Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ketchup Canteen, Kings Park - Blacktown

Western Sydney’s burger options just keeps growing and we love it! From the team that has brought us the Holy Heffa food truck comes another delicious treat in the form of Ketchup Canteen.

Van, Nader and Joe has been in the burger game for 2 years with Holy Heffa and is still going strong. The team has decided to expand their domain in Sydney’s west with their cafe diner concept in the King’s Park industrial area. Ketchup canteen is more than just burgers. It’s a cafe in the sense that they serve espresso based drinks using Toby’s Estate Wolloomooloo blend. They also have burgers, fried chicken, sandwiches, salads, thickshakes and more.

I tried a flat white ($3.50) with their house blend from Toby’s Estate. The coffee had a full body with milk chocolate notes.

You can get most of their sides in regular or large size. The mac & cheese ($6 regular) was perfect! The macaroni was cooked perfectly with a gooey molten-like flavoursome cheese sauce. The same cheese sauce is used for their cheesy fries ($6 regular) along with paprika and chives.

They have fried chicken ($11) too and it’s insanely good! We went with the half size and kept it OG Southern-style without any hot sauce. The buttermilk coating was crispy with notes of cumin, coriander seeds and other wonderful spices. The meat was heaps juicy but not oily at all. It’s not a big deal but I would have preferred the chicken to be chopped into smaller portions rather than two huge 1/4 pieces.

Last but not least, I had to smash a burger and so I opted for the Heffa Homewrecka burger ($10). Y’all know I love my double patty burgs so I added extra patty ($4) and bacon ($3). This is basically their take on the classic cheeseburger which includes a juicy beef patty, sexy melted American cheese, pickles, onions and Heffa sauce in a soft buttery brioche bun. It’s a massive well-constructed flavoursome umami packed burger. I highly recommend this for those visiting Ketchup for the first time.

For now, they are only open on weekdays. But pretty soon they will also open at night and weekends. If you’re a Holy Heffa fan or just someone who loves burgers and fried chicken, you need to check them out when you’re in Blacktown or Kings Park!

Ketchup Canteen
Unit 2, 4 Romford Rd
Kings Park NSW
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ketchupcanteen
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 7am - 3pm

(Evening and weekend trading hours coming soon)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Burger Point, Marsden Park - Riverstone

There is no doubt that in the last 2 years, Sydney’s west is getting a lot of burger love. From food trucks such as Mate Burger and Chucks to shops like Burgerhead in Penrith, the west is sorted with so many options. Amongst those shops is Burger Point in Marsden Park.

In the heart of Marsden Park’s shopping hub is where you’ll find this diner-style restaurant. Tim and his team serves some of the best burgers not just in the west, but in Sydney as well. Offerings range from burgers, fries, and bbq chicken to milkshakes and dessert specials like the all-time Filipino dessert favourite halo halo.

Besides the usual shoestring fries ($5 for a large) you can also get the pimped out loaded fries topped with cheese ($9).

On their 1 year anniversary, they gave away free cheeseburgers to the first 100 customers that visited their store on that weekend. I wish they would make that cheeseburger a regular in the menu as it’s a classic that’s executed well. Juicy smashed beef patty with American cheese, special mayo-based savoury sauce, pickles and onions.

If you like veggies on your burger, they have you sorted with the Boss Burger ($13). It’s a solid burg with a bbq glazed smashed patty, American cheese, lettuce, onions, boss mayo and caramelised beetroot relish in a lightly toasted milk bun.

My favourite here is the ultimate Big Boss burger ($18)! Double smashed beef patty, special sauce, cheese, crispy bacon and pickles in a lightly toasted milk bun. The highlight in this burger is the patties umami packed caramelised crusts formed from the smash process. The coarsely minced beef is perfectly seasoned and cooked. This burger has double the awesomeness and it also handles damn well.

Watch out for their tasty weekly specials like the Meat & Swine burger: Beef & bacon patty, provolone, black garlic aioli,tomato & jalapeño relish, and lettuce.

They also do this delicious Smoky and sticky chicken wings ($13). The sweet and smoky sauce that the chicken is glazed which reminds me of the Filipino-style chicken bbq sauce.

I recommend washing it all down with their luscious purple dulce ($7)! It’s their amazing take on the ube milkshake.

They also have limited edition desserts every now and then like the very loved Filipino classic, halo halo! I can confirm that it was legit especially the leche flan topping!

If you are ever out in Western Sydney and love burgers, you definitely need to check this place out. Their burgs are on point and won’t disappoint.

Burger Point
Home Hub Marsden Park
24/9 Hollinsworth Rd
Marsden Park NSW
Opening hours:
10.30am to 8.30pm 7 Days.

Burger Point Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Caffeine Villains Espresso Bar, Newport - Sydney Nothern Beaches

The Northern beaches of Sydney has a badass coffee joint in their midst. Caffeine Villains is a family run cafe in the heart of Newport. They have only been around for a few months but locals and people from different parts of Sydney have been flocking to this spot since their opening day. It’s probably mostly due to the powerhouse husband and wife owners Alberto (ex Three Rosetta and Cavalier Espresso) and Barbara Fuerte (ex Three Rosetta and Back & Forth Castlecrag).


Tucked away within the shopping area of Newport and just a short walk from the beach is where you’ll find Caffeine Villains. The space has a warm and modern beach shack type vibe going on. Alberto is one of the best baristas around. So with his mad skills and Melbourne’s St Ali beans put in the mix, y’all know magic is about to happen! Then there are Barbara’s creations taking inspiration from different cuisines like the Philippines, Japan and Mediterranean countries. There is no doubt that this place has got it going on!

Both the flat white ($3.50) and piccolo latte ($3.50) we ordered had the perfect milk temperature and velvet texture. Whilst the flat white was sweet and smooth, their piccolo was rich with dark chocolate notes. Alberto really knows how to deal with St Ali’s dark roast coffee beans.

Every now and then, they have beans from guest roasters. I was lucky that during our visit, I got to try a beautiful Colombian coffee from Kwila.

The CV Benny ($18) has gotta be one of the most beautiful looking brunch dishes I have come across! It’s an exceptional Japanese inspired twist to the traditional eggs benedict. The most notable parts of this dish was the textural contrast and flavours between the umami packed house smoked salmon and nutty flavoured brown rice wrapped in nori. The perfectly poached eggs and wasabi hollandaise sauce is the icing on the cake.

Y’all know those amazing burgers at Back & Forth in Castlecrag? Barbara’s the genius behind all of that! So I was pumped to see a double cheeseburger on the menu. The Caffeine Villains Double Cheeseburger ($16) is a work of art. A beautifully stacked dish of juicy double beef patties and double melted cheese, CHEESE SAUCE, bacon, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato sauce and mustard in a soft charcoal milk bun. This burger didn’t really need the lettuce but I do really appreciate that there’s only a small portion of it. This burger was saucy but not too messy and just packed and layered with great flavours. Umami galore yo! I would smash this again for sure! For some chips on the side, just add $2.

The buttermilk pancakes ($14) tastes as beautiful as it looks! Stacks of fluffy pancakes topped with nutella, strawberries, blueberries, fresh cream and vanilla ice cream.

Congrats to my homies Alberto and Barbara for doing a great job with Caffeine Villains. Y’all need to hit them up when you’re in the Nothern Beaches area.

Caffeine Villains
Shop 7/331-335 Barrenjoey Road
Newport NSW
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 6:00am to 3:30pm
Sat-Sun 7:00pm to 2:30pm

Caffeine Villains Espresso Bar  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Gogyo Ramen Sydney, Surry Hills

I had many memorable bowls of ramen in Japan. The first to make an impact on my palate has gotta be Gogyo’s Kyoto ramen shop. I heard the same statement from many other Aussies that’s visited that shop in the last few years. Their signature Kogashi (burnt) shoyu and miso ramen has so much umami and smokiness that you are sure to leave their shop amazed.

Then December 2017 came and the Ippudo group has graced Sydney with Gogyo Ramen’s presence in our great city. The ex-Salaryman spot was taken over by Gogyo. Some of the fittings were kept but the shop was transformed to a moody chic Scandanavian fused with a posh modern Japanese wine house looking space. If you sit by the counter, you can watch the chefs char, caramelised or burn (whatever you want to call it) the miso or soy tare that’s used in their Kogashi ramen.

The gyozas ($14) here would pair nicely with your ramen. It had nice caramelised crusts and the filling was flavoursome.

You can also get a sweet and umami packed nasu dengaku ($12.50). The chunks of eggplant were crisped to caramelised perfection on the outside and super tender on the inside.
Kogashi sorcery

The Kogashi miso ramen ($18) is my favourite at the Kyoto shop and is also my favourite here. I feel like the miso carries the sweet smoky profile better and bursts with more intense umami in the chicken broth. My only criticism is that the broth could be heavier and more dense just like the Kyoto shop’s version and the egg yolk in the half umami egg (or ajitama) could be a tad more runny. Having said that, the broth still has amazing flavours and the chashu is still delicious and tender. The thin katame low hydration noodles here handles the heavy broth extremely well. Love the bite on their katame noodles. You also get toppings like nori, cabbage and naruto (fish cake).

The Kogashi shoyu ramen ($18) on the other hand is a little more light on the palate with nutty notes in the broth but still packs umami. Thin katame (al dente) noodles is also used and topped with half umami egg, cabbage, naruto and nori.

I didn’t know what to expect with their tonkotsu ramen ($17) as it’s normally not a Gogyo specialty. But damn I was caught by surprise as it was damn good! The pork broth was not too heavy but was flavoursome enough with a good balance of fat in the form of pulps of seabura (pork back fat) that slowly disintegrated on the broth. To be honest, I prefer this over their parent company’s (Ippudo) tonkotsu ramen. It had thin katame noodles, a super buttery and tasty chashu, menma, naruto, cabbage and negi. I especially loved the caramelised edges of the chashu.

I’m just glad that we have a piece of Japan in Sydney like no other. This is a must try when you’re in the area.

Gogyo Surry Hills
52-54 Albion Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Opening Hours:
7 Days
11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 9:00pm

Gogyo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato