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

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

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

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…

Corbette & Claude Rhodes

Corbett & Claude – Rhodes

Sydney

Where: Corbett & Claude, 83/1 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: $10 each due to $10 lunch special

Oh how I love a good deal on dining out, but I can be quite cynical that a cheap meal will actually be good. With that in mind, I approached Corbette & Claude’s new $10 lunch deals (Mon-Thur) with some trepidation, but my concerns disappeared as soon as the dishes landed on the table.

Of the three options, the Goddess Salad ($10) was my absolute favourite! It had the creamiest Persian feta with lots of dried cranberries and crunchy pepitas on top of mixed greens and quinoa with a tangy lemon, lime and olive oil dressing. It was fresh and delicious, the perfect healthy lunch option.

The Mushroom Linguine ($10) came packed with plenty of mushrooms, which if they are your thing (yes please), you’ll love it. I was expecting a rich and creamy mushroom sauce but the sauce was fairly light and initially a little bland. However after mentioning this to the waiter, he brought over the salt & pepper grinders and with a little seasoning the flavours lifted and I really enjoyed the dish.

The Margherita Pizza ($10) is an old school classic that also feels sort of healthy for pizza. Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’m happy to live my life with that lie. It’s huge for a $10 pizza and had an amazingly light and crisp crust. I was told the dough is imported from Italy as they have not been able to perfect the recipe locally and it is authentically hand stretched.

The normal price for these dishes is around $16-$17, so our lunch was extremely good value for good quality food.

Service was fast with the pizza coming out of the wood fired oven within 10 minutes after ordering. There was seating inside the restaurant which was away from the hustle and bustle of Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre, but they also had overflow seating outside which is made easier with the addition of Me&u app ordering.

Would I go back? Yes, there were a number of things that caught my eye on the menu such as the Mozzarella Sticks, the spicy Fireman pizza and the rolled cigar pizzas which seems similar to a calzone.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, the food was good quality and they have a big menu of starters, pizzas, pastas and salads that I think would appeal to all. Oh and the dessert and cocktail menu also looks pretty enticing!

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…

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…

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…

Concrete Jungle – Chippendale

Sydney

Where: Concrete Jungle, 15 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008

When: November 2019

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx. $27 each

I’ll admit I visited this place as I saw the Blue Majik Smoothie Bowl ($17.50) on instagram and thought it looked amazing…and it did not disappoint. So often pretty things on instagram lack flavour, but this is the exception. I loved the pineapple and banana flavour with the coconut yoghurt and the contrast between smooth and crunchy with the puffed granola. It almost messed with your mind as pineapple and banana conjure up ‘yellow’ thoughts, not blue! With the wave like swirl it was like Summer in a Bowl.

I also tried the Berry Booster Smoothie ($9)  which had mixed berries, banana, coconut yoghurt, maca powder, milk and vanilla. It was smooth and creamy and not overly sweet.

Coffee ($4 regular) was good too which is their own ‘Concrete Jungle House Blend’. Everything was presented beautifully and was clearly high quality food, plus the cafe has a nice, bright and airy vibe to it.

Would I go back? Yes, these guys are clearly quite creative with their food and flavours and there are a few other things on the menu that I’d love to try such as the Blueberry & Lemon Ricotta Hotcake and the Seared Tuna Black Bean Spaghetti.

Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely. You won’t believe how good that Blue Majik bowl tastes until you try it for yourself!

Show me the food…