This is going to be a quick one. We got delivery from Indian Biryani Restaurant during our last run of nights. I had the Chicken 65 Biryani ($19, pictured) and the Achari Chicken ($14, not pictured). Both were very tasty, and probably a bit too tasty to be eaten alone without any non-flavoured staple food. The Chicken 65 Biryani was very edible and safe. My colleagues had some chicken tikka salad and the butter chicken and allegedly all was good.
My overall impression is this: Not many places deliver to work. It really wasn’t bad and we’ll probably get it again before the year is through.
Pegg asked me to find somewhere for brunch today. It’s our only day off together in 11 days so the stakes were high. After much deliberation we found ourselves looking for a park in Chippendale so that we could eat at A1 Canteen.
While we had previously had easy success parking for X23 Asian Fusion Cafe around the corner, today was not our day, and we ended up spending around 25 minutes circling the Central Park complex looking for a park. We finally found a 1-hour spot 10 minutes’ walk away, leaving us 40 minutes to get seated, order, eat, and leave. A true high-anxiety challenge, but one that we succeeded in.
A1 Canteen, I’m told, is run by the man behind Automata. Apparently is difficult to run two restaurants at once and thus this needs to be mentioned in every online review of A1, especially when they’re across the road from one another.
The Muffuletta ($20) is a vertical sandwich slice consisting of pressed meats, cheese, greens, artichoke, and olive salad. It is served with cutlery, and thus a dare to the patron to eat it with their hands. I enjoyed the Muffuletta as I would any other sandwich which would typically cost $7. It was meaty and cheesy, but otherwise not that special. The vertical cut of the sandwich meant that the filling to bread ratio was excellent, but the pedestrian taste did not justify its high asking price.
The slow roasted lamb shoulder ($27) was significantly more interesting. It is served with small grilled flatbread, brocollini, cauliflower, chickpeas, and yellow chili pickles, each adding an additional dimension. The yellow chili pickles were particularly juicy and delicious, and added a nice tang to it. The price again is a bit steep for what it is. Looking at an older copy of the menu it looks like the lamb shoulder was previously $24 with a choice of two salads.
A special mention needs to go to the service at A1 Canteen. The kitchen was speedy and our waitress very observant to our hydration requirements. The room was spacious and decor nice. I personally felt a bit underdressed and outclassed in my T-shirt and trackpants.
Overall A1 canteen was passable but overpriced. I would not recommend the Muffuletta and would not have it again myself. One of the ladies next to us had some curried scrambled eggs which looked amazing, so I think we will probably end up going back at some point to try them. Three and a half overpriced weighted sandwiches out of Five.
A few weeks ago I went to 101kissa, an Asian fusion brunch place in Chippendale. This week I went to X23 Asian Fusion Cafe, an Asian fusion brunch place In Chippendale.
My girlfriend drove me to brunch after one of my night shifts. We had thought about going for a couple of weeks, and finally the opportunity arose for me to sacrifice some sleep for some food. I wore sunglasses the entire time to limit my blue light exposure and posting these photos up is the first time I’m seeing these foods in their normal colour.
The shroom room shrooms ($16.80) were quite shroomy. The eggs were well poached, and most of the shrooms were enjoyable, particularly the enoki. One particular mushroom had a strong Vegemite-like taste which I was not a fan of. Maybe my palate is not developed enough. But maybe I just know what I like and this particular long shroom wasn’t it.
The X23 red eggs ($22.50) are very similar to but not as good as the chili crab scrambled eggs at 101kissa. In comparison with the similar concept eggs at 101kissa they did not have as much crab. They’re overall not bad, but when you have a better option just a few minutes away they’re hard to recommend.
I have no idea what the sriracha bacon ($4) was meant to go with. It was probably my mistake to buy it.
Drinks were fine. I liked the dual wall glasses.
Overall impression: I want to like X23 Asian Fusion Cafe but I just don’t. Nothing was really special for me, and its unfortunate proximity to a better competitor makes it a miss. Six out of ten stars. Will probably go back.
I think I have a type. Meet Mica is another Asian-fusion cafe in Surry Hills.
The Breakie. Rice. Bowl ($18) was extra good. Don’t let the name fool you though, it’s more of a congee than a normal bowl of rice. The wetness was very welcome, and in fact I think it could have done with a bit more soup. The Chashu melted easily in the mouth. The onsen egg was perfect, and the mushrooms added an extra dimension to the dish. Overall a legitimate 10/10 dish which I would recommend to everyone.
The Teriyaki Dog Roll ($12) was not bad. A lot of okonomyaki-style toppings and an egg omlette over an Arabiki hot dog sausage. The bread to filling ratio was reasonably good, however still weighted a bit heavily on the bread side. The excess bread was used to mop up the matcha from the dessert dish.
The Matcha. Lava. Toast ($20) is perhaps iconic to this cafe, and indeed iconic to the brunch section of Zomato where it holds the lofty position of thumbnail of a number of recommendation lists. The wet matcha lava is certainly aesthetically dramatic (you can probably find a video online), however in our opinion falls short on the taste component. The bread and matcha itself was somewhat bitter, not at all sweet. I can only describe the texture of the matcha sauce as dry, despite it being reasonably wet. The dish was saved by the condensed milk, gelato and especially fruit, which added a crisp wetness to an otherwise arid dessert.
The sunrise ($8) was yum but not much fluid with a lot of ice for the price. The Hojicha soy latte and hot chocolate were also good.
I would come back to Meet Mica and eat the Breakie Rice Bowl again. The other two I would skip.
Is it bravery in 2020 to put up photos of delivered pizza and call it a restaurant review?
I got Big John’s delivered to work on a Wednesday night. I normally hate getting pizza at work because of the complexities it introduces with sharing slices, but our recent night-time practice has been to eat in a group to protect each other from ravenous onlookers.
The Atlantic Special pizza ($15.80, small) was quite special. There was plenty of seafood and the pizza was overall light and tasty. The addition of a lemon wedge was a nice touch and really elevated the pizza.
The small All Meats Pizza ($15.80) really did have all the meats. The barbecue sauce wasn’t overpowering and there was not a dull moment. I enjoyed it and so did my senior colleague.
Overall I felt the pizza from Big John’s was very good. The fact that it is open late is a real bonus for me. The size of the pizzas didn’t really live up to the restaurant’s name but overall it was reasonable value given the high density of the toppings.
Will order again.
UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2020.
We ended up ordering again from Big John’s not once but twice through the course of the year. Both subsequent times were disappointing. The pizzas on second go-around were utterly flat, soggy, and unappealing. It brought me great shame to have recommended it to my colleagues.
Don’t know who Mick Morlan is, but I don’t trust his sense of taste after trying his Mick Morlan’s pizza (Medium – $20.80).
The King Size Seafood Pizza (Large – $32.60) was equal unappealing.