Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ramen and more at Cool Mac Cafe, Kirribilli

I must've been Nihonjin in my past life as I feel so attached to the Japanese culture and food especially ramen! There hasn't been much movement in the Sydney ramen scene in a while. But in the last month, more ramen spots started popping up. Cool Mac Cafe in Kirribilli is one of those places.

That's right folks, this Japanese-inspired cafe is offering ramen almost on a weekly basis as part of a secret menu. I found out about their ramen offerings via Dachshund Cafe's chef, Shota Taguchi. My ramen-loving homie RockaHenry and I decided to check the joint Cool Mac. The space is very reminiscent of rustic bistro cafes in Japan. The coffee is sourced from Campos and the menu has a mixture of contemporary Aussie cafe fare and Japanised-Western dishes.

Their house blend is from Campos so expect for bold and sweet chocolate notes through your flat white ($3.80) or latte. They also have single origin coffee available if you prefer a short or long black ($3.80).

Cool Mac's owner Eugene and Head Chef Jun are fans of Gumshara plus Jun-san is originally from Kumamoto, Kyushu (the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen). So it's the obvious thing to go with a kotteri tonkotsu ramen ($16) for their ramen special
Their ramen ticks all the boxes for a great bowl of kotteri tonkotsu ramen: smooth thick gravy-like pork bone broth with a good shoyu tare for a robust depth and umami, a nice amount of negi and chewy braised shio menma for a dash of sweetness, thick tender juicy chashu, perfectly flavoured ajitama with custardy yolk, nori and chewy curly noodles. It was great and we crushed it!

Then there's their "katsu chemist" roll ($15) with panko crumbed super juicy fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, tonkatsu sauce and house tartare in a soft milk bun. This was amazing! One of the best fried chicken rolls/sandwiches around.

The Taco San is their take on the Okinawa dish Taco Rice. Rice topped with melted cheese, chilli minced beef, avocado, tomato, egg, aioli and chilli sauce. Squeeze some lime juice, mix and you get an awesome bowl of taco flavoured goodness.

Follow Cool Mac on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on their next ramen special dates!

Cool Mac Cafe
Shop 2, 34 Burton St
Kirribilli NSW
Mon to Fri 6am to 3.30pm

Sat & Sun 7am to 4pm
Cool Mac Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bacco Osteria e Espresso - Angel Place, Sydney

There is no shortage of places for a great pasta feed and contemporary Italian cuisine in Sydney. You got joints like Fratelli Fresh, ACME, Chester White and more. If you love this form of carbs and Italian food in general like I do, you should also add Bacco Osteria to your list!

Chefs Andrew Cibej (restaurateur behind Ester, Berta, 121BC and Vini) and Scott Williams (ex-Movida) has collaborated and opened Bacco in the middle of the ever-growing Angel Place dining district. Bacco is a cafe by day and licenced restaurant by night. It is contemporary trattoria style restaurant that takes classic Italian fare to another level. Their pastas are exceptional and the dishes are very produced driven. The restaurant menu consists of antipasti, primi, secondi, dolce and a wide range wine list.

We started with their artichokes and straciatella ($18) and it was insane! Beautifully braised artichokes that were sweet and tender with a milky and stretchy straciatella di bufala cheese. It also came with buttered crispy bread that was perfect for scooping the stracciatella with.

The Primi special that night was a Phillip Island scallops ($18) that were freshly shipped from Victoria that day. The scallops were plump, sweet and perfectly cooked. The buttery pesto based sauce that it came with was divine and full of umami.

Speaking of umami, the spaghetti alla chittara, sea urchin,  and beach banana ($28) was another amazing umami packed dish. The perfectly al dente handmade chitarra pasta was coated with a somewhat buttery and cheesey like sea urchin and beach banana sauce. The sauce also had hints of sweetness.

Another winner was their gnocchi with pistachio and pecorino ($24). The gnocchi is apparently based on Chef Andrew's Nonna's recipe. The buttery sauce combined with sweet, nutty, creamy pistachios and sharp umami of pecorino cheese was sensational with the beautiful gnocchi. I love this dish to bits!

Their hanger steak with anchovy and radish ($28) butter was amazing! The anchovy butter with the tender, smoky and perfectly seasoned medium hanger steak is one of the best steaks I've had in Sydney. 

I wish we had more space for desserts, as I would have loved to try their baked ricotta cheesecake and almond & pear tart. I love that they utilised butter for most of their dishes and they do it extremely well. The service here is also exceptional. I highly recommend visiting them ASAP!

Bacco Osteria e Espresso
No.1, 2-12 Angel Pl
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 92353383
Espresso: Mon – Fri: 7 – 5

Osteria: Mon - Fri 12 - 10:30, Sat 5:30 - 10:30
Bacco Osteria e Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 22, 2017

BL Burgers, Parramatta

One of the most anticipated eateries in Parramatta in 2017 has finally arrived! The dynamic duo Sarah and James Robbins has opened another one of their BL Burgers shops in the heart of Parramatta. Everyone out West was ecstatic to hear about the news. Based on the queues during lunchtime since they opened made that quite evident.

