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Event - Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema

Thinking everything is bigger in the Hills District, last weekend I made the trek out to Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema. Set inside Castle Hill Showground, what I found was a surprisingly compact arena constructed around a blow-up screen. With an imitation beach entranceway complete with blow up pool floats, this outdoor cinema offers up a bar, a hot food option, and multiple seating arrangements.

While you can opt for General Admission ($21.70/adult) and supply your own picnic blanket or low-lying chairs, if you want prime position right under the screen, the SmoothFM VIP ($35.10) is the way to go.

Three rows of brightly coloured banana lounges are arranged for you to choose from. They’re not exactly the most comfortable way to see a film, but it does score you a free Twisted Frozen Yoghurt Cup as the movie starts. I was pretty happy with my Strawberry & Vanilla Bean ($3/cup) version, which thankfully was delivered right to me in my highly collapsible seat that I was pretty much scared of moving at all in.

If butler service makes you happy, you could also consider the VIP Bell Tent ($309.80) for up to eight people, or the luxury Cabana Class ($156.10) for fun times with up to four people in a king sized bed. Your bed even comes with blankets, which is perhaps advisable, because when night falls, it gets a little cooler up here in the Hills.

From the bar we sipped on Pimms Original Cups ($11/each) that see the old-fashioned quaffer tarted up with lemonade, mint, orange, strawberries, cucumber and plenty of ice.

The hot food option, EpicPizza was a bit of a disappointment. They’d run out of gas, and cooled their oven down from the usual 300 degrees Celcius, meaning their New York style OK USA Pizza ($7/slice) with tomato paste, mozzarella, pepperoni and oregano, was going out almost stone cold.

With quite a chewy, bready crust it didn’t make for pleasant eating, or for happy customers when they kept serving the poorly heated pizzas despite knowing the oven wasn't at the correct temperature. Delightfully a laughing kookaburra interrupted their sponsor ad right before the film – now there’s something you don’t get at movies in the big smoke all that often!

Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema runs until February 18. For more information go to: http://www.sydneyhillsoutdoorcinema.com.au/

Review - Bellbird

Earlier in the month I made a flying visit through Bellbird at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre for a spot of lunch.

was this blog's 2017 winner for Best Value Meal, and Head Chef Federico Rekowski continues to smash the ball out of the park in this category. Where else in Sydney could you eat locally sourced, foraged and grown ingredients from an organic kitchen garden, for fewer than twenty bucks a plate?

With the prawn-stuffed Hawkesbury calamari I’d been coveting selling out earlier in the day, I stayed in the Hawkesbury region and ordered Willowbrae Goat Cheese Filled Zucchini Flowers ($17). Harvested from their own organic garden, the zucchini flowers were stuffed to the brim with creamy, chalky goats' cheese that is made in Wilberforce, just an hour’s drive from the Arts Centre. The artfully plated dish is kept from being too rich with a few different renditions of beetroot, including a compelling balsamic, honey and beetroot gel.

I threw in a side of garden-fresh Tomatoes ($5) that helped too, and was surprised at the generosity of this side dish. It turns out the garden is producing bumper tomato harvests thanks to the talents of Lauren Booth, the Centre’s full-time gardener.

Lauren is also behind the scarecrow and hand-lettered signage that keeps visitors giggling, and allows urban types like me who live without backyards, to know exactly what’s growing where.

Smoked Angus Sirloin ($18) offers up a substantial piece of smoked beef, served up tagliata (sliced) so you can see the perfectly pink innards. It also makes it good for sharing. The dish is light on starches, with crisp enoki mushrooms standing in for chips, little dabs of wasabi cream and an underlying onion jam to play with.

While you can throw in a side of chips, I’d suggest holding off and ordering a Callebaut Dark Chocolate Brownie ($5). Mine came with a house-made banana ice cream and peanut butter. The peanut butter has been converted into a soft, fluffy crumb using maltodextrin – a simple but clever molecular gastronomy technique.

With a whisker of salt to tone down the intensity of ripe bananas, this was a fabulous finish to lunch, before a walk through the Casula Powerhouse's art galleries, which are all free!

Casula Powerhouse, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula
Ph: (02) 9824 1121

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


Event - Sunset20°North

Forget January with its skyrocketing temperatures, February is where Sydney is at, with interesting events popping up all over town. Sunset20°North is Sydney’s newest spot to enjoy live music, across every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in February.

I popped down on opening night to take in a different aspect of our beautiful Sydney Harbour. Perched on the natural sloping amphitheatre that is Barangaroo Reserve, I dined on the dishes of Bloodwood star, Claire Van Vuuren.

Starting with Pickled Mussels ($10/3) on potato skins with samphire and horseradish, I worked my way through her menu. The dishes focuses upon local, seasonal food that references the strip of land our feet are planted upon.

Samphire, for instance, you will find growing on the rocky edges of the Reserve itself. Beyond providing a tantalising waft of smoked food, the open fire pit, and leaf-wrapped dishes cooked on it, reference traditional ways of preparing food.

Bamboo-Smoked Snapper ($18) sees the locally available white-fleshed fish gently cooked inside a leaf parcel. It’s served with a salsa of bright cherry tomatoes and karkalla (beach bananas) that fill your mouth with their salty expulsion.

While those two dishes were specific to the first weekend of Sunset20°North, you can eat Claire Van Vuuren’s Blackened Chicken ($16) every night it is open. Lathered with Davidson plum sriarcha on a bed of smoky smashed potatoes and corn, the chook wasn’t quite charry enough for me, though I dined pretty early in the piece.

I’ve got no complaints about the Pork and Pickled Muntries Tacos ($14/3), which were easily my dish of the night. As well as the tart muntries and pulled pork, the flavoursome soft corn tacos are freshened up with shallots, coriander and finger lime caviar that bursts seductively on your tongue.

Claire has curated all-female guest chef line-up for each of the twelve sunsets, so you can also expect to find Jane Strode (Fred’s, Sydney), Analiese Gregory (Franklin, Hobart) and Thi Le (Anchovy, Melbourne) each cooking a pair of dishes onsite over the remaining three weekends.

Tucked down on the entrance way, you’ll also find Pambula Oyster Co. who are shucking Pambula Rock Oysters ($18/6) while you wait.

They fit well with the event's themes by the key ingredient - rock oysters - being indigenous to Gadigal Country; and by having a female oyster grower - Leicia McKillop - at the company’s helm.

I liked the tight briny bivalves so much, I went back for seconds, teaming my second half dozen with a hoppy Philter XPA Beer ($9) and the more laid-back Philter Lager ($9). They’re brewed in Marrickville by one of the country’s most highly regarded female brewers, Sam Fuss.

Looking a bit like a yellow shower curtain, Yuwaalaraay artist Lucy Simpson’s modern sculpture Grandmother Tree didn’t really make sense to me until a break in the clouds let some fast fading sunlight through.

The field was suddenly ablaze with long golden beams of light, a perfect cue for Sampa the Great to take to the stage.

Just one of a diverse line-up of mostly female artists from around Australia, Sampa the Great, or Sampa Tembo, was born in Zambia but has lived here for the last three years.

She fuses word-play and slam poetry with beats, creating a lush hip hop soundtrack to enjoy with a Lemon Myrtle Tom Collins ($14) in your hand.

Despite being perched on the edge of Sydney Harbour looking at lots of open space, the first resident noise complaint came in at 7.44pm. Sydney, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Sunset20°North runs at Barangaroo Reserve, Hickson Road, Barangaroo every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night until the end of February. Check the website for more details.

Review - House Bar & Bistrot

I'm dining at House Bar & Bistrot, which should really be called 'Houses', because there are two wide terraces, set at the foot of Kellett Street.

We’re dining al fresco, while the evenings still warrant it.

We're kept entertained by a cockatoo feeding neighbour, who is posing for selfies out her third floor window, with her raucous white feathered friends perched upon her shoulder.

The squawks of their squabbling drown out the music emanating from the small dining room, which is decorated with the first oyster themed mural I’ve ever seen.


With a cocktail in my hand - a Barrel Aged Negroni ($15) with good hunger-inducing bitterness – the background sights and sounds makes me feel like I’m in the colourful Kings Cross of old, before the suburb was locked down and rebranded as the upwardly mobile Potts Point. Lost in memories I chase crisp apples around a glass of Fireball Sangria ($14) with a thoughtfully provided teaspoon. The cinnamon liqueur gives this drink a lovely roundness, and the spoon shows you they're proud of the quality of their fruit.

Care has also gone into the selection of a dozen wines, with most available by the glass. While the pours seem small, I loved every austere, lime-like drop of the 2014 Mazzolino Chardonnay ($14/glass). The 2017 Collector Sangiovese Rosé  ($10/glass) comes from a winery that I like so much, I’ve visited in person. It's is full of fruit – strawberries and raspberries – but ends dry as a bone, just the way I like Rosé.

To accompany your beverages, owner/chef Mauro Forgillo has created a short, simple list of five starters, all presented on sourdough breads he has baked in-house. We try White Anchovies ($12) with fragrant lime zest and on seven-grain bread; and fat pink Figs ($12) served with honey and Parmigiano on wholemeal bread.

The figs are perfectly ripe, and bang smack in season. Sourcing good produce direct from the growers or farmers is of prime importance to this 27-year-old chef.

Pastas are also made in-house. Tagliatelle ($26) with braised pork belly, duck egg and Parmesan lacked a little in generosity (including with the pork); particularly with the waitress steering us away from sides. It was also let down by being served on a cold plate, on an evening where the weather warranted warming.

Pork Neck Steak ($25) arrived looking like something we’d cook at home - the secondary cut is one of our favourites. Here it’s tender and tasty, though on the upper edge of saltiness. The salt was curbed a little by the accompanying krauti (pickled cabbage), shaved carrots and seeded mustard. To be honest I missed the golden spuds we’d toss on the plate at home.

With room to spare, we both wanted dessert – two different flavours from the trio of house-made gelati. Coffee Gelato ($12), dotted with coffee beans, eats like a round, full-bodied espresso. Fig Gelato ($12) lacks the ripe pink notes we enjoyed earlier, tasting much more akin to green skin. I can’t say I was a fan.

I can see the new denizens of Potts Point using House Bar & Bistrot as a neighbourhood spot for those evenings when they’re craving home-cooking but can’t be bothered rattling the pans.

House Bar & Bistrot
62-64 Kellett Street, Kings Cross
Ph: (0450) 633 892

House Bar & Bistrot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thanks to the Australian Good Food Guide for arranging this visit.

Travel - Visit Canberra

For a bit of fun while in Canberra, I visited the Old Bus Depot Markets, hoping to score some good local produce.

What I found was a large, well laid out market spanning across two big, industrial spaces.

In the first hall, there was a well-curated collection of artisan handicrafts, clothes, art, jewellery and homewares, with very little in the way of mainstream junk brands like Jamberry Nails and Scentsy.

At the rear of this hall, you can take a staircase down into the second big air space. You arrive in the centre of a food court. It’s not your average food court either, with Ethiopian and Jordanian food stalls sitting alongside your more expected South-East Asian offerings.


Having just had brunch, we just had enough space for a cup of Hot Mulled Wine ($5) from Jo's Juice to fuel our food shopping adventures.

Spread out before us under dangling pastel flags were a number of wide aisles packed full of a cross-section of artisan food producers.

While fresh produce like fruit, eggs and vegetables weren’t particularly abundant, there was an almost bewildering array of artisan eats to choose from.


We saw everything from pasta to pastries to smallgoods, with most stalls offering good sampling opportunities.

Many of the stallholders had a good eye for the visual appeal of their products too; with eye-catching mounds of salted caramel-stuffed cookies catching my eye.


Multiculturalism was also the order of the day, with Balkan burek and German pretzels from the Cibo Kitchen jumping out at me, particularly because the pretzels were made here in Canberra, rather than imported from Europe like the ones at Sydney's Lüneburger.

We also picked up some Scottish tablet (it’s like a firm caramel fudge) and some freshly made Thai desserts, like khanom babin, also known as coconut delight.

While my dining companion weighed up the various merits of dried meat products, running from biltong to jerky; I scored some rarely seen Australiana in the form of damper from Dom’s Woodfired Gourmet Bread.

While it might not take care of all your weekly food shopping needs, Old Bus Depot Markets was a satisfying bit of shopping that’s available to Canberra locals every single Sunday.

With the market set on the edge of the Kingston Foreshore, a popular dining and entertainment precinct, it’s good to team your visit with a spot of brunch, or a visit to Canberra Glassworks (if you snacked too heavily in your market visit like me).

Functioning as an art gallery space for interesting and unusual glass artworks, this attraction makes good use of the existing architecture of the old Kingston Powerhouse.

With a system of catwalks, you're able to get a birds eye view of their working glass artisans, and of the hands on workshops they run.

If you’re particularly lucky, the working artists will down tools and tell you more about how the various works you see around the place are made.

You can also take a load off and watch live glass blowing, including the resident instructors working with beginners having their first hands-on experience working with superheated glass.

It’s fast-paced and exciting with a clear element of danger!


If you can draw your eyes away from the action, you'll also find my favourite piece in this area of the museum. It's a tiny fluorescent green cast glass old-fashioned light switch by artist Ellen Collins – understated and set exactly where you’d reach to find the switch.

Old Bus Depot Market
21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston ACT
Ph: (02) 6295 3331

Canberra Glassworks
11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston ACT
Ph: (02) 6260 7005

Review - Little Collins

Despite the modern look, there’s a relaxed, beachside charm about Little Collins that makes it amenable to brunch before hitting nearby Freshwater Beach. The beach is said to be the home of Australian surfing, because back in 1914, it was where Duke Kahanamoku first demonstrated the Hawaiian surfing technique on a board made from Australian timber. Friendly staff offer up directions to the beach and menu recommendations with ease, meaning we’re soon ensconced with summery fresh juices, enjoying the gentle breeze.

I opt for the Immune Booster ($7/regular) teaming carrot and orange with the subtle suggestion of ginger. My dining companion opts for the watermelon-heavy Fruity ($7/regular) blend with apple, orange and pineapple that just wants for a bit of chilling.

Exposed to the street on two sides, the café has clean, modern lines. Bare bones wooden lampshades and black wire chairs are stylish, without being overdone.

A large glass bowl of white lilies adorns a central communal table, though most diners opt to sit in the fringing ring of smaller tables.

Like the décor, the menu is modern without being ostentatious; and the ubiquitous smashed avocado is nowhere to be seen. In its place, Smashed Peas ($15.50) will happily address any urge for something green. The good green ship sails onto our table using three masts created from crisp speck and tasty Parmesan chips stuck into blobs of tangy labne over a hull of toasted sourdough.

Corn Fritters ($18) are also nicely plated, with the trio of slightly crumbly fritters packed with sweet corn sitting under a hat of house-made tomato chutney, guacamole and a poached egg. The chutney is the dish’s standout, with the sweetness of the tomatoes easily balanced by a squeeze from the accompanying lemon wedges.

You can also decide how just much maple syrup to add to the Collins Hotcake ($17), because it comes in a little jug. This dish is the visual star of our brunch. It's hotcake singular - a large, golden pan-sized hotcake that sits somewhere between sponge and pancake in texture, decorated with a wreath of fresh seasonal fruit, berry compote, slivered nuts and edible flowers around a quenelle of thick cream. It's decadent but with a wonderfully old-fashioned feel, like eating cake with jam and cream - perfect for a two-spoon tango before hitting the sand.

Little Collins
6-8 Lawrence Street, Freshwater
Ph: (02) 9938 5086

Little Collins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Travel - I-Dragon Chinese Cuisine

There’s something comforting about nearly every regional centre across this country having a Chinese restaurant, each trotting out a similarly wide menu of Australian-Cantonese. While other styles of restaurant can be much more hit and miss, you can usually rely upon the ones with jade green roof tiles, red lettering and grandiose names, to trot out an edible offering wherever you may be. This search for dependability is exactly how I found myself at I-Dragon Chinese Cuisine in Forster on the Mid North Coast.

Here you’ll find the jade green roof tiles inside the restaurant, sitting over the tiny cashier’s hutch. The small room is filled with tables and the standard gold-framed red fabric chairs that Chinese restaurateurs seem to be fond of.


Where it branches beyond the expected, is in the startling set of grimacing Chinese theatre masks, the credible piece of Jackson Pollock-like action painting, and in the wooden ceiling structure built solely to improve the restaurant’s look.

This family-run business, which has been operating since 2011, has a good handle on the Cantonese standards. A simple bowl of Chicken Sweet Corn Soup ($5) is well balanced, with the right amount of cornstarch to be syrupy without being overly thick.

My mother-in-law, who is an unadventurous eater and doesn’t handle spice, baulks a little at the Mongolian Lamb ($19). It’s a generous portion that contains more tender lamb than onion filler. It arrives with the usual sizzling fanfare, and is a good rendition of this perennial favourite albeit with some heat on the back palate.

Luckily she’s kept happy with Honey Chicken ($14) that’s a bit too heavily battered for my liking; and a mound of Special Fried Rice ($7/large) dotted with a decent collection of BBQ pork, chicken, ham, peas, omelette, prawns and shallots.

Presented on shredded iceberg lettuce, slices of roasted BBQ Pork ($7.00) are coated in a Peking sauce. Rather than a triumph of red food colouring, this sweet, nutty sauce is left with a natural appearance that gives the dish a home-style feel that’s enjoyable and unique.

Another place I-Dragon dares to be different is in calling one of their specialty dishes Evil Hot Lamb ($20). My chilli-mad dining companion was of course compelled to order it, despite a bit of ribbing from the young, friendly floor team. It’s a blend of lamb fillets, dried and fresh chillies, onions, capsicum and shallots, that has a real, creeping heat. My dining companion claimed it was easy to stomach, but sure spent a lot of time eating our vegetable side and downing a jug of Ginger Beer ($9).

The meal for three set us back a hundred dollars, with enough left over for my mother-in-law's lunch the next day – well played, regional Chinese.

I-Dragon Chinese Cuisine
1/10 Head Street, Forster
Ph: (02) 6555 2092

I Dragon Chinese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food News - Alstonville Quality Meats

I’m a long time fan of Australian Pork Limited’s Porkstar program, which is designed to celebrate and encourage the use of Australian pigs across all categories of pork, ham and bacon. When I’m travelling, if there’s an award winning chef, farmer or butcher who has been recognised by this program, I make an effort to visit, which is how I came to be at Alstonville Quality Meats.

Set in the main street of this small country town in Northern NSW, Alstonville Quality Meats is a nicely appointed butcher. Despite the modern fit-out, branding and focus upon the retail experience, you’ll still be served by actual butchers, who were busy breaking down chickens during my visit.

The talented team here won third place in New South Wales in last year’s Australian PorkMark Bacon Awards, so bacon was definitely on my shopping list.

Made on locally produced Bangalow Sweet Pork, the bacon here is outstanding. I’d rank it as second behind my perennial favourite bacon from Campbell’s Superior Meats of West Pymble. It’s got a good balance between smokiness and big porky flavour, my only complaint being that these nicely shaped rashers drop about thirty percent in size when they hit the pan.

What did win me over completely was Alstonville Quality Meats' pork sausages, made on the same locally produced pork as their bacon. They’re the best straight up pork sausage I’ve tried, and I kicked myself for not bringing home more.

With a bit of distance to travel home to Sydney, I picked up some items like smoked chorizo and salted, lightly smoked Kassler chops that would travel well, while noting it would be very easy to drop some coin in this jam-packed store.

Along with a good range of well-presented meat, including a fridge full of dry-aged offerings, you’ll also find a wide range of other products running from cheeses to honey, pizza bases, sauces, eggs and even muesli. While much of the shelf space was given over to Xmas items at the time of my visit, it's clear that their well-considered product range will be a constantly evolving feast.

Alstonville Quality Meats
83A Main Street, Alstonville
Ph: (02) 6628 0825

Review - Nonna Gio

We like to keep it nice and cosy so we can have this,” Luca Vingiani says, gesturing to the space between him and I. I’m sitting in Nonna Gio, the little Italian restaurant that he runs with his wife, Rosangela (Rosie), on King Street in Newtown.

The tiny space feels a lot like dining in their family home. The walls are decorated with hundreds of framed photos depicting their family’s actual history. There are homely lace curtains, and a SMEG fridge in the colours of the Italian flag, and, of course, the highly personalised service.

I’m not a trained chef, so whatever I cook here I learned to make at home,” Rosie explains as she introduces us to the short menu that rotates weekly. The home in question was in a small town called Castellamare Di Stabia, on the road to Sorrento in the south of Italy. Her tutors were her family’s matriarchs, traversing back through nearly one hundred years of home cooking, to Nonna Gio, her great grandmother, for whom the restaurant is named.

While the seven-item menu is short, the salumi selection is surprisingly extensive, commanding its own page of the menu.

Served individually ($13/serve) or in a trio ($24/person) the cold cuts are well-stored in a dedicated charcuterie fridge, and sliced by hand in the doorway by Luca.

We try a spicy spreadable Nduja ($13), and dissolving rounds of Capocollo ($13), cured pork neck that’s earthy and savoury, presented on a wooden board with our cheese. The imported formaggi menu is equally exciting, producing three cheeses I haven’t tried before.

Blue61 ($19) is a gorgonzola-like blue cheese that tastes purple, having been matured in Passito wine and cranberries, giving it a lovely sweetness without the addition of condiments. Equally stand-alone is the Cusie Grappa di Moscato e Frutta ($19) a hard sheep and cow milk cheese that has been enriched with grappa and fruits. My easy favourite however is the Cusie al Castaano ($19), which is crumbly, chalky and smoky, with layers of unfolding flavour.

We punctuate our cheeses with sharp house-made pickles, and slurps of artisan beer.  Les Biers Du Grand Saint Bernard Napea ($13/330ml) is a full-flavoured lager made using mountain spring water from the French-Italian border. For such a small restaurant, the breadth of the wine list also surprises me. “I like wines, and I know all the Italian varietals, so it came pretty easy to me,” says Luca. He’s serving wines you won’t find in bottle shops, using his local Italian knowledge to go direct to lesser-known vineyards. We try a tangy almost salty table wine – the 2015 Di Tenuta Sant’Antonio Soave ($62/bottle, $13/glass) then a savoury rose from the all-Italian list, which is arranged geographically from south to north. Privileging Southern Italy is a cheeky bit of “revenge from years of Italian discrimination,” explains Luca.

We don’t serve anything we don’t like,” says Rosie. I like the lack of compromise in her Linguine alla Livornese ($34). It’s a toothsome bowl of pasta that tastes like the sea, with the intensity of shredded baccala (salt cod), meaty olives and bitter capers balanced by the unmistakable sweetness of San Marzano tomatoes.

I’m also challenged and impressed by her Porchetta e Patate ($38) served at room temperature where the slippery fat coats your whole mouth. The glistening pork slices are eaten with white bread and rosemary potatoes, with nutty sweet cloves of roasted garlic you pop from the head, or a rocket pesto that I’m less fond of.

What’s really charming about Nonna Gio is both proprietors’ willingness to talk and spend time at your table, sharing the stories that make the experience bigger than the simple Italian dishes you'll eat. This included a somewhat bashful explanation for the restaurant’s all-Neil Diamond soundtrack: “We saw him about four years ago in Hawaii, and we fell in love,” said Luca. Even I find it hard to argue with that.

Nonna Gio
526 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 8964 3540

Nonna Gio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thanks to the Australian Good Food Guide for arranging this visit.


Review - Rozelle Espresso

The first thing you’ll notice about Rozelle Espresso is that it’s a huge 70-seater café. The proximity to Rozelle Markets ensures this big capacity is useful, “especially on weekends, when we’re full and sometimes there’s a queue,” our friendly waitress explains.

For a casual weekday brunch it makes for an airy, light-filled space with enough space between tables to comfortably bring a pram and kids who don’t always sit quietly and still. You might recognise the frosty green colour scheme from their sister café, The Tiny Giant, in Petersham.

The aesthetic here is bit more modern, but there are still some cute potted fake plants, along with a green wall, hanging ferns, dangling cords and exposed hipster bulbs that draw your eyes up into the vertical space.

The other thing you might recognise, especially if you’re a brunch devotee, is the signature Persian pashmak-topped Brioche Toast ($19.90). While it has similar visual appeal, the Rozelle Espresso version here actually eats better. The caramel is rounder, and goes gangbusters with fresh figs; the brioche toast is more savoury; and the quenelles of mascarpone that prop it up, make a nice counterpoint to all the sweetness. I’m still of the opinion that the fairy floss is overkill, but equally aware that for many, the visual appeal is a big part of this dish’s popularity.

We juxtapose the fairy floss with Campos coffees. While the Latte was a bit so-so, their cold-drip replacement – an Iced Latte ($4.90) – is smooth, with the milk's natural sweetness balancing the coffee’s bitterness.

For something on the savoury side, there’s Huevos Rancheros Hot Pot ($19.90). It’s a Mexican-inspired tomato and bean mix, topped with avocado and an egg, then stuck under a grill. It’s light on the carbohydrates, with only a trio of super-crisp flour tortillas, so you can add in a charred Chorizo ($4.50) without guilty feelings.

If you do want to stay sensible, the Acai Bowl ($15.90) comes layered with contrasting rows of colourful summer fruit – kiwi fruit, banana, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, plus nuts, desiccated coconut and tasty granola, with a few rose petals throw on for good measure. I know it puts me behind the times, but I’m still getting my head around frosty acai bases, so can’t help but prefer The Tiny Giant version of this dish made simply with tangy yoghurt.

Rozelle Espresso
654 Darling Street, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 9555 8999

Rozelle Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato