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Friday, November 17, 2017

Two Chaps, Marrickville

Sourdough crumpets with green beans and poached egg at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville

The all-day menu at Two Chaps is chock-full of temptations. Homemade hash browns. Sourdough crumpets. Croissant French toast with blood orange curd. It'll probably take you several minutes to twig that everything is vegetarian. No wonder there are so many poached eggs with everything.

Two Chaps doesn't promote itself as a vegetarian cafe. It feels more like a natural leaning, where fresh produce and terrific carbs negate any cursory inclusion of meat.

Housemade jasmine iced tea and iced latte at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Housemade jasmine iced tea $6
Iced latte $4.50

On weekends there's always a queue, scattered across the footpath of a converted warehouse in the backstreets of Marrickville. It's worth browsing the menu while you wait, otherwise amble up to the display counter for a visual tour of their housemade breads, cakes and pastries.

Once you make it onto a table inside, it's mostly stools at heavy timber tables. There's no insulation so expect a cacophony of conversation bouncing up and around the exposed and soaring ceilings.

Drinks-wise, all your dietary intolerances are accommodated with soy, almond and macadamia milks available for your coffee or tea. We skip the beetroot hot chocolate and turmeric latte and order the housemade jasmine iced tea instead. There isn't a strong taste of jasmine but the stainless steel straw is an impressively environmentally-friendly touch.

Hash brown with green goddess sauce at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Hash brown and green goddess sauce $20
with grilled asparagus and poached egg 

The hash brown can be summed up in one word. Glorious. A crisp and golden brown exterior surrounds a squat but generous amount of potato. For twenty bucks you score two hash browns with two poached eggs, spears of tender grilled asparagus and a puddle of green goddess sauce (a herby mayonnaise dressing).

If you need more hash brown goodness, you can add them as a side for seven dollars.

Sourdough crumpets with green beans and poached egg at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Sourdough crumpets with sauteed green beans and rainbow chard $20
with fermented hot sauce, Pecora Dairy fresh curd and a poached egg 

Sourdough crumpets are far removed from their inferior supermarket cousins. The version here is a little stodgier than I'd like, but there's still a satisfying sense of sustenance to each mouthful. Here it's the ideal vehicle for mopping up runny egg yolk, alternated with dollops of gently lactic fresh sheeps curd and the crunch of green beans.

Falafel cheeseburger at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Falafel cheeseburger $20
Frescho cheese, cumin and fenugreek brioche bun, pickled beetroot, chilli and seasonal leaves served with potato skins and salad

The falafel cheeseburger is the only disappointment, less of the Lebanese-style crunchfest I'm expecting and more of a mushy vegetable patty. False advertising, I say. The seared haloumi and crunchy pickled beetroot do provide some consolation.

Potato skins and salad with the falafel cheeseburger at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Potato skins and salad with the falafel cheeseburger

And then there are the potato skins. Lordy. I'd happily eat a whole plate of these. The paper thin potato shavings are deafening in decibel-level crunch. They're a touch oily but who cares. These babies are worth every calorie.

Chocolate crumpets with Earl Grey and rhubarb curd at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville
Chocolate crumpets with Earl Grey and rhubarb curd $20
with sour cream, poached rhubarb and candied walnuts 

It's a shame that the cakes and pastries in the dessert cabinet aren't listed on the menu. We trot back up for a memory refresher but end up going with the chocolate crumpets on the menu anyway. These are fluffier than the savoury version we'd just eaten, dressed with a sliding avalanche of Earl Grey and rhubab curd and batons of poached rhubarb.

The candied walnuts are the highlight though, little nuggets of sugary crunch.

On Thursday and Friday nights, Two Chaps opens for dinner with handmade fresh pastas - vegetarian of course. The bonus? You can book for one of two sittings. They've also recently added a vegetarian pizzeria to their stable. Pizza Madre is only a few blocks away at 205 Victoria Road, Marrickville. The shortlist of five or six pizzas changes every week.

Weekend queue at Two Chaps vegetarian cafe in Marrickville


Two Chaps Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Two Chaps
122 Chapel Street, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9572 8858 

Opening hours
Tuesday to Wednesday 7am-3pm
Thursday to Friday 7am-3pm and 6pm-10pm
Saturday to Sunday 8am-3pm
Closed Mondays

Bookings only accepted for dinner (6pm or 8.15pm)


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/17/2017 08:10:00 pm


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

AD's Kitchen, Ashfield

Nepalese buffet breakfast of puri, aloo matar, kala chana and kheer at AD's Kitchen in Ashfield

There’s nothing like seeing a batch of freshly cooked puri coming straight out of the kitchen. Puffed up like UFOs, these hollow and soft deep fried breads have slightly crisp edges and a speckled golden brown surface. They cook them all morning long on weekends at AD’s Kitchen, one of the few places offering a traditional Nepali breakfast in Sydney.

Self serve Nepalese buffet breakfast at AD's Kitchen in Ashfield

AD’s Kitchen started as a home-run catering service by Anjana Dhakal (AD) before blooming into a restaurant business. Swing by during weekends for their buffet breakfast, hugely popular with ex-pats seeking a sentimental taste of home.

All-you-can-eat Nepalese breakfast of puri, aloo matar, kala chana and kheer at AD's Kitchen in Ashfield
[Clockwise from front]: Kala chana dry curry, jeri deep-fried dough, puri breads and aloo matar potato and pea curry 
[Rear]: Kheer rice pudding and sweet chai tea 

Pay $15 at the register and you’ll be provided with a plastic plate to load up as often as you like at the self-serve buffet. That means limitless puri breads, aloo matar – a mild potato and pea curry – and kala chana, a dry curry of black gram beans that you can bling up with raw red onion and tiny green chillies that pack some serious heat.

On the sweet side, dig into kheer sweet rice pudding and bright orange swirls of syrup-soaked deep-fried dough called jeri, the Nepali version of Indian jelebi. A massive urn of strong and sweet chai tea will have you buzzing in no time.

Jeri wrapped in puri at the Nepalese breakfast buffet at AD's Kitchen in Ashfield
Jeri deep-fried dough wrapped in puri

Go from savoury to sweet or meander back and forth between both. It’s not uncommon to sandwich the stickily sweet jeri inside a puri and eat them together, like a Nepalese version of a desert taco.

Aloo matar potato and pea curry from the Nepalese breakfast buffet at AD's Kitchen in Ashfield
Aloo matar potato and pea curry 

Start with small serves of everything so you can figure out what you’d like for seconds. And thirds. Just make sure you follow the rules on the wall: “Take all you can eat. Eat all you take”.

Avoid the queues by arriving before 10am or after 1pm – the breakfast buffet finishes at 2pm. Still hungry? They also run a dinner buffet for $30 a head that includes unlimited momo dumplings.

DSCF2409-1705


AD's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

AD's Kitchen
437 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8542 5092

Opening hours
Breakfast buffet Friday to Sunday 8.30am-2pm
Dinner buffet Tuesday to Sunday 5pm-10pm

AD's Kitchen have also opened a second branch at 231 Beamish Street, Campsie.

This article first appeared in Time Out Sydney. Read this article online or read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews.

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/31/2017 01:45:00 am


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at The Tennyson Hotel, Mascot

Snacks at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot

What next from the Pinbone team that gave us chocolate crackles with parfaitfried chicken paninis and Chongqing crispy spatchcock? It's Italian, of course, in a liquor shop driveway no less. Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco is the latest pop-up by Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman, this time collaborating with the Merivale group in one of their newest acquisitions, the Tennyson Hotel in Mascot (just down the road from Hong Ha Hot Bread). The ever cheerful Berri Eggert is back on the floor too.

Dining room set-up at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot

The hotel bistro is still running but the liquor shop drive-through down the side has been converted into a giant dining room. It's not too dissimilar to an Asian birthday celebration for the extended family in the family garage - without the plastic stools.

The bonus is the casual amble over to the bottle shop fridges, including the walk-in chiller stacked with wines and beers. It's like built-in BYO. Everybody wins.

Dining room wall at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot

True to their name, there is a disco ball. Not just one in fact, but two, casting a constant blue light dance vibe throughout the room. The main wall is covered in original drawings by foureyestattoo - if you ask nicely, the cashier has a small stock of these in sticker format and as temporary tattoo transfers.

Chef Mike Eggert at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Mike Eggert in the open kitchen

The open kitchen means you get a view of all the action. It suits the casual dining vibe, the room filled with a happy mix of families, friends and couples.

Menu and disco ball at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Disco Italian and the Disco Inferno woodfired oven

The menu offers plenty of scope, more than you'd expect for a pop-up but then again, it's not altogether unexpected from this ever-ambitious team. You could easily stop by for a few sneaky snacks and a bevvy or go the full hog and wallow in a four course meal. We did the latter. Naturally.

Chicken liver parfait at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Chicken liver parfait with sweet onion $15

We can never resist a chicken liver parfait, and the version here is damn fine. It's just the right shade of rosy pink in the middle, already sweet enough really but the addition of caramelised onion provides a pleasing textural contrast.

Bread and butter at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Bread $5

It's a little odd that the parfait doesn't come with any crackers or bread (looking after the paleo folk?) but it's worth ordering bread on the side for the whipped butter alone. The butter is a pale fluffy cloud of utter creaminess, so good that instead of using the bread for the parfait, I slathered, nay, buried it in butter instead. I ate the parfait with a fork instead.

Burrata at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Burrata $14

The kitchen sends out a series of snacks on the house: burrata, olives, pickles and 'nduja. We protest, albeit weakly. But looky at that burrata, a perfect little pouch of mozzarella swollen with cream. And we're grateful it's served in a bowl so we can scrape up every last skerrick of cream.

Sicilian olives at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Olives $5

Sicilian green olives are plump and firm, marinated with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Pickles at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Pickles $8

We pick through the pickles, a perky crunch of cauliflower, pearl onions, radish, celery, zucchini and carrots.

'nduja at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
'nduja $8

And I reserve a little bit of bread for the 'ndjua, a spicy spreadable salami that hails from Calabria.

Beef tongue at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Beef tongue, porcini, tomato $16

In our pre-ordering menu negotiations (always a ritual), I'd put in a strong argument for the beef tongue over the tuna crudo. I'm glad I did.

The skill behind the cooking of the beef tongue is impressive, with a softness that's a cross between veal and corned beef. Grill marks impart a caramelised smartness and the tumble of porcini and tomato salsa across the top adds a light touch of acidity.

Bruschetta with raw veal at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Bruschetta with raw veal, whipped tuna and greens $12

There are four versions of bruschetta to choose from but I only had eyes for the raw veal with whipped tuna which sounds like a veal tonnato but ends up more like a tasty veal tartare. The hand-chopped veal is springy with freshness but the real highlight for me is the bread, lightly charred and enticingly smoky in all the right places.

Vintage chairs at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Vintage chairs

Grilled calamari at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Grilled calamari with parsley and lemon $25

Grilled calamari is light on the char but its tenderness can't be faulted. We mop up the puddle of lemony sauce at the bottom, tinted with calamari sweetness, scarpetta-style with the very last bits of bread.

Gnocchetti with braised lamb at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Gnocchetti with braised lamb and rosemary $24

If there's one dish you need to order here, it's the gnocchetti, the southern Italian version of gnocchi that substitutes potato with durum flour. The pasta is satisfyingly al dente, and so beautifully formed you may want to pause and admire its shape before taking that first bite.

The ridges make an ideal carriage for sauce, including catching threads of the fall-apart-in-the-mouth braised lamb. Pangrattato fried bread crumbs add fun bursts of crunch.

Spatchcock with lemon and tarragon butter at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Spatchcock, lemon and tarragon butter $30

The spatchcock arrives as a whole bird, not a bad deal for thirty dollars.

Squeezing the roasted lemon onto the spatchcock at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Squeezing woodfired lemon onto the spatchcock

We're instructed to squeeze the accompanying lemon half over the spatchcock. The woodfired lemon oozes out like a thick lemon jam.

It's hands-on eating for maximum satisfaction here. The spatchcock is silkily tender and succulent. All that's missing is a golden roasted spud or two.

Polenta with corn and chervil at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Polenta, corn, chervil $10

We pick the polenta from the selection of sides available, a wet and loose version that is fortified with roasted corn kernels. It's the kind of dish you could happily eat on its own and still feel good about it because all that fresh corn surely cancels out the buttery goodness.

1kg rib eye steak at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
1kg rib eye with mustard and parmesan $95

We finish with the grandest dish of all, the one kilo rib eye, so enticing when we'd previewed the menu that we'd brought in reinforcements to help us get through it. It's a beast of a steak, served on a tray with romesco, horseradish cream, mustard and a couple of hunks of parmesan cheese.

Grilled 1kg rib eye steak at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Grilled rib eye juiciness

There's a terrifically blackened char to the surface of the steak that comes through as a smoky flavour. Unfortunately the bottom end of the ribeye is well done but the slices near the middle are medium rare.

It's a huge hunk of meat, with plenty of fat around the edges. The bone itself is worth fighting over too.

Pannacotta with woodfired fruit at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Pannacotta with woodfired fruit $11

Three desserts beckon for afters. We skip the strawberry soft serve and cosy up with the pannacotta with woodfired fruit. It's a lighter style pannacotta that suits the side of sweet roasted peaches.

Hazelnut tiramisu at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot
Hazelnut tiramisu $11

I was about to skip the hazelnut tiramisu but was glad I was convinced otherwise. It's just the pick-me-up you need, made ever nuttier with a splodge of Nutella on the bottom and a shower of toasted hazelnuts for unmistakeable throughout.

Bottleshop wall of Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot

The garage door is pulled up halfway through lunch, letting in the afternoon sunshine and allowing us to watch a parade of confused and curious locals walking past.

Good fare, cheap grog and a car park right across the road? There's no excuse not to get down and dirty at this Italian disco.

The only catch? The pop-up is only scheduled for six months so get down and boogie before it closes in April 2018.

Bottleshop drive-thru dining at Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco by Pinbone at the Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop in Mascot


Mr. Liquor Dirty Italian Disco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco
Tennyson Hotel Bottle Shop
952 Botany Road, Mascot, Sydney
Enter the bottle shop via High Street 

Opening hours (kitchen closes one hour before closing time)
Wednesday to Friday 6pm-12am 
Saturday 6pm-12am
Sunday 12pm-10pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/24/2017 12:54:00 am


Monday, October 09, 2017

Restaurant Hubert Bridge Bon Appetit, Sydney

Caviar omelette at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney

Bridge Bon Appetit? It's the newest dining space open at Restaurant Hubert, a sophisticated wine bar that runs the length of the mezzanine corridor above the main Beatrix dining room. Diners waiting for tables downstairs are redirected here for drinks but it's a worthwhile dining destination of its own, with a distinct menu separate to both Restaurant Hubert and Bar Pincer.

We arrive so early on a Saturday afternoon that Bridge Bon Appetit isn't even open - their doors are unlocked at 6pm. Instead we're invited to wait downstairs inside Bar Pincer (both Bar Pincer and Restaurant Hubert open at 5pm).

Prime beef tartare from Bar Pincer at Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Prime beef tartare $24
Wagyu topside, classic condiments and French fries from Bar Pincer

Pre-dinner drink? We opt for a pre-dinner tartare instead. Because #priorities

The prime beef tartare arrives within five minutes and it's just as good as we remembered. The hand-cut beef is lusciously chewy and zingy with the just the right amount of cornichons. A tumble of skinny French fries provide the hot and salty crunch we're looking for.

Bridge Bon Appetite dining area at Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Counter dining on the mezzanine Bridge Bon Appetit overlooking the Beatrix Dining Room

We head back on flight of stairs to Bridge Bon Appetit. The mezzanine corridor wasn't originally designed for diners. It was merely a passageway to the private theatre at the end of the corridor. But it works as a wine bar set-up, the corridor flanked by timber beam counters lined with stools.

It's dim and moody up here, with tasselled lamps acting as natural dividers between cosying couples. The muffled din of diners downstairs can be heard, and if you peek over the edge of the railing you can score a flat lay view of everything that people are eating below.


La petit roe boat at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
La petit roe boat $18 for 2 pieces
Uni, avruga, salmon roe and cod roe barquette

We start with the la petit roe boat, surely the cleverest play on words we've seen this year. Set sail on a crisp barquette boat loaded with uni sea urchin roe, avrugar caviar and salmon roe on a bed of whipped cod roe.

Four kinds of eggs in one mouthful? Bliss. Every component is superbly plump and fresh. And if you're a party of three, the kitchen will happily tweak the usual serving size from two boats to three.

Saucisson sec and pickles at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Saucisson sec and pickles $16
Pork and black pepper salami and pickled vegetables

The saucisson sec makes for an ideal snack pre-, post- or for your dinner. We pick our way through chunky slices of cured fatty-flecked pork salami and the tangy sourness of pickled carrots, celery and cauliflower. The only thing that's missing is a crusty baguette.

Angelachu anchovies with eschalot, brown butter and Hubert baguette at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Anchois $22 with Hubert baguette and butter $6
Angelachu anchovies with eschalot and brown butter

Housemade baguettes are available. We follow our waiter's advice and order ours with the angelachu anchovies, regarded by many as the best anchovies in the world. The anchovy fillets are pristine, fishes from the Cantabrian Sea in northern Spain and then salted for six to nine months.

We're instructed to make a mini anchovy sandwich here, slathering the baguette with brown butter before layering it with the anchovy fillet, eschalot rings and greens. It's simple but satisfying, and the anchovy fillets are remarkably good, with an earthy saltiness that maintains delicate refinement.

Veal tartare at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Veal tartare $24
Raw veal, rosemary and pane carasau

Can you have two tartares in one evening? Absolutely. The veal tartare is distinctly different from the version downstairs, its dressing more noticeably tangy along with a hint of chilli. We're not sure that the shards of pane carasau, a Sardinian flat bread, work in this dish, but we do relish the salt bush. And the slightly mouth-tingling seasoning is reminiscent of Japanese shichimi togarashi.

Cured fish at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Posson marine $18
Cured fish and native succulent vinaigrette

There's much to like about the cured John Dory too, firm and fresh fish. But it's the native succulent vinaigrette that really steals the show, a vivid green richness that's so tasty we want to lick the plate clean.

Caviar omelette at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Caviar omelette $36
Omelette, creme fraiche and caviar buerre blanc

For maximum luxe, it's hard to go past the caviar omelette drowned in a lake of buerre blanc sauce. The omelette is soft and barely set, like the airiest pillow. We're told the sauce is actually half buerre blanc and half miso. The miso adds an umami complexity to the French butter sauce, marked with popped of caviar and the gentle crunch of chives.

Corn pudding at Bridge Bon Appetit in Restaurant Hubert in Sydney
Corn pudding 

Desserts change regularly. We're saddened that the mont blanc is not available but do order the corn pudding, an ode to corn on a plate. The corn pudding is strangely comforting, its silky texture contrasted with a rubble of different tastes and textures, everything from fermented corn kernels to walnuts to white chocolate and fresh tarragon.

The nutty toasted corn kernels will bring you flashbacks of popcorn as your brain tries to process a dessert that's equal parts savoury and sweet. It's different. It's fun. It's so very Restaurant Hubert.

Entrance to Bridge Bon Appetit at Restaurant Hubert in Sydney


Bridge Bon Appétit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bridge Bon Appetit at Restaurant Hubert
15 Bligh Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9232 0881

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 6pm-12am


Related Grab Your Fork posts
Restaurant Hubert

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/09/2017 02:13:00 am



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