Automata, Chippendale – the Good Food Guide’s two hatted award winner

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It was to be a very special Christmas lunch, so I chose for us Automata, as one of the SMH Good Food Guide’s 2016 best new restaurants  – awarded two hats in its first 12 months.

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Bookings are easy on line for groups of 1-6 and while there’s a more private mezzanine level, the bar downstairs is more fun.

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From here diners can watch the well oiled team that works so well together – like an automatron perhaps?

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Certainly the wait staff who looked after our table knew their dishes and wines very well, were thoughtful, highly professional and and full of interesting details about this new venture.

For example did you know that the Good Food Guide features team member Yuri’s forearms with one of Automata’s own dishes?

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Or that Automata is the dream of Chef Clayton Wells who restores motorcycles- hence the Ducati caps on the ceiling, and the decor that reflects the mechanically themed spaces – the internal workings of a great machine!

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Particularly well deserving of his award of the Champagne Taittinger Sommelier of the Year was Tim Watkins who guided us through our menu and helped us match our wines perfectly.

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Automata offers a constantly changing five course menu for $88 available at dinner and Friday – Saturday lunch. The menu seeks to showcase the best of local, seasonal produce.

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Wine pairing is also available, as is a parred down three course express lunch menu for $55. However I don’t suggest the three course option if you are planning a leisurely, relaxed affair- it’s a very much a quicker experience.

In addition to the five courses there is some lovely wholemeal and malt bread with whipped butter with chicken and anchovy …

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…and Chefs Starters – today of cherry tomato in salted plum marinade  – wrapped in a sesame leaf and marinated enoki mushrooms with pork jewel fat and rosemary.

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First course was a fresh dish of asparagus, fermented pumpkin, shiso.

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Second came the amaebi, parsley, fennel & ink – my favourite course.

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Next was the john dory, eggplant, burnt carrot, olive herb – also a gorgeous dish.

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Fourth dish was smoked duck, red cabbage, caramelised lemon & long pepper.

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Finally the yoghurt sorbet, grapes, raspberries & yuzu was a perfect end to the meal.

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Automata is a very easy walk from Central, tucked in amongst the elegant terraces of street food Spice Alley ( much like visiting Malacca) and Kensington Street Social.

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Automata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Harbour View Hotel, The Rocks 

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Down at the rocks in Sydney is the Harbour View Hotel, a laid back, unpretentious place for a friendly, casual and good value meal with a heritage feel.

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Parking is not too hard and it’s easy to book a table.

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Wine by the glass starts at $7.50 and the Harvey River Shiraz is a generous pour and a good choice.

The kangaroo salad is one of the best picks.

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Kangaroo salad-  $22 with zucchini, pumpkin, red onion, macadamia, coriander & mint in a dukkah lemon dressing

The fish and chips are excellent too.

Beer battered market fresh fish & chips $20 with mesclun & tartare sauce

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Other choices include the club sandwich…

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Chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato, baby cos lettuce & aoili, with fries $16…

..Lamb shanks braised in red wine & mirepoix vegetables $26 Served with green beans, roasted tomato & creamy mash potato ( quite good)

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The hamburger was voted by our group as the least of the options $16 – 100% wagyu beef patty, pickles, cheese, lettuce, tomato relish, onion ring and fries

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A good choice would also be the Mezze dips and breads for two $24.

It’s close walking down to the Sydney Theatre Company at Walsh Bay, but there’s also Fratelli Fresh down there for an equally good experience.

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The Harbour View Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

 

 

Hartsyard, Enmore Road, Newtown

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Hartsyard is just one of the hatted restaurants on Enmore Road (and very helpfully just across the road from the Urban Hotel).

Focusing on American style dishes, it’s famous for it’s fried chicken and biscuit and the soft serve desssert of the week!

Especially good choices for sharing were the….

Smoked Trout with onion dip, golden beet, trout roe, bagel chips $29

….the signature dish Fried Chicken with  buttermilk biscuit, low country sausage gravy $33

A generous serve with four pieces to share and two delicious pieces of soft buttery biscuit.

Perfect with the hot sauce.

Hartsyard soft serve of the day- this time banana with rich caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, shaved chocolate and whipped cream – must be shared! $20

But other excellent choices are the cauliflower dish and the mushroom dish, next time!

Hartsyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawker Lane, Westfield Chatswood – a first look

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The Good Food Guide to Sydney calls out Hawker Lane as one of Chatswood’s good cheap eats.

And very good it is!

While still a food court by nature, it does have more ambiance and is clearly popular.

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Excellent choices were the steamed pork dumplings with soup $8.80 for 8…

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…the cumin lamb bun $5.80…

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…and my favourite was the Saffron Roast Chicken Kathi Roll $7.90 from Chachu’s Street Style Kathi Rolls.

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The perfect finale was a sea salt and purple yam soft serve from Aqua S.

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ChaChu's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Passion and Delight at #mybrekkiebowl Launch

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As part of the Love Cereal4Brekkie team I was delighted this week to be part of the #mybrekkiebowl launch, a gorgeous  event to kick start a flow of conversations about personalising brekkie cereal bowls.

All my foodie and dietitian passions were indulged as I….

…. enjoyed the fantastic Cafe Sydney early morning view over Sydney Harbour….

……marvelled at Cafe Sydney chefs’ delicate canapé creations using breakfast cereals….


Sanitarium Weetbix and vanilla yoghurt delice, strawberry, gold leaf

Freedom Gluten free Ancient Grain Flakes date and fig bliss ball

All bran corn and zucchini fritter, cured trout

Uncle Toby’s Plus range digestive, avocado, quail egg, crisp kale

Kellogg’s Five Grain Muesli coconut and apple Bircher

Sanitarium Granola Oat Clusters breakfast panna cotta, pineapple, passionfruit, mint

Uncle Toby’s Ancient Grains Porridge, sautéed mushrooms, onion, thyme
…was intrigued by Dr Cathy Gare’s insights (food sensory expert from the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology), summed up in her quote from the chef, Heston Blumenthal, who is convinced that we need to “engage all of [the] senses if we want to create a truly memorable eating experience”

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…..was inspired by Food stylist and founder of blog 84thand3rd.com, Jennifer Jenner who gave us great food styling tips like the strengths of iphones, they work best flat or straight up but start to fail at an angle…

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….appreciated again the research that underpins breakfast cereal as an excellent choice for nutrition and a heathy weight as Leigh Reeve APD, Director of the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum reminded us of the secondary analysis of the Australian Health Survey

….and the recent Galaxy research that research that showed that one of the biggest motivations for people in choosing a bowl of breakfast cereal is to create something healthy

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…..but that also looked for little known and quirky facts about Aussie breakfast bowls like…

…….just over half a million Australians added vegetables to their brekkie cereal

….almost a million added herbs and spices

…….half a million added spreads like peanut butter

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……but fruit and nuts were the most popular toppings

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……more than 300,000 Aussies ate cereal with a fork and more than 1 million had a special spoon they always use for cereal

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…..nearly half a million Australians used a mason jar and nearly one million a plate, for their bowl

……almost half a million Australians post a photo of their breakfast bowl to social media every day

…….Aussie men are three times as likely as women to post a photo of their cereal on social media

…..and celebrated as the humble breakfast cereal, an everyday core grain food, took to the stage as an actor with so many new personalities and roles

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…and burst with pride as the team’s efforts and hard work all came together…

…to create the arena for social and mainstream media writers to explore new possibilities in their own cereal bowls and inspire their readers to new breakie bowl creations.

As Jennifer Jenner said…

“A simple, beautifully styled bowl of brekkie cereal can look gorgeous and taste great in itself, however with the opportunity for people to get adventurous with their flavour and styling combos, the brekkie bowl can be a real social media star.”

This was my creative brekkie bowl, to tantalise all the senses!

….with passionfruit yogurt, Bran cereal, pumpkin purée, peanut butter, raspberry, blue berry, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, mint, macadamias, zucchini ribbons with marinated figs, cinnamon and honey.

It was actually surprisingly excellent, even rivalling the canapés! I think I’m a convert to veg and spreads on cereal!

What’s your personalised brekkie bowl? Post it with the #mybrekkiebowl hashtag and join the conversation!

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Soft serve lover’s paradise at Regent Place, Sydney Town Hall

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If I’m ever asked what my very favourite food is… icecream has to be on my short list!

So, of course I couldn’t help but notice everyone walking near Sydney Town Hall with exotic soft serve ice cream colours and cones.

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I tracked down the source nearby at Regent Place a small arcade off George Street near St Andrews Cathedral and found not one, but two very different spots.

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Chanoma Cafe specialises in a Japanese style Soft Cream in Matcha or Azuki flavours or a mix in a plain, pink or green cone.

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At just $3.90 you have change to go next door and also try Aqua S sea salt and maple syrup mix in an equally exotic cone for a competitive $4.

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Truly icecream lovers’ heaven!

Aqua S Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chanoma Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Waterfront Grill, Harbourside – Darling Harbour

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It’s always lovely down at Darling Harbour, a great spot for lunch on a sunny day!

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And while it looks like it might be quite expensive, there’s plenty of well priced gems like Waterfront Grill.

The Pear salad with Wild rocket, sliced green pear, Spanish onion, toasted walnuts, Shaved parmesan cheese, honey and apple cider vinaigrette $16.50…

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…wasn’t as good as the Chickpea and haloumi salad  with Grilled haloumi, chickpeas, green beans, semi dried tomatoes, wild rocket and balsamic dressing $17.

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The Quinoa and grilled veg salad with Mixed Quinoa, spinach, grilled eggplant, zucchini, roast pumpkin, capsicum, and basil pesto $17 would have also been a good choice or once of the generously sized, tasty looking burgers on a foccacia bun.

If you are lucky enough to have a Sydney Entertainment Book, you can get tow mains for the price of one.
Waterfront Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato