The Woods Pantry – Villawood

Sydney

Where: The Woods Pantry, 5a/824-850 Woodville Rd, Villawood NSW 2163

When: July 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approximately $80 for a two course lunch for two

The Woods Pantry is located at Villawood which as per many of my recent reviews, is not all that close to where I live and usually dine. It was however conveniently located equidistant for my friend and I from home, so it was the perfect place to meet for lunch.

The menu is so full of interesting sounding dishes that I really struggled to pick just one! Fortunately my friend was equally as excited about the menu and agreed to a two course lunch and we shared all dishes.

We started with the Southern Fried Chicken Burger ($17.50) which was marinated chicken breast with house made slaw on a soft milk bun with chips. This was my absolute favourite of the day as the chicken coating had a little bit of spice to it which was a nice kick. The chips were also perfectly crunchy and delicious.

The Pumpkin Salad ($14.50) had spinach, cherry tomatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds and goats cheese in it, but we added halloumi too (+$4.50) as one can never really have too much cheese right!? The salad was fresh and healthy, but I generally prefer my pumpkin really roasted and charred for a deeper flavour and more luxurious texture and the salad needed more dressing overall.

Continuing on the cheese theme, our first dessert was the Knafeh French Toast ($18.50) which was cheese filled brioche with crushed pistachio, rose syrup and strawberries. It had the softest fluffiest cheese inside, which I’m told is a mix of four cheeses, but what they are is top secret!

Finally we tried the Biscoff Churros special ($18) and I loved how pillowy soft the churros were inside a crispy shell. It was a very indulgent end to the meal to dip churros into biscoff!

The Woods Pantry is a nice big dining space with indoor and outdoors tables and a cool vibe with the decor. We dined outside and took our time to enjoy our food as it was a particularly nice sunny winter day. Note, we dined on a weekday and I have no doubt this place is packed on the weekend!

Would I go back? Yes, it’s out of the way for me, BUT there were many other things I wanted on the menu including the Moroccan Lamb Sandwich, the Baked Eggs and the other French Toast which is filled with cream cheese and topped with lemon curd.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, their menu is huge with all day breakfast and separate lunch menu which includes salads, burgers and pasta.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 5/5

Goodfields Eatery – Lindfield

Sydney

Where: Goodfields Eatery, Shop 4/5 37 Lindfield Ave, Lindfield NSW 2070

When: June 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approximately $40 for one from the truffle menu, with wine

Like most people, when we were all thrown into Covid-19 isolation I was quite concerned about all the major life events we’d miss out on. You know, birthdays, weddings, truffle season. But thankfully we’ve we were let loose in perfect timing for the most glorious time of the year! 

I ventured to Goodfields Eatery to get my very first truffle fix of the 2020 season. The entire menu looks great, but I love truffle with cheese so I picked the triple cheese and ham Jaffle ($29.50) made with croissant loaf, served on truffle cheese sauce, topped with fresh truffle. The cheeses were provolone, truffle pecorino and mozzarella and the truffles were grown in Canberra. 

It was an amazing cheese toastie, but despite the appearance of lots of truffle, I found the truffle flavour a bit weak. I noticed I wasn’t smacked in the face with lots of truffle aroma as the plate arrived at the table and trying the shredded fresh truffle by itself sadly revealed very little flavour. Most of the truffle flavour came from the cheese sauce. Overall I enjoyed the dish as it was a great cheese toastie, but it needed a stronger truffle flavour for me. Truffles need to be well stored and being a natural product will of course have quality variation and perhaps some are just duds. I accept this and it wouldn’t put me off Goodfields.

I also thought a nice glass of Shiraz ($11) would go perfectly with the richness of the cheese and truffle, but it felt a little unnecessary for a weekday lunch with the dish lacking the rich truffle flavour.

It is a lovely bright, green and airy cafe and the team were all super friendly. I also picked up some tips of other truffle menus in Sydney from my waiter who was a keen foodie himself.

Would I go back? Yes, there are plenty of other things on their Truffle menu that I’d like to try before the season ends, such as the Cheesy Lobster Fries and the Ice Cream Brownie Sandwich.

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. It’s a cool cafe that comes highly recommended for their regular menu as well.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 4/5

Goobne – Darling Square

Sydney

Where: Goobne, Darling Square Shop, 16e Tumbalong Bvd, Haymarket NSW 2000

When: May 2020

Meal: Pre-Dinner Drink & Snack

Cost: $100 for two including a bottle of wine

My visit to Goobne was just as Covid-19 isolation restrictions were starting to lift. Restaurants could have up to 10 people dining in, which was a very strange experience! Because of the low capacity available, restaurants were only taking 90min seatings, so I decided I’d book two places for dinner whilst catching up with a friend.

First stop was Goobne for our entree and some drinks. I had seen the UFO Fondue Chicken ($38) on Instagram which looked good, but I had low expectations as it was oven roasted chicken, not the Korean Fried Chicken that I love. I also wasn’t sure about cheese on chicken, but as we all know, cheese makes EVERYTHING infinitely better, and especially when fondue style it seems! 

You get a choice of two seasonings on the chicken and we picked the Volcano (hot) and Galbi (soy) and both worked really well with the cheese. The chicken was tender and delicious and the cheese was plentiful, which was good as at $38 the UFO Fondue was a little pricey. It is a really good dish to share with your (well sanitised) friends though.

We were offered the Sharknado Cocktail ($18) for free as a bonus for booking during Covid-19 restrictions, but we both found it too sweet. It is visually spectacular and described as ‘a tornado of tropical flavours with a tequila bite and a hidden surprise (spoiler alert, its a thick red syrupy mixture designed to look like blood). I would have been very disappointed with it had I paid for it.

We preferred the bottle of St Huberts The Stage Rosé, which at $56 was also up there in price for the style of restaurant as it has more of a cheap funky bar vibe. Overall I loved our visit, but I think prices are a tad too high for a 5 star review.

Would I go back? Yes, I think I’d do the same type of thing with a pre-dinner snack and drinks. I didn’t get the feel from the menu that it would make for a complete meal, but perfect for share snacking.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, the chicken was surprisingly good and the cheese fondue was a fun way to eat with a bit of theatre at the table.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 4/5

The Burrow Cherrybrook

The Burrow – Cherrybrook

Sydney

Where: The Burrow, 132 Shepherds Dr, Cherrybrook NSW 2126

When: June 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx. $65 for two with wine

I first heard about The Burrow when they launched their amazing looking Caramilk pancakes. I unfortunately didn’t make it out to try those, but all their food looked so good that I thought it would be worth a 40 minute drive out to Cherrybrook….and it was!

Two things I lurrrrvvvve in winter is slow cooked lamb and roasted pumpkin. I thought now the cooler weather is here that my salad bowl days were gone, but the Moroccan Lamb Bowl ($25.90) was the perfect winter bowl. The 12 hour braised lamb was perfectly tender, the pumpkin was full of flavour and I really liked the contrasting textures with the crispy chickpeas and pops of pomegranate offsetting the spinach and couscous. Paired with a glass of Malbec ($9.50), it was a very indulgent mid-week lunch.

My friend had the Fish and Chips ($19.90) and he said the fish was really crispy and tasted great. He also enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay ($9.50) with his meal.

 The cafe is in a little strip mall which I wasn’t really expecting, but once you get inside it’s quite a nice environment. Service was friendly and I felt that they were particularly diligent about their Covid-Safe practices which was reassuring.

Would I go back? Yes, it’s very out of the way for me, but I really liked the flavours in my food and I often see them advertising interesting specials on Instagram that could see me jump in the car instantly!

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, lots of variety on the menu and quality food. Slightly higher priced, but worth it in my opinion.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 5/5

Two Hungry Bears Logo

Two Hungry Bears – Narrabeen

Sydney

Where: Two Hungry Bears, 1303 Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen NSW 2101

When: June 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approximately $45 for two meals

Post coronavirus quarantine it been a long time between good burgers for me, but I had a very positive feeling that Two Hungry Bears would be worth the drive to Narrabeen for that elusive dirty, juicy, cheesy burg. Their Mac Daddy burger ($18) lured me in and it really hit the mark.

The Angus Beef patty was pink, juicy, slightly charred and full of flavour. The crispy bacon was just the right level of crispy where it’s not just flavourless dust. The mac n’ cheese tasted like cheese (unlike many) and combined with the American cheese slice, this burger was all sorts of oozy cheesy goodness. Finally the raw finely shredded onion and special sauce rounded it all out to be a monster of a full flavour burger. Often I find burgers over priced, but this was huge and delicious and worth every cent of $18. 

I made it a combo with fries and a can for +$7.50. The fries were amazing. Super crunchy and seasoned and it made it hard for me to get the burger in as I could not stop filling up on the fries!

Often at burger places I am torn between the beef or fried chicken options. I love a classic beef and cheese burger combo…..but I also really, really love fried chicken. So despite the enormous size of the burger, I added a serve of their Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Tenders ($11) too.

