Latin American

Chololo – Fairfield NSW Restaurant Review

As Western Sydney locals but relative strangers to the South West, it took a couple of laps around the block for us to realise that the neon-lit Chololo made famous across social media was actually situated within the somewhat dingy and run down food court of the Fairfield Chase shopping centre. The initial surprise that someone chose to open a new diner in such a place faded quickly however, as we ordered and settled in for our special Taco Tuesday meal.

Our main order was the Birria Ramen Pack with 3 beef tacos ($21). This pack is differentiated from their regular birria pack through the addition of instant noodles and pulled beef into the dipping soup.

The standard taco itself wasn’t bad, but also wasn’t a standout. The beef inside was reasonably moist, the filling to tortilla ratio was good, and the finely diced green vegetables inside were most welcome. Despite this I just didn’t get the vibe that they were very special, that is until I had them with the excellent chilli sauce, which was so fresh and fruity with just the right amount of spice. Dipping the tacos into the provided consommé, in this case an instant noodle soup, didn’t really enhance the experience as much as I had expected. It simply made the taco a bit more salty and a bit more soggy.

I don’t profess to be an instant noodle guru, though I have had many in my day. I found the noodles and the overall “ramen” experience of the birria ramen to be a bit lacking, and contrary to other online reviewers who enjoyed layering the noodles into the tacos I didn’t feel like this added anything. The noodles simply didn’t have enough of a non-salt flavour to add to the tacos, and if I were to go back I’d be choosing the standard birria pack rather than pay the premium for noodles that I did not enjoy.

Despite my lukewarm response to everything so far, the keto tacos ($4 each) were surprisingly good. We visited, by providence, on a Taco Tuesday as well, which meant that additional tacos were $2 each with any purchase of a birria or ramen pack. These keto tacos had the same general fillings as Chololo’s standard tacos, except that the carb-laden tortilla was replaced by a fat-laden crisp of grilled cheese. The cheese “tortilla” on these tacos were extremely crispy, crunchy, and tasty, while the fresh vegetables within and supplied limes to squeeze helped to balance out the oiliness. We had both the chicken and beef keto tacos, and both were quite delicious to the mouth, if repulsive when you actually start to think about how bad they are for you.

If I were a man in a state of extreme unintentional calorie deficit and catabolism I would come back on a Tuesday and gobble up those delicious $2 keto tacos with their excellent chilli sauce. As I am hoping not to have a CABG in the next decade however I think I will probably not come back.

Chololo Fairfield
Fairfield Chase Shopping Centre, 34 Council Ln, Fairfield NSW 2165
0413 675 536

Asian Fusion Mexican

Bat Country – Randwick NSW Bar/Restaurant Review

It was 7:30PM on a weekday and my partner texts me to come hang out with her colleagues after work, just down the road at Bat Country. “Come”, she says. “The registrars are finishing their week. You won’t know anyone but it will be fine.” I make her promise to take photos as I don’t to look stupid in front of her colleagues. She begrudgingly agrees.

Bat Country’s Buffalo Wings are only $1 each! They are small, coated in hot sauce (is it Frank’s?) and served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. I didn’t know this but one of our junior intensive care colleagues (soon to be internal medical – and yes, I do have junior colleagues) told us that serving celery sticks with buffalo wings is the traditional and authentic way to do it, as it breaks up the oily tasty saltiness of the wings. I didn’t think these wings were the best I’ve ever had, that the meat was just a bit overcooked, and that the exterior could be a little bit less soggy and more crispy. Nonetheless, Bat Country’s wings are a good deal, and it was actually nice to have the celery and blue cheese dip with it.

Seven out of nine intensive care doctors recommend Bat Country’s ever-changing San Choy Baos (3 for $16, additional cups at $5 each). These are not your traditional san choy bao, but rather more of a fusion spin on them. Their makeup and protein seem to change on a regular basis, and while my partner and I are pretty sure the ones we had were duck, I really can’t promise you this. Tertiary source review of their UberEats and Zomato pages reveal that they also offer, at times, chicken and pork belly san choy baos. Regardless of what filling they had, these san choy baos were good. The crispy juicy lettuce and bean sprouts gave them a really nice fresh and wet mouthfeel. The sauce was present but not overpowering. Ultimately a really good dish that seven out of nine intensive care doctors ordered and enjoyed.

My partner’s order of smokey black nachos ($16) to share was pretty good. The corn chips were crispy, and the flavour of the dish was good. She paid additional money to add guacamole, however did not pay the requisite fee to make this a non-vegetarian dish. It was well liked around the table.


The atmosphere at Bat Country was friendly, and the music not too loud. Service was good. Our table was gifted a complimentary bowl of chips and aioli (not photographed – good), which was a very nice gesture and much appreciated.


We revisited Bat Country in March 2022, for breakfast this time.

The breakfast burrito ($15) is deceptively large, and jam packed with chilli beans, spinach, avocado and corn, with an option of either chorizo or halloumi. I chose the meaty chorizo option over the halloumi option, satisfied that I would have enough halloumi to eat in my partner’s not so vegetarian Vego Biggie. This burrito unexpectedly came on a bed of corn chips, which were not advertised but quite a welcome surprise, with their thinness, crispiness, and light texture. A good burrito and definitely enough for a meal.

My partner chose the Vego Biggie ($23), and I decided to make it immediately less vego through the addition of Lucas Bacon ($4.50). While all components of this meal was fine, I found the Lucas bacon to be not only from the belly of a man named Lucas, but also to be a bit burnt and overcooked. It didn’t really seem worth the $4.50 supplement.


I can recommend.


Bat Country
32 St Pauls St, Randwick NSW 2031
(02) 9398 6694

Café Latin American

La Mamita’s – Wollongong NSW Restaurant Review

It is tough for me, as a cat lover, to walk past a cafe with two cats on its banner.

My first visit to La Mamita’s was on the thirteenth of October 2021, just two days after the state of New South Wales had started opening up businesses followed a prolonged COVID-19 related shutdown. I was the only customer in the cafe, an eerie experience as there were at least three or four staff there.

I had a pastrami sandwich ($10), an item that I had seen on their specials board many times before as I walked past to visit different Vietnamese bakeries. The pastrami sandwich was a large, oversided sandwich of toasted bread. The heat from the toasting did not quite transmit through to the fillings ,which included unmelted cheese (perhaps Swiss or similar), bulk pickles, ham, and pastrami. I say the pickles were bulk, as I’m pretty sure every square centimetre of this toasted sandwich had a corresponding square centimetre of pickle – quite a nice and tangy surprise, as some sandwich makers are known to be miserly with their pickles. It was a shame that the cheese was not very melted, as I think melted or otherwise differently arranged cheese may have enhanced the experience. Though this sandwich was not the most gourmet sandwich around, I think ultimately for $10 it did its job.

La Mamita’s Cafe
2B/280 Crown St, Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4210 8995

Café Latin American

Storgē and Co. – North Parramatta NSW Cafe Review

My girlfriend and I often fall victim to sponsored posts on social media, and it was just such a sponsored post that led us to Storgē and Co., one of North Parramatta’s foremost demountable-based Latin American restaurants.

Storge and Co features a mix of indoor and outdoor courtyard seating, though it appears that the indoor seating is not used on days with clear weather. We parked in the Petbarn next door, making a note to buy some cat food so that we wouldn’t feel bad about taking their customer only parking.

The Crispy Dog ($10) is pretty good. It is a hot dog of grilled chorizo, pico de gallo, parmesan, and a rich creamy sauce, topped with a generous serving of potato crisps for an extra crunch. The flavours of this hot dog were quite good. The chorizo sausage itself had quite a complex flavour which rose beyond mere saltiness, which I did not expect from a $10 hot dog. The pico de gallo provided freshness, whilst the potato crisps were salty and crispy. The white creamy sauce was a bit heavy, though in conjunction with all the other flavours and the deliciously toasted bread was not as unbalanced as in the pepito.

This creamy monstrosity is the Pepito ($15). It is essentially a toasted sourdough baguette, filled with 24-hour marinated beef tenderloin, parmesan, mozzarella, and topped with “heavenly sauce”. The beef was very tender, juicy, and tasted good, but that was essentially the best part. There was an absolute cheese overload, and while I can’t tell you the exact components of the heavenly sauce, I assume it is named so as the rich fatty creaminess books you an express ticket to heaven. The sauce and two cheeses mixed together make this a very heavy roll indeed. Not at all wholesome, and not really that good to taste either.

Enthused by our recent positive empanada experience at Mas Tinto, we ordered Storgē and Co.’s cheese and guava jam empanadas (3 for $9.50). Unlike Mas Tinto’s Storge and Co’s were a major disappointment. Where Mas Tinto’s guava and cheese empanadas were lightly but deftly flavoured, Storge’s take is much more heavy handed. I was surprised to find both a too-sweet and too-salty filling, The flavours were unfortunately far too strong, and the dipping sauce did nothing to help with this. It would’ve been better for them to sell them individually, but I imagine that if they did they would only sell one to each customer, and no more following that.

The Thre3* Milk Cake ($6.50), consisting of sponge cake soaked in and topped with three or four different types of milk reminded me of something served for dessert at a year 6 camp. Not awful, but not very good either. A strange hit of nostalgia, and a no go from me.

I think ultimately, out of the things that we tried at Storgē and Co., there are more losers than winners. While their Crispy Dog was good, it’s only a member of their seasonal menu, and not part of the regular cast. I wouldn’t mind coming back to try their Reuben Sandwich, though a return to Storgē and Co. is reasonably low on my list of things to do.


True to my word, I returned to Storgē and Co whilst servincing my car at West End Mazda across the road to try out their Reuben Sando ($12). The sauerkraut to meat to cheese ratio was certianly achieved, but I felt that whilst the bread was well toasted the insides remained extremely tepid. If I had to rate this sandwich against the two other Reuben’s previously in my life, I’d put this between the excellent one at Croquembouche Patisserie that I had no less than 10 times in 2020, and the extremely low-tier average one I had at Nepean Hospital in 2019.

Whilst I won’t bore you with exterior shots of the Beef Empanada (3 for $9.50), I can tell you they looked exactly the same as the guave empaanda from the outside. They were, however, much better. The more solid contents meant that the beef empanada wasn’t as piping hot, and therefore more easy to eat. The savoury filling of potato and beef was quite hearty, and the flavours were actually well comlimented by the provided dipping sauce. They were really not bad.

After trying quite a few things on their menu, I think really only the Crispy Dog was anything very special.

Storgē and Co.
69a Church St, North Parramatta NSW 2151
0413 054 553

Fine Dining Japanese Latin American

Nikkei – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

After a couple of aborted attempts at eating at Nikkei over the past year, my partner and I finally made it over there to try their $88 pp Japanese-Peruvian tasting menu, inspired by the apparently quite significant Japanese diaspora in Peru. This is a restaurant from the group that runs Osaka Trading Co (which I did not love), but is much better.

The first thing I noticed and enjoyed was this sweet wooden communal dining table. It looked expensive, perhaps carved out of a single tree, and potentially a lot of money. I’d love to have one of these tables in my home one day, to entertain no one. The second thing was this nice drinks menu, bound in a very Midori Traveler’s Notebook esque leather covering, complete with a little bit of patina which I hope continues to develop as the restaurant continues to exist.

Our first little nibble were the empanada bites, two of which were allocated to each diner. These small deep fried bites were crispy and crunch, mostly unidentifiable generalised fried stuff (perhaps it is the edamame but reconstituted?) filled with a small amount of surprisingly large-grain choclo (Peruvian) corn and topped with parmesan cheese. The smoked mayonnaise topping and bottoming, which held the bites to their paper base, was well liked by my colleagues around the table.

These Hokkaido scallops were quite special, presented in a huacatay (Peruvian black mint) butter, tangy acevichado (ceviche-like) salsa, and tiny balls of arare cracker. The scallops were sweet with a nice torch-born sear to them. The sauce that they were bathed in was both creamy and citrusy, while the lightly puffed arare cracker added additional textural interest, like tiny rice puffs. I would recommend eating this with a spoon to not miss out on all of those beautiful flavours in the sauce.

While not all colleagues around the table were impressed by the ceviche de pulpo, I actually thought it was quite good. This was a classic-ish ceviche with a nice tender octopus instead of fish, bathed in a marinade of lime juice and spices, and served with cancha corn, or toated corn kernals. My partner, lover of citrus but hater of certain seafoods, enjoyed this dish, as did I. I thought the flavours were quite bright and fresh, and again enjoyed the variety of textures and flavours offered by the crunchy toasted corn.

The causa sushi is in my opinion an attempt to innovate just a little too much. On offer was a piece of scampi nigiri topped with ikura, and a piece of yellowfin tuna gunkan each. The twist here is that Nikkei has used a mashed-potato base as opposed to rice, an ingredient we were told is common in Peruvian cuisine. While I had a bit of hesitation to eat raw scampi (thinking back to this allergic reaction I had at Moxhe) I told my two anaesthetic colleagues that I was for full resus and went to town on the first scampi I’ve had in a very long time. I think I might have become desensitised.

The seafood was fine, the scampi was sweet and the cubed tuna a little spicy and actually quite tasty. Unfortunately I wish they had just stuck with rice though, as the texture of the causa just didn’t do it for me. Poor rice in sushi can mean the difference between good sushi and bad sushi, and not-rice sushi just makes it all that much worse.

The wagyu maki that followed renewed my sadness that the causa sushi was not just regular sushi. The rice in this was actually quite good. The lightly seared thinly sliced MBS8+ rib eye was well liked by one of my learned colleagues, though to be honest I was less of a fan of the meat itself, but still a fan of the overall package. I enjoyed the mixture of yakinku sauce and anticucho sauce, a sauce we were told was commonly used in Peru for grilled chicken, as well as the crunchiness of the vegetables rolled inside the warm sushi rice.

The chuleta de cerdo was again another dish that was well liked by all the friends around the table except me. I personally thought that the Tokachi-style kurobota pork rib eye was a bit too fatty for me – certainly there was enough lean meat to go around, but perhaps my first piece was just 40% fat and it just set a bad tone for the rest of the dish. I can’t criticise the meat’s tenderness or sweet-savoury flavour, but it is just unfortunate that the texture of the first bite was offputting. What I did enjoy thoroughly in this dish was the delicious sweet potato chips, which were thin, tasty, and went well with just a bit of the meat’s sauce. This dish was served with some charred lemon to squeeze onto the meat, but I didn’t find that it improved my experience. Again – the three other diners on the table universally loved this pork but I just need to tell you how I feel.

I wasn’t crazy about the ensalada de verano. I thought that while they did innovate a little with some spicy yuzu kosho, the leaves were a bit bitter. Whatever. It’s vegetable.

This matcha alfajor dulce de leche ice cream sandwich was actually quite good. A bit difficult to crack without smushing the ice-cream out from under the biscuit, but really quite pleasant tasting. Not too sweet.

I quite enjoyed the opportunity to eat all of these Peruvian ingredients (particularly interesting corns and sauces) that I’ve never had the chance to eat before. Some of it was quite different, but still tempered in the familiarity of all the Japanese food that my partner and I tend to eat. I quite enjoyed the raw seafood based dishes at the start, moreso than the cooked dishes towards the end, but I do think that overall Nikkei gets a recommendation from me. Many blessings to this crew. (I also enjoyed the unobtrusive but good and knowledgeable service.)

Featured colleagues: AG, LMMH

Nikkei Bar & Restaurant
216 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 8880 9942