Kelbys Cafe Marrickville

Kelby’s Cafe – Marrickville

Sydney

Where: Kelby’s Cafe, 293 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204

When: March 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $40 each, but we ordered three dishes between two

Although we are in the midst of Coronavirus chaos at the moment, as someone who is well and not high risk, I am still venturing out occasionally and being cautious and sensible about my activities. So many businesses are suffering at this time, but hospitality workers cannot work from home of course and it’s a scary prospect that many of these businesses may not survive to see the world recover from this.

But in the meantime, let’s focus on some good, which was this delicious meal at Kelby’s. Sharing (carefully and cleanly) brunch with a friend, we ordered up big with three meals between two. We started with the Eggocado which is on the specials board, but I suspect based on it’s popularity on Instagram it has actually been around for a while and will likely stick around too. Eggocado ($18.90) is an egg baked in half an avocado, with crispy bacon, crumbled feta and tomato salsa, served on two pieces of sourdough. We loved popping the soft egg yolk and were impressed with the plentiful serve of feta.

Next we had the Klassic Beef Burger ($13.90) which is a homemade premium beef patty, with cheddar cheese, fresh tomato, caramelised onion, lettuce and aioli on a milk brioche bun. We decided to upgrade it to Hawaiian style (+$3) with the addition of bacon, egg and pineapple and added a side of hand cut chips (+$3). The burger was epic, seriously huge!! You can’t even see the patty in the pics due to the egg and lashings of aioli dribbling down the side, but to me this sauce ratio was perfect! The beef patty was seasoned with some herbs that I couldn’t quite work out what they were, but they were noticeable so may not appeal to all.

Our sweet dish was the Warm French Toast ($16.90) and we chose the Berry Compote option rather than the bacon and caramelised banana. This dish was stunning when it arrived and I really enjoyed it being a spin on the traditional French toast style by using Turkish bread fingers stacked Jenga style. There was plenty of maple syrup and the toast being served in fingers meant there was plenty of surface area to soak up all that syrup.

I also ordered the Coffee Frappe ($7.50) which was double espresso blended with milk, crushed ice and your choice of vanilla, caramel or hazelnut syrup. I picked vanilla and was glad it was subtly sweet. My friend had the Berry Bliss Frappe ($7.50) with fresh apple juice and mixed berries blended with crushed ice. In the current circumstances I was unable to steal a sip, but she assured me it was really good! Both drinks were big serves and great value for the price.

We also had a regular latte ($4) and hot chocolate ($4). I liked the coffee and would stop in for one again if I was in the area.

Would I go back? Yes, I loved everything about my visit to Kelby’s Marrickville!

Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely, the menu is huge and all the meals I saw coming out of the kitchen looked beautiful and like the were tasty flavour combinations.

Show me the food…

My Zomato Rating: 5/5

Archies Cafe Co Dover Heights Coffee

Archies Cafe Co – Dover Heights

Sydney

Where: Archies Cafe Co, 218 Military Rd, Dover Heights NSW 2030

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $35 for one

One night I was scrolling Instagram and came across a thing of absolute beauty. No, it wasn’t an ‘lifestyle influencer’ with super white teeth, it was a sky high burger with potato gems in it AND a cute little potato gem on top!

I love burgs and I really love potato gems, so I was mad keen to try it, however when I got there I could not see that glorious burger on the menu. There was a Wagyu Beef Burger and a Hangover Burger which was a bacon and egg roll style burger, but not the combination that I was looking for. I showed the Instagram post to the waitress and she said there must have been a mix up on Instagram with their other cafe in Liverpool, but not to worry as they can make me what my heart desired.

So we decided on starting with the Hangover Burger ($13) which had fried Egg, black forest smokehouse bacon, American cheddar, potato gems, smokey bbq sauce & aioli on a milk bun and added a wagyu beef patty and pickles. The burger was huge and really lived up to my expectations with a juicy thick patty, but it was a little difficult to eat and I made a total mess of myself with the soft yolk of the fried egg. No regrets though! I think it ended up costing about $20 in the end, which is what the Wagyu Burger with Chips is priced at.

I also added a side of Crispy Potato Gems ($3), because one can never have enough gems. The gems were possibly the best gems I’ve ever had! They were so crunchy and it looked like they may have had a little Mexican seasoning on them, but when I asked what it was the kitchen said it was ‘the classic Australian seasoning, Chicken Salt’.

Despite my massive meal, I couldn’t read Nutella Smoothie ($8) on the menu and not order it, that’s just not possible! The smoothie came with lots of Nutella to scrape down the side of the glass and I ended up eating the last of it from the bottom of the glass with a spoon.

Coffee was good ($4 reg) and the cafe is really beautiful inside and out, with a view down the hill of the Harbour Bridge.  The team were all friendly and I appreciated that they were so accomodating to deliver the meal that I was after, especially after I’d driven 30 minutes across town for it!

Would I go back? Yes, they have a massive all day menu that had lots of things I’d love for brunch. Plus I really enjoyed my visit and it got a rare 5/5 rating from me in my Zomato & Google reviews, which on my scale, definitely requires a yes to that question.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, please go and order the potato gems. Even if you don’t think potato gems are that special, or you haven’t had them since you were a kid, they are worth it. Trust me.

Show me the food…

Paddock on Crown Surry Hills

Paddock on Crown – Surry Hills

Sydney

Where: Paddock on Crown, 509 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

When: February 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $30 each

I don’t usually spend that much time looking at omelettes on a brunch menu. I always think they sound a bit boring and like something I could easily whip up at home (if I was actually that way inclined). But when I read what was in the Paddock on Crown one, I was sold!

The Paddock Omelette ($18.50) had chorizo, mozzarella, sweet corn, potato, kale and tomato and I added gluten-free bread ($1). I’m curious if normal bread actually came with the dish anyway since adding GF bread was only an extra $1, but it wasn’t mentioned on the menu. The omelette flavours worked so well together that I had no regrets that I went with an old school option.

I also tried the Fluffy Pancakes ($18.50) with Ube Ice Cream ($4). The pancake was really tall, light and fluffy and delicious drenched in maple syrup, topped with vanilla mascarpone and whipped maple butter. It would have been nice to have a little more pancake, but it was an extra $4 to add a second pancake to a dish that already cost $22.50, which seemed excessive and would probably have been too much. Two pancakes about 75% the size of the one we got would have been the perfect size and still looked impressive as a double stack. I’ve had Ube ice cream before and found it to be pretty bland, but this one was sweet and tasted like vanilla. Hopefully it wasn’t just vanilla ice cream coloured purple…

Coffee ($3.7 reg) was good and the Red Dragon Frappe ($8.50) was delicious and not overly sweet with red dragon fruit, pineapple, mango and apple juice.

The place was busy at 11am on a Sunday, but the team got the meals out quickly despite advising us that there may be delays due to one of the kitchen staff having to go to hospital after a ‘knifing incident’. I didn’t get to the bottom of that story, but I’m pretty sure it was a kitchen accident, not a mugging…I hope!

Would I go back? Yes, the cafe has a nice vibe, they present meals beautifully and there were other things on the menu I’d be keen to try.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, it’s one of those cool places on Crown St, but it’s not pretentious and the food is worth any queuing you may have to do for a table.

Show me the food…

Four Little Foxes Cafe

Four Little Foxes – Milperra

Sydney

Where: Four Little Foxes, 8/48 Amiens Ave, Milperra NSW 2214

When: February 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $50 for two

I love doing both a sweet and savoury option for brunch and sharing with my dining companion. On this occasion the savoury option won hands down for me!

