Get Fresh: Sydney & Food

I have always had an insatiable attraction towards food that is lovingly made from scratch, locally produced, or fresh out of its source. There are bountiful options to choose from in Sydney.

There is that super solid bakery scene; both rooted in tradition and yet evergreen. By local standards, it seems that Bourke Street Bakery has its place as cream of the crop. Everything is made by hand using the best ingredients. From buttery croissants to sourdough to fennel sausage rolls, its as though everyone has a particular favourite item or two off the menu that they cannot resist ordering. Hardcore BSB lovers can even be seen pacing outside the bakery before doors open at 7 every morning!

633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney

Aside bread and bakeries, it is really hard to leave Sydney without tasting some of the freshest seafood possibly caught. Second to just Japan's Tsukiji, Sydney Fish Market prides itself as Australia's Home of Seafood and boosts a large selection of sustainable catch.

We woke up way before dawn to take part in the "Behind the Scenes" tour for exclusive previews of the auction floor and tuna bidding. Breakfast of the day was an array of prawns, oysters and maguro sashimi. Great place to savour seafood brekkie before the tourist crowds hoard in.

Bank Street, Pyrmont, Sydney

Having an abundant supply of fresh seafood in any city means...there will be quality Japanese eateries littered all around for sure. It is almost like a God-given equation.

Our poison of choice was Toko Restaurant & Bar, located in the heart of Surry Hills, Sydney's most fashionable dining runway. For a taste of Japanese outside Japan, Toko would not fail to deliver. Expect a wide selection of freshly curated local produce, impeccable service, food cooked to perfection before your eyes and full house crowds. We dived in for "Sora", a 12-course tasting menu of the chef's signature dishes. For 98 bucks per person, each dish never failed to prove its worth beyond the price tag.

We had our favourites: freshly shucked plump pacific oysters with citrus dressing, maguro tartare, seared tender beef with garlic chips, foie gras sushi that melts in the mouth, moreton bay bug tempura and fried quail with bonito flakes. With plum sake to polish off our feastings of course.

490 Crown Street, Surry Hills

I would like to end this post with our lunch from The Grounds of Alexandria. Other than being deadly serious in their coffee business, the eatery is also famed for its wholesome and hearty meals from sustainable sources. These fellas pick their own fresh herbs very morning and even grow their own seasonal produce.

We totally loved their juicy hand-moulded burger patties served with thick cut fries, and the very colourful smoked salmon with barley grains.

Building 7A, NO.2 Huntley St, Alexandria

 

If I were given one chance to sum up our experience of eating out in Sydney, I would undeniably cast these two labels, "made from scratch" and "made with love". Very much indeed.

Bean to Aussie??

With an ever growing bean scene, it probably takes a lifetime to sample all the coffee there is in Sydney. Just last month, @themarketgirl and myself scooted over for a week's break and OD-ed on flat whites, piccolos & quiant cafe ambiances.

Though there were indeed more hits than misses, here are some we really loved:

The Grounds of Alexandria

Retaining the industrial skeletons of its former occupant; a pie factory, The Grounds of Alexandria has taken cafe culture to a whole new level by combining vegetable garden, coffee research space, tasting bar and eatery into one very rustic attraction.

Coffee is taken very seriously here. You can choose to have your beans espresso-ed with the La Marzocco, brewed to precision with the Clover, or filtered clean using pour-overs and the Aeropress.

I did a piccolo and it was yums.

(Building 7A, No.2 Huntley St., Alexandria, Sydney NSW)

Cafe Nookie

Believed to be the smallest cafe in Sydney, this hole-in-the-wall is no pushover when it comes to delivering a quality cup. We hung around and had a chat with the friendly barista as she pulled our drink-of-choice with much precision and passion. It may only be a takeaway spot, but Nookie is both adorkably cute and huge in character!

(268B Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW)

Glee Coffee Roasters (Newcastle)

@themarketgirl has exclaimed that Glee makes her favouritest coffee ever! We had a pit-stop over at Newcastle during our drive from Hunter Valley back to Sydney and got to taste one of the bestest coffee; setting the bars high for quality caffeine-consumption.

Glee is a humble boutique coffee roastery famed for its Akiko Blend; full-bodied and full of love. I had a creamy flat while @themarketgirl downed a soy latte. So good it was, that a pack of beans was unanimously bought, all ready for human-shipping back to Singapore.

With a tagline "We want you to love our product so much, that you couldn't imagine drinking anything but Glee", the Glee brothers certainly weren't lying!

We will be back. Promise.

(Shop 5, 155 Darby St., Newcastle NSW)

Social Painting and Tea

So for a creativity-filled birthday this year, @themarketgirl signed us up for a Social Painting class at ARTEASTIQ; an art space cum tea lounge located at the fourth floor of swank Mandarin Gallery.

ARTEASTIQ believes that we city-folks rarely have the time and perhaps space to explore our creative side, hence the birth of a social painting scene where folks are welcome to pop by (guided or non-guided by a coach/teacher/patient individual) and paint to a chosen theme. Rejuvenating and refreshing tea beverages are also served for a wholesome therapeutic experience.

After three hours of tip-top patience, overflowing creative juices, free-flow acrylic paint and impeccable guidance, we are f**king proud to present the fruits of our labour!

Who would have known art-jamming and tea parties could marry so well together?

五香虾饼 Five Spice Prawn Fritters

I have a soft spot for prawn fritters (虾饼 xia bing), and this stall at Tanjong Pagar Plaza sure didn't disappoint my salivating tastebuds.

Selling the delectable local dish 五香虾饼 (wu xiang xia bing); an irresistable assortment of home-made prawn fritters, ngoh hiang, pork liver rolls, savoury egg rolls and pinkish pork sausage, be prepared to beat the clock as the owner only operates for a short span of 2-3 hours per day (from 11am till 2pm, or whilst stocks last).

Fried Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli) is the sidekick of choice when tucking in to 五香虾饼. We were delighted to find fried pork lard and some greens in this stall's version. Lucky us, it was also the last plate of bee hoom for the day!

Did I also mention that the prawn fritters are made and fried upon order? Feel free to ignore the oil and calories for once and indulge in a dish so stuck to its roots; its almost like you are munching on tradition.

 

Five Spice Prawn Fritter is located at Blk 5 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #02-04/5, Teck Kee Coffeeshop.