You'll find Bar Luca's offshoot shop just 2 doors down from Bourke Street Bakery in Centenary Square. With all the foot traffic this area gets (and being near my work!), it's the perfect location for a burger joint. Michael Villalon is the head of the awesome Parramatta team. The place has a casual space with badass murals by Brent Smith, arcade tables, burger pillows, a pinball machine, high stools and tables. It's basically the same drill as any BL Burger joint: Order and pay for your food at the counter then you get a buzzer. When your food is ready your buzzer goes off! I must say even during the busy lunch rush, the service is fairly quick.

Their signature and most popular burger the Blame Canada ($16) is available here. It's still one of my favourite burgers ever!  It consists of 200grams of perfectly cooked wagyu blend beef patty, poutine, maple glazed streaky bacon and maple aioli in a lightly toasted milk bun. The burger's name comes from the components that are associated with Canada like poutine and maple syrup. It's like a next level enhanced super cheesy bacon cheeseburger. It's a huge two-handed burger with rich elements that just work perfectly. It can get messy but the soft milk bun they use holds it together quite well. It's like a rite of passage to have this on your first BL visit. 

One of the many reasons BL has become popular is that you can pick any burger and modify with their "Hacks" add on items like bacon, extra patty, pulled pork, hash browns etc. I got a BL Beef Burger ($16 - beef patty, streaky bacon, American Cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles & BL Burger sauce) and added a fried mozzarella cheese patty! Crisped on the outside with sexy stretchy melted cheese on the inside.

The BL chicken sandwich ($16) is also off the hook! Pickle brined buttermilk fried chicken, crispy bacon, lettuce, pickles & sriracha mayo in a soft milk bun. I loved rippled crunchy coating and how it trapped all the juicy goodness of the meat. The sweet garlicky spicy sriracha mayo goes so well with the chicken. The bacon was so crisped!

Just like the rest of the Bar Luca group, there's a weekly special themed burger. On their first week, it was Incredible Bulk burger ($16): beef patty, American cheese, beer battered onion rings, chilli pulled pork, green apple pie mayo, pickles in a freakin soft milk bun. BL excels in monster themed burgers. The sweet and savoury flavours of the mayo works well with the chilli smoky pulled pork. Their beer battered onion rings are always off the hook and goes with any burger they have!

Snacks like shoestring fries with aioli ($5), smoky lamb riblets ($10), bomb frites fries ($14 - topped with pulled pork, liquid cheese, corn, corriander & chipotle aioli) and buffalo wings with ranch dressing ($10) are also available.

Thanks James and Sarah for bringing BL Burgers to Parramatta. Congratulations on a successful opening!

BL Burgers Parramatta
3/188 Church Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
Opening hours: 12pm to 9pm 7 days a week.

B L Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 8, 2017

Chef's Kitchen Burger Truck, Sydney

A name with a strong force and presence in Sydney's burger game is back! I'm talking about Charles "The Madman" Curnow and his brand Chef's Kitchen. After a short break since closing his St Leonards shop, one of Sydney's finest is back in the form of a food truck.

I remember my first Chef's Kitchen experience. It was love at first bite when I had the Meaty Ménage. His burgers are popular amongst burger lovers in Sydney and I can understand why. If you've had his burgers before, you would have noticed the high quality beef patties he uses. He doesn't even go overboard to impress. His well-constructed burgers and quality ingredients speak for themselves. I was lucky to be one of the people invited to the burger truck's launch. Here's a preview of what to expect from the Madman:

First off, his loaded fries were insane! I've had his beer battered chips before and I can say that they were one of the best hot chips I've had in my life! Perfectly crisped on the outside, fluffy inside and well seasoned. This pork loaded fries was topped with super smoky tender pulled pork, liquid cheese and bbq sauce. All you spuds lovers out there will go crazy over this!

The Cali burger is his ode to In-n-Out's animal style Cheeseburger. The burger comes with Charles' signature juicy beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, a thousand island like sauce and diced caramelised onions. This burger is 3 times bigger and better than the burger it drew its inspiration from. I also like that Charles puts his lettuce on the heel, which stops the juices from making the bottom part of the bun from getting soggy.

The Meaty (also known as the Meaty Ménage) burger is a personal favourite of mine. It's up there in my current top 3 best burgers in Sydney. As the name suggest it's a burg that houses a meat fest: A super juicy well seasoned beef patty, crispy bacon, 14 hour smoked beef brisket, melted cheese and a special sauce in St Malo Bakery's lightly toasted soft milk bun. This burger bursts with smoky aroma and flavour. I love the loose coarsely minced texture the beef patty has. This massive two-hand burger is so insane in the membrane!

There's no set locations or times for the truck yet so make sure to follow Chef's Kitchen on Facebook and/or Instagram for updates!

Ramen Raff was invited by Chef's Kitchen as a guest.

Chef's Kitchen
Burger truck