Categories
Japanese

Spanish Sakaba – Willoughby NSW Restaurant Review

The suburbs North of the bridge are full of Japanese-flavoured adventures, however they are can be difficult to access to us mere mortals. My South Eastern Sydney colleagues had previously had dinner at Spanish Sakaba, but missed out on their famous wagyu ramen. We therefore made a special decision to cross the bridge for a second time as a group to give it a go.

The Yuzu slushy ($8.80) was quite good, but very expensive and small.

The deep fried wagyu gyoza (4 for $10) were pretty good. The filling was more complex than the usual cabbage pork stuff that you get at most Japanese restaurants in Sydney. My brave senior colleague had the great idea to ask for an extra gyoza for an extra fee, so that we could each have one.

We each ordered a Trio Wagyu Ramen ($29.29), which was served in a large, hat-like dish (see above). This was a mixture of oxtail, sliced beef, and tri-tip in a thick chicken and beef soup. I liked this, however thought that the fatty meats made the soup too thick and rich. Apparently the wagyu oxtail ramen without the other two meats comes with a lighter soup.

The chef served the five of us a complimentary wagyu salad with horseradish dressing. In my opinion this was actually the best dish of the meal, and we were so surprised that we were offered it for free. It was really delicious, and it had plenty of just-charred meat. The horseradish dressing added a great flavour to the dish. I would honestly pay for this if I could, but I don’t think it’s even on the menu.

The Angus Beef Katsu with Chips ($27.80) was not what I expected. First off, $28 is a super expensive for a burger and chips. My colleague who had been here before said that it was a classic Japanese burger – I thought this would be some epic level hamburg. What it actually was was a katsu crumbed beef steak with cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. I thought it was good, but not great, and definitely not $28 great. The chips were fine. Normal shoestring chips.

The Chips with Osaka sauce ($7.50) were just fine. Neither strong nor weak.

My overall verdict is: good, expensive. Avoid beef burger. Get beef salad (try to order off the menu)

Spanish Sakaba
537 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby NSW 2068
(02) 9967 0575

Spanish Sakaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
British

Kiwi Fish Shop – Mascot NSW Review

The need for salt and oil struck me again recently, and this need was fed by an evening delivery order from Kiwi Fish Shop, a fish and chip shop variably described as being in Mascot or Rosebery, and possibly part of the Newmarket Hotel operation.

The crumbed calamari (3 pieces for $4.50) provided a good initial hit of salt and umami.

The prawn cutlet ($2.50 each) were a bit overbreaded but still good

The sea scallops (2 for $2.50) were not as fresh as deep fried scallops can be, but still passable.

The crumbed oyster ($3.25) was not as good as at Kibuna, a Japanese restaurant also located in Mascot – however obviously in a different style.

The fish and chips ($12) were just that. I was not that into the chips, While the tyranny of distance is at least partially to blame, they just didn’t taste fresh to me.

An additional fish fillet was had for $9 already you can see this is too much food

I was sad to have been charged $1.50 each for small tubs of tartare sauce. You would think that some would be included.

The fish taco combo ($12) was delicious – mainly the fish taco. I liked the sauce and salsa. Could’ve gone without the mountain of chips and with a couple of dollars off the price to match.

The Juicy Scotch Fillet Burger optioned by my partner with egg and cheese ($13 base, $16 as shown) was pretty good actually, but expensive and also not the real reason you’re ordering from a fish and chip shop on a Thursday evening.

THOUGHTS

The food at Kiwi Fish Shop was not bad, and even probably quite good. I don’t really have a recent benchmark to compare it to, as fish and chips are really more of a once in a year or two thing given the wide variety of other delicious things that I have access to, that may not be as bad for me. I had strong regrets about halfway through the meal, but for some reason I powered through. I should have at least saved the food for the following day.

4/5 steamed clams

Kiwi Fish Shop
895 Botany Rd, Mascot NSW 2020
(02) 9667 2499

Categories
Latin American

Pochito – Mascot NSW Restaurant Review

Having to drive my previously-slightly-inebriated partner to work following a night out meant that I had an excuse to try one of our local cafes on the way back home. Pochito, one of Sydney’s few homes of empanadas and other Chilean cuisine, was next on my hit list.

Pochito, as the story is told by its owners, means the feeling of sleepiness induced by a meal. While I can’t find such a translation online from Spanish, what I can find is that pochito means kidnapping in Russian. Something to think about.

Chicken and mushroom, Four cheese empanadas.

After having a seat at a table of my choice (all tables were free), I indulged in three of Pochito’s specialty empanadas.

The four cheese empanada ($5) was too cheesy for me. It’s a stupid thought to put down on paper, but I’m sticking to my guns. Apart from the cheesiness there was not much other flavour. The chicken and mushroom empanada ($6) was quite creamy, not bad, but not as good as our third contestant. My partner thought that both the four cheese and chicken and mushroom empanadas were missable.

The traditional beef empanada ($6) was by far my. It had a tasty filling of beef, egg, and onion, as well as some olive and sultana that I wasn’t quite able to appreciate. This was served with a dish of coriander salsa, which was delicious.

The Lomito Sandwich ($12) is a Chilean specialty, and really delicious. Included within its milk bun was a generous serving of marinated pork loin mixed with smashed avocado, a tasty, juicy slice of tomato, and a lot of mayonnaise. I actually ordered the lomito after I had finished my half of the empanadas, as they had not quite hit the spot. I’m glad that I did. The lomito sandwich really is special.

DISCUSSION

Pochito is a family run business, and during my visit I interacted with multiple family members, who were all quite nice and welcoming. At one point during my meal the owner of the restaurant came by and asked me if I was a foodie. I must admit that I was too embarrassed to say that was, and basically lied through my teeth and told her no. She said something along the lines of “I guess everyone needs to eat to stay alive though.”

Sorry Paulina.

4.5/5, mostly for lomito. (Empanadas alone 3.5/5)

Pochito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Café

Culture Bean – Kogarah NSW Cafe Review

I would estimate that I’ve been to Culture Bean thirty to forty times over the past twelve months. Located on absolute prime real estate across the road from St George Hospital, Culture Bean is the leading off-campus provider of coffee and food to my starving colleagues whilst also commanding its own customer base from the wider community. Culture Bean is the favourite local cafe of one of our consultant intensivists in particular, but also known to frequented by everyone else we work with.

The reasons behind the fact that I’ve got very few photos to show for the sheer volume of food I’ve consumed from Culture Bean is multifactorial. It’s a bit embarassing to take photos of food in front of colleagues at work, especially bosses. Each meal also becomes less special the more you eat somewhere, and therefore in the mind less worthy of photography, even if you never took any photos to start with.

Bacon and egg sandwich

The bacon and egg sandwich ($11.50), not to be confused with the bacon and egg roll, is a fully featured, stuffed with ingredients sandwich featuring egg, rocket, halloumi, heaps of bacon, and your choice of sauce (default is hollandaise and barbecue). It is very filling, and the flavours are perfectly balanced. It is much better than the bacon and egg roll ($7), which I feel to be a bit too bread heavy and dry in comparison.

The mainstay of management at Culture Bean is their fantastically good value egg and haloumi slider and regular coffee combo ($8). These hot little sliders can be optioned with a vast array of sauces if you know to ask (otherwise you will be given barbecue), and make for a great post-ward round snack. The coffee at Culture Bean is from Gabriel Coffee, and is always of good quality.

Acai Bowl

Culture Bean’s literally award winning Acai Bowl ($16) is pretty OK. My first acai bowl ever and was just fine, not mindblowing. Knowing this is apparently one of the best in Sydney did not make me want to get any more acai bowls from anywhere else.

I have enjoyed the bocconcini pesto sandwich but wish it would have some meat in it. Conversely, I have also had the chicken pesto sandwich and wished it were less dry, and thought it could perhaps benefit from some bocconcini in it. Culture Bean would really be onto something if they could put both chicken and bocconcini in the same sandwich.

The Pulled Pork Burger ($10) is a good value burger full of saucy, wet pulled pork and a carroty Asian slaw. It’s quite nice and pretty cheap, but make sure you have some paper towels nearby as it does get quite wet.

Blue Heaven

I tried the Blue Heaven ($16) with blue spirulina, banana, mango, kiwi, goji & dragon fruit one day after a night shift. While I liked the dragon fruit I wasn’t a big fan of the other fruit, nor was I a fan of the weird blue colour. Just not really my thing to be honest, maybe other people like this.

I enjoyed the Culture Burger ($12.50), which is essentially a chicken thigh burger in an activated charcoal bun. They are able to do this is a normal bun if you ask, which I tend to do since I’m not really sure if activated charcoal is good for you or bad for you.

COMMENTS / VERDICT

I feel AWFUL that the staff at Culture Bean know my name and I don’t know theirs. The service is always really nice and friendly, and the food pretty good too. I always feel guilty when I walk past Culture Bean to go to Concrete Jungle/Cafe 959 and the guys at Culture Bean just look at me with this look of sadness. They are my home cafe but sometimes I want something different. Definitely the best place in easy reach of the hospital (but sadly out of Spectralink reception).

5/5

Culture Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Café

Single O – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

Towards the start of jobs season 2020 we met up with one of our colleagues from the CoE for brunch at Single O. We parked on a particularly hilly street not far from the restaurant. These are my thoughts as best as I can remember them.

This tomato was quite sour. The biscuit type thing underneath was a bit salty. It was visually appealing but overall I didn’t like this.

This burger, not otherwise specified, was crunchy. My partner got the dressing all over herself like an idiot.

How can I rate a meal I can’t remember? One thing that I do remember is being asked “have you ever dined with us before?” which I thought was a bit pretentious for a cafe.

Maybe it was not that memorable.

Single O Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato