Thursday, December 24, 2009

Review : Rockpool Bar & Grill

66 Hunter Street

Lunch Monday to Friday
Dinner Monday to Saturday

Every Christmas Eve Buggles & I like to have a quiet celebratory lunch....celebrating another year of putting up with each other and managing not to kill each other. Usually this lunch is at Bistro Moncur however, after my lunch at Spice Temple (sans Buggles...and yes she is VERY jealous), I felt I needed more Neil Perry, so we decided to head to Rockpool Bar & Grill.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: Ventuno

21 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay

Mon - Sun  12pm - 11.30pm

Squeak and I have been haunting the Walsh Bay area now for some years, and in that time have seen a number of restaurants open (and close). It is, no doubt, a prime spot due to the fact that it really is the hub of the Sydney Theatre Company's productions. One place that we regularly return to is Ventuno. This place is in some ways an oddity for this part of town - top location and view, stylish decor, consistently good service and some of the best pizza we've had in a long time.  Oh, and I forgot to mention.... really reasonably priced!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review : bangbang

113 Reservoir Street
Surry Hills 2010
M-F 8 am-4 pm
Sat-Sun 8 am-2 pm
So what do Buggles & Squeak do when they fancy 'Welsh Rarebit' for breakfast on a Saturday & Bar Mattino  is closed? A desperate search for an alternative ensues!
The search for more 'Welsh Rarebit' in Sydney has been a long one for Buggles & Squeak, at long last we thought we found one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: Sabayon

Shop 4
Melbourne Building
West Row
Canberra City

Monday : Friday 12 - 3
Monday : Saturday 6 - 11

Buggles and Squeak decided to head out of town for the weekend to visit Squeak's very good friend, Michelle (of past Funky Deli Cafe fame!). Of course, we did our research to find out where the best place in Canberra was to go for dinner. Sabayon wasn't it..... they were already booked; but Sabayon got a few relatively decent reviews, so we decided to give it a shot.
Sabayon is located in the 'Melbourne' building right in the heart of downtown Canberra. This obviously means it has a real Saturday night vibe about it, but of course there isn't much of a view. On entering the restaurant, it was smaller than expected and (I'll be honest) a little shabby looking. Having said that... our main priority is the food.
To start off wew order a bottle of the Mac Forbes 2008 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir . It was a good drop, (Squeak was particulalrly partial), but I must admit we certainly do not consider ourselves knowledgable on the subject of wine. We either like it, or we don't. We liked this one.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review: digi.kaf

174 St Johns Rd,

M-F: 7-4
Sa: 8-4
Su: 9-3

digi.kaf is a bit of an old favourite with Squeak and I. Sometimes amongst the monotony of many Sydney cafes it is refreshing to come acrosss a place that serves interesting breakfast options.  Don't get me wrong, we love the old fave's as well as anybody (if done well) but really a bit of variety is needed also. digi.kaf is the place to go if you are after something a little different.

digi.kaf is off the main shopping strip of Glebe, on St Johns Road, and it really is a pleasant little spot.  Walking in, the service is always quite friendly, especially by the gentleman we assume is the owner. Welcoming, but not intrusive. You can sit in the front area, or up the stairs towards the back where they also have an internet cafe.  On the one time we've used that service, the prices seemed pretty reasonable.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Review: Vulcans - CLOSED

33 Govetts Leap Rd,

Open Lunch-dinner Fri-Sun; March-Nov

"Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be" sang Andy Williams in the theme from 'Love Story'....he could have easily been singing about Buggles & Squeaks' love affair with Vulcans.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Review: Rosa's Kitchen

288 Unwins Bridge Road
(Cnr Park Road)

The brightly coloured paint used to coat the outside of Rosa's Kitchen symbolised the burgeoning hope of many Sydenham/Tempe residents that the culinary wasteland that exists in this region was soon to be fertilized. Peeks in the shop window prior to opening had many wondering if it were to be a cafe, or a gourmet food store... things were looking very promising.

Squeak and I thought we'd pop in to see if all of this hope was to be fulfilled. What we discovered was certainly a spark of hope, but certainly tempered with some disappointment. This is a place that seems to not be wholly focused on what it wants to be, and there seems to be a lot of unfulfilled potential. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review : Bourke Street Bakery

2 Mitchell Street,

Mon-Fri 7am-4pm,
Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Buggles & Squeak live in a part of Sydney that some may describe as 'God forsaken', we however, love it for its close proximity to the CBD, Newtown, Erskineville & Alexandria.
As such we have decided to embrace our neighbourhood & support some of the 'newer' local establishments.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: Bellevue Hotel Dining Room

159 Hargrave Street
Paddington  NSW

Tuesday - Friday: 12.00 noon – 2.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12.30pm - 3.00pm
Closed Monday Lunch

Monday - Saturday: 6pm – 10pm
Closed Sunday Dinner

We all require different things from our food experiences and these will inevitably alter over the course of any given day, week or month. Squeak and I love fine dining, we love experimental cuisine, we are not averse to a bit of cheap and cheerful, but sometimes what everyone really needs is comfort, homely food.  This is the niche where The Bellevue Hotel's restaurant resides.... and they do it well!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review : Danks Street Depot (Dinner) - CLOSED

1/2 Danks Street
Waterloo NSW 2017

Cafe & Bar

Monday - Wednesday 7:30am - 4:00pm
Thursday - Friday 7:30am - 11:00pm
Saturday 8:00am - 11:00pm
Sunday & public holidays 9:00am - 4:00pm

Buggles & Squeak originally had a reservation for the 'Flinders Inn', but after a day of visiting family & playing with puppies, decided that we wanted something a little closer to home & without parking hassles. We therefore cancelled our reservation at the Flinders & headed instead to 'Danks Street Depot'. We have been regulars at Danks Street pretty much since it opened, we have visited often for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Our last visit was for dinner about four weeks ago & it was most enjoyable.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Review : Buppa's Bakehouse - CLOSED


Visit Three (don't judge us!)

482 King Street

Buppa's Bakehouse is now CLOSED.

Frankly, by this stage you should be well aware of the elicit affair Squeak and I are engaged in with Buppa's Bakehouse. This week we made it a Ménage à trois. with 'Cooty' (aka Squeak's mum). If you cannot figure out why we are trying to convert the world yet... just look at that picture! Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie. If anything can sum up these American baked delights, this would have to be it. Who knows what is in the base... Oreos??? All we know it is very, very good. The texture is like a light cheesecake, but it is chocolatey and peanutbuttery with chunks of peanut and chocolate flecks throughout. To top it off.... Hersheys Chocolate sauce.

I went for the Key Lime Pie. It is one of those things that we always hear about in American movies, so when I saw it on the menu, I had to go there. Once again... the base. I'll be up front right now. This is the second time I've had it. There - I've admitted it. The base, once again is delightful. It is very buttery, and delicious. It is slightly different this time however, as last time the base had this gorgeous spiced flavour that made me wonder if it had been made with ginger nut biscuits. So... this time it was different, but that really is testament to the fact that the goods at Buppa's evolve and are slightly different each time... that they are made fresh... not from a production line. So who can complain? It is like a lime cheesecake, and has a real lime tang to it which works well with the butteriness of the base.

So yes... we know. We have nobody but ourselves to blame for our girths... but you should be proud... Squeak did walk past last week without buying anything. We are trying to develop our own '12 step program' for Buppa's Bakehouse. Is it still a problem if we limit ourselves to once a fortnight?
Just one day at a time. Just one day at a time

Visit Two

UPDATE: (sorry no pictures - it was a spontaneous visit)
After an 'out of the ordinary' morning movie, Squeak and I thought we'd pop back into Buppa's Bakehouse for a spot of cake and coffee.

This time, Squeak writhed and turned as she tried to make up her mind, but finally settled on the Black Bottomed Pecan Pie. I certainly can see why, it looked absolutely delicious! The fact there were only two slices left does always bode well also.
This pie was amazing. There is no other way to describe it. The pie crust was flaky and light, and didn't detract from the rich, caramelly/ custardy(?) filling, embracing the plump sultanas and topped by caramelised pecan nuts. There was also a bourbon infusion that really just set the whole thing off and made the whole tart cohesive. Squeak was in some sort of pecan heaven murmuring things about buying a whole tart (ostensibly to share the experience with others - but just quietly, I'm not too sure her plans are for sharing!) I tried a mouthful (or three) and can assure you that Squeak will have a fight on her hands to keep it to herself.

I opted for the Apple Spice Cake with (once again) that all important thick icing. It was just what the doctor ordered - well.... maybe not the cardiac doctor. The cake was moist and light, and the cream cheese icing was spiced with cinnamon. It was truly delicious... but to be honest I rarely concede that Squeak chooses the better dish... but today, I will admit to some pangs of dessert envy.

Unfortunately waistlines.... we will be back!

(P.S - read on below to relive our first experience! Yes, I know... it was just a couple of weeks ago.)

Visit One
There are some things that I just know get Squeak excited. That's why, when I read about a bakery that opened dangerously close to us, that also specialised in North American baked goods.... I knew our waistlines might have some trouble in the near future. When Squeak suggested a trip to Buppa's Bakehouse was necessary to reward ourselves (in advance of the housework yet to do)... I grabbed the keys and off we went!

Buppa's Bakehouse sits at the southern end of King St (ie. towards St Peters), which means that it isn't too far to wander down from the station, and it also means the chances of getting parking nearby are slightly increased. When you enter the store, it is simply, but stylishly decked out, and everything draws you to the display stand. There wasn't a lot left when we got there, but in our 30 minute stay, Buppa already had a new batch of Monkey Muffins out of the oven and onto the display trays, and an Apple and Blueberry Pie was on its way also.

The main reason we were going is because of Squeak's penchant for all things lemon and all things with a chocolate and peanut butter combo. These are two things she believes the Americans do very well. Unfortunately, on our visit, these things weren't featured - apart from the Peanut Butter Choc Chip cookies ($3 each - pictured above).

I order the Blueberry Cheesecake ($6). It looked good, although I will admit to feeling intimidated by the size of the portion. Baked cheesecakes can be a bit too rich, or a bit too sickly sweet, so I fully expected to either leave half of it, or go home ill. I did neither. It is difficult to describe how something as heavy looking can manage to be quite 'light'.
Don't get me wrong, it still had that 'baked cheesecake' texture to it, but it escaped being too dense or cloying. The filling was deliciously creamy, and definitely not too sweet. The base was a triumph- and we all know how integral a base is to any cheesecake experience! (Note to Squeak who tried suggesting that she would make me a 'baseless' cheesecake one day...)
It was darker than most bases I've seen, and it was buttery and crumbly, but once again, not heavy. The blueberry glaze/jam that topped the cheesecake, was perfectly complemented by the fresh blueberries that topped it all off. They both added dimensions of sweetness and moisture that set the whole thing off perfectly. Often a cheesecake can leave you wishing you hadn't gone there.... (well, for me anyway), but this one didn't.

Squeak, despite missing out on all things peanut butter or lemon, was keen to try the cake called 'Rabbit Food' ($7). This gave the whole name an entirely new and pleasant connotation. There was nothing green, leafy or unappetising about this 'Rabbit Food'. It looked like everything a carrot cake should be - moist, and (let's face it - the most important bit of all) it had a nice thick layer of creamy icing. Upon arrival, and closer inspection, we could also see lots of nice chunks of fruit and real carrot!

This is one thing that Buppa will proudly let you know. There are no 'fake' anything's in her baked goods. No added preservatives - other than the alcohol in vanilla - and certainly no artificially dyed substances pretending to be carrot.

Squeak tucked in, and was really impressed by how moist the cake was. The flavour was spot on - with that all-important spicing. The icing was good - but Squeak felt was perhaps a bit too sweet, and I'm with her on this one. We love a good carrot cake icing - but it has to hit the right note of cream cheese, or lemon tang. This one had a hint of cream cheese, but was perhaps overwhelmed a bit by sweetness. The star here was the cake itself.

Watch out for the arrival of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the next few weeks. Buppa's Bakehouse is one of the only stores around Sydney that will be selling it. We are certainly looking forward to it - although, once again, our waistlines may disagree.

We loved this little place. The service is very friendly and the cakes are great comfort food. There is something really warm and inviting about a place whose owner is so proud of her creations, and bakes everything in the kitchen just behind the counter. It's all fresh - and this all translates onto the plate.
We'll certainly be back - perhaps next time with our young niece Holly (who likes to whip up a baked good or two herself!)
Buppa's Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

Review : Post Cafe

274a Marrickville Road Marrickville
NSW 2204

Mon - Fri 6am - 5pm

Sat - Sun 7am - 4pm

How do I start this review? Buggles & Squeak were after breakfast close to home, so we thought we would try Marrickville as opposed to our usual spots of Newtown, Surry Hills, Glebe etc. This as it turns out was a mistake.
We had been to the Post Cafe on other occasions & while the food was never spectacular, it wasn't awful....until today.

Review : Bentley Restaurant & Bar

320 Crown Street
Surry Hills 2010

Open Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch & Dinner
12 noon til late

The Bentley offers modern, sophisticated food & wine in an informal, relaxed setting.

Buggles & Squeak have been regulars at the Bentley for many years now.
We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, appreciate the  friendly & knowedgeable service, we indulge in the amazing cocktails & devour the inventive cuisine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review : aboutlife

605 Darling Street
Rozelle, 2039

Mon-Thurs 6am-8pm
Fri 6am-7pm
Sat & Sun 7am-7pm

Buggles & Squeak have gone organic, so it stands to reason that we would do our weekly grocery shop at an (almost) totally organic supermarket - aboutlife.

I'll begin by saying that shopping at 'aboutlife' is incredibly stress free, there are no crowded aisles, no queues for the checkout, instore is all very civilised.

Review : Big Brekky

316 Stanmore Rd

NSW 2049
Mon-Sat 7am - 3pm
Sundays 8am - 3pm
Public Hols 8am-3pm

Buggles & I always do Sunday breakfast before heading off to 'Aboutlife' for our organic grocery shop.

We arrive at Big Brekky & it didn't start well. As we waited to be seated we were approached by a rather surly waitress, we requested a table for two & she pointed in the general direction of a vacant table. At no point did she feel the need to speak.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review : Cinque

Shop 1a
261 King St

M-Su 7.30 - 11

Cinque is a very busy cafe perfectly located right next to the Dendy cinema in Newtown.  This could be viewed as a good or a bad thing though.  It really is convenient if you plan to go to the cinema (as Squeak and I did this evening), and it also ensures that your food is fresh.  Having said that, such popularity can mean a certain nonchalance in altering menus to keep them fresh and vibrant.

Squeak and I have been to this cafe many times. It's right near the Fish music store, the Better Read than Dead bookstore, and the Dendy cinema... not to mention all the other great shops along King St.  It really is in the heart of Newtown - which goes a long way to explaining the long queues on weekend mornings of people waiting to get a table. We decided on an early-ish dinner as the film started at 7... so we managed to get a table pretty easily.  On perusing the menu, it became apparent that it had not changed at all since the last time we'd been - which was probably a good 6 months earlier.

Review : Funky Cafe Deli - CLOSED

256 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
Take Away
Mon-Wed 8am-11.30pm
Thu-Sun 8am-midnight

Funky Cafe Deli is a great little find right in the heart of Newtown. The perfect spot for a pre/post Dendy dinner or a leisurely lunch. On the occasion of my visit, I was lunching with my friend Michelle & her son Heath.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review : Adriano Zumbo - Cafe Chocolat - RELOCATED

Shop 5
308 Darling St,

M-F 8-4
S-S  9-5

Adriano Zumbo has received a lot of press lately, and this certainly increased as a result of MasterChef Australia with those magnificent sweet creations. Squeak and I have always been aware of this patisserie, but had never given it a go ( Note from Squeak : Buggles seems to forget the 3 lush desserts we purchased from the patisserie, the chocolate fondant so rich that my mum could not finish it & she is a confirmed chocoholic!)- which is strange considering my penchant for macaroons.
So, we decided try it out.  We went to the Cafe Chocolat, which is just up a bit from the Patisserie, to sit down and sample some sweet treats.
There are savoury items on offer, and some of our fellow diners were partaking of those, but we went straight for what we were really there for - dessert.
I ordered the 'It's not a hamburger... It's a macaron!'  As the name suggests, this dessert is presented in the style of a hamburger made of chocolate macarons, filled with a dulce de leche gelato and chocolate sauce.  The macarons are gorgeously chewy, and the gelato is sweet, 'caramelly' and delicious. All of this sits atop a banana and caramel rice pudding.  I know this might sound a bit odd - but it really adds a different dimension.  The rice pudding is soft, but still with a bit of bite to it. To finish off, there is some bitter chocolate 'soil' scattered over the top, which adds a nice bit of crunch.  I also ordered a butterscotch milkshake which was perhaps ill-advised purely becuse it was all so rich, but those glugs of thick, soft caramel/butterscotch within the ice-cold milk were quite delicious.  I couldn't finish it though, as it did become a bit much by the end of the meal.

Review : Two Good Eggs

Shop 2

148 Goulburn St,
Surry Hills

M-F 7.30-3  
Sa-Su 8-3

Two Good Eggs is another of those popular city cafes tucked away from sight. Organic and natural is the mantra here, so you can indulge in that breakfast or brownie without feeling (too) guilty.

After a big night out and a bit of a sleep in, Sqeak and I needed some sustenance so we headed to our favourite suburb - Surry Hills.  This is the suburb to head to if you need some tucker. Located in the Meta by Starck building, the interior of the cafe is equally as funky - concrete floors (fashionably scuffed) and large sash windows overlooking the streetscape below.

Review : Quay

Overseas Passenger Terminal,
The Rocks, Sydney 2000

Tuesday to Friday
12 noon - 2:30 pm
Monday to Sunday
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Cuisine: Modern Australian

Quay is the perfect spot for that special occasion or for impressing interstate & overseas visitors.

Buggles and I are celebrating our 9 years together, so surely an indulgent dinner at Quay was in order.
We have decided that Quay is our 'anniversary' restaurant, we were there last year & again last night.

The night started well with a parking spot virtually outside the door.

On entering the restaurant we are greeted warmly & then swiftly guided to our uptairs table. To say the 280 degree view is spectacular would be an understatement, you feel as though (were it not for the glass) you can reach out & touch the water.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Review : Bar Mattino

96 Abercrombie Street,

M-F 7 -5 Sun 8-4


While Squeak and I frequent Bar Mattino on a relatively regular basis, we do not always write about it, as we invariably order the same things, and to be honest, it is always so consistently good, there is no need. I do feel the need to mention a menu offering that I sampled today however.
Home made Crumpets with lashings of butter & golden syrup. What presented itself was four spongey looking discs lathered in gorgeous golden syrup, with crunchy edges that had soaked up the syrup and butter. Words cannot describe how good these were! Give them a shot!

Bar Mattino sits but a short distance from the hustle and bustle of Sydney's CBD, and yet it retains the feel of a local neighbourhood favourite.