The Eight – Haymarket NSW Restaurant Review

This will be a quick play by play of our yum cha lunch at The Eight, chosen because sadly Marigold is no more, and The Eight had 2 hours of free parking (though we overstayed by like 20 minutes and paid $9 for the privilege).

These pork spare ribs in black bean sauce were fine. Pretty meaty, not super fatty. Flavour I thought was a bit too mild.

I think these steamed chicken feet could’ve been steamed a little bit longer, but the flavour was good.

I actually also thought these bean curd skin rolls could’ve been more flavoured.

The steamed chive dumplings were fine, not extraodinary, and could’ve used more chive taste. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my specifically, things just tended towards blandness.

The shu mai were good, and adequately flavoured.

The texture and flavour of this this doufu fa was good.

The steamed custard buns were really good! My first one burst hot liquid all over me and the table, and our friend MP gave up hers so I could have an extra.

We had a pretty decent and well priced meal, spending around $32 per person for yum cha, with 2 hours free parking down below during the day, and unlimited free parking after 6PM (important for CBD lunch considerations). My partner had had dinner with her mother and brother the previous week and had a similarly good experience.

Not bad (though I think Marigold was better. RIP.)

The Eight
Market City Shopping Centre, Level 3/13 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9282 9988


Chaco Ramen – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

I’ve been craving a good noodle, and our proximity to Darlinghurst post-floatation pool in Bondi made for a good opportunity to try out the ramen at Chaco Ramen, a place that had mainly been on my radar because of the yakitori at their sister sibling Chaco Bar. Little did I know (stupid) that there is literally a Chaco Ramen in Bondi Beach. We needn’t have detoured, but at least we didn’t have to pay for parking.

This photo of Morgan McGlone’s Hot Chicken ($9) is not the most attractive, but I think people actually come here to look at what’s inside their food, and I will have you know that I am classically trained and have a university education in dissection. Boasting about my mad pencil grip knife skills aside, I actually didn’t love this chicken. It is probably my own fault for reading “roast chicken” and being surprised when it came – as advertised – roasted. The skin just didn’t have the texture that I imagined when I read the word “hot chicken”. While my partner liked the mildness of the chilli sauce, I found this to be another weakness. As a chicken fan, I prefer ATL Ayam Tulang Lunak Crispy‘s equally priced marylands over this.

This chilli coriander special ramen ($27) was a beast of a bowl in terms of size and taste, featuring a mixture of both soft poached chicken and chashu pork. The broth, chilli and coriander in flavour, was quite reminiscent of Chinese mala hotpot, which kind of made it less special to me because that’s something we eat all the time, though my partner absolutely enjoyed it. The egg was soft, the bamboo shoots were tasty, and overall there were enough different elements to this bowl to retain our interest throughout its consumption. Pretty good! Pricey.

I didn’t feel the need to upgrade our fish salt ramen ($20) to the special, as unlike the chilli coriander ramen this one came with chashu pork at the base level. In addition to the pork are a couple of john dory and prawn wontons, which were quite tasty and enjoyed by both my partner and myself, even though she did NOT enjoy the soup and the overall taste of this ramen, which she found to be too fishy for her. It should go without saying that yes, a ramen called the fish salt ramen might be a bit fishy for the anti-fishers out there, but I’m happy to report that as a pro-fish advocate I did enjoy this fishy and milky broth.

I enjoyed both ramens that we tried at Chaco Ramen, though if you’re someone who eats a lot of Sichuan Chinese food I think the chilli coriander ramen won’t quite feel as special. If skipping the fish salt ramen, would recommend getting the john dory and prawn dumplings on the side. Yum.

Chaco Ramen
238 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9007 8352


Shanghai Night – Ashfield NSW Restaurant Review

There’s this super odd row of restaurants on Liverpool Road in Ashfield where separate establishments named “New Shanghai Night”, “New Shanghai”, and “Shanghai Night” are lined up one after another. The subject of our review today is Shanghai Night, the Westernmost of the three.

The Shanghai Spicy Noodle Soup ($12.80) was good. It was quite a large serving for the price, and with plenty of meat and flavourful soup. Not too spicy. Not much else to say apart from a recommend.

The Si-Chuan Dry Wonton with Cucumber and Chilli Oil ($10.80) looked vastly different to the menu photo, but tasted pretty good. The wontons were plenty meaty, however my partner raised some concerns about the state of the peanut butter, which I did chose not to try.

The Steam Shanghai Style Mini Pork Bun ($8.80) were not the best. The most disappointing thing about them was the fact that they were mostly broken. In fact, only 2 out of the 8 were received intact, a feat that I can easily manage with a box of frozen xiao long bao at home.

THOUGHTS: With so many competitors in the Shanghai food space within a one metre radius, I don’t think I will be going back to this particular restaurant any time soon.

Shanghai Night
275 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield NSW 2131
(02) 9798 8437


Silver Spoon Thai – Nowra NSW Restaurant Review

The first in a series of reviews of Nowra’s finest dining establishments is this brief piece about my visit to Silver Spoon Thai, the undisputed current second best in term of online rankings in all of Nowra. Accolades won by this establishment to date include being described as “comparable to Holy Basil of Parramatta” (Reyes, 2022), a comparison I could not personally verify having never eaten at Holy Basil despite having lived in the Paramatta area for over a decade.

First on the menu was the Thai Basil Stir Fry with Beef ($20). This was a pleasant dish, with adequate basilling and certainly not too spicy. My dining colleague made comment of the veleted beef, which was not the favourite texture of my teeth or tongue.

I actually quite enjoyed the Prik Khing Crispy Pork ($22.90). The crispy pork was of good quality and crispiness despite being cooked in sauce, and the sauce itself had a good flavour, if a bit strong to have without rice. No complaints here.

I am glad that when asked if we wanted our entree first or just the dishes as they became available we chose the latter option. The Chicken Satay ($10) I enjoyed, but my dining colleague DTC, fresh from his trip to South East Asia, did not think it was the best he’s had in recent times.

Ultimately I think you certainly do worse than Silver Spoon, but nothing about what we had was particularly special. Paste, on the other hand… now that’s special.

Silver Spoon Thai
55 Junction St, Nowra NSW 2541
(02) 4421 7679

Bakery Market Stall

Natas & Co. – Sydney NSW Restaurant Review

My first review of a market stall with multiple locations and random opening times. Not too sure how the format of these will go, since there’s not really a home base as far as I can tell to direct people to, especially for the Google Maps pin.

I came across Natas & Co. at the Wentworth Point Cambridge Markets a couple of weeks ago, though they open in numerous locations across the city.

As a big fan of the humble Portuguese tart, and to the annoyance of my partner who is probably sick of them by now, I could not stop myself from ordering both a regular and a lemon tart.

The traditional Portuguese custard tart ($4.50) and the lemon Portuguese custard tart ($4.50) were probably similar enough to review in the same paragraph. Both tarts had a good, flaky pastry, but both I felt were let down by the sweetness of the filling. The lemon tart did have a lemon tinge to it, though the difference was minimal. I think by now it has become a theme that whilst I enjoy a good pastel de nata, I would much prefer one that isn’t as sweet as even the top tarts the city has to offer. It is probably therefore a matter of personal opinion that I wasn’t a huge fan of the filling of these tarts, rather than a problem with the tarts themselves.

Natas & Co.
Various markets around Sydney