Una's, Surry Hills

Guest blogger edition

If you are after a simple, filling schnitzel, this is the place to go. If you after some sort of classy restaurant then best to avoid this place. Una's has become an establishment within Surry Hills (I think it has been around for more than 30 years?) and it still retains its old school character and is popular with the crowds.

Rocking up on a Friday night, we were lucky enough to get a table for two towards the back of the restaurant as it quickly filled up. Famous for the Schnitzels, we ordered the chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce. Not sure what else to get as we wanted to try something else but not too big a fan of Pork Knuckles and Sausages, we settled on the Veal Cordon Bleu.

Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom sauce (~21)

Veal Cordon Bleu (~21)


Complimentary Sauerkraut

Good things first:The chicken Schnitzel was delicious- moist and tender chicken breast smothered with a thick chunky flavoursome mushroom sauce. It really hit the spot. Both dishes were humongous in serving and would easily satisfy a normal persons hunger. The Sauerkraut although complimentary, was the perfect accompaniment for such an oily and deep fried meal. The tartness of the Sauerkraut cut through the greasy of the main dishes like a hot knife through butter. The potato thing served as a side for both dishes was also impeccable. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, it was full of potato-y goodness.
Now the bad: The Veal Cordon Bleu I would not order again, the veal was tough and bland with the only salvation being the ham and cheese inside - but that was not enough to redeem it from being too dry and tough to be enjoyed properly :( Prices are a touch on the pricey side but not unreasonable for the portions.

I would come here again, but would stick with the chicken schnitzel.

A short stroll away we arrived at Gelato Messian which already had a line outside for its famous gelato.

Una's Café & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Espresso Organica, Concord

Guest blogger edition

Rated as one of Sydney's best cafes by Sydney Morning Herald’s Every Day Eats Guide 2012, Espresso Organica is not only highly rated on food, value, ambiance and service, the coffee is meant to be excellent too.

So it was on a cold and rainy Saturday that a few of us caught up for brunch at this cafe. Luckily we had made a booking for 1130am as when we got there the place was packed! There were already people waiting for a table and many more arriving. The cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating, however, the majority of the outdoor seating was unavailable today as there was no cover and everything outside was wet. Had it been a warm sunny day, the outdoor seating would have been quite relaxing I think.

Walking into the restaurant you could immediately feel the ambiance of the place with clinking of cutlery, chatter and laughter all around. One of our group mentioned that there was a lack of phone reception inside the cafe which may have contributed to the increase chatter as no one could be antisocial with their phones at the tables. It was like a yumcha atmosphere in a cafe, lol.

There was a HUGE selection of menu items including all day breakfast, lunch specials and the lunch menu. We were definitely spoilt for choice and after a good 10 minutes of perusing and debating we came up with our selections.

Beef bifteki + chips + pita bread (~28)

Chicken tenderloin souvlaki + chips + pita bread (~22)

Crab meat spaghetti (~28)

Slow cooked lamb (~$28)

 Flatwhite (~4)

Cappucino (~4)

Banana Smoothie (~6)

Firstly the coffee- great! smooth full bodied coffee, only problem was that sitting near the entrance on a windy day meant that the coffee got cold faster than I could drink it :( Standout dishes of the day would have had to have been the lamb which would fall apart as you bit into it and was lovingly drenched in a rosemary gravy - perfect for a cold day. Second best dish would have been the spaghetti with crab meat which had a generous amount of crab meat and was cooked al dente.

Overall a very nice cafe, with plenty of street parking nearby. A great place to catch up with friends and shoot the breeze. The prices are a tad high but the coffee is well worth it.

Espresso Organica on Urbanspoon

Korean Cultural Office Banquet, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

Korean Food – to most people, this immediately means, fried chicken, spicy hot pots and BBQ meats- yummmm. However, there is a lot more to Korean food than what most people think, and the Korean Cultural Office (KCO) is definitely the right people to show us. I was fortunate to attend a Korean banquet hosted by the Korean Cultural Office in Sydney where they showcased a variety of Korean dishes from their cuisine.

The event was at the Arirang hall in the KCO building (conveniently located opposite Hyde Park)  and started off with free flowing champagne, white and red wine and canapés as bloggers mingled with other bloggers, industry experts, KCO staff and other guests. The hall was very professionally set up and the atmosphere was exceptionally friendly.

Mu ssam (Pickled radish with seafood), Yeon geun jorim (Soy braised lotus root) and Yachae twigim (Root vegetable twigim)

We took a seats and was introduced to the introduced to the event by Irene and Dr Lee from the KCO followed by a heart thumping traditional Korean drum performance. Well renowned Korean chef Heather Jeong then took the stage to briefly demonstrate the preparation of a traditional Korean beef dish nurbani.

Then came the food- all 12 courses of it!

Hobak Juk (Pumpkin congee shots) -  yumm, I had expected this to be savoury but it was a sweet pumpkin taste

Before and after -

Seasonal Hwae (Korean Style sashimi) – not much difference to your regular sashimi dishes, the exception being the thin slices of abalone sashimi! The first time I’ve tried abalone sashimi, I would describe the texture to be similar to that of the top shell sushi meat and tastes like abalone :P

Haemul pajeon (Seafood Pancake) – a mini version of the usual huge pancakes you order in Korean restaurants but packed full of flavour.

Tang pyeong chae (savoury bean jelly with soy sesame) and Bo ssam (slow cooked pork with chili radish) and oyster. OMG the pork was so melt-in-the-mouth it’s not even funny….

Gyerja chae (Salad with mustard dressing) – seemed a bit tilted to the western side of things but tasted OK.

Japchae (Stir fried sweet potato noodles with beef and vegetables) – really liked the fried egg strips in this Japchae – added an extra depth to the flavours I thought.

Bul dak (Fire chicken) and Nurbiani (Beef fillet with pine nuts and garlic chives) – this was delicious – I just wanted more!

Mul mak guksoo (Cold soba noodle soup) – a traditional Korean dish – it was OK, but I’m not a big fan of cold soup noodles in general.

Assorted ddeok with sujeonggwa (Korean rice cake with cinnamon punch)

And of course, there has to be the Banchan! (Korean side dishes). We had 12 different kinds to choose from including a variety of different Kimchi.

And a selection of drinks to try...

When the dishes first came out, I was bit worried that the dishes wouldn’t be enough to fill me up given the smallish portions, but like a good degustation course I was truly satiated by the end of the night. The food overall was delicious and had an air of home cooked goodness to it. The dishes were packed full of flavour and I could have easily devoured entire main sized portion of each of the dishes.

To cap of a fantastic night of food and fun, we were given a hamper of assorted Korean cooking ingredients and food products for us to try at home.

The Food Book dined as a guest of The Korean Cultural Office.


Kingsleys Steakhouse, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

An easy day at work gave me the chance to drop by the Kingsleys Steakhouse on King Street for a quick steak lunch.

The restaurant itself is tucked away on the Sussex St end of King St.  You can't actually see the restaurant from the street so you'll have to watch out for the big sign.

Arriving at 12pm, it was a bit early for other people to have lunch so the restaurant was empty bar 2 tables of corporate types, but it soon filled up it around 1230- 1pm.

We ordered 1 starter, 1 entree and 2 mains between the two of us which was plenty.

Starter: Chorizo with mint (~$15)

Entree: Grilled scallops with pork crackling and corn puree (~$20)

Main #1: Medium Rib Eye Steak (300gm) + red wine jus and mash (~$35)

Main #2: Surf and Turf (200gm steak + 3 grilled prawns) + hollandaise sauce and baked potato (~$39)

The highlight of the meal would definitely have been the grilled scallops - cooked to perfection and beautifully accompanied by the corn puree. The steaks themselves were also cooked really nicely (as you would expect from a steakhouse) and the prawns also seasoned very nicely. The chorizos were slightly disappointing as although the flavours were there, they were cut too thick for my liking which made it a bit tough to chew. 

Overall a nice meal. 

Kingsleys Australian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Ottolenghi, Islington

Ottolenghi is somewhat of an Islington institution.  It has a prime position on Upper Street, about halfway between the Highbury/Islington and Angel tube stations.  On most days, especially weekend mornings, there is queue out the door.  The restaurant specialises in fresh food with a modern Mediterranean influence.

I was meeting up with some friends for brunch at Ottolenghi on a Sunday and we waited about forty minutes in line.  Eek!  By the time we were seated, we decided to order off their lunch menu instead of the breakfast menu.

I had a mocha on the side and it was very, very good.  Sweet and chocolatey with a strong coffee kick.

 The lunch menu at Ottolenghi is simple - you can choose from a range of salads and protein to make up your plate.  Basically:

- two salads and a main (ie the protein) - £13.70
- three salads and a main - £16.20

The salads and proteins are all on display at the deli section in the front of the restaurant so you can have a good look before deciding on what you want.

Main: Yellow fin, line caught seared tuna with sesame seeds and soy, spring onion and ginger sauce
Two salads: Green and yellow beans with peas, lemon zest, garlic, herbs, and pea shoots
Roasted new potatoes with anchovy-olive tapenade, leek, radicchio, sorrel and lemon

Main: Smoked bacon quiche with sauteed leeks, Parmesan and thyme
3 salads: Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds and basil
Roasted butternut squash and grilled sweetcorn with pumpkin seeds, chili, mint and feta
Purple and yellow cauliflower with roasted red onions, almonds, celery and orange blossom dressing

They also do takeaway but i noticed that the takeaway line on this weekend morning was just as long as the queue of people wanting seats!

Despite the queue, I would definitely go back.

Ottolenghi on Urbanspoon

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