>> February 12, 2012
The new Westfield Sydney is about a 10-15 minute walk from my office. I'll admit that some days, the thought of walking there makes me sigh because I'm feeling too lazy. Then on other days, I think of the lovely options on offer at this food court compared to the mundane options surrounding my office and I pull on my walking shoes.
The prices are a bit steeper than your usual lunchtime food court offerings. You can easily spend $15 - $20 here and you'll find that there aren't as many options below $10. As such, I try not to come here too often but have still managed to sample most of the eateries located on Level 5. Here is a small selection of what I have tried...warning, this is a long post!
Reuben & Moore
Reuben & Moore has become well-known for its Reuben sandwiches. However it is not their Reuben sandwich which has won me over but instead, their Picania roast beef rump. The roast beef is lightly coated with a pepper rim, served with duck-fat potatoes and caramelised vegetables. Gravy? Absolutely. Their roasts are served in your choice of a roll (generally around $12.50) or on a plate with the sides shown above (generally about $16.50). This is not a lunch for the light-hearted.
Update: I ordered the Picania roast beef rump last Friday lunchtime and it was bad! I don't know if it was a newbie at the stove but the beef was cold, there was hardly any gravy, the potatoes had been overcooked and the pumpkin tasted like it had been drenched in salt. Unsure if I am willing to try it again - it was a disaster.
Charlie & Co. Burgers
The exterior of Charlie & Co reminds me of American burger joints. When it first opened, I was extremely eager to try their wagyu beef burger but it wasn't as good as I had imagined. The beef patty seemed quite plain and although large, didn't seem like it was worth the $16 price tag.
On the other hand, the parmesan and truffle fries ($8) are a tempting treat that I have returned for a couple of times since. As soon as you open the box of fries, the smell of truffle oil wafts up to tantalise your senses. The parmesan is scattered sparingly over the fries but I still recommend sharing these with someone so you don't end up scoffing down the whole serving and feeling incredibly guilty afterwards. Just sayin'.
Continuing on with the American theme, we have the relatively new Snag Stand. Specialising in gourmet hot dogs, there is wide selection to choose from and the hot dogs are served in that ubiquitous American paper case - you know, the kind they eat hot dogs from at baseball games in the American movies!
I have only tried Snag Stand once and tasted the Pork & Fennel Italian sausage with caramelised onions and shaved parmesan on a toasted brioche roll. It was good, but I queried whether it was worth the $9.90 price tag. That afternoon, I was not particularly hungry yet I managed to eat the hot dog in about four bites. I guess you are paying for the premium sausage rather than quantity.
Hot chips from the Snag Stand are made from Tasmanian Russet potatos and in comparison to their pricer snag companion, these are a bargain at $3.90. They have a few different sauces to choose from (extra $1), including herb aioli and truffle aioli.
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is my failsafe option at this food court. I know that the xiao long baos are delicious and their soup noodles are too. Don't be daunted by the long queue - it moves quickly and like most places in the food court, they give you a buzzer to come back when your food is ready. Here's a tip - when waiting in line, grab an ordering card and pen to study the menu and fill out your order. When you get to the register, hand over the card and the cashier will repeat your order back to you to check.
Four xiao long baos will set you back $5.80 and it's easy to rack up a high bill. My favorite noodles are the Braised Beef Noodle Soup ($12.50) shown above - the noodles are silky smooth and the beef broth is always warming on a cold day.
Sushi Hon serves ready-made sushi and it also has a sushi train partially hidden from the rest of the food court. Some of their ready-made offerings are visually appealing like the box pictured above. However, I have found that there is nothing special about the ready-made sushi. If I feel like sushi, then I'm more likely to get it from another food court for a lower price.
Pie by Mick's Bakehouse
The first time that I went to Mick's Bakehouse, I didn't realise that half the pies on display are cold and for you to take home and heat up. It's the ones that are in the hot warmers that are to eaten in the food court!
The menu here is very simple - the pies cost about $6 and you can add on sides like mashed potato, gravy, mushy peas etc for an additional cost.
I tried the Lamb Shank pie and the Surf and Turf pie. No complaints but I wasn't bowled over either. My favorite lunchtime pie remains the Beef Pie from Central Baking Depot on Erskine Street.
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar
To me, Crust Pizza is just normal pizza that is served on a nice plate with a fancy salad on the side. It's good for when you're in the mood for pizza.... that is all I have to say about it... it's a bit boring!
Cloudy Bay Fish Co.
Cloudy Bay Fish Co does a really good prawn cocktail salad. I know that the photo above is actually of another dish, but my recommendation is for the prawn salad (apologies for the lack of photo, it has always been gobbled up too quickly!)
Another thing I have noticed about Cloudy Bay Fish Co is that you may have to wait a bit longer for your dish compared to other places. One of my workmates always gets her lunch from this place, inevitably it is the salmon shown above and it takes forever to come out. I think it's because their kitchen is also pumping out meals for the dine-in customers sitting along the side of their bar. Just a word of warning if you're coming here during a weekday lunch hour - the dish shown above takes about 15 minutes to come out! Yes I timed.
Via del Corso
Via del Corso is in the middle of the food court and offers a variety of sweet treats including gelato, cakes, pastries, handmade chocolates and macarons.
The lemon meringue pie was a bit too acidic for my liking, my face screwed up with every bite.
Another dessert option is the Becasse Bakery. Located near Quarter 21, the bakery showcases a range of breads, pastries and cakes.
The Mille Feuille was really good, one layer of light cream and the second layer of vanilla bean custard. It disappeared quickly as we gobbled it up. I would definitely get it again, it was that good.
The Vanilla Bean and Passionfruit cheesecake was lighter than it looked. There was a thin crumbly biscuit base at the bottom and a shiny passionfruit glaze over the top. I probably wouldn't get this again because there are too many other things to try at this bakery!