2019

The Top 10 Things I Ate This Year

Foodie Finds

As we descend upon Christmas and my diet will soon become 84% ham, turkey, prawns, pav and 67% champagne…I’ve reflected on the amazing things I’ve experienced this year and come up with the Top 10 things I put in my mouth. Really, with eating out a few times a week, this could easily have been a Top 20 or 30, but I know we all have short attention spans.

So here it is, with my instagram commentary at the time…

1. Truffle French Toast – Three Williams, Redfern

“Omg, omg, omg! This was possibly the most amazing breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. Three Williams is celebrating truffle season with a special truffle menu and this is their Truffle French Toast. From the menu ‘crunchy brioche, truffle ice cream, gold feuilletine, chocolate brownie, caramel cooking crumb, popping candy, truffle anglaise, raspberries and fresh truffle'”

Three-Williams-Truffle-Brioche

2. Mushroom Risotto – Auvers Cafe, Darling Square

“Carbs are my favourite food group, so of course ordering both a risotto and a pasta* makes complete sense to me. I couldn’t go past the Mushroom Risotto when I saw that it came with tempura enoki and it did not disappoint! With the cherry tomatoes and edamame, it was quite fresh for a risotto and full of mushroom flavour”.

*Original post also included the Seafood Spaghetti, which was also really good!

Auvers-Risotto

3. Stoner’s Delight Part 3 – Ms. G’s, Potts Point

“The award for the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life goes to*… ‘Stoner’s Delight Part 3’. So good, actually ridiculously good, no incredibly ridiculously good. From the menu ‘doughnut ice cream, peanut dulce de leche, peanut & pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, mars bar brownie, raspberry curd, potato chips & deep fried Nutella”

*Ok, so it’s not number 1, but I ate this in May and the prior dishes came later in the year!

MsGs-Stoners-Delight

4. Blue Majik Smoothie Bowl – Concrete Jungle, Chippendale

Hands up if you’ve ever ordered a meal and gasped as it arrived as it was just so darn pretty with all the micro herbs and edible flowers and floss etc….and then discovered the dish had almost no flavour. Yup, its the most crushing disappoint isn’t it?! I ordered this smoothie bowl with some trepidation as it looked impossibly gorgeous on the ‘gram. I gasped when it arrived, I tasted and I gasped again! It is so insanely delicious. Summer in a bowl! The coconut yoghurt based smoothie is flavoured with pineapple and banana alongside the blue spirulina and is silky smooth and subtly sweet. Combined with the crunchy puffed granola it is so more-ish and easy to finish, despite the generous serving.”

Concrete-Jungle-Blue-Bowl

5. Eggs Benedict – Auvers Cafe, Rhodes

“Last week I saw a post of Auvers Apple Crumble French Toast* and decided I just had to get myself to the Rhodes cafe to try it…but once there I got distracted by THIS!!! Their Eggs Benedict is a nice departure from a traditional eggs benny with pulled pork, runny onsen eggs, pork floss, spinach, smoky ponzu hollandaise and corn salsa on a toasted croissant. The flavours are incredible!”

*I have returned for the Apple Crumble French Toast and it was also amazing and was very close to being a third Auvers dish featured in my Top 10!

Auvers-Eggs_Benedict

6. Flaming Truffle Pasta Supper – Handpicked Cellar Door, Chippendale

“Perfection”

Ok, so the post that accompanied this actual pic was rather succinct, so the commentary from the prior post that showed the pasta being prepared in front of us was:

“You may have noticed that I’m a tad interested, no excited, no obsessed with truffles! Last night I ticked off one of the last Sydney truffle experiences on my foodie to do list, which was the Flaming Truffle Pasta Supper at Handpicked Wines. I had high expectations of this and it did not disappoint! It was quite the experience, from picking your preferred truffle origin by smell at the table, to seeing the theatre of the flambé and of course tasting those delicious truffles in a cheesy pasta. If you have a spare lunch or dinner slot this weekend or next, I implore you to go before truffle season ends!! You wont regret it.”

Hnadpicked-Cellars-Truffle-Pasta

7. The Fatty 5-0 – Southside Social, Frankston Melbourne

“Can we just for a moment all stop to admire and appreciate the delicious piece of burger art that this is? The Fatty 5-0 is mac & cheese topped with a beef patty (two in this case), topped with cheese, topped with bacon, topped with BBQ sauce, topped with pepper mayo, topped with pickles. All that topping really paid off! Seriously good burger!! It’s going on my best burgers list (you probably only need one patty though, I had to take one off like a lame piker).”

Southside-Social-Mac-n-Cheese-Burger

8. Fried Chicken – Fat Belly Jacks Pop Up, Castle Hill (usually in QLD)

“The Hills are alive with Brisbane’s claimed ‘Best Fried Chicken’. Now I haven’t eaten much fried chicken in Brisbane, so I cannot confirm or deny that title, but I can say that Fat Belly Jack’s fried chicken is freakin’ awesome!! The chicken coating is crunchy and smoky spicy with a very pleasant heat in the Medium. Fat Belly Jacks go large too, with both the tenders and the burger piece being huge! The pop up is only here for 3 weeks, so run!”

Fat-Belly-Jacks-Fried-Chicken

9. Lychee, Raspberry & Rose Cruffin – Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy Melbourne

“I’d like to share with you a sad tale. After waiting 40 mins to get my croissants today, the place was packed and there were no seats available. So I went outside to take pics and after I got the shot of the almond croissant (prior post) the wind picked up, so I retreated to my rental car. Not ideal, but I’ll make do. Whilst trying to get a pic showing the delicious inside of this Lychee, Raspberry & Rose Cruffin disaster struck!!* Photo shoot over, rental car returned with mysteriously sticky dash and full of crumbs”.

* The cruffin fell over whilst taking pics and smeared the creamy filling on the dash. That pic is also on my instagram if you want to see more! But despite the lack of commentary, I actually really loved this cruffin. The flavours worked so well together without being overpowering (always a fear with Rose involved) and it was so deliciously light and flaky. Definitely worth the 40 minute queue!

Lune-Cruffin

10. Jalapeño Poppers – Tres Salsas, Hervey Bay Queensland

“I love a Jalapeño Popper, especially a huge Jalapeño Popper!”

Ok, so I was on holidays when I posted this which I assume is why my commentary was so brief as I LOVED these! They certainly were huge, but they were so well presented and stuffed with plenty of spicy cream cheese filling and served on top of chipotle mayo. So often poppers are disappointing and flavourless, but these packed a punch.

Jalapeno Poppers


My foodie to do list is still full of new places to try in 2020. Comment below and let me know if there is somewhere that topped your list this year that needs to be on my 2020 list!

Post your own Top 10 on Instagram and use #top10thingsiate2019 and tag @mslunchalot so I can check it out.

Union Place Hotel – Sydney

Foodie Finds

Where: Union Place Hotel, 34 Railway Cres, Jannali

When: September 19

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $35 each, with wine

I was away in Melbourne for a wedding on the weekend of Father’s Day, so when I returned I knew I had some making up to do with Dad. The best way to make up usually involves food and wine, so I took him to lunch at the recently opened Union Place Hotel in Jannali.

Investigating the website and Instagram before we went, I knew I was in for a treat. The setting is beautiful and the menu looked well designed with a mix of pub staples and some more gourmet grub.

Being a Monday afternoon, the place was fairly quiet when we arrived and we took a booth in the bistro area. After perusing the menu we made our selections and ordered at the bar with some really friendly staff.

Our food was delivered to the table and we were eager to dig in as it looked great, it was very well presented. First up we tried the House Baked Foccacia with cherry tomatoes, black olives and vincotto ($12). The bread is dense as foccacia tends to be and the salty savoury flavour is great, but the vincotto that has seeped to the bottom had made it a little soggy and a bit too sweet for me.

Next up we tried the King Prawn Linguine ($24) which came in a chilli garlic white wine and olive oil sauce. It was fresh and delicate and had five good sized prawns.

