Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills

Talk about procrastination! I have 10 pages of report waiting for me to make and I'm not even halfway done, but I hear the calling from my blog, lol.

So today I'm reviewing a cafe I visited last Sunday after church. We were planning on going to Bill's at Surry Hills, but it was so full and we were so hungry that we decided to go to Rustic Pearl instead. It was a good decision as everything was satisfying.

What I love from Rustic Pearl is how it's not a common kind of brunch places that offers classic menu. Here, they give a mediterranean twist to classics like Eggs benedict and baked eggs. Even cuter, they serve all their food picnic-style. Everything was served nicely on a wooden serving board.

Although they have very limited seating indoor and out,  the very attentive and very friendly staff managed to get the six of us a table in less than 5 minutes, despite the fact that it was quite packed as it was lunch time... So thumbs up for service! The staffs kept trying to have small conversations with all of us in between serving, making the whole dining experience even better. And although we sat outdoor, they always go back and forth indoor and out to make sure no customer is ignored.

Rustic pearl is located in Crown Street, very close to Mad Spuds Cafe, Four Ate Five and Gelato Messina, to name a few well-known places in Crown Street. We were sitting outdoor and so we get to see people passing by Crown Street happily carrying their Gelato Messina. Oh! I even met Gerard Butler right in front of Rustic Pearl just a few weeks ago. No kidding! I was so excited, lol.


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Lemon water bottle served with lemon as the bottle stopper. And notice that long pieces of tile in the middle of the table. Reminds me of ceramic tiles in Caltagirone, Sicily, Italy.


Spinach, Fetta & Mozzarella Gozleme (AUD 16)

I can't stress enough how good this gozleme was. I haven't had that many gozleme in Sydney, but I can say that this is the best gozleme I have ever had. It was even better than the scrumptious gozleme in The Rocks market. The combination of the salty fetta and mild-fragrant mozzarella cheese works really well with the subtle flavor of spinach. I can have 3 plates of this gozleme myself. Maybe 5 even. Please get this if you go to Rustic Pearl.

Braised Soft Centered Organic Eggs - with spinach, homemade ricotta, nigella and sumac coated Japanese breadcrumbs, topped with Petuna ocean trout (AUD 23)

I didn't try the ocean trout cause it was raw and I didn't eat anything raw, unless I REALLY have to. Some people think I'm weird cause I don't eat sashimi and all that good stuff. I am just still terrified by my high school biology teacher's story of how a person's brain was filled with worms because they ate too much sashimi. It's not a secret that I HATE worms. No, more like terribly scared of it.



Braised Soft Centered Organic Eggs - with spinach, homemade ricotta, nigella and sumac coated Japanese breadcrumbs, with sucuk on the side (AUD 23)

I googled what sucuk was before I ordered it and it turns out to be a kind of sausage. Interested, I ordered it as a side to this baked egg dish. It turned out to be a very delicious kind of sausage. I didn't dare asking what type of meat was used, just hoping that it was beef. Cause Wikipedia said that horse meat is sometimes used to make sucuk. But, whatever meat was used, it was a good sausage. The baked egg itself was good with runny yolks and crunchy savoury breadcrumb. It has a LOT of wilted spinach at the bottom of the dish that I feel like popeye after finishing this dish. One little thing I didn't like about this dish is how the spinach was so watery and it makes everything soup-like. Despite that, I like everything that I finished every bit of it.



Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger - with red onion jam, smoky eggplant puree, fresh tomato, cos lettuce & yoghurt dressing (AUD 18)

My friend ordered this dish and he said that it was really good. By the look and smell of it, I know that it was a good lamb patty and the fact that he finished the whole thing confirms that it was a good lamb burger. Although I didn't get a chance to try it because I'm not a fan of lamb, I recommend this dish cause I saw a lot of people ordering this burger, so it should be good.


Sucuk Bruschetta - with chargrilled sucuk, melted buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, avocado, basil, rocket, pomegranate molasses, soft boiled egg (AUD 17)

How beautiful is this dish served on the wooden serving board. It was a delicious bruschetta, the creamy avocado and strong flavor of the sucuk was made even better with the mozzarella. The best thing about this dish is the soft boiled egg. I know it's only an egg, but look at how beautifully cooked that was.




Nutella, banana, coconut and almond gozleme (AUD 14)

Indonesian who likes Roti Bakar (classic toast in Indonesia) will definitely like this. It was gozleme filled with soft sweet banana and nutella, topped with chocolate powder (I suspect that it was Milo), roasted almonds and dessicated coconut. I can't describe how good the combination is, but this is a perfect dish to finish our meal as a dessert. I'd happily have all 9 pieces by myself. Besides the spinach, fetta and mozzarella gozleme, please also get this dessert gozleme even if you're already too full from the savories.

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Would definitely be back to try their Eggs Benedict. They serve lobster meat with Eggs benedict (!!)
Also would like to try their gnocchi from the lunch menu. So till next time, my beloved gozlemes!

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Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 9/10

Rustic Pearl on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bootsdarling, Darlinghurst

I went here last Sunday and it was a rainy morning, in fact it was raining the whole day. Is it just me or is rain very annoying? Especially when you have to walk through puddles and get splashed by the windblown rain, even when you're already wearing an umbrella. Rain is easily on the list of things that I hate, except when I'm at home sleeping.

So when I got here, I was half soaking wet and my mood is seriously as down as London Bridge. 
ps: all pictures taken by my iPhone again, so the quality is as good as 
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Bootsdarling, located in South Dowling St, is a new cafe opening up early this year. Serving all day breakfast, it is one of the best new cafe in Sydney. 


They have that rustic cash register, which I think is pretty cool. 


The place itself is not that spacious, and it was quite packed when I got there. But the staff was attentive enough to find a way to squeeze us in to wait for available table. In the midst of us squeezing, I still manage to take a picture of how unique the interior is decorated. It has that woody-gardeny, rustic, atmosphere. very pretty.


View from the window seat. Nice for sipping coffee and their delicious selection of muffins.


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Mocha (AUD 3.50)
Coffee bean sourced from Josh Bailey of Bailey Coffee in Melbourne, I think that it has a very nice aroma and body. If you opt for soy milk, they uses Bonsoy, which is the BEST soy milk to couple with coffee. Anyway, it was a good cuppa. Moodbooster? Yes, it is, I was then ready for food.


Bootsdarling baked egg
Another baked egg dish for brunch. This one has a nice tomato sauce base and on top it was crumbled with feta cheese, which gives it a tangy flavor, and toasted almond, which gives you the crunch. Served with toasted sourdough, there's nothing I can complain about this dish. It was a good Moroccan baked egg.


Steak 'sandwich'
Served on a nicely toasted brioche bun, the steak itself was cooked perfectly as it is not tough and easy to cut into. Served with melted cheese, salad, and a nice tomato sauce, it didn't last on the board for long. Would I say this is better than Three Blue Ducks'? Hmm, maybe not, it was good in a different kind of way. Recommended for steak sandwich lovers!


Mushroom burger 
Mushroom lover, you have got to order this. Generous serving of mushroom cooked down to perfection. Served with a nice i-dont-know-what sauce and a side salad. It is a good option for vegan, and although it didn't have any meat, me and my friends enjoyed it to every bits.


Smoked haddock omelette 
It may seem like a plain omelette with little bits and pieces in it. But it's not. When you bit into the smoked haddock, you know what it's one of the specialties in Bootsdarling. It was served with chili, mint, and raita yogurt. Perfect for sharing in the middle.


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Would definitely be back to try their very famour Pork Hash dish! It was so packed that day that they're out of pork hash :(

Food: 7/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10

Bootsdarling on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jones the Grocer

Ever go to level 5 of Westfield Pitt St mall? I bet you can't pass by Jones the Grocer without first taking one good glance of their cake and pastry display... Their display, so colorful and pretty, is an absolute head-turner.




They have wide range of sandwiches too, the size is quite big compared to most cafe sandwiches.


The entrance to the grocery and the restaurant. In the middle is like a mini fromagery where they got all sorts of delicious cheese. I wish I have one at home and I can eat them all the time without gaining weight.





