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…

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…

Georgies Paper Mill Liverpool

The Paper Mill – Liverpool

Sydney

Where: The Paper Mill, 20 Shepherd St, Liverpool NSW 2170

When: February 2020

Meal: Lunch

Cost: Approx $40 each with a glass of wine

I was quite excited about visiting the Paper Mill in Liverpool as the décor looked amazing on Instagram and it looked like a beautiful place for a meal. I also thought it seemed like an interesting concept to have various cuisines available in the one place with the Fire Pit restaurant serving flame grilled meats, Georgie’s Pizzeria & Bar serving pizza of course, Charcoal Joe’s with Lebanese charcoal chicken and the cafe Shepherd’s Lane. It’s quite rare that I’m disappointed with a dining experience these days as I do so much research on the places I decide to visit, but on this occasion the food and service didn’t seem to match the beautiful environment and I was left disappointed.

I decided on ordering from Georgie’s Pizzeria & Bar for the Espanol Pizza ($24) with a glass of Italian Pinot Noir ($9). The pizza was a generous size and looked good when it arrived, however upon trying to lift a slice from the plate I realised the base was super soggy, but the crust was really hard. I had to eat the pizza with a knife and fork and although the flavour combination of the Espanol with tomato, for di latte, chorizo, roast capsicum, avocado, lime and coriander was good, the pizza overall was very disappointing. I’ve also just noticed that my pizza was missing the jalapeños mentioned on the menu! The wine was also very bland, so I was 0 for 2 by this stage.

I finished my meal at the Paper Mill with gelato from the Shepherd’s Lane cafe. After trying a few flavours, I settled on a scoop of Peanut Brittle and a scoop of Caramel ($6.50). It was an enormous serve for the price, but impossible to finish so it was a bit of a waste really. The gelato was really creamy, but the flavours were quite mild.

The other frustrating part of the dining experience was that there were a lot of flies hanging around the tables. Sure, the space has a grand open doorway so flies are bound to get in, but despite it being a weekday and very quiet with staff just standing around, our dirty lunch plates remained where we had moved them over to the table next to us for an hour for the flies to enjoy, which was very off putting.

Would I go back? No, the only thing I liked about my visit was the décor.

Would I recommend it to you? No, perhaps I visited on a bad day for them, but I can only base my review on my experience on the day, which was terrible.

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…

2019

The Top 10 Things I Ate in 2019

Life

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.

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

Buttercrumbs Croissant – Five Dock

Sydney

Where: Buttercrumbs Croissant, 189 Great N Rd, Five Dock NSW 2046

When: November 2019

Meal: Morning Tea

Cost: Approx $10 each

I love a buttery, flaky pastry and Buttercrumbs delivered on that aspect. There were about 10 different options of croissants in the window to select between, but I couldn’t go past the Strawberry and Nutella pastry ($6).

It had a tasty vanilla custard on top with sliced fresh strawberries and inside contained a layer of Nutella. The flavours worked really well together.

My latte ($3.70 small) was ok, but on the edge of bitter and it was a coffee brand I had never heard of before, Normcore. The seating area is basic and seemed like an afterthought. I unfortunately sat between two groups of ladies that were having very spirited conversations and it was so noisy it was unpleasant. Next time I would do take away and enjoy my delicious croissant in the serenity of my home!

Would I go back? Yes, I would like to try their square croissants. They have the classics on the menu daily, but have a variety on rotation, so a few visits is definitely warranted!

Would I recommend it to you? Yes, maybe you’ll get lucky and have a better dine in experience than I did, or pick up a few and take them home.

Show me the food…

buttercrumbs-strawberry-nutella-croissant