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.
S'age Bistronomy has opened in Crows Nest, taking over the spot previously occupied by Waqu. At S'age's helm is the former head chef of Waqu, Tomoyuki Usui. As the name suggests, the type of food served is a combination of bistro and gastronomy. I went there with my family to try the Three Course Lunch Set Menu, at a very reasonable $49.
There are a selection of entrees, mains and desserts to choose from as well as a series of sides (which are not included in the set menu price).
For entree, I chose the Grilled lamb backstrap, aroma crumble and mussel emulsion. The lamb was well cooked, pink in the middle, and the aroma crumble gave it a great crunch and peppery note. The hint of mussels in the emulsion, however, was not very strong.
For main, I got the Smoked spatchcock. I was very happy with my choice. The spatchcock was perfectly cooked, succulent with a crispy skin. The nectarine and corn salsa give it a fresh twist and a lovely sweetness.
We decided to order the Charred cabbage with truffle ponzu as a side. It wasn't quite up to the lofty heights of Toriciya's Savoy Cabbage but it definitely came close. The miso crumble together with the ponzu dressing really lifted the flavour, though I would have loved a stronger hit of truffle.
Onto desserts and the Figs and berries, with pink pepper crumble and milk ice cream was a great combination of flavours and textures. My favourite, though, was the Mont blanc (chestnut cream cake) with mandarin puree and yoghurt ice cream. I enjoyed the intensity of the chestnut flavour and the yoghurt ice cream was very smooth and light. The mandarin puree really balanced out the dessert.
The food at S'age Bistronomy is modern and beautifully plated, with an interesting fusion of Japanese and French flavours and techniques. It's a welcome addition to the lower north shore.
I love the concept of a sushi train - no waiting for your food, ability to see exactly what you'll get and bite sized dishes which means more variety. Taking the sushi train concept to the Mediterranean is what MediTrainean in Crows Nest has done. On the conveyor belt are a selection of mezze plates (served cold) for diners to grab on their own. For hot dishes, these are made to order including several from the grill. The blue and white colour scheme helps transport the diners to the Mediterranean.
The first thing I grabbed off the train was the Zucchini parmigiana. It very much reminded me of the eggplant version, with the napoli sauce and gooey cheeses making it a tasty start to the evening.
The Pearl cous cous was a wonderfully light dish and one that tasted great at room temperature. I loved the incorporation of the orange segments, together with the spiced roast pumpkin, apricots and walnuts.
The Smoked salmon went beautifully with the harissa mousse. The pickled vegetables were an interesting accompaniment, but somewhat overpowered the salmon.
The Porcini and provolone arancini had a crispy coating and were delicious, a sign that the highest quality of ingredients must have been used.
The Scallops grilled under a dukkah gratin was my favourite dish of the night. The dukkah gratin was just bursting with flavour and the scallops was beautifully cooked.
The Meatballs were unfortunately a bit of a let down as some of the meatballs ended up being cold whilst the others were piping hot. We had to send it back to be reheated.
We opted for the Baked Ricotta cheesecake for dessert, which was nice but did not have a wow factor.
The small plates are suited to the sushi train concept and I enjoyed the experience. Service was a bit inconsistent, and hopefully will improve as time goes on.
One of the greatest things about the Sydney dining scene is the ability to pretty much find any cuisine of the world, at a high and authentic quality. At Himalayan Grill in Crows Nest, we found ourselves digging into Nepalese cuisine. To start off with, we ordered the Pappadoms with spiced yoghurt which were light and crunchy.
The Himali chicken wings were deep fried in a chickpea batter and accompanied by a tomato relish. The coating was very crispy but I was hoping for something a bit more unique from a Himalayan restaurant.
The Chargrilled lamb was very flavoursome but the texture was somewhat consistent - some pieces were incredibly tender whilst others were a bit chewy. I did really enjoy the potato cakes though!
According to their menu, the slow cooked Masala beef cheeks featured on SMH as one of the best in Sydney and it's easy to see why. With great aromatics, the cheeks falls apart at the slightest touch and has a lovely gelatinous texture. We lapped up the sauce filled with Himalayan spices with our roti.
Located in a suburban shoppping arcade, it is definitely not a fancy place, but still worth a visit to try out some tasty Nepalese food.
@ restaurant is one of several Japanese restaurants situated on the busy Pacific Highway in Crows Nest. The cosy eatery was full on the Saturday night we visited. We started with the Beef tataki which was beautifully seared. The sprinkling of the fried onion on top added a nice crunch and the ponzu dressing tied the dish together.
The agedashi tofu is a tried and tested favourite and @ Restaurant's version was no different- I especially loved the flavoursome bonito stock.
The sashimi mix included a selection of salmon, tuna, kingfish and snapper. The servings were quite generous and it was evident the fish was very fresh.
The Wagyu potato nest was definitely the highlight of the meal. Hidden underneath the best of thinly sliced potato chips were bite sized wagyu beef. The chips, seasoned generrously with salt and seaweed, were super crispy and highly addictive. The cubes of wagyu beef were very tender with just the right amount of marbling.
@ Restaurant has been added to my list of neighbourhood gems, offering quality Japanese cuisine at reasonable prices. Definitely one to come back to.
I was on the lookout for a new Japanese restaurant to try but being Monday night, the options were rather limited. A quick scour of the internet led me to Sakana-Ya in Crows Nest, nestled in the raft of restaurants along Pacific Highway. The interiors are simple and unassuming, and on the night we dined, we were the only non-Japanese customers which is always a good sign when looking for authentic fare. The menu was very quite large for a Japanese restaurant, with the specials alone being two pages long!
The Beef tongue was thinly sliced and perfectly cooked, and just completely melts in the mouth.
The Japanese style omelette with scallop was very smooth with a distinct sweetness. There were chunky pieces of scallops interspersed within it, making for an excellent, light dish.
The Grilled black cod was one of the best that I've had, it was incredibly smooth and almost buttery. The flesh was flakey and had a lovely miso flavour that I just wanted more and more of.
The Deep fried baby purple eggplants comes dressed with three kinds of miso sauce. There were white miso, red miso and one that I couldn't remember. They were tasty, but a little bit too salty for my liking. I did love the soft and gooey texture.
I love salmon belly in sashimi form, and discovered they are just as tasty when simmered in a sweet soy and sake broth. The salmon was incredibly tender and the flavour of the broth was perfect.
Sakana-Ya is definitely a neighbourhood gem. Some of the fresh seafood dishes seemed a bit on the pricey side but there were lots of well-priced dishes to choose from. The service was friendly and I will definitely be back to try the rest of the menu.
Most Sydneysiders would agree the best Vietnamese restaurants are in Cabramatta or Bankstown, but if you don't want to trek all the way to the west and am after a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine, Mama's Buoi is for you.
Located on Willoughby Road in the bustling Crows Nest dining scene, Mama's Buoi was packed with diners when we visited on a Thursday night. The interior is vibrant and beautifully designed, with an open kitchen.
We started with the pulled duck pancake - with pineapple, pickled carrots, mixed herbs & honey. I would have loved a bit more duck, but the flavour was spot on. The pineapple and pickled carrots gave the dish a distinct freshness and wakes up your palate.
Being in a Vietnamese restaurant, I couldn't go past trying the Pho (Saigon style). The noodles were beautifully made, with just the right amount of 'bite'. The broth was very flavoursome, and a bit lighter and sweeter than what I had tried at other Vietnamese places. There was also an option to get a small serving, allowing you to try more dishes.
We also tried the Lemongrass Curry Chicken on the Bone, which was one of the recommended dishes on the menu. The chicken is melt-in-your mouth soft and the sauce very fragrant, with a strong hint of the lemongrass aroma. Definitely a satisfying dish!
Prices are obviously not as cheap as those found in the West, but still very reasonable. The atmosphere is lively and the food is very tasty. I'm eager to try the rest of their menu.
The Mysore chilli chops were really succulent and aromatic, marinated in chilli, carom seeds and sesame seeds. With the bone wrapped in foil, it makes them just that much easier to devour.
Located on the busy Pacific Highway, Malabar is well known for their take on South Indian cuisine.
One of their specialties is Dosa - a rice lentil crepe. We tried the Kheema Dosai which consisted of a beef mince filling with fenugreek, ginger and cinnamon - so flavoursome! I loved the texture of the Dosa - it's like having an ultra-thin, super crispy crepe. The coconut chutney and spicy sambar rounded out the dish perfectly.
We also got one of their other signature dishes - the Butter Chicken, or chicken makhani. It's definitely one of the best butter chickens I have had. The chicken pieces were moist and tender, and the creamy tomato sauce was wonderfully rich and tasty, with just the right amount of sweetness.
With an extensive menu packed with South indian classics done well, it is easy to see why Malabar has been a long-time fixture on the Sydney dining scene.
I was very excited to hear that a casual eatery serving lobster rolls has recently opened in Crows Nest. Ever since I went to NY and Boston in 2011, I have been in love with lobster rolls.
The interior is modern with a red and blue theme, definitely a notch up from your standard fish n chips store.
Of course, I had to order the lobster roll. Johnny Lobster's version contained chunks of lobster with tomato, cucumber, potato, dill and mayo, all inside a brioche roll. The toasted brioche roll was divine, one of the best I've ever had! I was hoping for slightly more lobster, but knowing how expensive lobster is in Sydney, it was more wishful thinking. The lobster meat was nicely cooked and went well with the dill mayo.
We also ordered the Fish Roll with Pico de Gallo Salsa. The fish was wonderfully crispy on the outside, nicely complemented by the fresh and zesty tomato and cucumber salsa.
The Haloumi salad with fennel, radish, pickled carrots, rocket and orange was another very fresh and colourful dish, though could have done with a bit more dressing.
Great place to grab a bit to eat, am keen to try the soft shell crab roll next time!
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