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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)

Bangkok: A Camera Phone Perspective

Simply because Bangkok loves Blackberry and certainly Blackberry does rather good justice to the colours of Bangkok too, here's a quickie on some of the sights + sounds of our trip.

Nang Loeng market on Nakhon Sawan Road, a stone's throw from our lodging at Loog Choob, is a undisbuted gem in itself. More than a century old, the place is a notable haven for ol'skool sights and morning meals sold by generations after generations of hawkers. Almost everyone who comes to Nang Loeng seems to have a favourite food item or seller whom they go to. Come lunch time, Nang Loeng gets all hustling and bustling with the local office crowd. Chow worth going back for include Curry Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roast Pork, Duck Noodles, Catfish Salad and Beef Noodles. Check out the old cinema too, and the rows of old shophouses selling provisions and knick-knacks.

While at Central World, we popped by iberry for some sugar-goodness. Honeyed Thick Toast with Ice Cream!

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre left us amazed. Art surrounds the vicinity even before we set foot into the venue. We caught the Survival Project; an exhibition done in collaboration with Design for Disasters (D4D) network that serves also as a discussion channel to deal with the city's recent flooding.

Street food is quintessentially the backbone of Bangkok's vitality; something we really love. Hit the streets of Thong Lo (lane 19) for really good roast pork + char siew noodles or grab some grilled corn from Wang Lang market.

Morning Chiangmai

Mornings at Chiangmai are good. We get our bodies warmed up in the cool weather by popping over next door to Good Morning Chiangmai, a sister shop of our lodging place at Gord Chiangmai.

Ahhh. Life.

Views from Gord.

From the window at Gord.

Serving mainly American breakfast, we had a break on some days and went to the local market to have our breakfast fix!