Gelato Messina Soft Serve Dessert Bar, Darlinghurst.

Since Messina’s recent opening in Parramatta, I’ve been going there on a weekly basis (and getting 3 scoops every time). It was only a few days ago where I had vowed to take a break from Messina as it was really killing my attempt at getting a bangin’ bikini bod. Nek minnit they open up a DIY soft serve bar and I’m hooked again! They sure know how to make money and reel you in..

 

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The dessert bar is located right next to the regular Messina in Darlinghurst and have replaced the creative department that use to have the small cakes there.

 

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A very simple concept similar to froyo, you choose your base: cup, cone, crepe, donut or choux pastry. Then you choose from two soft serve flavors, this week’s flavors were burnt vanilla and fanta. There are a variety of toppings/sauces to choose from (80cents each) and they make it right there in front of you!.

Luckily, if you’re lazy or indecisive, they have pre-made sundae combos already designed for you, but where’s the fun in that!mess4

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I chose to design my own of course ;) I originally wanted a donut or choux pastry but they were sold out so i settled for a crepe instead. I picked burnt vanilla gelato and crunchy coconut cookies with a hot fudge chocolate sauce.

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The crepe was soft & thin and had a slightly chewy texture with a pretty heavy egg-y taste. Burnt vanilla gelato tasted exactly like normal vanilla to me, the coconut biscuits were heavenly and the chocolate sauce was a great finishing touch.

My mates opted for the the fanta soft serve and fanta/vanilla swirl, i do recommend that rather than just plain vanilla by itself which is quite boring. Also, red-skin custard and mandarin gel is a must-try!!

All regular Messina stores have a constant never-ending queue, so no surprises here when the line was half down the street! All desserts are made to order and they only have about 3 staff at the counter so service is quite slow but definitely worth the wait!

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If you really want the donut or choux pastry, you really need to get in early to avoid disappointment. The lady was telling me how quick they sell out of the donuts as it’s their most popular item.

Apparently they’re gonna change the menu/flavors later this week, so if you’re super keen on trying fanta, go there soon!

Gelato Messina on Urbanspoon

Brewtown Newtown, Newtown

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I’m quite certain everyone is the aware of the cronut craze and especially Brewtown Newtown. It was my first time trying one so I went a little overboard and had some at the shop and then purchased more to take home with me, absolutely no regrets though.

IMG_0019 1Glazed cronut, $4.5

Think of a krispy kreme original glazed, but 10x more beautiful. Flakey layers of pastry with a sweet glaze finish. Words cannot even describe how good this was! Out of all the flavours I tried, this was the clear winner.

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Coffee cream cronut, $6

This cronut is filled with so much cream it was spewing out delicious coffee goodness with every bite. I’m not a regular coffee drinker but I LOVE coffee flavored things. It had a semi-sweet glaze with a perfect coffee cream filling which wasn’t too heavy or too sweet, just the right amount.

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Chocolate Crunch, $5.50.

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Crunchy chocolate pieces on top of a Cronut, quite nice not the most exciting.

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Cinnamon cronut, $4.5.
A very simple yet delicious Cronut, flakey with lots of sugar, this resembles the cinnamon donuts from Donut King.

Look at those beautiful layers!!

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The other flavors they had available are jam and passionfruit, I will definitely have to come back and give thos a go. But from what I’ve tried so far, the glazed cronut is the clear winner with coffee cream not too far behind. Next stop is Zumbo and Grumpy Barista!

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Grilled black sausage, $16

IMG_0030 1Poached chicken salad with quinoa, roasted cauliflower, pistachio, zucchini ribbons $14

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Squid ink linguine, garlic chilli prawns and kale, $18.5

The mains were a little on the small side so they weren’t too filling, but I think they did that on purpose so you would have enough room left for dessert.

My lack of detail on the main dishes was because I was so engrossed in the cronuts and didn’t pay attention to anything else. But to be fair, we really only came here for the cronuts.

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Brewtown is quite busy, we got there before 10am and there was already a line outside. It took us about 20 minutes to get a table, but luckily, the food comes out really quickly.

if you’re just interested in the cronuts, you can opt for takeaway which is quicker, but still a bit of a wait as they are insanely busy!

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Yulli’s, Surry Hills

I was raised in a slaughter house where we would eat kilos of meat at each meal, so it does take some convincing to get me to dine at a vegetarian restaurant. Surprisingly I loved what we ordered and would gladly go back. Yulli’s entire menu is vegetarian with a few vegan options here and there.

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Dumpling San Choy bow, $13.50
A vegetarian take on the very famous pork San Choy bow. Instead of typical pork ingredients, it was filled with peanuts and onions. It was savory with a slight hint of sweetness from the caramelized onions inside. Sago casing was fairly firm and slightly chewy but still maintained its softness from the steaming process.

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Delicious dumpling balls each placed on a lettuce leaf and garnished with fried garlic. I loved this as it has two of my favorite things, garlic and onion! This is also why nobody wants to kiss me because of scary onion breath.

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Pot Pie, $18.50
A twist on traditional pot pie and massamun curry, mild curry with chick peas, pumpkin, eggplant and carrots. Covered with a thick crunchy pastry and a scoop of sweet mash on top. It looks small, but it actually very filling with all the beans and veg.

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Panang Pizza, $18.50
The toppings included sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini and baby corn. The sauce was a little bland and there wasn’t enough so it made the pizza really dry. The base was disappointing to me as it wasn’t doughy enough. I enjoy deep dish pizzas and this was more airy like foccacia or Turkish bread.

Getting a table here took a while, I blame it on me looking like a 12 year old and it does take extra time for wait staff to take notice. The serivce here is quite pleasant though, they’re friendly and approachable with smiles all throughout the night. It does get busy but they do have extra seats in the courtyard and on the walk path out the front.

Yulli's on Urbanspoon

Essen Restaurant and Beer Cafe, Ultimo.

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Lamb Ragout, $24.

Lamb wasn’t as tender as i hoped it’d be, the meat was quite tough and really needed a lot of chewing to get through it. I really enjoyed the red wine tomato sauce though, it had heaps of onions in it and was tangy enough to tickle my senses. The sauce had a thick consistency which went well with the soft fluffy potatoes and their crispy skin.

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Zurich Veal Strips, $24

Veal was a bit tough, like the lamb, it required more chewing than usual. The sauce was very creamy though, but the Rosti was definitely the highlight of it. Amazing crunchy goodness!

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Cucumber and Tomato salad that we got for free? Both the lamb and veal dishes were very simple and boring in my opinion. Nothing really stood out with them and to be honest, I think I enjoyed the complimentary salad more than I enjoyed the main meal. Maybe I should’ve ordered a schnitzel or a pork knuckle instead, it is what they’re most famous for anyway oops.

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mr Wong, Bridge Lane Sydney.

Mr Wong fills up early on in the night and very quickly. They open at 5:30 and we got there a little after 6 where it was almost full with small line forming outside. Unfortunately you can’t reserve tables unless you’re with a party of 6 or more, so our quickest seating option was a shared table. Since it’s freezing winter and I’m always hungry it was best to just get whatever was quickest.

We literally got the corner of a table in the darkest part of the restaurant, it was a little cramped but I was just pleased to be out of the cold. The table wasn’t ideal and neither were the chairs, they were mesh bar stools and definitely didn’t seem sturdy, thank heavens we came out without breaking any furniture!

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Alaskan snow crab salad, $19.

A really refreshing salad with crisp coriander and parsley, finely sliced bamboo shoots & ginger, thrown in with shredded tender crab and topped with salmon roe which was bursting with flavor. The dressing was a little on the salty side but was well accomodated with the salad leaves.

Probably more expensive than a ‘normal’ salad, but it has crab in it, so not an entire ripoff.

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Balmain bugs, $38.

