Categories
Bakery Middle Eastern

Soul Mill – Rockdale NSW Restaurant Review

After a few false starts at the beginning of 2021 I was finally able to visit Soul Mill for breakfast with my colleague JZHW on my last week of work in the Kogarah-Rockdale region.

Soul Mill specialises in oven baked goodies, most of which are cheesy and with a Middle Eastern theme. We enjoyed our Oven Burger ($9), which had a strong pide quality.

Our Oven Wrap ($9) was also very nice. I cannot for the life of me tell you which of the many menu options it was, though cross-sectional analysis reveals some greenery, maybe some chicken. Egg. What I can tell you was that the bread was thin and not overportioned, with a strong emphasis on the fillings. While I can attest that both my colleague JZHW and I enjoyed it, I feel very bad that I’ve left seven months between eating it and reviewing it and I am essentially doing them (and you) a disservice but not being able to describe it well.

Ah yes, some kind of manoosh, possibly the meat, cheese, and sujuk ($8.50). I have warm feelings about this manoosh, and actually do remember the moistness of its toppings and its superior taste. This manoosh stands out for its excellent price-to-quality ratio, and having had a number of manoosh during my days living in Western Sydney I would rate this towards the better end of the scale.

COMMENTS
It’s unfair, but what I remember most about Soul Mill was trying to go three times and only succeeding on the third. Each time was within the hours noted on Google, and without any evidence to the contrary through their social media channels. To be fair, it was the start of the year, not too far removed from the holiday season, as well as in the midst of some low grade pandemic-style uncertainty. Regardless, their food is filling and wallet friendly, and worth a visit if cheese and manoosh are your thing.

Soul Mill
9 King St, Rockdale NSW 2216
(02) 8580 2945

Categories
Bakery Café Korean

LAB Bakery – Strathfield NSW Cafe Review

My partner’s recent obsession with bingsu took us to Strathfield’s LAB Bakery for our fourth snowy treat in as many weeks.

Unfortunately LAB Bakery’s freaky looking Oreo Bingsu was the worst that we’ve had in recent memory. Visually it was quite striking, but not in a good way. The dish essentially consists of a bowl of milky shaved ice with layers of oreo crumb and chocolate sauce, topped with an additional layer of the same. Above this there is a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the choice use of mini oreos and chocolate sauce to make a spooky looking face.

Despite its nightmarish appearance, this bingsu’s edibility is its biggest problem. Crumbs of oreo do not, in fact, mix well with milk snow, nor do they mix well with the back of the throat. Each mouthful was like choking on a glass of sandy unmixed Milo, and unlike Milo there was no flavour hit to numb the pain.

As hinted to in their name, LAB Bakery does not only do bingsu, but also does breads. We indulged in two of their cream puffs ($1) each, which were room temperature pastry balls filled with a vanilla custard cream. These are a bit larger than the puffs at Emperor’s Garden, and their filling is cold, not warm. They are tasty and priced at just the right price point for a small afternoon snack.

VERDICT
Do not get LAB’s Oreo Bingsu. Just don’t do it. Get anything but it. Get some of their breads instead.

LAB Bakery
4 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135
0450 593 522

Categories
Bakery Café

The Smelly Cheesecake – Strathfield NSW Cafe Review

Just quickly, we had a couple of slices of cheesecake at The Smelly Cheesecake the other day.

The original cheesecake (L) was really not that special. It was slightly oversweet, with an airy and creamy top component and a denser bottom layer. Not really what I’d go to a specialty cheesecake shop for.

The blue cheesecake (R) was actually quite good. It really lived up to the cafe’s name of being slightly smelly. It had a deep richness with a hint of blue flavour that was present but not overpowering. Quite a special slice of cheesecake that’s worth trying.

VERDICT
Get what’s special, don’t get what’s not special. Easy.

The Smelly Cheesecake Strathfield
Shop2/2 Albert Rd, Strathfield New South Wales 2135
0452 273 559

Categories
Bakery British Café

The Tea Cosy – The Rocks NSW Cafe Review

When my partner told me we were going to The Tea Cosy in the Rocks I imagined an Importance of Being Earnest-style meal with thick white tablecloths and cucumber sandwiches. What I didn’t expect was a water gun fight with a flock of pigeons in outdoor-only seating.

One of the little terrorists

Our meal was had in an outdoor courtyard, on nice marble-style tables with good cross-ventilation. Service was fine but not great – when asked for water we only received one glass of tap water, and it was only on our second request that we received a jug – this time chilled (so why wasn’t the first?)

We had the Grand Stand ($28), a set of four freshly scones with double thick cream and a selection of two jams (we chose Raspberry & Vanilla and Lemon Curd) as well as six ribbon sandwiches of three flavours (choice not offered – we received smoked salmon, curried egg, creamy tuna).

The scones were large, warm and fresh, coated in a thin layer of sugar. My partner told me these reminded her of the ones she had at her Merrill Lynch cadetship orientation back in 2011, before she decided she wanted to be a doctor. She had, until now, not had scones as good as those, and was chasing the high to fill a hole that The Tea Cosy’s scones fit into perfectly. The serving of cream and jam was entirely adequate for these scones. My pick of the two would be the raspberry and vanilla, though the lemon curd (a bit sweet) was good too.

The sandwiches were pretty middling. The smoked salmon and curried egg ones were probably the strongest of the bunch. I wish we had been given a choice, as the jam and ham sandwich that they offer actually sounds a bit strange and potentially wonderful. Bread was soft and crust was pre-cut to suit the tastes of the upper echelon (not us).

We were a bit full by the time the New Zealand Style Scones with salami, fresh tomato, and Pepe Saya butter ($14) arrived half an hour later. This scone was more of a savoury cake or even a non-eggy quiche than a scone, with lots of cheddar, parmesan and spring onions packed in. The salami wasn’t special and seemed rather like the stuff you get at the deli counter at your local national supermarket chain. The Pepe Saya butter, of which we were given two, was the highlight. I wouldn’t get this again.

The Mint and Lime Iced Tea ($7.50 glass) was quite good, not too sweet, very fresh tasting. It was a hot day and I wish we had gone for a jug instead. The coffee was just coffee.

VERDICT

Visit The Tea Cosy if you’re chasing a 9 year memory of the perfect scone, or if you’re particularly fond of shooing away pigeons with a provided watergun. Skip the New Zealand style savoury scones.

4/5

The Tea Cosy
7 Atherden St, The Rocks NSW 2000
0401 730 504

The Tea Cosy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Bakery Portuguese

Sweet Belem – Petersham NSW Bakery Review

After hearing many a story told by my colleagues of Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tarts I decided I absolutely had to try. Unfortunately for my wallet and my HbA1c, I was sidetracked into getting quite a bit more than just a few tarts.

Portuguese Tart

First things first. The Portuguese Tart. Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tart is not quite the tart that I grew up with. One of my best friends throughout high school (co-incidentally the one I ate at Din Tai Fung with eight years ago) was a little bit fancy, and would often get Portuguese tarts at the school canteen, never settling for a mere custard tart. On the odd occasion where he and I would partake in such opulent pleasures together I would find a soft, multilayered puff pastry crust around an eggy, custardy filling. For the longest time this is what I thought a Portuguese Tart was meant to be.

Sweet Belem changed my mind. As the benchmark for Portuguese Tarts, what Sweet Belem delivered was much different to my youthful experiences. The crust was flaky, hard, and crispy, made up of layers upon layers of pastry. The filling, caked in cinnamon, had a sweeter but also more complex flavour than any tart I had in high school or in the many years since. This is something you’ll definitely want to try for yourself.

And now for a brief description of some of the other baked goods I had. These are not labelled but I think you can figure it out.

Pineapple cake ($5.50) – NOT your Chinese style pineapple cake. Literally a pineapple slice on top. Soaked in sweet syrup. I didn’t like it

Baked chocolate tart ($4)- Enjoyed by my partner. Not too sweet.

Almond tart – Pretty good!

Egg and almond croissant ($4) – I actually really liked this, especially the parts with the eggy custard filling. A recommendation.

IN SHORT

I liked Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tarts, and I think that if you’re in the local area they’re definitely worth a visit. Their other baked goods (even the excellent almond and egg croissant) range from middling to good but aren’t worth making a separate trip.

Sweet Belem Cake Boutique
35B New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049
(02) 9572 6685