Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Devon Cafe, Surry Hills

I had the opportunity to go to a work conference in the city, so I went to bed early, and caught an early train into central station. Devon Cafe was the destination, and I had a mere 40 minutes to order, consume, and then walk to Hyde Park. Truffle cheese toasties are only available when in season, and only on the weekend. Darn it! Worker Bees need truffle toasties too!

Two breakfast dishes caught my eye, and after being reassured that it would take ten minutes, I made my choice.

Breakfast with the Sakuma’s ($25):

Breakfast with the Sakuma's

Miso grilled king salmon,smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salad & kewpie mayonnaise. This had a extra unami scattering of seaweed and sesame flakes, plus some brown crunchy stuff that I couldn’t identify. The croquette was mostly rice, and very crunchy on the outside. It came with lots of different elements that kept me interested, all the way to the end. I couldn’t really use the mayonnaise as I found that the salmon was quite rich even without it.

The other dish that piqued my interest *had* been the Eggs Blini – for the mere existence of the blini, but having seen my communal table mate get his serving, I was very happy with my choice.

Ovvio Ginger Zap tea ($6.5):

Ginger Zap Tea

This was nice and tingly ginger flavour. I was surprised that it didn’t come served with honey, but then I didn’t ask. It felt like such a waste to use this loose leaf ‘tea’ tissane only once, so I took the remainder with me in a little container and enjoyed its zippiness for the rest of the day.


The Devonshire, Surry Hills

On my to-do list for several years, I have finally made it to the one hat restaurant, The Devonshire. A combination of a freed up work schedule, the pre-theatre menu plus a discount using the entertainment card made this excursion possible. The pre-theatre menu gives you two courses for $49, and you’re out by 8pm.

Bread & Butter:

Bread and butter

No ordinary bread & butter, the butter on the left is “honey butter”. Being a beekeeper I had to try it. It was crunchy from salt crystals, and sweet from the honey. Kind of like oily sweetness…

Salt fish brandade with caper sauce:

Salt fish brandade

This was a little aperitivo to whet the appetite. I wonder if the salt fish is the Portuguese Baccalao? The caper sauce was like a fancied up tartare sauce without that heavy oiliness or fridge like flavour.

Beef Tartare with kale chips and saboyon 65 deg egg:

Beef Tartare

My brain no worky. I saw the word ‘tartare’ and thought of thin slices of barely cooked beef, japanese style. It was marinated raw beef mince with capers – quite salty. I was also interested in how the egg would be done – it turned up like a foamy yellow custard (which I suppose is egg), but didn’t really taste like egg at all. The kale ‘chips’ had been coated in oil and fried. Quite salty, quite oily. I prefer my version of kale chip, but I suppose it wouldn’t stay crispy.

Smoked and seared ocean trout:

Seared ocean trout//

This one was a gem, with little microherbs, enoki mushrooms and a puff of mushroom cream.

Pork loin, crackling, roast carrots:

Roast pork loin

This was a dish in earth colours. The crackling was very crispy with no gummy stick in your mouth bits. The port reduction jus quite sweet. The ‘cigar’ on the left reminds me of a chiko roll.

The recipe for the crackling was so involved that the chef came out from the kitchen to explain it to the table next to us. I wonder if I can create crackling in a dutch oven over a fire pit?

Mulloway fish:


Pieces of fish skin had been deep fried until crispy. Oddly, this provided a more satisfying crunch than the pork crackling, possibly because a vestige of flavour remained with the crunch. This dish also had julienned octopus legs and a little squid ink.

Haloumi and greens:

Aphrodite Haloumi

Such a green coloured dish. Charred broccolini, broccoli, raw broccoli ‘noodles’ – which I thought tasted like cucumber. There were four pieces of panfried Aphrodite Haloumi – more salt to my diet, or it could have been lemon juice as I do have very confused taste buds. I really like the little nubbins of parsnip chips on top.

Tea from T2.

There is a lack of interesting non alcoholic drinks apart from the usual multinational soft drinks. I think a quite a few places seem to let themselves down in this area. We did however, enjoy the rest of our meal and the attentive service. I go to the theatre quite often nearby, I’m going to have to make a return trip sometime.

The Devonshire
Street: 204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 2010
Phone: +61-2-9698-9427

Edition Coffee Roasters, Darlinghurst

This place is so hard to find! It sits on a nondescript corner in east Sydney, in a building that was ‘established 1983’. I walked past, powering up the hill, and it was only when I realised that I was looking for number 265 (not 256), that I found it. There is no sign. Here is a photo for future reference:

Edition Coffee Roasters

C’mon, admit it. You too would have walked straight past.

The space is small and narrow, with blond wood, white tiling and gorgeous vintage Japanese cutlery:

Cutlery @ Edition Coffee Roasters

The menu was simple, yet so hard to choose from.

Chai tea ($5.5):

Chai tea pot

Wow. Look at that pot. Want. The chai is from the blue mountains, it is then steamed with your milk, of which I had soy.

Chai tea @ Edition Coffee

Unfortunately all the aroma I could smell from the pot was freshly grated nutmeg. The hand thrown cup also seemed to have grated nutmeg in the base. I really liked the cup.

Mushroom pond ($13):

Mushroom pond

So much has been written about this dish, what else can I add? It is really beautiful to look at. I spotted enoki, shittake, oyster mushrooms. The broth to me just tastes like watered down soy sauce. Sorry. My topping today, I’m pretty sure, is crème fraiche instead of mushroom cream. The udon noodles are a pain to eat in a delicate fashion without spraying cream flavoured mushroom stock everywhere. This is a nice and pretty dish, but I want more.

So, because I’m a little piggy and I am here to celebrate the end of exams (yay!), I order something more.

Porco Rollo ($13):

Porco rollo

Glammed up banh mi, or Vietnamese pork roll. The ginger ‘slaw’ is really pickled purple cabbage with skinny strips of pink pickled Japanese ginger. The pork has lovely crispy bits, but falls apart in soft shreds. I want to be able to cook this at home. I like the addition of sliced radish and sprinkling of nigella seed on top. I think the ‘tamogoyaki’ (sweet Japanese omelette) is unnecessary, and doesn’t really add anything special.

I want to come back and try the Oden Japanese Stew , as well as one of the brewed teas.

Edition coffee roasters
Street: 265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (Corner crown Street)
No phone
Mon-Fri: 0700-1530
Sat-Sun: 0800-1530

Sample Coffee, Surry Hills

I spotted this slightly bigger than a hole in the wall place on the way up the hill to visit Bourke Street Bakery. I stopped in on my way down the hill: BSB did not have any green olive loaf ready for sale at 830 in the morning, which made me sad. Doesn’t everyone eat green olives for breakfast?

Sample Coffee

The pastries and biscuits are from Penny Four’s, Leichhardt. I *thought* that I recognised that chocolate hazelnut cookie! There was a slight markup of 30c, but it saved me a trip into Leichhardt, so it was with it.

Here is what my soy flat white looked like:
Coffee, Sample Coffee

Yup, I ordered my coffee with milk, and it was goooooood.

About once a month, the owner Reuben Marden has a ‘black Saturday’ event, where upon ALL coffee is served black. Apparently coffee with milk is just ‘flavoured milk’, and to get the true character and flavour notes of the bean, you need to drink it black.

Mon-Fri: 0630-1600
Street: 1A/118 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills

Reuben Hills Cafe , Surry Hills

I have heard great things about Reuben Hills, so it was time to check it out for myself.

Reuben Hills

It was busy on a weekday lunchtime, but not so that I had to wait.

I was seated at the communal table near the garage door, and confronted with a terrible choice. Firstly, what to eat, and secondly: if I had one of their famed milkshakes, I would have no space for gelato from gelato messina. The shake menu changes on a weekly basis; I remember seeing coconut & lime, and rosewater and lychee.

Communal Table

I asked for a recommendation, and the waitress said that the watermelon salad was nice and very fresh (and it did look very nice on a neighbouring table), the crab tacos had a yummy corn-based slaw: but this was different to the slaw that came with the corn tortillas. A couple on the communal table ordered the F-Ing Great Chicken in a basket. This looked like big chunky strips of chicken in a pale orange batter, with a dipping sauce and some fried chillies. I had to take a sneaky pic:

Fried Chicken

It may have tasted F-Ing Great.

After some dithering, I settled on:

1. Cold pour over coffee ($7.5):
This was described in the menu as: peachy tea, fruity.

2. Not the Reuben ($16)
This was described in the menu as: wagyu salt brisket, pickled slaw, manchego & horseradish cream on rye.

The water bottles were reusable 1 pint glass ones, originally used for milk. Where on earth did they source those from?

The Not-Reuben, although ordered second, arrived first in a pretty red plastic basket.

Not The Reuben

On top was a half radish which had been dipped in a chipotle salt which provided a nice contrast to the sandwich. The slaw had a slight gherkin like quality – as though the coleslaw had used leftover pickles water to loosen up the mayonnaise. This was very mouth-filling and moreish, and the horseradish cream added a little bit of a hot bite every now and then. The wagyu beef brisket had been nicely seared and had lots of caramelised crunchy bits to enjoy.

The cold pour over coffee was served in a white granite-like flask, with little foamy bubbles on top – from the nitrogen liquid cooling no doubt. It smelled as though I was biting into a roasted coffee bean; but it tasted like I had left my drip filter coffee sitting on the table all day and it had turned sour. I’m glad I tried it.

