Alpha, Sydney CBD
It seems so many Greek restaurants start with the letter A. Athenian, (the) Apollo and Alpha restaurant, anointed one hat in this year's Good Food Guide awards. I visited Alpha with a group of friends for my birthday. To make ordering easy, we chose the banquet menu known as Yia Yia's table for $55 per person. The interiors looked modern and clean, with high ceilings and fishing net inspired lights.
We started with the Pita bread with a trio of dip (smoked eggplant dip, a white cod's roe dip and hommus). The dips were moreish and quickly devoured by our table. The white cod dip was especially creamy and flavoursome.
I had heard rave reviews about the Haloumi Saganaki with ouzo, lemon and oregano and it did not disappoint. The haloumi is rich and chewy, coated in the ouzo and lemon marinade.
Two whole Spanakopitas fresh out of the oven soon appeared on our table. I loved the flaky buttery pastry with generous filling of spinach, leeks, fetta and dill. The pastry to filling ratio was just right.
Greek spiced slow roasted lamb shoulder, roast potatoes and tzatziki smells amazing and incredibly tasty. The lamb was perfectly cooked, the meat just falls off the bone at the slightest touch and is well seasoned with the Greek spices. Crispy roasted potatoes and tzatziki were the perfect accompaniment.
Horiatiki salad. I don't usually find greek salad all that exciting, but this Horiatiki salad was definitely the best greek salad I have eaten. It was clear Alpha has used the freshest tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, topped with a chunky piece of fetta cheese.
Dessert was Loukoumades (Greek style doughnuts) with a spiced honey syrup and candied walnut ice cream. The loukoumades were a bit too sweet for my liking but had a lovely fluffy texture. I did enjoy the candied walnut icecream though.
Overall, the banquet menu is excellent value and Alpha is a great place to have a long lunch in the city.
Devon on Danks, Waterloo
Devon on Danks is an extension of the very popular Devon Cafe in Surry Hills. Visiting on the opening weekend, we were lucky to get a seat without waiting. However, we were informed that the kitchen was closed for 20 minutes to catch up on their orders.
Feeling rather hungry, we decided to skip straight to desserts and ordered the mini donuts, which sat on the pastry bar, demanding to be eaten.
These weren't ordinary donuts. The flavours change day to day and today's selection was Raspberry sugar, Milo and Matcha with red bean. We decided to get one each and weren't disappointed. The raspberry one came with a syringe, for you to inject your own raspberry coulis into it. The matcha and red bean had really authentic flavours and had a great texture.
Breakfast With the Sakuma’s is one of Devon Cafe's most popular dish. It consists of salmon, a smoked eel croquette, a gooey 63 degree egg and kewpie mayo. The salmon was perfectly tender, the croquette was crispy tho I could not really taste the smoked eel.
Lucky Duck is an exclusive dish at the Devon on Danks branch and consists of crispy duck leg, French buckwheat crepe, a fried duck egg, duck liver parfait and blueberry preserve. The parfait was rich yet not overly so. The duck was crispy and well seasoned. The saltiness of the duck egg was balanced by the sweetness of the blueberry preserve, with the buckwheat crepe the perfect accompaniment to this very flavoursome dish.
We debated whether to get our second dessert of this meal given we were fairly full. The pork floss cronut was just too intriguing to pass up. It tasted exactly like the pork floss buns you can get at Asian bakery stores but with a crunchy pastry - love it. The pastry at Brewtown Newtown is a tad crispier but I love their Asian inspired flavours here.
There are still so many things I want to try from this menu, will definitely be paying Devon on Danks another visit.
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