Being a total high roller with all the fancy schamncy seafood. Balmain Bugs sauteed in an unidentified creamy sauce, too much corn in my opinion and not enough bugs. Not really sure what went wrong during cooking, but the texture of the bugs were inconsistent throughout the dish, some were very succulent and juicy while other pieces were limp and soggy. This wasn’t entirely crap but it definitely has room for improvement.

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Stired fried noodles with king crab, $29.

Very thin vermicelli noodles, lightly stir-fried, decent amount of crab with a few chicken pieces. Lots and lots of roe which made me super happy! What made this dish interesting was it had these small crunchy bits of conpoy. The flavor is not very noticeable but the texture definitely stood out from soft crab. Out of all three dishes, this was probably my favorite. A good serving size with minimal oil and didn’t leave me feeling heavy or bloated afterwards.

Mr Wong, semi-fancy over priced food? YEP. Overall I had a good time and enjoyed the food, but then again I’m just as happy with $5 dumplings :D

Mr Wong on Urbanspoon

Maya Da Dhaba, Surry Hills.

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Vegetarian samosa, $6.90.

The pastry is insanely thick, luckily there was enough filling inside to balance a crunchy pastry with soft spiced potatoes, peas and onions. The herbs and spices used were very fragrant, my usual greedy self just wishes there were more than 2! But to be fair, the price you pay for these large gems is well worth it!

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Kadai Chicken, $15.90.

A mild curry cooked in tomato and capiscium, it wasn’t spicy enough for me though, but would suit people who can’t handle hot stuff. The sauce was really thick, none of that dodgy watered down junk. They were quite generous with chicken pieces and also lots of onions and capsicums in there. I’m glad there were lots of vegetables in it because I’m more inclined to eat them if they’re covered in delicious sauce.

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Lamb Jhalfrezi, $16.90.
Lamb was very tender, the chilli factor on this is much higher, but nothing that will make you cry.

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Pappadums with mint yoghurt and smokey sauce.
We didn’t order these, but we got these free of charge? Food tastes 10x better when it’s FREE!! Crunchy like corn chips paired with a refreshing minty yoghurt and a sweet barbecue-ish sauce.

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This place has a large range of curries to choose from, including meats, seafood and many vegetarian options. They had so many different types of curries, some I’ve never even heard of. It definitely seems like an authentic Indian restaurant! The staff are friendly but they’re really really slow with service, getting seated/menus was fine. The kitchen is a tad slow and paying took forever as they messed up our bill.

Maya Da Dhaba on Urbanspoon

Sopranos Gourmet Pizza and Pasta, Rosehill, via MENULOG

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I was fortunate enough to be approached by Josh from Menulog who kindly offered me an opportunity to try out their services in the form of a gift coupon. Menulog is basically a site that delivers take-out right to your doorstep. I rarely order take-out, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

The website is super easy and the entire process is so simple and extremely convenient. You just enter you postcode and up pops a list of your local restaurants. You add whatever you want into your cart, go to the checkout, input payment and delivery details and you’re done. Once your order has been placed, you’ll receive an SMS confirming your order with an estimated delivery time.

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BBQ Chicken, $17.90 (BBQ sauce base, chicken, onions, capsicum and mushrooms).

Toppings were quite generous and the BBQ sauce was deliciously sweet. The base was a little disappointing though as it was on the soft side. I prefer thin crispy bases or thick fluffy bases. This dough was very soft, thin and very dense and I still enjoyed it thoroughly, I was  also super pleased that the base wasn’t soaked in oil (a slightly healthier alternative to your regular take-out pizzas).

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Although the price is almost double the price of pizzas at regular chain restaurants, there are a few key differences I could spot. The dough/pizza base was not drenched in oil and the box was not seeped with residual grease at the end. The second difference is the chicken, it definitely tasted fresher than what I’ve had at Dominos and Pizza Hut.

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Gladiator, $16.

BBQ sauce base, steak, chicken, bacon, onion and mushroom.

Look at all those pieces of meat! I get so annoyed if people get stingy and skimp out on toppings, luckily Sopranos isn’t one of them and managed to cover the entire surface with many pieces of steak and chicken.

Sopranos has a $2.50 delivery fee with a $20 order minimum. They also have a 10% for first time customers which is a total plus! They deliver fairly quickly and overall, I had a great experience with them and would gladly order from them again.

The entire process from ordering to delivery just takes under an hour, so if you’re lazy and want food without leaving the house, Menulog is definitely an option to consider.

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This opportunity came just in time during exam period as I had one less meal to worry about and more time to study/procrastinate. So if you are uni student like me or just a regular adult who wants a a night free from cooking and cleaning, I have good news for you!

Thanks to the generous people at Menulog, I am giving away a $10 voucher to two (2) of my lucky readers. All you have to do is drop a comment below stating your favorite food (easy peasy!). I will randomly select two winners and contact them via email, so make sure you leave a valid email address!

Entries close June 30th and winners will be contacted within the week! Best of luck!

Sopranos on Urbanspoon

Peking Duck Restaurant, Chatswood.

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Why would anyone go to a restaurant called PEKING DUCK and NOT order Peking Duck pancakes?!

Duck was sliced so very thinly, the meat was a little dry, it must’ve been a ‘skinny’ duck because there wasn’t much fat hence why it was a little on the dry side. Minimal oil, but still tender and the skin was fresh and crispy. Steamed pancakes were so very soft and delicate, put in some duck pieces, cucumber, spring onions and scoop in some sweet hoisin sauce into it and you’ve got yourself a party in your mouth.

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Chilli garlic beef.

I have so much love for garlic and onion and anything that gives you horrid breath. The beef is soft and marinated very well. Slightly sweet soy sauce with a hint of chilli and a heap of garlic mashed into the soy sauce and then topped with even more fresh chopped garlic. You definitely don’t want to be talking to or kissing anyone after this because the garlic is so intense. The garlic aftertaste remains in your mouth for quite some time and you’ll need a few packets of gum afterwards.

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Shredded chicken and clear noodles.
Another one of my favorites because it had heaps of garlic!! Shredded chicken and cucumber soaked in garlic soy sauce. I AM IN HEAVEN!! This is a cold dish, sort of like an ‘asian’ salad with a crap load of cucumber, but definitely not a clean eat. Glass noodles are perfectly firm and chewy and very flavorsome.

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This place is more of a traditional Chinese place, nothing fancy but the food is good, portion sizes are big and filling. Best of all, it’s not crazily overpriced and you really do get value for your money. You also get free tea as well, none of that ridiculous $5 pp charge. They also have a whole bunch of lunch and dinner deals, which makes it even cheaper than ordering individual plates.

Food comes out very quickly because they’re efficient and want to get you outta there ASAP and free the table for other customers. This place is one of those restaurants where only Asians know of its existence and you typically don’t see many other non-Asians there. It’s conveniently located near Willoughby library and just a short walk from Chatswood Westfield down to where all the Asian shops are.

Peking Duck Chatswood on Urbanspoon

Parma Cucina, Surry Hills.

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I came back here for a visit to try their pizza. We ordered a napoletana pizza ($22) with anchovies, olives and basil. A traditional woodfired with a delicious crispy yet doughy base. I was very pleased with this which says a lot because I’m usually really picky and anal when it comes to pizza.

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Duck lasagna, $28.

I’m not a huge fan of cheese, so this was definitely an overload, it was so cheesy!! It had a few soft layers of pasta with succulent pieces of duck and firm mushrooms. Apparently this is one of their “signature dishes”, personally, it didn’t really stand out from your generic lasagna. It just had duck and mushrooms instead of the usual beef, not to mention how tiny the dish is! Even for an average eater you’d probably need 2-3 of these to fill yourself up and that’d set you back $60 already. Definitely go for the pizza instead, much better quality and greater satisfaction.