It looked pretty quiet cause I was here at around 10.30am and I bet this place is crowded every lunch time and dinner, cause when I left at around 12pm, this place had started to be filled up with hungry office people or just the mall visitor. It has a very cosy atmosphere, maybe because of the dim lightning and so it's a nice place for casual lunch, business talk, or simply just chilling with your friends. Although it was too dark that it was quite difficult to get good picture of the food. But overall, it was a very nice place. Although I was quite disappointed of how the lunch menu starts at 12pm and I got there too early that I had to choose from the breakfast menu. I have always wanted to try their pastas.
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Mocha (AUD 3)

All their regular coffee costs AUD 3, and it was quite cheap compared to other coffee shops cause it's usually 3.50 or more. Plus it was a good coffee, so its a great deal.

Breakfast burger - chorizo, sunny side up, mozzarella and some spicy mayo with hasbrown (AUD forgot the price)
There's only one thing I didn't like about this burger, and it's the chorizo. It was downright burnt. I know it shows red color in the picture, but when I flipped it, it was all burnt on the other side. Despite that everything else was okay. Nothing stands out about this burger, but Jones the Grocer does use a high quality brioche bun and I love it. Overall, it was a pretty good dish, will be better if the chorizo wasn't burnt.

Breakfast risotto with poached egg and hollandaise sauce (AUD 14)

First thing that I have to highlight here is the portion. It came in a dish that is almost as small as a saucer, me and my friends were quite shocked when we saw it. But then again, it was under breakfast menu so don't expect a generous portion. But still, compared to the breakfast risotto in Cafe Morso, it was tiny. Tastewise, it was really good. Nicely cooked risotto, generous hollandaise sauce. So nothing to complain tastewise, all so good and perfect :) Although I would say that I prefer the breakfast risotto in Cafe Morso.

Benedict breakfast, smoked ham, spinach & poached free range eggs on house baked muffin (AUD 17)
This is different from a classic Eggs Benedict in only one way: the way it's assembled. In the middle was a stack of english muffin, smoked ham, english muffin, spinach and poached egg at the top. On the side of it was a lonely poached egg. I still don't understand why it was plated that way, lol. It has generous hollandaise sauce poured on top. Overall, it was an okay Eggs Benedict, although the hollandaise sauce was too runny and it doesn't have a wow factor.

As usual, an eggporn action.

Mango, passionfruit and coconut cake (AUD 4.90)
We got ourselves a slice of cake from the cake display outside. This cake has mango mousse on the top part along with a nice and moist pound-cake-like bottom, on top was passionfruit glaze that has a pretty orange-red gradient. The only coconut I saw was the desiccated coconut on its side. It was a really good cake, not heavy at all, very refreshing. I specially love the passionfruit glaze on top.

Sticky date pudding (AUD 12)
Just when we thought we can't order dessert under lunch menu, the staff told us that we can cause they're ready and it was about 11.30am. So we ordered their famous sticky date pudding. It took some time to came out, but it was worth the wait. It was fingerlicking yummy! The combination of the sticky date pudding with the warm butterscotch sauce and the nice vanilla ice cream works really well together and it wasn't too sweet at all. Absolute perfection! Highly recommended!

The inside of the sticky date pudding. It has a sticky date center, I don't know if it shows in the picture.
Anyway, it was a very good ending to our meal and I should say that this is the best dish of today's meal. Second is the breakfast risotto. Or is it maybe because I'm such a big fan of risotto?

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Would definitely be back for the sticky date pudding and of course the next visit here will be pass 12pm cause that's when they offer lunch menu. Would be back to try their orecchiette with braised beef and shaved truffle!

Food: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Price: $$


Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 18, 2014

Two Good Eggs, Surry Hills

I gotta say, I judged a book by its cover and I was wrong. The story is... I was browsing for brunch places in Surry Hills and was recommended this one restaurant by Urbanspoon, called Two Good Eggs, and so I googled this cafe and found a picture of the interior. It has a very plain design and there's nothing unique about it, unlike other cafes I've seen. You know like those cafe with nice view, nice interior design; one cafe even got a bicycle hung up on the ceiling. Although it has a very rating, I never considered this place.

Few days ago, however, I gave this place a chance and tried it out... fell in love, and came back this morning. So that's 2 visit in a week. Need to be noted here though, their portion is huge and so come here only when you're that hungry. Or else, there's gonna be a lot of wasted sourdough, and I can't stand but eat it (happened today when I ate all the sourdough my friends left).




As I've told you, the interior is quite plain, but it does have a good natural lightning from the sun cause it's surrounded by windows. So it's good for taking pictures of food or picture with friends. Or if you prefer a #selfie. 

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The staff was very friendly and I'd say that service was good and everything went very well. Food came out fast and all at once.

Mocha ($3.80)

They use Toby's Estate coffee bean. It was a decent mocha, frothed well and had a nice chocolate flavor. It's not too sweet or chocolatey, and I always love a tiny wafer on the side of my coffee :)



As the food came out all at once, all looking very good and appetizing, us girls can't help but take that mainstream shot from above. As I've said, the portion is HUGE, but it was just right for me ;)

Hash brown and Chorizo Stack - with sourdough, tomato sauce, tomato relish and scrambled egg (AUD 18.90) **

I can't pick anything that stands out from this dish, but every element here works very well together. It's a dish with simple ingredients, but it was done so well that it tasted specially good. The hash browns were crispy and at the same time very soft inside, nicely done spiced scrambled egg, the chorizo was so good it complemented everything else.

Roasted pork belly - with poached egg, caramelised onion, sourdough and hashbrown (AUD 18.90)
A generous three slabs of thick cut pork belly, roasted to great crispiness, it somehow has an oriental spice taste, but still it tasted really good with everything else. This time it was served with poached egg, sourdough and hash brown. The pork belly size was so big, my friend couldn't even finish it, although she's a pork belly lover.

Here's a closer look of the pork belly. 

Spanish Baked Eggs with spicy salami, black olives & manchego cheese served with sourdough  (AUD18.90)
I don't know about you, but I can't take my eyes off of that melted cheese on top. It was a very good baked eggs, with generous amount of diced salami, although there were times that I feel the tomato sauce was too sour, or maybe it's just because I bit an olive. Anyway, I dipped the buttered sourdough to the tomato sauce and I feel like flying. And the melted cheese on top is a plus point, so good.

Here's a closer look...

Some egg porn action.

Side of mushroom (AUD 3.80)
For an additional sides, we ordered mushroom and I was quite surprise that they actually gave us this much mushroom, and it was a portobello. Most brunch places serve button mushroom and in a very small portion.

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These are the pics from my second visit this morning...

Prawn and Chorizo Linguini with spinach, cherry tomato, parmesan and garlic bread (AUD 18.90) **
It was a really nice pasta dish. Linguini was al dente, sauce was really yummy, you can taste the high quality olive oil they used. Prawn cooked to crunchy perfection and chorizo spikes up the dish. Few grates of parmesan cheese makes it all even more perfect. Nothing to complain here, all good. Garlic bread was okay, although I tasted more of the crispy fried shallot on top of it.


Two Good Eggs Breakfast- Poached eggs with Bacon, Hash browns, Roasted Mushroom, Tomato and Sourdough Toast (AUD18.90)

Confused between the option of getting a big breakfast or the Eggs Benedict, I thought why not add hollandaise sauce to the poached egg in the big breakfast. The sauce is all I wanted from Eggs benedict anyway. Their hollandaise sauce was a bit too sour, but still good. Other element in this dish was so simple, but executed very well. Huge portion, well worth the 19 bucks.

A bit of egg porn action once again...

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The outside of Two Good Eggs. That's my friend Janice looking for her assignment paper that she thought she left in the cafe, lol. By the way, they have outdoor dining as well, but it was too cold that day. Weather down here has been fluctuating like crazy!


ps: **specials change every week. Call beforehand for this week's special. 

I give this cafe 4 thumbs up cause I haven't find anything wrong about the dishes I ordered and service was great, staffs were attentive and coffee was good. Highly recommended for brunch! Although, there's nothing very unique about this place, it's more of a go to place when you are looking for delicious dishes in a non fancy way.

Have a Good Friday everyone! God bless :)

Two Good Eggs on Urbanspoon

Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10