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Review - Burgers Anonymous X Hopstix

Burgers Anonymous burst onto Sydney’s - possibly saturated - burger scene in early 2016 with a store on Oxford Street, Darlinghurt in the old Wok On Inn site. In a relatively short period they’ve expanded to Balmain, opening an outlet inside the unassuming William Wallace Hotel, and another here in Clemton Park Shopping Village.

This store is called Burgers Anonymous X Hopstix, and it feels a bit like two stationary food trucks have decided to join forces and get out of the caravan.  In true modern melting pot cuisine, you can get your burger fix alongside fresh Vietnamese dishes running from pho to vermicelli bowls.

It’s a funky modern space with lots of height that they put to good use with Asian influenced neon on one wall, and a giant Chicago Bulls player on the other, complete with a sneaker collection displayed on the shelves over the counter.

We pull up some plywood banquette and get stuck into a Blue Moon ($8) from their collection of beers, backed up by wines and a small range of spirits. For a drinking snack, the Garlic Soy Wings ($9/6) have got that Vietnamese flash-fried crispness against moist (but not slimy) chook within.

Truth be told, I’d actually skip wings in favour of the Loaded Fries ($6) which are topped with their house-made “crack bacon” - because, you know, it’s as addictive as crack – and their signature Burgers Anonymous sauce. The crisp, non-oily shoestring fries do seem addictive. The sweet maple-glazed diced pig is applied in exactly the right quantity to balance the pickle-like edge of the Burgers Anonymous sauce, and there are plenty of fries left unslathered. It's hard to stop eating them.

For the main event, as I like heat, I was enticed into ordering the Whole Shebang ($11). It takes a single Hunter Valley sirloin beef patty, and beds it down between two decent, soft buns with a melted slice of American cheese, lettuce (but not too much), tomato, fresh Spanish onion, jalapenos, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

It’s a beautifully balanced burger that eats well without disintegrating or dripping down my arms. The patty in particular is great, but even I – a confirmed single patty burger fan - almost want more of it. This is the first burger joint I’d be close to recommending you double up at, especially if you have a big appetite, though on this particular burger the flavour balance is so good, I’d be wary about throwing it out.

Staying with the spicy theme, I also hit up Harlem Heat ($15). It arrives with enough crisp fried chicken overhang to make you instantly grin. Also sandwiched between this burger’s smooth buns is a slice of American cheese, some battered onion rings, lettuce and jalapeños, all drizzled with sriracha mayonnaise. Eating this one does make me a bit sticky – but it's a small concession for getting all those extra inches of juicy bird. The chilli heat is just enough to get your lips tingling and make you feel alive, without smashing you in the face.

This trip was actually my third visit to Clemton Park Shopping Village, having already checked out Anatolia, Koh Chang Thai Restaurant and Hombre Mexican Cantina. On the Sunday I dined, it was the first time I’ve really seen the site well populated, living up to the developer promise of a vibrant urban village. My only regret from my visit: not being smart enough to order a burger that featured the excellent Burgers Anonymous sauce.

Burgers Anonymous X Hopstix
Clemton Park Shopping Village,
Shop 15/5 Mackinder street, Campsie
Ph: (02) 8094 1073

Burgers Anonymous X Hopstix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - The Italian Guild

I tried three dishes at The Italian Guild and I’ve already incorporated two of them into my home repertoire. Wanting to eat something again is pretty much the highest praise a food writer can give a restaurant, and with this one being on NSW's South Coast, cooking their dishes at home was the easiest way to achieve this.

Set in a small cluster of shops at the north end of Milton’s main drag, this dual-purpose business is a Coffee Guild by day, and The Italian Guild by night. It’s the brainchild of Stefano Vinetti, who hails from Milan, Italy - in case you hadn’t guessed from the giant city map taking up one wall. Despite the restaurant being rammed at seven o’clock on a Sunday night, Stefano quickly sets us up with an inside table (you can also dine al fresco in their courtyard) and an Italian white. The 2013 ‘Lento’ Greco Lemezia DOC ($42) from Calabria, Italy starts with a sharp acidity and austere minerality, though it has fruity, apricot notes that emerge with later dishes.