Cold Pour Over

I shall have to go again another time, and forego gelato for a shake!

Surry Hills Festival

So I went to the Surry Hills Festival.

And it was kind of fun.
But also kind of boring.

For a festival (and a council), that bills itself as “sustainable”, there was a lack of reusable cups at the coffee counters available. And there was a lot of rubbish to buy. There were multiple bins – paper, plastic, glass, cans, compost, landfill. But I couldn’t believe people were so lazy that they couldn’t walk that extra step and put that can in the correct bin rather than the compost bin! Perhaps a localised can deposit scheme, get 10c back on your next drink if the can is returned?

I participated in some discussions about sustainable communities, and calculating your carbon footprint. I saw Adam Liaw. I went to gelato messina up the hill and got gelato.

Foodwise I saw viking chargrilled sausages, Nepalese dumplings, gourmet sausages in a wrap. There was way too many gozlemes: I saw at least five stalls.

The two foodstuffs that interested me were the corn fritters:

Corn Fritters

These fritters from Fritter House were server “farmers feast” style, with an extra side of chorizo. On the plate you see herbs (mainly parsley), chipolata susage, spicy potato, double-smoked bacon, stirfried mushrooms, beetroot relish and tomato relish.

I also like the look of the Caribbean “trini kitchen”.


These guys were offering “doubles” (pronounced as in two of something, not the dance). A kind of chickpea flour pancake filled with other tastes like sourcream and tamarind. But they were sold out by the time I got there even though though the signs were still up.

Instead I tried a fresh cooked roti filled with a mixture of chickpeas, beef and chicken. I saw the fresh made roti puff up in front of my eyes. The result was indeed delicious.

Rocking out to the Sosume DJS & the sounds of African drumming from Keyim Ba:

Rocking out

Sustainable houses talk @ Surry Hills Festival

So I went to the Surry Hills Festival on the weekend. One of the talks I went to was about building a sustainable community.

Michael Mobbs – author of Sustainable House, lives in a self converted sustainable house in Chippendale. This was converted 16 years ago, and has been off the grid ever since.

Michael Mobbs

Everyone talks about reducing carbon footprint of their house, reducing energy consumption. But the measurement that never gets mentioned is the energy footprint of food.

It takes 10 thousand kilolitres of water to feed 1 person for 10 days. If you have 10 people, that’s 1 million kilio litres or 1 swimming pool worth of water.

There is a plan to make Chippendale sustainable over the next 10 years. The comments on this plan closed on 26 October 2012, but they extended the comments period to the 27th to incorporate those from the Surry Hills Festival.

Luke bacon – a web designer, has been involved in the sustainability plan for the past six months.

The mass media is on the bandwagon of ‘sustainability is too expensive, too hard to achieve’. But the media itself is sustained by big business and advertising – not by the number of papers sold.

What can we do?

Document the sustainability initiatives you see. Tag it – use metadata.

Take photos. Discuss it online. The more information that is online that describes “sustainability” is possible and is happening, the harder it will be for the mainstream media to ignore. Use Flickr, and use the creative commons licence. Upload to the Internet archive – the one based in San Francisco which plans to archive electronic data as a permanent record. Note: 20 years ago, the word “eco” didn’t exist. Now it is everywhere. Let’s do the same thing – with a shorter timeframe to the word sustainability.


Within Chippendale, 9 compost bins have been installed. This has the potential to turn 3 tonne food waste into compost. (I presume on an annual basis).

Luke has completed some analysis of website visits to the plan.

Deepest engagement around the world (longest visits on theplan website)
* Hanoi, Vietnam
* Lindbergh, Belgium
* Grosse point, Detroit USA
* Beirut, Lebanon
* Philadelphia, USA
* Coffs Harbour, Australia
* Phenom penh, Cambodia

Then it was question time.

How to minimise the amount of organic waste generated from your house?

Use the Michael Mobbs lazy method of composting. Get a big storm water pipe and cut slots in it. What about the base? Bury the pipe in the ground, and drop food into it. This has no smell, and the rats can’t get into it. The worms will turn up through the slots. Don’t blend up veg matter, leave it whole. Intermittently Add paper/cardboard/napkins to increase the carbon level. You’ll have trouble filling it up, and your plants will love it.

What one thing can I do which has the biggest reduction of my impact on the planet?

Biggest impact is how you buy your food, and disposing of your organic waste. Buy local – then 40c in the dollar will go towards the producer. If you buy at one of the major supermarkets, perhaps only 10c. Buying local means that the food is fresher and it contains more nutrients.

Second biggest impact you can have is to cut back on red meat. Have one day a week where you don’t eat meat.

Third biggest impact you can have is by walking everywhere.

What are you doing to make your community sustainable? Do you talk to your neighbours?