Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Son of a Baker




With the restaurant and café restrictions, my dining adventures have been seriously curtailed. Attempting to find a non-crowded beach for er… exercise… gave me the opportunity to swing by Son of a Baker for a post-swim snack. This attractive beach-front bakery café is owned by Roman Urosevski.



Despite the location in a suburban grouping of shops that has a corner store vibe, it’s tarted up with some monumental grandeur via a marble and glass front counter, home to a stylish matte white coffee machine. Normally full of pale timber tables and seating, everything is currently neatly stacked away, awaiting orders that we’re once again safe to eat in.



While the boast on the box sets out that the foodstuffs contained within are better than his father’s, it’s clear with the Macedonian burek featured prominently in the glass counter, that Roman hasn’t deviated too far from his Alexander’s Bakery roots. Visiting close to Easter, we picked up half a dozen Hot Cross Buns ($12.50/6) that were enjoyable, though not quite as well balanced as those from my local favourite, Penny Fours.



The disassembled interior or the bakery café has created space for racks of baking, though with open bifold windows letting in the beach air, they’re also unfortunately bringing in the flies. From a cursory examination, Son of a Baker seem to specialise in croissants and cronuts, creating new-school flavours using fillings, garnishes, adapting their core pastry with some non-traditional coconut oil to make it vegan friendly.



Leaving aside golden pastries stuffed with Nutella, crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam, and red velvet, I hit up a Custard Croissant ($6.50) as I’d never seen one before. I’m still not quite convinced that an interior of thick custard and coconut oil (rather than butter) does the usually flaky pastry any favours.



Dotted with fresh berries, the Custard Cronut ($6.50) was a much tastier endeavour. In this pastry treat, the custard offsets the richness of the doughnut-style, deep-fried pastry, balanced out with some bright berry sharpness.

It’s tasty enough to make me consider revisiting for their signature lobster tail Benedict when proper dining adventures can be resumed.

Son of a Baker
301 The Grand Parade, Sans Souci
Ph: (0455) 455 456

Son Of A Baker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Food News - Chao Catering




If you’re into food, you’re probably well aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away many of Sydney’s great dining pleasures. At the same time, it has also shown just how innovative and adaptive our restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, food trucks and food and drink businesses can be. For many businesses it has been a rapid shift in focus, from dine-in to delivery, and from making entrees and mains, to creating video content that allows us to cook dishes at home alongside the likes of Colin Fassnidge and his darling daughters. Event caterers, Chao Catering, have made the jump from boardroom catering to DIY meal kits that allow you to recreate Vietnamese classics in your home kitchen.



Chao Catering is a sister act, combining the skills and talents of Emma Nguyen, of I Love Pho in Crows Nest, with those of her sister, Jessica Nguyen, who operates La Sen in Randwick.



Their clever DIY Packs ($55/4 people) give you the option of making a restaurant-standard pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) or a vermicelli noodle salad, in less than 15 minutes.



I tried out a custom two-person-sized version of both kits and found it hard to pick a favourite. Maybe the crisp spring rolls pushed the vermicelli noodle salad slightly ahead (in my humble estimation)... hard to say, but it definitely tasted like a bought one!



Each kit is presented in a cardboard tray with a little white menu card.



Inside the tray you’ll all the vacuum-packed ingredients you need to make the dish, from the aromatic broth for your pho, to the sauces (hoisin and a very lively sriracha) you season the soup with at the end.



You just take to them with scissors and follow the simple reheating instructions that use a stovetop pot and the microwave.



The inclusion of so many fresh ingredients, gathered for you and portioned correctly by the Nguyen sisters, makes for a very easy assembly.



Just pile the fresh ingredients so they look like the pho you’ve eaten in Vietnamese restaurants countless times. Sit back in a fragrant cloud of broth and admire your own handiwork, before you muddy it up with chilli sauce and hoisin.



Wrapping sugarcane prawns in fresh leaves has been a highlight of most of my in-restaurant Vietnamese meals.



Chao Catering have made them easy to achieve at home with their frozen Sugarcane Prawn Lollipops ($18.60/5), that take all of thirty minutes from freezer to table.



We made our own jar of nuoc cham, complete with grated carrot, though the sisters are happy to provide a sachet of Vietnamese Dressing ($3.50/250ml) if you don’t fancy your luck balancing sugar, lime juice, minced garlic, chilli, vinegar and fish sauce.



We ate ours in lettuce boats filled with fresh herbs, and it felt pretty fancy for a mid-week work-from-home lunch.



Five Spice Devil Wings ($8.60/8 pieces) would work as an entrée before either of the meal kits. We made them into lunch with duelling salads, straying away from Vietnamese with a Japanese coleslaw with sesame dressing, and a classic Greek salad.



Crispy Skin Chicken ($9.60/2 pieces) we worked into another multicultural mélange with coconut and turmeric rice, and an eggplant and tofu stir fry.



Coloured up in a frypan, marinated Honey Lemongrass Pork ($13.60/400g) took all the hard work out of making a simple meal against the same turmeric and coconut rice.



While we created our own golden rice mix, the Nguyen sisters have got your back if you’re time poor, with sachets of Fried Rice ($10.60/500g) featuring all the wonderful meats you've sampled in their pho and salad kits.

Whether you’re a busy frontline service worker who doesn’t have time to shop during this pandemic, or someone who misses being able to go to a restaurant and eat a bowl of pho, Chao Catering DIY kits and frozen packs are healthy, good-value ways to eat Vietnamese food at home. Highly recommended!

Buy them online here: https://chaocatering.com.au/collections/frozen-packs
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Manoosh Pizzeria




Apologies for the long time between reviews. With COVID-19 hitting Sydney restaurants hard, it seemed pertinent to suspend food reviewing for the duration, though of course that hasn’t meant ignore our struggling hospitality mates completely! On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Does My Bomb Look Big In This? has been showcasing home delivery items, home cooking experiments and given over space to our favourite restaurants, showcasing how they have adapted their offerings adjust to the new dining paradigm.

In terms of ethics, when restaurants don’t usually provide their food takeaway or home delivery, it seems unfair to review their offerings, so I haven’t. The new normal has however made me ponder what sort of foods are really suitable as takeaway of delivery items, and of course the ethics of whether we should be using services like Deliveroo and UberEats at all.



Going back to basics, I have been supporting smaller businesses with my spend, and only using delivery when the restaurant provides it themselves, ensuring the money stays in their hands, not with a big multi-national. Manoosh Pizzeria in Enmore are takeaway and home delivery experts. You can see it in the packaging used by this four-restaurant Lebanese pizza chain, who send out your food in a hot box perched on the back of one of their branded motor scooters.



Served in cardboard lidded foil trays, Lebanese meze items travel well, and would be easy to reheat in your oven if they didn’t arrive warm enough. As they’re experienced at home delivery, labelling is particularly good, so if you have anyone with food allergies or intolerances in your household, they’ll be able to eat safely.



We opted for crisp football-shaped Lamb Kebbeh ($9/5) that eat well with hummus, pastry-wrapped Lamb Sambousik ($9/5) that went well with garlic dip, and everyone’s favourite Falafel ($9/5) that ate best with labne and chilli.



Each item comes with its own dip, so you don’t really need to add on dips like Labne ($5). If you do make the same mistake I did, the yoghurt-based dip eats very well stirred through with dill or zaatar on roast spuds for dinner. Freshly made Tabouli ($9.50) is the right accompaniment for this sort of meal, with bright, lemony sharpness that cuts through the tongue-coating oiliness of eating deep-fried food.



In terms of pizzas, Manoosh make both traditional Lebanese pizzas, and the pepperoni-studded cheesy Italian sort. Wanting to stay thematic, I opted for the former in the guise of the Meat Pizza-Folded ($8). Arriving wrapped in paper, our lahembajin isn’t as crisp as I’d like it to be, but again could be warmed up in the oven to dry it out a little if you happen to be less hungry than we were.



The only real misstep on this meal were the Baklava ($3.50/each) that were slightly burnt on the bottom layer, leading to a bitterness that permeated the whole pastry. An easy mistake, but best to throw that tray away.

Manoosh Pizzeria
170 Enmore Road, Enmore
Ph: (02) 9550 6606

NOTE: You can see a previous review for this venue back HERE.

Manoosh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Aperitivo




Aperitivo has been my local pizza joint for more than a decade. It’s a large restaurant with two levels of indoor dining plus outdoor dining street-side and in a rear courtyard, so they were particularly well equipped to implement NSW Health’s current social distancing instructions and keep plenty of space between diners earlier in the week.



Aperitivo also send out pizza delivering via platforms like UberEats, though you can ensure all your money goes into supporting your local guy (rather than a corporate giant) by talking a walk to pick up your pizza yourself (while we still can).



If the (now gloved up) and talented Francesco Spataro doesn’t have your pizza ready when you arrive, keep your distance by pulling up outside with a Rosemary Negroni ($16), or a North Meets South ($17) that switches out the Cinzano Rosso for reposado tequila and bitters.



You can also drink in support of Lombardy, the Italian region hardest hit by that country’s coronavirus outbreak, with the 2014 Tenuta Mazzolino Blanc Oltrepo Pavese ($73/bottle). It's an easy-drinking, elegant Chardonnay with a whisper of wood that's only really there if you look for it.



While dishes like Fiori di Zucchina ($16) – zucchini flowers stuffed with fresh riotta dragged through a bright tomato coulis - aren’t going to be at their best inside steamy plastic, there are other entrees that should make the transition well.



Mozzarella in Carrozza ($16) are deep-fried cheese and ‘ndjua sandwiches wrapped in pillowy soft battered bread. I reckon (once you’ve availed yourself of Aperitivo's on-counter hand sanitiser) you could gobble them down on the walk home.



Salads, like the Insalata di Endive ($16), with creamy gorgonzola dolce, teamed with bitter Belgian endive, rocket, pear and a delicate honey dressing, will also travel well.



I’m nuts about Spatoro’s hand-made pork sausage, and I’ve been trying to up my greens through this health crisis, so I hit up a pizza special involving pork sausage and Italian broccoli. Fiarielli & Salsiccia ($24) has the usual tasty, blistered base I’ve come to expect from all Italian pizza I eat, along with a sparing topping of wilted greens and fragrant and tasty pork sausage, bound by fior di latte mozzarella (creamy cow milk cheese).



Fired in a ceramic container, the Crème Brulee ($12) might be out of reach until we’re allowed to eat out again. Aperitivo make a clever twist with little mounds of tart stewed rhubarb balanced on top of a slightly thicker burnt sugar top. With perfect vanilla custard, it’s something we can all look forward to cracking into once this crisis is over and done.

NOTE: You can see previous reviews for this venue back HERE and HERE.

Aperitivo
163 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Ph: (02) 9564 0003

Aperitivo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Osteria di Russo & Russo




It’s hard to know where to draw the dining out line with the challenges posed by Covid-19, especially in the absence of strong leadership mapping out clear measures that will be implemented in the weeks ahead.



With infections still low in NSW, I popped into a nearly empty Osteria di Russo & Russo earlier this week; chasing the good lookin’ cooking of head chef Alex Wong (ex-Allegra Dining).



Wong dished up a smashing plate of toothsome, handmade wattleseed pappardelle with David Blackmore wagyu ragu and sweet bursts of native currants. If you’ve already made the decision to curtail your dining out, the restaurant is selling freezer packs of this dish as takeaway packs, along with home delivery to the Inner West.



For people who still wish to dine in, this 70s-inspired Italian restaurant, part of the Enmore landscape for the last seven years, has an old-school feel that might take you back to happier times. To put your mind at ease, the team here have increased the sanitation of the hands and surfaces, lowered their capacity to thirty people, and increased the spaces between tables to cover that meter and a half minimum distance between diners that NSW Health currently suggests.



Reading all that heavy stuff might mean you’re in need of a fancy Gin & Tonic. This restaurant delivers my favourite French gin, Gin Mare ($14) with a jug of house-made tonic. One sip of the nicely balanced drink sees me go hard on the tonic – it’s favoursome and light on bitterness.



I'm also a fan of their unnamed aperitivo teaming Tanqueray Gin ($18) with Aperol, balanced star anise, and plum, to make the most of the waning season.



We get stuck into our drinks with airy saltbush focaccia bread dragged through bright chilli and rosemary-infused olive oil. Aussie bushfood also makes an appearance with the first course of our Ultra Bene 7-Course Menu ($70/head): plump Pambula Oysters ($5/each) with their creaminess tempered with a native pepper mignonette.



Russo & Russo’s multi-course meals (they also do a five-course menu for ten bucks less) can be shaped to suit your dining proclivities. We left our dinner in Wong’s capable hands and quickly found ourselves cooing over the deceptive simplicity of a block of locally made Stracchino Cheese ($24). Teamed with a tangle of softened fennel, juicy black figs, green and smoked olives, dill and lemon myrtle, it's an all-of-mouth affair brimming with flavour.



Sinking your teeth into perfectly cooked Swordfish Belly ($24) is deeply pleasurable. The fat-dense fish is presented with a salty blend of zucchini, cannellini beans and squid ink, and – if I hadn’t eaten the pappardelle – it would have been my favourite dish.



Sardinian culurgiones see mashed spud packed neatly inside more perfectly cooked, hand-made pasta. The little pasta parcels are arranged - with Wong’s signature flair - against crisp Pecorino sails and a syrupy chicken jus.



Getting the most out of those waning blood plums, Wong interweaves them with pickled red cabbage leaves alongside a juicy, glazed duck breast. Dragged through dabs of cabbage puree, it’s an enjoyable end to the savoury part of our dinner.



Personable owner Marc Russo arrives at just the right moment with a digestive – his Dad’s nocino. It’s an amaro made from the outer skins of walnuts. It tastes like chinotto to me, and I find it easy to enjoy against Aged Asiago ($15). It’s a clever cheese course presented as crostini with muntries, balsamic and walnuts on lavosh.



Marc outlines the story of his father Pino’s immigration from Monte Di Procida, Napoli to Eastwood, and his former restaurant on Crown Street called Russo. These days his Dad is spending his retirement helping out by doing the market run to Flemington, and infusing boozy concoctions in the kitchen on weekends.

This is the kind of small business that will do it tough through further restrictions, cooking at a calibre that deserves you to find ways to support them with your spend. Banana Cream ($18) – banoffee pie taken to Italy with peanut brittle, salted caramel and shiso - might not travel all that well, but freezer-ready hampers of their handmade pastas ($18/each) will.

Osteria di Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Road, Enmore
Ph: (02) 8068 5202

Osteria di Russo & Russo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Kobe Wagyu BBQ Restaurant




Booths are good social distancing, right? Well that’s the way I’ve always used them. Throw in an online ordering system, and you barely have to speak to anyone if you decide to visit Kobe Wagyu BBQ Restaurant... while you still can.



You’ll find this four-year-old, Chinese-owned, Japanese BBQ joint by climbing up a curved copper arc of stairs. Reaching the summit, the first thing you are confronted with are the well-stocked wagyu and sake fridges, getting things off to a very good beginning!



Evenings are all about their BBQ Buffet Menu ($84/person) that gives you access to all the wagyu you care to eat – and not in a grubby-everyone-breathing-all-over-it buffet kind of way.



Here you order using a touch screen (just use your hand sanitiser, people) and get small portions of whatever takes your fancy delivered to your table by staff well versed in proper hygiene.



Exactly how you whack it on your fresh, clean grill plate and how much char you add to it, is entirely up to you.



Though as a general rule of thumb, use your tongs to stick your meat in the middle and arrange your vegetables around the outside.



When you see blood bubble to the surface, it’s time to flip your meat.



Wagyu is part of the name of this restaurant for a reason – it’s what they do best – delivering a premium, nicely marbled product in whatever cut you like.



I ate across the range of beef from my usual favourites, chunky little rib fingers, to thicker slabs of rib eye cap, to thin bits of flap meat.



There are cuts you’ll know well, like oyster blade and short rib, and cuts you might not, like the tender, highly marbled brisket navel end (karubi) that only takes a short time on the grill.



We mowed our way through thin rounds of beef tongue, glistening in oil, so they didn’t stick to the grill, to fat-flecked tri-tip – no part of the available cow was spared.



Since we dined on a Thursday, we got a free Asahi Beer to wash it down (every night has a different promotion, you can check their website for further details).



For an extra tenner, you can get an all-you-can-drink buffet of non-alcoholic options running from cans of unsweetened green tea, to lemon lime and bitters, to fresh watermelon juice.

 

If you want to splash out on some sake, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo ($48/300ml) is a clean, round texture and a soft finish. And there are plenty of Japanese favourites to eat it with, from pots of chawanmushi to sushi rolls and sashimi.



We ate our way through salmon, kingfish, scallop, surf clam, delicate snapper and a pretty rose of pink tuna before stumbling on something new.



Shellfish sashimi or tsubugai, which is a whelk or sea snail - and, before you turn up your nose, it’s earthy and tasty with lovely chew. Slippery tako wasabi sends slivers of wasabi-spiked raw octopus down your throat – it’s popular in Japanese izakayas for a reason, it’s excellent with sake!



You’ll also find some of the Korean barbeque standards from kimchi to yukke (a Korean raw minced beef dish that resembles tartare), along with lettuce leaves if you prefer to eat your meat as ssäm (wrapped up in lettuce).



We gave them a whirl against some of the less exciting meats – like frozen-cut slices of pork neck that ate a bit thin and dry.



The thicker-cut, skin-on duck pieces were fattier, and thus coped with the cooking method better; but really this joint is all about the beef.



In terms of vegetables, individual corn’n’butter pots are always fun. Mushrooms (king brown, button, or shiitake) go very well on the grill, particularly when dragged through a sesame oil and salt pot that you can place an order for.



With dessert also part of the all-inclusive affair, you can go hard on personal desserts like matcha tiramisu. Kobe Wagyu’s own invention – grilled rice cakes served with sweetened condensed milk – are my favourite, as they also make use of their on-table barbeques.



Ask for a clean grill plate and stick the orderly rectangular blocks right in the centre.



Watch closely as they puff up into distorted bulbous shapes complete with grill marks. These grilled mochi-marshmallows are so good, I ordered a second plate just to watch them writhe around on the grill!

Kobe Wagyu BBQ Restaurant
Level 1, 605-609 George Street
Ph: (02) 9283 2268

Kobe Wagyu Yakiniku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Saint Peter




While social distancing measures are slowly being implemented, it’s worth remembering that restaurants are already experts in hygiene, having long been subject to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, with breaches revealed on the NSW Food Authority’s Name & Shame list. Your custom now will no doubt be appreciated by your favourite restaurant in the difficult weeks yet to come.



I chose to drop my coin at Saint Peter, who lured me in with a new Friday night only degustation offering that kicked off at the beginning of February. The tiny Paddington restaurant feels a bit more spacious now, having taken out a row of tables and done some deep blue updates to the art, comfy wall-length banquette and cloth napkins since my last visit.



With the 8-course Tasting Menu ($155/person) taking decisions out of our hands, we kicked back with cocktails while the wheels got underway. Soft and beautifully balanced, Saint Peter's Martini ($20) is made using Manly Spirits Co. Australian Dry Gin and Regal Rogue Daring Dry, an Aussie vermouth that’s got a clever savoury, salty lick. By The Horns ($20) also uses an Aussie spirit – Four Pillars Gin – teaming it with lemon, kelp, cucumber and Tabasco for a bit of kick.

 

Both are seafood friendly drinks, though they’re also offering two different matched beverage packages. We opted for the Premium Beverage Match ($135/person), mostly because it included the 2008 Crawford River Reserve Riesling ($35/glass), which is such a classy Riesling, it made the more expensive package feel worthwhile.



Following the degustation model set out by the sadly-defunct Silvereye, Saint Peter kicks off with a flurry of snacks against the frothy, dry 2007 Moorilla ‘Cloth Label’ Late Disgorged Sparkling Wine ($37/glass). The pepperberry and riberry oyster topping is texturally interesting and leaves a great hole to taste the plump Tathra rock oyster underneath. Fig leaf oil gives a buttery, almost coconut edge to the Abrolhos Island scallop topped with popping trout roe, thinly sliced cucumber and green tea vinegar. It’s a great way to begin.



We work our way through tiny round Robinson’s Bream white-bread sangas spiked with anchovy, fish crackers bearing Mooloolaba Big Eye Tuna nduja, and – my favourite – piped Port Lincoln kingfish liver parfait. The latter is served on sour cream pastry that has a dry, enduring sour cream flavour and a wonderfully papery texture, and capped with sweet’n’sour riberries.



Under pretty little antlers of sea staghorn, Swansea bonito, delicate Coffs Harbour Amberjack and mackerel pickled with smoked bonito vinegar, show off the range of the beautiful Crawford River Riesling I was cooing about earlier.

 

We move onto Wildflower ‘Amber’ Australian Wild Ale ($19) from Marrickville, that tastes of caramelised grains and flowers with a wine-like complexity with our Garfish. The pointy silver fish, sourced from second-generation fisherman Bruce Collis in Corner Inlet, has been threaded back into shape with its head and tail with its flesh interspersed with smoked Broadbill belly bacon. Painted with a molasses and anchovy glaze, it’s accessible and familiar eating – what could be more Australian than beer and a barbequed fish’n’bacon kebab?

 

With the long-spine sea urchin classed as a pest in the National Park, you’re taking one for the team when you eat its pale-yellow tongues over a gentle, curry-like split chickpea concoction flavoured with long pepper and crisp curry leaves.



It’s served with a paratha made using Murray Cod fat – though in this case, while I applaud using all the parts, I have to confess I prefer the flavour of ghee. It’s a difficult dish to match, but the mildly embarrassed 2017 Edenflo Gewürztraminer Riesling Pinot Noir doesn’t do a terrible job.



Oberon pine mushrooms are focus in the beautifully cooked Cairns coral trout. You’ll find them served whole, as an intense sauce and in mushroom duxelles secreted inside the sugarloaf cabbage. Teamed with cold climate Tasmanian pinot noir - the 2017 Sailor Seeks Horse - it’s a simply plated, enjoyable dish.



Maidenni ‘Nocturne’ Vin Amer is a bitter wine with herbaceous qualities drawn from Aussie botanicals like quandong, desert lime, wormwood, muntries and riberries. The tonic-like drink arrives with a pistachio skin jelly palate cleanser that came about from the fact that when you peel pistachios, they smell like mango. This aroma was the inspiration for Josh Niland’s jelly and fresh mango, rose crème and verjuice granita combination.



Julie Niland’s magnificent chocolate slice, which has all the richness of black forest cake with a Murray Cod fat salted caramel, barbequed blueberries, soured cream and an Albany Hapuka roe biscuit garnish, wins over even my non-chocolate-loving dining companion.



As we scrape it from our plates, the table next to us do an interpretive World Health Organisation handwashing guidelines dance as they sing the requisite two choruses of Happy Birthday to one of their companions. We live in interesting times. Better book in to eat a salt flake-crusted, buttery macaron, filled with more of that delicious Murray Cod fat caramel, while you still can.

NOTE: You can see earlier reviews of this restaurant back HERE, HERE and HERE.

Saint Peter
362 Oxford Street, Paddington
Ph: (02) 8937 2530

Saint Peter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Food News - TokyoTreat




With Australia rapidly moving toward the instruction to stay in your homes, you might be planning how to keep you and yours amused through our long internment. TokyoTreat have eats and entertainment rolled up into one monthly subscription box that is brimming with Japanese treats. I road-tested their March Premium Box (US$35 including shipping) ahead of the Covid-19 health crisis and can confirm you’ve got a full two weeks of entertainment, if you’re able to ration out the treats to one (or two) each day.



The bright orange box arrived at my workplace about a week after ordering. It was too tempting not to crack into it right at my desk. With great restraint, I managed to keep my snack consumption to a bag of Mike Plum Popcorn



It's a quirky fruity Japanese sour plum twist, that had me wanting to try more.



I waited to fully unveil the colourful collection of savoury snacks and treats until I spirited it back to my lounge room.



If, like me, you’re always envied Japan’s wider range of KitKat flavours, you’ll enjoy the bag of mini Yuzu Matcha KitKats.



They have a persistent floral citrus flavour against slightly bitter matcha white chocolate, that makes them an intriguing treat.



One advantage of this way of eating Japanese treats is the labelling. While heading into an Japanese grocer and choosing treats can be a bit like Asian snack lotto what with minimal English labelling, your TokyoTreat box comes with an illustrated mini magazine guide to what you’re eating.



In some instances, like the Melon Pandaro (buttery cookies that taste like honeydew melon), that’s not all that necessary, while in others, like the rainbow Salty Seaweed Puffs, it is.



The latter are made from puffed rice and have a lightly salty savoury flavour with a hint of seaweed umami.



The packaging is half the fun – see if you can guess what’s inside without using the cheat sheet. With gold foil and panda bears, this stylish packet was watagashi or Japanese cotton candy, and it was fluffy and fun to eat.



One negative about the premium box including a weighty 500ml Coca Cola Strawberry was that some of my biscuit-based treats arrived broken. With strawberries being Japan’s favourite fruit, this fruity cola is a Japanese exclusive that you can’t buy here. I can’t say I enjoyed it was way too sweet and reminded me of fluoride at the dentist.



Counted among the heavy bottle breakages was my favourite TokyoTreat inclusion – the Sugar Rusk Umaibō – that arrived snapped into two pieces. Despite the name, this light and crunchy corn snack isn’t overly sweet. I really wanted a second one.



Koala’s March are bite sized cookies shaped like Australia’s favourite bear. The crisp, thin and slightly bitter cocoa biscuit exteriors are filled with semi-soft, creamy white chocolate, in a cocoa and milk combination that’s perfect right before bed.



For a breakfast time treat, Cocoa Bolo remind me of slightly crisper Coco Pops so would be equally good with a glass of milk.



In even cuter packaging, the Pokemon Hinamatsuri Snack Pack are Pikachu-shaped chocolate corn snacks. These ones are lighter and less crunchy, but basically work the same turf with slightly less success.



Sometimes translation meant your first mouthful was a surprise. Peach Caramel Corn turned out to be airy corn puffs flavoured with a puree made from seasonal Japanese peaches, rather than candied popcorn.



That said, nothing in the box is too odd to enjoy. The TokyoTreat team have definitely selected their items with an eye to the kind of snacks non-Japanese buyers might like to eat.



I also wasn’t expecting there to be such a good balance between sweet and savoury snacks, which pleased my regular dining companion no end. He was most taken with Mochi Taro – deep fried crunchy rice crisps.



This was just small selection of the items I found in my Tokyo Treat March Premium Box. You can sign up to receive their April box HERE. I hope it helps to make social distancing a bit more fun for those playing along at home!
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Sing Hing Restaurant




With overseas holidays off the agenda for the foreseeable future, take a trip back in time at Sing Hing Restaurant in Sylvania.



Walking in from the late afternoon’s intense golden light is a bit like entering Aladdin’s cave. As your eyes slowly adjust to the darkened space, the elaborate jade green interior comes into view.



Dating back to 1966, the décor still looks quite spiffy for a restaurant that has had fifty-four years of operation.



Under dangling bird cages, the padded green bar is lined with swivel stools.



Taking a cue from carousels, mirrors are put to good effect on the walls and ornate ceiling, creating an immersive experience that replicates the disorienting ride.



Half-full fish tanks – the water level keeps the hungry koi from jumping out – and lucky bamboo work as room dividers, creating some intimacy in the visually captivating space.



Not immune to the adaptation and reinvention that has characterised the journey of Cantonese cuisine into Australian hearts and minds, Sing Hing offers up some unique menu items.



The extensive book of plastic-covered pages features locally driven oddities like Sizzling Fresh Mango Chicken ($21.80). Not quite convinced it won’t be an over-sweet disaster, I opt for the equally intriguing Creamy Wasabi Beef Pancake ($19/4). Provided on four little plates, these soft pliable pancakes, topped almost to their frilly edges with tender, shredded beef and crisp green veggies, are spiked with a gentle wasabi hit.



They’re great against TsingTao Beer ($6.80) - and the German-inspired Chinese quaffer fits right in with the colour scheme.



If you grew up with the type of Mother who was perpetually trying to sneak vegetables you didn’t like eating into the Bolognese, you’ll definitely understand Grandma’s Bean Curd ($19.80). Think of it as mapo tofu with a homelier edge; where straw mushrooms, corn kernels, green peas and carrots mingle with pork mince and soft blocks of tofu. The only thing it lacked was the (menu) promised chilli heat.



It’s a bit of a theme across all of our selected dishes, enjoyed with Special Fried Rice ($12.80) that’s not quite as well-handled as other versions I’ve eaten recently.



Arriving with all the sizzling fanfare a piping hot cast iron platter can deliver, our Lamb Fillets in XO ($21.80) are an easy winner. The glistening mound of super-tender lamb fillet, interspersed with still crisp vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, snow peas and straw mushrooms – has just a hint of XO sauce middle.



Sizzling Boneless Sichuan Chilli Duck ($24.80) appears in similar fashion, hiding pre-cooked skin-on roast bird under slivers of onion, snow peas and capsicum. The syrupy sauce talked a big chilli game, but didn't deliver. Regardless I'm happy I took the time to visit this extraordinary exemplar of Australia's extensive Chinese restaurant history.

Sing Hing Restaurant
244 Princes Highway, Sylvania
Ph: (02) 9522 0188

Sing Hing Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Chefs Gallery




While the excitement of the colourfully illustrated Chefs Gallery menu continues to be their hand-stretched noodles and dim sum, there’s still value to be had in consuming a more standard Chinese meal.



I’ve been visiting Kaisern Ching’s flagship Town Hall restaurant for a decade. To keep things fresh, the décor has had regular updates over that time period.



The most recent update draws upon the pale salmon pinks of Spring, with the cabinets of Chinese artefacts and wall art giving way to floral arrangements.



To stay in the pink - and to lend some buying support to the bush fire-ravaged grape growers of Tumbarumba - I opt for the McWilliam 480 Estate Tumbarumba Rose ($10/glass). Made on savoury pinot noir grapes, it’s a good match for the cuisine.



While the name – Duck Liver Pâté Wagyu ($42) – might seem intimidating, the resulting 300 grams of flash-fried wagyu beef interspersed with snapping fresh sugar snaps and king brown mushrooms is not at all challenging. The pâté just adds a glossy richness to the high quality, tender hunks of meat.



Sweet and Sour Pork ($28) leans more heavily on balsamic vinegar and ume shiso (sour plum and shiso leaf) than most over-sweet renditions of this adapted Cantonese dish that seems perennially popular in Australian settings.



Garnished with lychees and interspersed with pineapple and crisp hunks of red and green capsicum, it’s a tasty exemplar, especially when eaten over well-separated Roast Duck Fried Rice ($20). Chefs Gallery keep things exciting by combining the shredded roast duck with tiny rounds of asparagus, omelette and mustard seeds, adding up to a quality, unique fried rice experience.



Wok Fried Seasonal Vegetables ($22) purport to liven up a colourful melange of lightly cooked veggies (won by the texturally perfect oyster mushrooms) with spicy bacon chilli jam. What we actually got was smoky sliced bacon and just a hint of chilli, but regardless, it was actually my favourite dish.



We were delivered one incorrect dish, but staff took our word for it, spirited it away and ensured the correct one arrived before our meal had progressed too far. Serves feel a little on the small side, though the quality of the ingredients used at Chefs Gallery continues to shine, so you probably won’t mind dropping a little extra coin to eat them.

NOTE: You can see previous reviews of this restaurant back HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Chefs Gallery
Shop 12, Regent Place
501 George Street Sydney
Ph: (02) 9267 8877

Chefs Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato