Mas.Que, St Leonards
Located in St Leonards, Mas.Que started popping up on my Instagram a few months back and I had been eager to try their Asian fusion fare since. Starting off with the drinks, I was intrigued by the Black Tea Latte which allowed you to draw your own art. The "ink" was some charcoal and beetroot essence and I had fun making my own creation. The latte had a very strong tea flavour too which I enjoyed.
The Brulee latte is essentially a cross between a creme brulee and a latte. It had the hard crack of a creme brulee and a cinnamon stick, which you use to stir the latte one the top layer is gone.
Onto the food and we got a load of dishes to share. The Wagyu Tataki and Soba noodles was a light and refreshing dish. The noodles came with a very flavoursome handmade sauce and an onsen egg that was perfectly cooked. Topping this off was a generous portion of thinly sliced Wagyu beef.
The highlight of the meal for me was no doubt the Soft Shell crab on Golden Sand Congee. It looked spectacular when it landed on the table. and was backed up by its taste. The congee was deliciously thick and had a lovely golden hue thanks to the split mung bean and the cordyceps (a type of fungus). It was topped with a crunchy Duck Yolk golden crisp with the piece de resistance, the soft shell crab, sitting on top. The crab was stunning and the dish was the perfect winter warmer.
The Taiwan Classic Bowl with braised pork and egg rolls was moreish and packed full of flavour. It's comfort food at its best. The side of Taiwanese fried chicken was crispy and succulent.
The Truffle pasta was a simple dish with only a few ingredients on the plate but done exceptionally well. The pasta had a good bite and I loved the truffle flavour that was present throughout the dish.
The Flaming bowl came with Truffle kombu sauce comes with wagyu beef, seared right in front of you. It's like a little set menu and comes accompanied with a soft boiled egg, fried tofu and pickles. The Truffle kombu sauce was full of umami flavour and it was another very fun dish to eat.
With so many cafes and restaurants in the lower North Shore, Mas.Que manages to stand out with its inventive cuisine, backed up by flavor.
There's no shortage of cafes on the lower north shore but not many serve as delicious food as Cavalier Specialty Coffee in Crows Nest.
But first, the coffee. I decided to go for the Chai Latte and it was velvety smooth with just the right balance of sweetness and spice.
For the food, we decided to go with the waitstaff's recommendation and ordered the Juniper cured ocean trout and the Hand made burrata with smoked almonds and cucumber.
First to arrive was the Ocean Trout which looked almost too pretty to eat, almost. The trout was beautifully cured and egg was perfectly cooked, interspersed with the mayonnaise, the buttery crumb and shards of toasted rye. The sprinkling of caviar just added that extra touch of decadence.
The Burrata was another beautifully constructed dish. Burrata on its own is already pretty tasty, but the crunchy smoked almonds and the refreshing cucumber soup really elevate it to a whole other level. The waitress advised that it's best to be shared as it's quite heavy, but I probably could have eaten it all myself!
The dish came with a croissant and a slice of rye bread, perfect for soaking up all those delicious juices.
Service was friendly and enthusiastic. I will no doubt be back again to sample the rest of the menu. Seating is limited in this cafe so be prepared to wait for a seat if you come during peak times.
Being a big fan of tea, I had been eager to check out The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar in Redfern. The cafe had a cool vibe and is beautifully decorated. There's a mini retail store inside with lots of displays showing the dazzling array of tea you can choose from (and purchase to take home).
The food in the menu all incorporates some element of tea into it. We went for the Green tea noodle soup with miso broth, shitake mushrooms and ginger dumplings. The broth was delicious and the dumpling filling was equally tasty. It was a very light and healthy dish, with just a hint of green tea from the noodles.
We also ordered the Slow cooked beef in black tea sandwich. It's hard to go wrong with a freshly grilled sandwich but I was still very impressed with the flavour combination. The beef was soft and the balance of the pickled cauliflower and the cheddar was spot on.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of tea to choose from in the drinks menu. After much deliberation, we went with the Gunpowder Green Tea (a suggested pairing with the green tea noodles) and a Ginger Snap Latte - which came in an adorable cup, with its own rabbit tail.
We were craving something sweet and opted for a Lavender and vanilla marshmallow. Great texture and flavour, it was just the little sugar hit we were after.
We definitely enjoyed our trip down the rabbit hole and it's great to see an organic tea bar thriving in Sydney. I'll definitely be back.
Chanoma, Sydney CBD
Chanoma is a Japanese cafe in Regent Place, also home to Aqua S, Chef's Gallery and Izakaya Yebisu. Its menu consist of a selection of Japanese hot dogs and all things green tea flavoured.
We ordered the special lunch offer available to Washoku Lovers members - it comprised of one Chanoma Dog (a Japanese Hot Dog), chicken nuggets and either a iced matcha/ grapefruit juice.
The Japanese Hot Dog came with a Kransky sausage and a curry flavoured cabbage & salsa minced meat sauce. The meat on meat combo somehow works and the curried mince sauce was delicious but a tad salty.
The Matcha Latte had a strong green tea flavour without being too overpowering or sweet. It went well with the hot dog and nuggets. I was also keen to try the grapefruit juice, which was served in the fruit itself. I learnt that the fruit is juiced inside its skin using a Cajyutta, a high tech fruit drill. The grapefruit juice was tangy and refreshing, great for a summer's day.
Chanoma Cafe is a great alternative to your standard fast food fare in the city. I'm keen to try out some of their other green tea flavoured desserts.
The Missing Piece, Macquarie Park
I have tried most of the options at the newly revamped Macquarie Centre (Chef's Gallery, Ippudo, Papparich to name a few), so was keen to try something new which is how I ended up at The Missing Piece. Located outside DJs and Uniqlo, the cafe was buzzing on the Saturday we visited.
The Missing Piece is known for its creative drinks so I tried the Tutti Frutti (a white peach, passion fruit, raspberries and rock melon frappe) which looked spectacular and tasted just as good. I loved the fact I could pick out whole raspberries in the drink and it wasn't all just blended into a pulp.
My bf got the GoNuts milkshake - combining two of his favourite things (cinnamon donuts and milkshake). It was topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and came with a snake wrapped around the straw - a quirky but nice touch. The milkshake had a good consistency and wasn't too sweet, so was very easy to drink.
The Sea salad with wood smoked salmon, kale, quinoa, chia seeds, almonds served with a poached egg was delicious. The dressing was simple - just olive oil and lemon but it was all the dish needed, and the percetly poached egg topped it off.
It was only when the dish arrived that I understood why it was called Hashtag sliders (With the polenta chips literally forming a hashtag). I loved the sliders - the lamb was soft and succulent and the jalapeno mayo gave it a touch of spice, though not too much. The polenta chips had a nice crispiness, but could have done with a bit more seasoning.
It can get quite busy on the weekend, but service is pretty efficient, so the wait isn't too long. On the way out, we saw some delicious looking cronuts and pastries at the front counter...which we will be back for next time!
Kepos Street Kitchen, Redfern
Kepos Street Kitchen had been on my list of cafes to try for a while. After a 15 minute wait, we were seated inside - the sun filled room felt warm and inviting. The menu had Middle Eastern influences and it was hard to make up our minds on what to try.
We started with some iced teas/ mocktails, which looked amazing served in mason jars. I had the Pear and Elderflower spritzer and it was refreshing without being overly sweet. There was also a generous serving of fruit to go with our drinks. It's nice to see a cafe with not just your standard juice/ smoothie drinks selection.
The Tunisian style seared Yellow Fin Tuna salad was a spectacular dish packed with flavour. I loved the combination of the perfectly seared tuna with the eggplant, soft boiled egg, potatoes and the harissa dressing.
I have never been a fan of vegemite, but I was intrigued to try the vegemite tahini dressing that went with the Moroccan lamb and pinenut cigars with a soft boiled egg. The hint of vegemite was slight so did not overpower the dish. The cigars were crisp and tasty, and who doesn't love a good soft boiled egg.
My friend ordered the Southern Fried Chicken sandwich, which is basically a burger and it's huge! The coleslaw and Chermoula mayo goes really well with the crunchy, tender chicken in a delicious brioche bun.
For dessert, we were informed by the waitress that there is no point of putting the desserts n the menu as it's ever changing and best to be seen at the front counter. A clever strategy as after you have inspected the array of sweets on offer, it's simply irresistible. We opted for the Pistachio and date tart and it was both crunchy and chewy, and not too sweet.
In my mind, Kepos Street Kitchen definitely deserves its hat and it's no wonder there is often a queue out the front. Service is fast and friendly and the food is great quality. It's the perfect place for a catch up with family or friends, and it's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kin by Us, Macquarie Park
Kin by Us, the cafe by former My Kitchen Rules contestants Uel and Shanelle, has been getting great reviews since it has opened. I was eager to find out whether this eatery which takes classic cafe dishes and give them an Asian twist lives up to all the hype.
The snap crackle plop is their signature dish and you can see why. It consists of chicken rice, chicken crackling and an onsen egg (an egg cooked at 63 degrees which is an item featured multiple times on their menu). The dish had an amazing aroma when it hit the table. The fried chicken skin is super tasty and addictive and the onsen egg was cooked perfectly with a runny yolk in the centre. The dish is bursting with flavour and whilst the serving is not big, at $10, I will be happy to order a second one!
The awesomely named Bao Cheeka Wow Wow with rendang beef cheek, pickled veg & crunchy bits in a steamed bun. The bao had inredible height and again, it was very flavoursome. The pickled vegetables offset the richness of the beef, and the bun was wonderfully soft and fluffy. It also came with a side of crackling which we were very happy to devour.
The coconut cold drip coffee had subtle notes of coconut which added a bit of sweetness and I loved the way it was served, with a little Asian cookie on the side.
Kin by Us is a great addition to the dining scene in the lower north shore. Their take of Asian cuisine in a cafe setting is not commonly found in Sydney. There were a few other things on the menu that caught our eyes so we are definitely looking forward to coming back.
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.
The Lodge, Lane Cove
Zucchini chips? It was just too intriguing to pass up. We were at The Lodge for brunch on a sunny Saturday morning.
The zucchini chips were quite large and chunky. It was covered in a tasty spiced tempura batter. Texture-wise, the chips were crunchy on the outside but still a bit wet on the inside. I felt quite healthy eating these as it resembled more veggie than chips...I still prefer sweet potato fries any day.
The tea smoked duck salad with fig, Gorgonzola, pear and white balsamic reduction was beautiful. Can't really go wrong with that combination of flavours!
The mushroom arancini was gooey on the outside and had a nice crunch on the outside.
Service was quick and friendly. The place turns more into a tapas bar at night, will be back to try it!
Welcome to my first post! I intend on posting new content regularly and sharing with you my eating adventures.
My bf and I ventured to Newtown on a rainy Saturday to try out Brewtown Newtown - mainly to try out the famous cronuts (or Brewnuts as they are known here). I had been warned that the wait could be as long as an hour but luckily, after about 20 mins, we were seated on one of the communal tables.
Before getting our cronut fix, we shared two items from the Brekky and Lunch menus. Brioche is one of my favourite breads so couldn't go past the Mini Eggs benedict on brioche roll. The egg was cooked perfectly with an oozing yolk and the brioche was soft and buttery.
We also tried the Curried Israeli cous cous with wood smoked salmon, kale and poached egg. I had recently discovered Israeli (or Pearl) cous cous - it has got a puffier texture than the traditional cous cous, more like risotto. The dish was sensational, flavoursome without being overpowering. The salmon was soft and flaky. Could have easily had a second serving of this!
Feeling satisfied with our savouries, we ordered the Passionfruit jam brewnut/ cronut. I have read and heard a lot about this croissant/ donut combo. I don't usually like donuts, but I love croissants so I was interested to see what I would think of them. Verdict: a resounding thumbs up. The outside flaky pastry reminds me of a croissant. When I bite into it, the denser texture reminds me of a donut. The tang of the passionfruit offset some of the sweetness. It was so good my bf and I decided to order another one - this time, we tried the Chocolate crumble brewnut - which had a thick layer of rich chocolate on top. I can see why these fly out the door - there was a continual stream of takeaway customers, all getting their cronut fix.
Service was friendly and attentive, without being overbearing. Would definitely be back again!
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