Sunday, September 21, 2014

Toby's Estate Coffee and Tea, Chippendale

I've been a fan of Toby Smith and his team's coffee roasting skills for many years now. I've also looked up to talented baristas in Sydney and many of them have trained or worked for Toby's Estate. It's not a surprise as the founder Toby Smith and his business partners are all about the pursuit of the best quality specialty coffee.

Their Chippendale cafe located at their main hub on City Road has recently gone through renovations. I was in the area last Saturday and thought I should pay them a visit. The space had a homey modern Scandinavian look with a touch of industrial fittings. The sight of bags of coffee beans, food and the scent of coffee aromas were so enticing that it filled my heart with excitement. I felt like giving everyone a high five and so I did (only in mind though, to the song "Happy" by Pharrell). The menu consisted of sandwiches and creative modern Australian cafe dishes.
Glazed, cinnamon sugar and jam brewnuts from Brewtown Newtown

One of the first things I noticed before entering the premises was  the Brewtown brewnuts ($5 each). Did y'all know that Simon and Charles of Brewtown met while working at Toby's many years ago?
Kenya Inoi - filter coffee
I started the visit with a beautiful filter coffee from Kenya Inoi. It had a nice peach acidity with notes of cocoa and almond. There was also faint notes of currant at the back of the palate.
Panama Santa Teresa La Cabana Gesha - short black
I was given a complimentary short black of Panama Santa Teresa La Cabana Gesha which was roasted for espresso! Yes, you read that right! It was the first time I've heard or tried a Gesha that's not roasted for filter. It was so gorgeous! It had toffee & floral aromas. It was sweet on the palate and it had a medium acidity level. It also had fruity, honeysuckle & jasmine notes.
The Cronut Stack
Last but not least was a special that I hope they keep as a regular in the menu. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to "The Cronut Stack"($16.50). It consists of cinnamon sugar brewnut, poached egg, grilled haloumi, hash brown, spinach and bacon with hollandaise sauce. This is one of the most glorious things I've had in my life.
As expected from an organisation that owns and runs a coffee farm, coffee school, roastery and cafes (in Australia and overseas!), everything was top notch. The service, coffee and food was nothing short of excellent.

Toby's Estate Chippendale Café
32-36 City Road
Chippendale NSW 2008
Ph: (02) 9112 1131

Opening hours:
Monday-Friday 7:00am – 4pm
(Take Away from 6:30am)
Saturday-Sunday 8am – 4pm
Toby's Estate Coffee & Tea on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bowery Lane, Sydney CBD

I've always wanted to experience that Empire State of Mind. To be in the streets of New York that can make one feel brand new with lights that will inspire you. Until then, I have Bowery Lane on O'Connell Street in Sydney to go to for an NYC style dining experience.

The new Bowery Lane is a cafe/bar restaurant situated in the heart of the Sydney CBD. It's a culinary sanctuary in the midst of a corporate jungle. The interior has a modern chic meets Wall Street dining look. The restaurant is named after a thoroughfare in Manhattan Island. Their dishes are inspired and reflective of the various ethnic groups that resides in New York like Italians, South Americans, Jewish, Koreans, Jamaicans, Africans etc.  American classics with modern twists are also available.
Piccolo latte
 For coffee, I ordered a piccolo latte ($4). They use Single O's Reservoir blend for their coffee. It's one of my favourite blends due to its vibrant acidity and fruity notes. The blend's fruity notes pierced through the textured milk nicely.
Steamed Moroccan eggs with sourdough toast

They open from breakfast so you can get dishes like their steamed Moroccan eggs ($16). It had tomato chutney, spinach, and dukkah with sides of toasted sourdough bread. The yolk was lusciously runny, which was perfect for toasted bread dunking!
Reese's peanut buttercup milkshake

Cookies and cream milkshake
Aside from coffee and cocktails, you can also order milkshakes from lunchtime onwards! I tried their cookies and cream milkshake ($8), which was contained in a rockin' classic tall milk bottle. The milkshake wasn't heavy and not overly sweet either. I would totally order this again!
Lamb ribs
The lamb ribs ($14) were so succulent and tender. So tender that meat easily fell off the bones! It was drizzled with chimmichuri that was less garlicky but rather stronger in spices which also worked well with lamb.  A squeeze of lemon cuts through the richness of the lamb and chimmi.

The fries

The cheeseburger
I love cheeseburger and so I tried their New York cheeseburger with fries ($18 for lunch, $20 for dinner). I prefer not to have lettuce in a cheeseburger but I didn't mind it on this one because the cheeseburger was too damn delicious! The juicy wagyu beef patty was cooked medium well with a nice caramelised surface area. The melted Monterey jack cheese, tomato, bois bourdan, sharp mustard and the sweetness from the caramelised onions worked in perfect harmony. The lightly toasted brioche bun was soft and buttery. The cheeseburger was also a generous serving. The shoestring fries were cooked to perfection and nicely seasoned.
Ice cream sandwich
The ice cream sandwich ($13) made up of chocolate ice cream in between gingerbread with hot chocolate poached pear and candied pecan was decadently superb! The gingerbread went well with the chocolate ice cream. The sweet and soft pear balanced out the luscious dark chocolate coating. I loved the candied pecans and how it gave a nice contrast in texture and flavour to the rest of the other components.

For lunch and dinner, they also have dishes for sharing like pork collar & scratching's with apple & fennel salad ($48) and 1KG of braised wagyu braised short rib with horseradish cream & roasted garlic ($58). Bowery Lane is now one of my favourite food joints in the CBD. The service is tops and the food rocks!

Bowery Lane
1 O'Connell St,
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9252 8017

Opening hours:
Mon-Wed: 7am - 10pm
Thur-Fri: 7am – Late
Sat: 5pm - Late
Bowery Lane on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 8, 2014

LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale

As a dude, I love getting my protein on. In fact, protein is a big part of my daily diet. Over the weekend, I've had my week-worth dose of iron and protein. It's thanks to all the meat I ate at Chef Luke Powell's new restaurant, LP's Quality Meats.

Chef Luke was a former head chef at Tetsuya's and Mary's of Newtown and has now opened his own domain. His new joint LP's Quality Meats specialises in smokehouse-style barbecue meats cooked low and slow as well as cured and cold cuts. The place had a rustic diner feel. It's only been operating for less than two weeks and it's already getting crowds of diners. Amongst these diners were my food loving companions and I who where there for a MEAT up.

Cold and cured cuts: Coppa di testa, bierwurst and belly ham

We started with some cold and cured cuts coppa di testa ($12), bierwurst ($12) and belly ham ($12). The belly ham was my favourite with its delicate sweet and savoury flavours that finished with a nice soft texture.

Smoked salmon

I really liked the smoked salmon ($18). The smoky flavour was subtle and the smudge of aioli gives it an extra complimenting flavour and silkiness to the texture. I also enjoyed the contrast of the crunchy capers!

Left: mashed potato, right: kale and chickpea salad

The nicely seasoned mashed potato and gravy ($10) was all about fluffiness and happiness! It was slightly creamy and buttery.

Do not judge the kale and chickpea salad too soon until you've tried it as it was quite amazing! It had a sweetish dressing that complimented the kale and the nutty flavour from the chickpea was also a nice touch.

Eggplant salad

The eggplant salad ($12) was addictive and definitely smoky! It’s almost like chutney and I could taste taste spices like paprika and cumin. 

Toulouse sausage, lamb shoulder, half smoked chicken and beef tri-tip

More beef tri-tip

Bread ($2 each)
Then there's the tray of smoked bbq meats! My favourite was the tender beef tri-tip ($28) that had a bold smoky flavour and it was also juicy. The brilliant Toulouse sausage ($14) was well seasoned with buttery and light sweet flavours. The super tasty lamb shoulder ($24 - a special of the day) was succulent and the meat came off the bone with little effort. The half chicken ($24) was probably the least smoky of the group but was nonetheless delicious.

Pouding chomuer

It was love at first bite after I had my portion of the pouding chomeur ($12). It's a French Canadian sweet & sticky cake pudding dessert that is messy amazing! The cake pudding poured with maple syrup and water, which turns into caramelised maple sauce after being baked. It is served warm with vanilla ice cream. Once the vanilla ice cream, pudding and maple sauce comes together, a combined exuberant flavour comes through and it becomes so addictive.

LP's entrance and their bouncer (he too likes his high-protein diet)

LP's Quality Meats is the perfect joint for a meat-ing session to get your smoky barbecue on. Great service and great meats equals one heck of a smokin' time!

LP's Quality Meats
Suite 1, 16 Chippen St,
Chippendale, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8399 0929

Opening hours:
WED – SAT: Dinner  5pm–11pm
FRIDAY: Lunch 12noon–3pm
SUNDAY:  12noon–10pm
LP's Quality Meats on Urbanspoon