It arrived at the table coated with a heap of fiery red, angry looking seasoning that I was worried would have me sniffling and coughing like I had a sudden corona attack. It actually wasn’t that hot, it’s what I’d call pleasantly spicy. The breast chicken was succulent and I loved the flavour of the super crispy coating. It was right on the cusp of almost being a little too oily, but hey, if you’re that concerned about grease you’re probably not ordering fried chicken right! Just like the burger, I thought these were a really generous size for $11. I was glad I took my leftovers home for a second indulgence later.

My only disappointment about this place was that the restaurant has zero ambience. It’s located on a busy road and has a takeaway shop vibe. It’s by no meals a destination burger joint, but being close to the beach you could always grab and go and eat somewhere more scenic.

Would I go back? I loved the food, but I’m not sure I’d make the effort to drive there again. It was an hour drive and I HATE the traffic up to the Northern Beaches and back. If I was in the area I would definitely stop by though.

Would I recommend it to you? I’m a little torn on this one. The food is great, BUT with a lack of ambience I’d probably not recommend this as a must go. Best for those that live on the North Shore, or feel like a big (annoying haha) drive.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: n/a as they do not have a page on Zomato

Kaffeine & Co Yagoona

Kaffeine & Co – Yagoona

Sydney

Where: Kaffeine & Co, 7/44 Dargan St, Yagoona NSW 2199

When: June 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approximately $40 for two

A visit to Kaffeine & Co has been on my foodie to do list for a loooooong time. Unfortunately Yagoona is quite out of the way for me, so I delayed venturing out there and kept bumping it down the list. I’m regretting that decision now as I’ve been missing out on some seriously good food!

The Knefeh Balls ($18) were what initially drew me to this cafe. Described as sweet cheese custard balls, topped with crushed pistachios, rose petals and rose water syrup, I was actually a little unsure if I would like them. Rose water can be polarising, but I didn’t find the rose water syrup overwhelming and thought it all worked perfectly together. I also loved the crispy outside of the balls and the soft delicate cheese inside, plus the dish looked absolutely beautiful!

We also tried the Americano Brekky Burger ($15.50) with beef rashers, hash brown, fried egg, jack cheese and BBQ sauce. Again, I was a little unsure as I love bacon and had never tried beef rashers. The local area has a high population of Muslim residents, so bacon was out, but I couldn’t imagine beef rashers would be the same. Well, let me tell you that if I was eating them in a Masterchef blind taste test, I would have said they were bacon for sure! Similar taste, texture and even visually it looked every similar.

Coffee is Will & Co and my Latte ($4) was perfection. The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating, with big windows that open up so the cafe is light and airy…but could be a bit cold in winter.

Service was amazing and special mention goes to Luke who looked after me as I had a tiny disaster with the burger. Whilst I was distracted taking photos of the Knefeh Balls, I didn’t notice the steak knife in the burger slipping…until it fell over and flipped the burger onto the floor!! Thankfully Luke had it remade and I was actually able to taste it. What a foodie fail!

Would I go back? Yasssssss! There were so many delicious looking things on their Instagram that I struggled to decide what to order. I need to go back and try the Nutella Balls and the Knefeh French Toast.

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. There is something for everyone on the menu (including healthy options) and I’m almost certain you’ll find something you love.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 5/5

The Cove Dining Co – Abbotsford

Sydney

Where: The Cove Dining Co, 378 Great North Rd, Abbotsford NSW 2046

When: June 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $30 for one

Corn fritters are one of my favourite brunch items, but I’m often disappointed by limp, lifeless fritters. It’s a crime against brunch to even call them fritters if there is no crispiness! I’ve just discovered the Corn & Mint Fritters ($20) at the Cove, which is a dangerously short stroll from my place.

The fritters are crispy and full of flavour. The bacon, avocado, beetroot hummus and poached egg (+$4) combination is spot on and it was presented nicely. It was a big serve, which is good as at $24 it was a bit up there for a brunch dish.

I enjoyed a latte ($3.70) with my meal which was perfect. I then ordered a second one after my meal whilst chatting with my friend and it was way too hot and clearly burnt. You win some, you lose some hey!

The cafe is in a beautiful building that once inside you wouldn’t expect is on a reasonably busy roundabout intersection. Inside there is an eclectic mix of tables, or you can sit out on the back deck overlooking the garden.

Service was prompt and friendly. It’s a great local cafe.

Would I go back? Yes, this is actually my local but I’ve rarely been in the many years it has been there. I’m usually too busy heading into the city to eat, but maybe not anymore!

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, if it’s not too out of your way.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 4/5