Categories
Australian British

Fish Butchery – Waterloo NSW Restaurant Review

We were excited to eat at Fish Butchery after reading some pretty glowing reviews online and glowing feedback from our friends about related restaurants Saint Peter and Charcoal Fish. Despite such expectations our moderately-long drive to Waterloo was sadly not met with as much joy as we had hoped.

While I’m not usually one to complain loudly about service, preferring to focus on the food, I think that the ultra-premium prices paid at Fish Butchery does invite greater reflection into what exactly one is paying for. The first red flag of our visit, apart from the prices of the familiar raw fish (Murray cod and Clhinook salmon) in the fishmonger’s display that were easily 50-100% greater than what you’d expect to pay from your favourite internet-based fish market delivery service, was that the staff seemed to be too busy to wipe the crumbs off the tables between customers until the new customer’s food was ready to be served. This meant that we sat with crumbs in front of us, not really seeing a staff member venture outside for about half an hour as we waited to be served.

Though Fish Butchery styles itself as a takeaway joint the reality of it is that it’s a restaurant, complete with both indoor and outdoor seating. There are just normal expectations around the cleanliness of tables when you’re spending $80 between two for lunch, and these weren’t fulfilled.

The Al Pastor Swordfish Tacos (2 pieces for $24) were not what I was looking for. Though grilled, they were not as grilled as I had hoped, and arrived to us lukewarm at best. The internal fish meat was on the raw to rare spectrum, which is not what I was expecting but did not cause any physical bodily harm. The flavours of this taco were highly mild, though the sweetness and juiciness of the grilled pineapple was a very welcome addition to what was otherwise a barren and expensive half moon.

The fish sausage roll ($22 with chips and a Strange Love soda) was the highlight of the situation. The sausage roll, filled with a mixture of Murray Cod, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, and cured Murry Cod fat had a very good depth of flavour and fatty moistness inside. The pastry was a crust above your average sausage roll, but to be expected given the asking price. The potato chips were unfortunately actually not very good, and even my potato fiend partner was unable and unwilling to finish them. The tomato sauce was rich and good. Unlike the rest of the things we had at Fish Butchery I could actually give a positive recommendation for this sausage roll, though by itself ($14) rather than with the chips.

I didn’t love this hyped up Yellowfin Tuna Cheeseburger Double ($20). I don’t think there was anything special about it apart from the use of fish over mammal, and I don’t think the flavour or texture really lived up to a burger made of methane-producing cow. The inside of these tuna patties was a bit rare, but I think that’s probably OK because we literally eat sashimi and these guys are the fish experts.

The regular salad ($14), half cauliflower and half eggplant was actually pretty good, if oily. A non-fish product that was not weighed down by fishy expectations.

THOUGHTS

I really wanted to like Fish Butchery, but outside of the single sausage roll nothing else that I had really wowed me, especially at its price point but even if they were more reasonably priced. I expected better from a guy who charges $150 for a piece of stainless steel specifically to weigh down cooking fish.

Fish Butchery Waterloo
965 Bourke St, Waterloo NSW 2017
02 8960 0903

Categories
American

Chicko’s – Wollongong NSW Restaurant Review

Chicko’s is a Wollongong icon. It is an institution, forged through its prime position near the beach and the local stadium, and its reputation for consistent fast food and good economy. While knowledge of the restaurant appears to be ubiquitous within Illawarra, I approach Chicko’s from the perspective of an outsider, free from the shackles of local culture and custom.

The Portuguese Wing Pieces (10 for $7.90) were a little on the dry side, with a predominantly salty flavour and not much or really any perceptible spice to explain the Portuguese moniker.

The medium chips ($6.65) were pretty fresh and crunchy. I liked the option to add salt and vinegar for free, and while I only optioned for two lots of this addition I know now I should’ve added as much as the computer ordering system would let me.

The small gravy($3.65) was alright. Pretty good with chips. A bit darker and denser than what you get from the Colonel. There is currently some spilled in a corner at the back of my fridge.

The large scallopini burger ($11.45 with a can of drink) really was large. Pictured here alongside it is my hand. I wear size 8 gloves. It’s really a huge bread roll with two crumbed chicken schnitzels inside side by side, topped with a mushroom sauce. I must admit that I got bored of the bread after chomping through this monstrosity, and discarded the bottom (unsauced) half bun.

Wow, a single piece of fish for $2.85. Pretty good!

Chicko’s Fried Chicken ($13.60 for 5 pieces) kind of amounts of a whole fried bird. The pieces were incredibly varied in terms of size, but all shared the common characteristic of being incredibly juicy and moist, even the half-breast piece. My partner, a fried chicken fanatic, is a fan.

The roast pork meal ($14.99) with crumbed roast potato, peas and gravy, was a tasty and varied pub-style meal. I enjoyed the roast pork, which was moist but with its own layer of crispy skin, though my partner, a lover of potato, didn’t have such strong feelings about this particular potato.

CONS
I cannot leave a review for the Greek salad that I paid for as we didn’t receive it.

OVERALL
I think the real headline of this story should be that we spent very little money between the two of us for enough food to feed four people. Service was reasonably quick, and while there is no internal seating there is plenty of beach to go around. I can definitely see the appeal for Wollongong locals, but taking into account the vast amounts of deep frying going on and my general desire to live past forty I will probably have to never go back.

Chicko’s Wollongong
13 Crown St, Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4225 3888

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Coffee Trad3rs – Castle Hill NSW Restaurant Review

Another weekend, another brunch. This week’s victim was Coffee Trad3rs, a large, family friendly cafe with plenty of interior decoration and a pan-Asian inspired food menu.

This short rib burger was pretty good, if simple. The beef rib was tender and plentiful, though without much variety in flavour throughout the dish I did get a bit bored towards the end. The chips were freshly fried and good.

This miso salmon soba salad is the latest in a string of recent miso salmons for me. Excitingly, this was served with soba and a light salad rather than the standard rice. While the salmon didn’t do that much for me (I thought that the miso-ness of it was a bit too subtle), I really enjoyed the fresh salad and the cool soba, which had a great slippery mouthfeel.

Not one to say no to fried chicken, my girlfriend had to order the Taiwanese fried chicken cubes. This was similar in concept to large fried chicken but served in bite sized pieces, I imagine to fit the needs of the various children around the place.

Some kind of white drink.

I thought about not including a review for this item due to not having a very good photo for it, but I just have to mention the milk tea swiss roll cake. The flavour of this creamy swiss roll perfectly simulated that of a pearl milk tea, with the light and delicate sponge melting into the mouth almost as if it were liquid. It is a top tier dessert, to be sure.

SUMMARY
I think that most of the food at Coffee Trad3rs is quite reasonable, and there is a certainly a broad Asian-fusion menu with constantly evolving specials on offer. If you’re in the area I’d definitely recommend giving them a go – if you’re far away though, I wouldn’t necessarily say drive across the city for it. Overall good. Avoid if you hate families and kids.

Coffee Trad3rs Castle Hill
1/8 Victoria Ave, Castle Hill NSW 2154
(02) 9894 7876

Categories
American

Lenny Briskets – Botany NSW Restaurant Review

I lived in Botany for an entire year, but it was six months after I had left that Lenny Briskets set up shop in their Botany warehouse location, and another six months of mouth-wateringly looking at Instagram posts before I was able to go and see what all the fuss was about for myself.

The strengths and weaknesses of the food truck business model are centred, unsurprisingly, around its mobility. While having your restaurant on wheels might mean that you’re able to service geographically diverse populations and get your product in front of more hungry eyes and mouths, the itinerant lifestyle also means that it’s difficult to establish a home base with a loyal local following and reliable opening times. It’s the balancing act that’s birthed a million SWOT analyses – but eventually we took ourselves to Botany and got our mouths around that beef.

This Pastrami on Martin’s ($17) was perfection. The meat was so incredibly juicy, tender, and flavourful, not to mention generous, absolutely overflowing the soft, tumeric-coloured potato buns. The yellow theme was continued with just a bit of French’s classic yellow mustard, enough to add a second degree of flavour interest, without being overpowering. The three simple flavours of smoked meat, a bit of mustard, and the sweet bun all worked in perfect harmony, so much so that I found the included side pickle (happily not too salty, but ultimately not needed). While Lenny’s offers a similar sandwich with 500g of pastrami, I think the bread to filling ratio of just the regular one (I think it might be 250g?) is the sweet spot.

The New Amsterdam ($18) of BBQ brisket, American cheese, sweet red peppers and Russian dressing, again on a Martin’s potato bun was my second favourite, but still good. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, though I thought that the red capsicum made it just a bit too wet and sweet for my liking. The flavours of the pastrami sandwich just hit the right spot for me. The cheese was nice, and I wonder if it could be added to the original pastrami sandwich.

This samoyed, known as Bibi, is hyper friendly and super soft, and though we ate our meal with our hands we could not resist giving Lenny’s mascot some well-enjoyed pets.

COMMENTS
Good. Catch them if you can.

Lenny Briskets
9 Margate St, Botany NSW 2019
+61 492 907 215

Categories
Café

Saint Marks – Randwick NSW Cafe Review

Saint Marks on Clovelly Road is just one of two unrelated establishments with the same name in Randwick. The one we’re interested in today is a cafe – the other, a hotel on Rae St, will not be mentioned again in this post.

The sweet corn fritter stack was quite well plated and visually appealing. My partner, who as you may know by now is a big fan of corn fritters really enjoyed it. She liked the sweetness of the fritter, which helped this dish stand out from the rest. A further point of distinction was the texture of these fritters, which were quite loose and corny, in a good way. Unfortunately the poached eggs that were added on for an additional fee were not good. As you can see from the photo one of them was very well cooked. No good.

The Saint Marks Burger (with extra patty and cheese – $20) was a tall but very expensive burger. The patties were slightly underseasoned but otherwise had good texture with a very meaty mouthfeel. The pickles were tangy and I appreciated that there were both internal pickles as well as external pickles. At the $20 price tag I would have expected this burger to at least have come with some chips.

DISCUSSION
Despite the good internal airflow supplied by large ceiling fans we chose to dine in Saint Marks’ outdoor seating due to extra risk-averse nature (and in view of recent new COVID-19 cases in the area). Towards the end of our meal, whilst all internal customers had left we started to hear the staff inside make a series of seal noises. This was quite odd.

3.5/5 – (lean 3, egg no good)

Saint Marks
80 Clovelly Rd, Randwick NSW 2031