Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
Coffee art at Strand Arcade in Sydney.
Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich at Mr Stuzzichini in Hunters Hill Sydney.
Burrata and beet salad at Pendolino in Sydney.
A country lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo.
Scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms in Berrima.
Lunch at Vessel in Downtown Seattle.
Chocolate tasting at Northwest Chocolate Festival.
This is a belated final post of my trip home in November. It’s been just over three months since I was in Australia and in that time we’ve had our first full winter in Seattle. There’s been plenty of rain, snow, sleet, wind and hail. But there have also been enough glorious days to sustain us through the darkest and wettest of the Pacific Northwest season. Sydney has suffered a drenched summer with mild temperatures and we experienced the prelude during our two weeks there. Thankfully our last day in Sydney was a lovely souvenir, a sundress and bare limbs day.
We walked to The Star in the afternoon to complete number five.
We have been loyal patrons at Adriano Zumbo since it opened in 2007. His sweet treats have special meaning for us as the talented and passionate pâtissier made our wedding cake (croquembouche) and desserts (macarons in four flavours). The original Balmain patisserie is a narrow room with a glass counter displaying his whimsical creations where the queue was regularly out on the footpath. He has since expanded to several locations and the one at The Star greeted us with a radiant neon pink sign.
The concept store has a patisserie on the left and a dessert train on the right which was closed on Sunday.
Each year Adriano Zumbo celebrates his birthday with Zumboron Day. This year there were sixty flavours of macarons!
A sample of each flavour was lined along the window to tempt us. Left to right: finger bun (Australian iced bread), fried chicken, and gin and tonic.
Left to right: liquorice, Margherita pizza and mandarin.
Left to right: toasted marshmallow, vanilla ecstasy and Vegemite.
The interior of the patisserie was bright and funky. Desserts in cone stands enticed passers-by, a bathtub was topped with high tea tiers and Zumbo, Adriano’s cookbook, and the table has purple shoes!
A 360 degree view of each dessert with a description card.
Ovens warmed savoury quiches, pies and sausage rolls.
Peach boxes encased seasonal macarons.
‘In case of emergency break glass’ for sugar hit!
I heart Zumbo.
The stainless steel kitchen with containers of ingredients.
Trolleys of macarons for Zumboron Day.
Man Goes Peanuts: peanut butter crunch, mango compote, mango burnt honey mousse and pain d’épices. Peanut butter and mango were a curious combination in this layered and textural dessert.
Tarte aux fruits de la passion: passionfruit curd and pâte sucrée. The passionfruit tart and opera gâteau are my favourites at Adriano Zumbo. A glossy two toned disc was studded with passionfruit seeds, a perfect balance of luscious piquancy.
We savoured our last night in Sydney with a bottle of Champagne and macarons.
Our cache of of macarons: butterscotch caramels, chocolate orange, cinnamon doughnut, coffee, pandan and coconut, passionfruit and yoghurt, rice pudding, salted butter popcorn, toasted marshmallow, and vanilla ecstasy.
These colourful jewels were a sentimental farewell to Down Under.
My beloved Sydney, I miss you dearly.
The renovated Westfield is at the heart of the Sydney shopping district. Mirrors and polished metal feature throughout and the intersecting levels are just as confusing as the old one. Sydneysiders are shopping at the flagship stores and eating at the restaurants. From burgers to fish and chips, I love its interpretation of a food court.
On a gloomy morning I rolled up my jeans and splashed in puddles in flip-flops en route to Bécasse Bakery. Justin and Georgia North have relocated their two hatted restaurant to Westfield Sydney and expanded with a bakery and Quarter Twenty One, a restaurant, store, cookery school and catering business.
Conveniently positioned near the express escalator, Bécasse and Quarter Twenty One is on the left as you alight and the bakery is on the right. There is a long narrow window with a view of the bakers kneading, shaping, glazing and piping. An L shaped glass counter was lined with delectable sweet and savoury items.
A hessian sack and coffee beans on display.
From left to right: petit gateau opera, petit carrot cake, petit pistachio friand and pear tart.
From left to right: lemon tart, and banana and salted peanut brittle tartlet.
From left to right: gateau Saint Honoré, vanilla bean and passionfruit cheesecake, and mille feuille.
From left to right: pineapple and coconut muffin, gluten free brownie, and brioche flower.
From left to right: almond croissant, mixed berry danish and danish sultana snail.
Bread loaves and rolls.
Chocolate and hazelnut are a perfect pairing and a favourite of mine. The snail was dense and spread with a thick chocolate hazelnut paste.
The cinnamon sugar twist was fragrant and flaky. It was a delight to uncurl the pastry with sticky fingers.
I meandered across to Quarter Twenty One afterwards. The name is a reference to the purported weight of the human soul and Quarter Twenty One ’put our soul into the food we prepare’.
A glass wall and a row of bright lights flaunted the wine racks.
The store stocked a selection of local and imported artisan produce, house cured charcuterie and take-home meals.
We shall have a meal at Bécasse or Quarter Twenty One on our next trip home!
Bills is synonymous with breakfast. Bill Granger is renowned for his scrambled eggs, ricotta hotcakes and corn fritters. With three restaurants in Sydney, three in Japan and one in London, he is a successful businessman. The temperamental Sydney spring had us splashing in puddles to walk to Bills in Surry Hills.
Bills was busy on a midweek morning. We added our umbrella to the bucket by the door and were seated quickly. The dining room was brightly lit, painted in white, and furnished with birch tables and chairs. A communal table was near the entrance and decorated with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
All the tables had a view of the kitchen. Shelves were laden with pastel coloured ceramic bowls with eggs and other fresh produce. Loaves of bread were stacked in a corner.
A glossy tiled wall displayed stemware.
The barista pulled Single Origin Roasters organic coffee.
I ordered Bills’ signature dish of scrambled eggs with sourdough toast. A thick slab of butter was wedged in the two slices of sourdough toast. Two eggs were folded with a third of a cup of cream, the recipe for these famous scrambled eggs. Soft and delicate, the eggs were decadently delectable.
Mr S selected the healthy toasted grain cereal with vanilla poached fruit served with yoghurt and honey.
It was a pleasant couple of hours catching up with friends and enjoying the hospitality at Bills.
On our last day in Brisbane we bartered a ride to the airport for breakfast at The Little Larder. A popular café in the riverside neighbourhood of New Farm, it was quiet mid morning on a weekday. There was temporary reprieve from the heat and humidity of a subtropical spring.
A creative chalkboard in colourful calligraphy enticed passers-by.
Inside were birch tables, bold red walls and metal racks of newspapers and magazines. We were seated outside on a bench in the shade.
Stools were engraved with ‘Larder’.
A cute porcelain pot of sea salt flakes.
‘The lot’, a traditional British fry-up, will sustain you through the day! A large plate was piled with poached eggs, bacon, sausage, hash brown, caramelised onion, roasted tomato and toast.
The eggs Benedict was layered with grilled ham, ladled with a glossy Hollandaise sauce and topped with a crostini.
A healthy choice was poached eggs drizzled with dill mayonnaise on a square of crispy polenta served with roasted tomato, avocado slices, spinach and a wedge of lemon.
I have fond memories The Little Larder’s French toast with grilled banana and maple syrup so I ordered it again. Dusted with icing sugar, I saturated the eggy bread in the Canadian specialty. I savoured the sweet bananas, appreciating that it was still a treat after a cyclone damaged crops earlier this year.
We left content after a hearty breakfast, cups of coffee and glasses of cold pressed juices.
We had a full schedule for our recent trip home to Australia. We gallivanted from Sydney to Darwin and Brisbane over two and a half weeks. Our gatherings with family and friends oscillated between sentimental favourites to new recommendations. On our first day in Brisbane, we sought reprieve from the humid heat at The Gunshop Café.
Located in West End, an eclectic neighbourhood on the edge of the city, The Gunshop Café is renowned for breakfast and it was busy on a Friday morning. A handful of tables were positioned on the footpath and in the bay window nooks.
There were two rooms in the heritage building. The entrance was framed by a chalkboard specials menu and a vase of long stemmed flowers on the counter.
The main dining room was sparsely furnished and quirky busts were displayed in the gaps of the exposed brick walls. The latticed shades twirled in the gentle breeze and soft light shimmered throughout the room.
A cute posy decorated the table.
The serviettes were customised with the restaurant name.
Merlo Coffee is a local roaster and supplies many eateries in Brisbane.
Mr S ordered the classic of double smoked bacon, poached eggs, herbed Hollandaise sauce, sourdough toast and tomatoes. The glossy pastel coloured sauced was ladled over two perfect orbs balanced on two thick slices of browned bread. Crispy and salty, the rashers of bacon were delectable.
I selected the omelette of bresaola, caramelised onions and Fontina. The tanned parcel was drizzled with olive oil and plump with a generous amount of cured beef, a delicious contrast to the sweet caramelised onions.
I had spotted the coconut juice in shell on the chalkboard by the door. The refreshing beverage was served with a cocktail umbrella!
Both locals and visitors love The Gunshop Café!
An ornate room is lined with columns and features a marble bar. Brightly lit with a high ceiling, bar tables surround the perimeter.
Gin Garden is at the back, wrought iron gates open to an urban oasis. A glass roof is partially covered by bamboo which filters in natural light.
Lush green plants grow along the exposed brick walls and the gentle splashes of the fountain amplify the tropical ambience.
The menu is split into Thai and Australian. Thai classics included beef salads, stir fries, curries and noodles. Lamb, burgers, fish and chips, schnitzel and pasta were categorised as Australian.
A maître d’ seats diners and from there it is self-service. You order and pay at the bar, and pick up the meals on rattan trays when the electronic pager beeps and buzzes.
I had a lovely lunch with an ex-colleague. In between conversations, we enjoyed our plates of pad see ew. Stir fried in a sticky soy sauce was a generous serving of rice noodles, chicken, carrot, snow peas, Chinese broccoli and egg garnished with chilli. A wedge of lemon and sprigs of coriander freshened the meal.
We whiled away a couple of hours in the greenhouse, reluctantly exited into the spring rain.
In the heart of Sydney is the historical area of The Rocks. Narrow laneways and steep stairs wind around cobblestone footpaths, sandstone buildings and timber wharves, I have fond memories of the Walsh Bay precinct. Home of the Sydney Theatre Company, the waterfront has a spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.
Several aisles of produce are on the right and Café Sopra is on the left. The seasonal menu was handwritten on a wall chalkboard in a spacious and well lit dining room.
At the entrance was a rectangular bar and I was seated at the counter for a leisurely weekday lunch.
Dotted with coin sized red tiles, the counter was set with printed placemats.
A zucchini flower was stuffed with five Italian cheeses and lightly battered. The delicate crisp shell encased a molten mass of cheeses.
There are several permanent items on the seasonal menu and one of my favourites is the farfelle with mixed mushrooms, green peppercorns and Pecorino. A large serving of al dente pasta, it was a hearty dish with the earthy flavours of fungi.
A classic English dessert, the banoffee pie has a biscuit crust, dulce de leche, sliced bananas, cream and grated chocolate. The decadent layers were a sweet treat.
It was another delicious meal at Café Sopra!
The Boeing Dreamliner, President Obama and Princess Mary all followed us to Australia. We’re enjoying the sunshine, jacarandas in bloom, wearing sunglasses and flip-flops, nostalgic walks, and sentimental meals.
Restore, revitalise, rejuvenate. Despite the beauty of the Seattle autumn I’ve had a bout of homesickness and this was a timely trip home.
In an effort to adjust to the time zone we spent our first day in Sydney in the city. We got lost in the asymmetrical corridors and oddly shaped levels of the new Westfield Sydney. I was delighted at the selection of restaurants and we had an early lunch at Chat Thai.
A modern and stylish design, the entrance of the eatery had a row of leather chairs and tiered floral displays. Timber planks covered the ceiling and a gleaming open plan kitchen entertained the crowds.
The interior is decorated in muted tones and featured exposed brick walls. Round and rectangle tables accommodated groups of varying sizes. We were seated quickly just before midday and within ten minutes the dining room was full.
The menu was a colour printed, hardcopy bound book with scrumptious photography. I had read that it had been ‘souvenired’ by many diners!
As is the custom at many Asian restaurants, the menu items were numbered. Nearly ninety dishes were categorised as starters, grilled and fried, spicy salads, curries and soups, wok fried, seafood, noodles, and ‘one plate wonders’. There was a separate menu for desserts and beverages.
A balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter flavours is fundamental to Thai cuisine. Glass containers of condiments could be requested to moderate the seasoning.
Sticky and chewy, bites of fresh spring rolls were appetising. Smoked fish sausage, chicken and crab were wrapped in rice paper and doused in caramelised tamarind relish.
Morsels of poached snapper were tossed with a spicy dressing and salad leaves. The larpb bpla was fiery and delicious.
Ba mee haeng bped, roast duck with egg noodles, were piled into a ceramic bowl and garnished with green onions and cilantro. Simple yet delicious, the firm strands of egg noodles were perfectly paired with tender pieces of duck.
We reluctantly left without dessert but I lingered at the counter and spotted trays of kanom buaing, sweet wafers with meringue, and threads of candied egg yolk and herbs.
A basket of ripe mangoes were ready for sticky rice.
Instead of an apple a day, I will be eating mangoes!