Categories
Asian Fusion Café Korean

SOUL Deli – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

The husband and wife magicians behind Surry Hills modern Korean restaurant SOUL Dining have done it again with SOUL Deli, a still-Korean but less formal café and deli space just blocks away from the mothership. Where SOUL Dining succeeds by delivering a variety of quite substantial dishes cooked with fusion principles and a view for sharing, SOUL Deli’s offerings are more café-oriented, with single person servings that still retain some of that fusion touch.

The SOUL Galbi Bowl ($28) was the highlight of our meal. The star ingredient, black angus short rib, was delightfully tender and fatty inside with a good char on the outside – the result of a prolonged sous-vide process and high temperature grill finishing. Each bite of this prized beef showcased both the meat quality as well as the soy-pear marinade, delivering distinctly Asian flavours and showing that often it’s more about cut and culinary technique than whether or not the cow was born in Japan. The soy egg had a great umami flavour, and the pickles, kimchi, and fresh broccolini added a freshness that balanced out the meat. Last but not least was the fresh tomato, which was not only fresh but also added an additional glutamate enriched hit of umami which synergised well with the meat. Very good.

The Omelette with Korean “Caviar” ($24) was quite a nice demonstration of SOUL’s intersecting Korean and French cooking techniques. The omelette itself was delicate and moist, though I felt that the salted pollack roe within didn’t quite pack the punch that was expected. The trout roe atop omelette was fine, though there could’ve been more – there’s a difficult balance to achieve here with a relatively expensive ingredient that adds only a fine and subtle flavour. The beurre blanc, a sauce that some but not all French mothers teach their children added a creaminess that complimented the egg with its mozarella stuffing. It was a great sauce to mop up with the surprisingly decent sourdough bread. This omelette was overall a lighter tasting dish than the galbi bowl, but still good.

This Korean Fried Chicken piece ($8) was expensive compared to your regular serving of fried chicken, but quite good. The exterior was crispy, well sauced but not overflavoured, while the inside was juicy and tender. Served with some pretty high brow kimchi.

I enjoyed this Korean donut ($4.50), which was a slightly oily, slightly sweet dough twist.

This oat cookie ($4.50) was also not bad.

This was a fresh and fizzy Omi ade – a kind of Korean bberry drink. It is available also with alcohol but we tried very hard to be adults about our breakfast.

VERDICT
We really enjoyed the fresh Korean-fusion flavours at Soul Deli. The dishes are on the expensive side, but well worth it. A fitting sequel to Soul Dining.

Categories
Bakery Japanese Uncategorized

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake – Sydney CBD NSW Bakery Review

Next to Event Cinemas on George St and very close to Wang’s Dumplings is the Sydney branch of Uncle Tetsu’s multinational bakery project.

During our first visit we had the original, matcha, and red bean cheese tarts.

Each cheese tart was delicious with a more cooked exterior layer and an interior runny gooey centre.

On our second visit the red bean flavour had been discontinued for a strawberry flavour for Christmas.

My favourite was the original flavour, however all four I’ve had have been quite nice.

I would rate these much above the Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart in Australia. They are not as good as the cheese tarts from BAKE in Japan, and they’re also quite expensive at $3.90 a pop.

Unlike the cheese tarts I cannot really recommend this weird, watery, vanilla custard.

4/5

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake Sydney
501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Uncle Tetsu’s Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Café Japanese

Ippuku – Rosebery NSW Restaurant Review

Ippuku is a small and in my opinion underrated Japanese cafe in Rosebery. Despite some somewhat middling reviews online I decided to take the plunge and visit for some sandos before an evening shift at work.

Ippuku is a nice, bright cafe with plenty of natural light and a selection of indoor table, indoor high table, and well ventilated outdoor seating, ideal for the COVID paranoid. Staffing was by a predominately Japanese crew with a Caucasian man making yummy warm juice from Single O coffee beans.

I was in a bit of a rush so I asked to have my pork katsu sando inside and the rest of the food to be packed for takeaway so that I could eat it later at work. I think unfortunately I did not communicate this very well, as similar to Yummy Duck BBQ just around the corner I received all of my food in take-away form. This was ultimately not a big deal as I was able to try each of the items that I ordered fresh.

Pork Katsu Sando

The Pork Katsu Sando ($13) was really good. The pork cutlets were thinner than I’m used to from places like Kentaro, Oratnek, and Sandoitchi, but this was by no means a problem. Indeed I found this pork cutlet to be extra juicy, with the welcome addition of a few fatty bits around the edges to mix the flavour and texture up a bit. Unlike my previous experiences this sandwich was served with tomato, which provided an extra level of freshness to the sando and reminded me a bit of MOS Burger’s tomato burgers. Really good.

Ebi Sando

The Ebi Sando ($16) is a recent addition to the menu, and features a generous serving of thick, juicy battered and fried prawns in a bit of an egg-salad tartare sauce. I loved the juicy prawny prawns and how the sandwich was just jam packed with them. I really enjoyed the half of this sandwich that I had fresh, but found the sauce a bit too fishy when I had the second half a few hours later. It was a few dollars more expensive than the pork sando but definitely worth a try.

The pork gyoza (6 for $10) were a bit disappointing. I appreciate that they were pork and chive rather than pork and cabbage, but I just didn’t think they were all that flavourful. It tends to take a lot for a Japanese gyoza to impress me though – I tend to like Chinese dumplings more.

UPDATE 12/12/2020

Wagyu beef burger

The Wagyu Beef Burger ($16) is pretty good, but pretty expensive and ultimately just a normal burger. It was not a Japanese hamburg patty which is what I expected. It was really just a classic hamburger with a thick juicy internally-pink patty, cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce, and sauce. Quite steep for $16 and not at all special.

The Chashu Rice ($17) is quite bad, and I would recommend you stay far away from this. Forever. The egg is nice and partially cooked and runny, bunt that’st eh end of the compliments. I found the fried rice to be sticky and not flavourful. The chashu was dry and not fatty enough to break up the bland fried rice taste. A very bad dish for you to avoid.

Chicken katsu sandwich

I drove home from Ippuku and dropped off this chicken katsu sandwich ($13) for my girlfriend. I can’t really tell you anything about it apart from the fact that she thought it was pork and enjoyed it. I asked her to save me some, which she did, but she left it in the microwave for 10 hours instead of the fridge so I didn’t feel safe enough to have any.

VERDICT
Don’t fall victim to negative Nancys on Zomato. I’d strongly recommend a visit to Ippuku for their delicious sandos.

4.5/5

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

Categories
Café

Homage Specialty Coffee – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Tucked within the outside wall of a semi-smelly carpark in Parramatta is a small café serving what is probably Western Sydney’s best coffee, and some very good toasties.

Staffing at this carpark café is quite minimal, with only two people working to serve the teeming masses from the local legal community. The wait for my two toasted sandwiches (which were premade, mind you – all that had to be done was put them in the sandwich press) took about twenty minutes.

This bolognaise jaffle ($10 I think) is probably the best jaffle I’ve ever had, though the only of reference that I have for comparison are those made by my father (he owns a jaffle maker, but has no other formal jaffle making qualifications). The bread was suitably crispy, and the warm gooey cheesy filling of mince, tomato and cheese was warming and full of flavour. Well executed.

The mushroom toastie ($15-ish) was also very good. It was stuffed full of pickles and cheese, which gave it a good tangy flavour not found in all mushroom toasties. The mushroom added quite a bit of bite and chew to the toastie, and I didn’t even miss the lack of meat in it. The one complaint, if I were to nit-pick, would be that the tangy, salty flavours of this toastie might have just been marginally too flavourful for me. Nonetheless, a good toastie.

This soy latte may actually be the best I’ve had in my life. I’m not familiar with all the fancy terms reviewers use to describe coffee, but I know quality when I taste it.

IN CONCLUSION
The food was good, and the coffee was amazing. There is an unfortunate dearth of free parking in the area, and the nearest easily accessible free parking is probably in Westfield Parramatta (a 9 minute walk). I also think that given how busy they were on the day they’re probably bringing in enough revenue to buy another sandwich press. This could potentially cut their service times for a toastie down from twenty minutes to something a bit more reasonable. Having said all this, I’d definitely still recommend Western Sydney dwellers pay Homage a visit.

5/5 (coffee bonus)

Homage Specialty Coffee
Beneath City Centre Carpark, Shop 2/71 Horwood Pl, Parramatta NSW 2150

Categories
Café

Two Fives – Rosebery NSW Café Review

We’ve eaten at Two Fives both in person and via delivery services.

This grilled chicken salad with Lebanese bread was not exciting. Very healthy. Wouldn’t recommend.

I really really loved the pea, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce thing. I can’t find it on their menu any more, but I would really recommend it if you see it on their specials board.

The mint coffee was good, the iced latte was pretty standard.

Two Fives’ I Stand Carroted ($21) is basically carrot cake pancakes drowned in mascarpone (however I don’t know how submerged they would be if eaten in person). I didn’t care for it much but my partner liked it.

We enjoy the Crispy Bird ($14), a chicken schnitzel sandwich with Tomato, Cheddar Cheese, Lime Garlic Mayo & Lettuce.

The cure ($16), a breakfast burger/sandwich with a hearty helping of bacon, 2 eggs, potato rosti, lettuce, tomato, and sauces is delicious. It is one of the best bacon and egg rolls in the area, helped by the fact that it is not merely a bacon and egg roll. I can recommend this one.

The Miss Maroubra ($14 – not pictured) is basically a ham sandwich but yummy.

While their sandwiches are very expensive, they’re absolutely jam packed with ingredients. I can recommend Two Fives.

Four out of fives.

Two Fives
355 Gardeners Rd, Rosebery NSW 2018
+61 (02) 9669 1611