American Bakery Café

Small Talk Coffee & Snacks – Dulwich Hill Restaurant Review

This is Small Talk’s Lox Bagel ($17.50). I don’t know the physical or legal difference between a bagel with filling and a sandwich, apart from the type of bread, but nonetheless enjoyed this bagel with filling. The bagel has a sweet and savoury flavour, with a mildly dense texture providing a perfect balance of bite and chew. The filling of smoked salmon, caper paste, pickled onion and cream cheese was deeply umami, with a good mix of different textures and flavours. My partner and I shared the one bagel, and I do not think it was inadequate. They come pre-sliced in half, so if eating with a friend or colleague they are optimal for sharing two different halves of two different bagels.

Another item pre-destined for sharing is their Raspberry Fritter ($7.50), essentially a square glazed donut with a light hint of raspberry filling. If you were to close your eyes it would be almost indistinguishable from a Krispy Kreme original glazed donut, though the grooves did make it extremely convenient to tear and share. Not the strongest dessert though, and I feel too expensive for what it was.

Please note that this venue is more takeaway oriented, with only very limited outdoor benching available.

Small Talk Dulwich Hill
Shop 2/355 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203

Bakery Café Indian South Asian

The Fold – Dulwich Hill NSW Restaurant Review

Though I’ve lived in Wentworthville in the heart of Sydney’s South Asian community for a total of eleven years now in two separate runs, I still don’t really have a good gauge on South Asian food. It’s hard for me, as someone who didn’t grow up in the culture, to know what’s actually good and what’s actually bad, so I must apologise in advance if my thoughts about Dulwich Hill’s The Fold are coloured by my complete lack of cultural competency.

We started our meal with this quite-good Sri Lankan Iced Coffee ($7.50), which was essentially a mixture of chai spices, coffee, and vanilla ice cream (AKA a cold dirty chai). It was quite enjoyable, though a bit expensive, and I had no qualms about recommending it to a random vegetarian who walked into the restaurant just as we were leaving.

The Appa-Appa with free range chicken curry ($24) was a plate consisting of two plain hoppers and one hopper with an egg in it, along with side pots of a mild chicken curry, lunu miris (sambal paste), and seeni sambol (a less spicy onion sambal). We enjoyed the chicken curry, though found it to be extremely mild – likely a product of the restaurant being in Dulwich Hill rather than Pendle Hill. I have literally no standard to compare these hoppers with, but can remark that I enjoyed the crispy thin edges much more than the bases, which I felt were a bit too thick and bready. Again, I have no idea if that’s how it’s meant to be. This is just how I feel.

To illustrate how out of my depth I am here, after eating it as a taco I found out via the internet that you are not meant to eat hoppers as a taco.

The Butterfruit Pann with two poached eggs ($21) was really just another name for avocado toast, but with one delicious twist. This otherwise standard avo toast came with a tiny but delicious pot of pineapple chili relish, with a fascinating sweetness that went incredibly well with the bread and avocado, and elevated each and every bite. I only wish that the pot were a bit larger as we ran out two thirds throughout our meal.

Look at this SICK cutlery.

The food at The Fold was really not bad, and even the otherwise standard avo toast had a nice little twist that elevated it to a new level. Their pastries on display also looked quite good, and though I don’t know if they’re made on site I think I will end up coming back at some point to eat them all.

On a subsequent visit to grab some pastries I learned that they are in fact all made on site. There’s an assortment of relatively standard French as well as South-Asian inspired pastries, though for this visit I erred on the side of caution.

The Plain Croissant ($5.50) was certainly, as described, a plain croissant. I took a leaf from my friend the Sydney Croissant Hunter’s book and brought a serated knife to capture a cross-section from my visit, though in doing so left quite a mess on their table. I wasn’t blown away by this croissant – it was adequately crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but keep in mind that I’m not a croissant expert, and I got this about half an hour before closing, so it wasn’t quite fresh out of the oven.

Next up is this Salted Caramel & Macadamia Scroll ($8.50), a hefty and dense bread-like creation that was a meal in and of itself. Entire bites of this were devoid of any caramel, but this was not so much a problem as this scroll truly reminded me of my love for bread. The salted caramel swirl tasted a little bit dark-cooked (I don’t want to say burnt, I doubt it was ever on fire), and ultimately I think my craving would have been equally served by some stock standard brioche or something.

The Portuguese Tart was a bit sweeter than I usually like, but I enjoyed the flavour as well as the pastry. Even my partner, who doesn’t usually like Portuguese tarts, enjoyed this. It is a shame that she dropped it on the floor before she was finished.

I actually really enjoyed this Black Forest Cake ($8.50). I often get black forest cake thinking that I’ll like it, but it’s never really lived up to my expectation until now. The Fold’s black forest cake was absolutely lovely, with plenty of moistness, dark chocolate, and a discrete and highly tasty cherry layer sandwiched between two layers of dark sponge. Every part of this cake, including the well proportioned mousse-like icing was well executed, and this is now the best black forest cake I’ve ever had.

The Fold. Sri Lankan Inspired
402 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
(02) 8068 2226

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


Tuga Pastries – Alexandria NSW Restaurant Review

Another day, another bakery – this one just a stone’s throw away from my partner’s GP, who has a particular interest in promoting long-term behavioural change where it comes to modifiable risk factors for non-communicable disease.

