failed on me.

So even though they weren’t my best work, they still turned out pretty tasty with a gooey caramel filling and bits of crunchy popcorn sprinkled on top. The other popcorn flavours were devoured pretty quickly by everyone, with the crowd favourites being the corn soup, basil chicken, coffee and original flavours. If you want to try some of Planet Popcorn’s popcorn, head over to Westfield Hurstville between 13th-17th April to the new Planet Popcorn store where there will be giveaways, prizes and other launch offers. Don’t forget to pick up a packet of corn soup flavoured popcorn too!

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