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
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

Categories
Asian Fusion Chinese

Belly Bao – Newtown NSW Restaurant Review

It’s not quite fair to rate a restaurant you were 45 minutes late to, but that’s just what I’m about to do.

I met up with a few of my colleagues after work one Saturday afternoon. It was difficult for us to get a reservation at a universally convenient time, but we settled on a time that would have been possible for me to make with optimum handover and traffic but was ultimately suboptimal. I don’t think we needed to have bothered, however, as as I was walking up to the restaurant 45 minutes post our booking time another group walked in and was able to secure a table without a reservation – it seems that they keep a number of tables open for walk-ins, and one should keep this in mind if booking is problematic.

Belly bao fried chicken wings

Belly Bao’s Fried Chicken Wings (2 for $9) were good and crispy despite having had a long time to cool down. While their flavour and internal texture was not standout, their resilience to heat loss by radiation is quite impressive and implies that they would be a good choice for delivery or takeaway where food is more at the mercy of travel time.

The crackling roast pork belly bao ($7.90) with crackling, radish, coriander and mayonnaise was fine but nothing to write home about. There was nothing particularly good or bad about the bao bread. It would be unfair for me to rate its contents given that it sat on the table uneaten for approximately half an hour prior to my arrival, but I will go ahead and say that I didn’t feel like the crackling pork was quite as crackling as advertised, nor the pork meat appropriately tender. It may be better fresh.

I am able to give an honest review of the slow braised beef short rib bao ($7.50) with kimchi, spring onion and sesame mayonnaise as the restaurant forgot to make the three that we ordered for the table until questioned. This unfortunate lapse meant that I was able to have it fresh. I found the flavour of the beef balanced and appreciated that it was not too overflavoured, which seems to be a common problem with many baos especially in restaurants in largely culturally and linguistically non-diverse areas (bad memories from Bao Now in Te Anau, New Zealand 2018 still haunt me to this day). Not a bad bao overall.

Overall a 3.5/5

Belly Bao
184 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
0402 826 907

Categories
Chinese Vietnamese

Pho Pasteur – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Across the road from Parramatta’s Lee Chef is Pho Pasteur, a long-lived, almost 30-year old Vietnamese restaurant that’s since extended tendrils across Sydney.

We had the Large Special Beef Pho with extra meat ($20). The flavour of this pho was good, with a lighter tasting but still umami-packed soup, a mix of rare beef, beef tendon, beef rumen, and beef balls, and a garnish of freshly chopped shallot. Like the rest of the bowl, the serving of bean sprouts, Thai basil, and chillis was fresh and adequate. Though the flavour was good, we thought that the balance of meats did skew heavily towards the rare beef side, with our large bowl only featuring one solitary beef ball cut in half, even though we had optioned it out with extra meat. The bowl, overall, is almost matched punch-for-punch with its cross-street neighbour, but I think that given the filling imbalance I’d lean slightly towards Lee Chef’s.

Though a big fan of quail egg in meals like malatang, I’d never actually eaten quail the bird until this visit to Pho Pasteur. I had seen my parents order it occasionally at Chinese restaurants as a child, however I was always too spooked by the small size of the bird to eat them. To be honest, after trying the quail at Pho Pasteur I don’t think I really missed out on much. The two whole quails ($18) were deep fried, and quite salty, served with a zesty dipping sauce. Though the quail pieces might have looked juicy from certain angles, a quick flip around revealed that the opposite service was positively concave – these were lean birds indeed. It took quite a bit of t to harvest the meat from these quail, which didn’t really taste that different to duck or chicken. I don’t think I’d order this again – I’d go straight for the crispy skin chicken which is also on offer at Pho Pasteur – but this may very well be a comment on my personal preferences rather than the restaurant’s ability.

I was not a big fan of this eggplant and pork mince hot pot ($17). Though the taste and size of this hot pot was good, it was just filled to the brim with oil, making it very difficult for me to eat without hating myself. Rice is a necessary evil whilst eating this dish, but perhaps a course of orlistat or plasmapheresis would be better accompaniments.

VERDICT
Pho Pasteur’s offerings have a great deal of crossover with nearby Lee Chef’s. One of Pho Pasteur’s strengths is its actual printed menu, which features photos of many of their dishes, hence not leaving things up to the imagination as Lee Chef does. I think that ultimately both restaurants provide good quality Vietnamese and Chinese food, and the restaurant of choice will be up to whichever one is open at the time (Lee Chef is closed on Sunday nights, but open later on other days).

Pho Pasteur Parramatta
137 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9635 0782

Categories
Chinese

Marigold – Haymarket Sydney CBD NSW Yum Cha Review

For most Sydneysiders Chinatown’s Marigold, a yum cha institution of 40 years, needs no introduction. This was not true for me, an ex-Western Sydney local whose yum cha haunts centered around Parramatta and Auburn, and who only heard about Marigold for the first time this year.

We often think about what is in a name, and when one of my colleagues first mentioned Marigold I took note of the distinct lack of the words “Golden”, “Jade”, “Empress”, “Dragon”, and “Seafood” and doubted its legitimacy. How wrong I was.

We dined on a weekday lunch in December 2020 with a group of our learned friends. Around us were tables mostly of middle aged Chinese people, as well as the odd group of young Caucasians. We were the only young group of Chinese-Australians in the expansive level 5 dining hall, and while we were all doctors we probably still disappointed all the aunties and uncles around the room when we ordered in English.

Rather than go through each dish in detail I will tell you just about a general vibe. Every little steam basket and plate of food we had was good. The selection was reasonably varied, and there was nothing that we craved that they didn’t have. Service from the ladies wheeling around the trolleys was a bit pushy, but that’s how yum cha operates and was fine. One of the waiters kindly obliged when I asked for a knife and fork for my chopstick-capable colleague as a joke – and this ended up coming in handy to cut the egg tarts.

On the note of egg tarts I didn’t think these were the best I’ve ever had. They weren’t fresh, and the pastry was not as light as they could’ve been. Marigold was, apart from the egg tarts, one of the better Yum Cha restaurants I’ve been to, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly.

Parking was $9 for 2 hours in the CBD on a weekday. Pretty good.

5/5.

Marigold
683 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9281 3388

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