It’s certainly palate cleansing against Wood-Fired and Truffle Pancetta Oysters ($26/6). This Italian answer to Oysters Kilpatrick is a genius update that employs pancetta and black truffle and balsamic reduction to great effect on locally farmed oysters.

Having gathered my own haul of Narooma and Clyde River oysters on my way back up the coast, this is the first dish idea I put to good use at home.

The second recipe I fell in love with was Penne Vassallo ($24) - made on fusilli on the evening I dined. The unapologetically machine-made spiral pasta is perfect as a sauce delivery system for a recipe that comes from Vassallo restaurant in Italy. Being the son of a truffle producer, Stefano, got the restaurant's proprietor a good deal on truffles in exchange for permission to make his dish outside of Italy. It’s a five-hour cook of coarse-cut mince in a cream-tamed tomato sauce with Swiss brown mushrooms, a tiny amount of parsley and a whole lot of love.

Coming from a truffle family, Stefano knows how to use this luxury product properly as a structural element that gives a distinct, earthy mid-palate. As Stefano explains, his father used to come home quite regularly and say: "Guess what, we're eating truffle tonight." This provided him with an opportunity for broader experimentation, and a firm understanding that truffle and lipids (fats) go hand in hand. That's why Stefano is combining truffles with pancetta in the oysters, with cream in the pasta, and with Parma prosciutto on the Tartufo Pizza ($26).

The handcrafted pizzas here are a fusion between Neapolitan and Roman styles. Stefano chose this because he hates dough so thick there are uncooked bits, but is equally unhappy with dough that is too crisp. The house-style represents a midpoint between the two regions, with the dough proofed for 48-hours. The resulting bases are smeared with canned Italian tomato that’s been blitzed with salt and basil, then frugally topped, so you can appreciate the complexity of their flavour.  Pizza, after all, is about more than just toppings; but that's not to belie the beauty of the Italian mozzarella, black truffle cream cheese, Parma prosciutto and white truffle oil on this one!

Stuffed on three courses of truffles, we didn’t quite have room for Stefano’s famous strawberry tiramisu, but after the success of these dishes, it has been placed firmly in my mind for next time I’m driving through Milton. Thanks to the Australian Good Food Guide for the heads up about this excellent spot - the food is great, and the warm Italian hospitality and storytelling only add to its appeal.

The Italian Guild
Shop 3, 65 Princes Highway, Milton
Ph: (02) 4454 5143

The Italian Guild Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Paper Bird

Take the heart of Moon Park, move it from Redfern to a curiously turquoise, vaguely Art Deco-inspired, Potts Point basement.  Widen the modern Korean brief to take in more of East Asia; and extend the formula to encapsulate breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yep, it even sounds like a scathingly brilliant idea.

There’s no doubt that Ben Sears, Eun Hee An, and Ned Brooks know what they’re doing. Paper Bird will likely top the charts as 2017’s hottest new restaurant. Moon Park’s reputation is enough to guarantee that most (upwardly mobile) people will pop by, if, for nothing else, more of the shrimp-brined, Korean fried chicken.

The online version of Ned Brooks’ wine list got me excited about drinking by the glass, but in situ the updated list offered none of the varietals I was keen on. No matter, Brooks is equally as accomplished in other drinks, from easily quaffable Korean tinnies to a well-described list of Blackmarket sakes. Priced on a single serve, the ten sakes represent an easy way to get more acquainted with this intriguing drink. Tasting notes provide a good indication of the key flavours, without being too proscriptive.

I start in safe territory with a junmai ginjo (pure rice sake with the rice polished to 60% or less) called Uehara Shuzo – Soma no Tengu ($11.50). It started creamy, nutty and sweet, then moved through crisp acidity for a long, elegant palate length. If you want an even gentler junmai ginjo, the Moriki Shuzo - Suppin Rumiko no Sake ($15) drinks like spring water flowing over smooth grey boulders. The delicate sweetness morphs into a dry finish.

As the sake pours are small, we slow our drinking with a beer chaser – the Wildflower Gold Australian Wild Ale ($30/750ml) – a bready, lemony wine-like beer that goes gangbusters with Ddeokbokki ($8/6). Here these compellingly chewy Korean glutinous rice cakes are slathered in fermented chilli paste (gochujang) and rolled in peanuts. Don’t think about profit margins - just eat them.

We also rip into a thin Scallion Pancake ($15) topped with wafer-thin jamon, slices of shiitake and green shallots. It’s good but not revolutionary, and gone in a heartbeat.

We take more time with our Korean penicillin. This subtle little bowl of silky, fresh Tofu ($10) and enoki in double boiled chicken broth is bolstered using black sesame oil. It impresses with elegant simplicity.

The floor team are full of personality, and confident enough to pause and exchange banter as we move through the sake list. For the ‘bigger’ dishes we move onto Mii no Kotobuki – Biden Koshu ($15). It’s yeasty and earthy (like Vegemite) curbed with a sweet caramel kiss, but soft enough to work against Cobia Sashimi ($22) with pickled ginger and buttons of smooth avocado puree. The kingfish, though frugal, is tasty and served at a temperature that gives its flesh a toothsome pleasure. The almost Mexican flavour combination allows the subtle fish to speak from under a green dusting of sea lettuce powder.

Our weirdest sake, Mukai Shuzo – Ine Mankao ($16), is made with red rice and drinks somewhere between raspberry cordial and rose. It’s far from my favourite, but it grows on me through a bowl of Yukhoebap ($25). It’s basically expensive bibimbap – a ubiquitous Korean rice dish – made with Korean beef tartare.

I love it, well I did after we asked for more gochujang, particularly the pine nuts and little cubes of pear.

With one owner on the floor, and two in the kitchen, booze, service and the subtle, elegant dishes are all restaurant strong suits. A lack of generosity leading to a low perception of value for money, combined with dining in an odd, below-ground windowless box are the drawbacks. It's very good but I won't be rushing back.

Paper Bird
46A Macleay Street, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 9326 9399

Paper Bird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - The Weston Eatery

Lately I’ve been experimenting with breakfast bowls. Initially I was quite suspicious that they might be another triumph of the Instagram age, where looks are valued far more than how a dish tastes and what it’s like to eat. This time I employed the assistance of a girlfriend who has mastered the breakfast bowl, and makes her own beautiful bento box-style packed lunches, too. Our brunch destination: The Weston Eatery.

Strikingly modern in a sleepy runway of shops sitting on both sides of the street leading up to Canley Vale Station, The Weston Eatery, certainly stands out. It’s clean, white and minimalist, with brass and rose copper accents set off by raw plywood, and painted white paling and pegboard walls. The starkness of the effect is minimised using leafy green ferns.

The pale colours are employed to open out what is actually quite a small space; an open front area followed by a galley-like rear with a kitchen porthole and a banquette running down one side.

I dutifully order the Chia Pudding ($14). It’s not what I’d normally pick, but even I have to admit that I’m delighted when it lands. The porridge-like coconut and almond chia pudding is topped with toasted coconut crumble, and seed and pepita-rich house granola, sweetened with a drizzle of organic honey. It's beautifully adorned with eye-catching array of fresh and dehydrated fruits, with some edible blooms and baby herbs thrown in. It holds my interest throughout our catch-up, and I don’t even find myself with order envy.

Though if one were to be envious, the Bubble Waffle ($16) would probably do the trick. Chef Hung Le (who spent time in Bistro Ortolan’s kitchen) has combined a crisp Hong Kong-style waffle with buttery soft honeycomb and hazelnut praline. Through the addition of caramel ice cream and toffee sauce, it’s quite rich, meaning my girlfriend didn’t finish it, but, she reports, it made her really happy.

While the use of Double Roaster beans certainly lets off an inviting aroma, nothing says catching up with your girlfriend like pink House-Made Lemonade ($5). The colour is courtesy of the daily flavour - mixed berries -  whose fruity addition made for two attractively pink, tangy, refreshing drinks.

Along with all the expected attributes of a Surry Hills café, from green tea lattes to poke, there’s enough here to make me say: Canley Vale you are onto a winner. The youthful second generation Vietnamese locals packing out the tables clearly agree.

The Weston Eatery
Shop 2, 4 Canley Vale Road, Canley Vale
Ph: (02) 8102 3812

The Weston Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Suburban Gems: Canley Vale

What attracted me to this unassuming shopfront was the fact that they’re pretty much a one-product affair. Beyond Bánh Mi Xiu Mai ($7) – a spicy, garlicky Vietnamese take on Chinese beef balls served with a crisp Vietnamese bread roll for dipping – this shop makes Vietnamese bánh bao or steamed buns.

There’s only one small table inside this utilitarian shopfront, dominated by a large, silver steamer. Inside its glass-fronted window dripping with water you can see orderly rows of chicken, sausage, vegetable and sweet buns, as well as the Vietnamese pork bun version made with mince.

I’m a sucker for the Chinese version of this dish - char siu bao – stuffed with rich, red barbequed roast pork, which you will find on their menu as Bánh Bao Xa Xiu ($5.50/4) or BBQ pork buns. They’re freshly steamed and super-fluffy, generous buns.

When you tear open their cracked tops you’ll find a tightly packed deep red mixture that could almost have you thinking it’s red bean. It’s actually rich, fragrant and thick with BBQ pork. If you’re keen to make filled bao at home, they’re also serving snowy white Plain Buns ($3.50/each). Buns are loaded into Styrofoam trays and wrapped with cling wrap that’s torn to allow the steam to escape. If you cool them for half an hour when you get home, they’re perfectly fine to freeze and reheat.

Henry Steam Buns
3/17 Canley Vale Rd, Canley Vale
Ph: (02) 8764 6038

Henry Steam Buns Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

You can smell wood-fire as soon as you get out of your vehicle at Shaw Vineyard Estate. This cool climate winery is located in Murrumbateman, right between Canberra and Yass.

You’re in luck if your vehicle happens to be a Tesla, as they’ve thoughtfully provided two charging stations in a tumbledown shack. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition of old meeting new.

The equally picturesque corrugated iron shearing shed is also dual purpose, interspersing the serious estate business of shearing sheep, with time as a pop-up art gallery; showcasing the neighbour’s artistic endeavours against the heady waft of lanolin.

We take a winding path past a row of sulphur-crested cockatoo sculptures on fence-posts, and blooming gardens alive with buzzing bees, to arrive at the main building.

Edged with neat green hedges, the large verandah is humming with people. We’ve arrived to check out the Estate’s new restaurant, Olleyville, smack in the middle of the 2017 Murrumbateman Moving Feast.

Luckily this restaurant (which replaces Flint in the Vines) is in the experienced hands of Create Consultants. They're an events and catering company who are destination specialists, responsible for the food at the Australian War Memorial, Sydney Observatory and the Australian Museum. With just four weeks in this space, they’ve made some minor changes to the cavernous room that hint towards a more homely, rustic vibe.

Brown Chesterfield leather lounges arranged around a lit fireplace, function as the room’s centerpiece if you can drag yourself away from the beaming sun outdoors. The restaurant is still sharing the space with the Shaw Vineyard Estate’s cellar door (though there are plans afoot for this to change). This affords you good tasting opportunities - at the counter you can taste the 2014 Shaw Reserve Isabella Riesling ($57/bottle) for five bucks. With 20 grams of residual sugar this off-dry Riesling makes for a lovely afternoon wine, but sadly it wasn't available by the glass in the winery's restaurant.

I bought a bottle to take home, and made do with the 2016 Estate Riesling ($10/glass) against Sydney Rock Oysters ($22/dozen). Pomelo pieces are a lovely touch on this oyster plate. They contrast well with tight, briny oysters procured from Narooma, just three hours away on the coast. Shucking to order is only way I could see to improve this dish, ensuring the oysters land with more liquor, but on the Murrumbateman Moving Feast weekend I can understand why this wasn’t the case.

Local Charcuterie ($18.50) produces a rustically arranged plate of cold meats, crackers, pickles and olives. It sits well against the stamped brown paper table toppers, which give the restaurant’s tables a bespoke artisan look very cheaply. We tuck into the farmhouse style chunky salami and super-smoky leg ham, punctuated by great pickles. The only weak links on the plate were an unremarkable prosciutto and the olives.

Orecchiette ($19.50) with a mushroom medley and aged Parmesan is well cooked and tasty.

The creamy cheese sauce begs you to order a Rustic Bread Basket ($6.50) to scrape up any remainder, and the bread arrives with great olive oil, too. With the by-the-glass list being disappointing, we move onto a Pact Mount Tennant Pale Ale ($8.50). It’s a pretty American pale ale that throws honey and hoppy floral notes, and it’s made just fifty clicks down the road in Fyshwick.

The summery, sessionable beer suits Wood Fired Garlic Prawns ($14) presented cold in a salad with pomelo, coconut and snapping fresh green leaves. These likeable garlicky prawns are another example of a please-all menu that the chef can turn out quickly, even with the whole restaurant full. Mark it down as a pit stop next time you're off to Canberra.

Shaw Vineyard Estate
34 Isabel Drive, Murrumbateman
Ph: (02) 6227 5144

Olleyville Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Moroccan Feast

Our colourful mosaic table is covered with small dishes. We’re eating something called an Agadir Feast, a ten-dollar add-on to any main here at Moroccan Feast. The experience of grazing across this spread makes me wonder why Moroccan cuisine isn’t more popular in Sydney? It's as climate and flavour appropriate as Lebanese and Turkish, which have both taken off here. Crunchy chickpea salad speaks to Australian nostalgia and memory, if you grew up on barbeques and cans of four-bean mix. There’s an earthy carrot salad, and a light, bright lentil salad with parsley, coriander, shallot and lime.

It’s the kind of food that’s made for leisurely meals with family and friends. We punctuate our plentiful dips, salads and bread with a few entrees.

Rolled Eggplant ($18) takes beef mince stuffed charred eggplant slices rich with ras el hanout (this spice blend says Morocco, like garam masala says India) and presents them with lashings of tahini.

Grazing across these dishes screams Australian summer to me – and what could be more Australian than Hummus and Felafel ($15) smeared onto slices of house-baked white bread? The bright green, fluffy felafel go very nicely with Fez Mathbua, which is new to me. It's a bright red dip made from tomato, capsicum and chilli.

There’s also a red cabbage and coriander salad that needed seasoning, but with salt and white pepper sitting right on the table in terracotta serving bowls, who could complain?

Main courses here are all served in tajines, the conical clay cooking vessels most people associate with traditional Moroccan cuisine. The shape of them keeps the contents nice and moist, with steam rising into the pointed top, then condensing and dripping down the sides into the contents within.

Business Manager Shay Dahan, who himself has worked in kitchens in Israel, flew his grandmother over to teach the Moroccan Feast chefs the same dishes she taught him to cook as a child.

If you want an accessible place to begin, Lamb Chops ($30) presents tender lamb cutlets with a rich and fruity blend of dates, apricots, sultanas and quills of cinnamon under a handful of flaked almonds. The tender lamb falls off the bone, and the rich gravy has the gentle sweetness in balance. You'll like it if you grew up on apricot chicken (a dish which owes a lot to Moroccan cuisine).

Perfectly cooked chickpeas and the rich, lightly spicy gravy are my highlights in the Moroccan Fish Tajine ($28) that is presented on fluffy cous cous. The barramundi is cooked in a mix of paprika, turmeric, coriander and enough chilli to make it lively without being hot – for everything else there’s harissa. If you prefer meatballs to stew, try Mafroom ($27). This gentlle dish sandwiches slices of (super hot) potato between lean, seasoned meatballs, then crumbs the lot before slow cooking it in tomato sauce.

With our bellies well sated we sit back and take in the shapes and silhouettes from the room’s Moroccan influenced décor to an upbeat soundtrack of contemporary Israeli music.

Our waiter, Asaf, prepares our Moroccan mint tea – another inclusion with the Agadir Feast – and presents it with Sfenj (normally $10), Moroccan doughnuts dusted with icing sugar.