Continuing with the pasta theme we also tried the Gnocchi Romaine ($19) which was a baked semolina gnocchi. This dish confused me as I was expecting the usual little pillows of gnocchi, but instead it came in long strips. The flavours were great, but I probably would have preferred a traditional gnocchi.

We of course also had to try their pub classics with the Steak Sandwich ($22), which was huge and piled high with crispy onions. The steak was thin and on the cusp of being over cooked, but the flavours worked.

Finally, what is a pub visit without a chicken schnitzel ($19) right? This came with buttered potatoes and beans and was super crunchy, a great example of what a schnitz should be.

We finished up with a wine in the sun in the beautifully renovated courtyard. A super long freight train went past interrupting the serenity for a few minutes, but I could certainly imagine spending a lazy summer afternoon there.

Would I go back? Absolutely. The food was well priced, of good quality and I’m keen to try their pizza and cocktails!

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. The place has a great vibe and I’m sure it will become a popular local hotspot.

The W Padstow RSL – Sydney

Foodie Finds

Where: The W, Padstow RSL, 24-28 Howard Rd, Padstow.

When: September 2019

Meal: Dinner

Cost: $25 each

I grew up in Padstow and although I don’t live local now, I was lured back to the area by Drag Bingo at the Padstow RSL Club. Currently they are running Drag Bingo once a month in the auditorium and you get a bingo book with every $5 spent at the bar and can purchase a bingo dauber for $3.

I must say, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Padstow RSL, nor the W, if it wasn’t for the bingo. But we thought we’d make a night of it and have dinner and drinks before the bingo.

The menu is quite big and includes all the usual ‘pub food’ staples such as steak, schnitzels, pizzas and burgers. We were in the mood to try a few things, so ordered from the starters, main and sides options.

From the starters we had the Salt + Pepper Squid ($14) and the Fried Pork + Prawn Gyoza ($16).

The squid was tender, but coated in a very thick crumb which is my not my preferred option and a fairly solid indicator it was just frozen food, deep fried. The gyoza were nice and crispy, tasty and well dressed with spring onion, sesame mayo and sesame seeds.

The Chilli Prawn Linguine ($24) was served in a tomato sauce and included 5 prawns, which seems to be the established standard in prawn pasta dishes. It had a great flavour, but was heavy in the tomato sauce.

Finally, the Steakhouse Chips ($6) were what you expect of a bowl of good pub chips.

Would I go back? I would go back again in the same scenario, alongside some entertainment, but I wouldn’t go just for the bistro food.

Would I recommend it to you? I absolutely would recommend going to Drag Bingo and whilst you’re there, yes, stop in to the W. Their specials often look really great on Instagram.

Happy Ending Burgers – Sydney

Foodie Finds

Where: Happy Ending Burgers, 55 Majors Bay Rd, Concord.

When: September 2019

Meal: Lunch

Cost: $16 each

Happy Ending Burgers has long been on my foodie to do list. Knowing that these guys are the same people who do the Mister Gee Burger Truck, which I loved, I was pretty excited to find out what was on offer.

After reading many reviews, the Psychedelics burger ($15) – beef patty, provolone, jalapeño-pineapple relish, maple bacon, truffle mayo – seemed to be a fave and being a mad truffle fan, I had to try it. Sadly, I think it had a bit too much going on and the truffle clashed with the pineapple relish. The patty was cooked to medium, still pink in the centre so I expected it would be quite juicy, but overall the burger was a bit dry, despite the mayo and relish.

I was also keen to try the fried chicken as aside from being a side, half the menu is fried chicken burgers so I thought it had to be good. We picked the 3 tender option ($7.50) with Korean sauce. I was disappointed that the chicken was quite gristly thigh chicken as ‘tender’ makes me think of nice white meat. The flavour was nice, but not amazing. The sauce just added red sweetness to the chicken, no real flavour.

The sides we chose were fries with liquid cheese ($5) and fried pakora onions ($5). The fries were just slightly undercooked for my liking and surprisingly the liquid cheese came in a little sauce container rather that spread over the fries. The fried onions were tasty, but are decadent and greasy as you would expect of deep fried shards of onion. These are probably not for everyone!

The place is pretty much a takeaway style burger joint, but there are a few stools along the wall on the inside and about six small tables on the footpath outside. We were lucky to visit on a weekday and could take our time, but I suspect it would be hard to get a seat on the weekend so be prepared to take away.

Would I go back? Probably not. There are so many burger places in Sydney that I would prefer to try somewhere new before a second attempt here.

Would I recommend it to you? With so many great reviews online, I’m assuming they were having a bad day, or I made poor menu choices. I’ve heard their simpler burgers are great, but I am a big fan of a big, dirty, ingredient laden burger. If you go, maybe try the Cheese 2000!

Grilled Cornbread with Summer Salsa

NOLA Smokehouse – Sydney

Foodie Finds

Where: NOLA Smokehouse, Barangaroo Sydney City

When: February 2019

Meal: Dinner

Cost: $90 each

Following some afternoon wine time at Barangaroo House, a friend and I were feeling hungry and looking for somewhere nearby to eat. I had heard good things about NOLA Smokehouse, so we thought we’d try our luck there.

We arrived about 5:45pm and asked for a table for two. After much debate by the two staff at the front, they decided we could have a table if we were out by 7:15pm as they were fully booked then. That will work we say and head on in.

The menu is typical smokehouse with a variety of meat that you can purchase in 200gm servings with sides, or there are traditional mains like Gumbo, Grits and Jambalaya to pick from.

We started with the Grilled Cornbread with Summer Salsa ($8) as an entree to share. For main we chose the Pit-Master’s Pick with 100gms of each of the meat for $49pp. This also came with a side per person and we chose the Mac ‘n’ Cheese and the Southern Slaw, as well as a trio of sauces.

Overall I found the meat a little underwhelming. It was good, but I expected it be great. There was nothing special to say about it. The brisket was the most flavoursome and tender, the lamb also good, but if I had ordered the others individually I would have been disappointed.

The Southern Slaw was also a real let down. There was something in there that gave it quite a bitter taste, not the slightly sweet traditional slaw flavour I’m used to.

The Mac ‘n’ Cheese was hands down my favourite dish of the night as it was served with maple bacon and topped with pretzels. You just can’t go wrong with that combo.

The trio of sauces were BBQ, a tomato relish and chimichurri and I must say the chimichurri was fabulous.

If you’re into your meat being extra large, NOLA also does huge Tomahawk steaks to share as a special. This one was 1.7kgs!

We had a bottle of Rosè with our meal which was approx $65.

The setting of the restaurant is gorgeous with a beautiful view over Jones Bay, but overall the visit was underwhelming.

Would I go back? I can’t say this will be going on my ‘go back’ list. Too many other places in Barangaroo to try.

Would I recommend it to you? Although this restaurant came highly recommended to me by others, I’m going to say no to recommending this as it was just ok in my opinion.

Robert Stein Vineyard, Mudgee

Round 2 – Trip 6 – Mudgee

Itineraries

November 2018

This was just a quick one night weekend road trip with a girlfriend. Being about a three and a half hour drive from Sydney it can easily be done as a one night trip, but it certainly would have been nicer to stay an extra night and explore more wineries if we had the time.

Day 1 – Sydney to Mudgee

Depart Sydney at 8:30am. Drive 90 mins.

Breakfast at Synonymous Cafe in Medlow Bath.

Depart 11am. Drive 2 hours. Arrive in Mudgee.

Lunch at the Zin House, 5 course set menu for $95.

Visit the Lowe Wines Cellar Door on the way our to purchase wines sampled at lunch.

Check into motel at 4:30pm. Stay at the Wanderlight Motor Inn in a ‘Large Delux Ground Floor’ room with a queen bed and single bed for $176.

Short walk for light dinner and drinks at Roth’s Wine Bar with live music.

Day 2 – Mudgee to Sydney

Breakfast at Pipeclay Pumphouse at 8:30am.

Visit the Robert Stein cellar door on site with Pipeclay (open from 10am).

Visit the Pieter van Gent cellar door.

Visit the Moothi Estate winery for a tasting and light lunch.

Visit the Logan Wines cellar door.

Drive back to Sydney – 3.5 hours.

Higher Ground Melbourne Dining Room

Higher Ground Melbourne

Foodie Finds

Where: Higher Ground Melbourne, Melbourne City

When: August 2018

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $30

Higher Ground was recommended to me by a friend who is a new Melbourne local. She described it as a place that would be ‘great for your instagram’. Sold!

When I arrived at Higher Ground about 11am on a Sunday morning there was a queue out the door. I went to put my name down, but when I told them I was a party of just one, they said they would be able to find me a seat immediately.

I was shown to a communal table with three other pairs already eating and ordered a coffee. Whilst waiting for the waitress to return I took in the beautiful surroundings of the building. At first I thought it looked like quite a hipster type place, but it actually feels very historical and just had a nice vibe.

I ordered the ‘avocado seed cracker, macadamia feta, mojo verde, poached eggs, toasted and fresh seaweed’ ($17.50) with a side of Berkshire Bacon ($6.50).

It was delicious. High quality ingredients, cooked perfectly. My only complaint was that it needed a little salt. There was salt on the table, but it was the type in a little dish that you would normally grab a pinch of. Not ideal on a communal table! I asked the waitress for my own little dish for hygiene and thankfully she didn’t seem to think I was a fussy nightmare….well not to my face anyway!

Would I go back? For sure. The food was tasty and the ambience was lovely.

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. It will be great for your instagram haha! But, I wouldn’t recommend the Ricotta Hotcakes. They look so pretty and I didn’t try them myself, but three people on my communal table left theirs half eaten.

The Om Nom Choc Nut Bomb, Peanut Butter Parfair at Om Nom Kitchen, Melbourne

Om Nom, Melbourne

Foodie Finds

Where: Om Nom Restaurant, Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne City.

When: August 2018

Meal: Dessert

Cost: $51 (including alcohol)

I had already eaten a big dinner when I arrived at Om Nom for dessert, but there was no way a reasonably full tummy would stop me from trying their desserts. The fact the Adelphi Hotel has a dessert restaurant was one of the key drivers of me booking my accomodation in the quirky hotel.

I ordered a glass of the Besserat de Bellefon Brut Champagne ($23) whilst I tried to decide what to order by evaluating the dishes being served to my fellow diners.

Eventually I settled on the Om Nom Choc Nut Bomb ($28). Described on the menu as “peanut butter parfait, peanut butter powder, chocolate coated rice bubbles, raspberry fluid gel, dehydrated chocolate mousse” I knew I was in for some decadence!

And it did not disappoint. It took me a good while to finish it as it was quite a large dessert which would be easy to share, but it was also very rich and sweet as expected. However I eventually completed it and almost rolled back to my room!

Would I go back? In a heartbeat. The hotel foyer and restaurant has a really cool vibe and the desserts are spectacular.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, pop in for a dessert or cocktail. The restaurant also serves ‘normal’ meals, but why would you not go there to experience their specialties?

Check out the droolworthy pics of their desserts here http://omnom.kitchen.

About Ms Lunchalot

About, Itineraries

Ms Lunchalot is a foodie from Sydney with a taste for travel and adventure. Her favourite foods include burgers, pizza, slightly salty slightly sweet popcorn, chocolate, and really any form of dessert!

Since March 2017, she has been embarking on quest to do #12tripsin12months travelling around Australia and beyond.

Trip 1 – March 17 – Canberra ACT

Trip 2 – April 17 – Cairns QLD

Trip 3 – May 17 – Noosa Heads QLD

Trip 4 – June 17 – Mornington Peninsula VIC

Trip 5 – July 17 – Castaways Beach QLD (Just out of Noosa)

Trip 6 – August 17 – Exmouth WA

Trip 7 – September 17 – Broome WA

Trip 8 – October 17 – Port Douglas QLD

Trip 9 – November 17 – Tasmania (South and West Coast

Trip 10 – December 17 – Byron Bay NSW

Trip 11 – February 18 – Kingscliff NSW & Gold Coast QLD

Trip 12 – March 18 – Hawaii USA

If you have ideas for future trips or places to visit, or want to know more about places I’ve visited, please get in touch!