Stitch Bar, Sydney

Even though I knew the address, I nearly walked right past Stitch Bar and had to do a double-take to make sure it was the right place. Nestled amongst office buildings, Stitch Bar is an unassuming doorway with the only clues to its existence being an assortment of sewing materials in the window and a doorman checking IDs.

A flight of stairs leads down towards the bar which is dark and packed with people. We’re here for drinks tonight, but after a few cocktails (which were very well-balanced and expertly made I might add), we decide to stay for dinner. It’s then that we realise that all the tables are taken up and there is no waitlist, it’s just a free for all (though you can book beforehand). We stand in amongst the tables waiting for a group to leave so we can pounce onto the vacant table, food court style.

Hand cut chunks: Hand cut crispy potatoes with roasted garlic and rosemary sea salt - $10

As soon as we score a table we get straight onto ordering food and the first thing to arrive is a bowl of crispy potatoes. It’s terribly dark but out comes Suze’s trusty iPhone and soon there is light shining down like it’s coming from heaven itself. The potatoes are piping hot with crispy edges but my favourite is the sweet and creamy roasted garlic cloves. Two squeezy bottles of tomato sauce and mustard are handed to us along with the potatoes, and I squeeze a bit of tomato sauce on each potato chunk before popping it into my mouth.

Wild Pig Dog: Wild boar sausage with spiced apple, rum-soaked currants and creamy slaw - $17
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Hazelnut Macarons

I’ve mentioned before how I love to make food gifts for friends, but recently I also discovered that baked goods could also be used as bargaining power.

As an incentive to give me some much-needed information for one of my uni assignments, I offered to make FeFiFoFum some macarons for her trouble. The bribe must have worked since she was very helpful and thanks to her I did pretty well on my assignment too!

I’ve been wanting to bake something with Nutella in it for a long time and I thought that it was time to tackle the humble macaron again. After a lot of false starts and a few stumbles along the way, I think I may be beginning to master the art of making macarons because this time I got them right first go! I don’t think I will ever be as awesome as the macaron queen though :)

The Nutella is in the chocolate hazelnut ganache that’s sandwiched by the macaron shells. I think I went a little crazy with the Nutella which made the ganache a little runnier than it should be but I was really happy with the flavour overall – definitely one for Nutella and hazelnut lovers out there! You can never have too much Nutella anyway I reckon…

And while you might want to dig straight into these macarons, it’s best to leave these overnight in the fridge for the best flavour. Trust me, it’s worth it!
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All you can eat @ Sushi Choo, Sydney

Inside Sushi Choo

Even though I’ve been to the Ivy a few times before, I’ve never noticed the brightly decorated Sushi Choo nestled behind the stairs with its red lanterns, Astroboy figurines and bonsai trees on the counter. Tonight we’re indulging in the early bird $20 all you can eat offer and we arrive bright and early at 5.30pm when the restaurant opens to maximise our eating time.

Oh hai mr piggeh!

5.30pm is very early for me to be having dinner but I can’t resist when we’re seated and the sushi starts rolling out in front of us on the train. There’s a fat green piggy sitting between the sushi train rails and it’s as if he is giving us license to pig out on the all the sushi. Ok, we will!

Edamame (left) and Creamy pasta salad (right)

Being only $20, the variety is limited as expected but the sushi is fresh and tasty and you can see the sushi chefs working away behind the counter to keep the rails fully stocked. Aside from sushi there are also other foods circulating on the train, including edamame and a creamy pasta dish with vegetables and wholegrain mustard.

Salmon nigiri (left) and Tuna nigiri (right)
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The Hardware Société, Melbourne

Soft boiled eggs and 3 soldiers - $12

These are no ordinary eggs and soldiers. They’re from The Hardware Société in Melbourne where I went towards the end of last year, and I loved the breakfast here so much that I went twice during my one week stay in Melbourne (and I would’ve gone 3 times if I had the time!)

Cafe decor and macarons

The cafe is hidden on one of Melbourne’s laneways has a casual feel about it, with some outdoor seating, a large communal table on the inside, and giant bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The interior is decorated in a happy sunshiney yellow which extends to the cute teacosies that warmly hug each teapot. There’s also some pastries and a wide selection of house-made macarons for sale on the counter.

Butter dish and sugar bowl (left); Latte - $3 (right)

I order a coffee to start my day and when it arrives it comes with a tiny little sugared donut which I swear is one of the best donuts I have ever tasted. The donut has a crunchy sugary exterior and soft innards and I actually enquired whether we could buy the donuts on their own but sadly this wasn’t possible. I could have eaten a whole bag of these on their own!

Hot chocolate - $4
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Chef’s Gallery, Sydney

Isn’t she adorable? This steamed sesame “piggy face” bun is one of the desserts on offer at Chef’s Gallery, a handmade noodle and dumpling house located near Town Hall. Like many other dumpling houses in Sydney, there is an ongoing kitchen theatre with the chefs stretching out balls of dough into noodles and pleating dumplings for your viewing pleasure behind the glass walls of the kitchen.

Yin Si Juan: Pandan flavoured shredded dough wrapped in a plain bun (fried) - $1.90

I have a soft spot for fried Chinese buns so I’m interested to try the pandan flavoured yin si juan with its lurid green innards. Though it glistens on the outside, the exterior is still soft and doesn’t have the doughnutty texture that I love in fried bread. And despite the green colour it lacks a distinct pandan flavour so it basically just tastes like plain bread. Sadness.

Wok fried medium grain rice with three types of egg - $13.90

The fried rice is much better and this may quite possibly be the tastiest fried rice I’ve tasted. Who knew that the addition of three types of egg (chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg) could lift the humble fried rice to new heights? The rice is fluffy and I love the random bursts of salty flavour from the salted duck egg.

Chef's own golden snowflake chicken served with noodles in a pumpkin soup - $12.90
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