Saturday, February 24, 2018

Koichi Katsumata Pop-up Dessert Bar at Juan, Redfern

Hey folks! I’m back from the land of the rising sun and excited to share all our Japan food experiences soon. In the meantime, let me share something exciting happening in our beautiful city right now. So, on our first full day back in Sydney, we went and hit up our favourite Japanese restaurant, Juan. The main purpose of this visit was to check out Koichi Katsumata’s Pop-up Dessert bar collab with Juan.

Katsumata-san was a chef patissier at a 2 michellin star restaurant in France. After that, he also worked at famed restaurants Vue De Monde and Bennelong. I think that’s more than enough reason to pay his dessert pop-up bar a visit and see what magic he’s got in store. The pop-up bar consists of a 3 course dessert ($32) menu with an optional main-style dessert ($13).

We started with the Clouds which were marshamallow-like cubes. One cube was covered with matcha and the other with wonderful kinako (roasted soy bean flour). It was a lot like the name, fluffy and soft like clouds. I liked the matcha but the kinako cloud was the star.

The second dish was the Caprese. Yes, as in the Caprese salad! A partnership of foam and a custard-like elements that gives you the flavours of tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar. I have 2 words for it: Deliciously genius!

The 3rd course is the Mocaron. It’s kinda like a monaka but topped with diced quality fruits like kiwi, pineapple and plum over a sake ganache filled rice wafer.

Last but not least is the Matcha Meringue Chantilly ($13). Velvety matcha cream sandwiched in an amazing crisped meringue and springled with black sesame. I love how the black sesame balances out the bitterness of the matcha and the sweetness of the meringue chantilly. It came with a beautiful kinako ice cream. I absolutely love kinako and this ice cream form is insane!

I am now a fan! I know Japanese and French fusion desserts has been done before. But the ones I’ve had were not as refined and well-balanced as Katsumata-san’s work. The pop-up bar will be around for a few more days so contact Juan for availability.

*Ramen Raff was invited as a guest of Juan.

Shop 5
94a Pitt Street
Redfern NSW 2016
Book here

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
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