The Smooth Pavo ($16.50) was a different take on a smashed avo with smooth avo and pea on top of wholemeal sourdough, topped with a rocket, quinoa and watercress salad, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese. It was served with  a generous smudge of an amazing roasted cauliflower hummus that was so good I would have liked to take some home. We added a poached egg ($3) too and found this dish had plenty of flavour and was a plentiful serve which was perfect for sharing (although sharing the yolk of a poached egg is quite a challenge).

The pancakes flavour that is on the menu changes regularly at Four Little Foxes and on our visit it was the Berry Yummy Hotcakes ($18.50). This was a stack of three pancakes topped with berry compote, berry cream mousse, house made meringues, fresh berries, Persian fairy floss and the menu said crushed pistachios, but they seemed to be missing from our dish. The dish was beautifully presented, but we found the pancakes were thick and quite dense and they were probably slightly undercooked but definitely edible. We also found that by the time we tried the pancakes after eating the Smooth Pavo, that the fairy floss had melted into the berry sauce and made it intensely sweet. That was our own fault though!

We ordered lattes ($4 reg) and found the coffee was quite strong, but not bitter.

Service was warm and friendly and the cafe had a nice buzz for a weekday morning.

Would I go back? Although I really enjoyed the Smooth Pavo, the hotcakes were just ok to me, so I wouldn’t be rushing back.

Would I recommend it to you? I definitely think if you’re local to Milperra you should go try the Smashed Pavo.

Show me the food…

Toco Fresh Concord

Toco Fresh – Concord

Sydney

Where: Toco Fresh, 85 Majors Bay Rd, Concord NSW 2137

When: November 2019

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $40 each, but we ordered an extra dish between two.

We visited Toco for brunch and although there are a heap of healthy options on the menu, we couldn’t go past the fried chicken choices. Firstly, the Dirty Bird ($18) which was buttermilk fried chicken served on top of warm waffles and doused in maple syrup. We also ordered the Suki Suki burger ($16) with crispy Japanese style chicken, double cheese, mixed pickles and aioli mayo on a charcoal bun.

Both fried chicken dishes were really well presented, but I would prefer the chicken coating to have heavier seasoning to pack more of a flavour punch.

For our brunch ‘dessert’ course, we ordered the French Toast ($17). This was brioche served with strawberries, whipped cream, mixed berries, cinnamon and honey. This also had quite a mild flavour and I would have liked to taste a stronger element in there.

We added the Refresh Juice ($9.50) with watermelon, pineapple, mint and lime which was fresh, without being overly sweet. The Berry Best Smoothie ($9.5) also had a nice flavour with the inclusion of banana and was satisfyingly thick with chia seeds blended in.

The cafe has a nice bright atmosphere, friendly staff and also had great 90’s music playing on our visit.

Would I go back? No, although it was a pleasant experience, it feels like a one and done for me. I love full flavour foods and these were just a bit too mild for my preference.

Would I recommend it to you? I only tend to recommend places that I would love to go back to as there are more things I’d like to try on the menu, so in this instance no.

Show me the food…

Pinkie – Ivanhoe

Melbourne

Where: Pinkie, 1 Westley Ave, Ivanhoe VIC 3079

When: January 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $40 each, because we ordered an extra dish!

Pinkie has so many delicious sounding things on the menu that we struggled to decide what to have. I usually avoid smashed avo for brunch as I feel it has become very generic, but the Pinkie version looked amazing on Instagram so it was a must have.

Pinkie’s Avocado Toast ($18.5) was described on the menu to have smashed avo, pomegranate, beetroot hummus, feta, sesame seeds and fresh herbs, however it came with radishes and was missing the pomegranate. I love pomegranate so that was a shame, but I actually didn’t notice this until reviewing the pics later as the flavours worked really well, with great seasoning in the avocado and salty feta. We also added a poached egg ($2.50).

The Halloumi & Sweet Potato Fritters ($19) were served with a tangy, fresh salad and a plentiful serve of salmon, but I tend to prefer my fritters to be shallow fried with crispy edges, otherwise I find them a little soggy.

Despite these meals being generously sized and us being pretty full, we just had to try the Dulce Riccotta Pancakes ($19). They come with a delicious white chocolate crumble that I could not stop eating and would have loved to have taken a jar of it home! It was a great dish to share, but probably too much sweetness for me to eat the whole thing alone. 

We were being very extra for this brunch and also tried their smoothies. The Nutberry ($9) was perhaps a bit adventurous with raspberries, banana, peanut butter, coconut nectar and almond milk, but the raspberry and PB just didn’t work together for me. However, in the Oreo Thickshake ($8.5) with oreo, ice cream, malt, milk, the addition of the optional peanut butter ($1) was delicious and definitely recommended!

Pinkie was really busy on the Sunday morning that we visited, but it had a nice lively vibe and the team were incredibly friendly and attentive with fast service. 

Would I go back? Yes, the food we tried was delicious and there are plenty of things on the menu that I also want to try, like the Chilli Scrambled Eggs and the Pinkie Cheeseburger.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes and you should definitely try the Dulce Ricotta Pancakes.

Show me the food…

Frankies Food Factory Latte

Frankie’s Food Factory – Milperra

Sydney

Where: Frankie’s Food Factory, within Flower Power at 479 Henry Lawson Dr, Milperra NSW 2214

When: February 2020

Meal: Brunch

Cost: $48 for two

I’d heard a lot about Frankie’s at Flower Power, including that it gets super busy on weekends and is always packed, no matter the time of day. I had the opportunity to visit on a Monday for brunch and it was surprisingly busy for a weekday, but easy to get a table and service was fast.

I visited with my Mum who is always up for sharing meals so we can enjoy both a savoury and sweet option. We opted for the Za’atar & Mint Bagel ($19) to start with which had za’atar, hummus, truffle burrata, avocado, sesame seeds & mint on a fresh and soft bagel. The combination was a punchy flavour hit, including the hummus which had full flavour on its own. We also added the poached egg ($3) which is a must in my mind.

For our brunch dessert we had the Butterscotch Banana Pancakes ($18). This was a stack of three thick, fluffy and moist pancakes topped with a thick butterscotch sauce, that actually truly tasted like butterscotch. So often I feel people try and palm off a caramel sauce as being butterscotchy, but no, I’m onto those people. The flavour of the butterscotch worked really well with the bananas, white chocolate drizzle and peanut brittle chunks. My only wish was that there was a smear of the butterscotch sauce in between the pancake layers. That would have made it a 5/5 dish for me!

Coffee was also good, served on a nice board. I enjoyed a small latte ($4).

Would I go back? Yes, I really enjoyed my first visit and I’ve heard their Donut Fries on the dessert menu are definitely worth returning for!

Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely, I’ve already been telling locals I know that they must go. Frankie’s is pet friendly too, so take your pooch…if she/he is well behaved. There are many, many expensive things to knock over in Flower Power!

Show me the food…

Left of Field Rhodes Interior

Left of Field – Rhodes

Sydney

Where: Left of Field, 3/7 Gauthorpe St, Rhodes NSW 2138

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $32 for one, but then I received a 15% discount by using my Zomato Gold membership

I went to Left of Field with something healthy in mind, and from seeing the way the Summer Falafel Salad ($19) was presented, I knew it would fit the bill. With falafel, rocket, kale, carrots, cabbage, onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot hummus, pomegranate dressing, tahini and candied walnuts it was full of all the good stuff, but also plenty of flavour and texture.

I’m always a little hesitant about falafels due to ordering them in the past and they end up being hard little tasteless bricks. These were served warm though and were really soft and fluffy on the inside with a light, crisp edge. Perfect.

I added avocado ($5) to the dish because I was super hungry and I felt the added fat would fill me up more. I expected it would have been sliced avocado, but smashed avocado arrived separately in small dish. Paying $5 for avocado seems a little excessive to me and I estimated it to be about a 1/4 of an avocado so I felt slightly ripped off, but it really added to the dish.

I also ordered the Tropi Cool Juice ($7.50) with pineapple, apple, lemon, orange and mint. This was a good sized serve and wasn’t too sweet and I felt the mint really gave it a refreshing quality that made it nice to have with lunch on a warm day.

Would I go back? Yes, this is my second visit to Left of Field and it has improved even further from the first time where they left an item listed on the menu off my dish when serving. Next visit, I think I need to try the Pavlova Hotcakes.

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely, plenty of variety on the menu with All Day Breakfast and All Day Lunch, so you’ll find something no matter what you’re in the mood for.

Show me the food…

Cafe-Ventotto-Surry-Hills

Cafe Ventotto – Surry Hills

Sydney

Where: Cafe Ventotto, 510 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

When: February 2020

Meal: Late Lunch

Cost: Approx $30 each

Café Ventotto is a beautiful little café where you can escape the bustle of Elizabeth Street.  It has the usual tables and chairs format in the front of the cafe, but up just a few stairs is a lounge area with velvet couches and low coffee table style dining.

We visited for a late lunch on a Friday and ordered a few dishes to share between two. The timeslot perhaps worked against us as a few items we picked off the menu were unavailable. This was particularly disappointing in the case of the La Vita Bella which is a sweet ricotta, strawberry and croissant dish that I had been lusting after on Instagam and I was definitely intending on getting it.

The standout for us of the dishes we did get was the Moo-Moo burger which had beautifully tender slow-braised beef brisket and lots of flavour from the housemade tomato eggplant relish, aioli and pickles. The Farmer Salad we choose to add grilled halloumi to, which was a plentiful serve. The Prince’s Feast also had tender lamb and worked well with the pearl cous cous and housemade hummus.

Drinks-wise we didn’t have much luck. My friend was interested in the Kombucha which listed four varieties on the menu, but the waitress looked at us like she didn’t know they existed and said they were out. We then diverted our attention to the smoothies, only to be told they had just two of the four options. We picked the Purple Bliss with blueberries, banana, dates and boysenberries, but found it lacked flavour. We added a strawberry shake too, but that was just a standard syrup shake, nothing special. Neither I would order again.

Would I go back? I really enjoyed the Moo-Moo burger and found the meals generous in portion size, but based on my experience with the lack of availability of dishes that I wanted, no I wouldn’t go back.

Would I recommend it to you? If you’re in the area, I would say sure pop in for a burger and try your luck with the La Vita Bella (make sure you tell me what it’s like), but I wouldn’t suggest you make a special trip to visit.

Show me the food…

First Drop Cafe – Redfern

Sydney

Where: First Drop Cafe, 69 Baptist St, Redfern NSW 2016

When: November 2019

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $30 each

I love fried chicken and to be able to bring it forward to a mid-morning meal of brunch with the Southern Style Fried Chicken Eggs Benedict ($22) was perfect. The chicken had a tasty, crunchy coating, the eggs were perfectly poached, the kale nice and crispy and the whole thing was doused with the most delicious sriracha hollandaise. The biscuit it was perched on was perhaps a little too big as I couldn’t finish it, but I’m never going to complain about having too much food!

I also had the Serious George smoothie ($9.50) which has the magic combination of banana and peanut butter with dates, chia seeds and coconut with soy milk and coffee added. You can also get it without coffee which is the Curious George ($8.50). It was super thick and really filling and I loved scraping the peanut butter off the side of the glass with my straw.

I experienced great service and the cafe has a cool vibe, particularly out in the street when the jacarandas are flowering.

Would I go back? Yes, the Fried Chicken Benedict is a special that I felt I needed to take advantage of, but there were plenty of other things on the standard menu that I would like to try, particularly the Aegean Skillet.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, it is definitely a menu that has something for everyone.

Show me the food…

first-drop-cafe-redfern