Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Spice Alley at Kensington St, Chippendale

A lot of people would agree with me when I say that the hawker food scene in Asia is amazing! The food and vibe just stimulates ones senses. Imagine the sound and sight of various woks tossing, chicken being deep-fried, the beautiful aroma of grilled bbq meats and seafood etc. At Kensington Street's Spice Alley, you can experience that similar dining scene.  Expect shops with mouthwatering dishes from different Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan etc. 

Kensington St is one of Sydney's latest dining destinations and is located in Chippendale right next to Central Park. Through a little laneway (closer to the Outram Street end of Kensington Street), you'll find a wall-painted sign that will point you to the direction of Spice Alley's location. Then you'll find yourself in a vibrant alfresco dining area with glowing lantern ceilings. Choose dishes and drinks from various Kopi-tiam/hawker-style shops. We tried two stalls on this occasion: Alex Lee Kitchen and Old Jim Kee.

Alex Lee Kitchen
Padang chicken satay sticks
We ordered some Padang chicken satay sticks ($10) to share. There were 5 Singaporean-style chicken satay skewers and generous satay dipping sauce with pieces of onion and cucumber on the side. The chicken was nicely cooked and smoky. The thick dipping sauce itself had a nice balance of peanuty, sweet and gingery flavours. 

The Katong laksa ($10) was also a winner! Normally the Singaporean-style Katong laksa would have seafood in it but here, you have a choice to either have chicken, prawns, pork balls, fish balls or vegetables for your toppings. It also came with thin rice noodles and tofu. I like that it had minimal toppings but quite generous with the chicken. That way, the flavoursome laksa super lemak (aka fatty, creamy and rich) soup remains the star of the dish. 
Chatterbox chicken rice

Their Chatterbox chicken rice ($10) is pretty good too! This is their version of the Hainanese Chicken rice. Oh man! It certainly took me back to Maxwell Hawker Center back in Singapore! The shimmering and succulent poached chicken thigh was perfectly cooked. Along with the chilli ginger sauce and extra flavoursome chicken rice, it was gold!

Old Jim Kee

Penang Lobak
We also indulged in some of Old Kim Jee's Malaysian cuisine starting with their Penang Lobak (aka Loh bak or Lor bak). This Malaysian classic dish is pork marinated in five spice, wrapped in think bean curd skin and then deep fried! The skin was nice and crisped. The pork was juicy and tender bursting with five spice flavour and aromatics. You need to try this if you haven't! It is legit and off the chainz!
Char Koay Teow

Another classic is their Char Koay Teow aka CKT ($10). CKT is definitely my favourite Malaysian Chinese dish and their version did not disappoint. It had wok hei, generous amounts of prawns, lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and amazing crispy pork fat bits! Stir in the sambal on the side to give the dish a more vibrant taste!
Ice lemon tea
We also got some amazing Malaysian beverages. The ice lemon tea ($3.50) was a refreshing sweetened drink with a nice balance of light black tea and citrus flavours. 
Ice the tarik
I loved their ice teh tarik ($3.50) too! It wasn't too sweet and the amount of milk did not mask he flavours of the tea. 

For its location, food quality and amount, I thought the prices were very reasonable. I will be hitting up Spice Alley next time for their ramen at Ky-Oto and the HK-style Beef Brisket with noodles at Hong Kong Diner. Heads up! You can only pay with Paywave cards or Kopi-tiam Spice Alley cards (which can be bought in the premises). 

Spice Alley
Kensington Street,
Chippendale NSW

Hours: 11:00am to 10pm everyday

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bar Luca, Sydney

If you have checked out the Instagram hashtag #burgersofsydney lately, you've most likely noticed one place that seem to dominate it. Don't blame Bar Luca for it, Blame Canada! I will tell you why in a little bit. 

Bar Luca is a bistro that has become a haven for burger lovers. It's a casual licensed restaurant bar with a huge range of alcoholic beverages, the usual pub/bistro staples and mind blowin' burgers! The interior has the look of a sports bar and contemporary bistro. The best part about this place is their massive burgers! 
Classic cheese

Shoestring fries

Chicken wings

First visit, I tried their Classic Cheese ($12). It's a cheeseburger for the purists with 200g wagyu beef pattie, American cheddar, ketchup, mustard & pickles in a soft sweet bun. The medium well-cooked patty is ultra juicy, smoky and flavoursome. It was amazing with the sexy texture of melted cheese and tangy sweet & sour flavours from the ketchup, mustard and pickles. Also, you can add fries and fried chicken wings to any of their burgers for $6!
Chicken karaage burger

On another visit, I had their Chicken Karaage Burger ($14)
with wasabi aioli, pickled veg, coriander & coral lettuce. The fried chicken coating was crisped and slightly doughy. The meat inside was perfectly cooked with hints of sweet soy and ginger. The wasabi aioli was perfect to accompany the fried chicken.
Juan Mac'n'Ro
Every now and then, they do burger weekly specials. I was lucky to be in the area when their Juan Mac'n'Ro burger was on!! It's a creation that fuses mac n cheese and a cheeseburger with some extras. It included Bar Luca's 200 grams juicy wagyu patty, double American cheese, housemade Spanish bbq sauce, mac n cheese and pieces of chorizo in a soft burger bun. It may sound and look wrong, but I can confirm that it tasted so right! 
Blame Canada
Last but not least is the burger that blew my mind in 2015: Blame Canada ($15)! Monster burgers are not normally my thing but when constructed perfectly, you end up with a beautiful beast. It consists of 200grams of perfectly cooked wagyu beef patty, poutine, maple glazed streaky bacon and maple aioli. The burger's name comes from the components that are associated with Canada like poutine and maple. Think of it as a maple enhanced super cheesy bacon cheeseburger with fries and gravy. It's a huge two-handed burger with rich elements that just work perfectly. It can get messy but with all those things chucked into this burger, it still handles well. 
Onion rings
Their onion rings are pretty tasty too! Loved the herbed batter, which was crisped and airy. 
Woah Nelly doughnuts
Another thing I love about Bar Luca is that they stock doughnuts from Woah Nelly! Their maple bacon and salted caramel doughnuts are off the hook!

Bar Luca is definitely one of my favourite eats of 2015. Their burger game is definitely strong and I can't wait to see and try all their new burger specials in the New Year!

Bar Luca
52 Phillip Street

Opening Hours:

MON TO WED 7.30AM – 10PM


Bar Luca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato