Categories
Asian Fusion Café Vietnamese

KINX Cafe – Bankstown NSW Restaurant Review

Kinx is an absolute gem of a cafe tucked away in the culinary wasteland of South West Sydney. Kinx’s creative Asian-fusion brunch menu exceeded all geographic expectations, and our visit instantly propelled Kinx to the top of our list of cafes we enjoy in Sydney.

The Pho Beef Ribs were the reason we drove half an hour to go to Kinx in the first place, and boy did they not disappoint. Our waiter suggested a half serve ($20) rather than a full serve, as the kitchen was running low on ribs and we hadn’t had the foresight of booking ahead for this magnetic weekend special. The beef ribs were extremely tender and were in the perfect sweet spot where they fell right off the bone but retained enough internal structure for a good mouthfeel. The pho marinade was true to specification, with a delicious herbal umami taste. The rice noodle cakes, lightly deep fried were absolutely delicious, crisp, and soaked up the saucy marinade well. My partner thought that they had a much more delicate flavour and mouthfeel than just plain old rice cakes, and thought that they emulated thin noodles very well. The small amount of salad with bean sprouts, pickles, chilli, coriander, and Thai Basil was fresh and delicious, cutting through the strong umami flavours of the meat. Overall an excellent dish that I hope all beef-eating readers of this blog can have the opportunity to try.

The All You Can Beef Rice Bowl ($16), was nice but very much overshadowed by the pho beef ribs. The rice bowl features a smoky soy rice, 63 degree egg, and a wagyu beef hamburg katsu patty in bulgogi sauce. Whilst I enjoyed the menchi katsu (the first I’ve found outside of Japan), I thought that the smoked flavour of the rice was a bit too strong, and not to my taste. The 63 degree egg was excellent as always, and the bulgogi sauce was a good pairing for the patty, but neither of us ended up keen enough to finish the rice on account of its smokiness.

The Mama’s Siu Mai was essentially vietnamese pork meatballs in a tomato based sauce, served with bread – a Vietnamese spin on what you would often find on the menu of an Italian restaurant. The meatballs were yummy, as was the sauce and bread, though I think if I’m being honest we could’ve done with only one of this dish or the smoked beef bowl. My partner also wanted to get chips, and I’m glad I said no.

We also rolled for a wild card on the expensive but delicious Taro Coffee ($8). It is a very thick iced drink, of mostly taro with a hint of coffee mixed in, topped with some mixed cereals. It is a special and different experience, and quite good to boot. Sweet but not too sweet, kind of like the taro milk tea of your childhood but all grown up.

The regular coffee is regular.

VERDICT
Wow. What a wonderful place. You owe it to yourself to pay them a visit once the southwest is liberated.

Kinx Cafe
3/432 Chapel Rd, Bankstown NSW 2200
(02) 8772 5117

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Quick Brown Fox Eatery – Pyrmont NSW Café Review

There are few things I love more in a café than a competent all-day menu with Asian-fusion dishes. Quick Brown Fox Eatery in Pyrmont, owned and run by siblings with a menu designed by consulting chef/wizard Tomislav Martinovic, fits the bill perfectly.

Quick Brown Fox is set up in what feels a lot like a gingerbread house, with both internal and outdoor seating. The café was decorated with lots and lots of Christmas themed decorations (in early January), and had a board which read “364 days to Christmas” in storage at the back between the main café and the restrooms. I’ve typically put off trying out restaurants within the CBD on weekdays, however there is surprisingly plentiful two hour ticketed street parking located within a short walk, and if you’re having problems there’s also the nearby fish market parking at a reasonable price.

The Koshihikari Rice Congee ($24.50) with confit ocean trout ($9) was expensive and delicious. It was warm and wholesome, as all congees should be. The general flavour of the congee was mild, not overseasoned, however with a hint of unexpected ma and la added by the fermented chilli relish. We loved the familiar Asian tastes of coriander and enoki mushroom, though thought that the chilli fried egg was just a touch too fried and wonder if this already very good dish would have been even better with a slow egg instead (a la 3 Rōnin). The maple glazed bacon was so thick cut that it was basically pork belly at this point, though no complaints from us at all. I think it was probably too much to expect that a $9 piece of confit ocean trout would live up to the standard set by Tetsuya’s, though a hungry man can dream. It was fine though – the serving size was a bit small, but the taste, especially the additional umami and variety it added to the dish, was good. Overall a really great dish.

The Buttermilk Pancakes ($23.50) were my partner’s choice, and in my opinion the inferior choice. It consisted of a very generous serving of 4 buttermilk pancakes (although for $23.50 what is generous and what’s just to be expected?) topped with toffee, blackberries, salted pecan crumble and served with some passionfruit ice cream. The pancakes were adequately sour, and the toppings did not make the dish too sweet. I enjoyed the pecan crumble and the ice cream, which were in a league of their own compared to the rest of the ingredients. My partner thought that the toffee sauce tasted a bit stale, and while I could see what she meant I’m not certain that that wasn’t just the intended taste. Faced with a number of delicious looking and sounding savoury items I wouldn’t order this again.

My partner did indulge in a pretty standard Mimosa ($13) whilst I as the very responsible designated driver had a very good soy latte. Quick Brown Fox does offer bottomless mimosas for $30 per person for 90 minutes, or bottomless cocktails (bloody mary, aperol spritz, espresso martini) for $40 per person however we decided against this as my partner never really uses up her full allocation of alcoholic beverages.

VERDICT

Part time chef, part time wizard Tomislav Martinovic has essentially done it again with a beautiful menu of Asian-fusion delights, even better than at Three Williams. There are many more things I’d like to try at Quick Brown Fox and I can’t wait to go back.

Five tomislavs.

Quick Brown Fox Eatery
22 Union St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
(02) 9660 6345

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
Asian Fusion Café Japanese

Rising Sun Workshop – Newtown NSW Restaurant

Rising Sun Workshop, half motorcycle garage and half cafe, has been on my radar for some time. Embarrassingly enough I had avoided it as I had confused it with the similarly named Rice Workshop, a chain of cheaper Japanese diners predominantly based in Melbourne.

While Rising Sun Workshop offers both food and motorcycle related activities, it seems rare that one would partake in both on the same occasion. Indeed whilst I was eating lunch there was no point at which I felt like I was able to access the motorcycle portion of the establishment. This is in direct contrast to the Naked Racer in Cheltenham VIC (a recommendation, by the way), where patrons are able to both eat and peruse a motorcycle themed museum.

The Burnt Ends ($19) were kind of like a radish cake omurice. It was basically sweet-soy glazed pork belly atop a radish cake wrapped in scrambled egg, served with a side of pickle and sambal sauce. The radish cake was sweet, fluffy and soft, unlike radish cakes common to Shanghainese cuisine which tend to be a bit fried and harder. The egg wrapping was quite thin. The sambal sauce was a milder sambal than I’ve been having at Indonesian restaurants – more sweet than spicy, which was not so much a problem as it does make the dish a bit more friendly to a wider audience. While the portion was small the Burnt Ends was quite yummy and I can recommend it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

While I enjoyed the Burnt Ends, there wasn’t really anything else on Rising Sun Workshop’s brunch menu that looked like it would travel well enough to bring home for my sleeping night shift girlfriend. I opted to bring her one of these chocolate chip cookies ($5 each) instead. I thought this was quite good. It had a nice three dimensional structure to it, which I tried to capture in the photo. The chocolate chips were quite melty and gooey, and the cookie itself not too sweet. The half of the cookie I saved for my partner split in half during the car ride, and she sleepily told me that she enjoyed the first cookie as well as the second cookie (don’t worry, she didn’t aspirate). They were two quarters of the same cookie.

CONCLUSION

I enjoyed my expensive and small meal at Rising Sun Workshop. There are a few other things on their dinner menu that I’d like to try, which are again small and expensive looking. The land of the rising sun generally refers to Japan however Rising Sun Workshop’s offerings look to have both Korean and Japanese influences. There is in particular a cauliflower dish called the “Korean Fried Cauliflower” in “Dear Leader” sauce. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone call Shinzo Abe “Dear Leader”.

4/5

Rising Sun Workshop
1C Whateley St, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9550 3891

Categories
Café Chinese

White Rabbit Teahouse – Chippendale NSW Cafe Review

Following on from White Rabbit Gallery’s theme of white women collecting items of Chinese cultural significance is the White Rabbit Teahouse, located in the gallery’s foyer. The teahouse offers snacks and tea to gallery patrons and passers-by alike, however its coffee-free menu will not suit anyone looking for a rapid caffeine hit – the staff at White Gallery Teahouse earnestly recommend the cafe across the road for that.

The tea at White Gallery Teahouse is served in small glass pots with unlimited refills. The prices are quite reasonable compared to other specialty teahouses (for example Zensation in Waterloo), with our Taiwan Gingseng Oolong tea coming in at $7 for two. We were the only patrons in the teahouse at the time and service was brisk, with our waitress readily topping up our water as required.

The Lychee Iced Tea ($4.50) was nice, refreshing, and not too sweet. I regret getting a glass and not a carafe ($13).

The chicken and coriander dumplings ($13 for 10) were not very exciting. I like that they were boiled rather than steamed or pan fried, but thought that they didn’t have much taste to them. The teahouse prides itself on serving MSG-free dumplings and the avoidance of glutamate is probably the reason for the dumplings’ lack of taste.

The large soy sauce bottle lamp ($579) was located next door in the gallery’s gift shop. I took a photo purely because it reminded me of a story of a guy who recently came in hyperthermic and obtunded and all they could find was a bunch of little soy sauce bottles in his pocket.

VERDICT

If you’re at White Rabbit Teahouse for dumplings I wouldn’t bother. Shanghai Dumpling Bar in Spice Alley, a mere 2 minute walk from White Rabbit does much tastier dumplings. If you’re not that keen on food and just want a nice place for a cup of tea after a stroll through the gallery it is absolutely fine.

3/5

White Rabbit Teahouse
30 Balfour St, Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 8399 2867