Ippudo, Westfields, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

Ippudo, such an iconic ramen shop known all around the globe for its focus on providing the masses with hot, delicious ramen (albeit at a somewhat higher price than what you can get at lesser known places). The Sydney branch is located on level 5 of the Westfield shopping centre, although I have heard some rumours that a second branch will be opening soon at the new Central park complex in Broadway.

Anyhoo, when it first opened it used to be pretty hard to get a table here, but these days it's a bit easier but if you come at peak times, there will most likely still be a bit of a queue. 630pm on a Friday night there wasn't an issue getting a table for two.

The service here is great with the waiters and waitresses knowledgeable about the dishes and providing prompt and friendly service. We sat and made our orders.

Mini crab karaage -$12 - one of the daily specials - basically a soft shell crab with a bit of greens and Japanese mayo. Crab was fresh and the batter crunchy. Nice but not the best soft shell crab I've had.

Spicy black sesame ramen - $18 - That giant ball in the middle is actually some sort of spicy soup paste. The idea is to mix it awith the existing soup depending on how spicy you want it. The ball is actually pretty spicy so we took out half of the ball. A thick soup that went well with the pork and noodles.

Shiromaru Motoaji, tonkotsu broth with thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprounts, black mushroom and shallots- $15 - Pretty good tonkostu soup but less of the collagen that you can get at other places. Still, very rich flavours and chunky slices of pork. Delicious.

The ramen noodles underneath - super smooth and al dente.

Ippudo Sydney on Urbanspoon

Gyradiko, Bexley, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

If you've ever driven along Forest road around Bexley, chances are that you have noticed a new shop on the one of the corners with lines of customers snaking around during all times of day. This is the latest place to get your Gyros fix in Sydney.

To be honest, I'm not sure of too many places that serve gyros in Sydney - most of the times I've had it it has been in Melbourne so this is definitely a welcome addition.

We decided to try it out for midday lunch one weekend and lucky for us, we just managed to sneak in before the soccer mums and church goers piled in after their morning activities. FYI, there is a small car park behind the store if you're just dropping in for takeaway and are having trouble finding parking.

A single gyros (chicken or beef) is available for $7.90 or with chips and a can of drink for $13.90. Being the hungry pigs that we are, we went for the combo. Despite the long queues, service is relatively quick with 4 or 5 staff working behind the counters to prepare the yummy gyros.

Piles of chips, freshly made pita bread and mounds and mounds of succulent meat - I'm drooling as I am writing this...

Salads for the gyros - photos of salad always remind me of Homer Simpson's famous jingle ♫ "you don't win friends with salad"  ♫  =P

Pork gyros - mmmmm, fresh pita bread and juicy pieces of pork, its like a more delicious version of a kebab

Chicken gyros- my favourite of the two - maybe because the chicken was just that tiny bit more juicy..

A huge pile of chips - your usual run of the mill chips. Next time, I'll get two gyros instead of the chips =))

Gyradiko on Urbanspoon

Bun Bo Hue Huong Giang, Marrickville, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Have you ever ordered a laksa at a Vietnamese restaurant? I for one have not.

However, on this occasion, my partner had a craving for laksa and I wanted pho. So how to compromise? By exploring through Marrickville's many Vietnamese restaurants and asking if they also served laksa.

We eventually found one where they said that they could do laksa.

Suspiciously however, when were handed the menus, there was no Laksa there.... luckily it wasn't really my concern as I wanted pho  =D  The restaurant owner then came over and asked us what laksa we wanted and we said combination. He went away smiling like it was nothing out of the ordinary to offer dishes not in their menus.

Spring rolls - $10 - First up the usual favourite spring rolls. Six thin crispy rolls of pastry with a pork and vegie filling. Also comes with lettuce leaves and sauce to cut through some of the greasiness.

Combination laksa ~ $12 - Next up was the laksa. Visually, it looked like a laksa (although it did have some raw onions on top which is a bit different). Taste wise, it was a bit strange, there was the coconut milk taste and a laska taste, but it was not very spicy and had a bit of a sweetness to the soup. The noodles was also not the usual type you have in laksa but some sort of rice noodle. A very odd concoction indeed.

Chicken and beef pho ~$12 - I usually order beef pho and have occasionally ordered chicken pho before, but never the two together - what a great idea! Chunks of chicken mixed with the rare beef provided a variety to the flavours in the dish. YUMMM!

Huong Giang on Urbanspoon

Stra HJK, Strathfield, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Stra Hae Jang Kuk is one of the many Korean restaurants located in Strathfield and one that I actually hadn't tried in all these years.

Located slightly further away from the main shopping area on The Boulevarde, it serves a a more limited traditional menu at dinner times (maybe only 10 menu items in total).

It's specialty is the 'sundae' but don't get this confused for the ice cream or you will be in for a surprise. Sundae is actually a traditional Korean dish made generally by boiling or steaming cow or pig's intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients.

However on this occasion, we were freezing cold and opted for the hot pot soups instead- and boy were they hot, steaming and delicious! Served in a traditional stone pot placed directly onto the fiery stove, be careful when you're eating or you might accidentally burn yourself.

Pork bone soup w/rice  ~$17 - loaded with mushrooms, pork bones, beans and other vegies, this hot pot definitely hits the spot for those cold winter nights. The bone itself actually has meaty chunks hanging off it just waiting for you to pick them up and eat it, hehe. It is also a tad spicy.

Seafood and tofu hot pot w/rice ~$18  - The smaller and slightly less moreish of the two hotpots, this was nonetheless a delicious mouth watering soup, with mushrooms, bean sprouts tofu and morsels of seafood strewn within.

and of course, the complimentary banchans

Stra Hjk Traditional Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

La Disfida, Haberfield, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Named a number of times in the controversial (because people will always complain that their favourite pizza place hasn't been included etc etc)  'best pizza in Sydney' lists, is La Disfida, an Italian restaurant in Haberfield. The restaurant is situated on the main road in Haberfield and encompasses two levels, but even so, the place gets quite busy and it's best to make a booking.

On this cold night Friday night, we made a booking for 6 at 8:15pm - a relatively late booking but gave everyone enough time to get there. We sat down, ordered some drinks and then browsed the huge selection of menu items before ordering a plethora of items.

Insalata Caprese (Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella di Bufala, basil & E.V olive oil) -$18 - light cheese and tomatoes - a palate cleansing start to the meal. Apparently this tastes like what they serve in Italy...

Salsiccia E Funghi - Tomato Mozzarella, Pork Sausage and Wild Mushrooms - $24 - Great pizza! Delicious toppings with a thin base - yummmy

Gamberi pizza - Mozzarella, Prawns garlic parsley fresh diced Tomato Olives and Capers -$26 - A decent pizza, but what I find with prawn pizzas is that there is never enough prawns!

Disfida pizza - Tomato, mozzarella, ham, smoked mozzarella, olives, Anchovies, capers -$23 - My favourite pizza of the night probably because the ham and anchovies worked in perfect harmony.

Quattro Stagione - $22 - 4 sectors of pizza each with a different topping - good if you want to try some different toppings and dont' have the numbers to order too many pizzas. The salami on this was very spicy!

Pasta Del Giorno (chefs daily pasta special) ~ $22 -  sorry, I have no recolleciton of what this is but it was just average.

 Chilli prawn linguine ~ $22 - A nice fresh pasta but not enough prawns!

Poached pears and panna cotta ~ $18 - perfect wobbly panacotta with soft poach pears

La Disfida Enoteca Pizza on Urbanspoon

Regattas Cafe (St George rowing club), Tempe, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

If you're ever in Tempe, perhaps utilising the sports centre there, smacking balls at the driving range or just passing through on the way to/from the airport, Regattas Cafe is definitely a decent place to have a quick feed.

Located on the banks of the Cooks river and inside the St George rowing club, this is a 'club' like bistro menu but nicely done and with a great outdoor balcony seating to sit back and enjoy the views of the river on a sunny day.

Be warned that it can get a tad busy as people like to reserve tables for family lunches here and it may take a bit of time for your food if that is the case. They also had live music here during the Sunday lunch time that we were there.

You order at the bar, take your buzzer and sunbake whilst you wait for your food.

Chicken burger and chips - $16 - Your basic grilled chicken burger done well with a nice soft bun and lettuce. yummmo

Beer battered flat head with chips and salad - $19 - 4 long goujons of crunchy battered fish served with lemon and tartare sauce. Very nice indeed.

Regattas Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pok Lol, Street diner, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

One of the stalls that seems to pop up everyone now and then at street food festivals is the Poklol. I've seen them before at the night noodle market and also at the street truck festival at Belmore park, but never actually tried them.

Run by the team that runs BBQ city (the Korean bbq joint in the Sydney CBD), they take a modern twist on the traditional pork rolls (and also tacos), fusing these dishes with some more Korean fillings.

The banh mi (pork roll) comes in a number of different fillings to choose from including spicy pork, wagyu beef and beef bulgogi to name a few. We chose the beef bulgoi and also topped it off with some spicy mayo sauce, hehe. Cost was $10.

I'd have to say that whilst the filling was nice, I found the roll itself disappointing. One thing I've learnt over the years is that the a lot of the pork roll quality can be found in the quality of the bread. I prefer the bread to be the bread rolls which are crusty on the outside but somewhat soft on the inside. Where you can crunch through the roll but not have to gnaw through it get a bit off. In this instance, the bread roll was more of the dinner roll type - not crunchy on the outside, but more soft overall. This softness made it a bit difficult for the pork roll to come together - especially since the topping of bulgogi beef had its own juices that made the bread somewhat soggy =(

Taco 3 for $15 i think? Similar to the pork roll options but with a soft taco shell instead. Probably the better of the two i think.


PHO Mumum & Papa Roll, Broadway, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Sydney's version of Central Park near Broadway is slowly becoming a cool place to hang out, even before the area is fully developed. The futuristic looking apartment blocks with the shimmering lights links up to a ground floor retail area and a couple of metres down, a number of new restaurants have popped up.

We decided to try one of these places. This restaurant has two parts, a bread roll part and a sit down and eat part. The bread roll part serves the pork roll and its variants, whilst the sit down and eat part serves both Vietnamese cuisine as well as pub food, such as steak and chips. They also do daily specials e.g. $10 steak and chips. There is seating outside, but honestly, I'm not sure who would want to eat on the sidewalk of Parramatta road - one of the busiest roads in Sydney.

I'm not sure if it was just because I was starving, but every tables food looked delicious and I had some difficulty choosing what to eat. We eventually both went for the Vietnamese meals.

Beef and spring roll vermicelli salad ~ $13 - this salad was huge and packed full of ingredients. Lucky I was starving so I smashed it down, but I think I may have had some difficulties if it was a normal meal! Really really surprisingly tasty!

Beef pho ~$11 - pretty decent pho here also. Large serving size with mounds of noodles and rare beef- yummmmm

One word of warning though, the waiter stuffed up our order for pho a number of times and even when we raised it, it took them 5 minutes of discussing with other waiters to sort it out. Not impressed with the service what-so-ever. It totally sucks when the table next to you arrives 10 minutes after you and gets their meal first even though you ordered the same dish. GRRRRRRRRrrrrrrr

Pho Mumum on Urbanspoon

Double Roasters, Marrickville

Guest blogger edition

A popular cafe located on the Sydneham side of Marrickville, this place serves great coffee which is very popular and is also not too shabby for food. It's normally packed out on weekends so you have to go early! Arriving at around 930-10am, the place was already bustling with patrons but we were lucky enough to get a table for two.

The cafe has opened up more space than previously meaning that they've been able to squeeze in more tables. It's a pretty friendly staff working here and plenty of young families with kids were also here.

We ordered our coffees and our meals and just watched the numerous takeway people come in and out whilst we waited.

Flat white ~3.50 - great smooth coffees- with funny unique spoons, lol

Cappuccino ~3.50

Eggs benedict with ham on crusty bread ~$15 - the bread here was super crusty and the poached eggs perfect. My only gripe is that I had a sore throat and the bread was a bit too crusty for my poor throat :(

Zucchini and corn fritters + poached egg and smoked salmon + dill ~$13 - probably the more flavoursome of the two dishes, with the fritters packed full of flavour as well as the smoked salmon. A piece of toast or something would have been great to balance out these strong flavours I think.

Overall a recommended breakfast/brunch/coffee place to visit.

Double Roasters on Urbanspoon

Thai Riffic, Westfield, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

The 5th floor of the Westfields shopping centre in the Sydney CBD is surprisingly quite a busy location at dinner times each day. The majority of restaurants on this upmarket food court floor is open for business and there are plenty of hungry patrons.

We bought our second Groupon voucher for the Thai-riffic restaurant here and from my previous post, I mentioned that I thought the discounted price of the meal matched the quality of the meal. Nothing more, nothing less.

On this occasion however, I was pleasantly surprised. For a measly $6 you could get a chicken or beef Pad Thai - decent serving size, decent amount of meat, good flavours and fresh ingredients. This was a big improvement from last time and represented excellent value for money.

Chicken Pad Thai

Beef Pad Thai

Thai Riffic Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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