Shortstop Coffee & Donuts – Haymarket NSW Cafe Review

My quick, three line opinion. of the Short Stop in Darling Square is that their donuts are quite good but the inside of their donuts can be a bit bready and boring. Not every donut is good, but also not every donut is bad. Their strength is in their variety and their location.

Short Stop Coffee & Donuts
15 Little Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
0499 366 883

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Bakery Chinese

Best Tastes Dim Sim – Homebush West NSW Restaurant and Take Away Review

This is less of a restaurant review and more of a grocery store review. The only cooked, ready to eat item that they sell is an egg tart, which is itself only available on weekends.

The egg tarts ($1.50) are however very good, with great colouration, a nice sweet but not-too-sweet filling, and a delicate flaky puff pastry crust, which is in my opinion across the board superior to shortbread crusts. They are served room temperature, unfortunately, and having them warm would make them just a little bit more perfect.

The majority of Best Tastes Dim Sim’s business is in the frozen dim sum game. Best Tastes, along with Hurstville competitor Delight Dim Sim are my two go-to sources for frozen treats like siu mai (shao mai), har gao (xia jiao), and all kinds of other buns, dumplings, and things wrapped in bean curd.

The service at Best Tastes Dim Sim is also extremely straight forward and friendly, you essentially just pick out what you want from their freezers and take it to the front. I even dropped and destroyed an entire box of dumplings (my fault entirely, I was on the phone and holding way too much stuff), that I was not charged for, even though I offered to pay.

Their food is cheap and delicious, and got me through the recent COVID-19 Delta variant lockdown in Sydney without suffering yum cha withdrawal related delirium tremens. A little bottle of Koon Yick chili sauce also goes a long way.


Best Tastes Dim Sim
11 Henley Rd, Homebush West NSW 2140
(02) 8746 0498

Bakery Vietnamese

PiPi’s Pork Rolls – Unanderra NSW Restaurant Review

I walked nine kilometers today on a quest for what’s been lauded by some as Wollongong’s best banh mi, at QP Bakery in Berkeley. It was only when I arrived at QP that I found that they, like any other self-respecting eighteenth century bakery, are a cash only establishment. Much to my dismay with only six dollars in coins in my pockets, their most basic pork roll started at $7. I re-embarked on my sad journey to my partner’s apartment to the dulcet tones of Josh Farkas and Adam Thomas and instead ate at one of the many hot bread shops I had passed along the way.

This crispy crackling component of this Crispy Pork Belly Roll ($9.50) wasn’t quite what I expected. While the majority of crackling pork belly rolls that I’ve experienced have had a semi-dry, semi-oily-wet crackling that is both crispy and chewy – similar to what you would get from a Hong Kong BBQ restaurant, the crackling at PiPi’s was more reminiscent of what you would get from a snack food packet. Though I have seen actual evidence on their Facebook page of them cooking their crackling themselves, the crunchy crispiness but also the dryness of their pork crackling actually led me to initially believe that it was store bought rather than made in-house. While I don’t profess to be expert enough to truly judge banh mi by their traditional standards, I suppose that it’s probably acceptable to have either kind of crackling in your pork roll.

Crackling aside, I think PiPi’s crispy pork belly roll is actually quite good. The pork belly itself was nice, soft, and moist. The salads provided were balanced, and sauce was applied in an appropriate and conservative manner. I’d probably have this roll again.

I have no serious hitting commentary about PiPi’s classic Vietnamese Pork Roll ($7.50), though I will note that their pate is a bit different to the usual pate that I seem to get at Sydney banh mi-eries. It had a stronger flavour than I’m used to, more akin to the pates you would get at your local supermarket than the lighter flavoured pates normally used. Aside from this, this banh mi was slightly over-soyed (or Maggied, as it were), though still perfectly edible and ultimately not too salty.

I just don’t know why there are places in the 21st century not offering card payments, but I’m glad that PiPi’s Pork Rolls isn’t one of them. Not a bad lunchtime option if you’re a local, but I wouldn’t drive to the Illawara for a banh mi.

A friendly driveway dog I met on my walk.

PiPi’s Pork Rolls
135 Princes Hwy, Unanderra NSW 2526
0450 909 109


Black Star Pastry – Rosebery NSW Bakery Review

The birthday cake of my childhood was always Savoy’s taro cake. The birthday cake of the last couple years, however, has been from Black Star.

I will try to avoid burdening you with yet another review of Black Star’s famous watermelon strawberry cake. Instead, I will describe to you two less popular cakes.

The dragon cake was low in taste. Didn’t hit the spot.

The pistachio lemon zen cake was quite sweet. Didn’t hit the spot.

The black sesame yuzu cake was good. Not pictured, but we had a whole one last year.

The Japanese chicken curry pie was surprisingly good for a non-Japanese store, but quite expensive at around $9. I enjoyed the cripsy pastry and weird star-like shape.

The custard flan is delicious, lake a large Portuguese tart. I’ve had one every time I’ve been to Black Star over the past few months.

The rose-scented vanilla and strawberry and watermelon soft serve takes a cue from Black Star’s famous strawberry and watermelon cake. It is delicious, albeit a bit too sweet. A must try, especially with its dark chocolate waffle cone.

This Summer S’more, exclusive to the 2020-21 summer season was good! I loved the flaky croissant pastry and the filling of almond and vanilla custard creams. The marshmallow itself was not essential to the piece.

This slice of blueberry pie was also beautiful. The blueberries were huge and so juicy. So good.

4/5 – Custard flan good. Watermelon strawberry stuff good. Most things good. Not cheap.

Black Star Pastry Rosebery
C1/85-113 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
(02) 9557 8656

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.

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