I, along with most of our party, had the Ricotta and Chilli Jam Scrambled Eggs ($14.90), with crispy bacon, sliced avocado, and grilled sourdough bread. I enjoyed the fluffy scrambled eggs, and though to date no scrambled eggs have been able to hold a candle to the perfect eggs at Dopa, these came pretty close. The chilli jam and feta added spicy, salty, and creamy flavours to the egg, the bacon was well cooked and adequately portioned, and the advocado provided a good degree of freshness and balance. Overall this dish had a high degree of cohesiveness, and I can actively recommend this.
Some restaurants deserve a wholeheartedly lukewarm response, and in my opinion Block145, a cafe we drove half an hour to eat at, is one of them.
We were tempted by the Salmon Okonomiyaki ($20) and a desire to relive some good meals we had overseas. Unfortunately the gap between expectation and reality was quite large in this dish. While the grilled salmon was well cooked with a crispy skin, that was the first and last superlative of the meal. The okonomiyaki itself I found disappointing, with a high flour content. It was sadly not what I was looking for.
After a recent success at Cafe Mckenzie in Randwick we decided to go for yet another Toastie with truffle oil, honey, and parmesan ($14). Sadly this particular toastie was far less exciting than the benchmark set by its competitor, with no great feeling of substance to it. It was quite small, and I would have much rathered more toastie than a salad I didn’t ask for.
These crispy smashed potatoes ($10) continued our breakfasts’ trend of being completely unsatisfying. I don’t really see what made them crispy or smashed. They really were essentially regular roast potatoes with a sprinkling of salt.
Pictured above, a photo of a bloody mary that I did not have. My partner did.
THOUGHTS I’m sad about my trip to Bloc145. Their menu has so many wonderful looking items I am left wondering if I simply chose the wrong things, or if my experience would have been like this regardless of what I chose. I wouldn’t go back.
Sushi LAB is a local inter-Sea of Japan collaboration serving a mixture of Korean and Japanese dishes in a family-oriented vibe, complete with children playing on iPads sipping from juice boxes and very nice service.
The deluxe sashimi ($37.50) was a well priced assortment of 15 pieces of seafood. I enjoyed the surprising inclusion of marinated octopus, though was not so fond of the giant oysters. The surf clam I felt was a bit icy at service, so I left my second piece (my partner does not eat such unfamiliar sea creatures without a fight) until the end of the meal to allow it to thaw a bit. Overall I felt this was well priced with good quality of salmon in particular.
I enjoyed this dragon roll ($20.80), though some may scoff at the choice. Sometimes you just need a dirty, non-traditional snack of tempura prawn, crab salad, eel, and teriyaki-mayonnaise to ruin your macros.
This wagyu beef ramyun (spicy, $17.80) was actually great. The flavours of the soup, though not very spicy, were very enjoyable, as was the bean sprout which inspired me to cook some more bean sprout related dishes at home the next few days. The beef was tasty and not too fatty, and the noodles, though probably not super special in and of themselves, were cooked to a degree of perfection unknown to this blogger’s girlfriend who do anything with instant noodles except immerse them in hot water.
OVERALL I think we had quite a nice meal at this small family restaurant, and wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
We’re going to call Hòa Hưng a restaurant simply by virtue of the fact that even though they don’t officially offer any seating, there seems to be at least four people scoffing down dòufunǎo/ dòufuhuā / tofu fa just outside the store at any given time.
We happened upon Hoa Hung’s tiny tofu stand and the modest line outside it as we sought out a different restaurant in the area. Though I had known from my paediatrics colleague GZYL that there did exist dedicated tofu shops selling fried soft tofu in Sydney, I had not yet had the time or will to seek one out for myself.
The triangle tofu ($8/kg) was my favourite out of the things that we tried, though I do not know that outside of shape there would have been much difference between this and the square tofu. I’m known to love a good combination tofu hot pot (doufu bao, 豆腐煲) and it’s one of the dishes that I order almost without fail at a traditional Chinese restaurant. The silkiness of the tofu with the mildly fried exterior, bathed in the umami stew of vegetables, meat, and seafood is one of life’s simple pleasures, and up until this point I had never been able to make or find such fried tofu outside of a restaurant. All variations of fried tofu at the Asian grocery store are dry and shrivelled – great for hot pot in one sense of the term but not great for hot pot in the other. This fried triangle tofu ticked all of the boxes that I was looking to fill.
The tofu fa ($2.50), served with ginger syrup was a warm and silky dessert, smooth and delicious. It was not too sweet even with all of the ginger syrup added in, and additional syrup was available for 20 cents a packet. There is no savoury version on offer (the version I grew up with), but I guess you could always pour in some of your own soy sauce
Straight up white tofu ($7/kg) was warm, fragrant, and white as per the description.
OTHER COMMENTS These guys are here to sell tofu, and not to play any of your games. My partner didn’t know how much tofu she wanted, and the lady running the store essentially told her “up to you, doesn’t matter to me”. my partner countered with “one tofu please”.
As someone who is neither a gambler nor a returned serviceman I’ve seldom had the opportunity or desire to visit my local RSL club, but a recent move to Campsie and the promise of weekday yum cha at the local RSL was reason enough to change this. Being a recent transplant to the club’s 5km radius I was asked to sign up as a member for the year – a very nominal fee for a nice card with a horrible photo of me, 20% off my meal, and presumably voting rights, though I can’t find a copy of the club’s constitution online.
What struck me as I gazed at the wall of powerful faces in the club’s lobby was the very interesting racial and age make-up of its board of directors. Though at the last census in 2016 the median age in Campsie was 34 and the largest group by ancestry was Chinese at 31% of the local population followed by Nepalese at 6.9%, the distinguished gentleman (and they were all gentleman) who steer the RSL were of a distinctly more Caucasian (the club is located on Anglo Rd) and more experienced vintage than what you would expect. While the club doesn’t publish a racial breakdown of its membership, a glance around the dining hall’s patrons suggested that 31% Chinese ancestry could even be a bit on the conservative side, as far as estimates go. This of course wouldn’t account for the proportion of the membership who remain part of the club for its other facilities.
A diverse board is generally thought to be a safe board, and as I waited for my food to arrive at my table I reflected that whilst the club’s board of directors may not be as diverse at face value, it is extremely possible that they are diverse in other ways. I joked to my partner that I perhaps I should at the next election – after all I have a name and face similar to the membership, as well as a few years of non-profit directorship experience under my belt – but she told me to stop talking about nonsense and focus on my primary exam instead.
And now to the food. These durian pastries were really pretty good. The actual pastry of it was quite buttery and flaky and nice in that regard, though the durian filling was a bit too sweet for me.
These egg tarts met the critical criteria for being egg tarts, but I did not feel that they went above and beyond. Stronger candidates in this area might feature a flakier crust, though perhaps my enjoyment of these was tempered by both the excellent pastry of the durian cake and the fact that I had to have both egg tarts as my partner does not like them.
I was not a fan of these black bean pork ribs, unusual for me, but my partner found nothing wrong with them.
The chive and prawn dumplings were good, though (and I don’t know if this is seasonal) I felt that better 韭菜饺 have a greater level of fragrance to them.
I enjoyed these chicken feet. These met the standard set by my extensive yum cha training a a child growing up in Western Sydney.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the beef rice noodle rolls, the filling felt like the difference between a party sausage roll from the freezer aisle at Coles and an artisanal sausage roll baked on site.
I can’t comment on the turnip cake as I’ve never been a fan, but my partner was satisfied.
OTHER THOUGHTS, CONTINUED
Ultimately while I like to daydream about a get out the vote campaign leveraging the local Chinese community via WeChat, ultimately being a director of an organisation with such a significant involvement in gambling just isn’t what I’m looking for right now. Some inspired soul could potentially stand for election and use their position to reduce gambling in our clubs.
Sun Ho Campsie RSL Club, 25 Anglo Rd, Campsie NSW 2194 (02) 9784 0200