Tuga Pastries is perhaps best known for their Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Tart – $4.50), often being mentioned in the same breath as Sweet Belem when it comes to Sydney’s pastry tier lists. Though I’ve had Tuga’s Portuguese tarts at other cafes like Ashbury’s 3 Tomatoes, the experience was far better eating it fresh from the source. The filling on this tart was extremely gooey and creamy, with a fresh-out-of-the-oven warmth that coated and curled around the tongue. The pastry was similarly warm, fresh, buttery, and flaky, though if I had one complaint about this pastel de nata overall would be that it was a bit too sweet for my taste. Despite this, I would rate this above Sweet Belem‘s based on textural factors.

This great big slab is the Pork, Lamb and Harrisa Sausage Roll ($9), an attempt to fancy up the humble Australian classic that I feel met quite limited success. It features quite a thick block of finely minced meat wrapped in puff pastry, served with an extremely stock standard tomato sauce that for some reason we couldn’t get enough of. I personally found this sausage roll a bit lamby for my liking, and would’ve liked a coarser texture than what was offered here. Wouldn’t get it again.

I had no love for this 3 Cheese Toastie ($13), which I found quite dry, especially with all its seeds. I think the only way to make it better would be to add some kind of moist vegetable or meat to it, which would ruin the concept of it being a cheese only toastie. Maybe I just don’t like cheese-only toasties, but my partner, who chose this item, did not like it either.

This pear danish ($6) was really quite good. I enjoyed the flaky, buttery pastry, but more suprisingly I enjoyed the pear, which looked sweeter than it actually tasted. It was, in fact, not too sweet.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by how dense and ricotta-y this blueberry ricotta tart ($6.50) was. Didn’t love it.

Though much of what we had at Tuga was a bit hit and miss, there’s no denying the high quality of their pastel de natas. These are probably my favourite Portuguese tarts in Sydney right now, and for that reason alone I’m looking forward to the next time I have to take my partner to the doctor to hear about why we shouldn’t be eating so much.

Tuga Pastries Alexandria
10/112 McEvoy St, Alexandria NSW 2015
0412 664 165

Bakery Café

Earnest Arthur – South Nowra NSW Restaurant Review

So I’ve been wanting a pie from Punch the Ploughman for weeks now, but their pie times are completely at odds with my waking-and-eating hours. Unless I purposely stay up after work for two and a half hours after I finish my night shift or unless I somehow send my resident out of the hospital to grab lunch there is just no way for me to get the pies that come out at 10:30AM and run out by 12:30PM. Earnest Arthur, one of the Shoalhaven area’s premier pie stops was a promising alternative for a couple of post nights feeds.

This Peking duck sausage roll ($6.50) did not hit the spot at all. I read on one of their Google reviews that a customer was disappointed that they had missed out on one of these rolls when they were there, a disappointment that only induced me to try it myself. Sadly I don’t really think they missed out on much, as I found that the filling was quite floury or carby, kind of like the stuffing of a supermarket rotisserie chicken, but denser and dryer. It was difficult to appreciate any duck at all, though I’m sure that it’s in there somewhere. Even assuming that there is some duck in there, I don’t know, as a guy from the Beijing region, what about this was particularly Peking. It piqued my interest but did not peak my tastebuds. I think a bit of tomato sauce could’ve gone a long way, but whilst I’m sure it is available within the store it was clearly on display or not freely offered on either of my two visits.

The surf and turf pie ($8.40) was a big improvement over the duck sausage roll, with clearly appreciable big and juicy prawns, and limited but large chunks of meat. This would begin a trend that would continue for the rest of the pies that I had at Earnest Arthur. Their pies are much gravy with limited in number but large sized chunks of protein. Not bad.

The jalapeno, beef and cheese pie ($8.40) was the strongest of the four foods that I tried at Earnest Arthur over my two visits. Making up for the meat-limited approach of this bakery was the use of jalapeno and cheese within the filling, thereby taking up room with something other than gravy. The flavours of jalapeno pepper and cheese were actually quite complimentary, with senses both of freshness and umami.

The dill and snapper pie ($8.40) was really quite pleasant, with mild flavours, creamy and not too fishy. Again, lots of (yummy) goop, with only odd chunks’o’fish.

GENERAL VIBE: I don’t know if I’m really describing what I’m trying to say adequately. It is highly possible that if they chose to use mince instead of large chunks of steak and fish and prawn, they might be able to better spread their protein throughout the pie. The fact that they probably do in fact use more expensive and larger portions of meat means that it leaves entire mouthfuls of just pastry and gravy without anything to chew on, and concentrates the pleasure of meat-eating onto other mouthfuls. I don’t know that the overall consistency of their pies are accurately conveyed on the cross-sections on their website.

The flavours are mostly good (barring the Peking duck sausage roll), but I personally would prefer balance. Otherwise if you’re going to go the chunky steak route then to put in enough steak to fill the entire pie, though $8.40 is already quite a lot to pay for a meat pie, and more steak would certainly mean even more money than that.

Two pies per breakfast is too much pie for a guy trying to not eat that much pie.

Earnest Arthur
(02) 4422 4000
171 Princes Hwy, South Nowra NSW 2541