Even if you throw in a pair of well-made Negroni ($16/each) and a couple of inexpensive, inoffensive glasses of wine, it would be easy to construct an abundant, well-balanced meal for two here for fewer than a hundred bucks.

Moroccan Feast
127 Avoca Street, Randwick
Ph: (02) 9399 9882

Moroccan Feast Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - Brown Sugar at Milton

If you’re travelling down the NSW South Coast over summer the Princes Highway goes right through Milton, making this picturesque town an ideal place to refuel. Winning our business merely by being the only café open for breakfast on a public holiday Monday, Brown Sugar, offers both indoor and outdoor spaces to dine. With the outdoor tables showing the effects of being right on a high-traffic highway, we headed inside to enjoy well-made Gabriel Coffee in a strong Flat White ($4) and a Latte ($4).

The well-dressed crowd inside looked like the intended audience of South Coast Style Magazine. They were mostly Milton weekenders, busily asking each other: "Are you going back today?"

With juice freshly squeezed on premises, we were able to remove the apple juice and enjoy an Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice ($8/small) tailored to our preferences. A Bacon and Egg Roll ($7) felt like good value, and showcased good country produce across both the fried egg and thick, tasty bacon.

Flexibility was also the name of the game in their Eggs on Sourdough ($11), which diners can customize to their liking with a choice of sides. We chose golden fingers of Haloumi ($2.50) and more of that delicious Bacon ($3.00).

The whole breakfast for two people felt like reasonable value, coming in just shy of forty bucks.

Brown Sugar
103 Princes Highway, Milton
Ph: (02) 4454 0887

Brown Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Mjølner

I have a lot of respect for owner Sven Almenning (Eau de Vie, The Roosevelt) when it comes to cocktails, so it was only a matter of time before I found myself at his latest venture, Mjølner. In terms of drinking options, this Viking-themed basement bar, which opened in March this year, did not disappoint. Named for the Norse god Thor’s hammer, the underground space is a veritable cavern of well-crafted cocktails.

Despite the bar's whisky focus, what you’ll discover isn’t actually a whisky-heavy cocktail list. Beyond drinks like the Highland Hammer ($22/$30/$50) made on your chosen selection of Orkney distilled Highland Park Whisky (10, 12 or 18-year-old) it’s actually a very wide-ranging, please-all list.

The aforementioned whisky-based cocktail is quite exceptional. It is crafted to allow a clear expression of the spirit, tuned with blend of saline, turmeric, honey-laced oloroso sherry, dandelion and burdock, into a drink that should please those who like an Old Fashioned. By contrast, their updated Whisky Sour – the Smooth Valley Sour ($21) – made on Glenlivet Founders Reserve with quince, lemon, saline, dandelion bitters and egg white, was a bit light and fluffy for me, even if it did come with a cool honeycomb garnish.

I suspect there will be more rum cocktails in my near future after trying Kon Tiki ($20). Topped with a fan of crisp green apple slices, this drink is about as far from an overblown rum-based tiki drink as you can get. Havana Club 3-year-old rum is given a Nordic twist with Vida Mezcal, soured apple juice, salt water and samphire orgeat – and it damn near steals the show, not least of which for the long phallic block of ice contained within.

Careful reading of the cocktail list uncovers more updated classics. Poured at the table, the Golden Apple ($19) is a sophisticated and brightly acidic blend of Karlsson’s Gold vodka, fino sherry, apple acid and an apple and fennel shrub, that will speak to martini drinkers. If Negronis are usually your poison, give the Battle Axe ($24) a whirl. Presented on a spherical rock of ice, this blend of Ron Zacapa rum, Bulleit bourbon, chicory, walnut leaf, maple and bitters, has all the hallmarks of the Italian digestif with a Nordic twist.

Now that you’ve wet your whistle, sipped some complimentary honey mead from a small glass horn, and had time to peer around the basement at the Viking memorabilia and lewdly displayed meats, it must be time to eat.

We select our own personal dagger from a long collection contained in a leather pouch. The only disappointment being, none of them were sharp. Use your selection to attack your choice of protein from the concise menu all geared towards sharing, that is centred upon a carvery.

You won’t need your knife for their Roasted Bone Marrow ($22/2 pieces) topped with watercress and a decadent meat powder made from charcuterie off-cuts. The ridiculously tasty gelatinous fat is easily scooped onto bread with a spoon, though if the Viking urge takes you to grasp the bones in your hands, they’ve thoughtfully provided monogrammed, raw linen hand-towels.

Cured Tri Tip ($24) is also an exercise in coating your tongue with white ribbons of delicious fat running through thin red slices of beef. The rich intensity is gently curbed by charred cabbage, caraway and shiitake.

Our meal’s main event was a multiple meat feast. It began with Short Rib ($45) presented on the bone with Jerusalem artichoke puree and juniper. Bird ($42) produced rounds of corn-fed chook on a puddle of buttermilk drizzled with house-made barbeque sauce. There are a few brassica greens, but you’re going to need sides… and plenty of them.

We also hit up the feature beast, a slightly more generously proportioned Lamb Chump ($60) hunk. The crisp, blackened, salty skin was the highlight, but it proved too tough for our blunt armoury to dissect with ease.

The lamb goes gangbusters with Caramelised Roast Pumpkin ($12). It’s soft, sweet and delicious, but poor value, offering just a sliver of this plentiful (and cheap) root vegetable. If there wasn't an obscene shortage of greens with this meal, I  could take or leave the Pan-Roasted Green Beans ($12) with hazelnut sherry and garlic, though they did feel more generously proportioned than the other sides.

With the short rib, the blackened maple-roasted Celeriac ($17) with confit garlic is your must-have. Again it’s small, so but charry and tasty you might resort to knife games to spear your fair share.

While I enjoyed my meal at Mjølner, I couldn’t help but place it as a thematic version of LP’s Quality Meats, with less generosity, but much better drinks.

267 Cleveland Street, Redfern
Ph: (02) 0422 263 226

Mjølner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review - Hisshou Teppanyaki

Looking more like a nightclub than a restaurant, Hisshou Teppanyaki is one of Sydney's few teppanyaki hotspots. With red lights and numerous flat screens on the walls showing music videos, the stage is set for your rockstar teppanyaki chef to entertain you.

The surprisingly long cocktail list will help you get into the spirit(s) of the place. The Honey Ginger Canadian ($17) is quite drinkable. This cocktail combines Canadian Club Whisky with ginger, bitters and honey, then lengthens it with soda water.

We hit up the cheapest Hibi Banquet ($49/head) and are quickly introduced to our chef for the evening – Wayne.

While we get stuck into individual portions of sesame salad and miso soup, Wayne starts us off on a rapid succession of dishes, beginning with king-prawn topped perch. (Disappointingly, here, the prawn legs and heads were thrown away.)

After we’re soothed with some reasonable teriyaki chicken, eating becomes punctuated with games involving diners catching raw eggs and bowls of fried rice. As much of it hits the floor or is worn by over-confident catchers, this would be an entertaining place to bring your boss and work colleagues.

After the carnage - that the poor waitresses mop up - Wayne fashions what's left of the raw eggs into an omelette, and then creates fried rice.

Unsurprisingly Hisshou also seems to be an awkward Tinder date hotspot with heterosexual couples silently filing in, both seemingly wondering how soon it is appropriate to fake a friend calling with a dire emergency.

The engaged chefs do their best to ensure everyone's evening takes a turn for the better, by flinging out bowls of fried rice.

The theatrical stunt cooking continues into misoyaki tenderloin steak that is flamed with a giant fireball after guests are sensibly told to move back from the grill.

Interestingly I thought the iron-rich hunks of steak could have done with more char. The meal is rounded out with teppan veggies, and a skillful upside down message written in salt by your chef. While it is not going to win any awards for the cooking, the combination of stunt food, the cocktail list and the nightclub atmosphere, make it a hit with for awkward first dates.

Hisshou Teppanyaki
752 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9211 1234

Hisshou Teppanyaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato