Kin By Us | Macquarie Park

LuMi Bar & Dining | Pyrmont

An experience at Pyrmont's LuMi Bar & Dining is like a box of Swiss chocolates - you're not entirely sure if what you'll get, but you know it's damn good.

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Kin By Us | Macquarie Park

Kin By Us | Macquarie Park

My Kitchen Rules cute couple Uel & Shannelle have redefined the concept of an Asian cafe in Kin By Us. You'll want to make a special trip to Macquarie Park!

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Sushi Omakase | Sokyo, Pyrmont

Sushi Omakase | Sokyo, Pyrmont

There was no war to begin with - Sokyo's Sushi Omakase is beyond doubt, the greatest sushi experience money can buy in Sydney. I'm Still Hungry for more!

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Cafe Oratnek Cover

Cafe Oratnek | Redfern, Sydney

Like most of us, Kentaro “Kenny” Takayama wanted to fulfil a dream: a backyard, homely cafe to call his own. To do this, he upped and gave up his awesome gig as head honcho at Bills – no small feat. Ah, but there was a small snag – it looks like the domain squatters have gotten to kentaro.com long before Kenny could get his hands on it! And that’s how Cafe Oratnek – his name spelt backwards, was Christened. It’s all about getting that dot com.

…And pretty much the latter half of that introduction is total BS. Sorry :P. The reality? Who knows – perhaps that’s the eccentric nature of the man himself, the desire to be different, to be special and remembered. I could believe it, as it shows in Oratnek’s food – think sandwiches that come in pork katsu, smashed egg or fried chicken & kimchi varieties, miso beef lettuce baos, and sake steamed clam pots. Not exactly the kind of fare you find on a normal cafe menu. As wordsmith/homie iFat puts it: “very few stick their neks out and they end up just being orat.”

Different is definitely trending – but only deliciousness will keep the crowds coming back. Kenny, spotlight’s on you.

Date Last Visited: 26/8/15
Address: 4 Pitt Street, Redfern, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): all sandwiches on the menu

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Desserts by Reynold Poernomo | Sydney

Reynold Poernomo. Or, as some of you may call him – the dessert king. Watching this 21 year old execute all manner of sweet creations, continually defying expectations again and again has been one of the greatest highlights of this year’s Masterchef run. To say the man has talent at desserts could use a quenelle of hyperbole. Who else ever received a perfect score on Masterchef?

But it’s one thing to /watch/ him on TV. It’s quite another to meet him in the flesh, and to have the opportunity to sample four of his incredible handiworks. Of course, that was going to be a bit of a pipe dream, at least until he opened up a permanent place. Right?

Hmmm, better click on that “read more” link, eh?

Date Last Visited: 23/8/15
Address: Sydney Dance Studio, The Rocks
Standout Dish(es): Moss / Panna

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Create Your Taste Cover

Create Your Taste | McDonald’s

Oh, how very “UnMcdonald’s” this is.

A review of McDonald’s new Create Your Taste burgers!

By now, you’ve seen or heard it all – TV ads, radio spots, even the MasterChef AU sponsorship. McDonald’s has always been at the forefront of the food scene, even as they’re the most commoditised name in the food industry, and constantly taking the most flak for being the “option of last resort” when it comes to eating out. Honestly, even though I haven’t visited a McDonald’s willingly for some time, I admire the effort – I would have shut my doors ages ago were it my business, that’s for sure.

Even when the Create Your Taste campaign came along, I wasn’t particularly sold. To be sure, I like Maccas, and I know a lot of food enthusiasts do too. However, I never found the food to be “worth visiting” in light of Sydney’s food panacea. But you know what? I can’t judge if I haven’t tried, right? And so, for the first time, I find myself creating a burger to call my very own.

Date Last Visited: 25/7/15
Store Sampled: McDonald’s Menai – Cnr Allison Crescent & McMahon Place, Menai NSW 2234 (https://mcdonalds.com.au/store/menai-nsw)

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Aqua S Cover

Aqua S Ice Cream Parlour | Sydney CBD

As I see it, Aquaman is a very underrated superhero. Sure, his abilities amount to little more than telepathy and the usual suite of enhanced physiology while in the water, but that’s still cause for envy from someone who struggles to stay afloat in the water. The funny thing about Aquaman is that because he’s so widely ridiculed, he’s become more well-known than most other B-grade Marvel heroes.

Aqua S is like an improved Aquaman – as standout as ever thanks to its distinct hue, possesses superpowers [citation needed], and best of all, it’s famous because it’s actually a pretty sweet-tasting soft serve.

No wonder this is currently the most Instagrammed food in Sydney at the moment.

Date Last Visited: 20/08/15
Address: Regent’s Place – 501 George St Sydney, NSW 2000

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Firedoor Cover

Firedoor Restaurant | Surry Hills

Bestowing the gift of fire onto humanity wasn’t the smartest move by Prometheus. While he’s doomed to an eternity of “liver-picking” (definitely not going into detail on that), we have been using fire in more inventive ways than ever.

Fire is a beautiful thing. Not only is it mesmerizing in its brilliance, the difficulty of mastering this fickle beast is both an art and a science. It’s no wonder why modern recipes focus so much on thermometers, cooking times and precision measurements in order to rein the capriciousness of flame.

But one restaurant’s turning that on its head. Just a dash of gut feel, wood, charcoal, and pure, unadulterated fire. That is Surry Hills’ Firedoor.

Date Last Visited: 5/8/15
Address: 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): cauliflower w/tallow & hazelnuts, aged lamb rump cap, beef cheeks, aged rib on the bone

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Brae Cover

Brae Restaurant | Birregurra, Australia

You may have heard of a restaurant called Mugaritz. Andoni Luis Aduriz’s two Michelin-starred, San Sebastian-based restaurant placed sixth on the 2015 edition of the World’s 50 Best list. By pretty much every account, it’s a world class establishment, one of the best the world has seen, the envy and destination of many a food enthusiast.

But this post isn’t about Mugaritz. It’s about the man who was so skilled, Aduriz anointed him as head chef there – the sixth best restaurant in the world. That man is Dan Hunter.

It’s about his magnum opus – Brae.

Date Last Visited: 1/8/15
Address: 4285 Cape Otway Road,Birregurra, VIC
Recommended Dish(es): prawn & finger lime, iced oyster, hapuku & cured pork, full blood Tajima

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Bennelong Cover

[Updated] Bennelong Restaurant | Sydney Opera House

This is a restaurant worth talking about.

It took eighteen months since the departure of Guillaume Brahimi for someone brave enough to successfully take the reins of what is quite possibly the most epochal architectural work in Sydney, but it’s finally happened. A marriage between Peter Gilmore, and the iconic Sydney Opera House.

On the one hand, it’s hardly astonishing – a head chef of international fame, a landmark of international fame. Really, the pairing should have been seen from Kirribilli. On the other hand, nobody knew what to expect – the head honcho behind fine dining juggernaut Quay, helming what is meant to be a more accessible venue serving more accessible fare. What’s Gilmore’s take? What’s the value Bennelong brings to the table? I find out by booking one, and I think we’re going to be in for some good times ahead.

Date Last Visited: 11/7/15
Address: Sydney Opera House
Recommended Dish(es): Slow cooked heirloom pumpkin, grilled Lady Elliot Island bug, roasted John Dory, the Pavlova, chocolate cake from across the water, cherry jam lamington

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The Fat Duck London & Melbourne

The Fat Duck | London & Melbourne

The Fat Duck is about to pull a hat trick.

The culinary overlord Heston Blumenthal (you may have heard of him) utterly and definitively blew me away when I dined at The Fat Duck in Bray over a year and a half ago. It was a transformative experience, teaching me that food can be elevated to unimaginable heights, yet take you back to food play dates of childhood. It is art, theatre, and the fulfilment of fantasy all in one meal. You do not visit a restaurant such as The Fat Duck to merely eat. Sure, in the end, it’s just food, they say. Only idiots would pay $500+ for a meal, they decry. Well then, let us fools be parted with our money – these tables are hard enough to nab as they are.

So many people tried to book a table at The Fat Duck’s 6-month stint in Melbourne – nearly 100,000 people applied for the mere chance. I, the masochist, tried my luck at the chef’s table – an even more improbable feat. Needless to say, I was truly counting on a lucky star to shine upon me. And then, one did.

Date Last Visited: 10/1/2014 (London) | 04/07/2015 (Melbourne)
Address: High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ, United Kingdom | 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, VIC
Recommended Dish(es): the experience itself

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Restaurant Amuse Cover

Restaurant Amusé | Perth

“Here is the menu for tonight, I’m going to leave it face-down on the side of the table, so you choose to be surprised.”

I tried, I really did. I couldn’t resist. After the first few snacks, I had to take a peek. Restaurant Amusé’s food is just too good not to spoil. Say hello to Western Australia’s best restaurant.

Date Last Visited: 9/6/15
Address: 64 Bronte St, East Perth, WA
Highlight Dish(es): Mushroom, sunflower & cauliflower, Marron, carrot, quinoa & buckwheat, Duck, artichoke & orange

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Haven Cover

Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously | Surry Hills

Haven: a place of safety or refuge. “A safe haven in times of trouble.” 

We can add one more definition to the word Haven: a specialty cafe, and one of the only ones where you can get your coffee tailored to suit your very own, highly individualised palate. Now that sounds like the right kind of Haven for coffee lovers. Now, let’s seek coffee refuge!

Date Last Visited: 26/6/15
Address: 30-34 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Recommended Dish(es): genmaicha chicken burger, braised lamb & quinoa salad, the coffee

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