1918 Bistro and Grill, Barossa valley, South Australia

A short weekend escape to the Barossa Valley in South Australia recently saw us visit a number of pretty decent eateries, one of these being 1918. Located in the heart of the town of Tanunda, this restaurant is set inside a pretty historic looking house.

There's outdoor seating the front courtyard which is looked pretty nice for a warm summer's evening, but we were afraid of mosquitoes so decided to venture inside. Stepping into the restaurant feels like you're walking back in time into the house of an well-to-do family from Australia's early settlement years. Sandstone walls, wooden floor boards and intricate ceilings were just a few of the decor items which caught my eye. There are few rooms with a number of dining tables which reminded me various rooms of a house. The largest room being the living room had the most tables but there were a number of smaller rooms which held a single larger table- perfect for a big group.

Arriving fairly late on a Saturday evening, we were lucky to get ourselves a table without a booking. They have a fairly extensive wine list here, but after tasting wine all day, we thought it best to stick with the table water.

 Fish of the Day -$35  - The fish of the day was list lovely piece of Atlantic salmon fillet with a squid ink sauce and cherry tomatoes sitting on a bed of asparagus spears. The fish was perfectly cooked to a  lovely pinky colour inside whilst remaining quite moist. Although not terribly appetising to look at, the squid ink sauce added a additional dimension of flavour.

300gm scotch fillet -$35 - Cooked to a medium rare state, this steak exemplified the farm fresh produce of the region. The meat was melt in your mouth and the accompanying vegies of mushrooms, carrot, peas and chimmichurri sauce completed the dish.

1918 Bistro & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Korean Cultural Office, Annual banquet

Around 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Korean Cultural Office's Banquet event which showcased Korean food. It was a great experience learning about the different flavours and tastes of Korean and even better to have been able to do this with a whole bunch of food bloggers and aficionados. 

Fast forward a few years and lucky for me I received an invitation to their annual banquet again! Having had such a great experience last time, it was a no-brainer that I would accept this invitation.

Heather Jeong again designed a fantastic menu and there was a brief presentation about the history of Kimchi - did you know you can tell which part of South Korea someone is from just by tasting their Kimchi? Or that the South Korean government every year issues the Kimchi Index - a data table which specifies how much Kimchi each South Korean household needs to make to feed their family?

Luckily not too long after the presentation the food started coming and it kept coming! And so without any further delay - see below some pictures of the banquet event below.

Bo ssam - Slow cooked pork belly with home made tofu and chili 

100's of cabbages and kimchi flavouring ready to be mixed! Everyone had a chance to make their own Kimchi and take it home to enjoy at their leisure

Good old KFC - Korean Fried Chicken - can't go wrong - especially when it's boneless!

Gogi mari - Wagyu beef with vegetable filling with ssam jang and mixed grain rice

Yang jang pi - potato noodles, pork and vegetable with sweet fermented mustard. This dish was so beautifully plated it felt like a shame to have to mix all together :( Tasted so good though!

Seasonal Hwe (Korea style sashimi) of abalone, salmon, kingfish and cuttlefish served with kochujang (chili paste)

Assorted Jun (Korean pancakes) of kimchi, oysters, mung beans and zucchini served with salad kimchi and soy based pickle

Assorted ban chans - a couple of interesting ones here including the brown jelly cube which tasted a bit nutty, the mushrooms which I've never seen as a ban chan before and the meatball which also seemed a bit strange for a Korean ban chan.

Gaeran jjim (Korean steamed egg) with crab and salted shrimp

Air dried medley of Korean vegetables

Ojinga and yachae twigim (Calamari and vegetable tempura) - the batter was so light and the calamari so fresh - yumm

Tteok and hangwa - rice cakes and traditional sweets - the little cookie things were my favourite - kind of like a honey biscuit

Pat bingsu (shaved ice) with red bean and berries - the last time I had this was in Eastwood with some old uni friends - ah the memories

Thanks again to the Korean Cultural Centre and chef Heather Jeong for the wonderful night!


Post Cafe, Marrickville, Sydney inner west

I went to Post cafe years ago but haven't been there for ages - partly because I had thought it had closed down! But apparently not - in fact it has just been refurbished and is now under new management. We arrived pretty early at around 930am to grab breakfast and the place was already buzzing with locals.

The staff were friendly and took our orders promptly and it wasn't too long before we got our food. They serve Campos coffee- one of my favorites as the flavour isn't too overpowering.

Coffee $3.80

Grilled haloumi $19 - They have a regular menu as well as a specials menu and so we decided to order one from each. From the specials menu we ordered the grilled haloumi which came with a brown rice salad. The salad reminded me a light thai fried rice fusion with brocolli, tomato and beetroot lightly tossed in a frying pan.

Post Brekkie $17 - I always tend to lean towards the 'big breakfast' type options when I'm starving, so here it was called the Post Brekkie. Two slices of buttered toast, 3 mini beef sausages, a pile of bacon and 2 eggs cooked how you like (sunny side up for me). There was also a side of tomato chutney but I'm not a big fan of sauce so didn't use this much. All up, this was a lot of food and by then end of it, I was well and truly stuffed.

We lazed around in the cafe for a bit longer, finishing off our paper before we headed up to Banana Joe's.

Post Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Shanghai, Westfield Centrepoint, Sydney CBD

A new 'New Shanghai' has just opened up on the lower ground floor of the Westfields on Pitt street in Sydney's CBD. Because its still relatively new, and not many people know about it, it's a great place to satisfy any dumpling cravings you may have without having to wait for a table - even peak hour on a Friday night.

The service is impeccable and the dishes come out so fast it makes you wonder if they have prepared these dishes.

Crab meat and pork dumplings - $12 - Although many dishes often say they have crab meat, a lot of the time I find the crab flavour lost amongst the other flavours, or the crab meat is just so subtle you can barely taste it. Not so for these dumplings, where the pork meat and crab meat are locked into these little dumpling parcels and them steamed to create piping hot soupy concoction loaded with crab and pork flavour.

Shanghai fried noodles - $11 - Somewhat oily and could do with more pieces of shredded pork, but a crowd favourite nonetheless. 

New Shanghai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meeting Morgan, Kingsgrove, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

 Meeting Morgan is a bit of a hidden gem in Kingsgrove. Located nowhere near the main strip of Kingsgrove road (which unfortunately does not have any many nice cafes) and in one of the suburban side streets surrounded by everyday homes is this little cafe.

Perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast in the burbs. They also have a kids room so if you have a young family the kids can go wild while you chow down on some brekky and coffee. They also do takeaway coffees and as its on the side streets there is plenty of parking off the street.

Omelette with toast -  Lightly toasted bread with a omelette of shaved leg ham, spinach, Parmesan cheese and tomato. Simply but tasty.

Vegetarian breakfast  - A healthy-ish option, avocado, 2 eggs, haloumi and mushroom and spinach on 2 slice of toast. Another simple but delicious option. You can see in the background there they serve Campos - one of my favourite coffees.

Not a fancy meal by any meals but if you're just too lazy to cook anything and want something quick and tasty, this is a great option.

Meeting Morgan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Josephine's, Riverwood, Sydney South West

Guest blogger edition

A quick post on a surprisingly good feed. Located behind a dodgy looking drive thru bottleshop/bar is Josephine's. Kind of like a cafeteria brassiere, they offer a range of usual pub grub. Plenty of parking at the car park out back.

What was surprising was how tasty this was. Grab a menu, order at the counter and wait for your food to be delivered to your table. Be warned that there can be a bit of wait however especially if its a busy night. I went on a Friday night and it was dead set choccers.

Surf and Turf- $35 - Beautifully char-grilled rump steak cooked medium-rare with hollandaise sauce and 2 fat succulent prawns sitting on top. Chips are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Looks small in my photo but was plenty for 1 grown man.

Josephine's Bar and Brasserie - Napoleon's Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bona fides cafe, Sydney CBD, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

Tucked away on a side street of the CBD is Bona fides cafe. A smallish cafe which is located next to a small alley which doubles as outdoor seating. Due to the low light decor, its apparently been around for ages but I've never noticed it. However on this occasion we did notice it and decided to try it out.

Inside, it was pretty cozy and surprisingly was pretty busy when we got there. Luckily we got a table and placed our orders with the super friendly staff.

Stuffed zucchini flowers - stuffed with ricotta cheese and herbs -$18.90 - For the entree we got the zucchini flowers. Although the portions were a bit small with just 2 flowers, they were super tasty. The flowers had a crunchy battered coating and a tangy aioli dip.

Mixed grill for hungry wolf - char grilled selection of daily meats, chips and salad - $38.90 - I had a hankering for some protein and this menu item hit the spot perfectly. A medium- well done mini steak, marinated chicken tenderloins, kransky sausage and beef sausages. A side of garden salad provided the perfect accompaniment so that I could claim that this was a 'balanced' meal, hehe

Steak of the day, char-grilled grain fed steak, BBQ prawns, mash and mushroom sauce - $30.90 - The other main was the steak of the day. A beautifully cooked sirloin steak with two plump prawns sitting on top.

Not a bad place to chill out with a nice wine and friends.

Bona Fides Cafe Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yang's Malaysian food truck, Various locations, Sydney

Guest blogger edition

I feel that the food truck revolution has really stepped up a notch after I tried Yang's food truck. As luck would have it, we stumbled across Yang's on Friday night at Pitt street mall in the Sydney CBD.
As you can see below, there was already a bunch of people lining up to try their offerings. We ordered and paid at the counter, grabbed our food, and the headed up to the Westfield foodcourt to grab a table to eat at.

Hainanese chicken wings ~$5 - Four super tasty chicken wings. An awesome twist on the classic Malaysian dish, complete with the chili sauce and slices of cucumber. The coating was light and has just enough flavouring to not really require the chili sauce. Served piping hot, I was pleasantly surprised.

Indo mee goreng - $5.00 - Such a simple dish, but the flavours were just so good. Mee goreng noodles, fried egg and some bok choy. The noodles themselves were to die for.

Soft shell chili crab - $9.00 - The highlight of all the dishes we had. Deep fried and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, the mantou bun was delectable. The soft shell crab was lightly battered and deep fried. The chili sauce is just like what you'd get ordering it at the hawker markets. Need more sauce though!

One cup laksa - $7.00  - A simplified laksa that you can eat with just a spoon. The only downside is because it's in a cup, it means the toppings tend to be layered. E.g. noodles at the bottom, chicken at the top etc. The laksa soup itself was nice but super thick.

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Kampong Boy, Hurstville, Sydney South

Guest blogger edition

Apparently Kampong Boy has been sitting in Hurstville for a while now. Located towards the library/north end of Hurstville, its right on Forest road - an area which used to be quite dead, but lately has seen a huge number of new restaurants open up, which hopefully I'll get to try at a later stage. Walking over, I can see that Lim's charcoal BBQ - an old familiar is still around but there's also some new Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese restaurants opens around there.

Having dinner at around 8pm on a Saturday, the restaurant wasn't too busy but it wasn't as busy as I might have expected. One of the firs things I noticed when at the table was that it was fairly cold in there- especially on a cold night like this, I think they really need to invest in some climate control devices. Otherwise patrons would just be shivering whilst eating.

Inside the decor is made to resemble the local street food stalls that you find in the suburbs of Kuala Lumper which is nice.

Teh Tarik - $4.00 - wonderfully frothy as you can see in the picture below

Fried seafood hor fun with eggy gravy - $13.80 - a runny gravy of egg white soaks the hor fun noodles and the medley of toppings, including asian greens, shallots, prawns, fish cakes and pork.

Lotus crispy fish -$19.80 - One of the specials of the day. The crispiness of the fish was somewhat reduced by the lather of sauce over the top. Although the sauce was itself very delicious, I would have preferred it to be separated to maintain the crispiness of the fish. A tasty dish nonetheless

Sambal eggplant with pork mince -$13.80 - My favourite of the dishes of the night. Eggplant cooked to perfection and the mince pork had the perfect amount of seasoning. Matched very well with a steaming hot bowl of rice.

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Shaw St Espresso, Bexley North, Sydney

Still remaining in the local area, this time we found a place that serves a pretty decent cup of brew and the breakfast is not bad either.

Rocking up to Shaw St Espresso (which is located just a few shops down from Ken's sushi bar dining) on a Saturday morning and the place was abuzz with locals coming down for the morning caffeine hit.

Most patrons were there to grab a quick takeaway coffee and a muffin/bacon egg roll to go, but there were also a few tables inside so ventured in, ordered our coffees and perused the breakfast menu.

Service was quick and there were morning papers to read whilst we waited and before you know it the food was out.

Regular coffee ~ $3.50

Pesto mushrooms - sauteed mushrooms with pesto sauce on sourdough with also a poached egg and marinated feta - $14.00 - Piles and piles of marinated mushrooms which went beautifully with the crusty sourdough. The poached egg was perfectly runny on the inside and provided an extra 'sauce' for the dish.

Salmon stack - 2 slices of gluten free toast with smoked salmon, sauteed spinach, poached eggs and a slice of lemon - $15.00 - Pretty reasonable price for the simple yet satisfying dish. Again, the eggs were poached perfectly and the smoked salmon matched very well with the spinach.

Click to add a blog post for Shaw St Espresso on Zomato

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