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Tiramisu ($14) was AMAZING! I’ve developed a love for tiramisu lately and have been ordering it wherever I go and this is one of the best ones I’ve had so far. The base was absolutely SOAKED in coffee and then the biscuit layer on top was finished with fragrant coffee cream and dusted with cocoa powder. I’m not much of a coffee person but I LOVE coffee flavored desserts, there was a hint of Marsala but there wasn’t that much to dominate it all.

The dessert took over 20minutes to get here as it got fairly busy towards the end of the night. We arrived relatively early when it was still quiet so our mains didn’t take too long to get out.

The service was a tad horrible as the guy serving us was a bit pretentious and sort of rubbed me in the wrong way, but as the night went on he got much friendlier and even threw a smile our way every now and then.

Overall, i really like this place, especially their desserts! Their Nutella Fritta will always be the death of me!!
Parma Cucina on Urbanspoon

George’s Mediterranean Bar & Grill, King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour.

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Grilled whole baby snapper with Zucchini and green beans, $30.

The ‘baby’ snapper was definitely not baby sized at all, I’m super happy that it was fairly big and did a good job at filling me up. It was grilled but the skin was still really soft, I would’ve preferred it to be crispier but still very satisfied with it.

The inside was cooked perfectly but eating it was so annoying and tedious! There were too many tiny bones and scales weren’t removed off the skin properly. I should’ve thought of this before I ordered it because I spent a solid hour or so trying to eat this without choking on any bones. I did enjoy this overall, but I’ll definitely reconsider my choices in food when I’m famished coz I was way too hungry to have any time to carefully pick through fish bones and scales. The fish was accompanied by lemon olive oil, it would’ve been good if they had some sort of dipping sauce with this as it lacked in flavor. Fish was fairly fresh, didn’t taste like old frozen stuff at all.

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Deep fried vegetable dumplings, $12.50.
Since when did I enjoy eating things that didn’t contain meat. Initially we were going with the kefta lamb as an entree but then we decided to get this and I was just like whatever. Surprisingly I loved this as it reminded me of falafels. The outside was really really crunchy but not so hard that it would break your teeth. Inside it was filled with assorted blended greens and spinach. This was served with a yoghurt dip which was so so good, if they had given me more, it would’ve gone really well with the fish too.

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Fish of the day: barramundi wth zucchini and eggplant, $32.50.
This was really good, a little on the small side but there was no need to sift through all the meat trying to look out for bones.

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Chocolate bougasta, $12.50.

A WHAT? i had no clue what bougasta was, but ordered it anyway. It’s chocolate and custard filled in filo pastry with a side of cherry jam and whipped cream.

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This is so filling, I was pretty full at the end of my main and the dessert just tipped me over the edge. The custard is so thick yet light and smooth and it’s mixed with chocolate all wrapped around thin tasty pastry. It wasn’t overly sweet or creamy, just the perfect amount of chocolate and custard blended together wrapped in a delcious blanket of pastry.

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Greek walnut cake, $12.50.
The cake had a perfect texture, it was very firm and dense but not hard and dry. The base was soaked in orange syrup and was very fragrant, a little on the sweet side but nothing that would put you in a sugar coma. I absolutely loved the texture of the cake! It was one of those perfectly dense and moist cakes topped with crunchy walnuts.

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Restaurants really need to stop being tight arses and serving tiny pieces of cake, I’m paying $12+, you could at least give me a slice of cake that doesn’t disappear within two bites!

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The staff here are so oblivious, we went in on a quiet night where there was an abundant number of staff on the floor, but none of them managed to notice or acknowledge us. I’m very understanding when it’s busy and staff just can’t get to me straight away, but it is a little irritating when I have to wave my arms like a madwoman trying to get their attention.

At least they were more efficient at providing menus and taking our orders once we were seated. Luckily i had great company because food comes out very slowly so you’ll spend quite a while waiting and chatting before you actually get to eat anything. Everything here is just slow but the food is well worth the wait.

 

 

George's Mediterranean Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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